Content Harry Potter
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Disclaimer:  Not my characters, no money being made, etc. , etc.

Fleur realized that she had forgotten to reapply the silencing charms when the reason for applying those charms woke her at an ungodly hour.

"What…really? Again?" Hermione moaned.

The French witch had the same thought in mind.

Fleur groped for her wand and quietly cast a Tempus charm. It was 3:30 in the morning.

"It's way too early, Harry…go back to sleep…"

Fleur's consciousness sharpened as her eyebrows jumped up towards her hairline. She turned onto her side, and peeked through the narrow gap in her bed curtains.

"No really, Sweetheart, give it a rest…give me a rest!"

The part-Veela stifled the giggle that was threatening to escape her lips. How in Merlin's name had they gotten around Molly's gender line?

"Please, Harry…Please? Oh, you are such a randy lad, aren't you…Oh, bugger it…I give up!"

Bill's fiancee licked her lips as she heard the ruffle of thrown-back blankets coming from behind her roommate's closed bed curtains.

"Okay, Fly Boy, plunge down into your slave girl's tight approach…"

Fleur's eyes flashed in surprise…had the young couple gone further than she'd thought?

"That feels so good, Luv! The way that you're targeting my…..that you're….yes-s-s-s-s-s-s-s! Yes! Yes! Yes!... "

A hastily cast silencing spell kept Fleur from hearing the exciting climax to the early-morning audio performance. She could only hope that she'd been quick enough to keep that performance from waking up the rest of the house.

The French witch pulled off her own blankets, swung her legs around, and slipped out of bed. She quickly crossed the room and placed her ear against the bedroom door. There was nothing to hear coming from the other side. Fleur stepped back, whispered a series of quick detection spells, then let out a deep breath…while she might have forgotten to reapply the silencing charms to Hermione's bed curtains after returning from her late-night guard duty, she hadn't been too tired (or too foolish) to forget applying the privacy charms to the bedroom door, walls, floor, or ceiling.

Fleur glanced back towards Hermione's bed and considered her options. There were so many ways to have fun with the situation…but should she surprise the young lovers before, or after the apex of their latest coupling? Perhaps that high point already been reached behind the spell-silenced curtains?

The part-Veela sniffed the pheromone-enriched air, searching for an answer. There was a heavy, musky, whiff of Hermione…something that nicely complemented her own musky scent of excitement. But there was no male in the mix…nothing like the sharp scent of Harry's pre-release that she'd caught the day before, as Hermione ground against her boyfriend's excitement.

The French witch smiled, then shook her head. All was not what it seemed…it was only what she smelled.

Fleur tip-toed back into her own bed and slipped under the covers. There would be time to tease in the morning.


Hermione winced and turned away from the unwelcomed invasion of light.

"Ten more minutes, Mum?"

The woman who had thrown open the Muggleborn's bedcurtains giggled.

"Zere ees no time, ma Chérie."

Hermione groaned.

"Mind the zees and Chéries, Luv."

Fleur giggled some more as she plopped down onto the side of the bed and slapped her roommate's blanket-covered thigh.

"Mais, eet ees too hard to focus when zee air ees so heavy wiz your sex, ma petite loutre!" she teased. The French witch nodded towards the book that lay unopened next to the pillow and asked, "It must have been a very sexy roman, no?"

Hermione turned her head towards the book with the chapter on house elves and groaned.

"It's not a romance novel," she stated.

"Eef you say so. Come, eet ees time for la magie médecine…unless your fingers are too tired from all zee rubbing to hold your wand?"

"Very funny," Hermione whined as she pulled the pillow from underneath her head and swung it towards her roommate. Fleur ducked.

"It is good that you still have some energy after all the wet dreaming and the little deaths," the part-Veela teased.

"What make you think that I was asleep long enough to hit REM stage?" Hermione muttered. "Crookshanks is going to have to find someplace else to sleep at night."

"Ah, so you are complaining about the broadcasts? Of you feeling what your lover felt as you felt yourself?"

"Four bloody times last night!" Hermione hissed. "And it was how he felt that was forcing me to feel myself, not the other way around."

"It is a complaint?" Fleur asked. "Would you like me to ask Harry to reduce the number of times that he masturbates each day?"

"Don't you dare!" Hermione hissed, as she swung her pillow again.

Fleur ducked underneath the flight path, then playfully reached down and tweaked one of the nipples that had been exposed by the shifting blankets.

"What is zis? Do you need to put on clothes just so you can take them off during zee practice?"

Hermione huffed as she brushed off Fleur's fingers and slipped off the opposite side of the bed. The full frontal flash of flesh generated an "Ooh, la, la!" before the Muggleborn could slip on her bathrobe.

"As if you sleep wearing anything more than a smile," Hermione pouted, as she walked towards the door, wand in hand. "I'll be back in a minute," she added, before casting an unlocking charm, and slipping out into the hall.

As Fleur sat on her roommate's bed, waiting for to return from the loo, she spotted something metallic out of the corner of her eye. She looked down, and gasped when she discovered a single golden link of chain peeking out from underneath Hermione's bedcovers. The gasp turned into a giggle of delight when she reached down and began to pull more and more links into view. When a silk-lined metal collar appeared at the end of this chain, Fleur hissed, "Oh, ma sexy, kinky loutre!"

The bedroom door opened, then closed very quickly behind a very embarrassed witch.

"Put that away before someone else sees it!" Hermione hissed.

Fleur smiled as she started to swing the collar and chain in a circle. "You know, I must have a serious discussion wiz you about zis!"

Hermione reached out and grabbed the collar.

"Oh, please, Fleur."

"I am serious, 'ermione…eet ees dangerous to add a bondage toy such as zis to your sex life wizout someone being there for your safety!"

Hermione's jaw dropped in disbelief. "It's not a sex toy…it's part of a costume!"

"C'est vraiment?" asked Fleur. "You are making ze tricks and treets een July?"

"No, I was trying on one of the mail-order costumes that Harry picked out for me," Hermione whined, as she pulled her duvet off of her bed and revealed the other items that she had hidden down underneath the covers. "See? Slave-girl Leia costume, complete with metal bra and bottoms."

"Ah, La Guerre des Étoiles!" Fleur squealed. "You must show me!"

"No, I must put this away and get to my spell work," Hermione countered. "You do have to work at the bank today, right?"

"Yes, yes…but you must first tell me…why do you hide these things zere?"

"Well, I certainly wasn't going to wear that outfit while I slept," said Hermione.

"But you are usually so tidy, no?"

"Yes, well…I would have hidden them in the buttons that Bill gave me, but…I couldn't really store the costume in with the clean clothes, and I frankly didn't know if the costume was button washable."

"Button washa…Ah! I understand!" said Fleur. "But if you were just trying it on for size, why would you need for it to be cleaned?"

Hermione rolled her eyes.

"So I was wearing it while Harry was broadcasting last night…okay?"

Fleur giggled.

"The button is safe for drying the knickers that you get wet, ma petite loutre."

"Ha, ha…very funny."

"Oui…ha, ha, ha, ha…I practice the 'h' sound, no?"

"No," said Hermione. "You tell me if I can safely clean this outfit in the button washer."

"It is safe."

"Thank you," Hermione said, as she gathered all of the pieces of the costume and set them next to her robes.

"We will start with the paintball game, then?" Fleur asked.

Hermione worried her lower lip with her teeth as she dumped the pieces of her slave-Leia outfit into the enlarged button washer.

"It's the twenty-third, isn't it?" she asked. "I can start using second-year spells."

"Alors, what fun can we now have?"

Hermione closed and shrunk down the charmed button, then walked over to her desk.

"Most of this is from the Standard Book of Spells," she muttered, running a finger down a hand written list. "I can make invisible ink become visible, and do the feather-light and hair-thickening charms…"

"Oh, that is a good one…instead of changing the color of our little cats, we can make their fur grow thicker!"

"And you're calling me a kinky little otter?" Hermione asked with disbelief. "So how do you propose we sex up the Expelliarmus spell?"

"Eet is easy…you lose your wand, you lose an item of clothing! Although…it ees no longer as much fun now that you not embarrassed to be in your own skin…"

"Should I be apologetic?" Hermione asked, as she untied her bath robe and let it fall off her shoulders. Now naked, she touched her wand tip to her other charmed button and enlarged it.

"We should have enough time for a three-item game, don't you think?" she asked. "Let's see…looks like the reverse-cowgirl costume will work."

Fleur snorted when her roommate pulled a wide-brimmed felt cowboy hat out of her charmed storage button and set on her head.

"Perhaps that outfit is better saved for when you can make the bareback ride with your boyfriend, no?" she asked.

"Oh, please," Hermione sighed, slipping her feet into a pair of snakeskin cowboy boots. She then pulled out a large red bandana, stretched it out against her chest, then frowned.

"This was supposed to be adjustable," the Muggleborn muttered, as she checked the sales tag that was attached to one end.

"I think I know how that works, ma Chérie," Fleur offered. "It ees charmed to follow your intent."

"How?" Hermione asked, offering the cotton square to her roommate.

Fleur took hold of opposite corners of the bandana, and let the other ends drop to form a triangle. She then pressed the bandana against Hermione's belly, and wrapped her hands around the Muggleborn's waist. The third corner of the bandana draped just low enough to cover Hermione's fanny.

"Press your wand against the fabric, and imagine as if it was a pair of knickers," Fleur instructed.

When Hermione followed these orders, the two held corners of the bandana stretched and knotted together over the small of her back. The other corners stretched downwards, dove in between Hermione's legs and snaked their way up between her cheeks. They twisted along the way, forming a thin strand that wrapped around the makeshift waistband to form a snugly fitting thong.

The fit was tight enough to cause Hermione to squirm, and bounce from one foot to the other. She reached down and grabbed the fabric before it could form a camel toe.

"Okay, so…is that the only option?"

Fleur shook her head and said the incantation that unknotted the fabric and returned the bandana to its original shape. She grabbed the cloth away from Hermione's hips, then folded it over a few times to form a three-inch wide strip of fabric. The French witch pressed the thin strip of fabric across Hermione's chest and said, "Imagine a top." When the Muggleborn witch did this, the two ends of the folded bandana stretched behind her back and formed another knot.

Hermione looked down at the ersatz tube top and frowned…the strip of fabric covered her breasts well enough for her to wear it as a top out in public (at least in the Muggle world).

Shaking her head in disappointment, Hermione twisted the bandana around so that she could easily reach and untie the knot.

"It's not going to choke me if all I want is a neck kerchief, is it?" she asked.

"Not unless you wish it to do so," Fleur smirked.

Hermione said, "Good," then loosely tied the triangular-shaped red-checked bandana around her neck (leaving her bits and everything else between hat and boots exposed).

"There's my three pieces," the bushy-haired witch told her roommate. She placed her hands on her hips and asked, "So are you going to gawk or get dressed?"

"I 'ave created une petite monster," Fleur muttered in wonder, as she walked over to her chest of drawers and pulled out a pair of knickers and a chemise to wear under her night robe.

She would have upped the "petite" adjective a few notches in size if she had recognized the classic Tom Jones song that Hermione had begun to sing as she did some pre-duel arm and leg stretches.

"Baby, take off your coat…real slow. Baby take off your shoes…I'll help you take off your shoes..."


Hermione smiled as she stood post-workout in front of the full-length mirror. She dragged a finger along the top edge of her new, black demi-cup bra, then turned around and looked back over her shoulder.

"Okay, these will do," she stated, as she checked how much bum was exposed by the high-cut lace knickers.

Fleur glanced over from her opened chest of drawers and snorted.

"They will do what, ma Chérie…drive your boyfriend insane with lust?"

"Who says that he'll get a chance to see them?"

The French witch smiled as she pulled the same-style undergarments out from her drawers and slipped them on.

"But he has not yet answered your question, no?"

"Which question?"

Fleur giggled as she walked over to the mirror and stood shoulder to shoulder with her roommate.

"Whezher 'e zinks zat your teets are too beeg," she said, exaggerating her accent.

A rueful grin grew on Hermione's lips as she compared demi-cup sizes.

"Certainly not by any comparison with yours."

Fleur expressed her disappointment with this lack of self-esteem with a playful swat on her roommate's bum.

"I think that I will remove the modesty spell from the front of your robes," she decided. "It will be proof that your boyfriend's shorts are too small for his snake."

Hermione's eyes darted towards her reflected image.

"Don't you dare!" she whispered, covering her breasts with her hands. "I'm worried enough as it is about Molly catching me wearing these underneath my robes."

Fleur shook her head as she pushed Hermione's hands free.

"No, you must be brave, ma Chérie! We must take our little victories over le tyrannie of Molly where we can! Aux barricades!"

Her Muggleborn roommate couldn't help but grin at the call to battle. She clicked her bare heels together, thrust out her chest, and pressed her hand across her forehead in salute.

"Oui, ma generale!"

A satisfied smile grew on Fleur's face. She returned the salute and then ordered, "Marchons!"

It took only a few moments for the two witches to throw their robes over their undergarments and tidy up the bedroom. It took quite a bit longer for anyone to figure out why Fleur and Hermione were whistling La Marseillaise as they marched into the kitchen for breakfast.


"Good morning, everyone," Fleur said brightly. She leaned over her fiance's shoulder and gave him a quick kiss on his cheek.

"Morning, Luv," Bill replied with a smile. "Ready to head back to work today?"

"Yes, I can't wait."

Molly shot a look of disapproval towards the engaged couple as she levitated a platter of scrambled eggs onto the kitchen table.

"Yet you waited until the last moment to show up for breakfast?" she asked.

Hermione shook her head. "Oh, sorry, Mrs. Weasley…that's my fault. Fleur was giving me some helpful hints on how to freshen up my wardrobe."

"Now there's a lost cause," Ginny muttered to herself.

"What's that, Gin-Gin?" asked Bill.


Hermione was too focused on Harry's reaction to catch this exchange.

"Well, I think you look very nice this morning," he offered.

"Thank you, Harry."

"I'm sure that my Ronald will think so too," said Molly.

Fleur smiled. "So where is your Ronald? I thought that breakfast was his favorite meal of the day?"

"Which meal isn't his favorite?" Ginny muttered.

The truth behind this catty remark kept the red-haired witch from being admonished.

"I'm allowing him to sleep in this morning," Molly announced. "No need to crowd the kitchen table all at once."

Hermione assumed that the Weasley matriarch was more interested in keeping her youngest son from embarrassing himself again with Fleur at the table, but kept that thought to herself. Ginny was thinking the same thing, and would have certainly said as much out loud had Harry's familiar not chosen that moment to swoop in through the window.

"Hey, Hedwig…back so soon?" the teen-aged wizard asked, as his familiar landed on his shoulder.


Harry laughed, choosing not to translate this response as the snowy owl held her leg out towards Molly. She quickly untied the attached letter.

"Well, we're set then," she stated, slipping the short note into her apron pocket.

"Set for what, Mum?" Bill asked.

Molly glanced at the Weasley family clock that was propped up near the stove and replied, "We'll talk about it at dinner."

Everyone was frustrated to varying degrees by Molly's lack of specificity. Nobody was all that surprised, though.

Hermione watched with a bit of envy and wishful thinking as Harry pulled a rasher of bacon off of his breakfast plate and lovingly hand-fed his familiar. There had been Ancient Rome-inspired costumes in their mail-order deliveries, and she began to daydream about being stretched out on a couch…wearing nothing but a loose-fitting toga, as Harry dangled a bunch of grapes over her opened mouth.

"Do you want some bacon too, Hermione?" Harry asked playfully.

The Muggleborn blushed as the question brought her out of her daydream. She had forgotten that Hedwig was there, and broadcasting her emotional state to her boyfriend.

" thanks."

"But he does have another shoulder to perch on," Bill teased.

"I'll keep that in mind," Hermione tersely replied. Thinking that she really needed to get on some even footing, she then asked, "So where's Crookshanks this morning?"

Harry frowned a little and tilted his head.

"Erm…isn't he your familiar?"

"Yes, but he's also your roommate."

Harry shrugged. "Not last night he wasn't."

Hermione's eyes widened.

"You mean…he wasn't in your room last night?"

Harry shook his head. "Nope. Last I saw him was last night in the orchard…looked like he was heading towards the farm next-door...maybe he spent the night there?"

"You're kidding me?"

"Erm…sorry. What makes you think that he was in my room last night?"

"Oh, my," said Fleur, as she did a poor job of hiding a smirk. She then leaned towards her roommate and whispered something in French that deepened the reddish blush on her cheeks. Hermione was just about to do a "Ron" and bolt from the kitchen table in embarrassment when she picked up a new emotional broadcast from Hedwig…. poorly-restrained and poorly-concealed amusement.

Hermione's eyes darted towards Harry's.

"You were having me on, weren't you?" she hissed.

Harry held her gaze for a few moments, then broke down and released a belly laugh so intense that Hedwig had to dig her talons into his shoulder just to keep her perch. He laughed even harder when Hermione's familiar displayed a sense of comic timing and chose that moment to show up in the kitchen and curl around her legs.

Fleur caught the giggles as she figured out the prank, with Bill getting the joke a few more seconds after that. When Molly asked what was so funny, the engaged couple decided that it was the perfect time to head out to work.

Hermione glared at her retreating roommate's back and muttered, "Marchons, mon cul!"

Arthur cast a Tempus spell and decided that it was time for him to head off to the Ministry as well. The kiss that he placed on his wife's cheek distracted her away from insisting that someone else explain the joke. With Fleur leaving, Molly ordered Ginny to gather eggs and clean out the chicken coop, then ran upstairs to roust her youngest son from bed. Before disappearing up the stairwell, she informed Hermione that Ron and she would be paired up on potions duty that morning.

This left Harry and Hermione unchaperoned for a few moments. It would have been a perfect time for a surreptitious snog, had it not come so quick on the heels of Harry's perfectly-executed prank.

"I can't believe that you pretended that I was being turned on by Crooks' tomcatting last night!" she said in a sharp whisper.

"Oh, Hermione…if I wasn't laughing about the situation, I'd be crying," he replied. "How am I supposed to deal with knowing that my girlfriend knows every time I decide that I need to rub one off?"

"But I'm in the same boat!" his girlfriend pointed out.

"You weren't last night, Sweetheart," Harry whispered.

Hermione huffed. "You make it sound like you were the victim…I was the one that was kept up all night by your pervy broadcasts."

"Sorry about that," Harry said, using a more serious tone of voice. "Just couldn't help it though…knowing that you got your outfits last night and imagining how fantastic you looked while you tried each of them on…"

"Harry…you're such a….lad!"

"Can't help it if I've got the sexiest witch of her generation as a girlfriend."

"Oh, stop it."

"So which ones did you try on last night, then?" Harry asked.

Hermione pursed her lips.

"Don't see why you need to know…given how effective your vivid imagination was working."


"No…I'm rather cross with you at the moment," Hermione stated with mock-primness. She glanced towards the stairs. Not hearing any one, she quickly expanded the storage button on her robe and pulled out the book that Bill had given her the night before.

"I barely managed to read the first ten pages," she complained.

"So why are you…?"

Hermione pushed the book across the table. "Well, I'm not going to be able to get any farther this morning if I'm brewing with Ron."

Harry nodded as he slipped the leather-bound book into his own secret button compartment.

"Well, then…let me make it up to you," he offered. "Tonight we'll have Hedwig perch on your bed stand, and you can interrupt my reading all you want by broadcasting your pervy emotions."

Hermione rolled her eyes. "Lad, lad…pervy, unrepentant lad…" She paused as a weak smile formed on her lips. "I suppose that it's a good thing, actually."

"What's that?"

"You acting like a normal teen-aged male."

Harry gave his girlfriend a puppy-eyed look and asked, "So I'm forgiven, then?"

His Muggleborn girlfriend let out a dramatic sigh and said, "Oh, I suppose so."

Molly and her rumpled-looking youngest son emerged from the stairwell before Harry could thank Hermione for her forgiveness, or ask what she was wearing underneath her robes.


It was a lovely sunny morning, which only reinforced Ron and Ginny's shared belief that their mother had mastered weather modification magic…with Fleur spending the entire day at Gringotts, there could be no Côte-d'Weasley. Molly told Harry and Ginny to grab their school books and go out into the backyard for revisions while Hermione and Ron were brewing. That they could have just have easily done their summer homework at the kitchen table under Molly's direct supervision was lost on nobody but Ron.

Harry and Ginny headed out to the orchard and picked proximal trees to sit next to. When he opened his rucksack and actually pulled out a textbook, she huffed with disappointment. But instead of opening one of her own school texts, Ginny pulled her smuggled Pygmy Puffs out of her rucksack and began to play with them. Harry was encouraged by how quick the red-haired witch had given up on interacting with him, and took the opportunity to both swap his transfiguration textbook out for the book that Hermione had passed on to him, and to pull out the pictures that Bill had given him the day before…pictures that he'd been far too preoccupied to examine while in bed.

The book was large enough to shield the stack of magical photographs from Ginny's view. The images were pretty much what Harry expected from a Scottish cottages, a coffee plantation, and an island retreat.

The Canadian "castle" looked more like an easily-defended keep…a relatively small and squarish stone-walled structure with turrets, ramparts and an active moat. It sat on the highest part of the island, with the ramparts offering commanding 360 degree views of the river, both shorelines, and a handful of adjacent islands. In one of the more interesting river views, a Muggle motor boat dragged a water skier from one side of the image to the other. Harry hadn't considered the possibility that magical cameras worked even when there were Muggles within the field of focus. He shoved some related questions far down on the list of things to ask Bill about, along side of his realization that his future liegeman had taken multiple pictures of the master bedrooms and en suite lavatories on each property.

A breath caught in Harry's throat when he flipped through to the last picture in the stack. It was dog-eared and faded…obviously older than the others. But it was the photograph's subject that was so arresting to the teen-aged wizard. A young boy with messy black hair had his arm wrapped around the shoulder of a house elf of equal height. They were on a sandy beach, and there were large grins on both of their faces as they stood proudly behind a fabulously-detailed sand castle. As the picture animated, the boy pointed towards a scale model catapult that sat on the sand castle's walls, and squealed in delight as the enchanted toy launched a round of gravel-sized ordinance into the river.

Harry watched the scene repeat a few times, before he turning the photograph over in search of a description. The hand-written note brought tears to his eyes.

"James (6) and Welly, Hidden Island"

This reaction did not go unnoticed.

"What's got you upset, Harry?"

The teen-aged wizard looked up towards Ginny and shook his head.

He could have said, "My lost childhood," or "My lost parents," or "My lost family history." And while each of these would have been the truth, they wouldn't have served a useful purpose.

So he lied.

"It's just a description of transfiguration spells that turn battlefield debris into hard shields," Harry told Ginny. "They would have been dead useful at the Ministry the night that…"

He closed the book, capturing the pictures in between the pages, and slipped it into his rucksack.

Thinking that she understood the tears, Ginny propped each of her pets on a shoulder, then held out her arms.

"Come here, you," she encouraged.

Harry couldn't decide whether the red-haired witch was actually trying to help, or was trying to take advantage of the perceived situation. Regardless of motive, he had no interest in the offered remedy.

"Thanks, Gin," he replied. "But if it's just the same I'd rather be alone right now."

The youngest Weasley considered this response, then shrugged.

"Well, we'll be right here for you if you change your mind," she stated, quickly shifting her attention back towards the shoulder-mounted bits of fluff.

"Erm…thanks, I'll keep that in mind," Harry replied, as he stood, shouldered his rucksack, and brushed off the back of his robes.

"Don't wander off too far," Ginny said, using a Molly-ish tone of voice.

Harry shook his head.

"I won't," he promised. "I'll probably end up by the pond, in case your Mum comes looking for me."


As Harry headed down the path that led to the green slime-covered over-sized puddle, he tried to decide whom Ginny had more effectively channeled just then…Ron and his teaspoon-sized empathy, or Molly and her lorry-sized bossiness.


Rather than dwell on the photographs, Harry spent the balance of the morning with his back against the tree that Hermione had hidden behind on the day of the beach, reading a book with the slyly-subversive title " Beings and Beings."

The chapter devoted to house elves was enlightening. The chapters that accurately described Gringotts, the Goblins, and Goblin society, however, were damn-near explosive.

If what the book said was true, then Bill's employers were deviously cunning, terrifically powerful, and seriously underestimated by the wizarding world. It raised all sorts of questions about motivations, intentions, and the freely-offered assistance that could no longer be blindly accepted at face value. Bill had provided all kinds of help with the help of the Goblins, and there was far more help coming once he reached the age of sixteen. But was Harry just trading one set of puppeteers for another as he sought to cut Dumbledore's strings?

Ginny shouted out a lunchtime summons before Harry's blood pressure could jump to levels of concern. But he decided that this was a good thing. There was no need for worrisome speculation and jumped-to conclusions…at least not until after Hermione had been given the opportunity to read the same chapters and both of them had the chance to talk with Bill.

Worrying that there'd be little opportunity to pass the book back to his girlfriend under Molly's watchful eye, Harry hid the book under a small pile of gathered sticks and leaves. He then joined Ginny for the short walk back to the Burrow, where Harry ran face-first into a wall of barely-constrained fury. It took a few tense moments for the teen-ager to make sense of the situation.

That Hermione was angry with Ron was easy enough to see…Harry had witnessed dozens of similar instances over the years. The anger had never been so palpable, though…it was as if you could slice it with a knife. But then Harry spotted Crookshanks standing protectively at the feet of his mistress, and he understood…Hermione's familiar was broadcasting her emotions, and Harry's tuner was providing clear channel reception. Now this fact alone was worth a few hours of consideration, but the messy-haired wizard was far more interested in the cause of all this anger.

The confrontation was sussed out using nothing more than the cryptic lunchtime conversations completed within Molly's earshot. Not soon after Harry and Ginny had gone outside, Ron had begun to blather to Hermione about how relieved he was not to have Fleur around, and how glad he was that he could relax, knowing that he wouldn't have to worry about getting over-excited so long as he was only standing next to Hermione. It was right up there with Ron's sudden realization that she was a girl, back in their Fourth Year when he was desperately seeking a date for the Yule Ball.

What was left unsaid at the table soothed Hermione's hurt feelings far more than what Harry allowed himself to say. As they engaged in idle chit-chat, he tried to bathe his girlfriend with broadcast waves of righteous anger, empathetic concern, and reassuring support. And when Hermione coyly made a seemingly meaningless comment about sitting on Jabba's lap, Harry topped off his broadcast with a blast of unrestrained lust that severely tested the ability of Fleur's Praetego spell to keep Hermione's suddenly perky points under wraps.

Molly announced early on during the noontime meal that it would be Harry's and Ginny's turn to brew that afternoon. Worried that he wouldn't be able to pull Hermione aside for a private chat, the black-haired teen tried to steer his secret girlfriend towards the location of the hidden book with a combination of obscure comments and a broadcast of emotions. He found ways to work the words "book," "beach," "hidden," and "tree" into the lunchtime conversation, and each time one of those words was spoken out loud Harry briefly imagined what Hermione might look like in her Slave-Leia outfit. When she figured out that these sharp bursts of lust were keyed to specific words, she tried to confirm this conclusion by imagining Harry wearing nothing more than a blaster pistol holstered on his bare thigh whenever the words "Bill," "chapter," and "house elf," were used in a sentence.

They knew they were onto something when Harry tagged the word "Yes" with a mental image of his girlfriend rubbing one off in the sitting room, and when Hermione replied by linking the phase "I understand" to her sunglass-aided memory of Harry's bare bum.

And then they traded winks and laughed loudly at the first thing that was even remotely funny, having totally forgotten about Ron's stupidity and Molly's overbearing presence (at least until the next time that they each reared their ugly head).


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Author Notes:

loutre = otter ("ma loutre" is apparently a real term of endearment in French)
Marchon! = March on! (a key encouragement within the French national anthem)
Marchon, mon cul! = (March on, my ass!)

Sorry if I butchered the translations.  When I visited Paris, I tried to apologize to the locals by explaining that it really wasn't my fault that my French was so bad, because my college French teacher was Belgian.  I thought that they would laugh at the self-deprecating humor, but more often than not they expressed their sympathies.

The Tom Jones song is "You can leave your hat on," and is better known in the States as a Joe Cocker song that was used to great effect in the film "9 1/2 weeks".