Title: Darkly Loyal
Author: Keira Marcos
Fandom: Harry Potter
Content Rating: NC-17
Genre: Romance, Time Travel, Fantasy, Menage, Fix It
Warnings: Character Bashing, No Beta, Violence, Explicit Sex, Dark Themes, Temporary Main Character Death, the death of a pregnant character, homicide, and permanent character deaths.
Author Note: I’m serious about the body count. The only people who are safe from a messy permanent death are my main characters (Harry, Hermione, and Draco). This fic has no beta because I can’t be fucked to go through that process right now (and probably never will). I’ve edited it extensively over the few years I’ve been writing. Deal with it. Don’t point out the errors.
Summary: They call him Blackmoor. They call him a dark lord. They only have themselves to blame for the man Harry Potter became. When the Light strikes a personal blow in their efforts to control him, Harry will risk everything to take back the life stolen from him.
It said something, Harry thought wildly, that when the curse hit her that they both changed direction immediately—Draco went to their wife and he pinned Percy Weasley to the wall in the front hall of their home and shoved a knife in his gut. Harry pulled the knife out and thrust it back in, driving it up through the older wizard’s rib cage repeatedly. The shocked horror on the fucker’s face would’ve been deeply satisfying under different circumstances. He jerked the knife free one final time, and Percy slid to the floor with a ragged groan. The six-man team from the ministry were sprawled across their foyer—dead.
He holstered the knife and followed Draco as he carried Hermione to the back of the house. Harry pushed the remnants of the meal they’d been sharing off the table and Draco placed Hermione on the polished wood. “How is she?”
“Dying,” Draco snapped. “I hit her with a stasis charm, but it’s the only thing keeping her here. He punched a hole through her heart.”
Harry closed his eyes briefly and took a shuddery breath. The agony of his Consort’s words pierced the soul of him. He sat down in the chair he’d abandoned just ten minutes before when their wards fell. Tears burned in his eyes and he put a shaking hand on her arm. The stasis charm shimmered around her body. He looked up and found that Draco was sitting as well, face pressed against her shoulder.
“Do you remember when you asked me how far they’d have to go before I was ready to do something reckless and drastic?”
“Yes,” Draco whispered hoarsely and looked up. Tears slipped down his cheeks and Harry stomach twisted with grief and fury.
“I’m there.” He picked up Hermione’s hand and pressed a kiss to her palm. “She bought this dress new for tonight. Do you have any idea what she wanted to tell us? What was her news?”
Draco took a deep breath and with a flick of his wand cast a spell. The medical diagnostic spread out over their wife and Harry stared at it for a few seconds—unable to look at anything but the near-death state of the woman he’d been married to for five years. “She’s pregnant, Harry.”
Harry let his gaze drift to that part of the diagnostic, his heart thundered in his chest. “Seven weeks.”
“Seven weeks,” Draco agreed. “She’s been getting sick in the mornings. I didn’t say anything—I didn’t want to ruin her surprise.” His jaw tightened, and he closed his eyes. “A boy, if it matters. Yours.”
“It could be…” Harry trailed off when Draco shook his head.
“I have a contraceptive charm in place, Harry. You’re senior in our triad and your son was to come first.”
Harry hated how that sounded. He’d never asserted that sort of power over either of his spouses. He’d married them separately—Draco to protect him after the war and Hermione…well. He’d always wanted her, and when she’d run straight to him from Ron, he’d used the excuse of needing an heir to seduce her into marrying him. But Molly Weasley was furious and vengeful. Harry had refused to honor the marriage contract Dumbledore signed on his behalf.
A year ago, the Wizengamot had declared his triad a fraud and ordered all three of them arrested. They’d retreated to Italy and filed a formal grievance with the ICW, and he’d trusted the system to protect them. But the ministry had sent a contingent to Italy to attack their home and murder Hermione. Harry leaned in and pressed his face against her stomach, ignoring the blood soaked into her pale yellow dress.
“You kill us both, harvest our souls and use your power as the Master of Death to go back in time,” Draco said in a rush.
Harry lifted his head and took a deep breath. “What?”
“There is a ritual circle in Britain—an ancient circle owned by the Black family that my mother showed me when I was younger. You’re the current Earl of Blackmoor so you can claim and use the circle. We don’t have time to build another.”
He really needed no reminders of that. The papers in Britain had started calling him just Blackmoor six months after the war when he’d told the ministry to fuck off. A year ago, they decided he was a dark lord because he preferred to have some choice in who he fucked. His refusal to bow down to their wishes made him appear uncontrollable, too powerful, and yes, dark, by the narrow-minded bastards running the British Ministry of Magic. It was all part of Amos Diggory’s campaign against him. The man had tried to put him on trial for Cedric’s murder just a year after the war ended—Diggory had been furious to discover Harry was actually innocent.
Molly Weasley had used Amos Diggory’s zealotry regarding Harry to try to force him to do what Dumbledore had planned. It had been easy for Diggory to work up the pure-bloods in Britain who were left to clean up after Voldemort. Harry was honestly surprised it took a three full years after the war for them to start blaming the entire thing on him.
“I can’t kill you,” Harry whispered. The very idea of losing them both on the same bloody day was life ruining. “What if I fail?”
“You’ll die with us if you fail,” Draco said. He reached across and put his hand on Harry’s where it lay on Hermione’s stomach. “They’ve murdered our woman and our child, Harry. When this stasis charm ends, she might have a minute to live if we’re lucky. We have nothing left here and now. They’ll hunt us to the ends of the earth because we defended ourselves. But in the past, she lives, and the potential for another child lives with her. We failed her here and now but in the past? In the past, we can destroy these motherfuckers before they ever have a chance to be a threat to her.” He squeezed Harry’s fingers. “Also, we’ll need a sacrifice for the ritual. Ron Weasley seems an apt choice.”
Harry stared silently for a few seconds then took a deep breath. “I’ve never loved you more than I do right now in this very moment.”
* * * *
Harry found Ron Weasley sleeping peacefully in his bed. Terrorizing the little bastard had a great deal of appeal, but he’d just stunned him, tossed an incarcerous curse at him then dropped the portkey he’d made on the man’s chest then left the narrow little bedroom to go down the stairs of the Burrow. He hadn’t been in the house for a very long time, but very little had changed. He noted that Percy’s hand on the clock was broken and everyone else in the family was pointing toward mortal peril.
Molly was sleeping in a chair in the den. He cast a petrification spell on her, sat down on the stool in front of her and nudged her awake. Her eyes flew open.
“I want you to know, Molly, that what happens next is entirely your fault,” Harry murmured. “There was a time, long ago, when I adored you. I thought you cared about me and wanted me to be happy. It was heartbreaking to realize every single interaction you’d ever had with me had been calculated—designed to restrict and eventually subjugate me. I shouldn’t be surprised, really. You manipulated and controlled your children so much that the smart ones ran from you the moment they could.
“Percy’s dead.” He watched her eyes well with tears then slide down her cheeks. “That’s your fault, too. Your obscene desire to control me and my life appears to have no limit. Though you probably don’t care—he killed Hermione tonight. Hermione and the baby she carried. My son.” He watched her eyes dilate with shock. “I’m sure you think that it was justified because she was in the way. She was in the place you wanted for your daughter. It didn’t matter what I wanted. That’s why you tried to potion me—you really didn’t care that it would’ve made your daughter a rapist.”
He stood. “I’ve taken Ron from the house. In about an hour, I’m going to ritually sacrifice him.” He smirked because that elicited a sound from her. “Well, I can see you’re working yourself loose from the petrification spell. I bet you’re thinking you can call for help.” He leaned down in her face. “There is no one left on this wretched earth that can help you, Molly. Congratulations, you’ve found my breaking point. I really hope it’s all you dreamed it would be.”
Harry took a step back from her, drew his wand and tilted his head slightly as he stared at her. “The hatred I feel for you is like another person living in my body.”
Her eyes darkened, and the tears dried up. For the first time, Harry saw the calculation and the darkness in her. The hatred that her actions had bred in him stirred in his heart—like a virus. “I wonder if you’re a victim of Dumbledore’s corruption or if he merely found a kindred spirit in you. I guess, in the end, it really doesn’t matter. Avada Kedavra.” The curse burst from his wand and hit her in the chest.
He heard the front door open, and he disillusioned himself with a whispered charm then stepped to the back of the room before sliding into a shadow so he wouldn’t glimmer in the firelight. Arthur Weasley entered the room, stared at his wife’s body and sat down with a defeated slump of his shoulders.
“Nothing was worth the price we’ve paid, Molly,” Arthur said hoarsely.
Harry’s fingers clenched around his wand as he watched the older man grieve. He waited for the guilt to settle in him, but it didn’t. There just wasn’t room for it. Arthur Weasley was a weak man—gutless and foolish. Harry wondered how a man could consider himself good and still allow the people around him to act with such foul intent without saying a word. It was clear that the man had known the details of Molly and Dumbledore’s campaign from the very beginning. Killing him would be a mercy, but there was no room for compassion in Harry, either.
He apparated and reappeared in front of Hogwarts. The school looked different though he didn’t know if it was experience coloring his view of the castle or if the restoration after the war had changed the appearance slightly.
He turned and found Minerva McGonagall standing in front of the gates. “I won’t try to come in.”
She sighed and walked to stand in front of him. “I heard on the wireless that you’re wanted for murder, now.”
“They sent a team from the ministry to Rome to arrest us,” Harry murmured and looked away from her. “Hermione and the child she carried are dead.”
“Oh, lad,” Minerva whispered, stricken. “If I could…I’d murder Molly if I thought it would help.”
“It didn’t help, but it was rather satisfying,” Harry admitted and looked her way when she made a soft, shocked sound. “I’m guilty, you know. Draco and I killed the entire group from the ministry. Percy Weasley was with them—he used a piercing curse to punch a hole in Hermione’s heart when we refused to surrender.”
“Why are you here?” Minerva questioned.
“I wanted to say goodbye to Hogwarts. I’m about to do something dangerous and ill-considered,” Harry admitted and smiled briefly at the half-laugh that elicited. “I can’t let them take everything from me again and again without paying for it.”
“I understand, lad.” She took a deep breath. “Though you hardly need my permission—do what you must to protect you and yours.”
Harry nodded. “I need the sword.”
The older woman hesitated just briefly then cleared her throat. “Tippy.” A house elf appeared beside her dressed in a crisp white toga. “Bring the Earl of Blackmoor his sword.”
The elf popped away and returned with Gryffindor’s sword which she handed to Minerva with a little blush before leaving abruptly.
“Some believe this sword to be Excalibur.”
“If that is true then it has had a grand and wonderful history,” Harry said.
“Yes.” She offered him the sword, and he took it with a small bow.
“I can’t promise to be a good man, Minerva,” Harry said quietly.
“Then be a righteous one.”
* * * *
The ritual circle was dark, stones crumbling but that was often the case with ancient spaces. Undeterred, Harry stepped up onto the stone platform, and the entire structure shuddered in welcome. He drew the Elder Wand and repaired the altar with a flick then turned to Draco. His consort stepped up onto the stone floor and carried their wife to the altar. They’d dressed Hermione in her favorite dress—white silk spilled over the side of the altar as Draco gently placed her on it.
Harry summoned Ron from where the portkey had dumped the git and let him drop on the ground near the altar.
“Careful,” Draco murmured as he unpacked their bag. “You don’t want to kill him by accident before the ritual.”
Harry frowned and went to stand beside Hermione. He picked up a strand of her hair and wrapped it around his finger as he stared at her. “I don’t think I knew how much I loved her until the curse struck her. I mean…” He exhaled sharply. “I’ve always been kind of stupid over her, but it was like I took the curse, too.” He released her hair and rubbed absently at his chest. “My heart has been hurting since it happened.”
“Mine, too,” Draco murmured. “I think it’s the marriage bonds.”
“What if I end up alone in the past?” Harry questioned.
“You won’t be alone—we’ll both be there.”
“Sixteen-year-old Draco didn’t love me,” Harry snapped.
“Well, no but he didn’t really hate you either. He hated his circumstances,” Draco said. “Which you can change rapidly, Harry. But don’t worry about this—the ritual will work and we’ll all wake up in the past. The only reason Hermione hesitated over this ritual at all was because of the blood sacrifice.” He glanced toward Ron’s body. “But she won’t hold this against us.”
“How can you be certain?” Harry asked.
“Because as much as we love her, she loves us,” Draco said. “She gave us everything, Harry. She opened her heart to me when very few women in her place would’ve. She found love in our love, pleasure in our pleasure. She is, above all other things, loyal. We can depend on that loyalty in the past.”
Harry walked to stand beside Draco and carefully laced their hands together. He took a deep breath. “You first.”
“Do you really want to watch me kill our wife?” Harry asked and exhaled sharply when Draco shuddered.
“No, I don’t, but I won’t allow you to bear this burden alone, Harry.” Draco leaned into him, and Harry turned so he could hold him.
“I love you,” Harry whispered against Draco’s jaw. “I could never choose between the two of you—I know part of you always wondered if I loved her more.”
“I was pretty insecure when we married,” Draco allowed then grinned briefly when Harry laughed. “But when I let myself love her—fall for her the way you did—I understood how you could love us both so much. I love her differently but not less.”
“Yes,” Harry said. He curled his hand around Draco’s hip as they stood there. “If we go back too far our age will impede us.”
“If we don’t go back far enough then much of Dumbledore’s plan will already be in place.”
“He can’t make me marry a corpse,” Harry pointed out.
Draco sighed. “That’s a plan then. Just kill everyone.”
“Everyone who deserves it,” Harry corrected.
“There goes any hope of an early retirement,” Draco said with a wry grin. He pressed a soft, warm kiss against Harry’s mouth and smoothed Harry’s beard with gentle fingers along the line of his jaw. “Going to miss this.”
“If I don’t make it back…” Harry said. “Take care of her and know—just know that falling in love with you was one of the easiest things I’ve ever done. If you give me time; we’ll get here again.”
“Provided the innocent version of you doesn’t notice Hermione and me burying bodies in the forest?” Draco asked and raised a pale eyebrow.
“I never was quite as innocent or light as anyone assumed. I could’ve cheerfully murdered Umbridge my fifth year.” He took a deep breath. “Okay. Let’s get the orbs ready.”
“Just…” Draco cupped Harry’s face with both hands. “Just remember that we love you and we’d suffer anything to remain at your side.”
Harry let his forehead rest on Draco’s. “Bound in magic.”
“Bound in love,” Draco responded.
“We three are one,” they whispered together.
They separated, and Draco moved back to the bag he’d packed. Harry went to the anchor stone in the ritual circle and with a swish of his wand, banished his clothes. He’d have no need of them no matter what happened. He performed the cleansing spells carefully then stepped onto the stone. It vibrated briefly under him and lit with a soft golden light which spread out over the entire circle as he claimed it through familial magic. When he turned, Draco had banished his own clothing and was in the midst of using a cleansing spell himself.
Harry holstered his wand and walked to stand in front of the bag. There were four orbs and two Deathly Hallows. He pulled the sword from the scabbard on his back and took a deep breath. He planted the sword first, hilt up in the ground. “Guardian of the West, I invoke thee, let Water nourish us.”
The air grew misty as he left the sword and a thin fog circled the ritual space. He picked up the Cloak of Invisibility and placed it next. “Guardian of the East, I invoke thee, let Air hide us.”
The fog thickened and began to swirl around them as he retrieved the Resurrection Stone. He placed it on a small stone pedestal Draco had moved into place. “Guardian of the North, I invoke thee, let Earth guide us.”
He unholstered the Elder Wand and walked to the final point in the circle. “Guardian of the South, I invoke thee, let Fire protect us.”
Harry used his magic to drive the wand into the ground until only the handle was visible. The entire circle lit, and a calmness settled over him. Perhaps, it was his fate to sacrifice over and over again, and he would make those sacrifices to safeguard magic, but he would not bow down to the power hungry and the greedy. Dumbledore’s plan for the so-called greater good had resulted in the murder of his Lady, and there was no coming back from that—for any of them. They’d all pay.
He drew his holly wand and took his place at the head of the altar. He started to speak but was interrupted by a burst of phoenix song. Fawkes flamed into the air above them and landed on the end of the altar near Hermione’s feet. The bird sand softly, sadly and rubbed his beak against Hermione’s bare toes.
“Fawkes,” Harry began quietly, “I cannot allow you to interfere with my purpose. I don’t know what Dumbledore…” He trailed off when the bird focused on him. He was bombarded suddenly with hundreds of images—cages, of Fawkes shackled to a perch with chains, and with magic. “Oh.”
“Harry?” Draco questioned.
“Dumbledore bound him—forced his companionship.”
“Does that surprise you at all?” Draco questioned.
“No, not really.” Harry grimaced. “Are you here to help or hinder, Fawkes?”
The bird tilted his head, flew to the sword and landed on it. He perched on the crossguard, wobbled a little bit then settled in with much dignity as a bird could on such a precarious perch. Draco snorted.
“I think he means to come with us,” Harry said.
“Can we trust he won’t report back to Dumbledore?” Draco questioned.
Fawkes responded by sending Harry a picture of Hedwig.
Harry took a deep breath. “He showed me a picture of Hedwig—a demonstration of his loyalty to me?”
“He could be lying,” Draco pointed out. “But he is volunteering to actually die which is supposed to be impossible for a phoenix. Once you’re in the ritual and you’re exposed to the soul of him—you’ll know if he can be trusted or not.”
“Fawkes shall be the West then,” Harry said. “Is it odd that he chose the Water element?”
“Yin and Yang,” Draco suggested as he placed the moonstone orb at the base of the sword.
Harry watched his consort shift the rest of repository orbs around the circle—onyx for Earth, sapphire for Air, and a gleaming opal for Fire. “Hermione is the Earth, you are Fire, and I will be Air.”
Draco nodded and the fog deepened around them, a storm stirred high in the air above them. “Let’s get started; we’re going to attract their attention very quickly, and I’ve done all I can to ward this place while you were off killing people.”
“Just the one,” Harry said. “And that witch has had it coming for a decade or more.”
“True enough my mother would be so jealous to find out you put an end to her,” Draco said with a sad laugh. “She hates Molly Weasley like few other people on this planet.”
Harry took a deep breath and focused on Fawkes. It was terrible, but he was relieved to have a practice run at the harvest spell. The bird ruffled his feathers and regarded Harry with the sort of expression that made him think that the phoenix knew he was about to be experimented on. Fawkes had come to Harry many times since Dumbledore’s death—he’d took them from Britain a year ago when the ministry tried to arrest them. The bird had taken a curse for Harry on Diagon Alley just two years after the war. And now, he was here again—coming to Harry in his time of need, perched ridiculously on the Sword of Gryffindor.
“Meto anima!” The spell hit the bird with a jolt of red light, and the phoenix glowed brightly before bursting into flame. Harry held the spell and relaxed only slightly when a pulsing white light emerged from the fire. He coaxed Fawkes’ soul into the moonstone orb, and the fire disappeared—ashes dusted the ground around the sword.
“That’s the darkest thing I’ve ever done,” Harry said and closed his eyes briefly. “But this is my path, and I don’t have room to left to mourn anything else—least of all what little light I had left in me.”
Lightning darted across the sky, and the storm rumbled above them.
Harry turned to Hermione then, wand shaking. “Is…can we risk waking her?”
“No, I’m sorry,” Draco said. “I barely got the stasis spell in place in time. If her soul leaves her body, we can’t retrieve it. I don’t know enough about necromancy.”
He didn’t either. He’d always found it a little creepy though Hermione had been fascinated by both necromancy and his status as the Master of Death. Harry’s stomach clenched, and bile gathered in the back of his throat as he pointed his wand at his wife. Draco took his hand, laced their fingers together but said nothing.
“Meto anima!” The spell hit her and Harry shuddered in revulsion, but fury soon settled in him—burning like lava in the deepest reaches of him until there was nothing left. This was their fault and they’d all fucking pay for it.
Hermione’s body disintegrated by degrees and wind danced through the ritual circle as Harry very gently placed his wife’s soul in the onyx orb that would hold her until he completed the blood rite.
“Check for her, please,” Harry requested in a hoarse tone.
Draco left and crossed the circle. He touched the orb, whispered a spell and took a deep breath. “Yes, but just her.”
“The pregnancy was very new—perhaps too new for the baby’s spirit to be fully entrenched in this world,” Draco stood and focused on him. “I’m ready.”
“I forgive you,” Draco whispered.
“Meto anima!” Harry held the spell even as his own body rebelled against what he was doing.
Swallowing bile, he directed Draco’s spirit to the opal only to have the light and stone glance off one another. He tried again, and a little spark of magic from the orb snapped at him. Harry took a deep breath to settle himself and shifted. The sapphire that represented the East and Air was gleaming, sparkling with magic and Harry understood that he’d made the wrong choice for his Consort. He urged Draco’s spirit across the circle and watched as the light representing his love’s spirit was sucked gently into the sapphire.
Which left the South and Fire for himself and the Elder Wand. He supposed he’d never be parted from it. He used his holly wand to put Ron on the altar and cast another incarcerous charm just in case. He banished the red headed wizard’s clothes and woke him up with a flick of his wand. Swish and flick. Hermione’s childish voice echoed in his head, and for a moment his rage abated.
“Harry? What the hell?”
“What the hell, indeed,” Harry murmured and focused on Ron. “Your vicious cunt of a mother has ruined my life, so I’m going to sacrifice you.”
“Hermione won’t let you…” He looked around. “Where is she?”
“Percy killed her,” Harry said. “But don’t you worry—I left his entrails spilled out across my foyer in Rome.”
“You killed Percy?” Ron asked, voice soft with shock. “No, you wouldn’t do that.”
Harry leaned down and stared at Ron’s face. “I killed your mother, too. I could say she was in the way of my kidnapping you but she wasn’t. In fact, I went out of my way to kill her. Your father was upset, of course, but I don’t think he was at all surprised to find her corpse in the sitting room.”
“You bastard,” Ron seethed and jerked against the ropes holding him on the altar. “Fucking coward! Let me go!”
“Oh, no, for the first time in your entire life, Ronald, you’re going to be of some use to me.”
Harry’s gaze drifted from Hermione’s orb then to Draco’s. Both were gently pulsing with magic and life. He went to the kit Draco had packed and retrieved the last item—a dverger -made athame. The bejeweled blade was all Draco had left of the man who had fathered him. Harry had often wondered about Draco’s attachment to the ritual knife but had never questioned his Consort. Ron was still shouting, disgruntled Harry shot a charm at him and sewed his mouth shut. Weasley’s eyes bulged in shock.
“May Magic bless my magical purpose,” Harry said as traced glowing runes in the air around him. “I am a vengeful but faithful man. I am Fate’s Hand on this earth—born to a terrible truth. I am the Master of Death—let the four winds answer to me this night.
“Dominus mortis et metunt eos anima. Vindicta! Reducite!” The ritual knife spun from his hand, shot across the ritual space, and slammed into Ron Weasley’s heart. Oddly, he thought Lucius Malfoy would be pleased with Harry’s use of the athame.
Harry took a shuddery breath, agony spread through his chest, and he looked down. With horror, he touched the handle of the Elder Wand where it protruded from his body. His hand turned to ash, fingers disappearing on a swift wind.
“Magicae miscerique,” he whispered and knew no more.
Harry’s eyes opened, and he found himself staring at the canopy of a bed—Hogwarts, he thought. He reached out for his glasses and wand—found both on the table beside his bed. “Tempus.”
4:47am June 19, 1996
Slashing his wand through the charm, he slouched back on the bed. Harry had known, instinctually, that he’d arrive shortly after his godfather’s murder. He’d used Black family magic to build the ritual—magic he didn’t have domain over while his godfather was alive. With one hand pressed against his aching chest, he slipped from the warmth of his bed and stumbled to the trunk tucked up against the footboard. Jeans, T-shirt, and a pair of ragged trainers were on top of it as he’d packed to leave school the night before. He picked up the clothes, minimized the trunk with a spell then retrieved it. His priority was to get to the bank and execute Sirius’ will before Dumbledore could—otherwise the elderly wizard would use his influence to appoint himself regent of the Black title and start them all down the path that had destroyed them.
He dressed in the showers, though he paused long enough to throw half a dozen repair charms at the trainers to make them look half-way decent. His glasses were also out of date, but he’d get contacts on Diagon Alley anyway, so he left the lenses as they were. Hermione had always been better at that. Harry braced himself on the counter and stared his reflection. He wondered if anyone would notice the ferocious, ravenous anger burning in him. Would they look at him and see what he’d brought back in time with him? Part of him hoped so. He wanted their fear. He wanted to burn regret deep into them until it was all they knew. Because they would regret every single damn thing they already had planned for him.
Harry left the showers and hurried down the stairs. Hermione was sitting by the fire with a book in her lap, her trunk sitting in front of her. He went weak in the knees at the sight of her—alive and as beautiful as ever. “Mi.”
Her head snapped up, and she met his gaze—confusion and relief seemed to war on her face. She closed the book as he crossed the room. Harry pushed the trunk out of the way with one foot and hauled her from the chair. Her book hit the stone floor as he clutched at her, shaking with relief and a hundred other emotions he couldn’t wrap his head around. Her fingers curled into his T-shirt and fisted against his hips.
“What happened?” Hermione questioned. “What have you done?”
Harry breathed against her neck. “What’s the last thing you remember?”
“You were…” Hermione frowned and shifted so she could meet his gaze. “You were arguing with Percy Weasley because they’d managed to get through our wards. He brought a team of aurors to arrest us, and he was saying he didn’t care what the ICW said or wanted. Then one of the aurors drew his wand, and there was a fight…Percy…” Her hand went to her chest, and she curled her fingers into her jumper.
“He killed you,” Harry said. “Well, it would’ve killed you if Draco hadn’t put a stasis charm on you.”
Her bottom lip trembled, and tears spilled down her cheeks. “I’m so sorry. What happened after that?”
Harry looked around the empty common room. “We can’t talk here. We have to go—now.” He pulled his wand, minimized her trunk and put it in his pocket.
“Draco?” Hermione questioned as she retrieved her book, shrank it, and slid it into a pocket.
“If we landed in Hogwarts we agreed to meet in an unused classroom on the first floor,” Harry said as he took her hand. He disillusioned them both, and they left the tower without another word.
They made the trip down the stairs in silence, but her warm hand in his was a relief all its own. He’d gotten one of them back and if he had to romance the hell out of the Malfoy heir, again, then he would, but he really hoped that his Draco was waiting for them. He pushed open the door and found Draco standing near the back of the room—back to the door, shoulders tense, dressed entirely in black. The door hinges squeaked, and the blond turned.
Hermione ended their disillusionment and released Harry’s hand. She rushed across the empty classroom and launched herself into Draco’s arms. Draco sank to his knees with her and buried his face against her neck with a soft, barely audible hitch of breath. Harry closed the door, put three different lock charms on it then cast a privacy charm on top of it before going to them. They both reached out and dragged him down to the floor.
Harry ran his fingers through Draco’s short hair and pressed a kiss against his Consort’s temple. “You okay?”
“Better now,” Draco whispered.
“You did the blood rite,” Hermione said in the silence that followed. She pulled back from Draco, and her gaze drifted between them expectantly. “Confess your sins, gentlemen.”
Harry couldn’t help but grin at her. She’d often said the same thing when the two of them came home from the pub tipsy and foolish. He sobered though because for the first time he had actual sins to confess to. “I killed Percy Weasley and at least two of the aurors who broke into the house.” He paused. “And Molly. I killed Molly with a Killing Curse.”
Her mouth dropped open.
“I killed the other four aurors at the house,” Draco interjected.
She frowned. “If the two of you killed them all then who did you sacrifice for the ritual?”
Harry bit down on his bottom lip and shared a look with Draco before sighing. “Ron. I sacrificed Ron.”
Hermione shifted until she could sit on her butt and stared at him. Then a small smile drifted over her mouth, and her face softened with what he knew to be pleasure. She often looked like that when her favorite dessert was served. “That was very sweet, Harry. Thank you.”
Hermione bit down on her lip and looked away from them both. Tears welled in her eyes and spilled down her cheeks. “Those hateful, terrible people. Why couldn’t they just leave us in peace?”
“The Blackmoor title is and always has been coveted,” Draco said. “It comes with fifteen votes on the Wizengamot, the most of any house. There is a reason why no one was all that fussed to give Sirius Black a trial—it left the ministry open to a large amount of corruption in either direction. Traditionally, before the Dark Lord, the Black family was almost entirely grey, so the Earl of Blackmoor provided balance in the ministry and in the Wizengamot itself. It’s why Riddle practically courted the Black family, why my father married into the family, and why everyone wanted to control Harry. The best way to control him was through a marriage to a woman they could use…” He trailed off and rubbed his face. “But you know all of this—I’m just rambling. I’m so relieved you both came back with me.” He turned to Harry. “What about Fawkes?”
Harry shook his head. “No sign of him, yet. You were, right. However, his motivations were easy to read once I was free of my own body. He hates Dumbledore down to that corrupt old wizard’s bone marrow.”
“What happened to Fawkes?” Hermione asked in confusion and frowned when they both blushed. “You deviated from my plan?” She glared at Draco. “You! You know he can’t be trusted not to do something crazy.”
Draco shrugged and grinned at her. “I love you.”
Her frown dropped from her face, and she huffed. “I love you, too, you git!” She crossed her arms and turned to Harry. “What did you do, Harry Potter?”
“Well.” Harry got comfortable. “Your ritual plan called for four power stones that we’d have to construct and spend six months charging.” He paused when she nodded. “Obviously, we couldn’t keep you in stasis that long so I used the Hallows and the Sword of Gryffindor to power the ritual.” He winced when the color drained out of her face. “It’s fine. It worked.”
“Get out your trunk,” Hermione said urgently.
Harry pulled his trunk from his pocket it, resized it and opened it. He shifted aside his books and reared back in shock. With a wounded sound, he picked up a fist full of shimmering silver dust and let it fall through his fingers. “The cloak is gone.”
He grabbed a T-shirt and spread it out as Draco moved around the side of the trunk to stare at the dust. In silence, he gathered all the dust with his wand and piled it on the shirt which Hermione fashioned into a bag of sorts and tied it off. They stared in silence at the resulting sack for a few seconds then Harry took it with a shaking hand and tucked it into the corner of the trunk before he settled his books back into place and closed the lid. He minimized the trunk again and put it back into his pocket.
Hermione broke the silence with a laugh.
“What?” Harry questioned.
Hermione shook her head. “I’m just picturing that old bastard’s face when he wakes up this morning and finds a pile of dust where the Elder Wand should be.”
Harry’s hand went to his chest, and he shuddered just a bit even as he gave into a little laugh himself.
“What?” Draco put his hand on top of his and moved closer. “Harry? What’s wrong?”
“During the ritual,” Harry began in a hoarse whisper. “The opal orb we were going to use for your soul refused to house you, so I put you in the sapphire where the Cloak of Invisibility was empowering the circle. I had to use the opal—where the Elder Wand was.”
“Okay,” Draco encouraged. “So you made the wrong choice at first—that’s easy to do we’ve both always had an affinity for Air.”
“The Elder Wand killed me,” Harry whispered. “I…” He shuddered. “What was supposed to happen after I completed the rite and the athame took Ron’s blood?”
“Your body was supposed to disintegrate, the orb should’ve captured your soul, and the power runes were to gather us up and fling us back in time,” Hermione whispered, pale and shaken. “How did the wand kill you, Harry?”
“It punched through my chest—I looked down and saw the handle of it but before I could even get a firm grip on it my hand started to turn to dust. I…I said something, but I don’t remember what it was.”
“There was nothing left to say,” Draco protested. “After the athame pierced Weasley’s heart the ritual was complete and the process…do you remember any part of what you said?”
“No,” Harry shook his head. “It’s like—shadowed in my memory. I’ll have to spend some time meditating to see if I can recover it.”
“There is no telling what the Elder Wand made you do,” Hermione hissed. “I can’t believe you tossers used the bloody Deathly Hallows to power the ritual!” She huffed, crossed her arms over her chest and scowled at them.
Harry couldn’t help but grin. “It could be months before I can even try to get mad at you so…you should make the most of this time.”
Hermione laughed, leaned forward and kissed his mouth. “You are so foolish, Harry Potter.”
He pulled her into his lap and leaned into Draco. “Well, here we are.”
“Right.” Hermione sighed and picked up Draco’s hand. She laced her fingers with his and huffed. “Did you two make a plan before you half-arsed a time travel ritual?”
“Kill everyone,” Harry said.
“Who deserves it,” Draco hurriedly clarified when Hermione turned to stare at them both in shock.
She frowned as she settled back against Harry’s chest. “That’s going to be rather time-consuming.”
* * * *
Harry slouched down on the bench and averted his gaze when Ron sat down across from him. Hermione had nixed his plan to just to leave Hogwarts and had suggested that they take the train to London to avoid causing alarm until they had room to maneuver. She’d used Hedwig to send her parents a charmed letter to get them the hell out of Britain and Draco had sent a note to his mother telling her to run.
Mother and son had always had a plan for escaping the Dark Lord, but in the past, Draco’s loyalty to Lucius had kept them both shackled to a terrible situation. Harry had used a school owl to send a note to Vernon and Petunia telling them he’d get a ride home to Surrey and they needn’t pick him up. He wondered how long they’d wait before contacting Dumbledore or if the Order would notice him missing first.
Hermione sat down beside him and put Crookshank’s carrier on the bench next to the door to prevent anyone from sitting next to her, Harry was sure. She’d been giving Ron and Ginny the cold shoulder since they’d forced themselves to sit through breakfast. He’d nearly chewed his tongue in half keeping quiet.
“You all right, mate?” Ron questioned as Neville and Ginny sat down on either side of him.
Harry frowned and looked out the window. “No, I’m not. My godfather is dead, we’re on the precipice of war, and I’m going to spend most of the summer in Durskaban locked up with three Muggles who hate my guts. I’ll be lucky to get one meal a day and I’ll either be worked like a slave or confined to my room twenty-four/seven. The ministry is corrupt, the Minister for Magic is a fucking idiot, and I suppose I’ll be expected to be gracious and forgive all the goddamned sheeple in this country for how I’ve been treated for the last year.”
Hermione cleared her throat. “It’s okay to be upset, Harry.” She patted his leg and blew air on her between her lips. “You’ve had a very difficult experience.”
“Yeah,” Neville said weakly.
Luna slipped in at that point and wiggled onto the bench beside Harry. He made more room for her by scooting just a little closer to Hermione. This was going to be the longest train ride in the history of the Hogwarts Express. He should’ve vetoed Hermione’s plan, but honestly, he was still so relieved to see her alive to put up any sort of argument against her natural state of being the boss. He relaxed back against the seat and closed his eyes.
He tried to focus on what he remembered of the ritual and found most of it indistinct, clouded in his mind. Had the Elder Wand done that? What about the still unaccounted for Fawkes? Had the creature woke up in his bound body, forced to do Dumbledore’s will again. Harry hoped not, but he didn’t know what he could do about it in the short-term. Hopefully, the ritual and the transfer of consciousness was enough to break Fawkes free if not he’d add it to his to-do list for the coming school year.
What they needed was a safe house. He mentally reviewed the available properties in the Black holdings and immediately dismissed Grimmauld Place, for many reasons, chief among them Dumbledore and his arsehole brigade. The cottage in France was lovely but too far away and not easily warded. He planned to sell the house in Rome the first chance he got—he’d never set foot in it again, and he figured that Draco felt the same way. There were other international properties, but they were no more feasible than the cottage in France. Nothing in Britain fit his needs so he’d have to purchase something sight-unseen. That rankled, but he’d have to put some trust in the dverger and perhaps that would allow for a better relationship with the Horde than he’d had in the other timeline.
“Is he asleep?”
“Shhh, Ron.” Hermione huffed. “He looks like he didn’t get much rest last night.”
“I’m not sure he slept at all,” Ron said. “He wasn’t in the dorm when we came back from the infirmary, and his bed was empty when I got up. I guess…well.”
Harry could practically see the git shrugging his shoulders. He lifted his head and cleared his throat. “I’m not asleep—just thinking. I got a few hours of sleep last night. Dumbledore had some stuff to tell me.”
“What did he say?” Ron questioned.
“I’m not allowed to discuss it,” Harry said shortly. “Not that it matters since he was his normally cryptic self. Just once, I’d like a straightforward answer to a question. I don’t think it’s too much to ask, really.” He went back to staring out the window. Thankfully, the car fell silent after that, so Harry contented himself with thinking of new and terribly painful ways to kill Ron.
By the time they reached King’s Cross, he’d murdered Ron a hundred and sixteen different ways in his head. It was probably a mistake as now he had no idea which method would be his favorite, and he planned to cherish murdering Ron the second time around. Maybe he’d consult Draco—his Consort always had the best ideas even if Hermione often rained on their parade.
The fact that he had to endure a suffocating and fake hug from Molly before he could escape the platform was infuriating enough that he couldn’t even muster up another ounce of anger at the sight of Vernon Dursley. Either the school owl hadn’t reached them in time, or Dumbledore’s spell work on the Dursleys was too robust for a note to have any impact. Moody and Lupin were standing with his Uncle which reminded him that this was the year they had the talk with Vernon about Harry was treated. It hadn’t helped, at all.
He shared a glance with Hermione who gave him a brief nod before she disappeared into the crowd. Harry trudged over to Vernon and sighed at the man’s ruddy complexion. He was obviously furious. “Whatever they’ve said to you, Vernon, is no fault of mine. I’ve never told anyone anything about how you and your wife treat me in your home. I don’t have to, you see, Dumbledore’s had people spying on you and me since he dropped me on your front porch like a bottle of milk.
“They know about the work you pile on me, the food you don’t give me, the bullying you encouraged Dudley to do, and the bloody cupboard you made me sleep in for years. You don’t have a single damn secret from these people. Not one. You see, they don’t really care how you treat me, but they were instructed to give you a stern talking to so that hopefully a month of peace and quiet in your terrible house will make me less furious.
“You can get madder if you want, but it will probably just give you a heart attack. They won’t care about that either—you and Dudley aren’t important to them at all. They only need Petunia to live in that house with me for three weeks a year to fuel the blood wards, so you and that baby whale you spawned are expendable. They don’t actually care about me either—I’m just a weapon.” He turned toward Moody and Remus—both were staring at him pale-faced. “You two should fuck off before I report you for Muggle-baiting.”
“I realize you’re upset about Sirius…” Remus began.
“Upset doesn’t even come close to how I feel about what happened to Sirius,” Harry said in a low tone. “He was more than my godfather, and now he’s dead because there isn’t a single adult in my life I can trust to be honest with me. Stop picking on a man who’s already petrified of magic. It’s cruel, and he hardly needs any lessons on cruelty.”
Vernon huffed as Moody and Remus left.
“Do not speak to me,” Harry advised the man. “I could kill you where you stand, old man, don’t doubt me. We’re going to walk out of here and get in your car. A block from the station, you’re going to stop, and I’m going to get out of the car then you’ll never see me again if I have a single thing to say about it. The wards on Privet Drive will fall within the month—so you should take a vacation and make sure your insurance is up to date before you leave. If you deviate from my instructions, I’ll kill you. Clear?”
Ten minutes and a wandless disillusionment charm later, he followed a pair of witches into Diagon Alley. The alleyway was narrow leading onto the street, so he was careful not to brush up against anyone in his invisible form. Hermione was leaving Flourish and Blotts when he saw her so he slipped up beside her and she paused only briefly before continuing up the street toward the bank. Just before they reached the steps, he saw that Hermione was being followed by Emmeline Vance. It complicated things since neither he nor Draco would be able to enter the bank with disillusionment charms in place.
He stopped on the steps and Hermione moved forward to have a whispered conversation with the guards at the door. After a minute both guards nodded, and Hermione turned to look out into the street. She gave a small nod and Harry relaxed. He moved forward and for the first time felt the brush of Draco beside him. One of the guards left the entrance and led them through the lobby and into a small office. Harry dropped his charm at the same time Draco did. The guard stared for a second at them, nodded to himself and left.
“What did you tell them?”
“That you were disillusioned and that due to the rise of the Dark Lord that your personal security was vital. He agreed that you and your escort could enter the bank invisible as long as he escorted us,” Hermione said and took a deep breath. “He’s also retrieving the Black account manager.”
An hour later, he’d claimed the Black title and was sitting in a private office waiting for the Chieftain of the Horde. He rubbed his thumb over the signet ring, relieved to have it back on his hand. Hermione was on the other side of the room at a table reading through the Black accounts while Draco was reviewing the inventory of the Potter and Black vaults.
Ragnok entered, glanced over the three of them and hummed. “This is sure to be entertaining.” He sat down at his desk and dropped a parchment in front of him. “I’ve retrieved the marriage agreement between the Malfoy and Black families. I should stipulate, Lord Potter, that you are not honor bound to undertake this union. While you were designated Sirius Black’s heir, the blood adoption wasn’t completed so while magically you are his son; you aren’t through blood rites.”
Harry nodded. “Draco is in a precarious situation due to his father’s incarceration and Voldemort. We’ve agreed to form an alliance of sorts which we’re going to seal with this marriage contract. It’ll offer us both legal protection.”
“Dumbledore intends on destroying this contract,” Ragnok pointed out. “He sent me a letter just this morning requesting I retrieve it from the Black vault so he could destroy it after he claims regency over your title.”
“He doesn’t make a habit of discussing such things with me—he likes to think I’m not entitled to know the details of my own life. I’ve claimed the title, and he can’t assert regent authority over me. I intend to honor the contract, and we’ll be taking Miss Granger as our wife together.”
“A triad union with the son of a Death Eater and a Muggle-born.” Ragnok smirked. “Your godfather was contrary like this—I enjoyed it very much.” He clapped his hands together. “Excellent.” He unrolled the parchment and dug out a quill. “As you probably know, magical marriages are contracts signed in blood. You can have any sort of ceremony or ritual bonding you’d like at a later date. Most bondings take place in private, and many forgo a public ceremony due to the nature of magical marriage. You’ll be required to consummate the union in full within twenty-four hours or the contracts will destroy themselves.”
Harry nodded. “I’ll need the signet rings for both of them brought up from the vault.”
“Of course.” Ragnok activated a series of runes on the corner of his desk, wrote a short note on a piece of parchment, placed it on the runes and the paper disappeared.
“And I want to purchase a property as privately as possible so a list of available of secure, unplottable properties would be good.”
Hermione and Draco joined him at the desk. They’d already agreed to do a bonding ritual in private, so he wasn’t worried about how they’d respond to the calculated and business-like approach to the marriage. He signed the Black contract first and gave the blood quill to Draco. Ragnok passed the second marriage contract to him, and he read it then gave it to Hermione to read. Draco signed the contract and passed the quill back to him, so he traded the triad contract which made Draco laugh a little. They needed something to laugh about so playing musical contracts helped.
They signed the triad contract—Hermione then Draco before Harry did. That was some protocol thing that Draco insisted on the first time around, so Harry didn’t say anything when they did it the same way. He’d just finished signing the second contract when the door opened, and Griphook entered with a wooden box which he placed silently on Ragnok’s desk and left. Harry frowned and added him to his hit list. He hated that little bastard. Hermione nudged him, so he opened the box which Ragnok had placed in front of him to reveal the signet rings.
He offered Draco’s first—another matter of protocol—, and Draco slid it on his wand hand with a look of relief. Harry picked up Hermione’s ring and smiled a little when she proffered her hand. He slipped the ring on her wand and gave her fingers a little squeeze. “There that should make a few hundred people absolutely furious.”
“Half the Black family cemetery probably just set itself on fire,” Draco said with a grin.
Ragnok laughed and dropped a book in front of Harry. “The property catalog.”
Harry picked up the book and gave it to Hermione. “You can pick—just pay attention to more than the size of your library.”
She smiled and walked away hugging the book to her chest.
Harry focused on Ragnok as Draco joined them by sitting down in the chair beside him. “As the Earl of Blackmoor, I claim domain over all family and ancestral vaults in the Black and Potter families.”
“Yes, your account manager told me as such.”
“He neglected to include the trust vaults for Bellatrix Lestrange and Narcissa Malfoy,” Draco said. “Perhaps it was an oversight, but we’ll need both vaults rekeyed immediately.”
Ragnok hummed under his breath. “The vaults aren’t listed as Black properties,” he murmured as he opened a deceptively thin book in front of him. “But they are, indeed, trust vaults so they should be listed as sub-vaults to the main Black vault. It appears their status was altered in 1991.”
“Which should’ve been impossible since the only person who could’ve done it was Sirius, and he was in Azkaban,” Harry pointed out.
“It was done a month after Arcturus Black died,” Ragnok said. “I’ll investigate this fraud personally and have new keys made within the hour.” He left his desk and stalked out of the office.
“Someone’s going to get their head cut off,” Hermione said wryly from her place by the fire. “Can I have a castle? I’ve always wanted one.”
Harry glanced toward Draco who just shrugged. “Seriously?”
“She got cursed to death; buy her a bloody castle, Potter.”
“No ghosts, and no more than twenty rooms,” Harry said.
Hermione huffed. “Just one ghost?”
“No, what if it watches us fuck?”
“Oh,” Hermione said and scrunched up her nose. “And our luck we’d get a perverted one, too.” She flipped through the book with a huff. “Here’s one with a dungeon. We might need a dungeon.”
“I don’t plan to take prisoners,” Harry pointed out.
“I might,” Hermione protested.
“Fine, you can have a dungeon.”
Hermione grinned and used a bit of her magic to mark the corner of the page.
Ragnok returned a few minutes later, tossed four keys on the desk and sat down in his chair with a scowl. “I’ll be your new account manager, Lord Potter.”
Harry raised an eyebrow. “I appreciate your personal attention, Chieftain, but…”
“No, buts,” Ragnok said. “That twat Dumbledore has managed to corrupt three different bank employees in his efforts to spy on and control your assets. He also used his power as your guardian to transfer the two trust vaults out of the control of the House of Black. For reasons, I can’t fathom, but I can assume sort of bribery was involved. Your accounts are now sealed and subject only to my management. He won’t even be able to find out who your account manager is now that they are sealed and I haven’t allowed him a private meeting with me since 1971 when he tried and failed to memory charm me.”
“Can I have an island?” Hermione questioned.
They all three turned to stare at her.
Hermione raised an eyebrow. “It has a castle on it and is just thirty kilometers off the coast of Scotland near the Isle of Skye.”
“Specs?” Harry questioned.
“Seven kilometers long, five wide, unplottable, inactivated ward net. The only structures on the island are the castle and a large greenhouse. It is a bit of natural forest, and we could have a Fidelius cast around the whole thing using the ward net. The castle is just fifteen rooms—two towers and a courtyard. Three levels, one’s underground.”
“You mean two levels and a dungeon,” Harry said with a laugh. She shrugged. “Fine, if that’s what you want.”
She brought the property book back to the desk and put it down in front of him. “It’s unfurnished, but we can probably furnish most of it out of the vaults. I’ll need a storage trunk for when we go down to the vaults.”
“There’s one in the Potter vault. I saw it on the inventory,” Draco said. “We’ll want to activate the retrieval charms on both library archive trunks—Black and Potter—to retrieve any entailed books that might have walked away over the years.”
The archive trunk would clean out the library at Grimmauld Place—Harry knew that from future experience. He eventually retrieved more than a thousand books between the two archive trunks. Dumbledore had stolen a lot of books from the Potter vault over the years. He read through the details about the island that Hermione hadn’t voiced—the island had been unplottable for seven hundred years and had been owned by the same family that entire time until it was deeded to the bank to pay a debt a hundred years before.
“The family that owned this island—last name Albright. Are there any members of the family alive to reveal its existence?”
“No, the oldest living descendent is just forty and never visited the property as it has been in our control since before his birth,” Ragnok said. “The structure is in stasis, and you could move into it immediately. I’d have to accompany you to remove the stasis and set the Fidelius. I take it one of you will be the Secret Keeper.”
“Hermione will be the Secret Keeper,” Harry said as he reviewed the property. “Anyone would expect me to choose myself or Draco merely because he’s male and a pure-blood.”
“True,” Ragnok agreed. “You can layer several secrecy charms over the Fidelius, to protect her identity.”
“Good,” Harry said. “I want the strongest, most vicious set of defensive wards that can be created placed on the entire island. Let’s strengthen the Muggle-repelling charms and lock this thing down like we’re hiding the secret of life on it.”
“If that is your wish,” Ragnok said. “I appreciate a wizard who understands the need for good home security. Lethal?”
“One warning with a portkey displacement, a second warning with permanent limb removal, and lethal after that,” Harry decided. “You can send them to the Arctic Circle if that would amuse you.”
“That would amuse me,” Draco said with a laugh.
“It’s pretty funny,” Hermione agreed.
* * * *
Harry waited outside the vault of Bellatrix Lestrange while the team of dverger removed all the curses and hexes she’d placed on the contents. He could see Hufflepuff’s Cup from where he stood, and it was making his scar hurt. He’d yet to discuss what to do about the horcrux he carried. He knew that neither Draco nor Hermione would be on board with killing him to get rid of it. He’d sent them to the main Potter vault to retrieve enough furniture to furnish Hermione’s castle which she’d named Potter’s Arx.
“It’s clean, Lord Potter.”
Harry looked down at the dverger standing beside him. “Thank you, Cliffclimber. Charge a hundred galleons per dverger to my account as a bonus for your quick and thorough work.”
The dverger made a correction on the parchment in his head and handed the clipboard to Harry. He pressed his key to the appropriate place and gave it back. “How far is the Potter vault from here?”
“A two-minute walk down that path,” Cliffclimber pointed. “Your Consort and Lady are still there, I believe.”
“Thank you, I’ll join them after I’m done here, so you need not waste time waiting for me.”
“Very well,” Cliffclimber said and motioned his crew back into their cart. “Thank you for your patronage, Lord Potter.”
Harry waited until the cart was out of view before he entered the vault. He pulled out the moleskin pouch first, levitated the cup into it and closed it up quickly. Then he dropped a large storage trunk and instructed it to pack the entire vault. Once that was done, he minimized the trunk, picked it up and left behind a single scroll. He’d instructed the bank to keep a key on hand for Bellatrix. It was her trust vault, after all. The note detailed her betrayal and financial disownment from the House of Black. He’d pay good money to see her face when she read it.
He pulled the vault door shut, but the grind of a cart caught his attention. Harry pulled up the hood of his cloak. The cart sped past him, and he caught a flash of pink that made him grin. He trotted after it to make sure his dreams were coming true. Delores bloody Umbridge was in that cart, and because the gods loved him, Griphook was driving. It was like his birthday came early. Since he couldn’t use his wand, his options were limited, but his wandless magic was decent. He wiggled his fingers at the back of the cart, levitated a bunch of loose gravel up, and threw it. The brake system clanked loudly. The cart shot into the dark ahead of him, but sparks from the tracks and flickering lanterns gave him enough of a view that he could see the exact moment the cart flew off the track and slammed into a wall. Then it exploded in magical fire.
Harry bit down on his lip to keep from laughing. He turned down the path he’d been instructed to follow and quickly found Draco and Hermione at the Potter vault.
“What have you been doing?” Hermione questioned.
Harry leaned on the door frame of the vault and grinned. “Giving myself an early birthday present.”
Harry watched Hermione leave Flourish and Blotts with her cat’s carrier. Emmeline Vance had been lingering outside the bank when they’d exited, so Hermione had continued the charade of doing some shopping on the Alley. Then they’d exited the magical area, and the witch had only followed Hermione as far as a Muggle bus terminal before she’d turned around and left. Harry wondered if they were watching Hermione at home and if they would miss her sooner than they did him. Hedwig had returned with a letter from her parents—the charms had worked, and the Grangers were in the midst of an impromptu packing session. She’d charmed them into volunteering with Doctors without Borders. It was better than memory charming them which had resulted in both Muggles having permanent short-term memory issues in the other timeline.
Hermione crossed the street at the light, and Harry kept Draco’s hand as they crossed the street after her. Being disillusioned was bothersome enough but doing it in the Muggle world was dangerous for someone like Draco who had minimal experience with it. Even in the future, his Consort had rarely ventured out into the Muggle world. He’d found Muggle entertainment odd, except for the telly Hermione had installed in their home, and the crowds overwhelmed him. Draco’s fingers tightened in his and Harry sighed because Remus Lupin was on the corner directly in Hermione’s path.
Hermione’s mouth tightened slightly as the werewolf approached her. Remus Lupin’s weakness had always infuriated his wife, and Harry knew that it would be difficult for Hermione to keep her irritation to herself completely. They hadn’t found out until well after the war just how much some members of the Order had known about Harry’s home life. It had come out in an argument between Molly and Minerva the very night Harry had ended up St. Mungo’s due to being dosed with a love potion he was allergic to.
“Hello, Mr. Lupin,” Hermione shifted the messenger bag she’d bought on the alley on her shoulder. “Is there a problem?”
“Emmeline Vance reported to Dumbledore that your parents didn’t retrieve you from the station,” Lupin said. “We were concerned about your safety. You’re important to Harry—a good friend. The last thing he needs is to lose another person he cares about.”
Hermione lifted an eyebrow at the man. “I’m sixteen, Mr. Lupin, and perfectly capable of doing a little shopping in Muggle London before going home. My parents trust me, and it’s really none of your business. I’m not a member of the Order, and while I might be a Hogwarts student, I’m not currently in school, so the headmaster doesn’t get to tell me where to go. Shouldn’t you all be concentrating on keeping Harry a prisoner?”
Lupin flushed. “He’s got every right to be upset, I know that, but he’s not a prisoner.”
“Sure he is.” Hermione scoffed. “I do wonder, though, how James Potter would feel about you standing by watching Harry live the life he’s living. Would he thank you, Moony, for doing so bloody little to protect his son?”
Lupin’s eyes flashed gold and Harry drew his wand. “I’d die for Harry.”
“That’s not saying much since you don’t even bother to live for yourself,” Hermione snapped back. “Go away and leave me alone. I’m so bloody fed up with all this nonsense.”
She brushed past the former professor with a haughty glare that would’ve made any teenage girl proud and disappeared into an accessory shop. They followed, but Lupin headed back toward the Alley.
Harry watched his wife rage-buy an entire little basket of stuff for her hair. He recognized some of it—combs, pins, and little scrunches that were littered all over their house in the future. Draco had released his hand and had carefully dropped several items in Hermione’s basket as he was fond of Muggle products for his own hair. Harry stayed where he was so it would be easy for Draco to find him again and after nearly a half-hour Hermione paid, and they left the shop. There was no one obvious from the Order on the street, but that meant nothing considering his own invisible state.
They crossed another street and she headed for the public park Ragnok had suggested they use for departure. The ministry monitored portkeys and apparition to and from the Alley, but they didn’t have the resources to monitor all non-magical areas of Britain. Their marriage contract had emancipated all three of them, but none of them were licensed for apparition, so Harry didn’t want to risk it. They had a portkey that would take them to the island where Ragnok already had a team working on the wards.
Hermione slipped off the path, and Harry started to end his disillusionment charm, but his wife cast the charm on herself and the cage holding Crookshanks with a wave of her wand. He and Draco shifted around until they were near where she’d disappeared and used her body heat to orient themselves.
“Where did she go?”
He looked up and saw Tonks on the path. Lupin appeared beside her, pulling off an invisibility cloak. Harry frowned at them.
“She might have disillusioned herself.”
“She’d have set off the trace,” Tonks protested.
“Not if she did it wandlessly. The trace only works on wand work in areas like this,” Lupin said.
“Smart or not there is no way a sixteen-year-old witch could wandlessly disillusion herself. Most adults can’t do that, Remus,” Tonks said with a frown. “Maybe she picked up a portkey at the bank?”
“To what end?” Remus questioned. “You don’t think she’s planning…”
“We need to get to Privet drive right now,” Lupin snapped.
They both apparated with a sharp, echoing bang.
Hermione reappeared. “The complete lack of common sense makes me want to curse half the magical world absolutely silly.”
Harry used his wand to end his charm, and Draco appeared just a few seconds after him. “That would be fairly quick work—most of them are already on the cusp of forgetting how to walk and breathe at the same time. Tonks is an auror, and she didn’t even bother to scan the area for you.”
Draco shrugged. “Honestly, most of the people working for the ministry are very literal people. That’s why it took Riddle appearing in the building itself for any of them to really believe he was back. He’s an idiot, too. He could’ve wiped out half of his enemies in the year he had to hide and what did he do with it? Fucked about trying to get that foolish, self-fulfilling prophecy.”
Hermione pulled the knotted rope from her bag and held it out. Harry grabbed one end and Draco the other—Hermione rolled her eyes as she adjusted her hand to rest in the center. Draco took Crookshanks carrier from her, and she flicked her hair over her shoulder. Harry laughed and activated the portkey with a push of his magic. Years of practice had them landing lightly on their feet in a lovely stone courtyard. The sun was relatively low in the sky, so lanterns were already flickering.
Ragnok stood up from a bench near a pair of double doors. “Lady Potter, your castle.” He waved a hand at the building as the temporary portkey disintegrated and fell from their hands.
It was certainly a castle. Harry just shook his head and looked at Draco, who shrugged. A sharp bark drew his gaze, and he located Hedwig on a low wall. She ruffled her feathers, distinctly disgruntled.
“There are several owls in the owlery already,” Ragnok said. “I can have them removed if you’d like.”
“No, this is their home—she’ll just have to get used to sharing with them. We’ll check over the birds later,” Harry said. “And we could have use of one that isn’t so readily associated with me.” He checked his watch. “Members of Dumbledore’s group were following Hermione, and they have probably figured out I’m not where I’m supposed to be. I suspect Dumbledore will show up at the bank to ask about Hermione’s portkey.”
“Fortunately, I made your portkey personally as to avoid filing paperwork with the ministry through our portkey officer,” Ragnok said. “Dumbledore’s options for tracking you are quite limited since the island is already unplottable unless he directly involved the Ministry of Magic. The ward net is ready to be activated, and my people have already left. I can set the Fidelius—I’ll probably wander away from you after I set it. Just suggest I use my portkey to return to the bank if I don’t do it on my own.”
Harry watched the dverger pull a stave. He’d never cast the charm himself—he really didn’t trust the Fidelius for obvious reasons, but it would just be one layer of their protective measures. He wasn’t entirely sure if he could trust Ragnok or the dverger as a whole, but he did consider the Chieftain’s apparent dislike for Dumbledore a boon. Ragnok walked to a round stone central to the courtyard, and it glowed under the dverger’s feet as he swept the stave through the air and cast the charm in a burst of dverger language. Harry glanced toward Draco who nodded sharply. The spell settled, and Ragnok looked around, frowned, stowed his stave, and portkeyed away.
He felt weird, oddly displaced and the desire to leave was so strong that if Hermione hadn’t grabbed his arm, he would’ve apparated. “Potter’s Arx is on an unplottable island formerly called Albright’s Hideaway off the coast of the Isle of Skye.”
Draco exhaled sharply and rubbed his face. “That packed a punch. We’ll need to finish setting the ward, add ourselves to the main stone, and launch the net. Then we’ll layer our own secrecy charms on top of that, and that should make as secure as we can be.”
Harry nodded and wrapped an arm around Hermione’s shoulders as they headed into the house. “Like it?”
“Love it,” Hermione said. “I’m going to plant a garden over there.” She pointed toward the side of the courtyard. “And I’m going to unpack both libraries tonight just as soon as the archiving spells finish retrieving the books.”
Harry picked her up bridal style as they reached the doors, which made her laugh, and carried her across the threshold. “Before we do all of that—we need to have a stair-confessional.”
“Okay.” She wrapped her arms around his neck and glanced toward Draco who had sat down on the large central staircase in the back of the foyer.
Harry carried her over to the stairs and sat down beside Draco, but he kept Hermione in his lap. He took a deep breath. “We know.”
“You know what?” Hermione questioned.
“About the baby,” Draco blurted out and exhaled sharply. He pinched his nose and cleared his throat. “We know about the baby, Hermione, so you don’t have to pretend you’re completely fine with being murdered and thrown back in time without your permission.”
Hermione looked down at her hands and took a hitched breath.
“We appreciate your strength,” Harry murmured against her cheek. “You’ll never know how much I depend on you to be strong and brilliant, but you don’t have to be strong about this, Mi.”
“I hate him,” Hermione whispered. “I hate Percy so much—the greedy, callous, cowardly little motherfucker and I want you to kill him again and again and again. I wasn’t far enough along to even imagine I could feel it, but I feel empty and cold on the inside.” She turned her face into Harry’s neck and curled her fingers into his T-shirt. “I really wanted the baby, Harry.”
“I know you did,” Harry murmured. “There will be a day in the future when we can try again. You can have all the babies you want.”
“We can field a Quidditch team,” Draco said, and Hermione huffed.
“I’m sad about it,” Hermione said. “So I won’t pretend I’m not, but I’m going to be okay, I promise.”
“I’m really furious,” Harry admitted. “I don’t know when I’ll have room for sadness when it comes to them.”
They both turned to look at Draco, and he gave them his best put-upon face.
“Relationship maintenance,” Hermione reminded him and poked him with a finger. “Communication is the key to a successful marriage, and that’s the whole point of the stair-confessional. We all agreed.”
Draco frowned. “I’m upset about practically everything. I hated being at Hogwarts, I hated riding the train, and I’m not looking forward to going back for two more bloody years. I’m perturbed about the Elder Wand killing Harry in the ritual. I wanted the baby, too. I was concerned about the crap with the ministry, but I was generally happy in the future we had. I hate them for taking it from us, and I want to fuck up everyone who’s ever looked at us wrong. But I’m also relieved for the first time in over a decade to be sitting here without the Dark Mark on my arm.”
“That was excellent communication, Draco,” Hermione said and focused on Harry.
“You suck up,” Harry muttered in his Consort’s direction. He hesitated but Hermione’s gaze narrowed slightly, and he sighed. “I’ve got a horcrux in my head. I reaped the magical soul of a phoenix, so I’m pretty sure when I die I’m going to hell.” Her mouth dropped open. “I used wandless magic at the bank to throw Umbridge and that little bastard, Griphook, off the tracks. They hit a wall and exploded.”
Draco burst out laughing.
* * * *
He closed the last drawer in the kitchen and looked around. The trunk Hermione had given him with kitchen equipment, and furniture had been full of familiar stuff. He’d furnished his first home in Britain with stuff from his family vault—things he’d had to abandon when they’d run. He had a list on the table of items they’d have to buy—chief among them food. Draco had tackled the floo system first and had promptly ordered take-away the moment it was ready and secure, so they weren’t going to starve, but he preferred his own cooking nearly a hundred percent of the time.
The library and his office were on the ground floor along with a formal dining room and a large room they’d decided to use a den. The most comfortable furniture had been shoved into the den for arrangement later. Draco had taken the bedroom furniture upstairs—they’d picked out enough from the vault to fully furnish all five rooms they’d designated for sleeping. Hermione was in the library when he found her—both archive trunks were open and books were spinning out rapidly and shelving themselves. She stood at a pedestal with the index she was creating. The spell was her own design—it had won her international acclaim in the future. He wondered if she’d bother to share it again.
Harry walked into the room, slipped up behind her and curled his fingers around her hips. “It’s almost midnight.” He pressed a kiss against her neck, and she relaxed against him. “We have a marriage to consummate, mayhem to plan, people to kill…” He grinned against her neck when she laughed but then sobered. “I keep waiting to feel guilty.”
She turned in his arms, her eyes dark and serious. “They killed our baby. They manipulated you your entire life, tried to potion you into a marriage, stole from you, attempted to subjugate you, and attacked our marriage. Not a single one of these bastards deserve your guilt, Harry. They’ll come at us again, but it’ll be different this time and probably worse. Without the contract Dumbledore signed, they don’t have a legal recourse, so there is no telling what they’re capable of. We have to strike hard and fast—get out ahead of them and leave them spinning at every single opportunity. We can’t give them time to plan anything new.”
“I agree,” Harry said. “Tomorrow I want you to start working on the math for our permanent portkeys to the island. Once you’ve got it squared away, I’m going to make our rings portkeys.”
She nodded. “All right. We should probably have those ready before we leave the island at all. Right now Draco isn’t associated with you so the Order won’t be looking for him. We don’t know how many resources Riddle will put into finding him, but I’d say very little, right now. With Narcissa in France and Lucius in Azkaban, he doesn’t have any leverage against him anyways.”
Harry frowned and took her hand. “Draco has something to tell you.”
“What?” Hermione questioned.
“It really should come from him, darling,” he murmured as they left the library, walked down a narrow hall, and up the flight of stairs.
They found Draco in the master suite using his wand to make the bed. “Hermione thinks that Riddle won’t invest a great deal of resources in searching for you.”
Draco paused and sighed as he finished settling the duvet. “I refuse to have two stair-confessionals on the same day.”
Harry grinned but then sighed. “She needs to know.”
“We agreed…” Draco trailed off and rubbed a hand over his face with a hiss. “Right. Right, she needs to fucking know.”
“Know what?” Hermione asked, her gaze darting back and forth between them.
“My father gave me to Riddle,” Draco said in a low tone and flinched at the gasp of shock Hermione couldn’t keep to herself. “There is no formal contract, but it was made clear to me that when Riddle claimed his victory over Britain that I would be made his Consort. My mother was horrified, and that’s why in the previous timeline we both did what we could to protect Harry in the hopes that he would win. My marriage to the two of you—his enemy and a Muggle-born—will be seen as a personal betrayal.”
“Has he touched you?” Hermione demanded.
“Beyond what I could consider casual petting? No.” Draco shuddered. “He likes to play with my hair. That’s why I cut it. It’s why I haven’t worn my hair long since I was fifteen. He instructed me to remain a virgin, actually, so his prize would be perfect on the night of his victory.”
“I’m going to murder your father,” Hermione decided.
Draco sent her a sly look. “Not if my mother beats you to it, she’s been planning it for a while now. I was pretty much the only reason she didn’t kill him during the war the first time. He went to Azkaban without a fight to avoid her.”
Harry snorted. “I have to admit I probably would, too. Your mother is vicious.”
“Why didn’t you tell me before? Why was it a secret?” Hermione questioned, her voice small with hurt. Harry winced.
“Because the threat of it was over for years by that time and it never happened,” Draco said. “You already have enough nightmares about Voldemort, and I didn’t want to add to that burden with…” He waved a hand. “But it’s important now, and we’ll have to keep it in mind. He’s not going to want me now—I’ll be tainted—but he’ll probably want to kill me just as badly as he wants to kill Harry.”
Hermione frowned. “We have to get the horcruxes. The locket is probably still at Grimmauld Place.”
“We definitely need to get to it before Fletcher steals it. I’d like to lock the whole house down so they can’t just…” Harry frowned and sighed, he couldn’t do half of what he wanted without tipping his hand. It was frustrating. “I need a shower.”
“I unpacked our shower stuff from our trunks and put it in the master bath.” He waved a hand in the direction of the back of the bedroom.
“Start me a bath, would you?” Hermione asked as she walked over to place where Draco had stacked their trunks.
Harry nodded and walked into the bathroom pulling his T-shirt over his head. It was large with a sunken tub big enough for five or so people, pretty standard in a magical household the size of the one he’d gotten talked into purchasing. He activated the runes to fill the tub and went into the shower stall. Either Draco had already dusted the entire suite, or the stasis charm had worked better on the first floor better than it had the ground floor. There was no laundry basket, yet, so he took off his clothes and put them in a pile at one end of the vanity counter to avoid a lecture.
Hermione came in first, stripping off her clothes and piling them with his before slipping into the tub. He watched her, she still wasn’t moving completely naturally from being cursed. The scar from Dolohov’s curse had already faded by the time he took her to bed in the first timeline, so it was startling to see the thin red line between her breasts.
“My tits are smaller.”
He laughed. “I was looking at the scar. I’m going to cut that arsehole’s head off the first chance I get.”
“I’d appreciate that,” Hermione said settled in the water. “We do have a problem.”
She scrunched up her face. “I’m a virgin again—this sucks.”
He frowned. “I don’t follow.”
“I’ve got a hymen,” Hermione elaborated and raised an eyebrow at him. “It’ll be a bloody, painful mess.”
Draco sighed from the doorway of the bathroom. “It is definitely my turn to kill Ron Weasley.” He unbuttoned his shirt and pulled it free from his slacks. “There is no reason for it to be a bloody, painful mess. There are charms to manage both, and a good wizard would’ve ensured they were used to minimize your comfort and maximize your arousal. No wonder you were so reluctant that first night after you married Harry.”
Hermione frowned. “You told him that I was reluctant?”
“You were,” Harry said in exasperation. “I felt like a complete arsehole, you were obviously a nervous wreck, and you gave me this big lecture about consummation and marriage contracts because you thought I was gay instead of bisexual then you promised me if I hated it that I never had to shag you again.”
Hermione blushed. “Sorry.”
Draco laughed. “He drank half a bottle of bourbon afterward.”
“You’re just chock full of drama, Harry Potter,” Hermione said with a sigh.
Harry focused on washing his hair and ignored them both. Draco had joined him in the shower stall but was on the opposite end under another a different set of showerheads. After five years together, they were pretty all comfortable acknowledging that they prefer to do their own washing though Hermione was more than willing to surrender to either of them when it was time to wash her hair.
“You know the spells?” Harry questioned. “Or do we need to look them up?”
“My father taught me,” Draco admitted. “Despite his failings as a human being he did some things well—my sex education was thorough. He even discussed sex with wizards if that was my preference. I wish I’d never told him that I found wizards attractive because he’d have never offered me to the Dark Lord if he’d thought I was straight.”
Draco was actually demisexual, but Harry just nodded. The wizarding world really didn’t go into distinctions like that and in some ways were much more accepting when it came to gender identities and sexual orientation. But then, people with giant and dverger blood weren’t that rare, and both species were considered creatures by every magical government on the planet so fucking another wizard would probably seem quite reasonable compared to mounting a giant…or whatever.
He really didn’t want to know how that was accomplished, but then he opened his mouth anyway. “I wonder how Hagrid happened.”
Hermione hummed. “I assumed some sort of insemination. I mean a wizard would have a difficult time physically impregnating a giantess. Is creature husbandry a thing?”
Draco groaned. “Come on, that’s an epic boner killer.”
“Remember when he was refined and too sophisticated to say boner?”
“Nope,” Hermione said. “You’d already ruined him by the time I married you.”
That was probably true.
“Is there any particular protocol for the consummation?” Harry questioned. They’d never had a legal triad marriage in the future, so he just wasn’t sure—he’d married them almost a year a part and they’d eventually created bonds with each other, but it hadn’t been contractual.
“You’re the senior magical house,” Draco said. He always said that when he was going to tell Harry something kind of terrible. “You have to penetrate us both first then the two of us will consummate the rest of the union.”
“The magical world is really fucked up,” Harry said as he worked the conditioner out of his hair.
“Worse? I don’t have my prep runes, so we’re going to have to use the spells.”
He’d never minded doing the prep spells and frankly fingering Draco’s arse was a pretty good time for them both. His Consort loved getting fucked, fingered, and rimmed. “So what you’re saying is that I’m saddled with two virgins.”
“You’re a virgin, too,” Hermione protested. “At least physically.”
“But mentally he’s probably the filthiest wizard in the entire country,” Draco said with a smirk.
“I’ve changed my mind—this isn’t fucked up. I’m looking forward to shagging you both mute. Go get on the bed.” He grinned when they both laughed.
He left the shower and used a drying charm on his body and hair as he hadn’t bothered to grab a towel from his trunk. “We need to buy towels.”
“More linens across the board, rugs, curtains,” Hermione said. “The list is kind of endless.”
“I transfigured the bedding,” Draco said. “It’s only going to last about a week, so we’ll need to buy before then. But we can figure that out tomorrow.”
Harry nodded and left the bathroom. Draco had deactivated full light charms leaving soft golden lanterns glowing in the corners. It was inviting, a nod toward romance but nothing overblown that would be more amusing that mood setting. He crawled onto the crisp white sheets and sprawled on his back to stare at the ceiling of his wife’s castle. Draco joined him first, sliding onto the bed with effortless grace and curling up beside him with no seeming hesitation.
Running his fingers through Draco’s short, damp hair he sighed. “Do we have a reluctant wife this evening?”
Draco laughed. “No, but she did figure out how to turn on the bubble function.” He sighed and slid his leg over Harry’s thigh. “We’re going to have to ask her about her relationship with Weasley. We never did, and I think that was a mistake, obviously.”
“Agreed,” Harry murmured. “Fortunately, she’s all about discussing her feelings when directly questioned.”
“True.” Draco ran one hand down Harry’s stomach and curled nimble, pale fingers around his cock. “This is kind of weird actually—being so young. I don’t remember really wanting anyone at this age the first time around.”
“Well, you’ve always needed an emotional connection to really engage sexually.” He grimaced. “Come to think about it—neither wedding night I had in the future was great.”
Draco sighed. “You asshole. I tried.”
“I know, and honestly I wasn’t all that into it either but we had to consummate for that stupid contract to be valid, or you’d have ended in Azkaban on those trumped up charges.” Harry shifted and pressed a kiss against Draco’s jaw, then his mouth briefly. “So we get a do-over on the whole wedding night thing. That works.”
The mattress dipped as Hermione joined them. They separated, and Harry pulled her over his body to drop her on the bed between them. She laughed briefly but then wrapped a hand around the back of Draco’s neck and pulled him down into a kiss. There had been a time when Harry had been unspeakably jealous over the passion they had for one another, but he’d worked through it because it was foolish and selfish. Draco lifted his head and turned to retrieve his wand from the bedside table.
“There are a couple of options,” Draco said. “But I think the best is probably just to stretch the hymen open with magic. There is no need to break or remove it, and we don’t need the blood for any ritual purpose.”
Harry agreed, but it was Hermione’s decision. He watched her think about it, she was relaxed between them, and that was a relief because she’d been tense during her bath.
“The other options?”
“I can cast a pain relief charm, and you’ll have just a bit of pressure when the hymen is stretched open. You’ll also need a healing spell afterward, but you’ll probably be sore tomorrow since you have to take us both for the consummation of the contract.”
“Getting off twice is no trial,” she admitted and grinned when he laughed. “Okay, let’s just open me with magic. I’d rather not associate pain with either one of you.”
“Aperta mulieris,” Draco murmured as he drew a circle in the air above her hips. The spell flowed out of his wand and sank into Hermione with a little swish of light, she shuddered in response. “Okay?”
“Just really warm,” Hermione admitted. “It won’t negate the contraception charm I placed, right?”
“Let’s check,” Draco said. “Magicae revelare.”
Harry flinched at the diagnostic that spread out over their wife, and Draco grimaced.
“The last time he did this spell on you, you were dying,” Harry said shortly. “It just caught me off guard.”
Draco ended the diagnostic spell with a slash of his wand. “Everything is in order.” He put aside his wand but just fell back on the mattress to stare at the ceiling, a frown drifting over his mouth. “We need to kill her—as soon as possible.”
Harry didn’t have to ask who he meant. Molly Weasley had been the center of the shite-storm they’d suffered in the future practically from the start. “Stop thinking about murder while we’re in bed.”
Draco turned toward him and grinned. “If you insist, my Lord.”
“But I agree,” Hermione said earnestly. “Molly needs her whole house dropped on her.”
Harry pulled her close, kissed her lips gently and smirked. “That’s charmingly dark.” He slid a hand down her side and cupped her hip. “I feel like a dirty old man.”
“And you’re going to debauch me,” Hermione said and wet her lips.
“You’re older than both of us,” Draco murmured against her shoulder as he spooned against her. “So if anyone is a deviant in this bed, it’s you.”
“I always sort of regretted that I’d never get to have a cougar stage,” Hermione said and gasped when Harry pinched her nipple.
He lowered his head and licked the nipple he’d pinched, and she shivered against them. She was languid in their arms—the trust was arousing. It was also something he’d never taken for granted. They’d all three worked hard to keep their relationship open and honest as possible—no matter how much it might hurt it the short-term. Harry trailed kisses over the side of her breast and eased her down on her back as he moved down her body. Draco caught her hands, brought them above her head and kept them there with one of his own. Hermione moaned and spread her legs.
Harry pushed his tongue against her clit, and her hips jerked. He pressed one hand against her stomach to keep her still. “Sensitive.”
“Very,” Hermione agreed and trembled as he started to lick her. “Jesus, fuck.”
Draco’s free hand settled over his on her stomach. “Make our wife come, Harry.”
Hermione arched a little off the mattress as Harry slipped his hand from under Draco’s and pushed one finger into her. “Oh.”
“Easy,” Draco whispered. “He loves to eat your pussy, you know, sometimes I think he’d rather have his tongue in your hot little hole than his prick.”
That was probably a little true, Harry thought, as he added a second finger. She was wet, open for his touch but he couldn’t help but want to make sure the charm had worked as it should’ve. He’d never want to hurt her—he and Draco were often rough with each other but never with their Lady. He wasn’t even all that rough with his Consort in her presence as the one time she’d walked in on them having fairly violent sex, she’d gotten upset. Her thighs clenched against his shoulders and she jerked against his mouth with a little scream. He pulled his fingers from her slick, wet cunt and placed a soft kiss on her stomach.
“You’re perfect like this…soft and wet.”
Draco released her hands, and Hermione stretched under Harry like a cat, her legs spread wide. His Consort shifted away a little, and Harry almost said something but the look on Draco’s face gave him pause. He refocused on their wife and saw the vulnerability in her eyes that was rarely ever evident. Hermione had never been as secure as Draco in her own attractiveness, but she put up a great front almost one hundred percent of the time. He settled over her and brushed his lips against hers as her hands curled over the top his shoulders.
“It crosses my mind that I’m not sure if stamina is a product of experience or age,” he admitted and grinned when she laughed. “So you’ll have to be patient with us, just in case.”
Harry pushed into her carefully and exhaled sharply at the hot pleasure that settled deep in his magical core. Her legs snaked around his waist, and she rocked into him with a shuddery little breath. Hermione’s eyes were dark, her cheeks flushed with desire, and each slow thrust into her elicited a soft, sweet moan from her mouth that he adored. She showed her pleasure so honestly that it was breathtaking. Her gaze drifted away from his and to her left so Harry looked toward Draco as well. His Consort was on his stomach, head propped on his arms as he watched them.
“You’re both gorgeous,” Draco murmured.
Hermione hummed and arched under Harry as he pressed in deep. Her breasts scraped against his chest, and he groaned. “We should fuck him together.”
“Should we?” Harry asked amused.
“Definitely.” She ran her hands down Harry’s back, nails scraping gently on his skin. “You can have his arse since I don’t have any sort of strap-on right now.”
Harry stopped moving briefly. “Well, that’s a fucking travesty, sweetheart, we’ll just have to go buy you a dick as soon as possible.”
Hermione laughed and tightened her legs around his waist. “Fuck me.”
“You’re lucky I love your bossy arse,” Harry said and nipped at her chin. He slipped a hand between them, pressed his fingers firmly against her clit and thrust in deeply several times while his fingers slipped gently over her hard, wet flesh. “Come for me.”
“Yeah,” Hermione agreed. “I’m so close.” She shivered and groaned. “Harry. Fuck. That’s…yes.” Her breath hitched, and her whole body tightened around him, nails scored his back, and Harry let himself come.
He caught her mouth in a soft kiss as she relaxed on the mattress and her legs fell from his hips. “I do love you—every inch of you.”
She trailed her fingers through his hair. “I love you even when do foolish shite.” She tugged gently. “Perhaps more when you do foolish shite because it’s always with such heart.”
He kissed her again then turned once more to look at Draco. “We should get him dirty.”
“He does look decidedly fresh,” Hermione agreed, she hummed softly as he pulled free of her.
“You okay?” Harry questioned.
“Perfect,” she promised as she rolled to her knees and shook back her hair. “I feel utterly consummated.”
He laughed and lay down beside Draco. He trailed his fingers down his Consort’s spine to the small of his back. “And how shall we please you, Dragon?”
“You always please me,” Draco murmured as he shifted to his side and moved into Harry’s arms. “I want everything.”
“Of course,” Draco said and laughed when Harry tipped him onto his back and crawled on top of him. “Come here, love.” He held out a hand, and Hermione crawled across the bed to them. She tucked herself against his side and quirked an eyebrow at him. “Don’t fret; we’ll definitely replace your strap-on.”
“A big one,” Hermione decided and kissed his mouth.
“But it can’t be bigger than me,” Harry interjected.
“Big as you are now or big as you are later?” Hermione questioned.
“Rude,” Harry said mildly. “It’s only an inch or so difference.” He flexed his hips when Draco laughed. “The refractory time is pretty nice though.” He was already half-hard again.
Draco ran his hand down the length of Hermione’s back. “It’s a relief to be here despite everything that will happen.”
Harry realized they probably had another confession for their wife as neither had told her about their physical reaction to her being cursed in the future. But it would hold—they were as safe as they could be in the world and he owed Draco his attention. He cupped his Consort’s hips and shifted Draco slightly as Harry moved to his knees. “You’re such a twink right now—it’s weird.”
Draco laughed. “Suck my cock.” He lifted his hips slightly in demand. “Make me come.”
Harry settled on his stomach and licked up the length of Draco’s cock as it curved upward toward the man’s belly. He sucked briefly at his balls, drawing his tongue over the delicate skin before shifting upward to do the job properly. Draco made a choked sound as he sucked in the head. Fingers clenched in his hair as he started to work his Consort’s cock in and out of his mouth. Draco’s thighs trembled against him then the blond hooked one leg up on Harry’s shoulder and shuddered with a low groan.
“Fuck, Harry, Merlin, that’s…” Draco jerked his hips abruptly, and Harry settled one hand on the man to keep from gagging.
He was rewarded with a mouth full of cum. Harry swallowed quickly to avoid choking and pulled off his Consort’s cock with a little smirk. “Quick on the draw there, Dragon.”
“Fuck you,” Draco said weakly and threw an arm over his head. “Better yet, fuck me.”
“It’s a good thing there are two of you,” Hermione said. “The lack of stamina would probably piss me off otherwise.”
Harry grinned at her. “Getting you off isn’t really a problem for either of us.” He nudged Draco’s legs further apart as he shifted back on his knees and ran his fingers from the man’s balls back to his asshole. “Did you finger yourself at this age?”
“A little,” Draco admitted. “It’s why I figured I’d prefer wizards even if I wasn’t interested in anyone in particular.” He bit down on his lip as Harry cast the lubrication charm. “Feels good.”
Harry watched Draco’s face as he pressed his slick finger into the man’s asshole. He had to be more careful than usual for several reasons—chief among them that the prep rune Draco had in the future had also had healing and protective qualities that kept him from safe from tearing no matter how rough they were. He added a second finger, cast another lubrication charm and Draco rocked down into the penetration.
Pulling his fingers from Draco’s arse, he cast a lubrication charm for himself and slicked up his cock. “This is probably going to feel different—without your runes.”
“And let me know if it hurts,” Harry said. “More than you like at any rate.”
He moved forward, and Hermione separated them after a lingering kiss on Draco’s mouth. They’d never really been like this with him in bed. Though by the time they’d started to share a bed as a threesome they were very comfortable with each other and weren’t afraid of asking for the kinds of sex acts they preferred. Was this about consummation? Renewed virginity? He’d have to ask them later—individually. Some discussions weren’t meant for all three of them, and he’d learned that the hard way. There were some things he could say to Draco that he couldn’t ever repeat in front of Hermione.
Harry gripped his cock and rubbed the head against Draco’s loosened arsehole and the blond tilted his tips with a husky groan. He pressed in slowly, watched Draco’s eyes widen a bit. “Good?”
“Yeah,” Draco agreed and wrapped a hand around his own cock.
Harry caught his hand and pulled it away. “You think I need help getting you off?”
Draco grinned and threw his hands above his head and hooked his fingers into the iron bars of the headboard. “Fuck me then and stop treating me like a girl.”
“You think this is how I’d treat our Lady?” Harry questioned as he bottomed out in Draco’s arse with a deep, sure thrust. He rolled his hips, and Draco shuddered. “There we go, Dragon.”
“Yeah,” he agreed. “Right there—fuck—that’s so good.”
Harry kept his thrusts careful and slow, fucking into his Consort with one stroke after another until the blond was lifting off the bed and rocking down into his lap. He pressed one hand against Draco’s sternum to keep him still. It was easy to get lost in it—the sweet, tight grip of Draco’s arse that he was surprised when his Consort came all over himself with a shudder. Harry flexed his hips and let himself come.
Draco dropped back on the bed as Harry pulled free of his arse and sighed. “That was definitely a better first time than the last time.”
“Who was your first?” Hermione questioned as Draco shifted slightly and held out a hand for her. She moved willingly into his embrace and hummed when he cupped one breast.
“Blaise Zabini but it was nothing all that special,” Draco murmured as he worried her nipple with his thumb.
Harry watched them for a few seconds but then left the bed as Draco sought their wife’s mouth. He walked into the bathroom and turned on the shower. Soaping up, he tilted his head slightly at the breathy moan that drifted into the bathroom. By the time he rinsed off, the bed was thumping gently against the wall. They’d have to brace it to prevent damage to either the wall or the bed itself. He cast a drying charm and stopped to lean in the doorway.
Hermione was astride Draco’s hips, rocking up and down on his cock. It was her favorite position, and Draco always let her have her way. Harry didn’t blame him because Hermione was gorgeous when she was getting exactly what she wanted. Their wife was trembling through her third orgasm of the night in a matter of minutes, and Draco turned them over. He only thrust four more times before he came himself and Harry grinned when Draco groaned a little in what was probably embarrassment.
“Maybe I need a strap-on,” Draco said thoughtfully.
Hermione grinned and rolled from the bed. She stretched and ran her fingers through her hair. “We’ll just have to practice a lot and get your stamina up.”
“Great plan,” Harry praised as she slipped past him and into the bathroom.
He walked to the dresser and retrieved his wand as Draco left the bed with a sigh. He cleaned up the bed with a few charms, righted the covers and pillows before climbing in. They both returned in short order and out of habit they tucked their wife between them. Hermione drifted off to sleep almost immediately, but Draco stayed awake, their gazes connected over her sleeping form.
“No one is exempt when it comes to protecting her,” Draco whispered.
Harry stared for a minute, confused by what he saw and a little pissed off. He rubbed the back of his head with his free hand as his fingers tightened around his wand. “Dobby.”
The house elf turned around, and his cheeks flushed bright green. A pan of sausage continued to sizzle behind him. “Harry Potter.” His hands twisted in the pillowcase he wore.
“Did Dumbledore send you?” Harry questioned.
“No.” Dobby rocked on his feet. “Dumbles not ask for Dobby’s help but I be cleaning his office and hear that Harry Potter is missing, so I come to find you and make sure you safe. Since you safe, but you have no food…I bring food.” He smiled and his cheeks still bright green. “Dobby likes the castle, Harry Potter.”
“It’s unplottable and under a Fidelius,” Harry said exasperated. “How did you find me?”
“A house elf can always find their bonded master,” Draco said from behind him. Harry shifted so his Consort could enter. “And Dobby is powerful due to his age. He’s nearly five hundred years old.” He sat down at the table and stared at the elf. “I’d like some coffee, Dobby.”
Dobby nodded and rushed toward the food pantry. Harry followed and wasn’t all that surprised to find it full. “Where did you get funds to pay for this?”
“Dobby buy it on credit at elf market,” the elf responded. “Harry Potter not mad about the bond, right? I needs it, Harry Potter, or I be sick like Winky.”
“Dobby.” Harry sighed and went back to the table. “Tea for me.” He threw himself into a chair and considered his options—there were few. He couldn’t hide from the elf, and he certainly couldn’t bring himself to do the little guy harm.
“If you give him clothes, you’ll break his heart,” Draco murmured.
“He can’t be trusted,” Harry returned evenly and frowned when Dobby popped a tea service onto the table in front of him. “Did you buy that on credit, too?”
“Stole it from Hogwarts,” Dobby admitted cheerfully. “I takes it back later.”
Harry laughed. “Dobby.” He ran a hand through his hair. “I can’t…” He huffed. “I’d like fried eggs and toast.”
Hermione entered that point, stopped and stared. “Dobby.” She smiled, came forward and snatched the elf up into a hug. “I’m so happy to see you.”
Dobby blushed furiously and patted her even as his feet dangled. “Miss ‘Mione, Dobby happy to see you, too.”
She put him down and knelt down on his level. “How’s Winky?”
Dobby shrugged. “She still be drinking butterbeer and crying a lot. I try to tell her she can get new bond, but she be saying nobody want her.”
“Tell her to sober up, and if she can stay sober the whole summer, we’ll offer her a bond in the fall, and she can come here to take care of my castle.”
Harry groaned. “Hermione.”
“You know they need bonds,” Hermione chastised as she stood. “And it isn’t like we can trust anyone else in this entire bleeding country not to mistreat her.”
“Might I remind you that a bond doesn’t equal loyalty?” Harry asked. “Because Dobby has demonstrated a marked like of respect for his former master even while bonded to him and Kreacher helped murder Sirius.” Her gaze narrowed and Harry exhaled sharply. “Fine, darling, rescue all the house elves you want.” A plate of toast popped onto the table, and he grabbed a piece of bread with a frown.
“Dobby, go over to Lord Potter and make a vow on your magic to never betray him,” Hermione said. “And take that tea service back to Professor McGonagall before she misses it.” She pulled her hair up into a ponytail as she left the kitchen. “I’ll have pancakes in the library after you’ve finished feeding them.”
Dobby came back to the table with a plate of eggs and sausage. “Dobby swear on his magic and life to never betray the House of Potter in word or deed.”
Harry watched the vow settle and glared at his plate. “The next time you break my arm trying to keep me safe, Dobby, I’m going to make you sit in the corner for a whole year.”
“Dobby already apologize!” The elf exclaimed. “Harry Potter hold grudge.”
“Forever,” Harry confirmed. “Dobby, tell me what else you heard in Professor Dumbledore’s office.”
“Werewolf man come through floo and tell Dumbles you missing. Then a bunch of people come but Dobby hide himself so he can listen. Dumbles very upset and telling everyone Miss ‘Mione is a bad influence on you. And Wheezy woman say they should get rid of her now instead of later. Then Greasy Git come in and tell Dumbles that he not find Harry Potter anywheres. I gets worried, so I use my magic to find you.” He blushed. “But yous be busy with your ‘Mione and Master Draco, so I look around and see empty pantry, so I goes get food.”
Harry looked at the ceiling and counted to ten. “We got married yesterday, the three of us.”
“Harry Potter young to get married,” Dobby said. “But it be yous business.”
* * * *
They assigned Dobby to do the shopping. Every once in a while, a crate would pop into the foyer full of things from the list. Harry had retreated to the dungeon to arrange ritual space, a few cells for his wife’s entertainment and a potions lab for Draco. Though the Slytherin had worked as a healer in the future, his Consort was an accomplished brewer. He left the list of supplies he’d need to finish the ritual room on Dobby’s table in the foyer then went up one of the turrets to meet the owls that had come with the property.
He found a pair of barn owls and four owlets. The barn owls were lovely, well-mannered and after he’d been up there a while, Hedwig had joined him. She was clearly still annoyed, but by the time Harry finished cleaning up the place and repairing a few damaged perches, she’d relaxed enough to play with the younger owls. He left them to get acquainted and returned the foyer. There were six new crates. He sorted them and took the one for the potions lab downstairs to the room Draco was in.
“Your equipment is here.” He levitated the crate to a place near the wall and leaned a hip on one of the tables. “It’s magically significant that we felt her cursed.”
“Yes,” Draco agreed. “It sometimes happens in magical marriages, and our bonds were strong in the future. If we do a ritual bond in this timeline, it will probably produce the same result, so we need to talk about it.”
“If?” Harry questioned.
“Would you want that delivered on her if one of us goes down?” Draco asked quietly as he continued to store a large chest of potions ingredients a preservation cabinet.
“Do we deny ourselves a marriage bond based on what might happen? What we had was beautiful, and it kept us strong.”
Draco nodded, his expression sad. Harry hated to see him look that way. “But the price?”
“It certainly isn’t a decision we can make without her, so we need to tell her what happened,” Harry said. “It’s the only choice really because she’s probably already making a list of supplies for Dobby we’ll need for the bonding ritual, and she’ll definitely want to do it before we return to Hogwarts.”
“Must we?” Draco demanded. “We could take our NEWTs tomorrow.”
“You know we have no choice but to pretend to be exactly what we look like—three impetuous teenagers in rebellion against practically every authority we can fathom. We have to be smart-arsed, stubborn, unreasonable, foul-tempered, and unrepentant while we wrap a veil of reluctant cooperation around one or two fronts to keep them off guard. We strike hard and fast but with care. Leave them reeling with grief and shock when it serves us and let them rest when they believe themselves safe.”
“We erode their safety by degrees,” Draco agreed. “Sow the seeds of resentment and suspicion among the ranks—we cast as much blame as we can on the Death Eaters. It’ll be easy to do, and Riddle’s forces will revel in the fear it creates. He won’t deny any crimes the ministry accuses him of and even if he did he wouldn’t be believed.”
“We also need the diadem, and that’s in Hogwarts but if the situation there becomes dangerous for her—we’ll leave,” Harry used his wand to open the crate he’d brought and started to sort the cauldrons onto a shelving unit by size.
“I’m going to have to go Grimmauld Place, there is no way around it.” Harry vanished the crate after it was empty and slouched back against the table again as he stored his wand. “It’s not a choice I make lightly, but that elf is a major threat to us. He’s bonded to the House of Black which means Bellatrix can use him against us but so could Dumbledore if it crossed his mind to do so.”
Kreacher was a self-serving little bastard, and not all of Harry’s anger had to do with his lying about Sirius. In the future, Kreacher had helped Molly Weasley dose Harry with a love potion, and he’d never approved of Hermione being the Countess of Blackmoor, so he’d plotted to get rid of her until Harry had ordered him to never come near him, Draco, or Hermione again and to work at Hogwarts in utter silence until the day he died.
Draco nodded and turned abruptly. He pointed his wand at Harry. “Legilimens!”
The spell hit him full force, and he stumbled under the weight. He’d spent long hours in the future dedicated to learning to protect his mind, but it wasn’t all mental discipline. His magic had required training as well. His mind rushed, but he shoved his memories deep and pushed his Consort’s spell away from him.
Hermione was there even as his knees buckled, catching him and sliding to her knees with him.
“What are you doing?” Hermione demanded.
Harry took a ragged breath. “Object lesson.”
“Neither Dumbledore or Snape will show him an ounce of mercy, Hermione,” Draco said quietly. “There’s more at stake, however, with the horcrux in his head. Until we can remove it, he has to be on guard every second of every day. Riddle is still recovering from the situation at the ministry, but we all know he’ll try to infiltrate Harry’s mind again. The last thing that bastard needs is access to memories of the future.”
Harry made himself stand despite the pain of the almost instant headache he’d gotten. “Did you get anything from me?”
“No,” Draco said. “I’m sorry for doing it.”
“Don’t be,” Harry braced himself on the table in front of him and glanced toward Hermione who had stood with him and was glaring at Draco. “Don’t be like that, Mi, you know he’d never hurt me if he had a choice. He’s right—neither Snape nor Dumbledore believe anyone is entitled to secrets, but themselves and they’ll both work to get inside my head. They’ll do it the two of you as well.”
“Then we can’t depend on occlumency,” Hermione said. “It has weaknesses, but moreover both of them are capable of using a potion or even the Imperius against us.”
“There is a solution but it’s extreme by anyone’s measure,” Draco said. “And dark as fuck, of course.”
Harry nodded. “Okay. What?”
“We build a ward inside our bodies with runic magic.”
“Why is it dark?” Hermione questioned.
“The power requirements are enormous. We’d need a blood sacrifice to complete it.”
“Does the participant have to be conscious?” Harry questioned.
Draco frowned. “I don’t know but certainly living when we begin.”
Harry nodded and tilted his head thoughtfully. “Do you have what you need to brew the Draught of Living Death?”
“Yes, it shouldn’t take more than an hour, but we’d need a week or more to get the ritual room ready for regular use and then another full day to lay the runes for the ritual in question. We need an altar, and you’ll want to do your own carving on that. We might, if we work hard, be ready to complete the ritual the first week of August.” Draco resumed his task. “Who were you thinking about capturing?”
Draco stopped moving then slowly turned to face Harry. “Are you out of your damn mind?”
“I’m building the ritual space with Black family magic,” Harry said and waited for Draco to nod. “Bellatrix is an extremely powerful witch and deeply entrenched in what I must accept as my family magic. She murdered the patriarch of our family and rendering judgment for her actions is my magical duty.”
“I can’t argue with any of that, but she is extremely fucking dangerous.”
“Yes, she is. She’s also crazy, impetuous, and currently completely unaware of the fact that we’re a danger to her. I’m not saying it will be easy, but she’s my preference for the ritual. It’s a two birds with one stone situation. We need a powerful magical for the ritual, and she needs her head cut off.” Harry turned toward Hermione when she sighed. “You disagree?”
“No,” she admitted and scrunched up her nose in thought. “I don’t disagree at all. She’s perfect for the ritual, and she most certainly does need her head cut off though I’m not sure the ritual itself will allow for that particular method of death. Most require a heart wound.”
Harry’s hand drifted to his own heart, and he shuddered. “Right.”
“We need the stairs,” Draco blurted out and left the room.
Harry couldn’t help but agree that neutral ground was definitely called for. He followed Draco out, and Hermione huffed a little but trotted after them. They all three settled on the foyer steps but the words were caught in his throat, and he didn’t think he could say it at first. He cleared his throat and took a deep breath. It wasn’t fair to make Draco be the heavy in every conversation they had about the future they’d left behind, and he’d been the one to start the baby conversation.
“When you were cursed,” Harry began and closed his eyes. “We felt it with you.”
“Felt what?” Hermione asked.
“It felt like I’d been stabbed in the heart,” Draco said finally. “I don’t think it would’ve ever gone away—we’d have lived with that pain the rest of our lives. It wasn’t crippling, but it resonated deeply in a very magical way.”
“Oh.” Hermione rocked on the stairs between them.
“And we were thinking that we might not want…” Harry trailed off because he couldn’t lie—he wanted a marriage bond. “We’re worried about creating another marriage bond, but I can’t imagine our life without it.”
“Why are you worried?” Hermione questioned.
“Because if one of us took a mortal injury, you’d probably have that pain with you forever,” Draco said.
“It doesn’t matter.” Hermione held up a hand when they both started to disagree. “No, don’t you know? God, how could the physical pain in any single way be worse than the emotional pain of losing either one of you? I’d never recover that, and there’s nothing we can do about that particular situation—we’re the ones that went and fell stupid in love with each other, so we just have to deal with it.”
“You’re saying that in order to not hurt you that we have to live forever,” Draco said dryly.
“Or let me die first,” Hermione said in agreement and nodded. “After we’re really old and our great grandkids are running amok in the world, and we’ve completed our Shag List.”
The Shag List. Harry laughed and relaxed back on the stair behind him. “Do we start over or just continue?”
“Well, it would be fun to start over,” Hermione said. “I’ll remake the list, and we can add locations as they present themselves.” She took a deep breath. “I want the marriage bond. In fact, I’ve been thinking about it, and I believe we could accomplish a Trinity.”
Harry sat up from his slouch. “A Trinity? We didn’t qualify before.”
“Because we couldn’t meet the first burden—chastity upon marriage. We’ve only been with each other in this timeline and only after we married. We meet the ritual requirements physically. We love each other, so we meet the requirements emotionally. Magically, we’re deeply compatible and always have been,” Draco said. “I noticed it even when I was at Hogwarts though, to be honest, I found it very disconcerting at the time. But we’re different and more compatible since we came back in time—perhaps because our souls were rendered together. I agree that we probably could accomplish the Trinity bond which would make our marriage nearly indestructible magically.”
“What could be a threat to it?” Harry questioned.
“A Trinity bond would fall to pieces if one of us died,” Hermione murmured. “The two remaining wouldn’t be able to create another marriage bond with each other or another person. A death wouldn’t negate the contractual marriage.”
“So you wouldn’t walk around feeling my physical death forever if we had a Trinity bond,” Harry theorized.
“You’re not going to die!” Hermione said hotly. “And you most certainly aren’t letting that vicious old wanker kill you again!” She crossed her arms over her middle and stared out into the foyer. “And Dumbledore better watch his fucking step, or I’ll beat Snape to the punch and toss him off the astronomy tower myself.”
“That’s not going to happen the same way,” Harry said. “It can’t—too many variables have changed. Draco won’t be on the mission for Voldemort. Dumbledore isn’t going to be in danger of dying because it’s very likely that the Resurrection Stone was destroyed when we came back which would’ve killed the horcrux there.”
“The ring might still have the wasting curse on it, but I doubt he’ll pick it up with the stone being nothing but dust,” Draco said. “But you’re wrong about one thing—Dumbledore is definitely in danger of dying any day now. I’d like to set him on fire then throw him off the astronomy tower.”
“Sounds like a plan,” Hermione agreed. “Maybe we could poison him first—something slow acting that has no cure and will be agony.”
Draco grinned at her. “You’d have been sorted into Slytherin if you weren’t a Muggle-born.”
“I’d have probably maimed half our year group,” Hermione admitted. “I hexed Pansy Parkinson sixteen times by the time I left Hogwarts in the first timeline.” She shrugged when they both looked at her shocked. “Only an idiot would continuously pick on someone smarter than them, so she brought that shite on herself.”
“It’ll be worse. She fancies herself in love with me.”
Hermione huffed. “I can handle her don’t worry about it.”
“Neither one of us expect you to kill,” Draco said. “Harry and I…we’re on a dark path, and maybe we always were due to circumstances beyond our control. Neither of us grew up in ideal situations, and I guess I was broken before I was ever sorted, before I ever met the Dark Lord, but you’re different than we are, Hermione.”
“I can pull my own weight,” she protested.
“It’s not about equal contributions and burden at this point,” Harry said. “Because he’s right—we’re both broken in ways that can’t be fixed. And we’ll carry this weight for you, Hermione.”
“You killed for me,” Hermione said.
“And we will again.” Harry took a deep breath. “That’s our duty to you.”
“What’s my duty to you?” Hermione asked.
“To stay safe, to live, to bear our children, to forgive us in circumstances you’d never thought to see us in.” Harry looked down at his shaking hands and took a deep breath. “It’s probably a lot to ask.”
“It’s nothing compared,” Hermione protested.
“It’s everything,” Draco corrected. “Just don’t put yourself on this path if you can’t handle it, love, and know that we don’t expect it.”
“Okay.” Hermione nodded. “Right.”
Four crates popped into the foyer.
“Dobby is a shopping machine,” Draco said dryly.
“A Trinity bond would let us form a circle of three for ritual magic,” Harry said. “Something we couldn’t do before. It would bring harmony to our ritual craft.”
“Then you’re on board with it?” Draco asked.
“Yes.” Draco took a deep breath. “I think it would be lovely.”
* * * *
Their neglect in creating a mail ward resulted in three owls lining up on the wall in the courtyard just before the dinner hour. Harry was staring at them, irritated with himself and offended by the obvious magic practically dripping off the letters. Using his wand, he untied the letters and let them drop to the ground, fed each bird a treat and sent them on their way. He was kind of surprised not to see Fawkes and wondered what the phoenix was up to.
He cleaned off the tracking charms first then scanned for other magic and found one portkey and a behavioral hex which was infuriating. The letters were a little ragged by the time he’d stripped the magic off, but they’d be readable. He picked up all three and trudged into the house with them. The one with the behavioral hex on it was for Hermione, and it was from Ron. He knew from experience that the magical signature was actually Molly’s.
“You have a letter from Ron. Molly had it hexed to make you find him attractive.”
Hermione made a face but held out a hand for the letter. “That old cow. I’m going to ruin her life so thoroughly that when she finally dies, it’ll be a mercy.”
Harry dropped down on the couch and glanced toward Draco who was lounging in a large bay window with a mug of tea and a book. “The other two are for me—one from Molly and one from Dumbledore. His was also a portkey.”
“Bastard,” Draco muttered.
Hermione huffed, and Harry focused on her. “What’s it say?”
“Dear Hermione—everyone is really worried about you and how you disappeared. No one can find your parents either. Mum says that you’ve run off with Harry, but I know you wouldn’t do that to me. Harry’s gone off the deep end, you know. He threatened to kill his Uncle and Dumbledore is really worried about him, but I think the pressure of Sirius’ death just made him nutters. Please write me or just come to the secret place—we’re all worried about you.” She waved the letter around. “He’s such a disloyal twat. Why were we ever friends with him? He’s an idiot!”
“I didn’t know any better at the time,” Harry admitted. “How was I know what a good friend was? I’d never been allowed to make friends before Hogwarts.”
Hermione tossed her letter aside and picked up the one from Molly. “What did they have on this?”
She opened it and scowled before starting to read it. “Harry Potter! You are to come home at once, young man! You’ve worried us all with your selfish temper tantrum! How dare you disobey the Headmaster after all he’s done for you!” Hermione waved the parchment. “I can practically hear her shrill, ugly voice in this.”
“Can pick up her whole house and drop it on her a few times?” Draco asked dryly. “I don’t think once is enough to drive home our point.”
Hermione wadded up Molly’s letter and fired it across the room toward the fireplace. Harry pushed it a little with his wand when it fell short of the fire, and she nudged him with her foot before picking up Dumbledore’s portkey. She opened it and frowned. “It’s blank.”
“It was a portkey so it would’ve probably gone off the moment I touched it. There was no need to actually write anything on it.”
Harry rubbed his bare toes against the rug, pleased with the thick blue one that Dobby had bought. The elf had done very well in following Hermione’s explicit instructions though he wasn’t all that surprised—he figured that Dobby was kind of afraid of upsetting Hermione. He stood and walked to stand in front of a pair of French doors that led out onto a small patio. It was currently unfurnished, but he knew that it was on Hermione’s list as she’d declared it perfect for outdoor dining—something both she and Draco enjoyed.
“What kind of life are we going to have when everything is said and done?” Harry asked.
“I don’t know but if we do nothing we certainly won’t live a life we’d want to live,” Hermione said. “We already tried to move on—to just try to live, and they came at us anyway. Even if the ICW had sided with us, they’d have never stopped. The people of Britain think they own you, Harry, and the only way we can be happy is to live with that on our terms, not theirs. That means that people like Molly Weasley have to be shut down and Dumbledore? Well, he has to die because he’s always going to be a threat to you.”
* * * *
“Where’s Dobby?” Hermione questioned.
Harry looked up from his work and lifted the rune quill off the stone floor of the ritual room to avoid making a mistake. “I sent him to spy on Dumbledore. He was thrilled.”
Hermione nodded. “Did you tell him that I wanted him to wear a uniform?”
“Yes, he said he would get himself something,” Harry said as he refocused on his task after a brief check of the schematic he’d created prior to starting his carving. “There’s a ley line under the castle. Was that in the specs?”
“Yes.” Hermione leaned on the doorframe. “I did pay attention to more than just the space for my library.”
He nodded. “It’s a deep one. I’m surprised the Albright family parted with the island, to begin with. I’d have fought tooth and nail to keep it, but they didn’t have ritual space here at all as far as I can tell so maybe it wasn’t important, or they just used it for powering the structure itself. I noticed all of the plumbing and lighting is tied to a power stone in the back foundation wall.”
“In some ways, ritual magic is becoming a lost art form in Britain—mostly I think due to prejudice and the mislabeling of all blood magic as dark.”
“I was able to learn more abroad than I ever did in Britain,” Harry agreed. He shifted to the final section in the circle. “How confident are you that we can create the Trinity?”
“I’m certain we can do it. We have all the elements.”
“Good because I’m building our ritual space on the belief we’ll be able to cast as a circle of three.” He started to carve the final rune. “Which means you’ll be in the circle when we sacrifice Bellatrix.”
“I don’t have a problem with it.”
Harry nodded. He hoped that was the case, but a part of him wished that she was more reluctant which made him feel like a hypocrite, so he pushed that deep and stood. He’d placed the first circle of runes—a magical blessing on the floor. One hundred runes in total. The power circle came next, and finally, the protection sequence would be the outer layer of the circle. He walked around the circle, checking each rune to make sure it was perfect before focusing on his wife. “Something wrong?”
“It’s one in the morning, and Draco is ready for bed.” She yawned. “Me, too.”
“All right,” Harry agreed. Another marriage rule, he thought wryly as he took the hand Hermione offered and put the rune quill down on the table he was using to hold his supplies.
Hermione was stumbling a little by the time they made it to the bedroom, so Harry helped her undress, threw a nightgown over her and tucked her into the bed beside Draco who had a book in his hand but didn’t look to be concentrating on it. The blond tossed the book on the nightstand and settled down in the covers. It said something about Draco’s own exhaustion that the bed still had the transfigured linens on it. Harry stripped down to his boxers and crawled in on the opposite side of the bed.
“Long day,” Draco murmured. “She wants to start the garden tomorrow.”
“A little bit of normal, I think,” Harry said. Hermione was already asleep between them. He yawned. “Dobby’s gathered all the supplies and plants. We can set an environmental ward over the area she wants to use. It’ll be nice to have something beautiful for her to concentrate on.”
Draco nodded and used his wand to turn down the lights. “I don’t disagree, but she’ll wear herself down to the bone if we don’t pay attention.”
“Then we pay attention,” Harry said. He relaxed on his back to stare at the ceiling.
A little pop made him look to his left, and he found Dobby standing beside the bed. “Hey.”
Dobby frowned. “Dobby sorry to disturb but bad things happen.”
Harry sat up, and Draco left the bed to come around to his side. He waited until Draco had sat down beside him before speaking. “What bad thing happened?”
“Minister Fudge dead.” Dobby paused. “Dumbles kill him.”
Harry’s mouth dropped open. “Are you certain?”
“Dobby watch.” Dobby’s hands twisted in his pillowcase. “Fudge argue with Dumbles—not order DMLE to search for you. Dumbles kill him.” His big eyes welled with tears. “Dumbles bad wizard, Harry Potter. Wizzynot meet in emergency.”
“Who’s the new minister?” Harry asked, dread pooling in his gut.
The summons to appear before the Wizengamot came as no surprise at all. He created their portkeys and they transfigured some of Draco’s clothes to fit him as nothing he had was really proper for his first appearance as Lord Potter. Hermione dressed to go with him, and Draco applied a surprisingly powerful disillusionment charm to himself shortly before they used the floo to leave the Arx. The atrium wasn’t all that busy, so their arrival caught everyone’s notice. Hermione’s fingers tightened against his, but he kept her close as they moved through the wand checkpoint. None of the aurors on duty noticed Draco with them. The lack of proper security was unnerving considering the threat of Voldemort.
The court officer at the door greeted him in a bored tone and directed him toward the Black box without even a flicker of surprise. Harry appreciated the man’s dour personality and his dedication to it. There were only two chairs in the box, but there was more than enough room for Draco to tuck himself behind Hermione. The only indication of his Consort’s location was the gentle shift of magic around the three of them. A remnant, perhaps, of their other marriage bond? Harry didn’t know. He glanced behind Hermione briefly, still quite impressed with the power of Draco’s disillusionment charm.
The audience stands filled up quickly, and Harry ignored the reporters and their cameras as much as he could. Hermione had pulled a book out of her bag and was reading which amused him to no end. She couldn’t have looked more bored and put upon if she’d tried. It surprised him not at all that Dumbledore was back in the Chief Warlock seat. He wondered how far the old man would go to gain physical control of him—he’d already resorted to cold-blooded murder. Dumbledore called the session to order, and Hermione put away her book.
“The first matter of business is the Black seat,” Dumbledore began. “Mr. Potter, upon review, it has been decided that you cannot claim the Blackmoor title due to Sirius Black’s legal circumstances at the time of his death.”
“It’s Lord Potter,” Harry corrected and just raised an eyebrow at the noise that garnered. “And the Wizengamot doesn’t have the legal or magical right to determine whether or not the Black family magic accepts me as the Earl of Blackmoor. I’ve already claimed the title, at any rate, and that is obvious to everyone in the room. Moreover, I did not inherit the title from Sirius Black. I inherited the title from my great-grandfather, through magical adoption, Arcturus Black. He listed me as his heir in 1983 and that is well-known as it was announced formally.”
“Be that as it may, you’re too young to sit on the Wizengamot.”
“I’m not here because I want to be, Chief Warlock. I was summoned and ordered to sit in this seat, by you. I have no intention, whatsoever, of formally claiming my seat until after my twenty-first birthday which is the tradition. I intend to leave my proxy in the hands of Lord Ogden. He’s already received the notification through the bank.” Harry raised an eyebrow when Dumbledore glared briefly. It was a surprising slip, and Hermione’s hand settled on his. “If you’d like to rearrange the laws that embody the Wizengamot in order to deny me my magical rights, just say so.”
Dumbledore made a show of rearranging the parchments on his desk. “The second order of business before us today is the organization of the War Crimes Committee which will be exploring the resurrection of the Dark Lord Voldemort. This organization will also be responsible for planning a response to this threat. Minister Diggory, you have the floor.”
Harry watched Amos Diggory step up to the central podium, fury stirring in the core of him. He wanted to strike the man dead where he stood. He wondered who would take the man’s place once he was killed.
“In the best interest of Britain, I call for the arrest and indefinite confinement of Harry James Potter, the Earl of Blackmoor.”
Dumbledore looked serene. “On what grounds, Minister Diggory?”
“He was instrumental in the resurrection of the Dark Lord and must be held accountable not only for that but for the crimes the Dark Lord has committed since his resurrection.”
The Longbottom seal lit and Augusta banged a hand on her box. “That is bloody nonsense, Amos! That boy was taken against his will from Hogwarts and forced to participate in a dark ritual. How dare you blame him for it!”
“Potter has never given any sort of official statement to the DMLE, Madam Longbottom,” Diggory explained. “And an interview in a newspaper doesn’t meet the burden of proof as far as I’m concerned. He must be thoroughly interrogated and the matter investigated by the committee.”
“You mean tortured into confessing to the murder of your son,” Harry corrected, and all gazes swiveled to rest on him. “If you’re going to cast dispersions on my character, Minister, at least be man enough to say what you mean. I sent several letters to the DMLE over the last year, begging for the chance to prove that I was speaking the truth about what happened the night of the Third Task. I was ignored. Minister Fudge made it his life goal to paint me an insane liar in the press, and most of the people in this room probably believed him without even a token protest. I’m more than willing to testify right now in this very room to the events of that night. In fact, I’ll share the memory of the event with the entire Wizengamot.”
The silence that followed his words was no comfort. Amelia Bones stood unexpectedly from her place in the ministry box and walked to the back of the room. She brought a large pensive to the center of the room, and a table snapped into place in front of her. “I’ll take that memory personally, Lord Potter. Please be aware that this pensive is of a legal grade so if you supply a false or altered memory—it will be destroyed and you’ll have committed perjury before the Wizengamot.”
Harry sat still as he focused intently on the night of Riddle’s resurrection. Bones removed the memory with a deft wand movement and gave him a nod. She transferred the memory to the pensive, and it glowed solid white.
“Let the record show that Lord Potter has supplied a near-bias free memory,” Bones said with a bit of surprise evident in her tone. “Quite a feat for such a young man.” She activated the pensive, and the memory spilled out into the courtroom.
He watched dispassionately as he and Cedric Diggory had their brief discussion about who should take the trophy. He knew it didn’t matter though. No matter what Amos Diggory saw, he blamed Harry for Cedric’s death. Harry was guilty for even existing. They landed in the cemetery and Pettigrew murdered Cedric. It was a harsh moment, and several in the audience cried out in shock at how quickly it happened. The memory darkened briefly when he was stunned then resumed as Pettigrew approached him with the knife. By the time it was done, Hermione was trembling, and tears were streaming down her face.
Bones returned the memory to him after making a copy then went to her seat in the silence that followed.
“That is the extent of my knowledge concerning the resurrection of Voldemort,” Harry said quietly. Even Dumbledore looked flummoxed though that wasn’t a surprise. He’d never bothered to ask Harry about that night beyond the bare facts. He hadn’t cared, really, how Riddle had regained his body. “If you want to know more, I suggest you locate Peter Pettigrew. The ministry was informed that he was alive when I was thirteen, near the end of my third year, but Fudge did nothing.
“But then it’s been known since my first year that Voldemort wasn’t really dead. He possessed a teacher at Hogwarts and nearly murdered me. Well, they found each other, and the end result is the situation we’re in now. I don’t see how I’m to blame for any of it. Here’s hoping your plan doesn’t include waiting for another infant to come along and solve your Dark Lord problem.”
Diggory flushed red and openly glared at him. “How dare you be flippant about the murder of my son!”
“How dare you use the murder of your son as a political platform!” Harry shouted back and took a deep breath when Hermione put a hand on his arm.
“Minister, I cannot, in good conscience, proceed with any motion to detain Lord Potter for questioning. He’s proved himself an innocent victim in the matter of the Dark Lord’s resurrection,” Dumbledore said gravely.
My hero, Harry thought snidely. Draco shifted behind them as a woman Harry didn’t recognize was called to the podium. Draco slipped from the box with a whisper of cloth, and Harry’s stomach lurched a little at the separation. He really didn’t like not knowing where Draco was at any given moment. Hermione’s fingers tightened around his wrist.
“Mrs. Osgood, what announcements do you have?” Dumbledore asked as he wrote on a piece of parchment.
“Per regulation, my office is required to notify the Wizengamot when a peer has a change in status,” the woman began, “the Earl of Blackmoor assumed his title and took both a wife and a consort in marriage on June 19, 1996. Therefore, Harry James Potter, Hermione Jane Potter nee Granger, and Draco Lucius Potter nee Malfoy are emancipated per magical law.”
The quill fell from Dumbledore’s hand, and he turned to stare at Harry in horrified shock. “What?”
Harry raised an eyebrow.
“Explain yourself!” Dumbledore shouted.
“Pardon me, Chief Warlock, but I’m confused. On what grounds am I required to explain the intimate matters of my magical house to you? I took two spouses which is well within my legal rights.”
“You married a Death Eater’s son!” Dumbledore snapped.
“You’ve got an actual Death Eater teaching Potions at Hogwarts,” Harry responded evenly, and the entire room went dead silent. “Draco is a Black by blood, and he came to me seeking my protection as I am the Earl of Blackmoor. It was my duty to help him if I could. I married him to keep from being given to Voldemort as a Consort by his own father. But such matters are of no concern to this body or to you, Chief Warlock.”
Dumbledore glared at him. “This meeting is adjourned.”
They managed to get out of the room ahead of Dumbledore, but Lupin was at the floo system.
Harry walked Hermione to the floo. “I’ll go with you and have a conversation, Moony, but she’s leaving. Don’t interfere.”
“But Dumbledore said…” Lupin began, but Moody cleared his throat as he removed an invisibility cloak.
“She’s his wife, and you don’t get between a wizard and his woman. He could cut you to pieces where you stand and not face a day in prison, Lupin, and you know it.”
Lupin backed off, and Hermione stepped into the floo. Draco slipped past Harry to join her. The floo spun away with Hermione and Lupin turned to Harry. “You’ve got some explaining to do.”
“No, I don’t.”
Lupin glared, and Moody looked a little put out by the blunt refusal. They basically shoved him through the floo to Grimmauld Place which was stupid because the moment he entered the house, the wards embraced him like an eager child. He was led into the kitchen, and he took a seat at the head of the table which made Moody snort.
“That’s the Headmaster’s chair, Harry,” Molly said as she put a teapot on the table.
“Actually, this is my chair which is placed at my table in my kitchen in my house,” Harry said dryly and just smirked when she gaped at him. “I’m not hungry.” He pushed the plate of sandwiches she put down in front of him away. “But thank you.”
Dumbledore swept in with a large amount of drama and slammed the door shut which activated the privacy protocols on the room. “Harry Potter!”
Harry just stared at him.
“You left Privet Drive without permission! You claimed a title you have no business claiming at your age! And that’s not to even consider this ridiculous farce of a marriage!” He tossed a rolled piece of parchment on the table. “Which is going to be annulled immediately.”
“I never went to Privet Drive. You’re not my magical guardian and therefore have no say in where I stay or go when I’m not in school. The Blackmoor title was mine to claim as soon I as turned thirteen, and you know it. And my marriage has been thoroughly consummated across the board and can’t be annulled. Why am I here?” Harry sat back and stared at him. “I’m not a member of your Order, Headmaster, and you have no authority over me when I’m not in school. And also, why are you in my house? I’ve not given you people permission to be here.”
“Did you threaten to murder Vernon Dursley?”
“Yes,” Harry admitted. “But it’s not a crime to threaten to murder a Muggle. In fact, it isn’t even a crime to attempt to murder a Muggle. It honestly wouldn’t be a crime in Britain to actually murder one if the ICW hadn’t made the ministry add it to the criminal code to be admitted to the confederation. I’m not returning to Privet Drive. You could try to force me but honestly, do you have the resources to spy on Voldemort, the ministry and keep me contained in a Muggle neighborhood illegally and against my will?”
Dumbledore’s aura flared wide open, and members of the Order backed out of the line of fire. Harry just sat back in his chair and stared. He wasn’t going to let the old bastard intimidate him. After a few moments of silence, Dumbledore’s magic retreated, and he sat down at the opposite end of the table from Harry. Everyone else sat down at the table around them, but no one spoke.
The old man cleared his throat. “There was a time when you trusted my judgment.”
“There was a time when I didn’t know any better,” Harry replied. “There was a time when I didn’t realize you don’t even consider me a person. I’m a means to an end, a weapon and nothing more. You don’t want to keep me safe—you just want to control me. If my safety had been a primary concern for you, I wouldn’t have grown up in an emotionally abusive and physically neglectful home. I would’ve been trained in the matters of my estate. I would’ve been educated regarding my circumstances before I ever entered the magical world. I would’ve been prepared to interact with my peers. But you wanted me to be unprepared and uneducated. You wanted me to depend on you for guidance, so you left me ignorant and abused. This is the result of your actions, Headmaster, and you only have yourself to blame.”
“If this is about the prophecy…”
“Of course it is!” Harry shouted and took a deep breath when the table rattled between them. “I’ve spent the last five years learning to turn bloody mice into fucking teacups when I’ve been prophesied since practically my birth to fight Voldemort! You’re setting me up like a goddamned lamb to be slaughtered!”
“It is clear that you aren’t in the right frame of mind to be reasoned with.” Dumbledore stood. “We’ll give you some time to collect yourself, Harry before we finish this conversation.”
He stayed where he was until they all left the room and the door was sealed behind them. “Kreacher.”
The elf appeared immediately. He stared at the old thing, pity and fury waging in him. “You’ve betrayed the House of Black.”
Kreacher’s shoulders slumped.
“I can’t trust that you won’t do it again.” He stared at the elf. “Pack every single thing in this house that belonged to Sirius. I want any entailed items packed as well as the people in this house can’t be trusted with my things. Most of the library should’ve already been emptied but make sure there are no books left in there. Go now and bring me the trunks as soon as you finish.”
The elf popped way and Harry drew his wand. He checked the plate of sandwiches and found a mild loyalty potion had been laced into the butter the bread had been toasted with. He sighed and holstered his wand. A check of his watch revealed it had been just forty-five minutes since he’d parted with his spouses. Hermione wouldn’t come searching for him until the hour mark. He stood from the table, went to the back of the room and opened the door to Kreacher’s closet. The locket was hanging on a nail on the wall. He stared at it for a few seconds then carefully plucked it from the nail and slipped it into his pocket before returning to the table.
Kreacher appeared with four trunks. The old elf frowned and stared expectantly at Harry.
“First, I want you to know that I know about Regulus’ last order and I will see the locket destroyed on your behalf. You have my word as the Earl of Blackmoor.” All the tension bled out of Kreacher’s face at that. “Second, because you have been loyal to the house of Black for many years you have my permission to put your head on the wall.”
“Thank you, Lord Black,” Kreacher said sincerely and popped away.
Harry shrank all four trunks and pocketed them just as a high pitched scream filled the house. He just sat back down and waited. He didn’t wait long as the door was thrown open and Moody entered.
“Lord Potter,” Harry corrected.
Everyone else that was in the house came in behind him, and Dumbledore stared at him, eyes dark with anger but already calculating.
“What did you say to Kreacher?” Molly demanded.
“I told him he’d betrayed the House of Black, which was true, then I gave him permission to join his ancestors in a place of honor due to his previous loyal service,” Harry said mildly. “I assumed giving him clothes was a bad idea as he would’ve trotted off to Bellatrix to do her bidding or to tell the Order’s secrets. He was a security risk, across the board. I can’t believe you lot left him in this house after he betrayed Sirius. There is no telling what information he’s already passed to Bellatrix or the Death Eaters because you didn’t even notice when he was in the room.” He rolled his eyes and slouched back in his chair. “I have things to do, so are we done?”
“You’re going to stay here,” Dumbledore said. “And you’ll tell me where both Mr. Malfoy and Miss Granger are so I can retrieve them. They’ll need to sign the parchments to dissolve your marriage.”
“You’re a complete nutter,” Harry said conversationally. He stood, and they all drew wands. “More so, I think because you actually brought me to the ancestral seat of the House of Black.” He pressed his thumb to the bottom of his ring and said, “Avalon.” Portkey magic rushed around him, and the last thing he saw was a vivid red curse leaving Moody’s wand.
Harry stumbled as he landed in the foyer of Potter’s Arx, but Draco was there to catch him. “Moody.”
“Blasting curse,” Draco said. “He hit your shoulder. Merlin, you’re a mess.”
Harry forced himself to keep his eyes open. “Mi.”
“She’s here; she’s safe,” Draco promised.
His vision darkened and Harry let go.
* * * *
“He’s fine,” Draco murmured. “You need to get sleep, love.”
“I can’t believe Moody did this,” Hermione said lowly. “I’ve always known he was Dumbledore’s man, but I didn’t know he was just as fucked up as that old bastard.”
“Moody lives in a black and white world,” Harry murmured and turned his head. Hermione was seated on the bed beside him, and Draco was standing near the end. “How much damage?”
“You’ve been out for a day,” Draco said. “I kept you unconscious while the skele-grow was working. I went ahead and vanished most of the bones in your wand arm to regrow them. Since you were down, I also plied you with a full nutrition replacement and several bone health potions. You’re magically exhausted, but you’re already rebuilding your reserve so you’ll be fine in the morning.”
“Any correspondence I should be worried about?”
“I sent Moody a howler using one of the owls they sent here,” Hermione admitted.
Harry snorted. “Mi.”
“That old tosser could’ve killed you,” Hermione said hotly. “Dumbledore sent a letter begging us to return so you could get medical attention. Which was their plan the whole time—to injure you so they could control you physically for the rest of the summer. I imagine Poppy would’ve been unable to heal you with magic for some unexplainable reason.”
“I’m sure,” Harry agreed. He shifted and stretched his arm. “It feels fine.”
“Draco has barely gotten any sleep,” Hermione tattled.
“You both look exhausted,” Harry observed and scooted over a little. “Why don’t you both get some sleep—I can be the middle spoon for a change.”
Draco laughed a little and toed off his shoes. He spelled off his clothes and used a bit of wandless magic to toss them toward the laundry basket as Hermione crawled under the covers. “If you insist.”
He pulled Hermione into his arms and Draco curled up behind him. She fell asleep almost instantly. “It’s kind of annoying—her ability to do this.”
“Always has been,” Draco murmured and pressed a kiss against the back of Harry’s neck. “Do you need a pain potion?”
“No, I’m good. Did you kill him?”
Draco stiffened briefly. “No, but I want to. The timing wasn’t right, and I’m not the one that goes off half-cocked.” He sighed. “We found the locket, it’s in the bag with the cup. Did you take care of Kreacher?”
“I told him to put his head on the wall. He was thrilled to do so,” Harry admitted. “I don’t feel great about it, but he was too much of a risk and easily misled. All those arseholes were actually shocked by my behavior. I can’t believe they just left him in the house—there is no telling what he’s told Bellatrix since Sirius was killed. Dumbledore is already working to force us to divorce so we’ll have to do the bond and the core-ward to protect ourselves before we go anywhere near Hogwarts.”
“Dobby reported that Dumbledore has had two meetings with Diggory—neither went in his favor. The truth is that Dumbledore doesn’t have the political or social clout to protest your marriage. He might try to present a contract next.” Draco tucked is face against Harry’s shoulder.
“The one Molly had in the future had Dumbledore’s signature as the regent for the Black title. That’s not something he could do this time, so I’m curious as to what route they’ll take. With Diggory in play, we’ll have to watch their moves closely. We know he’s a terrible bastard and his desire to avenge his son makes him very dangerous.”
“Because he’s not predictable,” Draco murmured. “Agreed—he’s a real problem. Hopefully, he’ll piss off Dumbledore off, and the old tosser will kill him.”
“Dumbledore put up with Fudge for years before he lost his cool so we can’t depend on that as a method of disposal. Even Dumbledore is more of a problem than Riddle because he believes his cause just and therefore his crimes are a necessary evil, and he’s convinced others to follow him down this road with him.”
* * * *
Dobby bounced he was so excited to see him. Harry patted the elf and rolled his eyes in Draco’s direction as his leg was hugged excitedly. “I’ll have eggs and toast, Dobby. And some porridge I think.”
There was a stack of mail on the table. Harry frowned at it and dug out the copy of the Daily Prophet that was on the bottom.
EARL OF BLACKMOOR MARRIES—SON OF A PURE-BLOOD FAMILY AND A MUGGLE-BORN WITCH
“That’s all they’ve been reporting on since the Wizengamot session. There was a full spread on the three of us in Witch Weekly as well.” Hermione sat down at the table with a cup of coffee and pulled her feet up into the chair. She wrapped an arm around both legs. “They sent me an interview—I filled it out.”
Harry lowered the paper. “Pardon me?”
Hermione shrugged. “Don’t worry I told them you were both fantastic shags.”
He laughed. “Mi.”
“Well, your stamina problems aren’t really meant for public consumption,” she told him and smirked when he groaned. “The article was slanted in your favor actually—detailing your heroic, romantic rescue of Draco from the perverted clutches of the Dark Lord. It’s playing well among the grey families and many of the light families who aren’t too busy sucking Dumbledore’s limp dick.”
“Don’t speak of that man’s dick,” Draco lectured sternly. “Or stamina won’t be my only issue.”
Harry couldn’t agree more. He put the paper down as Dobby served him. “What about Voldemort himself? Any moves?”
“He attacked the homes of several ministry officials, but the only reported casualty was Rufus Scrimgeour.”
“Ripples,” Harry murmured. “In the first timeline, it was Amelia Bones who was killed in those attacks.”
“Apparently, Fudge’s murder has caused a re-order in priorities for the DMLE and Bones is protecting Minister Diggory personally,” Hermione said. “Which will make him difficult to get to at least in the short term. We can’t count on anyone else to take him out for us.”
“I need to go to Knockturn Alley,” Draco said.
“What? Why?” Harry frowned at him.
“The vanishing cabinet,” Draco said. “I hope it’s still sitting in that store and we can have Dobby retrieve the one at Hogwarts. They’d come in handy for us but more importantly neither should fall into the hands of the Death Eaters.”
“He’s not going to sell it to you.”
“I don’t plan to ask him,” Draco admitted mildly. He lifted an eyebrow when Harry snorted. “You know it must be done and I won’t have time to be diplomatic about it. Dumbledore and Voldemort both probably have spies on the Alley.”
Harry nodded. “We’ll both go.” He turned to Hermione who was regarding them with an expression that was a cross between patient and amused. “I’d greatly prefer it if you stayed here.”
She took a sip of her coffee. “You’ll take Dobby with you.”
“Try to avoid killing innocent bystanders but if you get an opportunity to take Moody out—do it,” Hermione said. “He’s a huge threat in Dumbledore’s group and obviously not above killing you.”
* * * *
They disillusioned themselves and had Dobby pop them to the Alley. Borgin and Burkes was empty except for Borgin himself, who looked up when his door opened. Harry watched the wizard draw his wand and cast a scan. It was surprising when only one result was shown on the scan itself. Draco was entirely invisible to the spell. He started to move but Draco hit him with another disillusionment spell, and the scan reported him gone.
It was baffling as fuck, but at the same time a glowing sapphire flickered through Harry’s memory, and he shuddered. He drew his wand and sent a stunner in Borgin’s direction, but the old wizard was quick. He darted out of the way but met a cutting curse from Draco’s wand instead. Borgin stumbled, slumped against the counter, blood burst from his mouth, and he fell.
“Really?” Harry asked.
“He’s a terrible old git, and he doesn’t need to spread a story around about a wizard who can trick that scanning spell. It’s the one aurors use to check for threats,” Draco said.
Harry shrank the vanishing cabinet, picked it up and pocketed it. “Right. That’s a problem actually. You couldn’t do that before.”
“I have a theory, but you aren’t going to like it,” Draco admitted. “Since we’re stealing, I need to grab a few more things.”
“Be quick.” Harry stayed where he was, and the only indication he had of Draco’s movement was the movement and disappearance of objects. “Also, I don’t feel good about this.”
“Murder is okay but stealing is terrible?” Draco asked in amusement as he picked up a wooden box full of blank rune stones. “Most of this stuff isn’t even dark by a reasonable standard.” The box disappeared. “Hermione made me a bag. I’m almost done with our list.”
“Is that a dimensional trunk?”
The trunk opened briefly. “Yeah, a huge room.” The trunk shrank and disappeared. “Hermione will be pleased.”
“Check to see if he has any dimensional stores. We need more personal storage.”
“That’s the spirit,” Draco said. “Check out the armor section for dragonhide.”
Harry went to the back of the store after stopping at the door lock it and put the closed sign-up. He should’ve known that Draco would use the opportunity to shop. There was a whole rack of dragon hide shirts, so he picked out two for each of them—they could all be sized to fit. “No trousers but plenty of shirts.” He took his choices off the rack and shrank them then put them in his pocket.
“I found some bracelets meant to be dimensional stores, but the rune work hasn’t been completed.”
“I can do that, they sell them that way for customization,” Harry said. “Get platinum if possible—those last longer.”
“Done and I’ve finished the list,” Draco said.
“I’m standing where the cabinet used to be,” Harry said, and Draco’s hand slid down his arm. They laced their fingers together, and he activated his portkey.
The disillusionment charm fell as soon as they landed in the foyer. Harry released his Consort’s hand and turned to stare at him. “It’s in you.”
“The Cloak of Invisibility,” Draco agreed. “Yeah, it’s in me.”
“Oh, no,” Hermione said as she stood up from the stairs where she’d been waiting. She crossed the foyer and put her hand on Harry’s chest, her eyes dampened with tears. “If the cloak’s in Draco…”
Harry shuddered. “Then the Death Stick is in me.”