Title: Pendragon’s Stand
Author: Keira Marcos
Betas: Chris King & Ladyholder
Series: Harry Potter & the Soulmate Bond
Fandom: Harry Potter
Word Count: 11,971
Warnings: Off-screen child abuse, discussion of child abuse and violence against a child
Author’s Note: You know I hate Ron and Ginny Weasley, right? See Series page for further author notes, warnings, and ratings.
Harry dropped his towel in a basket by the door and entered his bedroom in the Hogsmeade house, which his father hadn’t gotten around to naming as yet. They really hadn’t needed to name the house as the floo in the house was outgoing only as a security precaution. He pulled on a black robe and left the room. The house was empty save him and Elroy who was currently in the kitchen. He entered the kitchen and the elf looked up from the book he was reading.
“Master Harry feel better?”
“Yes,” Harry said. He sat down at the table and with a snap of the elf’s fingers a plate of sandwiches appeared. “I think milk?”
“It be better for you than pumpkin juice,” Elroy agreed and snapped his fingers again. “Will be Lady Potter be here tonight? I need to go buy coffee if she will have breakfast here.”
“She’s with her mother,” Harry said. “I don’t know if she’ll be spending the night here but we’ll be at the bank in the morning and then back to Hogwarts after dinner. They had some business with their coven as well that I didn’t ask about.”
“Females keep secrets,” Elroy said. “I not mate to avoid that nonsense.”
Harry grinned. “I thought you were going to court Emmie.”
Elroy huffed. “Master Harry not know it but Emmie be quite a handful.”
“Oh, I know it,” Harry assured. “Are you afraid of Star? I don’t blame you, if you are.”
Elroy huffed. “I not be afraid of that mean old…” He trailed off and flushed when Star appeared beside Harry. “I go buy coffee!” He popped away without another word.
Harry grinned and focused on Star. “Hey, are they ready?”
“JoJo come, too,” Star said. “Is seven okay? You not be too tired?”
“I’m fully recovered, Star, promise.” He tugged gently one of her braids. “Don’t worry so much about me and what’s this I hear about you being mean to Elroy?”
Star scowled. “He’s going to have elf up if he wants to mate with my daughter.”
“You’re never going to get grandbabies at this rate,” Harry advised.
She paused to consider that and made a face. “I be wanting grandbabies.”
“So you’ve said but then you run off all the suitors.” He pushed aside his plate and plucked Star up off the floor much to her ire and set her on the table. “Listen, I know… things were difficult when my parents died.”
Star started to speak but Harry held up a hand.
“And I know it was horrible when you had to let some of your children bond with other families to survive. I don’t remember her but Nell was a part of our family and I know losing her broke your heart.”
“We all lose loved ones,” Star whispered and averted her gaze.
“I know and if I could bring back your baby, I would.”
“I be knowing. The bond… the bond never goes away.”
“I know I can feel her missing in your family magic and I’m so sorry she was killed.”
“You be punishing the wizard who did it,” Star said finally.
“And I’m going to punish the rest of them before everything is said and done,” Harry promised. “Our plan will work, Star, and we’ll see the elves in Britain protected and if I have anything to say about it—you won’t ever lose another child like that again. None of us can promise to live forever but I’ll keep your family safe and your daughters can mate, Star. It’s safe. I’ve… look, if I drop dead tomorrow, I’ve made arrangements for every elf in my house. You’ll be safe and so will all of your children. Master Ito will help you find bonds with good people—he swore this to me on his magic. You’ll never be at the mercy of the enslavement protocols in Britain again. He doesn’t flaunt it like I do but you know he’s powerful—more than powerful enough to take you all if that was what needed to be done.”
“Master Ito good wizard,” Star said. “I not worried about… future. I not take another bond.” She put her hand on his chest. “I go with you. I live long time, Master Harry, we be going on the next adventure together.”
Harry blinked back tears. “But…”
“No, buts,” Star said sternly. “I see my baby Nell again and Miss Lily and Mr. James… and my girls will carry on here when my time comes.” She huffed. “I be needing grandbabies to enjoy why I still be young.”
Harry grinned at her and took a deep breath. “That’s what I’m saying. So are you going to stop being a cockblock or what?”
She tugged on an ear with a frown. “They be no excuse for it, I know.” Elroy popped back into the kitchen at that point. “Unless I be setting him on fire.”
Harry laughed. “Bring the others to the ritual space in the basement and I’ll join you in about fifteen minutes.”
Star frowned at Elroy and popped away with a huff.
“You know she’s just over protective,” Harry said.
Elroy nodded. “I know. I know why. I be patient.”
“Good.” Harry picked up another sandwich. “You can retire if you want. I’m going to do the ritual bonding and I’ll be going to bed myself.”
“I stand by and help Star with the new elves,” Elroy decided.
– – – –
He stepped out of the cistern and picked up the dark green ritual robe. It was his favorite—he’d had it the longest and it glowed with his magic even when he wasn’t wearing it. The seven elves were waiting just outside the circle—several of them looked as overworked and downtrodden as he’d known they would be. After the ritual, re-education, healing, and rehabilitation would be done under Star’s direction. They’d done such with most of the elves Harry had bonded to his house. What British magicals didn’t understand was that an elf could thrive and live for hundreds of years in a proper, healthy bond.
The average age of retirement for an elf in Britain was fifty. Most didn’t even live that long due to mistreatment or weak bonds. The enslavement protocols used in Britain were designed to benefit the wizard and not the elf in question. Though he made a point of never, ever saying that in public. His lobbying for elf-rights worldwide was well known but if people in his home country realized the depth of his plan they could interfere in his long term plan.
He drew his staff as he stepped into the circle and runes lit all over the floor as he pushed his magic out around him. One of the elves made a soft sound of shocked wonder. He focused on them, ignoring the rags they were dressed in no matter how infuriating he found it.
“I, the Earl of Gryffindor, do solemnly swear on my magic to honor your service to the House of Potter. Your treatment shall be fair. Your happiness shall be a priority. The safety of your familial magic shall become mine to guard. So mote it be.” He paused and looked at each of them before speaking again. “If you agree and accept with all of your heart the sanctuary offered by my magical house, please join me now in ritual.”
Two were so excited, they popped right into the circle instead of walking. The first few times he’d done this ritual, he’d been amused by their eagerness. Now, he understood how deeply many of them had suffered and their relief was not amusing. It had become a terrible sort of comfort.
“May Magic bless our unified purpose.”
He sank to his knees in the center of the circle and focused intently on his task as he drew the Gryffindor athame. “This must be done individually but please remain inside the ritual circle until I’m finished.” They all nodded and he focused on the one that appeared to the oldest. “Step forward, speak your name then the name your matriarchal clan, and make your oath.”
The elderly looking female stepped forward. “I, JoJo, daughter of the clan Seregruth, swear my familial magic to the service of the Earl of Gryffindor.”
Harry cut his own palm. “JoJo of the clan Seregruth, I welcome you to the House of Potter. May you find safety and solace in the embrace of my magical House.” Very carefully, he touched the athame to her forehead and smeared his blood there. The elf shuddered and started to glow.
She stepped back with a wide-eyed nod.
The next stepped forward. “I, Osbert of the clan Falaspen, swear my familial magic to the service of the Earl of Gryffindor.”
“Osbert of the clan Falaspen, I welcome you to the House of Potter. May you find safety and solace in the embrace of my magical House.” The elf accepted the gift of Harry’s blood solemnly and stepped back with a nod.
“I, Alfie of the clan Úrphen, swear my familial magic to the service of the Earl of Gryffindor.”
“Alfie of the clan Úrphen, I welcome you to the House of Potter. May you find safety and solace in the embrace of my magical House.”
The only other female in the group stepped forward. She was quite young so Harry was surprised by her freedom. He raised an eyebrow at her.
She rocked on her bare feet and smiled bashfully. “You be killing my old master. He be bad wizard.”
“Oh.” Harry said with a nod. “He was one of the wizards abusing my ritual space.”
“Yes.” She straightened her shoulders. “I, Macy of the clan Hadlath, swear my familial magic to the service of the Earl of Gryffindor.”
“Macy of the clan Hadlath, I welcome you to the House of Potter. May you find safety and solace in the embrace of my magical House.” She giggled as he smeared blood across her forehead.
Harry smiled helplessly at her as she stepped back and another took her place.
The elf regarded him with shrewd eyes. “I be tricking my old master to free me. He be arsehole.”
“That seems to be something of an epidemic in Britain,” Harry confided.
The elf snorted. “I, Knox of the clan Gworphen, swear my familial magic to the service of the Earl of Gryffindor.”
“Knox of the clan Gworphen, I welcome you to the House of Potter. May you find safety and solace in the embrace of my magical House.” He paused. “How did you trick your old master into giving you clothes?”
“I break things on purpose and fake memory loss when he be asking about it. He thought I be demented,” Knox admitted as Harry smeared blood on his skin.
Harry laughed and took a deep breath as the next stepped forward.
The elf was tiny, even for his species, but quite old from the looks of him. “I, Edi of the clan Mael, swear my familial magic to the service of the Earl of Gryffindor.”
Harry relaxed a bit at that. The Mael clan was rumored to have faery blood in their line which would explain Edi’s very slight build and stature. He was stunned that someone had freed an elf of that line willingly—even an elderly one. It was the one elf clan in Britain he feared he’d never bond with. “Edi of the clan Mael, I welcome you to the House of Potter. May you find safety and solace in the embrace of my magical House.” Harry felt his magic stir briefly as he smeared his blood on Edi’s forehead which was also not a surprise. He’d encountered fey magic before.
The last elf stepped forward, trembling and Harry barely refrained from reaching out to offer the poor creature comfort. The elf looked to be several hundred years old but Harry knew that appearances were deceiving. He doubted the male was even fifty.
“I, Lane of the clan Galuchin, swear my familial magic to the service of the Earl of Gryffindor.”
“Lane of the clan Galuchin, I welcome you to the House of Potter. May you find safety and solace in the embrace of my magical House.” He gifted blood for the last time and set aside the athame.
All seven were glowing, shaking against the heavy weight of his magic let loose and wild around them.
“I bind these seven clans—Seregruth, Falaspen, Úrphen, Hadlath, Gworphen, Mael, and Galuchin—to the House of Potter and call upon their Family magic to join with mine in peace, in war, and in life. They shall make war for me. I shall make war for them. They shall defend me and my family. I shall defend all those that share their blood. Forever shall these families know the sanctuary and benefaction of my magical house. So mote it be.”
Bonds flowed out of them, attaching firmly into each elf. The golden light pushed deep into their bodies, settled in their magical cores, and adhered to the life force that burned within each of them. Magic snapped inside the ritual circle and they all fainted. Again, not a surprise. It often happened when he ritually bonded with an elf. They weren’t used to being bonded to someone so deeply entrenched in wild magic.
“The circle is open but unbroken and so shall it remain at the blessing of our beloved Lady Magic.”
“Oh, Harry what…”
He looked up and met Hermione’s gaze. She was pale, wide-eyed. “Mi.”
“What have you done?” Her voice shook with shock as she stared at the elves on the floor of the ritual space.
Harry stood and picked up his athame which he stored without a word. He should’ve closed the ritual space—it was arrogant that he hadn’t. He should’ve known she would come back to the house after spending time with her mother.
“Will…” Harry took a deep breath. “Star, Elroy—if you’d take everyone back to Potter Keep and get them settled in? All but Macy require quite a bit of healing.”
“Yes, Master Harry,” Star said with one glance towards Hermione. All nine elves popped away with a wave of her hand.
“Harry?” Hermione asked.
“First, it was exactly what you think it was.”
She paled and bit down on her bottom lip. “A blood bond. Those are… grey. They’re very grey borderline dark.”
“Borderline but not dark. I wasn’t lying about the vow I made. A single dark magical act on my part will kill me.” He stepped out of the ritual circle and the runes brightened briefly before going dark.
“None of your elves can be freed…” Hermione whispered. “You’ve…”
“No, not all,” Harry corrected. “I have a blood bond with Star but none of her children or nephews. I have blood bonds with Dobby and Winky but not with Sunshine. You saw that bond settle.”
She nodded and bit down on her lip. Her horror was difficult to overlook and he had to admit it hurt a bit.
“Do you trust me?” Harry asked.
She turned to stare at him. “Of course I do.”
“Then why are you standing there looking at me like you walked in on me sacrificing a unicorn?”
She scoffed. “This is not my Sacrificing-A-Unicorn Face.” Hermione took a deep breath. “This is totally my Surprised-and-Confused Face. Just… just give me a second. I… how many of your elves have blood bonds?”
“As of tonight? Forty-one.”
“All of them from different clans in Britain?”
She relaxed. “Oh, Harry, how could you be so…”
“Endearing? Heroic? Hot?”
“Shut up,” Hermione muttered. “There are just two left. Two elf clans native to Britain.” she started to pace. “How are you going to keep them from importing more?”
“I already have,” Harry admitted. “The ICW passed a law three years ago forbidding the import of house elves into Britain. There are forty-three native clans living in Britain and they can’t import any more legally. If they try—the Ministry will be heavily sanctioned by the ICW. The penalties are twice the value of a single elf for each offense. It won’t be fiscally sound for them to even attempt to establish another clan in the country.”
“Okay,” Hermione said with a nod. “That’s actually pretty hot but you didn’t lobby for that law. That was… oh. Ito’s many grands-nephew, Midori Kimura. He kept the ICW so worked up over the elf laws here and the abuses and the breeding facilities in Europe that they finally passed a whole package of laws just to shut him up.”
“He’s fantastically stubborn and incidentally my tutor for two years in International Magical Law.”
“And what happens when you get the other two?”
“I’m going to break the back of the house elf slave trade by preventing breeding in the facilities,” Harry said quietly. “Then I’m going to announce my familial blood bonds with the British clans and establish the means by which they can continue to remain bonded with the elves entrusted into my care through familial magic. They’ll all learn what it means to court war with the Earl of Gryffindor if they abuse an elf in my care. Elves who wish freedom will be granted it no matter what their so-called owner wants. I’m going to close the breeding facilities and financially ruin the magical families who have run them for the last two hundred years.”
“Does your Dad know about this?” Hermione asked curiously.
“Yes. He considers it to be the prank of all pranks to ever exist and he simply cannot wait for the fall out.” Harry shrugged when Hermione looked shocked. “He’s having Stevie design him a special set of robes to wear just for the occasion. I requested they be lined with dragon hide. It’s going to be a blood bath.”
Hermione nodded. “I’m going to need more weapons, I think. A sword, perhaps. A staff. I think I could bond with one. Do you think Master Ito would make me one?”
“We can definitely buy you a sword. But I think you’d be better served with a staff made by a witch,” Harry admitted. “He’d, of course, do it but you’re an elemental and the druids in Ireland produce magical staves that would better suit your magic.” He paused and frowned. “Where is Inari?”
“Oh, upstairs in the fireplace in your bedroom having a bath,” Hermione explained. “Emmie brought me there first and then she said she had something to do if I was going to stay here all night and I agreed that I was and she left.”
“Master Ito is at your house, isn’t he?” Harry asked, amused.
Hermione huffed. “Yes, and I expect to be as thoroughly shagged as everyone else at breakfast tomorrow, Harry James. I mean it!”
He reached out, curled his hand in the front of her jeans, and hugged her to him. “Wanna have a little ritual of our own?”
Her eyes went wide and she wet her bottom lip. “Oh, yes.”
He tugged her fully into the ritual room and shut the door. Harry ran his fingers along the runic seal to prevent anyone from entering the room without his permission. Hermione pulled her jumper over her head and tossed it aside as he unbuttoned and unzipped her jeans.
Harry knelt on the floor as she did a little wiggle to get the jeans off her hips and partially down her thighs. He pulled off her little boots, stared briefly at the tiny flying snitches on her red socks before easing them off. She pushed the jeans away and relaxed against the door as he ran hands up over her legs. He brushed his lips over the top of her left thigh as pushed nimble fingers into the sides of her knickers. Then paused.
The knickers were Gryffindor red and the front had Potter written on them in gold letters. He looked up at her.
Hermione smirked. “Well, you did say it was your pussy.”
“Did the socks and knickers come as a matched set?” Harry asked with a little laugh.
“Yeah, actually, they did.” Her breath hitched as he tugged and the last of her clothing slid down her legs in a whisper of silk. “There’s a tank top, too.”
“I just bet,” Harry murmured. He tossed the knickers towards her jeans and he leaned in briefly—pressing a soft kiss against the top of her mound. Her fingers curled into his hair. “Merlin, you’re tempting.” He kissed her skin again and stood. “The cistern will activate the cleansing mist when you step into it.”
“Okay.” She walked around the edge of the circle as he shed his robe and stepped into it.
Harry watched her step into the cistern then concentrated on resetting the ritual circle. It responded to his magic and his will easily—expected since he’d carved the circle himself on the stone floor of the room. Runes lit under his feet and magic spread out over the circle—warm and inviting. He drew his wand, cast a series of cushioning and comfort charms to keep the floor warm and soft then stowed the wand with a flick of his wrist. He walked to the edge of the circle and offered Hermione his hand as she stepped from the ritual bath.
Her fingers curled against his palm as he pulled her gently into his circle. Godric and Rowena appeared at his throat, lit with black and red fire. They grew in size from inches to several feet and slithered off of him in favor of the floor. Their fire lit the cushioning charms and Hermione shuddered as flames licked over their feet.
Harry slid his hand into her hair to cup the back of her head and pulled her close. He brushed his lips over hers. “I am so lucky in love and life. You’ll never know how much I feared that you’d be… put off by my nature. I really had no choice but to embrace my parselmagic, but I agonized over the decision for years because of you.”
“I’m sorry you worried so,” Hermione murmured. “Did you think fate would be so unkind? To give you a soulmate who couldn’t accept you and all that you are?”
“Fate has never been kind to me, sweetheart, and I couldn’t imagine this being an exception.”
She lifted up her toes, pressed her mouth against his briefly and smiled. “What do we do?”
“Have you read about magical communion?” Harry asked.
“Yes.” Her eyes widened slightly and her cheeks flushed. “Harry.”
“If you’re not ready for something like that…” He trailed off when she unceremoniously wrapped a hand around his prick. Harry let his head rest against hers and watched with half-closed eyes as she worked him. “I’m going to take this as a sign that you agree with my idea.”
She hummed under her breath. “You’re brilliant.”
“We should kneel.”
Hermione released him reluctantly. “You never let me play.”
“For the record, you can play with just about any part of me anytime you like,” Harry said with a laugh as they knelt together. Red and black flames flicked over their skin, warm and harmless as he offered her his hands.
She grinned. “So?”
“While I have every faith that you could open the ritual, I believe I should do it.”
Hermione clenched her hands in his and leaned in. She kissed his mouth gently. “I am more than willing to be your student in this.”
He hummed under his breath. “That probably shouldn’t be a turn on.” He grinned when she laughed. “The ritual for magical communion runs about thirty minutes.”
“Wow. That’s… how does it work?”
“We’re going to open ourselves up to the embrace of Lady Magic. We’ll be bombarded with wild magic. You can use communion to build a core reserve but that sort of magical endeavor takes a lot of planning.”
“You have one.”
“I had one, yes,” Harry admitted. “But it was wiped out by… the curse I took. I’ve built a core reserve twice—the first was expended during the ritual that took out Riddle.”
“And Ginny destroyed the other,” Hermione whispered. Her eyes dampened with tears. “How long will it take you to build another?”
“Such reserves are for emergency use only,” Harry said as he rubbed his thumb along the top of her hand. “The ritual will take eighteen months to prepare for. Maybe we can do it together.”
“Sounds good but tonight?”
“Tonight we’re going to basically take a bath in magic—it’ll heal any micro fractures we have left over from the ritual and my return so to speak. Not anything that wouldn’t heal over time but this will be fun. Now we make a decision about what we’ll do during the communion.”
“Options?” Hermione questioned.
“We could meditate and reflect on our magical circumstances in silence,” Harry told her seriously and nearly laughed at how disappointed she looked. “Or we could have some really amazing ritual sex.”
“I understand the value of meditation and personal reflection but I’m all about the ritual sex.”
“I was really hoping you’d say that,” Harry confided.
“Can we…” She sucked her bottom lip briefly and took a deep breath. “I want you inside me.”
“I want that, too,” Harry murmured. “Are you sure?”
“I’m completely sure.”
Harry let his forehead rest on hers and took a deep breath. “May Magic bless our unified purpose.” He let his magic loose and runes activated under the still burning elemental fire they were kneeling in. “Magicae miscerique.” She shivered and relaxed. Her magic surfaced on her skin, gold flames joined the red and black already on the floor.
Magic heaved in the circle—his, hers, and the untamed magic he’d invited to join with them in the circle. Her eyes widened slightly.
“It’s perfectly safe.”
“I know. You’d never do anything to hurt me,” Hermione murmured as he released her hands. “That’s it?”
“For a simple magical communion? Yes,” he murmured. “There are different, more advanced rites but this space couldn’t handle such things.”
Harry slid a hand down her side, cupped her hip as they moved toward one another. He kissed her mouth gently. Hermione wrapped her arms around his neck and groaned her approval when he cupped her arse. He lifted her and she eagerly snaked her legs around his waist.
He spread her out on the bed of elemental fire and she gasped against his mouth. Harry pulled his mouth from hers and sought on a hard tipped breast. His teeth grazed her nipple and her hands slid over his head, clenched in his hair. Harry released her nipple, swept his tongue briefly over it and shifted to her other breast. Hermione moved under him restlessly as he sucked—fire licked up the side of her breast and brushed over his lips.
Harry groaned around her nipple, let go, and moved down to press a series of kisses down her stomach. “You’re ruining me.”
Hermione spread her legs and threw her arms over her head as she arched her back under his attention. “It’s only fair, I haven’t been the same since I met you.”
He laughed against her belly, dipped lower and kissed the top of her mound before nuzzling the lips of her sex. He pushed his tongue against her clit as he pushed two fingers into her. Hermione hitched her leg up on his left shoulder and writhed under his attention until her breathy little moans turned to begging. Harry pulled his fingers free and licked her from hole to clit.
Lingering over her clit, he hissed, “libita.”
“Oh fuck!” Hermione arched up off the floor and came. “Jesus… oh. God, Harry, what the…”
He laughed softly as he moved upward and covered her body with his own. “Parselmagic pleasure spells are the best.”
“Is that the best one you know,” she asked breathlessly as she pulled him close.
“Not even close,” Harry murmured. He kissed her carefully, rubbing his lips against hers before sliding his tongue into her mouth for a brief taste. He shifted on her, gave her a little of his weight, and slid one hand between them as he braced the other beside her head. “Are you sure? I won’t get upset if you’ve changed your mind.”
“I’m sure,” she said. She caressed the side of his face with her fingertips.
She sucked in a little breath as he pressed the head of his cock against her opening and spread her legs further in invitation. Harry sank into her with one steady push, watching her eyes widen and darken in response. He kissed her soft and quick as they settled into the cushioning charm.
“I love you,” Harry whispered fiercely against her jaw as he started to move. “You’re all I want, all I need.”
“Harry,” she shuddered and gold scales flicked out of her skin along the sides of her neck.
“Easy, baby,” Harry soothed. He rolled his hips and pressed deep into her—one stroke after another. “Don’t you dare shift on me.”
Hermione laughed a little and groaned. The fire leapt and intensified around them but remained essentially harmless. The little bit of heat she was throwing off wasn’t unwelcome. Her hands clenched on his back, short nails dug into his skin as magic shifted around them. He felt the first wave of communion coming and slowed his pace. She clenched around him and shivered as the wild magic enveloped them.
He pushed down his own magical response, because the last thing he needed to do was give into his own form. Pendragon stirred in him but didn’t try to emerge. Magic spun off them, the fire roared, and distantly he felt the wards of the ritual space flex. He was far too gone to do anything about it and was relieved when he felt Godric’s fire ward launch. Hermione’s surged up under him, her hand clenching on his skin as she wrapped her legs around his waist. She tightened around him with surprising strength and shuddered through an orgasm—more, he thought, a response to his magic than anything else.
Magic swirled above them and fell on them like rain as they moved together. He felt his own release building and pushed his magic into her just a little bit. She shivered, arched her back and trembled through another orgasm as he came. He buried his face against the side of her neck as he pressed into her one final time. Finally, he lifted his head and met her gaze. Her eyes were dark, wet with unshed tears, and her face was flushed.
“You okay,” he asked gently.
“Yes.” Hermione took a deep breath. “I… that was perfect.”
She shivered a little as magic streamed between them. The fire had banked and was little more than an inch in height over the floor of the ritual space. Harry kissed her mouth and relaxed against her slightly. She clenched around his half-hard cock, he hissed and lifted his head.
“Yeah, it was perfect,” he agreed.
She slid her hands down his back and let her legs fall from his waist. Hermione put her feet flat on the floor and sighed. “We almost broke the wards on your ritual room.”
Harry laughed softly and kissed her jaw. “Yeah, we did. A few members of my inner circle are here.”
“Oh.” She blushed furiously. “Are we in trouble?”
He snorted. “I’m a grown man, sweetheart. They’re probably just concerned and curious as to how I might have taxed the space magically. The wards are very strong.” He pulled free from her body and rolled to his side. “The spell will end in a few minutes.” Harry ran his hand down over her stomach and slid it between her legs. “Sore?”
“Let’s go with never,” Harry murmured. “Medeor.”
She shuddered and laughed a little. “Do you think it’s because I’m a snake?”
“That you find sexual pleasure in parselmagic?” Harry questioned.
“I think you’re uniquely sensitive to parselmagic but I don’t know if that is inherent to the coatl or just a quirk of your own magic. Either way, it’s a great deal of fun and nothing you should be ashamed of. You can’t help it.” He leaned in and kissed her mouth before sitting up. “Stay here. I’m going to use the rest of the communion magic to shore up the wards.”
Hermione just hummed as he stood and drew Nocturne from his bracelet. Harry gathered the magic still flowing around the circle, drew it into a tight ball of light and with a push of his magic, threw it out into the room at large. The wards lit up along the walls and pulsed with power before settling. He closed the ritual and his circle silently before stowing his staff. Then he summoned all of her clothes which he stored in his bracelet. He donned his robe but didn’t bother with fastening it before picking her up off the floor. The fire and cushioning charm winked away in an instant.
Hermione hummed under her breath and wrapped her arms around his neck. He apparated them directly to his bedroom and put her down on the bed. She curled on her side, her eyes flickering shut as he pulled his wand and cast a few cleaning charms on them both. He pulled the covers over her, stored his wand and walked into his closet. Harry shed the ritual robe and pulled on a pair of jeans. He grabbed a t-shirt and went off to face the music.
He found Thaddeus Banner, Castius, Armand, Master Ito and his father in the kitchen. Armand glared at him.
“What?” Harry asked.
Armand frowned and pointed to a chair in front of him. Harry took the seat and frowned right back at him. The older wizard huffed.
“You promised me two years ago that you would not perform advanced or taxing ritual magic by yourself,” Armand snapped. “What the fuck were you doing?”
Harry opened his mouth to answer the question, scrunched up his nose, and sat back in his chair. “Armand, I didn’t perform any sort of advanced ritual magic tonight. I bound a few elves to my House which you’ve watched me do before.”
“Yes,” Armand said. “Then you did something else and you sealed the space. Not even your father could break the seal you put on that door and you’ve never done that, lad.”
Harry glanced at his father and found Sirius looking pensive, upset. “Oh… well… what do you lot suppose I was up to?”
“We don’t know, my Lord,” Thaddeus said. “The seal you placed was very strong and you had to have been doing something fairly advanced to stress the wards like you did. You broke half the windows in this house.”
Harry ran a hand through his hair and sat back in his chair. “I performed a basic magical communion.”
“Bullshite,” Sirius said. “Look, Harry, I accept that you’re an adult but you bloody well almost fucking died and I’d appreciate some honesty right now.”
“Dad,” Harry stared at him, shocked. “I’ve never lied to you. Not even when it would have spared us both hurt. I cast my personal ritual circle and performed Magicae miscerique.”
“And?” Ito questioned, amusement evident on his face and in his voice.
Harry exhaled. “And had sex with Hermione on a bed of elemental fire.”
Sirius snorted. Armand burst out laughing.
“On a bed of elemental fire,” Thaddeus repeated. “Seriously?”
Harry blushed. “Shut up.”
“In that case, I’d like you to reconsider taking part in the renewal rituals for the Gryffindor Circle,” Armand said and stood. He held up a hand when Harry started to protest. “I realize you’re not ready to engage in any sort of sex magic with your Lady in front of an audience. You’re both young and you attach a great deal of emotional sentiment to sexual intercourse. But we can structure private rituals for the two of you and if tonight is any indication—the two of you would do well.”
Harry considered that. “I’ll ask her but it would have to be private and near the end of the renewal ceremonies. I don’t want her… exposed to anything left in the circle. Ritually, she’s very innocent and her craft is pure. I’d prefer it stay that way. I’ll never be Light again and I accept that but she is. Her magic is the purest I’ve ever touched and I don’t want her tainted by Tom Riddle or the darkness he left in his wake.”
“We’ll do the renewals in stages and I don’t disagree,” Armand said. “About your witch and her craft—her magic is pure and breathtaking. She brought us all to our knees in more than one way.” He paused and frowned. “Sorry for… jumping to conclusions.”
“It’s fine—it isn’t like any of you had any sort of reference to what it would be like ritually for me… to… you know.”
“If you can’t say it, lad, you’ve got no business doing it,” Sirius said and tried to look firm but his mouth was quirking up in a grin.
“Am I ever going to live this down?” Harry asked with a sigh.
“You shook the entire house, busted twenty-two windows, and severely taxed multi-layered protection wards with ritual sex,” Castius said. “No, you’re not ever living this down.”
“No, really,” Thaddeus interrupted. “A bed of elemental fire?”
– – – –
Sirius watched as the middle child of the Weasley family was all but dragged into the interrogation room he’d made himself comfortable in. John Dawlish shoved the red head into a chair and used his wand to lock the cuffs into the table to prevent his prisoner from moving. He was really regretting the large breakfast he’d had with everyone. The food was settling on his stomach like lead.
Sirius relaxed back in his chair and stared at him. “You’ve broken your father’s heart and your mother is… in St. Mungo’s. They aren’t sure if she’s ever going to recover, honestly. When she found out the scope of your crimes—she had a bit of a mental break down and if your brother Bill hadn’t subdued her she would have fractured her core due to magical upheaval. Do you have any idea how emotionally compromised an adult would have to become to cause upheaval in their core?”
Percy glared at him and turned his head.
“Of course, your sister is insane but you knew that already. The charms you had on her—helping her maintain a veneer of sanity fell apart the morning she tried to murder Hermione McGonagall. I have to wonder if you ever considered the ramifications of using your sister to further your cause. She was already fragile—broken—from being possessed by Tom Riddle. She’s frankly so fucked up that there is no hope for her. They’ve bound her magic as a precaution, of course, but she’ll never be released from St. Mungo’s. Your brothers want the DMLE to release you into their custody so they can murder you.” Sirius paused when Percy flinched for the first time during his narrative.
“Fear that, do you?” Sirius nodded. “You should. Bill could cheerfully skin you alive. Even young Ronald, for all of his faults is horrified by your actions and furious. Of course, he has no clue that he’s next on Director Bones’ list to be interrogated. The only person who’s really going to be spared on that front is your mother—since she isn’t currently capable of speaking.”
“Did you just come here to gloat?” Percy suddenly burst out. “Sitting there in a bloody cloak that cost more than my entire wardrobe?”
Sirius frowned at him. “Is that the important part? How much my winter cloak cost? No concern for your parents? Aren’t you at all worried about how your family is going to be impacted by your crimes? You’ve driven your sister insane. Granted, she was on the train to Crazy Town already after what happened with that diary when she was eleven. You manipulated a child—ruined her life and her mind for your own gain, Mr. Weasley. You’ve tainted your family’s good name for decades. The world over will know what you’ve done and what you wanted to do. Your fellow conspirators are being hunted down as we sit here. We already have Tobias Savage in custody and he’s confessed to a multitude of crimes against Magic. He’s broken international law left, right and center for decades. The ICW is probably going to insist on his execution. Everyone’s on the fence about you though… I mean, you’re dark as fuck, of course.”
“We should’ve killed you when we had the chance,” Percy hissed. “You and your bastard son.”
“More powerful wizards than you have tried and failed,” Sirius said. “The fact is that you’ve rarely made a move I wasn’t completely aware of since I became Minister.” He watched Percy pale. “If you think my people have finished questioning you… you’re very much mistaken. You’re going to be charged with conspiracy to commit murder for a start. Other charges are pending, depending on your involvement in the ritual that restored your sister’s magic.” He smirked when Percy’s mouth dropped open. “Yeah, we know about that, too.” He stood up and checked his watch. “You’ll have to excuse me, I have a meeting at the bank this morning and you’re going to be transferred to a secure cell at Azkaban while you wait for trial.”
– – – –
“No.” Harry took a deep breath. “Not at all. It’s sooner than we expected to do it but I can’t see a different path for myself right now. Not one that would protect her and that must be the principal concern of the House of Potter.”
Sirius nodded. “Yes.”
“But it might make things difficult for us—politically.” Harry turned to look at is Dad at that point. “There are concerns the Horde has that you’ve never agreed with.”
“This is true but we’ve been a united front for a very long time, Harry. It will remain so as far as I’m concerned. I can and will adapt. The Horde will do more to protect you and our family in the years to come than either of us would be able to do on our own.” Sirius cleared his throat. “I’d have liked you to be older before you took on this responsibility. I don’t think James ever considered it.”
“No, he told me as much when I was…” Harry jerked his head upward and shrugged. “Mostly dead.”
Sirius exhaled sharply. “Let’s not… you know… ever talk about that part again. The part about you being mostly dead. I’m glad you got to speak with James and Lily though—really glad.”
Harry nodded. “It was nice. Weird but nice. I never expected it.” He checked his watch and sighed. “I’m going to have to explain this to Hermione before it takes place. She’s in my office.” He motioned towards the door that lead out of the Chieftain’s space.
“I’d tell you to down play the ramifications but you’ll just pay for that later,” Sirius said. “And I’m sorry about last night… about thinking you were lying to me.”
“It is not,” Sirius said. “Because you were right—you’ve never lied to me not even when I wish you would and I apologize.”
“Okay, then I accept,” Harry exhaled sharply. “I should go talk to her about what’s about to happen.”
– – – –
She was sitting at his desk, a large book spread out in front of her. Inari was perched on her shoulder, staring intently at the book as if she were reading to. It was entirely likely that the dragon-snake was. Their bond was nearly mature and the Ryūda would’ve started to pick up abilities and knowledge due to the magical exchange between them.
Hermione looked up and her eyes lit with happiness but then narrowed as she took in his state of dress. “What’s going on? Why are you dressed for a duel?”
Harry motioned towards a sofa near the back of the room next to an empty fireplace. “Let’s sit here together for a bit. I have a story to tell you.”
Hermione closed the book and stood. “Is it going to be an upsetting story? Because I’ve had a lot of upset lately and I’m sort of the opinion that I shouldn’t have to put up with anything else stupid until after Yule.”
He grinned at her. “It’s an interesting story.”
Inari hopped off her shoulder as she sat down and darted down her leg towards the fireplace. She prowled around in the ashes of a long dead fire and hissed nonsense. Harry obligingly drew his wand and started a fire. He stowed his wand and focused on Hermione who was staring at him with concern she couldn’t hide.
“When I was five years old, I met the Chieftain of the Horde. He came to Paris and requested that my Dad bring me to the bank. I’d never met a goblin in my life at that point. In fact, after I left the St. Joan’s in Paris, I was rarely allowed out of the townhouse we have there. Sometimes my Dad would take me to a cottage that my grandparents owned so I could be outside and ride a broom. Going to the bank in Paris was just about the most exciting thing I’d ever been allowed to do.”
“I bet.” Hermione slid her hand into his and squeezed his fingers gently. “What did he want?”
“To apologize and to offer the House of Potter a wergild.”
“For the wards that hid you from your dad and Star. You mentioned that once before.”
“Right,” Harry agreed. “The wergild was pretty extensive because my death would’ve caused the extinction of my ancient and noble house. What do you know about the Potter family?”
“I read Potter Redoubt,” Hermione said. “You descend from Godric Gryffindor through his daughter Matilda who married Ignotus Peverell. The title went to her oldest son and it passed for several generations through that family until that line fell to a daughter—Amelia who married Joseph Potter. Her husband claimed the title through ritual and was deemed worthy to carry the legacy of Gryffindor.” She bit down on her lip. “There are other legends, of course, about Avalon and King Arthur. Some say that the House of Potter through the Gryffindor line is the last surviving house of Avalon.” She took a deep breath. “Is that true, Harry?”
“Yes and no,” Harry admitted. “The House of Potter is the last surviving house of Avalon but it’s not through Godric Gryffindor. In fact, it only became so when my mother gave birth and a magical legacy thought long dead settled on her son. While the goblins have been able to determine that the Potter family magic absorbed the last of Avalon’s magic left in the world at my birth—we are unable to determine from whom my mother descended. Too much time has passed and not even magic can tell us. Arthur was not magical but many of the men who served at his table were. The goblins take such things very seriously no matter how ambiguous the connection truly is.”
“Okay, that’s pretty interesting but that doesn’t…” She frowned and her eyes hardened. “What are they going to ask you to do, Harry?”
“When I was five,” Harry began, “I was offered a special place among the Horde. In fact, I was offered something that hadn’t been offered to a wizard since the time of Godric Gryffindor.”
Her mouth dropped open. “But… that’s… Harry. You’re too young for this. Don’t you have enough pressure you on already without adding the duties of the Patron of the Horde?”
“Love,” Harry said and sighed. “It’s already done. It’s been done for more than a decade—before you were even a day dream for me and it can’t be undone at this point.”
“You were five,” Hermione snapped. “How can they hold you responsible for such an agreement? How dare your father even allow it?” She started to stand up but Harry tugged gently on her hand to keep her in place.
“I made a pact with the Horde to defeat Tom Riddle,” Harry said. “They helped me hunt down the pieces of his soul and destroy them before he could be resurrected. They helped me in that final moment when I ritually excised him from this world completely. The entire Horde stood with me that night, Hermione, and I used their collective magic in a ritual that took two days to actually complete. They made huge sacrifices on behalf of my magical house and our world to make amends for what they did. Had he returned, they would’ve gone to war with me.” She paled at the implications of that. “And in return for their dedication and work on behalf of my House, I agreed to become their Patron.”
“Why now?” Hermione asked softly. “Why not after Hogwarts or after we marry? Why now?”
“The ICW has put my House in a difficult position,” Harry said plainly.
“Because of me,” Hermione whispered.
“You are my soulmate and my Lady. In the eyes of Magic, you are the Lady Potter, Hermione. Any ceremony we have in the future will be just a mere formality as far as the goblins are concerned. The marriage contract is a legality to them. It is my duty to you and to my House to stand between you and any threat—no matter who or what it might be. I need to take steps that will make anyone think two or three times before they try to take you from me.”
“You were going to wait… right?”
“Yeah, we’d planned to do it after my NEWTs but before you and I legally married,” Harry admitted. “But now we must take a different path. I am not unprepared for this. I’ve known it was coming since I was five.”
“Okay,” Hermione murmured and took a deep breath. “Right.” She released his hand and stood. “Star.”
Star appeared immediately and offered Hermione a warm, genuine smile. “Lady Potter.”
Hermione nodded. “Please bring my dueling robes, the Earl of Gryffindor will be doing something foolish today and I’ll be a witness.”
“You don’t have to witness it,” Harry protested.
“Oh, shut up, you git!” Hermione huffed and crossed her arms as Star disappeared with a little laugh.
“Don’t be mad at me,” Harry implored.
“I’m not mad.” Hermione bit down on her bottom lip. “Honestly, Harry, it would be nice if sometimes you were just this normal, everyday wizard I met in a bookshop.”
“You’re practically the only witch anywhere near our age who’d ever wish I was just some normal bloke. It’s going to sound fairly arrogant and vain but there are witches who’d do quite a bit to take your place.”
Hermione shot him a look. “Yes, including murder. I’m aware and I love you despite your fame and money and magical power. I really do but being famous is overrated.”
“I agree. It’s like I made a deal with the public when I was fifteen months old where I sacrificed my privacy to be the Boy-Who-Lived and that’s just obscene. My dad did what he could to minimize it but the Ministry did the exact opposite and made a spectacle of me, my name, and my magical legacy at every single opportunity.” Star returned with the small trunk that housed Hermione’s dueling robes and Harry took it from his head house elf with a small smile. “I’ll help her put everything on.”
Star snorted. “You be more experienced in taking her clothes off than putting on.” She popped away before either had time to respond.
Hermione laughed a little. “She has a point.”
Harry put the trunk on his desk and grinned. “Yes, well, I’m happy to do either.”
– – – –
She’d refused to be parted from him and he realized rather quickly that not a single goblin was interested in trying to get her to take a seat in the audience. The members of the ICW still in Britain were invited to witness it. So most of them were in the audience. The press was out in full force but Harry found it was easy to ignore the cameras. He squeezed her hand gently as they paused in the entry way of the arena and she came face to face with Horde. Very few humans had ever seen so many goblins at once in the same place, at least not in the modern era. The larger warrior classes hadn’t been seen in public in decades as they lived and trained in the goblin realm exclusively. Hermione took a deep breath and nodded.
The audience stilled as they stepped fully into the arena. He kept his pace measured to allow her to walk with him without rushing. They reached the dais quickly enough and the Chieftain of the Horde beckoned them forward. He stepped up first then turned and pulled her up with him.
“Lord Potter,” Ragnok began, “introduce your wife, by the will of Lady Magic, to the Horde.”
Harry paused briefly. It was unexpected but not an unpleasant development. It certainly explained why no one had protested her staying at his side as they’d moved toward the arena. With their magical bond complete, she was his wife as far as the Horde was concerned.
“It is my honor to present the Countess of Gryffindor, Hermione Isobel Potter née McGonagall.”
Ragnok nodded. “The Horde welcomes the Lord and Lady Potter to the Hall of Mages.” He raised one hand and every goblin in the room stood. “Make your oath, Lord Potter.”
Harry moved to forward to take the Chieftain’s hands and all hell broke loose. A group of goblins sitting near the front of the room and just to their left shouted in protest, drew weapons, and charged forward. Hermione darted forward, caught up the fairly small, unarmed goblin king and threw her battle robe around them both. Harry shifted into his dragon form in the blink of an eye. The carnage he wrought in the defense of his Lady and the Chieftain of the Horde would become legend among the magical creatures of the world.
He tore several of the larger, warrior class goblins to pieces, tossed many across the arena by whipping his tail through the air. Spell fire bounced off him—bludgers, plus more than one cutting curse. Goblins were adept at handling dragons but they had no defense against a dragon who was magically protected from the very curses, spells, and charms they’d designed to contain a one ton killing machine. Thirty of the fifty-two goblins who protested died before the guards could subdue to the group.
Harry gained his feet as a wizard as the last of them was dispatched by a furious Razel. Sword dripping with blood, he stalked onto the large round dais that was his father’s domain in the Hall of Mages.
“Well met, Lord Potter.”
Harry made a face. “I don’t mean to be rude but goblins taste like shite.” The complete silence that followed that statement was broken by a soft groan. Harry turned and rushed to where Hermione had retreated with Ragnok. “Mi?”
The hide of her robe looked rough in several places, indication that she’d taken spell fire but it wasn’t pierced. Hermione shifted and with a hissed breath pulled the garment free of the Chieftain.
Ragnok huffed. “I don’t appreciate being manhandled, young lady.”
“It is the magical duty of the House of Potter to defend your life,” Hermione responded tartly as she stood. “Suck it up.”
Harry pulled her close. “You okay?”
“Fine, I think I have a few bruises. We got hit by a bludger or two.” She frowned at the still put upon Chieftain. “Well, I got hit with a bludger.”
Ragnok straightened his waist coat with a huff. “Three, actually. You’re quite sturdy… for a little witch.”
“I’m twice your size,” Hermione protested.
“I’m perfectly normal for my species and class,” Ragnok said peevishly. “You’re quite small for yours.”
Hermione scrunched up her nose and frowned at the Chieftain before turning to Harry. “Well, don’t we have some ceremony to get on with?”
Harry opened his mouth, shut it, took in the bloody mess around them and turned to Ragnok. He offered the goblin his hands and Ragnok took them with a grin as Harry knelt on one knee.
“I, Harry James Potter, the Earl of Gryffindor, do swear upon the honor of my magical house to bear allegiance to the Horde in times of war and peace. The Horde’s concerns are my concerns. The Horde’s battles are my battles. I will faithfully serve as the Patron of the Horde until I draw my last breath and consider it my duty to sire a son to take up this mantle upon my death.”
“On behalf of the Horde, I, War Chieftain Ragnok, son of Marlore, swear upon the honor and magic of my great nation to honor the faith and loyalty of the Earl of Gryffindor. May he and all those he claims as family seek shelter and sanctuary with the Horde in their time of need. The Horde shall stand with the House of Potter in times of war and peace. The Earl of Gryffindor’s concerns are our concerns. The Earl of Gryffindor’s battles are our battles. Let it be known to the world that we stand together and may our Lady Magic have mercy on our enemies.”
“So mote it be,” the Horde shouted.
– – – –
Minerva blinked in surprise and huffed at the state of her daughter—half undressed and sitting on a large oak desk in front of Harry Potter. “Seriously?”
Harry looked up and lifted an eyebrow. Hermione turned and Minerva spotted the large bruise covering most of her back. “Of course not, Aunt Min, I have no control over the wards in this office and I’m a gentlemen.”
She sighed as Hermione picked up her discarded blouse and covered her breasts with it. “Is anything broken?”
“No,” Harry said shortly. “But one of her kidneys is bruised. I’ve performed a pain relief charm. A goblin cast bludger is nothing to dismiss but her armor did its job. Without it—it would’ve probably broke most of her ribs on her right side. I apologize, however, I had no idea my placement as Patron would be protested.”
Ragnok entered the room from a door near the back with a small trunk in hand. “I can bring in one of our healers, Harry.”
“No, I prefer to do it myself,” Harry said quietly. He took the trunk, placed it on the desk, and opened it as there was a sharp knock on the door. “That’ll be my Dad.”
Minerva turned and opened the door to allow Sirius Black in. She held up a hand at the rest of his entourage. “My daughter was injured and is in a state of undress. No one but family is allowed in this room.” She shut the door in Kingsley Shacklebolt’s face.
Sirius winced at the state of Hermione’s back then focused on Harry. “Goblins taste like shite?”
Harry shuddered. “You have no idea. It’s probably put me off eating in my form for eternity.” He pulled out his black wand and placed it on the desk before focusing on Hermione who was a bit drunk on parselmagic if he was going to be honest. “Okay, you ready?”
Hermione blushed and shook her head. “I…” She bit down on her lip and leaned in close. She pressed her mouth against his jaw then whispered in his ear. “What if I come?”
Harry laughed before he could help himself and kissed her temple. “Right.” He cleared his throat. “I’m going to cast a privacy charm, I’d ask the three of you not to breach it.” He performed the charm with a slash of is wand and the rest of the room faded away from them. “It’s the most I can do within the bank.”
“Thank you.” She put the shirt aside and took a deep breath. “I thought you’d cast the chastity charm.”
“I’d prefer not to do that to you unless we’re in a ritual situation,” Harry admitted. “It’s a good charm for that and doesn’t have any side of effects but I don’t really like the idea of subjugating your sexual response to me. It feels ugly, wrong in normal circumstances.”
She nodded. “I understand.”
“Good, okay, after I finish the healing spell, you’re going to take a nutrient potion and a restorative to make sure your kidney function returns to normal as quickly as it can. The injury isn’t significant but I’d rather not take any chances on this front. In a Muggle hospital, you’d likely be allowed to heal on your own with some pain management but your movement would be limited for days. That sort of weakness in the magical world could interfere with your ability to cast and defend yourself.”
“I can handle it,” Hermione said.
“I’m sorry you were hurt,” Harry murmured as he began to cast. Magic flowed out of his wand in a stream of purple. “I had no idea… really… that the situation would take a turn like that. I’ve never had a single goblin react violently to me. Though the clans in France and Britain are more familiar with me—I just didn’t expect it.”
“I don’t think it was about you but about the Chieftain himself,” Hermione said and relaxed fully as he worked. “That’s so much better. You’re really talented as a healer, you know.”
“In another less complicated life,” Harry began, “I’d have been content to practice as a healer. I find it to be very satisfying work.” He ended the healing spell and cast a diagnostic and grimaced. “Let me get your mother.”
“I’ve negated some of her spells by accident. I don’t want her to think I’m circumventing her parental authority.” He stepped back from her and out of the privacy sphere he’d created. “Aunt Min, I need you for a minute.”
Minerva stepped away from the conversation she was having with Sirius and stepped into the privacy spell. “Is something wrong?”
“Parselmagic healing is… encompassing. While it can be directed and channeled into certain areas—it will also bleed out and seek to correct issues it finds,” Harry flushed. “I negated her birth control charm and a recently placed location charm.”
Minerva frowned. “I haven’t put a tracking charm on her, Harry.”
Harry’s gaze narrowed. He picked up her blouse and helped her put it on. His fingers trembled slightly as fury boiled in his gut. She let him fumble with the buttons briefly before taking over the job herself. “I shouldn’t have allowed them to separate us before the hearing. Who did you have contact with?”
Hermione frowned. “I…” Her eyes dampened. “They put me in a small waiting room and I waited for a few minutes… maybe five? Then I was escorted into the hearing.”
“Sweetheart,” Harry said soft and shocked. “You were in that waiting room for nearly thirty minutes.” He ended the privacy spell with a push of his magic and picked Hermione up off the desk. “Ragnok, I need my ritual space opened and prepared. Immediately.”
“Is she more injured than you thought?” Ragnok demanded as Harry started towards the door.
“No, someone unknown has cast on her. I need to know who and what they did.”
Sirius opened the office door and they were treated to a crowd of people. They parted quickly enough and Harry wasn’t surprised find Hiro Ito among them. The news of the very tiny goblin rebellion had probably spread far and wide.
“Master Ito, I’m calling forth my inner circle in a moment if you would help me prepare the ritual circle for a spell reveal, I’d be grateful.”
“Of course, Harry,” Ito said and moved out ahead of him and the crowd to enter the ritual space first.
Hermione’s fingers clenched on his neck as he paused and waited for the altar to rise completely out of the floor. “I’ve been memory charmed.”
“Yes, it’s likely. The wards on the waiting room would’ve circumvented your mother’s protections on that front. She had no way of knowing.” He put her down on the altar. “But memory charms don’t erase the memory from your mind—it just hides it. I can and will restore what was taken from you and whoever did it is going to seriously regret it.” He helped her lay down. “Now, I need you to stay still for me. I’d rather not spell you into place but I can if you think you need it. The magic is going to be intense.”
“No, I can stay still but I think… well, I think you should do the chastity charm.”
He nodded and pressed a kiss against her forehead before drawing his wand and casting the charm with a low hiss. Harry went to his place in the ritual circle and called his inner circle as runes on the floor lit all around him. Since nearly all of them were in the bank, they assembled in less than ten minutes. The High Warlock of a conclave had a unique power over the other members of the conclave—a power that Harry rarely exercised. He’d done it with the Dementors, at Hogwarts, calling them into place and using their magic to perform a ritual without discussion. He was going to do it again and they all seemed to realize that as they took their places without a word and prepared their minds for what was to come.
He called forth the ritual circle with a rush of magic as he drew his staff. Runes formed in the air and spun out around them in response to his magic. “Ob eamque rem revelare.” Spell after spell appeared above Hermione as he worked—revealing years of spell work.
“Results?” Minerva McGonagall demanded.
Harry didn’t look her way but cleared his throat to respond. “Memory charm and a basic healing spell at five. That same combination again at eight—very standard work for accidental magic.” He unfolded the memories and settled them carefully in her mind. Both were very brief and had been skillfully done. “Sleep and healing charms at eleven—ah, the troll incident? It has Poppy’s magical signature.”
“Yes, she twisted her ankle trying to run from the troll.”
“Another set of healing spells when she was twelve. Muscle strain and a concussion.”
“Yes, Weasley didn’t do well in my chess game,” Minerva said. “Hermione paid the price for his miscalculation. Thankfully, he couldn’t go any further without her and had to wait for her to wake up before they could continue. It gave Albus time to stop them from meeting Voldemort.”
Harry took a deep breath. It was another reason enough to kill Ron Weasley to be perfectly honest. He still wasn’t sure he was on board with his mother’s plan for the Weasley family. He focused on the task at hand and dismissed that crap from his mind for the moment. “The memory suppression charm I placed on her in the Chamber of Secrets. Several mental health shoring charms placed by Star. Standard feminine health spells, a chain of notification and family spells cast by you shortly after her adoption. You’ll have to recast most of them.”
“Just remove them, lad, and I’ll start over entirely,” Minerva instructed tersely.
Harry nodded and dismantled each charm individually. He paused at the next set and shot Ito a small glare when the old man laughed a little. “The discretion ward and a few sexual pleasure spells I’d rather not discuss.”
“As long as they’re all yours,” Minerva said dryly.
“Yes, ma’am, they are,” Harry said. “A healing spell, parselmagic… cast by Master Ito.”
“I healed her the night of the duel,” Hiro explained.
“I see some potion work and a few cleansing spells—very recent and self-cast. Probably in relation to her preparation for the ritual.” He paused. “There it is. She was stunned, bound, revived, there was an attempt at Legilimency which failed, and finally a memory charm. I’m going to harvest the magical signature but I can tell you right now that it was a woman.” Ragnok stepped into the magical space and held out a dark glass orb. Harry guided a piece of writhing magic into it for analysis. “The memory charm is expertly done, I’m not at all surprised she didn’t miss any time or realize she’d been charmed. I doubt I would notice it myself without an extensive meditation session.” He unfolded the memory carefully, closed the ritual with a low hiss and waited.
Hermione sucked in a deep breath and rolled off the altar as her magic started to drift over her skin.
“It is my duty to point out that I owe you a personal debt, Lady Potter.”
Hermione turned and focused on Ragnok, her gaze narrowing slightly as gold flames danced on her skin. “Alecto Carrow, Lissette Chang, and Cho Chang.”
“As any one of the bludgers you took in my defense could’ve killed me—and you took three—I consider it the duty of the Horde to bring these three witches to justice for their crimes against you,” Ragnok agreed.
Hermione turned to Harry. “You can break the memory charms on Cho that Alecto Carrow cast.”
“Yes, but there are laws that protect her from being a part of ritual magic against her will, no matter her suspected crimes,” Harry explained.
“Yes, laws made for and by wizards in Britain,” Hermione agreed. She lifted her chin. “But you’re no longer just a wizard and when she’s caught—she’ll face goblin justice. As their Patron, it is your duty to render them assistance in any way you can and the Horde has sovereignty on their land as per the Treat of 1437 between the Goblin Horde and the International Confederation of Wizards.”
Harry grinned. “My love for you is transcendental.”
“I’m feeling pretty great about her, too,” Ragnok admitted.
– – – –
Entering Gryffindor Tower on Sunday afternoon proved to be quite daunting. Her fingers tightened in his as she gave the password for the portrait. Faye and Neville were seated on one of the sofas by the fire and noticed them first. Astoria Greengrass noticed second and her excited squeak alerted everyone else. The first year darted across the room and practically threw herself at Harry who caught her easily. As ice breakers went, it was a good one as her easy acceptance of their return boded well for the rest of their house with a few minor exceptions. Ron merely glared at them and left the common room in favor of his dorm room.
“You’re okay?” Astoria demanded.
“I’m great,” Harry promised and set her down after she kissed his cheek firmly. “Seriously.”
Neville appeared in front of them at that point and sighed. “Honestly, Harry, I was sort of regretting you not being here first year but upon reflection… I’m not sure the rest of us could have survived the drama.”
Hermione’s startled laughter set the rest of the tower off and Harry just rolled his eyes at his godbrother.