Rating: PG13 - NC17
Summary: Ten years have passed and Harry, Ron, Hermione and Ginny have done nothing but perfect their skills in preparation for their final battle with Voldemort. None of them expected they would run into Snape, let alone did they foresee the price he would demand for his teachings. Well, nobody except maybe Ginny.
Warnings: Blood. Male/Male sexual situations. Language. Rimming. Violence.
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction based in the world created by J.K.Rowling. They aren't mine and I make no money from them. No toes were intentionally stepped on.
Author's notes: Yet another vampire!bonding!fic that every vampire fanatic must write. What can I say, I love vampire fics. Written prior to Deathly Hallows during NaNoWriMo 2006. Spoilers for all books prior but no intended references to the final book. Thanks so much to asrai99 who has reviewed my story! You are amazing. All mistakes are mine and by all means, let me know if you find any.
Word count: Approximately 5,400 of a total of 54,000
Young Immortals - All Chapters
"You did what?" Harry asked.
"I requested training from Professor Snape and he agreed. So tomorrow evening we should talk to him about our experiences and see where he can fill in our gaps of know-how." They were all gathered in the library and Ginny was sitting in a large burgundy colored leather chair as if leading court. Resting on her lap was a huge tome; its flaking cover lending the impression that it had seen several centuries in this library.
Ron loomed over her, fists pressed to his sides. "You went to talk to a vampire alone?" he asked, his ears as red as cinnamon wheezy-pops as he scolded his younger sister. "What were you thinking? He could have attacked you. Merlin knows he doesn't look like he's fed in ages."
"Oh, and I agreed we would provide food for him," she said offhandedly, a slight flip to her hand as she turned a brittle page.
Even Hermione sputtered her coffee when she heard this. "What are you suggesting, Ginny, that we find him willing victims or that we be his willing victims? Or are you even thinking that willing be a prerequisite?" she asked in accusation, her romance novel momentarily forgotten in her lap.
"Oh calm down, everything will be alright. You know," Ginny began, looking each of them in the eyes, "that he hasn't fed in years. He's been starving himself… so it isn't like he goes out and mutilates the populace on a nightly basis or anything. We can trust him—as far as we could ever have trusted him."
"What does that mean?" Harry asked. He found himself confused and couldn't quite mesh the idea of a vampire Severus starving himself for years then just suddenly willing to teach them for blood.
"Well, we always could trust him, even if we didn't believe it as students."
"Yeah, I know. What's your point?"
"Just because he's a vampire doesn't mean that he's any different than when he was our professor."
Harry pondered that but knew it wasn't true. Snape was different. The Snape he remembered would never be found sequestered away from the action, would never starve himself to death, and never, ever would he cry or show an emotion other than hatred and disdain to anyone other than a Slytherin. Was it the fact that he was a vampire that changed him or was it something more fundamental that made Snape seem more human?
The house, or ghost, or whatever she was, had showed them to their own rooms on the second floor. The room Harry was given was so grand and spacious, with plush carpeting and huge four poster bed, that he was certain the Dursleys' entire house could have fit into it. From pauper to the Heir of Gryffindor and Master of Baden Manor… not to mention the plethora of other titles he had sported through the years: Harry had come a long way.
It wasn't the titles or roles that he was proud of. Harry was experienced and knowledgeable. He was an expert in his field, a true Dark Arts hunter, an Auror in his own right. He recognized a threat and knew, by instinct, how to deal with it and come out on top. He could battle his enemies alone or organize strategies for a greater number. He spoke different languages. Personal pride swelled when he thought about how far he had come from Dudley's punching bag to where he was standing now.
Then he realized he was about to walk into a room with Severus Snape and be taught magics he still didn't know, even after ten years of ceaseless study. What if Snape did have new things to teach them? For the first time in years Harry felt excited about something other than hints and shadows of Voldemort.
They'd been at the Manor for a day now, having arrived in late afternoon and spent the good part of the previous evening and night in conference in the library. Now in the wee hours of the morning he lay in the huge bed which smelled freshly laundered, and melted into the sheets. For the longest time they'd only slept on the floor or some crappy mattresses that unraveled the alignment of his spine; his body forgot what it felt like to be pampered. Soon, he fell asleep.
Each of the quartet slept in late and by ten o’clock they had awoken and gathered in the arboretum for tea and croissants.
"Where does all this food come from?" Harry asked, munching on a chocolate filled croissant. The fluffy filling literally melted on his tongue.
"Josephine makes it," Hermione told him. "She's cleaned the house for us, warms our water for tea and baths, creates tasty yet nutritious meals and dotes on your every wish," Hermione finished by popping a grape into her mouth. "I've never heard of a house-spirit or anything like what Josephine is, though. Ron, Ginny, you know anything about this?"
"Yeah, you hear about it," Ron said after he swallowed his mouthful. "Really old families can have some items imbued with a slave sentience. Sometimes the thing, be it a house or a sword or even a comb, can go insane after too many years of disuse. It isn't a type of magic that's really used anymore and so these items can be really valuable. Far better than an invisibility cloak, don't you think?" He bit into another pastry, a huge smile threatening to overtake his entire face.
Personally, Harry thought it was pretty spectacular, but honestly didn't feel comfortable with the idea of having a 'slave sentience' bound to his beck and will. It reminded him too much of the house-elves and Harry was surprised Hermione wasn't more up in arms over the whole revelation. But the real shock was to learn that he was of Godric Gryffindor's bloodline. Why hadn't he been told? Had anybody known?
"So, I'm off to check this place out. Who wants to join me?" Ron asked enthusiastically after gulping down the last of his tea.
They all jumped to their feet to join him and began to wander through the manor. They passed through long hallways lined with wizarding portraits of people none of them knew or recognized, where statues and suits of armor stood guard at doorways.
"Do you think they're your relatives, Harry?" Ginny asked, staring at one very scruffy looking woman with a high collared dress and unruly black hair. She was pointedly ignoring them. Harry shrugged. He simply didn't know.
They found themselves in a large ballroom with hanging crystal chandeliers and inlaid wood floors. Intricate geometric designs decorated the edges of the floor laid out in dark and light woods. Patterned mosaics covered the far wall, holding a scene of some floating city, crafting the illusion that the viewer stood in that aquatic realm as dolphins and merpeople leapt from the water.
The kitchen was large enough to rival that at Hogwarts and the basement held an up-to-date laboratory as well as some other rooms that looked a little too similar to prison cells for their comfort.
"At least there aren't any torture devices hidden down here," Hermione told Harry when he looked dumbfounded at the iron gated rooms.
All of the rooms were tastefully furnished, if outdated, and everything was clean and fresh as if a militia of house staff worked night and day to keep it presentable. But really, it was just one person… or being… or … well the house kept itself presentable and that was too amazing to think about, especially for a Muggle-raised wizard.
However, the real moment of awe came when the four left the spacious house for the back gardens that held memories of death and decay, like a pestilence lingered on the valley. But as they passed through the double glass doors that led onto the back veranda, none of them could equate the once barren landscape with the verdant gardens before them.
Everything was green. Everything bloomed, no matter its season. The lilacs were blooming with the goldenrod and the aconite beautifully accented some crimson spring bulbs. The trees had all leafed out, the lawn was lush and deep green and birds sang a melody of joy and hope. He heard robins and blackbirds, tits and doves, all songs weaving together into a melody that erased his anxiety and brought a smile to his amazed face.
This had to be the fabled Shangri-La.
"Do you like it," came the eerily hollow voice. "I hope you like it."
Josephine stood at the door watching the four walk along the porch and sniff the honeysuckle and wisteria growing up the latticed sides of the veranda.
"I love it, Josephine. It is so beautiful," Harry said with a smile.
The opaque woman turned pink with a blush. "I am so happy you like it. Is there anything else I can do for you, Harry? Did you enjoy breakfast?"
Harry went to her and gripped her hands. "The food was wonderful, our rooms were wonderful, you are doing wonderfully. Thank you."
Josephine began to slowly lose her form, puddling to the floor, her hands slipping from Harry's grip. "Josephine, are you okay? What's wrong?" he cried.
But a closer examination of her showed she was smiling. "Nothing is wrong, sir. I am just so happy you are here." And she slowly dissipated like a morning cloud in the sun.
"She's… unique," Ron said delicately. "But, this place is bloody great; even with Snape skulking about. I think we should make it our headquarters. Relax here a bit between training and such."
"I've been thinking," Hermione began tentatively. "Do you think we need more training? I mean, we've been at this for a decade and Snape's going to show us what he knows, so do you think we really need to keep at this? There are enough people out there looking for Voldemort, do you think us running around the world is really increasing our coverage that much?"
Ginny grinned at Hermione and threw her arms around her neck in a hug. "I've been hoping someone would realize that!" she said, and then gave her a wet kiss on her cheek.
Ron and Harry looked at each other. Ron took in a deep breath. "I'm ready for a break, mate," he said. "We all are."
Harry nodded at him, at all of them, but didn’t say anything. If he wasn't training and searching the world for Voldemort, what would he do?
Finally, after a few moments of silence, Harry said, "Let's see what else this house has in it." He walked back into the house and was soon followed by the other three, sharing secret concerns with swift glances.
Evening arrived finding the quartet hovering outside of the drawing room doors. Harry's avoidance of their retirement conversation birthed tension between them for the rest of the day. Ron, Hermione and Ginny had continued to follow Harry--who had sunk into a mope--on the manor tour for another half-hour before they had begged out of the excursion for more relaxing pursuits, like reading and a game of chess. Alone, Harry continued wandering the halls, eventually accompanied by Josephine and her excited accounts of her history.
Baden Manor had stood in the valley for over 1,000 years, being constantly updated and added upon for the first 600 of those. Following those first years of prosperity, the house had been left dormant during the latter half, with but a few people, none of them of the bloodline, residing here out of necessity. Josephine hadn't liked them much.
Unfortunately--as the history was interesting because it was his history--it hadn't taken long for Josephine's fawning to grate on Harry's already tattered nerves and he'd taken his leave of her before the desire to snap had grown too strong. His return to the library found his friends enjoying the evening in a lazy sod-like fashion and eventually he joined Ginny in a riveting game of chess, in which she sorely trounced him.
"Right, then," he said as he tipped over his king. "You're not using your seer ability are you?" he half accused her.
"I don't need any divination to beat you at this game, Harry. Ron on the other hand…"
"Hey!" Ron yelled from the far side of the room where he was performing one-armed push-ups. His arm muscles bulged at each flex and Harry closed his eyes and looked away. "Is that how you won that one time?" He laughed and they all joined in.
And before they knew it, the sun had set and evening had arrived. And it was time to face the monster on the ground floor.
Gathered together before the drawing room, Harry reached out and knocked on the door, a polite knock he hoped, and waited. And waited.
"Should I knock again, or just go in?" he asked his friends.
"Knock one more time and then go in," Hermione suggested.
So he did, and with still no answer he opened the door.
The chair was pulled close to the fire and in it sat the old man they once knew as a most formidable wizard. He sat motionless, no movement suggesting he'd heard their knocks or noticed their presence.
"Professor?" Harry said.
With still no reply, Harry walked over to the fire and looked down at Snape, afraid he might have actually died, though theoretically speaking, he was undead already. Snape's eyes were open, glazed but staring into the blazing fire. Harry could see no signs of life. His eyes gazed unblinkingly and no rise or fall of his chest gave any indication of breath or pulse. Harry reached out to touch the man's shoulder.
"So, you wish to trade blood for training, Mr. Potter. You would prostitute yourself to a vampire, your most hated Professor, the murderer of your mentor?"
Harry snatched his hand away, as if Snape had shifted into a deadly viper. Even as the pale lips spoke those cold words, Snape made no other movement. He looked like an animated mannequin, not quite real, just an empty puppet.
"Do you even have anything to offer us?" Harry asked with scorn.
"You might never know." Snape almost sounded amused, his attitude irking Harry even more than their non-greeting. Then those black eyes finally shifted and looked up at Harry, who saw something in them that ran his blood cold.
Harry looked over at Ginny, but her face was blank, offering no guidance on the intelligence of his actions. But she had brought them to this ancient house where Snape resided, suggested he might somehow be involved in their search for Voldemort. He also knew that Snape had been close to Voldemort, that Snape had made the Dark Arts his life from early adolescence and that he most certainly had something to offer them.
"Fine. Blood for training." Merlin. What had he just agreed to? "Though, if you lose control and attempt to either kill or turn me, I just want to remind you that you have three highly trained wizards watching you." Hermione offered him a weak smile and Ron nodded sternly, brow furrowed in concentration. Ginny's expression remained shuttered, though she did make a small show of brandishing her wand.
Snape rose from his chair, slowly and with deliberation. A dry, malicious chuckle scraped across the man's throat and Harry took an involuntary step back. "I shall enjoy your blood, Mr. Potter, Heir of Gryffindor."
The vampire took a step towards Harry, who withdrew yet another, his soft shoe making no noise against the floor. His hands shook and he wasn't sure why… it had to be that look Snape gave him. Malicious. Years of battling dangerous creatures and evil men and it was Snape who'd always terrified him. A demon from his past.
Another retreating step and Harry felt the mantle piece bump his back, his escape blocked off. But why was he trying to escape? He'd agreed to this! Taking a deep breath, he lifted his chin in defiance and said, "Right, shall we get this over with?"
Then the man smirked and said with a distinctive purr, "I would, Potter, if you'd quit running from me." Snape closed the distance with another stride and stood chest to chest with Harry, completely motionless. The scent of something rotting emanated from the man, but it was subtle. Up this close Harry could see his skin, paper thin like filo dough, and Harry thought that if he lifted a finger to Snape's face, he could peel the flesh away with the gentlest pressure.
Snape leaned forward and sniffed Harry, a long, drawn out gesture that was almost embarrassingly intimate and caused Harry's heart to thump within his chest.
"Hey!" Harry let loose a pathetic squeal as he felt a tongue trace the gentle curve of his neck and trail all the way up to his ear. He wriggled against the mantle. Then velvet lips closed on his earlobe; soft suckling broken only as Snape nipped almost playfully. Harry's body reacted in ways it hadn't bothered to in years and the back of his brain wished he hadn't had the others stay to watch.
"What are you doing?" he asked desperately.
In reply, Snape pushed forward even more, leaning his weight against Harry, trapping him against the mantle. Soft pants of air puffed along Harry's neck as Snape continued to imbibe his scent and then he bit down.
Sharp pain pierced his skin. "Agh!" Harry grabbed onto Snape's biceps, trying to pry the vampire off him, but Snape was stronger than he looked and Harry found himself helpless against the solid form. Warm streams of blood ran in thin rivulets down Harry's neck, only to be lapped up by that eager tongue until Snape's lips latched on, blocking the escape of the precious fluid. Finally, he began sucking, softly yet urgently, and the blood that Snape didn't guzzle down pooled south to Harry's groin. He realized then that he was helpless in an entirely different way.
If Harry had thought the experience would entirely consist of pain, he was deeply mistaken. His knees buckled as his head swam; moans escaped his slack lips as Snape continued to feed. Blackness crept in as the vampire drank, his tongue delving into the puncture wounds, dancing across the broken skin. A soft grunting murmured in Harry's ears as Snape's hands clenched his shoulders tighter, drinking deeply with the pulse of his heart, Harry's consciousness riding the gentle ebb and flow.
Inadvertently, Harry found himself rubbing his groin against Snape's thigh, grasping for friction, any friction, to cool the burning desire stoking within. "Oh God," escaped from his lips as the suction pulled blood and passion from his body. Clinging onto Snape, gasping and rutting and just feeling, Harry experienced lust like he'd never had before. And he struggled fruitlessly against its rule.
Then, for one brief moment, everything went black, his mind turned over and tumbled in the rush of blood and pain and passion.
After indefinite time had passed the sucking slowed, then ceased and Snape casually licked the puncture wounds, practically nuzzling Harry's neck, and finally he pulled back from Harry's limp body. Harry looked up into the man's face, awash with a deep blush. The change in Snape was amazing. Even as Harry watched, the years dripped off of the man like melted paraffin off a wax statue. His hair darkened and thickened, the skin grew firm and less pale, the sharp glint of his obsidian eyes found their sparkle of ten years ago. And that odd smell, the faintly rotten odor, completely vanished and all Harry could smell was blood and want.
"Umm," said Harry, and realizing he was still holding onto Snape, dropped his grip and let his arms dangle to his sides, distinctly conscious of their existence and entirely unsure of what to do with them.
"Well…" The word was breathy and distracted.
Harry tore his eyes away from Snape and looked over at his friends, unsure which of them had spoken. Hermione and Ginny--eyes slightly unfocused and faces heated--each smiled an odd little smile. Ron's entire jaw hung agape. He looked completely flabbergasted.
"Uh…" Harry's range of vocabulary was momentarily dislocated. Snape took a step back from Harry and stared down at the obvious wet spot on the front of his jeans. A very self-satisfied smirk showed exactly what Snape thought of the entire situation. Harry tugged his shirt down as far as he could and wished Voldemort would Apparate in and distract his friends from this highly compromising situation.
Nobody said a thing.
"So, about that training," he blurted, cracking the silence.
"I think I need a cold shower first," said Hermione. "That was so much better than those damned books. Wow."
"Hermione!" Harry said, scandalized.
"What?" she asked. "That was…" she paused to search for her next word, "impressive!" Ginny nodded, eyes still glassy from the performance she'd received.
"Have you no shame, woman?" Ron asked, obviously distressed.
"Not really, Ron. And look who's talking." She laughed and turned to leave the room.
"Where're you going?" Harry whined. He felt markedly abandoned.
"I told you, cold shower. Why don't we all break and meet again in … an hour?"
"An hour?" He tugged at his shirt some more.
"Well, I might not take a cold shower," she said, winking at them as she left the room.
"Yeah, I'll see you later. After that show I think I need a 'cold shower,' too." Ginny waved at them, quickly following after Hermione.
"Am I the only person here who didn't get off on that? Sheesh, people. You're all deranged." Ron left too, leaving Harry alone with Snape.
"Well… I guess I'll just…" he turned to follow the others.
"Sit down, Potter," Snape growled at him. Harry moved to the closest chair and sat. A small bookcase set against the wall kept his rapt attention: Plato, Nietzsche, Ovid. He found the fine details in the carpet fascinating as well, perhaps holding secrets only gods were privy to. His leg bounced in shallow, sharp twitches.
His crotch grew cold and finally, he looked over at Snape.
Those deep coal eyes were glued on him, his expression unreadable.
"You, umm, look better," Harry said.
"You better believe it, dearie," said a voice to the side. Harry jumped and looked around until he realized it was just a magical mirror.
"Thank you," Snape said.
Harry was dumbstruck.
"Well…" he searched for some word that fit this odd situation. He came up with nothing. "You're welcome?"
"I hadn't fed in quite some time, years in fact, until recently."
"Why not?" Harry asked as he crossed his legs, his words soft and slow to ensure he didn't startle Snape into realizing he was actually talking to Harry.
"The reasons are my own and have nothing to do with you. As agreed I will teach you what I know. I have maintained contact with the Order as a Sentinel. However, I have reason to believe some new plot might be developing. Our time may be short."
Damp and uncomfortable, Harry uncrossed his legs, shifting in his chair to pull the fabric away from his skin. He couldn't go running off to 'take a shower' when Voldemort could act at any time. Casually, trying to attract as little attention as he could from the observant man, he cast a subtle cleaning charm and then crossed his legs again. "Well, sir, let's not waste time. Why don't I start by telling you about our last ten years, a condensed version of course, and explain all of the things we've learned."
Snape nodded at Harry. "Very well," he said and Harry told Snape about his life.
The door clicked shut as the sun first touched the velvety, purple sky. They'd talked all through the night, Potter telling him of their trainers, their expeditions and the skills and spells they'd studied over the last decade. It was truly amazing that this young man had mastered so much in the same time that Severus was turned and simply occupied space. He grunted in depreciation.
All four of them, powerful, like young immortals.
Throughout their informative discussion he was distracted by the taste of Potter's blood on his tongue, the beat of it through his veins, and the smell of it and the young man's semen mixing in the air. He couldn't erase the feel of Potter's hardness pressed against his thigh, of the mewling, pleading noises that had come from his lips…
Damn… He'd only wanted to fade into obscurity, but now he found himself tethered into teaching the annoying brat and daydreaming about that athletic body pressed against his own. It was just a side affect of the feeding, Severus knew that, but no one had ever reacted to his bite that way before, even if he only had a few sources to compare it to. That veela woman certainly had shown no such reaction. But having Potter in his arms, so responsive, so alive, his blood on his tongue, so vibrant, surprised him in ways very little had since he'd joined with the Dark Lord.
Severus stood before the mirror, his posture upright, his hair long and thick, his face, while still pale, no longer ghastly white. "Amazing what a little nourishment will do for ya, hun," said the mirror. Severus couldn't agree more.
Once again, the four were taking a late lunch around the dining table. Harry's eyes were red rimmed and they kept drooping as the other three discussed the day's plans.
"Harry, did you and Snape have another go after we left?" Ron asked accusingly.
"What!? Oh God, I'm never going to live this down, am I?" His cheeks burned with heat and he pushed his glasses up his nose. "You go and get bitten by a vampire and see how you react."
"Really? Was it that intense?" Hermione asked, far too interested for Harry's comfort. The leather of the seat creaked as he shifted under her scrutiny.
"Well, yeah. Do you think I would've been like… like that with you watching if it wasn't that intense?" He buried his head in his hands. It seemed like he hadn't even been in control of his own body, all he had been able to do was feel.
"Well then… Do you think you could get old Snapey boy to introduce me to some of his vamp friends of the feminine persuasion?" Ron asked, wagging his eyebrows.
"Ron!" A muffin barely missed his head.
"What?" He laughed and the tension in the room dissipated. "Look Harry, I know you…ah, like men," Ron seemed pained to admit it, "and that you don't get out as often as I do…"
"Nobody else on Earth gets out as often as you do," Ginny pointed out.
"…and that you might be getting a little lonely… but Snape? You got," he made some random gesture towards Harry's crotch, "excited with Snape." Ron pointed out helpfully, as if nobody in the room had noticed. He didn't seem angry or worried, just confused.
"Vampire, remember. I bet if Umbridge was a vampire, you'd have reacted as badly as I did if she'd bitten you!"
"Ugh! Harry." The entire room groaned at that mental image.
"You all deserved that," he said with a chuckle, not at all sympathetic.
"Okay, as interesting as Harry's existent or non-existent sex life is, I think we need to decide what to do about Gabriella. She must be worried about us. I think we should return and let her know we won't be studying under her after all," Ginny said, bringing them all on topic. "And I think we should send a message to the Order to let them know where we are."
"Good idea. So, shall we go now?" The others looked around at each other, none all that driven with urgency. "Harry, why don't you tell Josephine and I'll tell Snape," Hermione said.
"Sure, grab your bags and meet here in a half hour."
"Why do we need our Battle Bags if we're just going to town to tell Gabriella our plans?" Ron asked.
"Ron." The tone of dramatic disappointment reigned. "Ron, Ron, Ron… A good bad-guy-smacker is always prepared," said Ginny with a flip of her hair. "You never know when Voldemort or one of his lackeys or a terrible boggart might show up at your tea party unannounced. Best to have the good china out, just in case." She left the dining room for her bedroom upstairs.
Ron and Harry exchanged glances and grinned.
Harry left to find Josephine. Wandering the halls he couldn't find her anywhere. Finally, as he stood on the back porch taking in the heady scent of the freesia and lilac, he decided just to call for her.
"Josephine? Are you out there?" he called.
"Yes, Master." The ghostly woman appeared before him. Her head was hanging down and she wouldn't meet his eyes; her usual effervescence subdued. "May I serve you?"
"We were just going to leave for the afternoon and we wanted to let you know," he said.
"What? You are leaving me? But you have just arrived and I have waited so, so long for you. Do not abandon me." She dropped down to her knees before him. "Please. I am sorry I exchanged harsh words with your guest, but he does not belong. He is an interloper. He stains me," she pleaded, begged and Harry watched on confused, unsure of exactly what had set her off.
"Josephine, please get up." He reached down for her arms and pulled her up. "What are you talking about?"
"You wish the vampire here," she said, eyes still downcast as she stood before him.
"Well, actually, yes; I do want him here. He is valuable to me; the things he has to teach me I might not be able to learn anywhere else."
"He is the teacher of my Master?" she mused to herself. "Well, I will allow him to stay because you request it, but please sir, remember, he is a wicked, selfish vampire who could kill you."
"Oh, I doubt Professor Snape would kill me…" Make my head explode though, maybe, he thought. "Remember, I'm a fully trained wizard." He dramatically pointed his finger up to the sky, making his point, and offered Josephine a smile. "Anyway, we'll be out for a while, but we should be back by this evening, and if not, the next morning."
"Yes, Master… Harry. I will await your return and have a splendid meal awaiting you."
"Actually, Josephine. Do you think I could cook sometime?" Harry offered her a sheepish grin. "How about you do breakfast and lunch and I get dinner?"
"You want to cook for yourself? If that is what you wish, Harry?" She gave him a very curious, disbelieving look. "But if you ever find you would rather have your meal ready, please do let me know."
Harry gathered his gear and waited for the others in the entry. With bags tossed over their shoulders, sturdy boots strapped on and generally happy faces, the others arrived.
"You look happy," Harry commented.
"We're going into town, how could I not be happy? Think we could spend the night there?" Ron asked.
"Mr. Hormone has gone over thirty-six hours without getting shagged, oh, the world is going to end," Ginny deadpanned. "I don't care; we can stay there if you want. Makes no difference to me."
"See, that is practically a full endorsement from Ginny. Eisenstadt, here we come!" Ron punched the air and walked out the door. The other three exchanged glances and shook their heads, amused.
END BIT 4