Reading Time: 42 Minutes
Title: Hermione’s Discretion
Author: Keira Marcos
Beta: Ladyholder & Chris King
Series: Harry Potter & the Soulmate Bond
Fandom: Harry Potter
Word Count: 10,407
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.
Hermione rather hated Quidditch. It was well known, in fact, that she had absolutely nothing good to say about it in the past. But, come to find out Harry was quite fit in his Quidditch robes. The stands were full to overflowing and she was tucked in between her mother and his Dad. No one had been at all surprised when Lord Black had shown up for the game. It was Ravenclaw vs. Gryffindor so they were expecting a long game. Traditionally, the average game between the two houses lasted three hours.
Harry was rather lovely on a broom—strong, talented, and so on task that it was breathtaking. He was also every bit the nightmare she’d already claimed he was. Cho Chang, the Seeker for Ravenclaw, had no hope of keeping up with him but she was certainly trying. She was also doing a stupid amount of pathetic flirting. It would have been infuriating if it hadn’t been so pitiable.
Lee Jordan was being himself, only more since he had a bigger audience and was no longer a student at the school. He’d apparently wormed his way onto the Wizarding Wireless over the summer and talked the Headmaster into broadcasting Hogwarts games. Her mother yelled at him six times ten minutes into the game and after a while, Hermione started taking turns with her. The real problem was, of course, when she realized that Harry wasn’t just playing Seeker. He was playing an aggressive Seeker. He ran interference for the Gryffindor Chasers, disrupted the Beaters on the Ravenclaw team to such a degree they watched him more than the Gryffindor Chasers—the score was quickly over a hundred points in Gryffindor’s favor.
“Does he get this from you?” Hermione demanded and poked the Minister for Magic with outrage. “Look at him!”
Sirius laughed and threw an arm around her. “Relax.”
By the end of the second hour of the game, Hermione had managed to chew her thumbnail to the quick and Rowena was glowing around her neck with a dull red fire. She’d known before the game that his father was going to be there and with the press, so she’d dressed with care. She didn’t want to embarrass either one of them by looking like a mess at an event. She had no idea how many pictures of her had been taken but she’d worked extremely hard to keep from looking completely horrified the whole time Harry was flying around the pitch like a mad man.
Two hours and twenty minutes into the game, Lee Jordan’s speculation that Harry had spotted the snitch bore fruit in an exciting little race around the pitch that cumulated in Harry catching the snitch and causing Cho to crash into the stands in her attempts to follow him. Hermione barely refrained from bursting out laughing. Gryffindor won the game 450 to 80 so she did allow herself to clap very enthusiastically.
She couldn’t imagine the party that was going to result from this win. Gryffindor was known for partying very hard when they won a game. The entire house had been gearing up for the game since Wednesday. She checked her watch as she left the stands; Fay and Neville were probably finished with their dinner at this point. It was difficult having friends—because she found herself quite worried about Fay and Neville both. Colin Creevey, part of the reserve team, had taken Neville’s place in the game and had done admirably well. Though, she’d heard more than one person in the crowd say that they felt Seamus and Neville had better teamwork.
A hand wrapped briefly around her elbow and she felt it—the ward shifting inside her and responding. She was ripped free of the person who grabbed her arm and turned just in time to see Viktor Krum thrown a few feet away. He hit the ground with a thud. Everyone around them stilled and Hermione took a deep breath as an auror and Sirius Black approached her at a fast pace. The young woman was familiar to Hermione since she was only a couple of years out of Hogwarts.
Nymphadora Tonks looked grimly between her and Krum, who was picking himself up off the ground. “What just happened?”
“Viktor touched me,” Hermione said. “Grabbed my arm and he set off my personal protection ward.”
“Your personal protection ward,” Tonks repeated.
Hermione took a deep breath as she saw her mother hurrying toward her and Harry was with her. “I have a personal ward designed to protect me from unwanted physical contact.”
“Mi, are you okay?” Harry asked as soon as he reached her.
“Viktor set off the ward,” Hermione said and moved as close to him as she could. She relaxed against him as he wrapped an arm around her.
Harry eyed the obviously furious Bulgarian with dark, violet eyes, his aura drifted visibly over his skin and the crowd started to back away from them.
“Calm down, son,” Sirius said and put a hand on his arm. “What ward is Hermione talking about?”
“I put the Discretion Ward on her,” Harry said bluntly. “The one the conclave has been developing. She’s our test case.”
“What does the ward do?” Tonks asked as she pulled out a notebook.
“It insures that no one touches her against her will,” Harry paused. “Sexually. The more violent the offender’s intention—the more violently he will be repelled.”
“You warded your girlfriend so other wizards couldn’t touch her,” Tonks asked flabbergasted.
“No, I warded her so that no one can touch her with sexual intent without permission. I’m not exempt, Nym. You can verify that with Healer Dyson at St. Mungo’s. The ward is partially his design.”
“I’ve been attacked, without cause, and I demand…” Viktor began but trailed off in the shock of having more than one wand drawn on him. Half the students at Hogwarts had a wand pointed at him, including all of the first years who had attended the game.
Sirius snorted in amusement. “Right, then, perhaps we can take this somewhere more private and discuss it? Minerva?” He only sighed when Radko Krum muscled through the crowd to his son’s side. “Radko, I hadn’t been informed you were in the country,” he said pleasantly to the Bulgarian Ambassador.
“I’m here on personal business,” Radko said and glared pointedly at Minerva who merely raised one eyebrow at him insolently.
They ended up in the infirmary since Viktor had several broken fingers from his landing. Madam Pomfrey set them and offered him some Skele-gro to take with him when he left. She made it clear she wasn’t willing to host him while the bones mended themselves. The Director of DMLE had forced her way into the meeting and with her had come the Head Auror.
The situation was rather mortifying. Hermione endured the diagnostic performed by Madam Pomfrey who could see the ward but couldn’t tell anyone what it did and then two different parselmouths—one employed by the DMLE and Healer Dyson from St. Mungo’s. The one with the DMLE had hesitated briefly before casting his own diagnostic. She also noted that his magic was less controlled and Rowena flared with fire around her neck as he abruptly withdrew. The snake spit and hissed at him and the man took several steps back with his hands out in a gesture of peace.
Harry pulled the snake from Hermione’s neck with a rueful glance in the man’s direction. “Rowena, hush, you know he’s doing his job.” He bit down his lip and coughed when she continued to hiss and spit. “My apologies, Auror Banks. She finds it quite insult to encounter a speaker who actually fears snakes.”
Banks flushed. “I was bitten as a child. I wouldn’t have developed my abilities at all if there hadn’t been a pay incentive.”
“You might consider a mind healer,” Harry said dryly. “You’re really limiting yourself and honestly, you’re depriving yourself and your magic of a very unique and rewarding part of our nature.”
“I’ll think about it,” Banks said neutrally and turned to his boss. “It’s an intent ward. A very powerful intent ward designed to limit physical contact based on Miss McGonagall’s conscious and subconscious desires. It is scaled to respond to the intent of the offender. The more violent potential the offender has—the more violently the ward will repel them. In some cases, it could prove to be fatal though an attacker would be sufficiently warned in advance. It is quite literally the most fascinating magic I’ve ever encountered in my life—parsel or not. I recommend every female auror in the department get whatever version of the ward can be placed on them as soon as possible.”
“What do you mean by whatever version?” Amelia asked.
“Miss McGonagall has a large magical core. The ward is anchored intimately with her core so her own magic feeds it. I doubt most magicals, male or female, could handle the ward that was placed on her. It is a layered and complicated ward—it even has notification elements that will warn her when she’s in the presence of a physical threat.”
“And the ward’s reaction to Viktor Krum?” Sirius asked.
“We all know he’s a rapist, sir,” Banks said bluntly and sent the Bulgarian a dark look. “He used diplomatic immunity and his father’s gold to escape punishment at the World Cup last year.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Radko said coolly. “Lord Potter placed this ward on this young woman?”
“Yes,” Banks said. “And it can’t be lifted without a full conclave of parselmouths. It is a brilliant solution. I’ll be seeking to see every witch in my family warded as soon as it is available to the public.”
“Obviously the ward is malfunctioning; my son meant Miss McGonagall no harm. I insist you remove it!”
Banks’ eyes went wide and he stowed his wand with a flick of his fingers. “You’re frankly out of your bleeding mind. I’d cut off my own arm before I’d cast anything more strenuous than stunner in that young woman’s general direction.” He turned to Bones. “Ma’am, as outlined in my new employment contract—I request to be released from this investigation. I was very clear about this.”
Bones looked from her employee to Harry Potter. Her gaze flicked to Dyson. “Dyson, do you need to leave, too?”
Dyson shook his head and grinned. “No, ma’am.”
“Very well, Auror Banks, you’re dismissed,” Amelia said nothing as the young parselmouth all but darted from the room. She focused on Dyson. “Do you think the ward is malfunctioning?”
“I know it didn’t malfunction,” Dyson said. “It’s proven, however, to be an excellent demonstration on how well the ward will work in protecting witches from unwanted attention.”
“Just witches?” Tonks asked. “Wizards are vulnerable to sex crimes as well.”
“It was designed for witches,” Dyson admitted. “We have been researching the matter for wizards. Female parselmouths are rare, you see.”
“I don’t follow,” Amelia Bones admitted.
Harry cleared his throat. “I could, in theory, place the ward on thousands of witches but I’ve failed repeatedly in placing it on a wizard both on my own and in ritual. We’ve come to believe that it’s a matter of the innate differences in witchcraft and wizardry.”
“This ward must be malfunctioning!” Radko protested. “Viktor and Miss McGonagall are old intimate friends. We are, in fact, here to discuss a marriage contract offer with her mother.”
Amelia Bones blew out a surprised exhale. “Dyson, Shacklebolt—I believe we are done here. This is a family matter.”
Hermione stood up from her place on the infirmary bed and walked to stand with Harry as everyone else left. Her mother was practically vibrating with fury but both Lord Black and Harry had gone cool and silent. The Headmaster had stayed as well, silent and watchful throughout the entire situation so far. Harry leaned against the window and regarded Viktor with hard green eyes. They were about the same height, though Viktor had at least two stone on him weight.
“You played a good game, Potter.”
Harry raised one eyebrow at him. “Your less than stellar performance at the World Cup cost me 15 galleons a couple of years back.” He casually took Hermione’s hand.
Viktor’s gaze narrowed. “I won’t tolerate you standing in my way.”
“The choice is, as always, hers. I made sure of that and it’ll take a far better wizard than you to do anything about that. The ward is extremely intelligent—not even consent through the Imperious would be possible. More so, it would outright kill a non-parselmouth who tried to break it.”
Viktor glared at him. “My intentions towards Hermione are honorable. I have never harmed her; never intended her harm.”
“I don’t believe you,” Harry said lowly. “I heard you raped that little girl at the World Cup, Krum. You’re a monster.”
“That girl’s family was just trying to extort money from me. I will not stand here and be insulted in such a fashion,” Viktor ground out through clenched teeth.
“You can leave at anytime,” Albus said gravely. “In fact, both you and your father are fast wearing out your welcome in Lord Potter’s castle. As its steward and the Headmaster of the school that sits in it—I do have duty to see unwelcome visitors removed.”
Viktor pointed at finger at Hermione. “I’ve warned you the ramifications of your stubbornness.”
“I’d cut my own throat before I’d marry you,” Hermione snapped. She flinched when her mother blanched. She pointed back at Viktor. “And honestly, what is this nonsense about knowing me intimately? You kissed me once, badly! I brushed my teeth for ten minutes afterward to get the foul taste of you out of my mouth!”
Minerva snorted and shrugged when both Krums glared at her.
“If you think I’ve forgotten how you embarrassed my family, Minerva, you are sorely mistaken,” Radko said. “The terms of the marriage contract will reflect your lack of manners, of that you can be sure.” He took a step towards her when she just smirked at him.
“You lay a hand on her Radko and I’ll send you back to Bulgaria in a box,” Dumbledore said and smiled pleasantly as if he hadn’t just threatened to murder the man. “I believe we’ve all had enough of you and your ignorant thug of a son.”
“You’re leaving me no choice, Hermione,” Viktor said gravely. “I was even prepared to let you finish Hogwarts, but your current behavior leaves me little choice but to challenge Potter to a duel if you don’t end your courting period and agree to the contract.”
“No,” Hermione stated calmly. “I want no part of you Viktor. I regret trying to be your friend. I’m disgusted that I even let you hold my hand.”
“You can’t believe that I would hurt a witch,” Viktor protested.
“I do believe it,” Hermione said.
“Very well.” He turned to Harry. “Lord Potter, I have no choice but to formally challenge your exclusive courting of Hermione McGonagall as I would have her for my wife and your suit conflicts with mine.” He turned to Hermione who continued to glare at him. “Now, he has two choices—he can withdraw his suit of you or he can meet me on the dueling field. How will your country feel about you, girl, when you get their savior maimed for life because of your selfishness?”
“Challenge accepted,” Harry said before Hermione could formulate a response to Viktor’s obscene question. “Due to your injury, I propose we meet tomorrow to settle this.”
“The Quidditch pitch will be made available for you gentlemen,” Albus interjected before either could name a place very far from Hogwarts. “I will be your official. Lord Potter will you name a second?”
“I will have no need of a second,” Harry said.
Viktor paused, his cheeks flushed with temper at the insult. “Then I shall have no second either.”
“Excellent,” Albus said pleasantly. “Viktor, Radko—you will leave and return tomorrow afternoon at two. Didi!” A house elf appeared in front of him. “Didi, if you would make sure that Ambassador Krum and his son leave the grounds I would appreciate it.”
The elf looked at the two Bulgarians with undisguised disgust. “Come, mean wizards leave now.”
Harry huffed as soon as the door shut. “You crafty old bastard.”
“Harry James!” Hermione admonished.
“He arranged it so I couldn’t take Krum off somewhere private and do to him what he deserves,” Harry hissed. “He’ll fill the bloody stands with the students because he thinks I won’t kill in front of them.”
“I know you won’t kill in front of them unless you’re given no choice,” Albus said gravely. “Mr. Krum will also be very reluctant to use dark magic against you in a public setting such as this. I have no doubts you will win this duel, Harry, but I’d like you to walk away from it as cleanly as possible. Viktor Krum is a violent, dark young man with absolutely no honor. You’ll just have to forgive me for endeavoring to protect you in this as much as I can.” Albus stalked out of the infirmary without another word.
Harry huffed. “His guilt complex is going to be the death of us both.”
“That is not funny!” Hermione snapped.
Harry focused on her, his gaze intent. “Want to tell me why your mother went sheet white when you said that you’d cut your own throat before you’d marry Krum?”
Hermione took a deep breath. “This is one of those moments when I’m going to have to ask you to let it go.” She cleared her throat when his eyes darkened with temper. “Just… let it go, Harry.”
“Mi,” he started and cleared his throat. “Did you…”
“Let it go,” Hermione snapped. “Just… we have enough to worry about right now without fighting something that is over and done with. Okay?”
Harry blew out a breath and shared a look with his father. “Okay. Fine.” He stared at the floor for a few seconds. “Excuse me, I should shower.”
Hermione’s shoulders slumped as he left the infirmary. “Damn it.” She kicked the cot next to her and sat down with a little moan of distress. “I can’t believe Krum actually challenged him.”
Sirius Black sat down beside her and calmly picked up one of her hands. “Did you try to kill yourself before? Is that why Minerva looks like she could be physically ill at any moment? Because I have to tell you, if the two of you have been hiding something like this from him, he’s going to come unglued when it gets confirmed for him.”
“I had a bad… moment over the summer,” Hermione whispered. “Emmie stopped me. I thought… I thought I was pregnant and I was so distraught over it that I tried. Yes, I tried.”
Sirius took a deep breath. “Right. But you aren’t… you aren’t pregnant, right? I mean, not that it really matters if you are. We can handle that… I mean… Harry will be… it’ll be fine.”
“No,” Hermione said with a laugh and patted his hand to stop his rambling. “I’m not pregnant. I couldn’t have known it at the time but Emmie had put a contraception charm on me. Her protection of me was quite invasive at times but I don’t have any room for resentment,” Hermione whispered. “Star knows. Emmie called her to help when it happened. I don’t remember either one of them working on me but Madam Pomfrey said I’ve had some fairly strong mental health shoring charms put on me.”
“If Star knows,” Sirius began. “If he asks her point blank, she won’t be able to lie to him. You need to tell him before he starts asking his elves. Emmie won’t reveal your secrets but she is the only Potter elf ordered to keep your secrets, Hermione. Remember that.”
* * * *
He had absolutely no right to be mad at her. Harry knew that. It really fucking sucked to have his own words thrown in his face. He’d been irritated enough that no one in the common room had protested when he’d passed through their party without any attempt to join in. Thankfully, the showers had been empty so he handled that business quickly and was in his quarters, a towel wrapped around his hips as he considered what to put on when his bedroom door opened.
“Hey…” He turned and stared at Hermione. “I was actually expecting my father.”
Hermione nodded. “He went back to London. There are some… political ramifications. Viktor’s father is the Ambassador of Bulgaria for Britain. He said he’d back before lunch tomorrow.” She sucked her bottom lip into her mouth and moved into the room. “Harry… I…”
“Don’t,” Harry said gently. “I have no right whatsoever to be upset with you. There are parts of my past I’d rather you not ever know to be frank.”
“But you are upset,” Hermione protested.
“I’m also mostly naked,” Harry said. “So… you should go sit on the sofa or take off your clothes.”
She laughed. “Well, fair is fair.”
“It sucked to have my own words thrown in my face.”
“That wasn’t my intention,” Hermione protested. “I just… I really don’t want to hurt you, Harry.”
“And whatever this is would hurt me?” Harry asked.
“I think so,” Hermione whispered. She went to him and sighed when he pulled her into his arms. She wrapped her hands around his waist. “Merlin, you are incredibly fit.”
Harry laughed against her hair. “Don’t distract me.”
“Did you ever have a moment in your life so hard that you felt like you’d never get past it?” Hermione whispered.
“Yeah,” Harry admitted. “Once or twice actually. It’s one of the reasons why my memories of the Dursleys are sealed.” He rubbed her back gently. “I was so angry and lost. The older I got the angrier I became. One time, I lost my temper to such a degree that I… I hurt my Dad. I freaked out so much that I ran away from him. It took him two days to find me. That lecture is still ringing in my ears.”
“How old were you?”
“Seven,” Harry admitted. “I’d lashed out at him magically—accidental magic because he wouldn’t let me stay up past my bedtime. It was so stupid but I got so mad—it was an unreasonable anger. I look back on it and see how irrational that fury was. I broke some glass in the kitchen and it cut him. The cut bled profusely—there was blood everywhere and I lost it completely. I ran away while Castius was taking care of him. I felt so guilty for that later—running while he was hurt. I didn’t even try to help him.”
“You were seven.”
“I was a little arsehole,” Harry said dryly. “Regardless, I spent two nights in the forest outside of Potter Cottage before he found me.”
“What took him so long to find you?” Hermione asked.
“He was looking for a little kid instead of a small dragon hatchling,” Harry said dryly. “That was the second time I changed into my animagus form with accidental magic. By the time he found me I was aware enough to be rather scared that I wasn’t human.” He laughed softly. “Merlin, his face when I came out of the underbrush and all but climbed his leg. I weighed about three stone at that point in my animagus form.”
Hermione laughed in spite of her intentions. “Oh, Harry, I bet you were adorable.”
“He wasn’t thinking so at the time,” Harry admitted. “But he recognized me pretty quickly. My scar was pretty prominent at the time and it shows on my form.”
“I took note of that,” Hermione admitted. “I had a bad moment over the summer. Things were horrible with my parents and there was that priest and I had sex with that boy to get back at my parents. I thought.” She huffed and took a step back from him. “I thought I’d gotten myself pregnant and ruined my life. I didn’t, obviously, but I was so overwrought that I thought I had.”
“How close did you come?” Harry asked his voice deceptively mild.
“Emmie saved my life,” Hermione said softly.
He swallowed hard and looked away from her. “You said… you said that there were moments when knowing about me would’ve really helpful.”
“I can’t say it would’ve helped in that moment,” Hermione admitted. “Even now, despite everything, I still feel rather guilty that I didn’t wait for you. I know you don’t seem to care but it would’ve been better if I’d waited for you.”
“I care,” Harry said. “I mean, I care that you had a poor first experience. I care that it probably hurt which would’ve been avoidable if you’d shared that experience with a wizard. There are charms to prevent that particular sort of pain. I don’t resent you for it. I don’t even resent him. I’m sure he did the best he could and that he didn’t hurt you more than necessary. Being your first would’ve been… I don’t know… nice? Is nice the right word?”
“Nice is fine,” Hermione said.
“Right.” Harry sighed and went to his wardrobe. He pulled out a pair of boxers and a t-shirt. He tossed the towel in a basket and dressed silently as he considered what Hermione had said. “Star knows.”
“Yes.” Hermione sighed. “Please don’t be angry with her.”
“I’m not,” Harry said quietly. “She and Emmie know me better than anyone save my father. They had to know it would’ve driven me crazy to know you were so… hurt and desperate and I couldn’t… I wouldn’t have been able to go to you. When did this happen?”
“August tenth,” Hermione said with a sigh. “Shortly before I received a letter from Ginny inviting me to the Burrow for the rest of the summer. I usually spend the last two weeks of summer with them anyway because my parents hated doing my school shopping. I started… I started my period two days after I tried… after I tried to end it.”
He flushed. “Right.”
“Does that…” Hermione laughed. “Bother you? Talking about my period?”
“I assumed your long-term contraception charm ceased that,” Harry said. “It does for the vast majority of witches.”
“Yeah, the one my mother placed did,” Hermione admitted. “But that wasn’t the question.”
Harry frowned at her briefly. “I understand the process thoroughly. I’m a certified healer, Hermione.”
“You’re not… embarrassed, you’re angry.”
“I’m not angry with you,” Harry said sharply. “I’m sort of angry with myself because I’m remarkably jealous at this very moment in my life which is stupid. And it’s not the sex. It’s the…”
“The idea that I might have gotten pregnant,” Hermione guessed. “That bothers you a lot?”
“It makes me unspeakably angry,” Harry admitted roughly. “The idea of you carrying another man’s baby—yeah. That’s pretty fucking infuriating. Which makes me feel like a caveman because even if you had gotten pregnant, it wouldn’t change anything for me emotionally. I mean, I would have still come to Britain and I would’ve done my damnedest to meet you. To be honest, that Muggle boy of yours would’ve had a hard time keeping you and your baby if that would’ve been his intention.”
“My parents would’ve thrown me out of the house,” Hermione admitted. “I would’ve had no choice but to retreat into the magical world. I have no skills in the Muggle world to get a job, really. I know that Molly Weasley would’ve helped me. As for Joshua, he freaked out as much as I did when the condom broke. He made it clear he wasn’t up for fatherhood so I should do whatever I had to do to make sure that didn’t happen.”
Harry sighed. “I take it back—I resent the hell out of him.”
Hermione laughed weakly and sat down on the edge of his bed. “Are we fighting? I don’t know. I sort of figured it would be louder.”
“I don’t want to fight with you,” Harry said tiredly. “I’m rather exhausted. It might not look it but Quidditch is quite taxing. Tomorrow is going to be difficult enough for both of us as it is—we don’t need to add hurt feelings and anger to the top of that pile.”
“I should go,” Hermione said. “You need to rest.”
“Why don’t you stay with me?” Harry asked. “That’d be…”
“Nice?” Hermione asked.
Hermione nodded and casually stripped down to a T-shirt top and her knickers. She folded her clothes and piled them on the bench at the end of his bed. “Your bed isn’t Hogwarts furniture.”
“No, Dobby spent the feast arranging my quarters. We knew I’d probably be sorted to Gryffindor but we kept my furniture in the trunk until it became official. The castle opened up my rooms and he came up here and set up everything. All of the furniture in the suite is mine.” Harry pulled back the duvet and motioned her in ahead of him.
“Did Janelle sleep with you?” Hermione asked and bit down on her lip as he joined her under the duvet and pulled her close. “Forget I asked.”
Harry laughed. “No, she thought it was quite naughty to sneak in and out of my bed. She never stayed the night in the house much less in my bed. Though she wasn’t being all that sneaky since the wards told my father every time she came and went from the townhouse.”
“I can see how that might have been fun,” Hermione admitted. “Sneaking into a boy’s bed and making a mess of him then stealing away into the night.”
They shifted until they were spooned together. Harry took a deep breath as they settled into the bed. “Don’t worry about tomorrow.”
“Worst case scenario?” Hermione asked.
“He gets lucky and I lose,” Harry said. “Your mother would be forced to open up your courting period to other wizards—not just Viktor. It wouldn’t end our courting and we could, if you wanted, immediately sign a contract that would negate you ever having to be in his company. Per protocol, without a contract, he could request two hours of your time on any one day for as many six days a month but you could require a chaperone for those meetings. It’s a really old and outdated process, Mi.”
“Then why did you request it?”
“Because…” Harry sighed. “Britain is an old world country with a backwards society. Your rights as a woman are easily subjugated by marriage law and even the marriage rite itself that is required in this country.”
“More so because I was Muggle-born before my adoption. Even now, I’m still that to most despite the blood adoption.”
“Yes,” Harry agreed. “So I offered you a traditional courting because it is a respected and time-honored ritual that the pure-bloods in this castle have been taught to respect. It told them and everyone else in Britain that I find you the most desirable witch among our peers.”
“Tomorrow I’m going to make an example of Viktor Krum,” Harry promised darkly.
* * * *
He woke up as soon as she slipped her hand into his boxers. The position of the sun in his window told him it was early—perhaps as early as six. He wandlessly removed the taste of sleep from his mouth as she wrapped her fingers around his erection.
“You are playing with fire.”
“I’ve always adored fire,” Hermione whispered.
“Hmmm,” he turned her slightly and kissed her jaw but she turned her mouth away from him when he tried to kiss her lips.
“I need to clean my teeth,” she said with a laugh.
“Are you a witch or not?” Harry asked her with a little smirk as he ran his finger along her lips—casting the charm he’d used himself on her with a little burst of magic.
She licked her lips and huffed. “Cinnamon?”
“It’s my favorite,” Harry informed her seriously as he brushed his mouth over hers. “Now are you going to get me off or just fuck about with my prick until I’m forced to take matters into my own hand?”
“Oh, I’m going to get you off,” Hermione murmured breathlessly as she slid under the covers.
Harry took a deep breath as she pressed her open mouth against his stomach, flicked her tongue briefly into his belly button while she worked his boxers down his hips. He spread his legs as soon as he was free of the shorts and shuddered as she took him into her mouth.
“Merlin, you and that quill,” he admitted in a shocked voice as she deep throated him. Her fingers tucked under his balls, pressed firmly. “Oh. That’s… oh.” He pushed the covers off so his view was unobstructed and ran his fingers through her hair as she bobbed up and down on his prick.
He shuddered in a little breath as her fingers went slick and slipped downward over his arsehole. Harry spread his legs to encourage her exploration. She pushed one into him, pressed against his prostate and he came with a soft, shocked sound. He shivered as she pulled her finger from him and released his cock from her mouth with a little pop of her lips.
Harry pulled her up to him kissed her. “Just… hmmm… give me a second here.”
She laughed and rested her chin on his chest. “You okay?”
“I think so,” he admitted ruefully. “That was an entirely new experience.”
“Oh?” Hermione smiled then pursed her lips in thought. “But… well, The Magical Joy of Sex says that prostate stimulation is pretty important to a man’s pleasure.”
“The Magical Joy of Sex,” Harry repeated. “Where did you… get a copy of that?”
“Emmie,” Hermione said with a little smirk. “She is a true partner in crime, my Lord.”
“I just bet she is,” Harry said with a laugh. He ran his hands over her back and caught the hem of her T-shirt, which he pulled at gently. She lifted up and helped him get it off. “What can I do for my Lady this morning?” He asked as he cupped one breast and rubbed the nipple with his thumb.
“Your Lady,” Hermione repeated.
“In every way but one,” Harry murmured as he placed soft kisses along her collarbone. “And everyone is going to know it after today, that’s a promise.”
“You realize most people think you’re crazy—rushing into a courtship with a witch you’ve barely known a month.”
“They can all kiss my arse,” Harry said with a little smirk when she laughed. He sucked one rigid nipple into his mouth without another word and nibbled it briefly before lifting his head. “Besides, Mi, in the back of their minds is the story of my visit to the Book of Souls when I was little. They’re all speculating and wondering.”
She hummed under her breath and ran her fingers through his hair as he licked and sucked her nipples. She loved it when he was like this—playful and intent on her arousal. Though she loved it when he was intense and a little rough with her, too. Eventually, he left her breasts and moved down—his fingers hooking into her panties as he went.
“Yeah,” she agreed and gasped a little in shock when he snapped the little bows that were keeping the knickers on her and tossed the scrap of lace away. “Those were new!”
“They’ll be perfect again by the time they get back into your trunk,” Harry promised as he hooked one of her legs over his shoulder. “Wanna fight about it?”
She huffed and tugged on his hair. “Shut up and eat my pussy.”
“Yours?” Harry asked with a smirk. “Sweetheart, this is my pussy.”
Her protests fell away in the wake of his tongue. “God, Merlin, Harry!”
“That is a very flattering line-up to be included in,” Harry murmured as he turned his head and nipped at her inner thigh.
Before she could protest, he started to suck strongly on her clit. Her hand tightened in his hair and she just groaned when his attention turned aggressive in response. She pulled his hair as pleasure burned through her and he responded by pushing his tongue into her. He fucked her that way just over a minute before she was coming hard with a little scream that might have been his name.
He crawled up the bed and settled in beside her, half-hard again but sated. “One day I’m going to fuck you and lick my cum out of you.”
“That’s a filthy thing to promise your Lady,” Hermione said amused. “I’m keeping a list, you know.”
“Oh, I’m going to deliver on all of my promises,” Harry said with a little grin.
* * * *
The headline of the Prophet announced the duel, the location, and the time. The Krums had made a press release where Viktor had claimed that Harry had basically interfered in his own informal but sincere courtship of Hermione by arranging a formal courting period with her newly adoptive mother. It had made it seem like Harry had conspired with Minerva McGonagall to wrench Hermione free of her Muggle parents so he could have her and that she was being forced to accept the relationship.
Hermione set her copy of the paper on fire in her resulting temper, but come to find out Katie Bell had been entirely successful in teaching the first years to conjure water. Breakfast had been a near dead silent affair after the fire, though Gryffindor first years had won a ninety points for their water conjuring skills.
Harry set aside his plate and focused on her. She was barely eating and her aura was flaring slightly every few minutes as she fought to control her temper. Gryffindor’s Tear was glittering and vibrating against the hollow of her throat. “You need to calm down before you’re rendered unconscious.”
“No, buts,” Harry said firmly. “That nonsense in the paper is just Krum trying to justify himself for his having challenged a sixth year Hogwarts student. That’s all it is and anyone with the least amount of common sense knows it.”
“That means more than half the Prophet’s readers believe it!” Hermione said hotly.
Harry bit down on his lip but there was no helping the surprised laughter that erupted from him and the rest of their table. She huffed even as he laughed but her aura slowly receded and she moodily started to munch on a piece of toast. The doors to the hall opened and Harry stood, shock evident on his face but he broke out into a wide grin.
“I gotta go,” he said half to Hermione before he left the table in favor of an older Asian man who was standing regally in the doorway. He came back, kissed her on the mouth and dashed back off.
“Merlin’s pants,” Jonas exclaimed. “That’s Hiro Ito.”
“Who is he?” Hermione asked him as she watched Harry embrace the older man like he might his own father.
“Lord Potter’s mentor. He hasn’t left Japan in like a hundred years,” Jonas explained. “I hope you weren’t thinking you could coddle him until the duel—you probably won’t see again until it’s time for it. Not with Master Ito here.”
Hermione frowned at that but nodded as Harry was firmly guided out of the hall. He did turn briefly just before the doors shut on them, looked at her so she accepted that for what it was, and huffed. “Who is he exactly beyond his mentor? He doesn’t look like he’s anywhere near a hundred years old.”
“He’s thousands of years old,” Jonas corrected. “If there is a hierarchy of parselmouths on the planet, Miss Hermione, you just saw their king. Lord Potter has spent three months of every year since he was seven years old in Japan with Master Ito.”
“How do you know so much, kid?” Ron demanded.
Jonas stared at him. “If you must know, Weasel, Lord Potter is my guardian. I’ve known him since I was five years old when my grandmother died and I became a resident of Potter Redoubt.”
“Oh.” Ron made a face but averted his gaze.
Hermione frowned at the behavior but noticed that McLaggen abruptly decided he was finished with breakfast. She watched the seventh year leave the table and turned to Seamus Finnegan. “What was that?”
“Nothing,” Seamus said. “Nothing at all. Say, let’s all put our uniforms for the duel. House pride and all of that.”
“Everyone except Hermione,” Lavender agreed. “She should wear something—impressive. The press will take pictures of her today.”
Hermione frowned at the thought because her wardrobe was lovely and she had several formal sets of robes but none of them were… exactly right. It was a problem because Lavender was right and so was Seamus. She needed to show the world exactly where she stood.
The head house of elf of the Potter household immediately appeared. “Yes, Miss Hermione?”
Hermione took a deep breath. “Do you know about the duel today?”
“Yes, Miss, but I not worried. Master Harry be a badass, you know.” Star smirked when several people around them giggled.
“I know he’ll do well,” Hermione agreed. “I… I’m not sure what I should wear.”
Star nodded thoughtfully. “Does Miss Hermione trust Star?”
Star smiled. “Star shall return in one hour with the right clothes.” The elf popped away silently.
* * * *
“Master Ito,” Harry began. “May I know why you’ve left Japan?”
“I’ve been exchanging letters with Master Flitwick about your skills and it’s been pointed out to me that while I passed onto you a great many of my skills as a healer, perhaps I wasn’t as thorough as I could have been with my combat skills. Your Fates have told me many stories of your… position here in Britain.” Hiro tucked his hands behind his back as they walked around the large lake. “This place is beautiful. Your father tells me you have a home in Hogsmeade. He’s arranging rooms there for my use.”
“How long will you stay?” Harry asked.
“Until I’m satisfied with the wizard you are,” Hiro said and smirked when Harry laughed. “Perhaps ten or so years. We shall see.”
“That sounds simply amazing,” Harry admitted. “Is Dai with you?”
“Dai is in his heat box. I’ve asked your father about a garden and he promised to set dverger loose on the back of the house,” Hiro said as they took a seat near the shore. “Now, I’d like to be introduced to them.”
Harry obligingly touched Rowena and Godric. Both snakes became visible under his hand as he pulled them from his neck. He presented Godric first. “This is Godric. We are… kindred in many ways.”
Hiro nodded. “Yes, I agree.” He took the snake with careful fingers and hummed under his breath. “Castius told me he was abused by a fellow parselmouth. You’ve done very well with him, Harry.” Godric lit with black fire as Hiro stroked his head. “You are lovely, Godric.”
“Thank you, Master Ito,” Godric hissed back. “Master Harry is very powerful and kind to me.”
“This is Rowena, she was hatched in August,” Harry explained and proffered the female snake.
Ito took her just as carefully as he’d taken Godric. “They are a striking pair—beautiful and very magical. I’m not surprised they both chose to bond with you. How is your bond with Hedwig?”
“It is still very strong. I worried that it would diminish when I realized Rowena was bonding with me,” Harry admitted. He looked out over the lake. “Godric was a surprise but I couldn’t deny him when he asked for a bond. He’d already been so hurt by a speaker.”
“You did the right thing,” Hiro said as he returned the two snakes to Harry. “They compliment your magic to an untold degree. I should like to meet this woman who purchased Rowena for you—she made a very insightful and thoughtful gift to you. Very few non-speakers understand us to such a degree.”
Harry nodded. “She’s the Deputy Headmistress of the school and the adoptive mother of my witch.”
“Ah, your witch,” Hiro said with a small smile. “Is she everything you hoped she’d be?”
“More,” Harry admitted. “So much more but better because she’s real instead of the fantasy I contented myself with for years. I had this ideal in my head that was perfect and amazing—an image no real woman could ever live up to. It wasn’t fair to her so I tried to put it away when I came here but upon meeting her, I realized that I didn’t need to worry because she overshadows that ideal every single day that I know her. She’s far from perfect but then I’m not perfect either.”
“Perfect is rather boring,” Hiro said dryly. “One can’t argue with a perfect woman and ever expect to win.”
Harry laughed and sighed. “I’m afraid I’ll kill him today.”
“You needn’t fear such a thing,” Hiro said. “It is your duty to your House and to your woman to lay this man to the ground. If you do not—this society will expect her to at least entertain his suit. That’s unacceptable, isn’t it?”
“Very,” Harry said quietly. “I can’t… I’d never be able to tolerate even supervised dates between the two of them. I don’t trust him—he’s a monster, a rapist.”
“Then put him down like the animal he is,” Hiro snapped. “And have no regrets for it. It is the duty of a good man to do for society what society cannot do for itself. He hides behind his father’s political position—abuses women as if it is his right and he has his eye on your woman. You’ll do what is necessary.”
“And like him, you’ve got a father with a great deal of political weight,” Hiro said slyly. “And you are but sixteen. This grown man challenged you.”
“So what you’re saying is that he brought this shite on himself?” Harry asked, somewhat amused.
“Exactly. Speaking of your father,” Hiro said and nodded toward the other side of the lake.
Harry looked up and found his father standing on the dock of the lake near the school. “We should go to him, I think. He’s been up half the night investigating the reasons behind Krum’s unreasonable pursuit of Hermione.”
* * * *
Hermione was really glad she was sitting when Star popped into the room with the clothes she’d promised. She swallowed hard and Fay who had only returned to Hogwarts a half hour before actually squeaked.
“Merlin,” Parvati said in a low shocked tone. “Are those Lily Potter’s dueling robes?”
Star shook her head. “No, Miss Lily be buried in her robes. It is the tradition of the House of Potter for the Lord and Lady to be dressed for battle when they are buried. They be similar though—also a tradition. The first set of dueling robes for the Lady Potter was created in 1534 for Lady Madeline Potter. She be an enchantress and she stood with her Lord on the battlefield many days. She bore him five strong sons. They die together in fight when they be a hundred and six years old. Thus tradition was born. These be the robes that Master Harry commissioned for his Lady Potter. I start work on them shortly after his thirteenth birthday.”
“After the Chamber of Secrets,” Hermione said and took a deep breath. The black knee high boots weren’t made of dragon hide. “That’s… basilisk skin isn’t?”
“Yes, the robe is also layered with basilisk hide. Very hard to penetrate with magic,” Star explained.
The skirt of the dress was silk but when she touched it, she realized it was lined with some kind of hide between two layers of silk. “You put basilisk hide it the dress as well.”
“Yes, but it be spelled to be very comfortable. Not hot, not cold, not too heavy—perfect all the time. Move with you if you have to fight. Protect you if you’re cursed.”
There was an undershirt that appeared to be just dark red silk and a corset of black basilisk hide with a row of ruby buttons down the front finished the top.
“Well,” Lavender said finally. “It’ll make a statement.”
“It’ll tell everyone I intend to be the Lady Potter,” Hermione said quietly. She took a deep breath and nodded. “Now, how shall we do my hair?”
* * * *
“The Krums are in financial ruin,” Sirius said plainly, as he settled in a chair near Dumbledore’s desk. “Rumor has it that Viktor forced himself on the daughter of a very influential family in Bulgaria. Instead of filing criminal charges, the family demanded a wergild—they wiped them out and though it’s not official, Viktor will not be playing for the Bulgarian National team next year. They cancelled his contract after the World Cup and used the excuse of his tournament participation for his non-player status and the injury he supposedly received during the final task of the tournament for his no-show for games the last eight months.”
“He wants the Ross money,” Minerva said. “So this is my fault? He’d have left her alone if I hadn’t adopted her.”
“No, I don’t think he would have,” Sirius said before anyone else could. “You have to remember that Hermione… Viktor has to assume she’s the reason behind his being cursed impotent. In his mind, she either did it or someone did it to him because of his interest in her. That’s enough to make any wizard want revenge. It doesn’t really matter that he was able to have the curse removed eventually. He’d have still come at her. Though without the protection of the House of Ross, he could’ve created a far worse situation for her. I wouldn’t have put it past him to take her from her Muggle home at some point in the future and do whatever he wanted with her. She would’ve had no recourse. Most Muggle-born don’t even bother wearing their wands during the summer since they aren’t supposed to use them.”
Harry cleared his throat. “What does that mean for today?”
“It means he’s going to try to kill you,” Hiro said bluntly. “You’re an obstacle to the money his family needs. He has no choice but to kill you. Doing it in a duel protects him better than his father’s dubious and probably precarious political position. If he outright murdered you—due to your status in Britain, he’d be hunted down like a dog and butchered.”
Harry nodded. “Okay.”
“Son,” Sirius began and he waited until Harry met his gaze. “There is absolutely no reason whatsoever for you to hold back in this fight. He won’t. He’ll come at you with everything he’s got because he really has no choice. Viktor is the instrument of his own family’s ruin. He has to redeem himself in his father’s eyes and securing the Ross fortune is the path he’s taken. He is a threat to Hermione. He’s never going to not be a threat. Understand?”
“Yes, sir.” Harry stood. “I should…”
“Put on your dueling robes and join me in your dueling room,” Hiro said smoothly. “We will prepare your mind for your task.”
“Yes, Master Ito. I will join you as soon as I can.”
* * * *
Dobby already had his dueling robes prepared. He was half-dressed when the notification charm sounded which meant it wasn’t Hermione or his Dad. “Who is it Niall?”
“Misters Longbottom, Malfoy, Fawley, Davies, Edwards and a good portion of the males living Gryffindor tower.”
“Right.” Harry nodded to himself as he pulled on his shirt. He picked up the vest and robe. “Let them in.” He took what he had left out to his common room and tossed it over the back of the chair as the portrait opened. He started to tuck in his shirt as they filed in. “Problem?”
Neville snorted. “Merlin, Harry, I leave you to your own devices for a day and you get challenged to a duel. You realize this guy is… I know you’re going to take this very seriously.”
“I will,” Harry assured as he put on the basilisk vest.
“Where did you get that much basilisk hide?” Davies asked, clearly shocked as he took in the trousers, boots, vest, and heavy-duty battle robe.
Harry looked at him. “The only way you can in a modern age—I killed one. I had three sets of robes commissioned from the hide. My own, my father’s and a set for my Lady.”
Davies nodded. “You killed a basilisk big enough to supply three sets of dueling robes. Right, well, lads, we were worried for no reason. He’s got this covered.”
Harry took a deep breath but nodded. “Yeah, I think so. I know he’s dangerous and he has an agenda. I’m not going into this blind.”
“He’s dark as fuck,” Draco said bluntly. “Dark as any Death Eater ever was. His aura reeks of the dark arts. I tried to warn Hermione but she wasn’t that interested in listening to me… especially considering…” His gaze cut to Ron Weasley.
Ron flushed. “I know you were right about him, Malfoy. My Dad told me how… he raped a girl at World Cup and got away with it. She was fourteen.” He turned to Harry. “So you’re going to make sure he doesn’t get near Hermione again, right?”
“I don’t think he’s going to surrender so it may come down to me having to kill him,” Harry said.
“I think we can all live with that outcome,” Sullivan Fawley said. “His family is in financial ruin. If it isn’t the Ross fortune—he’ll start making his way through the other wealthy witches in Britain. That’s Daphne and Astoria Greengrass, Susan Bones, Cho Chang, Fay Dunbar, and Pansy Parkinson. Penelope Clearwater is also rumored to be richly dowered by her great-uncle but Percy Weasley is betrothed to her. I wouldn’t put it past Viktor to interfere there if he thought he could. He’s a threat to a lot of witches we all care about, Harry, and not just the ones he’d consider for marriage if he loses out on Hermione.”
Harry nodded. “I know.” He focused on Darius who was pale and silent. “Something on your mind, kid?”
“I’m a little worried,” Darius admitted. “I’m not particularly interested in breaking in a new guardian. I think I’ve got you sorted to my liking.”
Harry grinned. “He’s not going to take me out. Trust me.”
“I do,” Darius said. “It’s just that… he’s a very dark wizard.”
“Yeah, but he’s not the first dark wizard Harry’s put down,” Neville said quietly. “He killed Voldemort, lad. Viktor Krum is nothing compared.”
“They told us…” Darius said. “The Headmaster isn’t going to let anyone first through fourth year attend the duel.”
“That was at my request,” Harry admitted. “I can’t make an exception for you, Darius. I did consent to you guys listening on the wireless in the Great Hall.”
“Why?” Darius asked.
“Because he might hesitate to do what he must if he has to worry about you guys watching,” Neville said. “One of them isn’t walking off that field, Darius. Harry can’t have any reason to hesitate—it might mean his life.”
Darius nodded. “I’ll… make sure the others understand.”
“Good.” Harry cleared his throat. “I’ll be in my dueling room until shortly before the duel—Master Ito is going to meditate with me.” He turned to Neville. “If you would escort Hermione to the field, Neville, I would appreciate it.”
“Yeah, I’ll take care of it.”
* * * *
His Dad was leaning on a wall outside of the portrait hole. He fell into step beside Harry and they headed towards the dueling room.
“It’s my job to worry,” Sirius said dryly. “I have every faith in your abilities, Harry, so don’t doubt that. I expect you to take this seriously and don’t play games with him.”
“I’d prefer you not take a major injury.”
“I think I should,” Harry admitted. “If I come off the field without a scratch, people are going to think the worse of me. You know that.”
Sirius sighed as they came to a stop in front of the dueling room. “Harry.”
“Dad.” Harry took a deep breath. “Trust me.”
“There is no one I trust more,” Sirius said hoarsely. He cupped the back of Harry’s head and they stood there for a moment. “One day you’ll have a son of your own and you’ll understand the privilege it is to stand here with you and to know that I played a part in creating the man you’ve become. I am so proud of you, Harry. You’re the best thing in my life.”
“I’m not going to let that dark bastard kill me.”
“But if he does… if…” Harry took a deep breath. “I need you to promise to take care of her if she survives the breaking of our bond. Don’t let him touch her.”
“Viktor Krum will never lay a hand on your Lady. I swear it.”
Harry relaxed and let his father pull him into a hug.
“That’s enough coddling, Sirius,” Ito said abruptly from within the dueling room. “Hand him over and go about your business. I’ll see that he’s ready for what he faces today.”
Sirius huffed. “Okay.” He pressed a reverent kiss to Harry’s forehead. “You’re the heart of me.” He turned and walked away quickly.
Harry took a deep breath and stood where he was until his father turned a corner and disappeared. “Right.”
* * * *
Hermione secured the braids that created a crown around her head and slipped a single barrette into place. “Okay.”
“Yeah, you’re totally working that,” Fay agreed.
“I have nothing to worry about,” Hermione told her reflection sternly. “Harry is a world class dueler and Viktor Krum is no match for him.” She stood and nodded. “He’s going to be great.”
“Of course he is,” Lavender agreed. “Krum doesn’t stand a chance against him. Harry is powerful and it is obvious that Lord Black prepared him… well, he prepared him for a war, Hermione.”
“Yes, he did. We’re just lucky they got rid of Voldemort before he could be resurrected.” Hermione put on hand on her stomach and nodded. “I’m going to murder Viktor Krum if he…”
“He won’t,” Fay said sternly. “He’s not going to win and he certainly isn’t going to kill Harry. You’ve never seen Harry in a duel so maybe you’re worried but you shouldn’t be. Harry was trained like a Hit Wizard, Hermione. Everyone here today is going to get a lesson in not messing with the House of Potter. This is the only challenge Harry is ever going to face over your courting period. Trust me on this.”
Hermione nodded. “Okay. Yes. I understand.”
“You’re going to go out there and you’re going to be calm and collected. You’ll not let a single reporter here today get a picture of you looking worried. You’re confident of Harry’s success. You’re wearing the dueling robes of the Lady Potter, Hermione. So you’re going to hold your head up and you’re not going to shed tears. You’re going to be awesome,” Fay ordered.
“I’m going to be awesome,” Hermione agreed and stared at herself in the mirror. “I’m going to be an awesome Lady Potter.”
* * * *
Harry turned his head as the wards of his dueling wards were breached. Master Ito had left him alone just ten minutes before. He raised an eyebrow at the petite blonde standing there. He hadn’t had a chance to be introduced to Luna Lovegood since his arrival at Hogwarts. Truthfully, he invested all of his social time in Hermione. It was expected due to their courting period but he felt he should’ve made time to meet Emmie’s other favorite witch at Hogwarts.
Luna hesitated. “I’m not interrupting?”
“No, I have about 30 minutes before the duel.” Harry stood and stretched. “Did you need something?”
She smiled. “No, I just… I was just walking by and was surprised to see you alone this close to the time. I kept meaning to tell you… how thankful I am for what your elf does for me.”
“Ah, you can see her, can’t you?”
Luna flushed and nodded. “Yes, I’ve mage sight. Thankfully, my aunt has noticed and found me a tutor before it drove me a little crazy.”
Harry laughed. “Nothing wrong with being a little crazy and you’re welcome. Emmie finds you quite interesting. I’m sorry that your first year at Hogwarts was so difficult.”
“It’s better now,” Luna said. “He’s a bad man.”
“Viktor Krum?” Harry asked.
“Yes.” Luna shuddered. “His aura is tainted with cruelty and darkness.”
Harry hesitated but cleared his throat. “Luna, did he hurt you when he was here?”
She shook her head. “Not me but there is… there is a witch here who suffered at his hands. She still suffers. I tried to help her but she’s not in my house and only really leaves her dorm for food and classes.”
Harry grimaced. “I won’t ask you to tell me who but if you find that her situation worsens, I hope you’ll tell Professor McGonagall.”
Luna nodded. “Perhaps I’ll tell your elf to watch out for her?”
Harry nodded. “That works, yes. I won’t ask Emmie for any details.”
Luna said nothing while he pulled on his dueling robe but bit down on her lip when he turned towards her. “Your bond with her is stronger than you think, Lord Potter. She’d not survive your death.”
Harry’s mouth dropped open but Luna turned and quickly left before he could respond.