"So - looking forward to tomorrow?" Sally asked, walking in to the dorms. It was Christmas Eve, and the day after they had managed to arrange visits from not only Harry's uncle and Sally's mother, but also Hermione's parents. They were just coming for the afternoon, then going back to Paris.
"Would I sound like a two year old boy if I bounced up and down saying 'YESYESYESYESYESSQUEEEE'?"
"Yes" Sally smiled, then added "But you should do it anyway"
"So - what did you get Harry?"
"I asked my mother to buy some chocolate for him. You?"
"A book on recent magical history. He needs to learn less about the Goblin Rebellions, and more about the recent dark wars"
"And about himself?"
"Maybe a little" Hermione replied with a smile.
"What do you think he's got us?"
"I don't know" Hermione frowned "Maybe sweets?" She smiled then continued "Has he seemed a little quiet recently?"
"Not his normal noisy, bouncy self"
"Maybe a little" Sally nodded "But it's Christmas. Maybe he is missing his parents - if he never has a Christmas with his family..."
"Speaking from experience?"
"Maybe a little" Sally smiled softly, then sat down next to her and rested her head on Hermione's shoulder.
"So - do you want to talk about it?"
"Maybe later" She bounced to her feet "Wrapping present time!!"
"MUM!!DAD!!" Hermione bolted down the Grand Staircase, and flew across the entrance hall in to the arms of her parents. Harry and Sally followed her down at a more sedate pace, but Harry speeded up when he saw the figure coming through the doors.
"Uncle Mike!" He ran towards Sirius, then glanced back at Sally.
"She'll be here in around an hour" She replied, then added "If it makes you feel any better..." She looked up, then ran towards the door yelling "ENTRANCE DOORS!!!". Harry and Hermione turned and smiled at her, while Sirius, Claire and Arnold looked at her as if she was crazy "Sorry" She smirked.
"So - how was Paris?" Hermione asked.
"You sure you want to do this?"
"I can't keep lying to them"
"Okay. But this is only about Rupert, right?"
"I suppose you are wondering why I called you all here?" Harry said, then smiled "I ALWAYS wanted to say that!" He looked up at the assembled group, realised they weren't smiling, then continued "There is something I haven't told you" He looked at Hermione "While I was growing up, I attended a muggle school, but because of the number of people who were looking for me, Uncle Mike decided to put me under a glamour, and a new name" He saw Hermione sit up straight as she guessed what he was about to say "I went to St Juliet's, under the name Aaron Brown"
Claire and Arnold gasped in surprise, while Hermione's mouth fell open.
"So - if you want me to stop being friends with you, I will. And Mr and Mrs Granger - if you would prefer me to stay away, I will"
"Is this the Aaron you were telling me about?" Sally asked, and when Hermione nodded, she turned back to Harry "I'm impressed Mr Potter. But why..."
"Why didn't I tell her at once?" Harry asked "It's because..."
"I asked him not to" Sirius said "If people connected Harry to Aaron, and me to Rupert, then they could come after us" He smiled at the Grangers "Harry wanted to tell you as soon as he realised Hermione would be coming here, but I asked him to hold off"
"I understand" Hermione smiled "Harry - Aaron - why did you decide to tell us now?"
"It was Halloween" Harry walked over and knelt down in front of her "I couldn't stand lying to you after you saved my life, so I talked my Uncle in to telling you the truth" He looked over at Sirius "He agreed that anyone who would take on a full grown troll would keep our secrets"
"You know how patronizing that sounds?" She asked with a smile.
"Yes" He smiled back "But it was mostly my uncle, so blame him" He looked at her hopefully, and Hermione laughed. Harry turned to look at her parents "I know you two were not fond of Aaron"
"I think they described him as a 'child of Satan, raised by a demon, created solely to make their lives a living hell by corrupting their virtuous and angelic daughter by turning her in to as much of a hell-spawned monster as himself'" When Hermione realised everyone in the room was staring at her, she looked at her parents "Well - you did" Harry stared at her for a moment, then turned back to Claire and Arnold.
"Anyway - I know you two were not too fond of Aaron, and if you want me to stay away from your daughter, I will"
"Harry - that's sweet, but from what Hermione has said over the last four months, and your friendship with Sally, we both think that you are good for her. And that Aaron is long gone" They both stood up, and walked over to hug him "But remember..."
"If I get your daughter in to any sort of trouble, you will beat me to death with a shovel"
"I will keep that in mind" He looked around "So - any more questions?"
Later that evening the three of them walked back to the common room, then stopped just inside the portrait hole. The four Weasleys were sat by the fire.
"Want to go for a walk?"
"Wait here" Harry said, then ran up the stairs to his dorm room, grabbed one of the presents he had opened earlier, then ran back to rejoin the girls "Come with me" They left the common room, and walked down the corridor to the nearest classroom "I have something to show you" He unfolded the cloak "This was my father's, and someone gave it back to me"
"That's nice" Sally said "What is it?"
Harry flipped the cloak over his head, and smiled at the gasps of surprise.
"An invisibility cloak?" Hermione asked in surprise "They are really rare"
"It was your dad's?" Sally asked "Who gave it back to you?"
"I don't know - it was at the end of my bed, and the note was just signed 'a friend'"
"Wow" Hermione smiled "So - you want to go exploring the school?"
"Actually I hoped we could find somewhere to go talk. I thought that you might have things to say, or ask me, that you didn't want to in front of your parents"
"We could do that too" Hermione beamed.
Twenty minutes later, they crept into a deserted room on the seventh floor, and sat down.
"So - do you have any questions?" Harry asked, folding up the cloak beneath him.
"You two really went to school together?" Sally asked.
"Apparently so" Hermione replied.
"From the start of primary school" Harry added, then - at the lack of understanding on her face - added "When we were seven"
"Wow" Sally turned to Hermione "Any exciting Harry tales to tell?"
"Well" Hermione said with a sly smile "There was the time that Harry got in trouble for drawing a smiley face all over..."
"My parents?" Harry interrupted, causing the two girls to look at him strangely.
"Pardon?" Sally asked, but Harry was already on his feet, walking over to the other side of the room. They stood up and followed him, then caught sight of the mirror he was staring at.
"Can't you see them?" Harry asked "Can't you see my parents?" The girls looked over his shoulder, and then they both started talking at the same time.
"My father" Sally said "He is dancing at my wedding"
"I am Headmistress of Hogwarts" Hermione said "And... dancing at your wedding??" She turned to Sally "So it doesn't show the future?"
"I don't think so" Harry continued to watch his parents. They were smiling at him, and at Sirius for taking care of him "Unless someone is going to bring my parents back to life"
"So... what?" Sally asked.
"I haven't a clue" Harry said, refusing to look away from the mirror.
"Harry - do you miss your parents?" Hermione asked.
"I told you" Harry replied, still not looking away from the mirror "I don't have anything to miss"
"But if you could have them back - as impossible as it is - would you want them?"
"Of course" He looked across at Hermione "Why?"
"More than anything" Was the reply, then Sally added "And Headmistress?"
"You know how the muggle-born are viewed. I would like to do well"
"So - what do you think?" Sally asked "That it shows what we want?"
"Very good Miss Perks" They turned at the voice behind them, and saw Professor Dumbledore stood in the corner, smiling softly.
"The Mirror Of Erised has captured more than one person in its gaze, and men and women have wasted away in front of it. As Miss Perks said, it shows nothing more or less than your heart's deepest desire" He looked at the three of them "It is going to be moved soon, so I suggest that you don't come back here again" He turned, and walked out of the classroom
"So - you think this is connected to the portal to Snape's place?" Sally asked.
"Probably" Harry smiled "So - do you have any more questions?"
"Did you two ever go out?" Sally asked suddenly, causing the other two to turn and stare at her "You DID?"
"We did" Harry said simply.
"Just once" Hermione added.
"And it didn't end well" Harry continued.
"To say the least" Hermione finished. Sally stared at them, then shrugged.
"Okay. We should go"
The rest of the holidays went by, and the three of them decided that Harry's revelation about his past was not going to change their lives all that much.
On the last day of the holidays, they decided to visit Hagrid, partly because they felt guilty about not doing it earlier, but mostly because the Weasley family - mostly Ron - were trying to make friends with them. Or at least were trying to make friends with Harry, and trying to ignore Sally and Hermione as much as they could.
They walked down the path to the groundskeeper's hut, then knocked on the door. A moment later it opened, and Harry looked out.
"Ah. You three" He looked back in to the hut "I s'pose you'll be wantin' to come in?"
"It's cold out here" Harry said.
"All right" He pushed the door open, and let the three of them in "So - what brings ya down 'ere on a day like this?" Hermione looked across at Harry.
"You know the Weasley's?" Harry asked.
"A nicer family you won't meet"
"Ron is trying to make friends with me" Harry said "And he is doing it because the Headmaster told him to"
"Ah - well. Dumbledore's a great man" Hagrid said forcefully "'E knows what's best" The three of them looked at each other, and decided to change the subject.
"Hagrid..." Sally asked "What. Is. That?" The other two looked over at where she was pointing. A large egg was sat in a pan above the first, but it didn't look like he was trying to cook it.
"Ah - that" He looked around, as if checking if anyone was listening "I won it from a man down The 'Ogs 'Ead" He looked over at the egg and smiled "'Sa dragon egg" He said proudly. The three students stared at him for a moment, then Hermione started speaking in a careful tone.
"Hagrid - it's illegal to keep dragons as pets" She paused, then added "And you live in a small house made of wood"
"It'll be fine" Hagrid said, smiling "I can move 'im into the Forest when 'e grows up" The three children looked at each other, still concerned.
"Hagrid - you can't keep a dragon in the Forbidden Forest. Someone will find out" Sally said quietly, then, as an afterthought, added "And it might eat someone"
"'E won't do that" Hagrid argued, gesturing at the egg "'E'll be a good boy"
"Maybe we should be going" Harry said "It's getting dark, and the rest of the students will be returning" He stood up "Can we come back and see it hatch?"
"Course ya can" Hagrid replied "I'll let ya know when"
"Come on guys" Sally stood up "Thanks for the tea, Hagrid"
The three of them set off back up to the castle.
"So - what do you think?" Harry asked.
"I think he's mental" Sally said "My mum told me he was mad about dangerous monsters, but raising a dragon?"
"He just has problems seeing them as dangerous" Harry smirked "And given his size, can you blame him?"
"Maybe we could talk to someone... the Headmaster?" Hermione asked, but Harry shook his head "But Dumbledore and Hagrid seem to be friends - Hagrid obviously respects him a lot"
"But it would put us in his debt" Sally said "It would give him more power over Harry" Harry nodded, then smiled "What?"
"The day you met me - on Diagon Alley - my Uncle and I had been to see Minister Fudge. He seemed to be more happy about the idea of me staying with Uncle Mike than Dumbledore was. Maybe he could help?"
"But keeping dragons is illegal" Hermione said "He would have to do something"
"Maybe we make Hagrid out to be the hero" Sally said "Then we can move the dragon and Hagrid doesn't get sent to Azkaban"
"Azkaban?" Hermione asked.
"Wizard Prison" Harry replied "Horrible, horrible place" He looked up as they approached the main doors of the castle "We should talk about this later" They remained silent until they reached the common room, when Sally and Hermione went up to their room. They both sat on Hermione's bed, and Hermione cast a privacy charm.
"Why did you ask about us?" Hermione watched Sally's reaction, and - in her head - smiled a little.
"I just didn't want to be a third wheel" Sally replied "If you and he went out - you and Aaron I mean - I wouldn't want to get in the way"
"We went to one school disco, for Valentine's Day" Hermione smiled at the memory "We went, we danced. We even kissed"
"We decided that we liked being friends" She smiled again. She was an only child, but from all the books she had read, the best description she could come up with was that kissing Harry was like kissing her brother "I just wanted to be his friend Sally, nothing more" She paused "Are you really worried about being a third wheel, or is there something else?" She smiled as Sally went a little red.
"Maybe" Sally went more red "He is cute, but he is also a little clueless. And with Dumbledore and Weasley and everything else - he needs more people on his side" She looked around "Friends on his side"
"But in the future?" Hermione asked, then she smiled as her friend went even more red.
"And you wouldn't be upset?"
"No" Hermione replied, then saw some of the other girls coming in "Not at all"
On the other side of the tower, Harry pretended to be asleep to avoid Ron making yet another attempt to be friends.