Title: Godric’s Hollow
Author: Keira Marcos
Betas: Ladyholder & Chris King
Series: Harry Potter & the Soulmate Bond
Fandom: Harry Potter
Relationship: Harry/Hermione, Draco Malfoy/Daphne Greengrass
Word Count: 10,042
Warnings: Off-screen child abuse, discussion of child abuse, discussion of sexually abusive situations, explicit language, and ritual magic.
Author’s Note: You know I hate Ron and Ginny Weasley, right? See Series page for further author notes, warnings, and ratings.
“Lord Potter has an announcement and a little lesson on international magical creature law,” Dumbledore said without preamble as soon as the hall grew quiet in response to his announcement charm. “Harry.”
“Good morning all,” Harry said and grinned when he got several enthusiastic waves from the first years. “This is a Ryūda.” He lifted Inari so everyone could see her. “I’m going to bring her around to each table so you can get a good look at her. She looks a little unusual. I’m introducing you to Inari because Hermione has started a familiar bond with her. That means you’re going to see her around the school. She’ll be in classes. She’ll be at meals. The Ryūda is indigenous to Japan and the common name for the creature is dragon-snake. She’s capable of flight, short distance apparition, fire breathing, and while her bite is venomous, it’s not lethal to magicals. She could however, make you very ill if she bit you. Ryūda are good natured creatures to a fault and in Japan they are revered on the level of say, a unicorn.” He moved towards the Slytherin table and put her down on one end. Inari walked the length of the table, stopping to steal a piece of chicken off Daphne Greengrass’ plate as she did.
“They eat meat.” He paused when Inari dropped the chicken on the table in front of him, roasted it with a burst of fire and devoured it. “Inari personally prefers charred meat.” He picked her up again. “She’s no more dangerous than any other creature you might encounter in Britain if you treat her with the respect she deserves. The reason it was decided that you’d be introduced to her formally is that it is an international crime to cause harm to a Ryūda. While they aren’t an endangered species, they are quite precious to the people of magical Japan. The fine for killing or purposely injuring a Ryūda is twice the monetary value. Inari is a mature breeding age female—which means the fine for killing or hurting her is a hundred thousand galleons.” He shifted to the Hufflepuff table but didn’t put her down.
“She’s going to be very protective of Hermione and in turn Hermione might become territorial about her. That’s the nature of the familiar relationship between a magical person and a creature. Inari has a curious nature—rather like a cat, actually. She’s playful and if she trusts you—she’ll let you hold her. Don’t pick her up if you find her somewhere unexpected. Her wings appear delicate but they are quite sturdy and her magic protects her from most accidental injury. That being said, if you handled her roughly—she could bite you. She has every right to defend herself. Inari is a fully sentient creature, she’s capable of forming attachments to people without a bond, and while her primary form of communication is parseltongue—she has been taught a handful of hand signs.” He held out his hand and she promptly stood up on her hind legs.
“Hey, Inari, Puddlemere United won their last game.” Inari immediately threw her forelegs in the air in a sign of celebration, which caused a smattering laughter. “She understands English, as you just saw. She also understands Japanese. She speaks neither. Her tongue is forked like a snake, she has retractable fangs like a snake, and mouthful of razor sharp teeth like a dragon. If she were a hundred times her size, she’d be as dangerous as any full grown dragon. But she’s not and never will be. This is her maximum size.”
He moved to the Ravenclaw table. “Questions?” Every single one of them raised their hand. He wasn’t at all surprised. “About the Ryūda.” Most of the witches lowered their hands with a laugh.
Luna kept her hand up. “Luna.”
“Can I hold her? I’ll be careful.”
Harry glanced towards Hermione and she gave a brief nod. “We’ll let her decide.” He put Inari down on the table and she flicked her tail and stretched. She went to Luna and promptly rolled over on her back. “That’s a universal sign of begging for a belly rub.”
Luna laughed and ran her fingers along Inari’s underside. The Ryūda wiggled and hissed.
“What did she say?” Luna asked.
“She said your magic tickles,” Harry said as Inari wrapped herself around Luna’s hand and perched on her palm. “The Ryūda have a special relationship with wild magic and as a result they are attractive to parselmouths, however they aren’t ideal familiars for my kind because they have very limited uses in ritual magic. While she can channel magic for a wizard or witch, she doesn’t have the ability to use that magic as an elemental viper would. She can amplify magic in ritual but not on the level that a magical viper can. Roger?”
The Head Boy leaned forward. “You said she can apparate. Can she bring a passenger with her?”
“Ah, no, she can’t. Her ability to apparate is limited to about a kilometer at a time and it’s honestly more of a self-defense mechanism. Though I have seen Inari use it to hunt. It is an instinctual behavior rather than a learned one. Ryūda don’t hatch, they apparate out of their eggs and into their mother’s nest when they’re ready to be born.” Inari lifted off Luna’s hand with a sweep of wings and flew to Hermione. She perched on Hermione’s shoulder and wrapped her tail around her neck.
“One final note about Inari, she’s a bit of a thief. I made a significant effort to break her from it but she loves shiny things and she will collect them if given the least amount of leeway. This is especially important to those of us in Gryffindor. Tie pins, cuff links, ear rings, hair clips—if one of yours comes up missing, just ask me or Hermione. We’ll search through Inari’s nest and give it back if she’s hoarded it. It’s her nature and she doesn’t mean anything by it. It’s not personal or mean spirited on her part. Sometimes I really think I should’ve named her Magpie.”
– – – –
“Fifty thousand galleons.”
Hermione put the book she’d pulled from the shelf back on it and ignored Pansy Parkinson. She slipped past the girl and went into the next aisle in search of the second book on her list of probable resources.
“I’m talking to you, Mudblood.”
Hermione sighed and pulled the book. “What do you want, Pansy? I really don’t have time for you.” She walked back to the table she was sharing with Daphne, Luna, Faye, and Lavender.
The girl scoffed. “You must suck his dick on a daily basis to get that kind of reward.”
“I suck his dick for free,” Hermione said and smirked when Parkinson’s mouth dropped open. “Don’t act like you wouldn’t get down on your knees and beg for it. I’ve seen the way you look at him.”
Pansy frowned at her, blood rushing to her face. “You think he’s going to really marry you, Granger? He’s a peer you’re a boring, plain little Mudblood.”
“I think it’s none of your business either way,” Hermione said. “Go away, Pansy.”
“Fuck off, you dumb pug-nosed cunt,” Hermione snapped back and flushed a dull red when Daphne burst out laughing. “Hush before you get us thrown out of the library.”
Daphne clamped her hand over her mouth but Lavender started to giggle. Hermione slouched back in her chair when Madam Pince started to stalk their way.
– – – –
Draco Malfoy lunged forward and barely made it to the bucket Harry conjured before he threw up. He dry heaved for several minutes and took a deep breath as Harry stored the memory he’d put in the pensieve in a vial. “Sorry.”
“No,” Harry said. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have rushed you. Master Banner says you’re making excellent progress with the language. We both thought you were ready to review a few rituals. I shouldn’t have started with something so gross.”
Draco laughed weakly and accepted the washcloth Harry conjured. “I’d rather throw up and look like an idiot with just you than do it in the middle of a ritual.”
“I threw up on Armand Dearing when I was ten,” Harry confessed. “All over his favorite cloak which he swears to this day have never been the same. But it was his own fault, he made me watch the slaughter of a dragon. The dragon had died of natural causes and was being harvested… he said it would be a good way for me to understand the anatomy of my animagus form. It was a fucking nightmare. I had nightmares for weeks about being cut up like that.”
“Yeah,” Harry said with a laugh. “That was the last time Dad let Armand take me on any unsupervised field trips.”
Draco grinned. “The regrowing the leg part was pretty awesome though.”
Harry nodded. “Yeah, but opening that stump up and conjuring the infrastructure we used to build the new leg on was nothing short of disgusting.” He vanished the bucket. “Dobby.”
The elf popped into place in front of them beside the pensieve. “You sharing naughty memories?”
Harry grinned. “No, Draco wishes, I’m sure. Can you get some snacks and butter beer?”
Dobby nodded and disappeared.
“I wouldn’t say no,” Draco said with a wry grin. “Hermione’s gorgeous.”
“Shut up,” Harry said and laughed. “Merlin, she is though.” He started to say more but the outer door chimed gently letting him know that Niall had let Hermione through the portrait entrance. He raised an eyebrow when Hermione came storming in with an entourage of witches in her wake.
“I’ve been banned from the library!” Hermione said, outraged. “For a whole week!”
He would’ve laughed but she looked near tears. “Maybe you can appeal her decision?”
Hermione huffed and threw herself in her chair. The other girls sat down silently on the matching sofa. “That little bitch is going to pay for this.”
“Of course she is,” Faye promised. “We’ll…” She shared a look with Daphne. “Merlin, what’s worse than we’ve already done to her that isn’t totally illegal?”
“She got the green dye out of her hair way too easily,” Lavender complained.
Dobby reappeared with a tray and frowned at Harry. “Dobby not know there were more guests.”
“Don’t be cross with me,” Harry said with a laugh. “I didn’t know either.”
The elf popped away with a sincere frown.
“So what happened?” Harry asked and raised an eyebrow when Hermione glared at him.
“It’s your fault actually,” Hermione declared.
“Sweetheart, I’ve been in here all morning,” Harry protested.
“You’re the one the swishing around this castle being stupidly attractive,” Hermione said.
“I’ve never swished a day in my life,” Harry said. “I might have sauntered once or twice though.” He grinned when she glared at him. “Seriously, what happened?”
Harry sighed and opened his butter beer. “Oh, come on. I’ve had nothing to do with that witch.”
“Probably my fault actually,” Draco admitted. “I found a contract for her in my father’s vault, you see. I canceled it and told her father it would be a cold day in hell before I laid a hand on his daughter. Lucius must have signed it last year and I had no idea. They kept it a secret, though I don’t know why.”
“I do,” Harry said. “He was using you to… hunt for virgins.” He glanced briefly at Luna who just lifted her chin and offered him a small sad smile.
“No,” Draco protested. “Come on, Harry, that’s…. why… how do you know that?”
“You ever get a look at one of his offers on the marriage contract front? He put punitive clauses for lack of virginity in all of them, Draco. There was even one in the one he sent me.”
Draco snorted. “My father sent you a marriage contract offer?”
“Yes. I guess he thought that was one way to get you close to the Black title.”
“Merlin, that’s hot,” Luna said and blushed when Hermione scowled.
“They are very pretty,” Fay said. “Yeah, it’s hot.”
“Anyway,” Harry said pointedly and turned to Hermione. “What did Pansy do?”
“She said I must suck your dick every day to be rewarded with a Ryūda,” Hermione said.
“But Hermione assured her that she does that for free,” Daphne said with a laugh.
Harry’s mouth dropped open. “You… what?”
Hermione shrugged. “I’ve got nothing to be ashamed of and she’s just a dumb, pug-nosed cunt.” Daphne laughed and Hermione pointed a finger at her. “And that’s why we’re all banned from the library, Greengrass!” She turned to Harry. “You’re going to have to be my dealer. I have a list of books you can get for me.”
“Whatever you say, love.”
Dobby popped into the room with a larger tray of biscuits and butter beer.
– – – –
“There have been a few discussions about this at high volume at various locations over the last week,” Harry admitted as he and Draco came down the front staircase. It was an hour before dinner and after two of them had checked out books for the girls they’d been dismissed from service.
“Okay?” Draco said with a confused frown. “About what? I’m doing the best I can with the assignments Master Banner has given me, Harry. I have a full plate academically and there are prefect duties.”
Harry shook his head. “No, you mistake me. You’re doing great on that front. Better than any of us anticipated actually. Thaddeus reports that you’ve already cast a few charms in parseltongue. Some latents don’t accomplish that within six months of having their gift awakened. My Dad’s had a few people investigating your father’s business contacts—not Ministry employees but private hires. We’ve kept an eye on him since your mother ran from him. Most of his more dangerous friends died with him.”
“Okay,” Draco nodded. “I mean, there are the Carrows and that wretched witch Lissette Chang. Not to mention the fact that Cho’s trial doesn’t appear to be going in our direction.”
“No, they’ve been unable to lift whatever memory charm was placed on her,” Harry admitted. “And the solicitor her mother hired is very good—he’s not allowed a Ministry hired mind healer anywhere near her since he came on board. They aren’t going to let the DMLE try again and veritaserum proved useless since half that night was obliviated from her dark little head.”
“She’s not coming back here, right?”
“No, I made that clear to her family. She is unwelcome at Hogwarts. Given half a chance, more than one witch in this place would kill her—yours and mine would be first in line.” Harry shot his friend a long look. “Speaking of, and I don’t mean to pry but, you should probably work on putting a ring on her finger if you intend on keeping her.”
Draco laughed. “Daphne is pretty free-spirited. I’m not sure she’s ready for even a promise ring.”
“And you’re not ready to give up sleeping with other people?” Harry surmised.
Draco flushed as they reached the bottom of the staircase. “There hasn’t been anyone else but Daphne, except for Luna, in six months. Daphne is the love of my life, I know that and I’ll take her on her terms. She’s not ready for commitment so I’ll wait until she is.”
“And if she finds someone else?”
“I can’t say it won’t hurt,” Draco admitted. “But I love her so her happiness is more important than my own.”
“Right. How is Luna? I tried to talk to her the other day but she went on about nargles and wackspurts for like fifteen minutes which I know is how she avoids discussing things she’d rather not discuss.”
“She’s good. We had a long talk about everything and she doesn’t remember being kidnapped as you know. She remembers… waking up on the altar and speaking with Professor McGonagall. She remembers waking up during the opening ritual itself, which I’m very grateful for. It was a little disconcerting thinking that she might not remember the sex. Her only complaint, if it can be called one, is that she’d have much preferred to pick out her own ritual robe for such a public opening ceremony.”
Harry laughed abruptly. “That girl is unique in this world.”
“She is and I’ll keep an eye on her. Luna is special to Daphne so she’s special to me. Fortunately, she’s made no indication that she’d like a repeat performance. I think I’d feel obligated to do it.” Draco shrugged.
“She wanted something private and intimate from you and didn’t get it,” Harry said.
“Yeah, exactly. I could resurrect every single one of those dark bastards and kill them personally for what they did.” He frowned when Harry motioned him towards the visitor’s lounge. “What’s going on?”
Harry paused in opening the door. “You’d better be the man I think you are, Draco, because if you’re not and you hurt her purposefully in word or deed I’ll kill you.”
Draco stared at him confused but Harry didn’t give him time to formulate a verbal response. He simply opened the door.
Harry let Draco slip past him into the room and he closed the door gently. He cleared his throat. “Star?”
The elf appeared immediately. “Mistress Cissa be so happy to see her boy,” Star said.
“Yes.” Harry nodded. “Where is she?”
“She be outside in the courtyard with Willaby.”
Harry nodded. “Right. Well, keep an eye on Narcissa for me and let me know if I’m needed.”
He found Amaryllis Celestia Malfoy kicking a pile of leaves in the courtyard. She was a little fashion plate just like her mother from the cashmere cap on her head to the dragon hide boots on her tiny feet. Harry sat down on a bench and waited for the five year old to come to him. He didn’t have to wait long. She climbed up onto the stone bench and huffed. He grinned while she straightened her cloak and cap atop of a head of curly white blond hair.
She kicked her feet. “What if he hates me?”
“He won’t hate you. You’re too awesome to hate.”
Amaryllis huffed. “Mum left him because of me.”
“No.” Harry shook his head. “She left to save herself. Draco made her leave him behind. It was a horrible situation, Mary, you know that.”
Amaryllis scrunched up her nose. “Yes.”
The child didn’t know the specifics but Harry knew Narcissa had told her that Lucius was a dark wizard and that they were hiding from him. One of the biggest fears they’d had after Amaryllis got old enough to ask questions was that she’d try to get in contact with her biological father. Granted, she’d only been reading and writing for a few months but she’d known how to use the floo for calls since before she turned four.
“But he’s gone now and you’re safe from him,” Harry said.
“Mummy said,” Amaryllis agreed and kicked her feet. “He won’t hate me?”
“I’ll kick his arse if he does,” Harry confided and grinned when she giggled.
He saw Draco before she did but he stayed still. Amaryllis shifted closer to Harry as she caught sight of her mother and brother approaching.
“I have my sword,” Harry whispered loudly. “It’s in my new bracelet.”
Amaryllis giggled and covered her mouth with both hands. Draco hesitated briefly but then walked over to them and sat down on the other side of his sister.
Amaryllis reached out and wrapped one of her hands around a few of Harry’s fingers. “Hi.” She looked at Draco out of the corner of her eye.
Draco cleared his throat. “When I was six, our father purchased a large farm and on that farm was a greenhouse. We still own that farm—we supply potion ingredients all over the world.” He bit down on his bottom lip. “In that greenhouse, I found this beautiful pot of flowers and insisted on bringing it home to our mother.”
“Did she like them?”
“She loved them. I told her it was the most beautiful flower I’d ever seen and that meant it had to be for her because she deserved all the beautiful things.”
Amaryllis fingers unclenched on Harry’s hand. “Really?”
“Really.” Draco took a deep breath. “Those flowers were eventually put in the garden at Malfoy Manor and I’ve made sure they were taken care of—kept beautiful year round for Mum because I hoped one day she’d get to come home.”
“That’s nice. What kind of flowers are they?”
“They’re white amaryllis.”
Amaryllis turned to look at Draco and tears welled in her eyes. She crawled into his lap without a word and threw her arms around his neck. Draco wrapped his arms around her and looked towards Harry as he stood.
“We’re family, you and I,” Harry said. “There are no debts between family. I’ll let the Headmaster and Professor Snape know you’ll be gone the rest of the day and tomorrow? They’re staying at the townhouse in Hogsmeade for the moment. Master Ito is acting as their security.”
“Thank you,” Draco said hoarsely. “You’ll never know… just thank you.”
Narcissa took Harry’s place on the bench.
– – – –
Harry took a deep breath as Hermione prodded him purposefully into the same empty broom closet they’d already tried to make out in once. “Mi.”
“You did an awesome thing today,” Hermione declared as she pushed him against the wall and slid to her knees. “So, you deserve something awesome in return.”
He laughed breathlessly as she unfastened his belt with nimble fingers. “You’re crazy.”
He pulled his wand and hit the closet door with the strongest locking charm he knew then threw up a quick and dirty privacy ward that was more warning sign than actual deterrent. He sucked air in between his teeth as Hermione freed his cock from his trousers and briefs.
“I’m to tell you that this is from Daphne,” Hermione said as she licked the head of his prick. “Also, she said I could have some of her hair for polyjuice.”
Harry let his head fall back and hit the wall. “Merlin, you witches are freaks.”
“Don’t judge us,” Hermione chastised before she sucked him into her mouth.
“Whatever you say, sweetheart,” Harry agreed as she swallowed around the head of his cock.
He couldn’t help but touch her, run his fingers through her hair and along her jaw as she sucked him. He flexed his hips just a little and she groaned, her cheeks hollowed as drew him in again. A part of him wanted to draw it out, ride the edge of it until he went weak in the knees but their location and the fact that she was kneeling on a stone floor put that out of his head just as quickly as it had come.
“Yes… that’s… fuck.” She shuddered and groaned.
Harry curled his fingers into her hair. “Yes, just like that. That’s perfect, love. I love being in your mouth. I think about fucking you all the time—burying my cock in your hot, tight pussy. I love how wet you get for me. You’re so fucking gorgeous.” He let his magic loose a little and it flowed over her, lighting up the closet. “I felt your magic during the renewal and when you came, your magic surged in the circle. It was as if I were holding a hurricane in the palm of my hand.”
Hermione shivered and groaned, her fingers dug into his thighs as she shifted on her knees.
“I’m so close,” Harry whispered and trembled with pleasure as his stomach tightened. He came in a hot rush, his fingers tightening briefly in her hair as he flexed his hips and she swallowed around the head of his cock. She let his softening cock slip from her mouth, he pulled her to feet and cupped her head with one hand. “For the record, I couldn’t afford to pay what that is worth.”
She blushed and laughed. He pressed a soft kiss to her swollen lips then he turned her so her back against his chest. Hermione hummed softly under her breath when he untucked her shirt and slid both hands up and under to cup her breasts.
“You’re everything to me,” Harry murmured against her neck. “There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for you. There’s no sacrifice I wouldn’t make to have you. I look at you and I see eternity in your eyes.” He released one breast, slid his hand downward and unfastened her skirt. It pooled at her feet with very little prodding on his part and he pushed his whole hand into her knickers to cup her sex. “My forever love.”
“Harry.” She trembled against him and arched against his hand as his magical aura started drift over her again.
“Look at you all worked up and wet from sucking my cock,” Harry whispered against her ear as he slowly pressed two fingers into her. He curled his fingers, pressed on her g-spot, and ground the heel of his hand against her clit. “Come.”
Hermione clenched down on his fingers and came hard with a startled gasp. “Oh.”
Harry laughed against the side of her neck as she shuddered against him. “You’re the most fun.”
– – – –
“It’s dragonshite, Dad,” Harry snapped as he paced around his office. “I can’t fucking believe that little cunt is going to get away with…” He huffed and trailed off. “Sorry.”
“You’re not saying anything that I haven’t already,” Sirius said tiredly. “We have no evidence to tie Cho Chang to Luna Lovegood’s kidnapping from Hogwarts. Even her wand was clean which you know is easy to accomplish. We know she’s guilty but we’ve dosed her three times with veritaserum and had her examined by two mind healers. Whatever she did and whatever she saw is gone.”
“Of course it is, Alecto Carrow and Lissette Chang are protecting their own arses,” Harry said. He sat down at his desk and rubbed his face with shaking hands. “What sort of fucking example does this set? That you can commit a crime and get yourself memory charmed out of being punished for it?”
“We know that Alecto Carrow is a very talented witch when it comes to the mind arts,” Sirius said tiredly. “The average magical couldn’t have done this to Cho Chang without damaging her mental facilities or sweeping away years of memories. This spell work, which was done in just a few hours from what we can tell, was mastery level work. It was like someone used a scalpel and cut out memories sometimes right down to the minute. The gaps are selective and damning, yes, but that’s circumstantial. The girl had two full days from the summer removed.”
“Elizabeth Wood,” Harry said grimly.
“Yes,” Sirius agreed. “As it stands, we had to drop all pending charges and Lissette Chang sent her daughter out of the country hours ago. We don’t know where, she was portkeyed into Romania then picked up another portkey that we couldn’t trace.”
“Gone.” Harry shook his head. “How is this justice, Dad?”
“It’s not. It doesn’t even approach justice. This girl probably lured other witches for her father and those dark bastards for years. Now we have to clean up the mess they all left behind. Unfortunately, many of their victims may remain unidentified as the bodies were completely destroyed. There are hundreds of missing witches and wizards in the right age range—at least they were the right age when they disappeared.”
“Right.” Harry frowned. “What are your plans for tomorrow?”
Sirius shrugged. “I don’t know. What about you, pup?”
“I’m going to skip the feast here at school. I already spoke with the Headmaster and Aunt Min about it. I don’t… I don’t want to drag everyone else down. They deserve to have a good time. With Narcissa and Amaryllis at the house in Hogsmeade… well, I don’t know. I’ll have my mirror with me. I won’t go off and pick a fight without you.”
“That’s right,” Sirius agreed. “No picking fights without me.”
Harry grinned. “You know you’re my favorite partner in crime and mayhem.”
– – – –
Harry disappeared shortly after Herbology just like he said he would. Hermione concentrated on getting all of the first and second years into the feast on time and ignored the outright speculation about why their savior wasn’t around to celebrate Halloween with them. In many ways, Halloween was a very important magical happening in Britain because of the Potters.
Ron was sitting across from her, something he never did when Harry was around. After the duel, Ron Weasley had given Harry Potter a wide berth, which amused Hermione a bit more than she was willing to admit.
“What? Your boyfriend too good to celebrate with the rest of us?”
Hermione looked up from her plate of half eaten food and stared at Ron in shocked horror. “Ron.”
“What? Did he go the Ministry feast and leave you behind?”
“Harry doesn’t celebrate Halloween,” Fay said tightly. “You unspeakably crass twat! This is the anniversary of his parents’ murders.”
Ron flushed and glared at her. “Don’t talk to me that way, Dunbar. How was I to know he even cared? He’s such a heartless bastard. You heard what he did to McLaggen.”
“What are you talking about?” Hermione demanded. “What did Harry do to McLaggen?”
“He healed him with parselmagic,” Ron said ignoring the way Neville was glaring at him. “Without a pain relief spell. I heard he regrew two of his teeth that way and made him nearly bite his tongue in half in the process.”
Hermione took a deep breath, the color washing out of her face at the thought. Her mind vividly recalling Harry’s own screams at being healed without a pain relief spell. “I see.”
“It’s more complicated than what Ron said,” Neville quickly. “McLaggen got what was coming to him for what he did.”
“What did he do?” Hermione asked.
“It doesn’t matter what he did,” Ron protested hotly. “He tortured McLaggen. There is no excuse for that.”
“He cursed a first year into a wall and broke his arm—in multiple places,” Jonas said from his place on the opposite side of Fay. “Darius Edwards. He’s Lord Potter’s ward.”
Hermione exhaled and nodded. “No wonder Harry said what he said about him.” She focused on Fay as she spoke.
Fay pursed her lips. “McLaggen is lucky he didn’t get thrown out of the school like Goyle did. At least he was given a chance to improve his behavior.”
“True.” Hermione went back to her food and Ron huffed. “What, Ronald?”
“You don’t have a problem with what he did?” Ron demanded. “How can you excuse behavior like that?”
“How can you know what you know about me and Harry and think for a single second that I wouldn’t have done the same?” Hermione demanded lowly, her eyes dark with fury. “If it had been me, McLaggen wouldn’t be able to be in the same room with me without pissing himself.”
Ron huffed in surprise. “Hermione, you can’t be serious.”
“I couldn’t be more serious,” Hermione said.
“What about the duel? Are you okay with the fact that he killed Viktor Krum?” Ron asked obviously more curious than even angry.
“Well, I wanted Viktor maimed for life and ruined and basically useless as a wizard and I asked specifically that he leave the dueling field incapable of thinking of me without his prick crawling into his stomach. Or castration would’ve been nice,” Hermione said as she selected a piece of cake from dessert tray. She twirled her fork in the air as she spoke. “I guess the outcome will do but I was rather looking forward to knowing he was going to be miserable for a very long time. It was too bad Viktor was such an idiot. I mean, honestly, who with a pair of brain cells to rub together would actually cast fiendfyre at a parselmouth?”
“Castration would’ve been nice,” Ron repeated. “Do you even hear yourself talking?”
Hermione smiled at him. She leaned in a little bit. “Remember how in first year I was a hat stall?”
Ron frowned. “Yes.”
“The hat was waffling between two houses.”
“Ravenclaw and Gryffindor,” Ron said with a nod.
Hermione grinned. “Ravenclaw and Slytherin.” She smirked when his mouth dropped open. “I picked Slytherin, you know, and he put me in Gryffindor for being foolishly brave instead.”
“Or maybe,” Neville began slowly, “he was afraid of what you might do to other Slytherins.”
Fay burst out laughing.
– – – –
Sirius Black found his son sitting next to his parents’ headstone in Godric’s Hollow. He watched Harry from a distance, disheartened by the slouch of the younger man’s shoulders and way he was kicking at the leaves under the stone bench he was sitting on.
Sirius sighed and turned to Castius. “He’s never been here on the anniversary before. We came in August before Hogwarts started for an hour. I couldn’t let him come before so he… I don’t know why I didn’t expect to see him.”
“Should we leave him?” Castius asked. “I don’t think he should be alone out here.”
“He’s not alone,” Sirius murmured. “Most of his elves are here.” He looked over the cemetery. “They’re just invisible. His emotional state must have drawn them here.”
He took a deep breath as Star appeared in front of Harry and after a moment scrambled up onto the bench beside him. They talked lowly for a few minutes then she popped away. A series of little pops followed. Then the elves began to show themselves—cleaning up the cemetery, banishing the leaves, lighting lanterns, and placing vases with flowers on each grave.
“Is he okay?”
They both turned and Sirius couldn’t say he was surprised to see Minerva McGonagall there with Hagrid. “Hey.”
“He left Hogwarts,” Minerva said. “He said he would but he didn’t say where he was going. I sort of berated Dobby into telling me where he was.”
“I never let him come here before on the anniversary,” Sirius admitted. “I didn’t think it was safe.”
“Poor lad,” Hagrid murmured.
An elf appeared in front of them. “Master Harry says you don’t have to stay over here and stare.”
Sirius snorted. “Right then. Come along everyone.”
Harry looked up as his Dad slipped onto the bench beside him. “I always figured you came here.”
“Yeah,” Sirius admitted. “I didn’t want to upset you by the fact that I couldn’t bring you.”
Harry nodded. “I’d like to make Godric’s Hollow an entirely magical community again.”
Sirius hummed under his breath. “You own most of the land here. There might be a few commercial properties that aren’t part of the Potter Trust but they can be bought. All of the residents are magical or squib as far as I know. Fudge worked pretty hard to push all of the Muggle elements out when he was trying to take the cottage and make it a bleeding tourist attraction.”
“What about hiding the village from Muggles?”
“The protocols are still in place just not activated,” Sirius explained. “They were closed sometime in the middle 1800s and I’m not sure why. I don’t think anyone knows why at this point.”
“I think I’d like to call some kind of town hall meeting or something and see if the residents are okay with hiding the village again,” Harry murmured. “I really think it would be… nice.”
“Thanks to Voldemort,” Sirius began, “we don’t have many villages left that are entirely magical. It’s one of the things I’m going to work on that Fudge ignored.”
“He wasn’t interested in spending money on improving the realm,” Harry said. “The protections in Diagon Alley feel… weak. Did you notice? The magical district in Paris doesn’t feel like that at all.”
“I put it on the list,” Sirius admitted. “Those protections haven’t been renewed in two hundred years. Fudge didn’t like how much the goblins wanted to charge for it.”
“What a dumb arse,” Harry said. He looked around the cemetery. “Star asked if the elves could take care of the cemetery so it’ll be nice all the time. I said they could.”
Sirius nodded. “Okay.”
“Why isn’t her name on the tombstone?” Harry finally asked. “It’s been bothering me since August.”
Sirius stood and went to the stone. He touched it, magic shimmered over it and a third name was revealed. “It’s just hidden, pup. I added her name the first time I came here.”
Maia Elizabeth Potter
“Who…” Minerva stared at the stone. “Lily was pregnant.”
“Yeah,” Sirius cleared his throat. “Just three months. It’s family business—I never saw the need to correct the public record on the issue.”
Minerva nodded and looked away from them. “Tonight, I’m often reminded of how I watched your Muggle relatives that day. I didn’t trust them. I should’ve interfered when Albus left you there. For your sake and his. He’d have let me keep you if I’d given him no choice in the matter.”
“It’s all right, Aunt Min.”
“It is not,” Minerva said tartly. “I imagine Lily will have some very choice words for me when I meet her in the next life.”
Harry started to respond but a man clearing his voice distracted them all from the conversation. He turned to the man. “Can I help you, Mr. Lawson?”
“Lord Potter,” the man said and plucked his hat from his head as he spoke. “I don’t mean to disturb you but you’ve been out here for quite a while, lad. The wife sent me out here to see if we can… if the village can do anything?”
Harry smiled. “I was considering taking a tour of my empty house in a minute. Did the construction company leave the keys with you as requested?”
The man pulled a key ring from his pocket and offered it. “I figured you might want them. They did a good job with it. A few of us stayed kept an eye on them to make sure they didn’t cut any corners. Of course, the goblins did as well and that crazy little elf you have here in the village.”
Harry grinned as he stood and took the keys. “I hope Torrie hasn’t made a pest of himself.”
“Oh, no, quite the opposite. He’s always popping about the village tending to someone’s garden, fixing things, and running errands for the older residents. We tried paying him, of course, but he refused. So we just donate his wages to the Foundation in his name instead.” Lawson looked around. “Your Miss isn’t with you this evening?”
Harry looked at Minerva. “That’s probably bad, right? Do you think she’d want to be here?”
“Sometimes I’m painfully reminded that you’re male,” Minerva muttered. She apparated away without another word.
“Honestly,” Harry said and turned to his Dad. “Being raised by a man didn’t prepare me to deal with witches.”
“You could have been raised by an entire coven and still not know how to deal with witches,” Lawson muttered under his breath.
Harry pocketed the keys as Minerva reappeared holding her daughter’s hand. He snorted when his father and Mr. Lawson immediately abandoned him to his fate. He sat back down on the bench and didn’t say anything when Hermione joined him silently. Hagrid was on the other side of the cemetery cheerfully helping one of the elves set a few extremely old headstones upright that had fallen.
“Mum says you’re emotionally stunted due to your penis,” Hermione said and nudged him when he laughed abruptly. She slipped her gloved hand in his. “Wanna talk about it?”
“Not really,” he admitted. “I don’t remember them enough to genuinely grieve for them the way the others do.” His gaze flicked to Sirius who was speaking quietly to Minerva near the entrance of the cemetery. “I grieve the idea of the family I should’ve had. It’s infuriating that Dad and I had to give up so much to defeat Tom Riddle.” He cleared his throat and frowned. “Excuse me.” He stood and his magic flared out around him in such a way that his father and Castius Arnou came toward him in a quick pace.
“It’s fine,” he said shortly. “Something is…” He held up a hand to keep his father at bay. “Something is changing…”
“Changing?” Castius asked, confused. “Changing where? How? Should I call Master Ito?”
Harry shook his head as he moved to leave the cemetery. He walked up the lane, everyone trailing behind him silently until he was standing at the end of the walkway of the home he’d built in the village. He shook his head and turned from the house. “No, that’s not it.” He exhaled deeply and cleared his throat. “Star?”
The head house elf appeared immediately. “Yes, Master Harry?”
“Is something wrong with one of the elves? Is someone sick or hurt?” Harry asked.
Star blushed. “Oh, Master Harry. Winky be having her baby tonight.”
“Oh,” Harry said with a laugh and relaxed. “Wow. Is she okay?”
“Yes, she be at Potter Redoubt,” Star said. “Baby just come. Would Master Harry like to see?”
“I…” Harry paused. “Only if Winky is willing. I’d never ask it of her, Star.”
“We know,” Star said and popped away.
“You felt your house elf having a baby?” Hermione asked clearly confused.
“No, just a shift in the magic that binds all of my elves to me,” Harry admitted. “Not something I’ve ever experienced before. Winky is the first of my elves to have a baby since I bonded them. Most of my elves are actually male. Winky came to the family through… a wergild.”
“Wergild?” Minerva questioned.
“Barty Crouch, Sr.,” Sirius said abruptly. “She was part of the settlement.”
“Oh,” Minerva sighed.
Star returned. “Winky wants to bring the baby to see you herself but she not be recovered from her labors. She come to Hogwarts next week if that be okay.”
“Whenever she’s ready,” Harry assured. “I have the keys for the house.”
Star cast the house a little look. “It be good thing Torrie not allowed inside. No telling what the walls would be looking like.”
“You act like you didn’t raise him,” Harry said with a laugh. He pulled the keys from his pocket and offered Hermione his hand. “Take the plans to Hogwarts for me so we can start picking out furniture and stuff. Bring the vault catalog as well.”
Star nodded and popped away.
Hermione took a deep breath as she watched Harry slip the key into the lock. “When will you make a new ward for this house?”
“I have a couple of years,” Harry said softly as he tugged her inside. Magical lights lit as they passed across the threshold. “Besides, I won’t be performing any more ritual magic in the Gryffindor Circle until we’ve cleansed it completely. I have an adder stone coming from Egypt and I’ve ordered a slab of granite so I can replace the altar.”
They drifted through the empty rooms on the first floor until they encountered the kitchen then took a set of stairs up a floor and repeated the process until they’d gone up three flights of stairs and left nothing unexplored on the upper levels.
“There are two levels underground,” Harry admitted. “I can’t take you there because… well, it won’t be available to you until…”
“I’m a Potter,” Hermione said.
“Yes,” Harry agreed. “Dueling rooms, a private library, potions lab, and a safe room for… our children.”
Hermione smiled. “How many do you think is the right number?”
“How many do you think is the right number?” Harry asked. “I’m not the one who’ll be carrying them. I need an heir, I’d like to provide an Heir for the House of Black if that’s Dad’s choice. I think he’d prefer that his title go to a grandson versus a cousin but if that’s not possible for one reason another then he’ll make a different choice.”
“Well, we have time to figure it out,” Hermione said. “I’d not want an only child. It was lonely for me though I honestly wouldn’t have wished my circumstances on a sibling. I can’t see how he or she would’ve been treated any differently.”
“I’m sorry I had to leave you with them,” Harry said they wandered into a room with vaulted ceilings and ceiling to floor empty bookshelves. “I have to wonder if kidnapping you would’ve been better.”
“Oh,” Hermione exclaimed breathlessly. “Oh… it’s a library.”
“It will be,” Harry said. “The Potter Library is currently in a high security environmentally sealed trunk in my main vault. When we finish warding the house, the elves will unpack the trunk and bring the books here.”
She turned to him with a grin. “Kidnapping me might have been less traumatic in the long term.”
“The Paris townhouse has a library about two-thirds the size of this room,” Harry said by way of agreement. “We could’ve just moved a bed in there for you and you’d have calmed right down.”
Hermione laughed and leaned into him. “How are you?”
“Better than I thought I would be,” Harry admitted. “I just didn’t want to be in a foul mood around everyone else. They certainly deserve to celebrate the night for what it is. It’s a personal tragedy for me and my family but for Britain it was a miracle. I get that and I don’t even resent it anymore. I can’t say I was rabidly furious for years over how easily the country overlooked my parents’ murders while celebrating my survival and Riddle’s banishment. I still can’t abide being called the Boy-Who-Lived.”
Hermione sighed. “Ron caused a bit of a scene at the feast—implied that you were too good to celebrate with us. He just… it was like it never crossed his mind that this is the anniversary of your parents’ deaths.”
“He said he didn’t think you’d care because you were heartless. He mentioned what you did to McLaggen and how you killed Viktor in that duel.”
“McLaggen,” Harry said flatly. “Weasley told you about McLaggen?”
Hermione glanced at him, saw the fury he couldn’t hide. “Yes, he said you tortured him.”
“I can’t say I didn’t,” Harry admitted. “But he hurt one of my kids and I can’t… I mean, I don’t think anyone really understands the burden of Potter Redoubt on my magic. I may not be their father but every single one of those kids, Fay included, are mine.”
“I know,” Hermione said. “You’re their magical guardian. I have to think that is one reason why the Headmaster still bears so much guilt for what happened to you at the Dursleys. He was your magical guardian when it happened and he was at least partially responsible for the fact that your only living parent was jailed and then kept from you for an additional six months after he was freed from Azkaban.”
Harry nodded. “I suppose Ron expected you to be horrified. I didn’t keep it from you because I’m ashamed of it or anything. The others are pretty horrified and maybe didn’t want to upset you or to insult you.”
“Insult me?” Hermione asked as they started down a spiral staircase at the back of the library that lead down to the ground floor and passed through an office space on the first floor.
“Darius overheard McLaggen say something pretty offensive about you and told him not to talk about you like that. McLaggen sent him into the wall of the boy’s bathroom with a blasting hex out of spite or embarrassment or merely because he was pissed off about Darius interrupting him.”
Her mother and his father were on the patio when they came out the back door. An empty swimming pool greeted them and beyond a full acre of crisp green lawn a beautiful garden spread out in the evening light.
“Oh.” Hermione huffed in relief. “The way Star and Emmie kept going on, I half expected to find a giant devil’s snare back here.”
Harry grinned at her. “Torrie actually trained with a Master of Herbology in France for years. If it were possible, he’d have a mastery himself. Though he is foolishly fond of dangerous plants. They are in the green house at the back of the garden next to the vegetable patch for the gnomes.”
“So what did McLaggen say about me that upset Darius so much?” Hermione asked pointedly.
“He had quite a lot to say about how much he liked your…” He glanced towards Minerva who was frowning at him. “Tight arse.”
Hermione frowned. “That git.”
“And how much he’d like to bend you over in a broom closet.” Harry winced when her mouth dropped open. “So Darius, understandably, found the conversation McLaggen was having McMillian rather offensive.”
“You know,” Hermione said thoughtfully, “it’s a such shame that his entire seventh year at Hogwarts is going to be so uncomfortable for him.” She shared a look with her mother and Harry almost felt sorry for the man.
“Master Harry.” An elf appeared dressed in overalls and sturdy little hiking boots. He bounced in excitement.
Harry grinned and plucked the tiny elf up off the ground and hitched him on one hip like a little kid. “Torrie, it looks great.”
“I finish the greenhouse today,” Torrie said and puffed out his chest. “And Miss Lily’s roses woke up beautiful.”
“Well, then, let’s go have a look,” Harry said with a smile. “Did you lose anything after you pulled it out of stasis?” He asked as he abandoned his father, aunt, and Hermione on the patio.
“Nope, everything worked just like it was supposed to,” Torrie said confidently as he wrapped one arm around Harry’s shoulder.
“Did you need any help out here?” Harry asked as he walked down a path towards a small sprinkling fountain. “I’ll send out a team of goblins to set up the environmental ward for you next week.”
“I be ready for them,” Torrie promised. “It be good because the nights be getting cool and the stasis charms be working overtime to keep everything in bloom.”
“How do you like your little house?” Harry asked, amused. “Is it big enough? If not we can expand it.”
“It’s perfect,” Torrie said. “I have a guest room.”
Harry grinned. “If you’re sure. There is room in the main house as well if you’d like.”
“Oh, no, I like my little house. It’s like being all grown up,” Torrie said.
Harry put him down as they rounded the corner and they encountered the little structure that looked very much like someone had hit a doll house with an expansion charm. The delicate clearing of a throat caught his attention and he saw Hermione standing hesitantly on the path.
“Hey, sorry,” he said and held out a hand for her. She came forward and took it. “Torrie, this is Hermione.”
Torrie blushed brightly and rocked on his heels in his excitement. “Oh, Lady Potter, do you like the garden?”
Hermione smiled, obviously charmed. “Yes, it’s absolutely lovely. Is that your house?”
“Yes,” Torrie nodded so quickly his little ears flapped. “Master Harry said I could have it. Did you want to see inside?”
Harry laughed as Hermione gamely followed Torrie over to the structure. She peeked in the windows at the elf’s instructions and made over his furniture. Eventually Torrie popped back out of the house and tugged Hermione along the path to show her his greenhouse since it was more her size.
Harry sat down on a bench near the fountain and took a deep breath as his father and Minerva came down the path. “Torrie is showing off his greenhouse.”
Minerva scowled briefly at him. “I’d best go along and make sure they don’t play with anything dangerous.”
Harry just grinned as his Dad sat down beside him. He cleared his throat. “Our bond is turning me inside out.”
Sirius took a deep breath. “How?”
“Oh, you know,” Harry began and waved his hand around in the air. “I spend half my day hard and most of the night with my head between her legs.”
Sirius burst out laughing. “Oh, pup.”
“I don’t even know how I get anything done. If I’d been at Hogwarts since first year…” He shrugged helplessly. “We’d be married right now just for the sake of decency. We’re both exhibiting symptoms of skin-hunger which makes no sense really considering how much time we spend together naked.”
“I have no idea what to say to that,” Sirius admitted. “If James and Lily experienced that they never told me or by the time I was a part of their relationship—that phase had passed. Perhaps it’s the intensity of your magical connection?”
“Maybe,” Harry agreed. “At any rate, we’re dealing with it the best we can.” He looked back toward the house. “It’s lovely, isn’t it?”
“Yes,” Sirius agreed. “A beautiful place for a family.” He wrapped an arm around Harry’s shoulders. “I’m really looking forward to that part, you know.”
“Grandchildren?” Harry asked with a laugh.
“Absolutely, I expect ten.”
“You’re out of your bleeding mind,” Hermione said as she walked past them. “You just got your witches mixed up—I don’t even bear a passing resemblance to Molly Weasley.”
Sirius laughed. “Eight?”
“Don’t make me curse you out,” Hermione warned. “It would be all kinds of wrong—Minister for Magic, future father-in-law, peer of the realm, etc etc etc.” She waved a hand as she spoke.
“He’s always been a pain in the arse,” Minerva said. “Being elected to public office has just made him worse.”
“They’re both so mean,” Sirius complained.
“It’s a good thing I like mean witches,” Harry said with a laugh.
– – – –
The leader of the centaur herd in the Forbidden Forest wasn’t nearly as surly as some of the others in his herd but that was merely a matter of degrees as far as Harry was concerned. An owl had delivered a letter to him at lunch the day before and he’d agreed to meet Magorian bright and early on Saturday morning. He voluntarily brought his father, Hagrid, Master Ito, Armand Dearing, Amelia Bones, and Albus Dumbledore. Hermione and Minerva McGonagall refused to let him leave the castle without them so he’d reluctantly brought them as well.
“You know it’s not so forbidding during the day,” Hermione said conversationally as Hagrid guided them down the path towards the clearing Magorian had chosen for the meeting.
“It’s plenty forbidding at night so it more than makes up for it,” Harry said.
“How is the clean up going with your ritual circle?” Amelia Bones asked from behind them.
“Very slow,” Harry admitted. “It’ll be a year before we’ll be able to truly use the space as it was intended. We have at least six cleansing rituals to do, a new altar to build and I want to replace the warding stones. I’ve ordered an adder stone from Germany and we hope to install that with our first cleansing ritual.”
“If there is anything I can do…” Amelia shrugged. “Though I can’t imagine what that would be.”
“We’ll need a sex ritual in the spring,” Armand said and grinned when she glared at him. “Don’t be that way, Bones.”
“I’m too old for sex rituals,” Amelia proclaimed.
“Nonsense,” Ito said cheerfully. “If I can do a sex ritual, no one is too old for one.”
Harry just laughed at his mentor but refrained from joining that discussion as Hermione was looking at him with what looked like two thousand questions on the tip of her tongue. They entered the clearing and Magorian was already waiting—he’d brought an entourage of his own.
“Magorian.” Harry inclined his head. “Your note seemed to indicate you had a problem and considering the distressing situation I’ve already found in the forest, I brought a few people to help.”
Magorian nodded. “I did not expect you to come alone. It is true that we have long ignored events in the forest as they did not impact our village. I’ll not apologize for it. The matters of wizards are not our concern.”
“It’s funny,” Harry said. “That you’d say that to me when not even a year ago you wrote to me and informed me that it was my duty to advocate for your kind.”
“It is your duty.”
“You’re a frustrating arsehole,” Harry said and ignored the obvious disapproval of most everyone he’d brought with him. “You live on and off my land and have the goddamned gall to demand my protection while you let Death Eaters desecrate the magical legacy of Godric Gryffindor. It doesn’t impact you? That’s what you think? You think the amount of dark magic they cast in this forest has no impact on you? Have you not bloody noticed the dying trees and the decreasing population of game? Do you not smell the death they’ve created so close to your homes or are you so fucking used to the rot of it that you don’t even notice anymore?”
Magorian stomped his feet but averted his gaze. “Perhaps we’ve been complacent. You said you’d hire a forest keeper.”
“Yes, I have interviews being conducted by my account manager at Gringotts,” Harry said. “I’d prefer someone with a duel mastery in Creature Care and Herbology so the pool of available candidates isn’t particularly vast. You have a problem that cannot wait for that person to come here?”
“There is a creature in the forest,” Magorian said lowly. “A dark creature tainted with the magic of your enemy.”
Harry’s eyes went wide. “Creature?”
“Snake,” Magorian clarified. “A very large viper. She came the day after you claimed the Gryffindor Circle.”
“Dad, get her out of here,” Harry snapped. Sirius reached out, wrapped his arms around Hermione and apparated without a word. “The rest of you go—immediately—this is no place for you.” A series of bangs followed and he was left in the clearing with Armand Dearing and Hiro Ito. He turned on the centaur in fury. “How fucking dare you not tell me in your letter! I’d have never brought my witch into this forest if I’d known!” His aura flared.
“I wished to speak with you of the creature in person and feared my letter might not reach you unmolested,” Magorian said. “My sincere apologies, Lord Potter, I didn’t expect you to bring your mate with you.”
Harry turned his back on them. “What do you know of this snake?”
“She’s tainted, cruel, and has killed many in the two weeks she’s been here,” Magorian said. “She eats less than half of what she kills.”
“She kills for pleasure,” Harry surmised. “Estimate on size?”
“Fifteen meters in length,” Magorian said. “Twenty-eight stone perhaps in weight. She killed a unicorn two nights past. I fear for our children, Lord Potter.”
Harry took a deep breath. “Master Ito, if you’d travel with them back to their village and ward them against snake invasion?” He turned to Magorian. “You won’t even be able to bring dead snakes into the village after he’s done so don’t bother hunting them.”
“We do not hunt snakes,” Magorian said. “We have not done so since your arrival as we did not wish to kill one of yours by accident. Your affinity for snakes is well known.”
“My thanks,” Harry said quietly. “The snake, I believe her name is Nagini, and she was at one time Voldemort’s familiar. She’s dangerous, Magorian, but more than that she is utterly corrupt and extremely intelligent. Don’t think to capture or kill her—you’ll not survive it.”
“We’ll leave you to your enemy’s legacy, Lord Potter,” Magorian said gravely.