Title: Darkly Loyal
Author: Keira Marcos
Fandom: Harry Potter
Relationship: Harry Potter/Hermione Granger/Draco Malfoy
Content Rating: NC-17
Genre: Romance, Time Travel, Fantasy, Menage, Fix It
Warnings: Violence, Explicit Sex, Dark Themes, Temporary Main Character Death, death of a pregnant character, homicide, and permanent character deaths.
Author Note: The only people who are safe from a messy permanent death are my main characters (Harry, Hermione, and Draco).
Summary: The will of Sirius Black is executed, Harry makes some moves to secure his family and their assets, and some more people die.
They spent the morning at the bank, going through assets in various vaults as they had to be there for the reading of Sirius’ will in the afternoon anyway. Hermione picked out some more furniture for her castle, Draco went through the Black vault searching for Walburga’s potions lab which was supposedly packed up somewhere in it, and Harry had focused on weapons. He’d found a long knife for Hermione, a few swords, and an assortment of daggers in the Potter and Black vaults.
They threw everything in one trunk, and Dobby retrieved it. Due to circumstances and the desire to avoid an all-out fight with the Order, Harry had Dobby bring them lunch though he knew Hermione would’ve preferred to leave the bank and have a meal like ordinary people in a café. It was more thing to add to his list of grievances regarding Dumbledore and the Order. As the Earl of Blackmoor, he’d already seen Sirius’ will and he knew that Dumbledore and certain members of the Order would be surprised not to be included in it.
The ended up back in the same conference room. Dumbledore swanned in serenely with Moody and Remus. Molly and Percy Weasley entered directly behind them. Tonks came in with her parents, and all three of them sat as far away from the Order as they could and still be at the same table with them. McGonagall and Flitwick came in together. Narcissa Malfoy swept in last, a little windblown but stunning.
“Darlings.” She smiled grandly at all three of them.
They stood, but Hermione got the first embrace. “Mother.”
“You look beautiful,” Narcissa said as she hugged her. “I knew those earrings would suit you perfectly.” Harry got the second hug. “Harry, you’ve put on some weight—good.”
“Mother,” Harry said and pressed a kiss to her cheek. “I see Paris has been kind to you as always.”
“I am made for France,” Narcissa declared. “Draco.”
“Mum,” Draco said and held her a little tighter and a little longer.
Their display wasn’t a put-on like what she’d just done with Harry and Hermione whom she’d only met through letters at this point. It was important, however, that they present a united front to the Order and Narcissa was utterly on board with screwing Dumbledore over at every single opportunity. She sat down with them, next to Hermione with a grand smile.
“I love the pictures you sent of the garden, Hermione. I can’t wait to see it and thank you so much for the wild roses. They look perfect on my terrace.”
“How long has this relationship been going on?” Lupin demanded, clearly flabbergasted.
Narcissa frowned at him. “How is that any of your business? You’re not a parent to a single one of them.” She pulled off her gloves. “Harry, I’m going to need a glass of wine if I’m going to be in the same room with these people for an extended period of time.”
Dobby appeared without any prompting and handed her a glass of red wine. “Good afternoon, Mistress Cissa.”
“Thank you, Dobby,” Narcissa said warmly. “Do keep the bottle handy, I’m literally surrounded by miscreants.”
“Dobby knows,” the elf said with a put-upon sigh and popped away.
Ragnok entered from the back of the room and took a seat at the head, directly next to Harry. “Sirius Black filed this document with the bank June 10, 1994. Lord Potter has already reviewed the will and accepted his inheritance, and he’s elected not to have it read to aloud during this meeting as is his right as the current Earl of Blackmoor. Though Mr. Black did assert his agreement with his grandfather that his godson, Harry James Potter, was to inherit the earldom. That matter has already been reported to the Wizengamot and handled properly per the noble protocols.
“I shall read the bequeathments section for everyone else: The following persons are to receive five million galleons each: Andromeda Tonks, Nymphadora Tonks, and Narcissa Malfoy from the Black Trust, the distribution of which will be determined by the current Earl of Blackmoor. To Hermione Granger, whom I owe a Life Debt, I leave one million galleons, the Black Library, and my godson, Harry Potter. He’s a mess, but you’re the only person I trust with him. To Draco Malfoy, the son of my favorite cousin, I leave one million galleons provided you don’t bear the Dark Mark so that you can stand on your own.
As Harry Potter’s only remaining parent, it becomes my responsibility to ensure that he has the best possible people to guide him on the path to manhood. I name Filius Flitwick and Minerva McGonagall his godparents in magic—may they be a better influence than I ever would be.”
Ragnok rolled the parchment up and passed it to Harry who stored it in a pocket. “Those of you who have inherited may see the estate office to arrange for the transfer of funds after Lord Potter has made his terms clear.” He turned to Draco and Hermione. “I trust you don’t need to arrange for transfers.”
“No, all their money is mine already,” Hermione said as she pulled a ledger from her bag and turned to Narcissa. “Mother, did you bring the documents you needed Harry to sign?”
“Yes,” Narcissa murmured and pulled a stack of parchment from her own bag. “Thank you for reminding me.”
“I’ll need the Tonks family to stay,” Harry said as the stack was passed to him and Hermione handed him a quill.
The first was a petition for divorce. He glanced briefly at Draco who just shrugged. Narcissa had never bothered to divorce Lucius in the other timeline—she’d just waited for him to die. But then Lucius had taken the money she’d received from Sirius and given it to Riddle in the first timeline as well. He signed the document after a moment.
“Chieftain, please move Narcissa’s inheritance to a secure vault her soon-to-be ex-husband won’t have access to. She’ll be returning to Paris this afternoon, so I believe a vault in Paris branch would suit her needs best. Her husband is not to gain access to this money under any circumstances.” He passed the divorce petition to Ragnok who pulled a quill out from his own pocket and signed as a witness.
“I’ll file this with the ministry personally, and since he isn’t a position to protest it due to his status as a wanted criminal, it should go through within twenty-four hours. Per the contract that was signed on her behalf, Lucius received a hundred thousand galleon dowry for Narcissa. Since she’s citing both abuse and neglect as reasons for the divorce—that dowry is forfeit. I’ll return that money to the Black vault.” Ragnok rolled the parchment up and tucked it into his own cloak.
The second parchment was a contract for property purchase in Paris. Harry signed off on that as well—it was part of their security measures regarding Narcissa’s location. He passed that to Ragnok and started to review the third document when Dumbledore cleared his throat. Harry looked up and frowned. “The will reading is over. Why are you all lingering around watching our family business?”
Molly Weasley huffed. “Those people are not your family.”
“As a matter of a fact, everyone on this end of the table except for Ragnok are members of the House of Potter through the rite of magical ascension. They became my family and joined my house when I assumed the Black title and absorbed the Black Family magic into my own. It’s a noble protocol, so I’m not surprised you don’t know much about that.” Harry returned his attention to the final document Narcissa had provided. “Yes, thank you, Mother, this is exactly what I was looking for.”
“It’s a pleasure to help, Harry,” Narcissa said with a smug smile in Molly’s direction as she took a healthy swallow of wine.
“Dora, since you’re unmarried your inheritance will go into a trust. You’re worth a great deal of money now. Many of the undesirable sort might see you as a path to wealth.” Harry looked up and focused on her. “The rules of your trust are simple—in order to marry a man or woman you must come to the bank and prove that you are not under any sort of potion or compulsion. There are no limits on your funds. However, you’ll be assigned an account manager whose purpose will be to ensure that you are not cheated or manipulated out of your money. There will be security measures in place to protect you and your assets.”
“That sounds fine, Lord Potter.” Tonks nodded and shared a smile with her mother. “Will you require approval over who I marry?”
“I reserve the right to interfere if I believe you’re being led astray.” Harry returned his attention to the document Narcissa had prepared for him. “Andromeda, your funds can be moved where ever you’d like them. However, I’d really like you to consider moving to Paris with Narcissa.”
“I…” Andromeda took a deep breath. “Cissa?”
“Unfortunately, Narcissa can’t speak with you personally until her divorce is final and she’s no longer subject to her husband’s orders,” Harry said. “She was ordered to cut you off the day after she married Lucius. You and Ted are in a precarious position, Andromeda. You’re a pure-blood who married a Muggle-born, and the Death Eaters consider you a blood traitor. I’d like you to survive this mess, and you have the funds to quit your jobs and move to Paris where you’ll be sheltered in the chateau I just purchased for the family. I won’t order you to go, but it would be a relief to me if you were both out of harm’s way.”
“We’ll go,” Ted said before his wife could speak. “And thank you for considering it.”
Harry focused on Dora and found her frowning. “I won’t ask you to quit the DMLE, but I must insist you leave the Order of the Phoenix.” He ignored the outrage that garnered from the opposing camp on the opposite side of the table. “Their main purpose appears to be controlling, imprisoning, and manipulating your Lord.”
“I noticed,” Dora admitted. “I quit already though I don’t know if the headmaster told anyone else about it. I can’t be a party to any action against you, and I don’t want to risk my mother’s place in her paternal magical house, not when it’s just been restored. I know how much it hurt her to be disowned and I’d rather not have that experience or be the reason it happens to her again. I’ll go to Paris with my parents and Aunt Narcissa—none of them are trained so I’d feel better if I was there to keep them safe anyway.”
“Good, then we’re done, and I assume the three of you aren’t interested in sticking around for the lecture Dumbledore thinks he has the right to deliver.”
Ted shrugged. “Old men get used to getting their way. We’ll go pack and return to the bank for a portkey.” He turned to Ragnok. “If that’s all right?”
“It’s fine.” The goblin assured then turned to Harry. “I’m staying for the lecture.”
Dumbledore started to speak, but Minerva McGonagall abruptly stood. She walked the length of the table and took the seat Andromeda Tonks had left. Filius followed suit.
“It’s an international crime against magic to attempt to knowingly destroy a Trinity bond,” Harry said and focused on Dumbledore. “By now, you’ve read the report that the ministry received from the ICW, so you know that the three of us are completely clear of potions and any sort of manipulative magic. Our bond has been certified immaculate and announced the world over. I’ve gotten letters of congratulations from as far as China so far and from all the heads of the Ancient and Noble families here in Britain. You know that Draco isn’t a Death Eater. Why exactly is my marriage a problem for you?”
“You don’t honestly think anyone is really going to accept this marriage? You’ve tainted your image and damaged the light during a time of war.”
“I don’t think most people actually care,” Harry said. “Besides I’m not going to live my life to please people I don’t even know. You’ve got it in your head that I should sacrifice over and over again for what you consider the greater good. I owe you nothing. I owe this country nothing. I’ll do what I must to protect me and mine, Headmaster, and that means I have to meet my fate as it were. You’ve done nothing over the years to prepare me for this, and now it’s really too late for you to involve yourself in what is to come.”
“You will do what I say!”
“Or?” Harry questioned. “What will you do if I don’t? Are you going to curse me? Potion me into compliance?”
“The headmaster is just looking out for you!” Molly shouted. “You’re confused! They’ve obviously used your grief over Sirius to lead you astray.”
Harry just stared at her briefly then refocused on Dumbledore. “Well? What will you do?”
“You will come to regret all of this,” Dumbledore said quietly. “There are things you don’t know—things you can’t possibly know, and without me, you will fail.”
“How incredibly vain of you to think that Fate needs your help,” Harry said. “Don’t you suppose if you had a part to play in this that it would’ve been said? You’re just a witness, Dumbledore, a bystander for events you can’t begin to control. You didn’t set me on this path, and you cannot determine where it leads. I will not tolerate being manipulated by you.”
Dumbledore stood. “You’ll see reason soon enough.”
The rest of the Order, save Minerva, followed Dumbledore from the room in shocked silence.
Minerva pulled off her gloves. “I need a glass of that wine, lad.”
A whole spread of food appeared on the table between them, and Dobby arrived with a bottle of wine. “Dobby great host!”
“You certainly are,” Narcissa told him and offered him her empty wine glass.
Flitwick reached out and grabbed a sandwich. “I wonder if eating all those lemon drops is the reason he’s such a sourpuss.”
– – – –
Harry had the odd urge to offer Zir a personal thank you as Rabastan Lestrange entered the potion shop on Knockturn Alley just ahead of them. Draco was hooded while he and Hermione were invisible. Draco’s disillusionment charm was nothing like his own, but he was getting used to the way his Consort’s magic wrapped around his body. Hermione’s hand clenched briefly in his as Draco headed toward the cauldron section. Most of the shopping they trusted Dobby to handle, but Draco was picky about a few things among them specialty cauldrons which could be made from anything including platinum which was his primary purpose for the shopping trip.
Draco tested the four cauldrons on display in the size he wanted, picked the one that suited his magic best and took it to the counter to pay for it. Harry watched Rabastan the entire time. The man was haphazardly tossing ingredients into a shopping bag. Hermione drifted closer to him, and he noticed that her fingers were chilled. He wished he could see her face as their bond really wasn’t telling him anything about her emotional state. The Trinity bond didn’t work that way which made sense since there were three of them in it. With their other bond he would often get a glimpse of her mood but having them together in the same marriage bond was amazing so he couldn’t regret the choice they made.
She moved closer. “Kill him.”
“Use your portkey, love,” Harry murmured.
She released his hand and with a shimmer of magic was gone.
Rabastan checked out ahead of Draco, Harry touched his Consort briefly then followed the Death Eater out of the shop. Lestrange appeared to be in no hurry to reach the apparition point, so Harry followed him into a second-hand clothing store. Rabastan had grown up in a wealthy household, and Harry wondered if the man resented his current circumstances—living in shadows with what little money he had going directly to Tom Riddle and the cause. He felt a brush of magic, and he stiffened briefly until Draco’s hand slipped into his. Another quirk, Draco had no problem finding either one of them when he disillusioned them personally.
They followed Rabastan out of the store and all the way to Diagon Alley where the hooded Death Eater didn’t gain anyone’s notice. Harry found the situation so annoying that he barely recognized his intent before he raised his wand and shot a cutting curse at Lestrange. The wizard stumbled and fell over dead, blood dribbling out of his mouth and onto the stones. They moved quickly, and Draco pushed him up against a wall of Flourish and Blotts. They watched people as they lost their minds. Not a single person went to check the body, but Harry was gratified to see wards go up all over the street as storefronts locked down.
Draco activated his portkey just as aurors started to arrive and they landed in the foyer. Hermione stood up from the stairs. “Well?”
“Mission accomplished,” Harry said as he removed his cloak.
“Why did you ask me to leave?” Hermione questioned.
“I.” Harry flushed, and Draco took his cloak. “I don’t know. The situation wasn’t contained, and it felt unsafe to do it with you there.”
She nodded. “Okay, I get it.” She shed her own cloak and walked to the cloak cupboard to hang it up. “I’m not fragile, you know.”
“I do know. You’re brilliant and powerful and…” He took a deep breath. “Precious. You’re precious, and I had to take your life.”
“Harry.” She paled as she stared at him. “That’s not…that’s not what happened. Percy killed me.”
“He would’ve, yes, if Draco hadn’t cast the stasis charm, but the fact remains that in the end, his actions forced me to kill you and our son.”
Harry’s voice broke on the last word, and he walked away from them. He couldn’t talk about it anymore, and he certainly wasn’t prepared to sit on the stairs at that moment. He walked into his office and shut the door. It was cowardly, and he rarely retreated from either of his spouses emotionally but when he did they let him. He tried to work—moving through his ledgers and making decisions about businesses that the Black family traditionally invested in. He dumped two-thirds of them without any sort of thought as the owners were bastards and he needed to keep his public image as Light as possible to combat whatever plans Dumbledore might have in motion.
Dobby brought him a dinner tray silently, and he ate what he could. Then took the nutrient potion that had come with the tray. He finished off two letters, gave one to Hedwig and took the other to Mr. Darcy. They weren’t using Elizabeth for delivery because of the babies. As far he could tell she really wasn’t interested in leaving the island anyway. The smallest of the owlets, Branwell, immediately flew to Harry and perched on his shoulder as he sat down on the bench. Harry took the little owl from his shoulder with a laugh.
He rubbed the little guy’s head, and Branwell wallowed in Harry’s hand as he made little hooting noises. Out all of the owlets, Branwell preferred Harry and sometimes snuck downstairs to sit on Harry’s lap when Hedwig was out delivering mail. “I think I’m going to have ward this place so you can’t follow me to school.”
Draco came into the owlery at that point and sat down on the bench beside him. He took a deep breath but said nothing.
“I don’t know how to explain it to her,” Harry said. “It was like I ripped out my own heart and she’s never really going to understand it because seeing the memory of it is nothing like being in that moment.”
“I know,” Draco murmured. “You were forced to sacrifice your heir. I don’t think either one of us will ever really understand how painful that was.”
Harry shuddered, and Branwell rubbed his head all over his palm.
“That little guy has a huge crush on you.”
“Yeah,” Harry admitted. “I was thinking I’ll have to add to the wards so only the adults can leave the island. I’d hate for him to try to find me and I think he might.”
“Is she upset?” Harry questioned.
“No, love, a bit worried but not angry or upset. You know you don’t have to make excuses for needing time alone. I could tell you that we had no choice, but that isn’t really true—we could’ve let her die and lived without her until we were caught by the ministry.”
“I don’t regret what we did, how could I?” Harry took a deep breath. “And the guilt of that is crippling. I can say that either way we were going to lose him—he was never going to be born, but it doesn’t hurt any less. I also…”
“Don’t want to burden her with your grief?” Draco questioned.
“Yes, it’s crazy, but a part of me wonders if I even have the right to grieve which probably says more about my childhood than I’m comfortable with.” He stood and very carefully put Branwell on the perch beside his mother. The little owl hooted and fluttered his wings. Harry laughed a little. “No, lad, it’s bedtime for me, and I’m sure time for a hunting lesson for you.” He poked the owl a little, and Elizabeth hooted when Branwell started to hop down the perch.
He let Draco prod him out of the owlery and all the way to their bedroom. Hermione was seated at her vanity running a brush through her damp hair. Harry stopped and slid onto the bench beside her. “Hey.”
She stopped brushing her hair and set aside her brush. “Hey.” Hermione touched his face, running her fingers along his jaw. “I don’t blame you, Harry, and I never will. You took a hard path, but I’ve always known I can depend on you to do what must be done no matter how it hurts you.” She pressed her mouth to his—soft and sweet. “Now, go take a shower and come to bed—Draco and I have plans.”
Harry grinned. “I should just surrender to your plans gracefully, then.”
“Yes, you should.”
Draco showered with him, and they were both back in the bedroom in short order. Hermione had finished drying her hair and was sitting on the bed. She offered them both a smile and crooked her finger at Harry. He dropped his towel in the basket near the door and went to his wife.
“What’s on your brilliant mind?”
“You.” She pulled him close, and he let her pull him over her as they came to rest on the mattress. “Put your cock in me.”
“You bossy thing,” Harry murmured, but he shifted just a little and sank into her cunt. “You’re very wet.”
“Draco ate me out before he went to get you,” Hermione confessed with a laugh and groaned when Harry started to move. She let him move for nearly a full minute before she stilled him with her hands. “I told you we have plans.”
“Bring your knees up,” Hermione murmured. She hooked her legs over his thighs as he moved into a semi-kneeling position that always made him feel vulnerable.
A hand drifted down his back and fingers trailed between the cheeks of his arse and Harry groaned. He buried his face against Hermione’s neck and shuddered as Draco activated his prep charm. Draco pressed into his arsehole with one steady thrust, and Harry sucked in a deep breath. Hermione shifted under him just a little and tightened around him.
“Just relax,” Draco murmured against his shoulder blade. “Let me do most of the work.”
Harry shifted, pushing deep into his wife and pressing his pubic bone against her clit just enough to make her eyes go wide. “Yeah.”
Draco started to move, fucking into him with long, sure strokes and each time he bottomed out Harry rolled his hips just a little and Hermione groaned.
“Fuck,” Draco murmured. “I love the way you feel.” He cupped Harry’s hip with one hand as he thrust.
Harry would freely admit got lost in it—the physical pleasure was intense and the emotional comfort of being surrounded by the two people he loved most was better than anything else could be. Hermione tightened around him and came with a needy little groan. She went languid underneath him and cupped the back of his head as he continued to grind against her with the rhythm Draco had established. He was close himself though he’d noticed that the contraception charm had calmed down his magic as predicted.
“Yeah,” Harry said and let go of what control he had left and released into his wife with a groan.
“Fuck,” Draco whispered against his shoulder blade, his hips working just a little, a sign that he’d come as well. He pulled free and ran one possessive hand down Harry’s back. “Yeah.”
“Yeah,” Hermione agreed and stretched as Harry lifted off of her and pulled his cock free of her clenching pussy. “That was fantastic.”
“Excellent planning,” Draco said as he dropped down on the mattress next to her.
“I’m brilliant,” she declared.
Harry pulled her close and spooned against her. He met Draco’s gaze over her, and his Consort just smirked a little. “Absolutely brilliant.”
They arrived early for the train, mostly because of Hermione and the fact that they were allowed to apparate directly to the platform. They took over the last car on the train and waited for the drama to begin. Moody had been on the platform when they arrived, and Draco had waved at him which had caused the retired auror to curse and stomp off. The door flew open just as the train started to move and Ron glared at them.
Harry rolled his eyes so hard he thought for a second he saw his own brain. The thought amused him so much that he smiled before he could help himself which just made Ron go red in the face. Not a particularly good look for the narrow-minded wanker. “If you’re just going to stand there and glare, you can go.”
“You married a Death Eater!”
“Draco isn’t a Death Eater,” Harry scoffed. “Wait, you were talking about him, right?”
“Of course, I am, don’t be daft! His father is a Death Eater; he’s a Death Eater. What the hell were you thinking?”
“I was thinking and still do think that where I put my dick is no one’s business but my own.”
Hermione huffed. “It’s my business.” She focused on Ron. “But it certainly isn’t any of your business.”
“Shut up, Hermione. You’re even worse than Harry! He’s mental over his godfather and obviously needs a healer but you? You’ve got no bloody excuse for this nonsense. You married two wizards. What the hell?”
“It’s perfectly respectable, and you know it,” Hermione told him primly. “Don’t try to shame me for my marriage, Ron, because it won’t work. I’ve done nothing wrong, and we achieved the very epitome of marriage bonds which tells the world that our union is as perfect as a magical union can be. You know that, too.” She returned her attention to her book. “Leave and shut the door. We prefer to travel in private.”
“We have a prefect meeting, remember?”
“Draco and I both resigned our prefect positions—those duties would’ve interfered with our primary concern.”
“Primary concern?” Ron asked confused.
“Our Lord,” Draco said. “Our first duty is to Harry, and we don’t have time to wonder about the school running people out of broom closets. Fuck off, Weasel.”
“Are you going to let your Consort talk to your best mate like that?”
“I was kind of hoping that you’d be too angry by my so-called betrayal of the light and stop being my friend,” Harry explained. “I mean, honestly Ron, we have nothing in common, and Dumbledore can’t be paying you enough to put up with all three of us.”
Ron’s mouth dropped open, and his eyes bugged out briefly. Then he turned and left the car without another word. Hermione used her wand to shut the door. Her mouth quirked briefly in a smile, but she didn’t stop reading.
Harry settled his mind and started the mental exercise Draco had taught him to get his form to surface. While the gift had passed just as expected, they were still required to find the magic inside themselves. It wasn’t quite like the other process as he wouldn’t meet his form in a spiritual way—natural animagus were more like shifters, but there was no distinction for that in the magical world, so they were called animagus just like those who used the spell to transform.
The door opened again, and Harry sighed as he opened his eyes. He’d expected Weasley Intervention 2.0, but it turned out to be Blaise Zabini. Blaise threw himself on the bench across from them and smirked.
“Merlin, Draco, why didn’t you just drop your trousers and literally show the Dark Lord your arse?”
“I haven’t had the opportunity,” Draco said. He closed the newspaper he was reading and folded it. “What have you heard?”
“Well, it’s a complete toss-up as to who he wants dead more—you, Potter, or Dumbledore. He has made it known that he’d like to kill the two of you personally. One of his little pets has been tasked with ending the old man. No clue who but Pansy was bragging about receiving the Dark Mark in late July and has been tasked with a special mission.”
Harry frowned. Pansy Parkinson wasn’t marked in the previous timeline. In fact, the only marked female Death Eaters had been Bellatrix and Alecto Carrow, but then they’d killed Bella, and perhaps Riddle had sought to replace her. Pansy was an odd choice unless one put her insane obsession with Draco into account. It made her rather like a loaded weapon that Riddle had left lying around for a toddler to find.
“Who’s her target?” Draco asked.
Blaise’s gaze flicked briefly toward Hermione. “I think you can guess. It’s all she’s talked about for weeks. You’ll want to neutralize her or at least make her more afraid of you than she is the Dark Lord.”
Hermione turned a page in her book. “She’s practically a squib—Voldemort is just scrapping the bottom of the barrel these days.”
“Well, he’s never been all that good at recruiting smart followers. Dumb ones, yes. Insane ones, definitely. But smart ones? Not so much,” Harry said. “He has to blackmail, buy off, or curse smart people to do his bidding.”
“You’re really not afraid of him at all,” Blaise said in shock.
Harry shrugged. “Death comes to us all in the space of time.”
– – – –
The Sorting went about as expected. Dumbledore’s announcements were short and very little was said about Draco’s appearance at the Gryffindor table. While he wasn’t going to be re-sorted, protocol dictated that his place was at Harry’s side. For the most part, Harry really didn’t appreciate the protocols for nobles, but in this case, it served him well, so he was willing to let a lot of ride to have the perks. He wondered how many of his peers felt the same way.
After dinner, Professor McGonagall informed them that the Headmaster had declined to open the dorm for married housing since they were the only ones in the castle with a marriage. She’d arranged the Head Boy suite in Gryffindor for them, and Harry had no complaints, he figured it was Dumbledore’s way of trying to make Draco uncomfortable, but it wasn’t going to work. Draco’s give-a-fuck regarding house politics was so broken that half the pieces were missing. They had a private entrance to their quarters, so they didn’t have to come and go through the common room unless they wanted to.
Dobby popped into the suite, rearranged everything and dismantled fifty surveillance charms in the first thirty minutes of his inspection. Harry lost count after that, and only half listened to the house elf’s mutterings as he cursed Dumbledore out repeatedly for being a no-good, nosy, perverted old bastard. He’d have loved to see the Headmaster’s face when he read the transcripts. They packed away all the furniture that Hogwarts had supplied and set up what they’d picked out from the vault for school as they didn’t want to bother inspecting every inch of it all for curses and hexes. After everything was situated, Harry warded the entire space. He couldn’t prevent Dumbledore from entering when they were in class, but he could make it difficult and impossible to hide.
A notification chime indicating they had a visitor at their private entrance wasn’t much of a surprise, he opened the door and was surprised to see both Dumbledore and McGonagall standing there. His Head of House appeared a little put out, he raised an eyebrow. “It’s a little late for a visitor, Headmaster.”
“I need a few moments of your time, Lord Potter.”
Harry sighed and motioned them both in. “Be brief, please, my wife is tired.”
Draco and Hermione were on the sofa, and he was braiding her hair—something he’d done often in the future because of a deal they’d made so she wouldn’t cut it all off. Harry sat down in a chair near them and motioned the two professors to the two remaining chairs in their sitting room.
“Before your father died he left a cloak in my possession which I passed to you in your first year.”
“Okay,” Harry said. “Thanks for that—I’d have never known otherwise if you hadn’t.”
“You’re welcome,” Dumbledore said warmly, and Harry considered hexing him, so the old man’s eyes never twinkled again. “I was wondering if I may see it. I won’t try to keep it.”
“I’ll get it, Harry.” She left the sofa, tying off the braid Draco had just finished. She brought the invisibility cloak that Draco had soaked in his magic out and passed it to Harry before heading back toward the bedroom. “Don’t stay up late, I want to visit the library before breakfast.”
Harry said nothing until she was gone and stood with the cloak. “Is there a problem with it?”
“No,” Dumbledore murmured. “Have you noticed any changes in it?” He took the cloak, and Harry noted that the old man’s hands weren’t all that steady.
“I had it packed away in my trunk until July when we cleaned out our school trunks to prep them for the new school year. It doesn’t seem any different to me but you had it for longer, it seems. Though we found some in Ireland and I noticed that they don’t feel the same as that one. Do you know why?”
“The cloak is very old,” Minerva said in a subdued tone. “Your grandfather had it when he was at Hogwarts, Lord Potter. I’m surprised to see it. Invisibility cloaks simply don’t last that long. At least, normal ones don’t. Albus?”
“It’s an oddity,” Dumbledore said. “Which is why I borrowed it from James. The origin of the cloak is unknown though it has been in the Potter line for a very long time. At least more than a hundred years.” He held it out to Harry. “Thank you, Lord Potter.” He stood and looked around the room. “When you’re ready to talk, I’ll make myself available to you.”
“I’m not sure what we have left to discuss, sir, but I’ll keep that in mind,” Harry said neutrally. He dumped the cloak onto the sofa beside Draco and followed the older man to the door. “Good night.”
“Good night,” Dumbledore said and glanced just once at the cloak before he left.
Harry shut the door and turned to his newly appointed godmother. “What was that about?”
“I don’t know, lad. I spoke with Professor Babbling, and she’s willing to take you into the class if you can pass the OWL for the course with at least an Acceptable. If you’re amenable, I’ll arrange for the examination to take place. The ministry will, of course, require a testing fee since it’s outside the normal testing period for OWLs.”
“That’s fine. I can take the test at any time, including tomorrow if my schedule allows for it. Hermione tested me over the summer, and she doesn’t think I’ll have a problem with the OWL itself. Though I’ll admit that I’m better at practical than I am in theory.”
“That’s the norm for you,” Minerva said. “Why did you study it on your own?”
“I picked up Hermione’s book in third year, and it was interesting but Ron…well, he’d have been difficult to deal with if I’d picked up another course. If I can’t meet Professor Babbling’s expectations on the OWL, I will need to audit the class at the very least. It’s the only class Hermione has where she isn’t with one of us. Our marriage bond is really nothing to trifle with so it’s best if she not spend that much time separated from us both.”
“I understand, and I did distribute a pamphlet with the school letters explaining what a Trinity bond is and how dangerous two wizards in such a bond can be when it comes to the safety of their wife.” Minerva took a deep breath. “Albus is very invested in ending your relationship, Harry.”
“He called me into his office after we returned to the school from the will meeting and tried to order me to help him. I withdrew from the Order of the Phoenix as a result. When Sirius asked me about being named your godparent in the event of his death, I made an oath to seek your best interests. Whatever Albus has planned, I don’t think it serves you or the House of Potter. He was livid when he found out you’d claimed your title and threw a genuine fit over the marriage.” She paused. “And if I may be frank, Severus Snape is no better.”
“Riddle punished him for my betrayal then,” Draco said. “Snape’s double life is going to be the end of him, you know. He serves two merciless men and neither care if he lives or dies.”
“You know he’s a spy?” Minerva asked in surprise.
“My father told me as much after fourth year. He told me I couldn’t genuinely trust Severus Snape and that if the man was on anyone’s side, it was his own. He’ll play both sides until his last breath—hoping that either way, he’ll come out a winner. Riddle toys with him—finds his little spy game amusing but he fools no one.” Draco stood and stretched. “Good night, Professor.”
“Good night, Mr…” She flushed. “Consort Potter.”
Draco grinned. “I can hardly wait to make Professor Snape address me as such.”
“I mourn already the fact that I won’t get to see it,” Minerva said as Draco disappeared into the bedroom. She turned to Harry. “You sure know how to stir up a whole bunch of people all at once. Severus said that Riddle was just as furious as the headmaster over this marriage.”
“It’s kind of disturbing how two elderly wizards are so invested in who I go to bed with,” Harry confided. “The creepy old gits need to get a hobby that doesn’t involve me.”
Minerva laughed briefly and stood. “Good night, Harry. I’ll arrange the OWL for Ancient Runes as soon as I can. I’ve added the course to your schedule as an elective—your level of participation will be up to Babbling.”
– – – –
The first class on the schedule was Potions. Slughorn wasn’t there—Harry took a seat at the front of the classroom. The announcement for the new teacher had gone right over Harry’s head because he’d been expecting Slughorn and he hadn’t bothered to discuss it with Hermione or Draco after dinner. Hermione slipped into a seat beside him. Draco sat with Blaise Zabini directly behind them. The class was actually a mix of all the houses as there weren’t that many students in sixth-year potions.
“Good morning, I am Professor Quintin Deadmarsh. I hold masteries in Potions and Alchemy. Previously, I worked for both the Ministry of Magic and Gringotts as a potions master. I’ve reviewed all of your OWLs to get a good grasp of your basic skills. Most of you aren’t especially thrilling though your theory work is outstanding, Consort Potter. I look forward to seeing you brew.”
“Thank you, Professor,” Draco murmured.
“We’ll be focusing on practical lessons in class, but all of you will be required to do your theoretical work in private. You will owe me an essay every week.” He waved his wand at a stack of parchment, and a sheet flew to each student. “Your assignments for the entire year. Your essays are twenty percent of your grade for the entire year. Fifty percent will be in class practical exercises, and the rest will be based on testing—random testing—the difficulty of which will depend entirely on my mood on any given day. You’ll notice I’m not wearing a robe. This is a matter of safety—before you start brewing, please remove your robes and place them on the rack in the back. I don’t know any of you well enough to enjoy watching you catch yourself on fire for being stupid.”
Harry was pretty sure he’d just gotten his first crush on a professor ever. He shared a look with Hermione, and she grinned. Deadmarsh was physically very attractive, but it was his attitude that just put him over the edge on the hot factor. After they received their assignment, he hazarded a glance at his Consort and caught Draco watching the man’s arse. He poked Draco, and the blond laughed.
The class went smoothly, and Harry made a mental note to send Ragnok a letter to see if Gringotts was spying on Dumbledore through Deadmarsh or if the man had just decided to give the gift of arseholery to the next generation out of the blue. Considering the man was a gifted parselmouth, he doubted the bank had parted with him without a fight. He figured Dumbledore had no idea who he’d really hired to teach potions.
They had Charms then lunch. After the meal, Hermione and Draco went to the library, and Harry stayed at the table because McGonagall had signaled him for a discussion which meant the woman eating at the head table with the professors was probably a ministry employee. He was working his way through a piece of cake when Ginny Weasley suddenly sat down beside him. She put her hand on his arm and magic crackled between them. She hissed in shock and jerked her hand back as if she’d been burned.
“What was that?”
Lavender Brown frowned at her. “He’s married, Ginny. You just can’t go around touching a married wizard without his permission. Especially not one in a Trinity bond—that’s terribly crass. His marriage bond responded punitively to your…” She blushed and trailed off.
“Overt and offensive sexual interest,” Harry completed. “The Trinity requires absolutely fidelity—emotional, physical, and magical. My magic will work to protect me from violating my oaths.” He shifted away from her. “Frankly, the touch of others is stomach turning.”
“You don’t really have a Trinity bond,” Ginny protested.
“Obviously, he does,” Neville said. “It’s the only marriage bond that will punish trespassers.”
Harry pushed aside his cake. “I don’t care if she believes it or not. Her opinions really have no value one way or another to me.”
“Harry!” Ginny exclaimed in shock.
“I’ve not given you permission to be familiar with me,” Harry said coldly. “So it’s Lord Potter, to you.”
“Yes, quite,” Minerva McGonagall said. “Let me know if you need a lesson in treating a noble with the respect his station is due, Miss Weasley.” She turned to Harry. “I was able to call in a favor, and you can take the OWL for runes this afternoon. My class is the final one on your schedule for the day, and I’ve let Filius know you’ll be absent from his class.”
“Yes, thank you, Professor. I’ll need to retrieve my kit from my quarters.”
“You can meet Mrs. Wilkie in Professor Babbling’s classroom.”
– – – –
By the time he was finished with the exam, Hermione and Draco were out of class, so he returned to their quarters and wasn’t surprised to find his spouses brooding on the sofa.
“I’ve changed my mind,” Hermione said. “This sucks. I hate school.”
Harry laughed. “You love school—you just hate most of our peers which isn’t the same thing at all.” He shed the robe. “Babbling said I did so well on the practical part of the OWL that I can take the class as a regular student.”
“I told you.” Hermione shifted around and put her head in Draco’s lap.
The house elf appeared immediately and crawled up into a chair near the fire. “Dumbles be boring, Master Harry. He spy on you when you take your OWL with Professor Babbles then have meeting with Greasy Git.”
“What did he and Snape discuss?”
“First, they talk about Fangirl Wheezy and how yous bond hurt her, then they talks about how to destroy yous bond, so I be cursing the shite out of Dumbles again.” Dobby swung his trainer-clad feet as he spoke. “Then they talk about dead Death Munchers, again.”
Harry deeply regretted not being more specific about the uniform. Dobby was dressed in a pair of jeans and a t-shirt that proclaimed himself an ‘arsehole in training’. Harry was entirely sure that Draco was responsible for the T-shirt’s wording, but he couldn’t get his Consort to admit it. “Any particular dead Death Eater?”
“Rabastan Lestrange. Dumbles very concerned when Greasy Git say Dark Twat not kill him. They talks about a third faction and think maybes Minister Diggory is working against him.”
“Against Voldemort or against Dumbledore?” Harry questioned.
“Dumbles wants to save Death Munchers,” Dobby said. “Dobby not get it.”
“Redemption,” Harry murmured. “He wants to believe even the darkest of people can be redeemed, but he also wants to be the instrument of their delivery into the light, the arrogant fucker.”
“Why?” Draco asked in confusion and Harry shrugged.
Hermione sighed. “Because of Grindelwald, well sort of. It’s really all about him, you see. How could he fall in love with someone so dark after he worked so hard to separate himself from the crimes of his own father? Dumbledore is vain and deeply flawed. He blames Gellert Grindelwald for his own corruption—his own desire to subjugate and control other people, so he seeks the redemption of others, just as dark as he was, to prove that he is righteous and cured of the darkness that led to the murder of his sister.”
“Does he still love Grindelwald, you think?” Harry questioned.
“Certainly, that’s why he couldn’t kill him and why he keeps him imprisoned in Nurmengard. He’s still trying to redeem that dark bastard,” Hermione murmured. She sighed. “Pansy called me a whore today in Potions, under her breath. Twice.”
“Did you want us to curse her?” Draco asked with a grin as he started working her hair free from the braid she’d worn all day.
“I cursed her myself,” Hermione said. “Let’s see how she likes being afraid to take a bath.”
“I think that’s a punishment for us all,” Draco complained. “She never was great about getting her uniforms washed, to begin with. This is going to prove to be a disgusting month because she can’t cast a cleaning charm to save her own life.”
Harry laughed. “Professor Deadmarsh is a surprise.”
“I guess Dumbledore wasn’t successful in luring Slughorn out of retirement,” Hermione theorized. “You know him from somewhere?”
“Yes, he’s worked for Gringotts since he left Hogwarts and is a parselmouth. The one, in fact, that expressed interest in teaching me about parselmagic. He said he’d been keeping an eye on me for years when he offered, but I was very invested in forgetting I was a parselmouth at the time. I insulted him without even trying, and he avoided me thereafter whenever I was in the bank.”
“You think he’s here on the bank’s behalf?” Draco questioned.
“Yes, in the future he was a very trusted asset and often worked for Ragnok exclusively. We’ve been so busy with our own revenge plans we really didn’t account for the goblins and the justice they are due. He ruined the lives and livelihoods of three goblins. Goblins who had earned the right to work as account managers which is no easy feat among the Horde,” Harry said.
“Well,” Hermione said and sat up. She combed her fingers through her hair as she considered that. “There is no need to be at odds with the goblins so if Deadmarsh’s goal is to kill Dumbledore, then we should probably let him do it.”
Harry scowled. “What they don’t know won’t hurt their feelings, Mi.”
She grinned and turned to Dobby. “So you didn’t curse Snape?”
Dobby grinned slyly. “I be cursing Greasy Git—make him clumsy. He fall down break his wrist already.”
Harry laughed and sighed. “Is Winky ready for us?” She hadn’t been ready when they’d arrived, but Dobby had reported that she’d been sober all summer as agreed.
“She ready,” Dobby assured. He popped away and returned with Winky who had a small trunk in her hands.
Harry slid forward in his chair and focused on the small female elf. She was wearing a little grey skirt and a white blouse—the under parts of a girl’s Hogwarts uniform. Her shoes reminded him of the ones Hermione had worn most of her time at Hogwarts in the first timeline. “Good evening, Winky.”
She gave him a brilliant smile and placed the trunk on the floor between them. It resized to a standard size as she stepped back. “Winky bring present for new family.” Her cheeks flushed dark green, and she rocked a little in excitement.
“Thank you very much,” Harry said. “We are honored by your desire to serve and be part of our family.” He held out his hands, and she popped right to him though the space between them was quite small. Her fingers trembled as she took this hands and immediately started to glow as the bond bloomed between them.
“Winky swear on her magic and life to never betray the House of Potter in word or deed.” She bounced happily as the bond settled completely and with a giggle threw her arms around Harry’s neck.
Harry laughed and settled back in his chair with her in his lap. “Well.”
Draco grinned. “She probably can’t help it—your magic is very attractive.”
Winky clapped her hands. “Open Winky’s present!”
Hermione left the sofa and went to the trunk with a smile. She opened it, and her mouth dropped open. “Oh.”
“What?” Draco questioned.
Hermione turned to Winky. “You harvested the basilisk.”
“It be waste not to,” Winky said. “I hear Dumbles telling Greasy Git he can has it, but it be Master Harry’s so I takes it and makes you robes.”
“Battle robes,” Hermione said. “You made us…wow.” She lifted one long coat out of the trunk and stood. She slipped the black leather on, and it immediately sized to fit her. The coat flowed around her, shortened until it was even with her ankles as she buttoned it.
Draco sprung up and did the same. “Winky, you’re a star.” He ran his hand down the side of his own coat as it finished sizing then looked in the trunk. “Oh, boots, too.”
Harry snorted and turned to Winky. “You’ve won him for life—he loves boots.”
Winky grinned and clapped her hands again.
“Oh.” Hermione laughed and lifted two little coats. “You made some for you and Dobby.”
Dobby ran over and reached out to take his then frowned. “This not clothes, right?”
“It’s a uniform,” Harry assured.
Dobby took his and put it on. “Dobby look tough?”
“You’re a total warrior,” Draco said dryly and grinned when Harry laughed.
Snape had summoned Draco which was a surprise all on its own as they’d expected something a little more subtle. Hermione and Harry followed Draco to the DADA classroom, both wrapped up in Draco’s disillusionment charm. Snape glared at him the moment he caught sight of Draco and Harry drew his wand.
“Do you have any idea what you’ve done?”
“I’ve done more to protect myself than my father ever bothered to do,” Draco said. He leaned on a desk on the front row and stared at his Head of House.
“Your father is dead because of you,” Snape said. “The Dark Lord killed him—tortured him to death for your betrayal.”
“It’s not really surprising. I did wonder why my mother wanted me to open the wards at Malfoy Manor.” Draco crossed his arms. “My father is dead because of his own flawed character—he was weak, and he bowed down before a psychopath. Riddle is vicious, unpredictable, insane, and his very existence is obscene, but my father didn’t care, you see, when he gave me to that creature. Who in their right mind would accept such a union?”
“What happened at the manor?”
“I arrived early and decided that I’d rather see the place nothing but a pile of ash rather than give it to Riddle, so I activated the destruction protocols and left.”
“You never saw Bellatrix?”
“No, I just retrieved my familiar and left. I didn’t even stick around to watch the place burn. Why?”
“She was killed,” Snape said. “The Dark Lord thinks your mother did it.”
“My mother wasn’t even in Britain that day, so it’s unlikely unless Aunt Bella traveled outside of the country.”
“Quite a few followers of the Dark Lord have died recently.”
“It’s not exactly safe following that Dark Twat,” Draco said wryly. “What’s one or two dead Death Eaters in the scheme of things? I’m sure he won’t have a problem finding more slaves to brand and order around.”
“Your disrespectful behavior is not going to serve you in the years to come—you’ll die with Potter.”
“Better to die with a good man than be Voldemort’s fucktoy,” Draco said evenly. “I’m in the service of Magic, Severus, but I’ll never serve your Dark Lord.”
“Dumbledore isn’t going to allow this marriage to continue so you’d better make alternate arrangements quickly.”
Draco laughed. “Dumbledore should think twice before making Harry an enemy—once that particular line is crossed that old bastard will have nowhere to go and no one to turn to deal with his little Dark Lord problem. Potter could and would let Britain suffer for decades under that Dark Twat’s thumb before he bothers to meet his fate.” Snape paled. “Yeah, I know the prophecy. In fact, I know the entire prophecy. I also know you told Riddle about the prophecy. My father told me years ago, but then he also told me that you’re a spy for Dumbledore. He said you liked to play both sides of the game so you’d come out a winner no matter who won—a true Slytherin he called you, but my mother said a true Slytherin would’ve hidden it better.”
“Where did your father hear this?” Snape asked.
“Oh, from the Dark Twat himself apparently. They all think it’s pretty funny—your little spy game. You’d better hope Harry wins the day because he’s the only salvation a man like you has.”
“Potter is just using you to rebel,” Snape said. “He’s acting out like a child, and you’re just one of the tools he’s using to get back at the Headmaster. He’ll dump you and Granger eventually—get tired of the little charade he’s conducting. It’s only a matter of time before the investigation at the ICW reveals how that healer was bribed to certify your so-called Trinity bond.”
Draco shrugged. “I’m not concerned.”
“You should be—it’ll come out, and you’ll be blamed so they can keep their hero untainted. They’ll probably throw you in Azkaban on some kind of charge, accuse you of cursing him. Granger, too, if they don’t kill her outright. Muggle-born witches have been executed for such crimes in the past.”
“I’m sure that’s what Dumbledore would like to happen, but no legitimate investigation at the ICW is going to reveal anything of the sort. We have a Trinity bond, and we didn’t have to bribe anyone to get it certified.”
“That’s impossible!” Snape growled. “Potter doesn’t know what love is!”
“Like you do?” Draco questioned then held up a hand when Snape stood up. “Please spare me the story of your boner for Lily Potter—if you’d loved her like you claim you’d have died in her defense in Godric’s Hollow the night Voldemort attacked the Potters. You didn’t love her, you were obsessed with a married woman. You don’t bargain with the life of an infant in the name of love.” He straightened away from the desk. “Are we done? I need to write my mother a letter, it appears her divorce was unnecessary since she was a widow when she filed.”
“Don’t say I didn’t warn you,” Snape said.
Draco just nodded and left. Harry released Hermione’s hand so she could join Draco, but he stayed where he was as the door finally shut. He was immediately rewarded when Dumbledore appeared standing close to Snape’s desk.
“I told you it wouldn’t work,” Snape said. “Malfoy knows he’s gotten an excellent deal out of all of this and he’ll fight to keep it. If their relationship has a weak point, it’s probably the girl. I heard Potter took the Ancient Runes OWL so he could take the class with her.”
“Yes, he was apparently unwilling to let her have a class by herself,” Dumbledore murmured. “That could be the bond manifesting. The female in a triad is often over-protected and sheltered by her husbands. This won’t do, Severus. We must separate them and place a witch in his life that I can control. It is imperative for our long-term plans that Harry Potter be prepared to sacrifice himself when the time comes. This marriage gives him too much to live for.”
Snape nodded. “Agreed. We certainly can’t risk him surviving to his maturation. He’s already stupidly powerful, and we’ve yet to find a limiter that you can get to stay on his core.”
“No, he sheds them like they’re nothing,” Dumbledore agreed. “Just like he did the suppression potion we tried to give him in his first year. I don’t understand it. I’ve never seen anything like it. He told the DMLE that he’s a burgeoning elemental. I’ve hidden that information from him repeatedly, and he’s broken through the memory charms again.”
Harry figured that was Zir’s work, but he certainly wasn’t going to complain. It made sense, the Lord of Magic wouldn’t want his hand on earth limited by the magic of someone like Dumbledore. He wondered if the old man was at all concerned that he was messing with powers beyond him. Arrogance played a large part in his greater good and in that respect he was no different than Grindelwald—perhaps he was even worse because at least Gellert hadn’t lied about his intentions.
“But nothing explains why the cloak has survived when both the wand and the stone were destroyed,” Dumbledore murmured and started to pace.
“Are you sure it’s the same cloak?”
“It feels the same,” Dumbledore said. “How would he have replaced it? He has no idea of its real value. I wouldn’t have returned it at all if it weren’t entailed. The damn thing stopped working for me the day Potter bought his wand.” He turned to Snape. “Do you believe him? About Bellatrix?”
“Yes, he doesn’t have the stomach or the ability to take out someone like Bella—she was an excellent dueler. Very few in the Dark Lord’s ranks came close to her ability. Riddle is furious over her loss—not to mention the others that have been killed. He doesn’t believe the ministry is responsible and knows the Order wouldn’t kill his followers.”
“The Unspeakables were known for such tactics in the past, but Minister Fudge largely curtailed their ability to act without direct orders,” Dumbledore said. “I’ve questioned Amos, and he assures me that he’s not authorized any covert operations. He’s offering a reward for the capture of any Death Eater and quite a large one for Pettigrew since there is evidence of his murdering young Cedric.”
“Diggory’s desire for revenge serves us until he starts looking in your direction.”
“It’ll be easy to refocus him on Harry. If Harry Potter didn’t exist then, Cedric Diggory would still be alive. With Fudge conveniently dead, I can blame him as well.” Dumbledore sighed. “I must go—I have reports to read regarding the murder of Lestrange on the Alley. Amos forwarded me the investigation notes from the DMLE.”
Harry followed the old man out and for the hell of it, jinxed him as he was leaving the stairs to head for his office. Dumbledore stumbled and fell flat on his face. Not satisfying but at least mildly amusing, Harry strolled up to the Gryffindor tower and went to the private entrance. The door opened, and Winky frowned. Harry laughed and entered. He ended the charm after she closed the door. He shed his robe and joined his spouses on the sofa. Draco shifted slightly and threw a leg over Harry’s thigh.
“Dumbledore was watching?”
“Yes,” Harry said. He stared at the fire as he related the conversation he’d overheard between Snape and Dumbledore.
“We need to take Ginny Weasley off the board,” Draco said. “As long as she’s in play, he’ll continue to pursue Hermione as a viable target. She’s not his only choice, obviously, but any other witch would have to be groomed which would take time they really don’t have.”
“The best way to throw the entire operation in disarray is to kill Snape,” Harry said. “Or Lupin.”
“I’m on board with either,” Hermione said. “Snape would be easier but taking out Lupin would be so far removed from us so no one could realistically blame it on us at some point in the future.”
“Dobby could drop werewolf in volcano,” Dobby said and looked up from the piece of parchment he was writing on.
“What are you doing?”
“Winky teach me to read and write,” Dobby said. He held up the parchment. “Practice letters.”
“If you dropped him in a volcano then no one would ever know what happened to him,” Harry pointed out, and Dobby sighed dramatically. “And we need to make a spectacle of the whole event.”
“Wait until full moon,” Winky advised. “Lupin always run around Forbidden Forest. Centaurs complain all the time about it.”
Harry frowned. “Were you two always this mean-spirited or am I a bad influence?”
“House elves be impacted by master’s feelings if they are pleased to serve,” Winky said diplomatically, and Hermione laughed.
– – – –
Harry put the last of the books he’d checked out for Hermione in his bag and left the library. It shouldn’t have been a surprise that Ron was lurking outside in the hall. He walked past him and just sighed dramatically when the redhead fell in to walk beside him.
“Look, mate, I don’t know how Malfoy is cursing you to go along with this, but you need to let the headmaster help you.”
“I don’t know how you walk and breathe at the same time,” Harry admitted. “You’ve probably seen the report from the ICW and you know I’m not being cursed or potioned.”
“Dumbledore says that healer was bribed.”
“Whatever.” Harry tried to move ahead of Ron, but the wanker just stepped up his pace, too.
“You’re different, Harry, and you were terribly rude to Ginny at dinner. You’ve had a crush on her forever, how could you forget?”
“I wouldn’t even remember her name if she wasn’t your sister,” Harry said. “I don’t and never have had a crush on your sister. Lupin told me you were telling that lie. You know damn well I never said anything like that to you.”
“You were just afraid to admit it,” Ron said. “Because she’s my sister but come on Harry—you can’t be serious about this fake marriage. Hermione is a liar and a know-it-all. Did you know she isn’t a Muggle-born like she said?”
“She actually never said that,” Harry said. “She said her parents are Muggles which is true enough. Her grandfather was a squib, and her great-grandfather was a wizard. It’s not even a secret, Ron. Her inheritance is a matter of public record. And yes, I’ve known about her family history forever. We discussed it often last year and when she first got the notification for his estate in second year, you just never listen to her.”
“This is stupid, and you’re going to regret going on with this!” Ron snapped. “Why can’t you just do the right thing?”
“Who decides what is right and wrong?” Harry asked and stopped walking. “Dumbledore? Your mother? Who do you think should get the right to decide how I’m going to live my life?”
“You’re not normal,” Ron said frankly. “You’re the Boy-Who-Lived, and you have a duty to the rest of us, Harry. You don’t get to just live your life like anyone else. It was never going to be that way for you. Don’t you get it? You’ve never really had any choices, and they’re not going to allow you to do what you want. You have to serve the greater good. You’ll suffer less if you just give in.”
“Go fuck yourself, Ron.” He started to walk away, but Ron grabbed him. He shoved the git with his magic and Weasley hit the floor with a shout of shock. “Do not touch me.”
He turned the corner and immediately made himself invisible. Ron came jogging around the corner and huffed in frustration. He pulled out a communication mirror. “I lost him.”
“What do you mean you lost him?” Percy questioned over the mirror.
“He has an invisibility cloak,” Ron reminded. “And he shoved me down, so he had a head start. I don’t know where he is but if you’re still near his quarters, you need to move.”
“I couldn’t get past the door. There is house elf magic on it and if I broke it the creature who set it would’ve known. I’ll have to try again during the Hogsmeade weekend. It’ll be easy to pluck her off the street when they aren’t looking.”
“Okay, but remember not to hurt her. Mum said I could have her. She’s already brewing a potion to make her behave.”
Harry’s vision tunneled and for a few seconds went entirely black. Ron put away the mirror with a smirk and Harry drew his wand. The urge to kill him was so overwhelming that he was almost sick with it. But the timing wasn’t right, and Percy would report that they’d argued and had a fight. He’d be the number one suspect. He waited until Ron passed him and followed until they were in a hallway with no living portraits then he shot a fairly simple charm at him. Ron doubled over and grabbed his dick as Harry walked past him. He wondered how long it would take Ron to go to Madam Pomfrey with his erection issue.
He entered their suite a few minutes later. “Percy tried to break in here.”
“We know,” Hermione said. “We were waiting, and it was disappointing that he gave up. Draco said I could keep him in one of the cells in the dungeon for as long as I wanted if I caught him.”
“Poor darling,” Harry said and kissed her head. He put the satchel of books on the table. “Ron cornered me outside of the library and tried to give me this weird intervention where he told me I didn’t get to make my own choices because I’m famous and I had to serve the greater good because it was my duty. Then after I escaped him, he got on a communication mirror and told Percy that he’d lost me. Percy’s going to try to kidnap you in Hogsmeade and Molly is preparing a potion that Ron seems to think will turn you into his sex slave.” Harry winced when Hermione’s expression turned stormy. “So I put a pleasure tether charm on him.”
Her mouth dropped open. “But that…means he’ll be erect until he makes you come or he seeks help from Madam Pomfrey. It’s tethered to the caster.”
Harry grinned. “I know.”
“That’s the most evil thing I’ve ever heard,” Draco said with wide-eyed wonder. “You’ve totally earned a blow job for that.”
“I never say no to a blow job,” Harry said. “That won’t negate the charm, right? Because I’m willing to go without for at least forty-eight hours to torture him.”
“No, the charm would only end if he were the one blowing you,” Hermione said. “In fact, having someone else do it might make him suffer more. It is a BDSM charm, after all, a cock-torture spell for masochists.”
Harry pulled his jumper over his head and headed for the bedroom. “At sixteen, I’m pretty sure I could come four or five times in a single night.”
Only Draco followed which wasn’t exactly unusual, so he finished taking off his clothes and slid up onto the bed. Draco joined him and slid confidently into his arms. “Hey, you.”
“I wanted to kill him,” Harry whispered against Draco’s jaw. “Bathe in his blood.”
“I understand,” Draco said and trailed fingers through his hair. “It was good that you refrained—it would have led straight back to you.”
“Suck me,” Harry ordered and laughed when Draco lifted an eyebrow at him. “I’m your Lord, you know.”
“You are,” Draco agreed, he slid down and urged Harry onto his back. “Do you want to come in my mouth?”
“No, in your arse,” Harry said as he spread his legs.
Draco gave head like a man who wanted to do it for a living and Harry adored that about his Consort. He curled his fingers against the back of the blond’s head as Draco settled down between his legs and sucked him in completely. Harry shuddered as the head of his cock slipped into the back of Draco’s throat briefly. His lover set a brutal pace, moving up and down his cock with a greedy sucking motion that was mind-blowing. The sweep of Draco’s tongue along the bottom of his prick was just short of the most fantastic thing ever.
“Enough,” Harry gasped and took a deep breath. “Fuck.”
Draco laughed and moved up. He slid astride Harry and wrapped his hands around the top of the headboard. “You think being in my arse is going to be easier?”
“No,” Harry confessed. “But I want in you anyway.” He ran his hand down the center of Draco’s chest and wrapped it around his Consort’s cock. “You’re gorgeous, Dragon. Perfect.”
Draco shifted, slipped a hand behind himself to activate his runes and to position Harry’s cock which he did with ease. He sank down with a little shuddery intake of breath and let his head fall back. “Yeah.”
“Give me good ride, love,” Harry murmured. “Nice and slow.”
Draco groaned but met his demand with a gentle, rocking motion that was so intense that it took Harry’s breath for a few seconds every single time his husband rocked back down on his cock. He jacked Draco’s cock at the same slow pace.
“I love you,” Draco said, his voice soft and broken.
“I love you—forever.” Harry cupped Draco’s hip with his free hand. “Are you going to come for me?”
“Fuck, I’m close,” Draco admitted as he continued to move with one languid bounce after another. “You with me?”
“I’m getting there,” Harry confessed. “It feels fantastic, Dragon. You’re so fucking pretty like this.”
“I’m going to kick your arse,” Draco threatened with a laugh.
Harry rubbed his thumb over the head of Draco’s cock. “Come.”
“Fuck,” Draco hissed and arched a little as he spilled into Harry’s hand. “You…wow. That was so fucking hot.”
“Parseltongue got you off when you didn’t know what I was saying,” Harry said with a laugh. He smeared cum over Draco’s hip as he cupped him fully and thrust upward.
Draco ground down onto his cock and trembled with each movement Harry made, soft moans burst from his mouth with each skin smacking thrust. “Fuck, Harry. Yeah, fuck me.”
“I love your tight arse,” Harry ground out as he thrust up again and again. He was coming in short order, his whole body tightening up against the hard pleasure as orgasm punched through him. “Fuck.”
Draco groaned and relaxed on him. “That was…fantastic.”
“Agreed,” Harry said and ran one hand down Draco’s back. “Where is our wife?”
“Reading Zir’s book.” Draco shifted slightly and pressed his mouth to Harry’s. “You’re a great big liar, Harry Potter.”
“How’s that?” Harry asked then yawned. “Sorry.”
Draco laughed. “Exactly, you look exhausted. I’m definitely not getting shagged again.”
“This is the beauty of having two spouses, maybe Hermione will give you some pussy if you ask nicely.”
Draco grinned and kissed him again. “Maybe I’ll talk her into wearing the strap-on.”
“No way, not while I’m asleep,” Harry protested then yawn again. “Strap-on time is a group activity.”
“Is it?” Draco questioned then sighed. “I have to admit I adore watching her fuck you so I guess I can agree with that.” He shifted and pulled off Harry’s dick. “You should shower before you pass out.”
Two weeks into the new school year, they’d settled into a routine of sorts that was very irritating for the most part. They had class, they ate meals in the hall, Ron harassed Harry at least once a day about doing his duty to the greater good, and Snape glared at them in class. Winky had taken to keeping an eye on Pansy Parkinson as her personal mission, and so far she’d put the girl in the infirmary four times. The last time, Pansy’s hair had caught fire in Charms class. Flitwick had been so startled that he’d let her burn for nearly ten seconds before he doused her with a massive amount of water which freaked Pansy out so bad that she ran screaming from the room. It took Flitwick and Snape nearly two hours to find her.
Harry meandered deeper into the stacks, adding titles to his pile from his wife’s list as he worked. He had a listening charm on Hermione’s table, so he heard Ginny and Romilda Vane approach her immediately.
“How does it feel—being a whore for two wizards?”
“I wouldn’t know,” Hermione said coolly. “I was a virgin when I got married. But perhaps you could tell us, how did it feel when Seamus was buggering you while Dean Thomas used your mouth?”
Harry paused and bit down on his lip. Ginny hadn’t been a virgin when they’d gotten together, but he hadn’t cared so he’d never bothered to find out who was her first.
“Please, Ginny, everyone knows. Seamus said you let them both do you in the bum. You know that, magically, you’re not a virgin anymore, right? Anal counts. I have wondered how you keep Ron from telling your mum though—are you blowing him to keep him quiet? I heard that happens in pure-blood families. That probably isn’t too bad since I heard Ron has a little penis. Is that true?”
Romilda Vane burst out laughing.
“You ugly cunt!” Ginny screamed, and Harry hurried down the aisle toward the table.
Harry stopped and watched Minerva McGonagall jerk Ginny up from the table where she was sitting.
“How dare you use such crass language much less toward someone of Lady Potter’s station! She is the lady of an Ancient and Noble house! If you can’t treat the Countess of Blackmoor with the respect she is due, then you’re not allowed to speak to her at all! That is fifty points from Gryffindor for your language and your ugly public display.” Minerva dragged Ginny by him, and he winced. “Also, detention! For a week! With Snape!”
Romilda Vane hurried after them with a little wave in Harry’s direction. His listening charm went curiously silent, so he turned toward his wife and found her laughing hysterically behind a privacy charm. He walked over to her and put her books on the table.
“With Snape!” Hermione squeaked and giggled some more.
“You don’t really think she’s blowing, Ron, right?” Harry grimaced.
Hermione shrugged. “It doesn’t matter—Romilda will tell everyone, and by dinner, everyone will believe that Ginny admitted to it.”
“Girls are vicious. I think if the Dark Twat really understood that, nearly all of his Death Eaters would be female.”
“He knows they’d take over,” Draco said as he put down his book bag. “It’s almost time for the staff meeting if you’re going to go.”
Harry nodded. “Do my charm?”
“Of course,” Draco said and then went down an empty aisle. Draco performed the charm with a swish of his wand.
Harry kissed his Consort and trotted off to spy on the staff meeting. Deadmarsh and Flitwick were already in the meeting room, but neither looked up as Harry passed through the opened doorway. He went to the back of the room and tucked himself in a corner. It took nearly twenty-five minutes for the entire staff to arrive. Snape and Pomfrey were the last ones to enter, and they both looked exhausted.
“How is Miss Parkinson?”
Pomfrey sighed. “I managed to get the water-fear hex off of her, but she’s allergic to the hair growing tonic. She’s refused to leave the infirmary, so I’ve written her mother and suggested that she purchase the girl a wig. She has no skin injuries but all of her hair fell out—between not bathing for two weeks and the fire there was no saving it. Her cleaning charms are…not exactly what they should be. She set two beds on fire in the infirmary trying to demonstrate how she does it.”
“Magically, she’s not the most gifted charms student, but she did get an Acceptable on her OWL,” Flitwick said. “Granted, mostly based on the theory.”
“Any idea on who hexed her?” Dumbledore questioned.
“It wasn’t a very robust hex—anyone from first year up could’ve cast it. She’s reportedly cruel to quite a few first years in Slytherin,” Pomfrey explained. “She hadn’t even figured out she was hexed—not the brightest lumos charm.”
Minerva snorted but schooled her expression when Dumbledore glanced her way.
“Anyone experiencing any problems with students?”
“Potter is arrogant as ever,” Snape said.
“Funny,” Babbling interjected immediately. “I have him in class for the first time, and I find him charming. He works hard, turns his assignments on time, and pays attention in class. He is doing very well in my class, and I was surprised since he’d spent so many years in self-study on the subject. I assumed he’d have a difficult adjustment period, but he didn’t.”
“I have him and both spouses in my class,” Flitwick said. “He’s a pleasure to teach. In fact, Severus, you’re the only person who ever has a problem with Harry Potter. I don’t find him at all arrogant. This year he’s more settled than he ever has been.”
“I agree,” Minerva interjected. “Even his magic seems very settled, and he casts with a great deal of confidence. He’s yet to have a single issue in my class this year, and he struggled several times last year with conjuring.”
“Has anyone noted any significant change in behavior?” Dumbledore questioned.
“Well, he stopped spending time with the Weasley boy which isn’t a bad thing,” Flitwick said. “Ronald, unfortunately, doesn’t have a motivated bone in his entire body. It’s frustrating to see such a lazy student come from that family. The rest of Arthur’s sons are quite industrious and avid learners. Even the twins were better students.”
“I have to agree,” Snape said. “Mr. Weasley isn’t nearly as talented as his siblings, and he tends to drag his friends down with him. I’ve noticed that he’s been socializing with Mr. Thomas and as a result, Mr. Thomas has missed two assignment so far.”
“Ah, that explains it,” Vector said. “I put Mr. Thomas in detention for missing an assignment. He did the work with no problem while I held him hostage. Minerva, you should probably speak to that lad about managing his time.”
“I will,” Minerva made a note on a piece of parchment in front of her. “I’ve noticed nothing off or strange about Potter. He pays his wife a lot of attention, but he always has—practically from the first day though he’d probably deny it if asked.”
“I noticed that, too,” Flitwick confided. “I wasn’t at all surprised to find out he’d married her or frankly the Malfoy boy. Potter and Malfoy have exchanged little love notes in my class since their third year.”
Harry almost laughed. It was kind of true, but there had been nothing loving about those notes.
“I’d assumed their little fight on the Quidditch pitch was a lover’s quarrel, but maybe they were fighting over Hermione,” Vector said. “I’m glad they worked it out amongst themselves. It’s an honor for Britain to have an immaculate Trinity—a very respectable bond and in a time when most can’t even be bothered to not lose their virginity in a broom closet.” She huffed. “Minerva, that reminds me. I heard the most horrendous rumor about Miss Weasley just as I was coming to the meeting.”
“What rumor is this?” Dumbledore questioned.
“Well, apparently she’s shagging her own brother,” Pomfrey blurted out and blushed. “Daphne Greengrass burst into the infirmary to tell Pansy, and I overheard.”
“Which brother?” Flitwick asked.
“Ronald, the one at school here. We can’t allow that sort of thing to go on, Albus,” Pomfrey said. “It’s just unseemly.”
Harry almost swallowed his tongue to keep from bursting out laughing.
“Now, see I heard she was letting Seamus Finnegan bugger her,” Vector interjected. “While she sucks her brother’s…” She trailed off at the looks of horror she earned. “I’m just repeating what I heard!”
Dumbledore rubbed his face with one hand. “Minerva, if you would…please contact Molly and Arthur so we may get to the bottom of this?”
Minerva burst out laughing which set Flitwick off. Harry considered stunning himself and resolved to put a silencing charm on himself next time he got the bright idea to spy on a staff meeting. After a few minutes, they got ahold of themselves though Snape snorted a few time as he got himself under control.
“I want you to know that I don’t believe the Potter marriage is sound and I’m investigating the matter with the ICW. I believe we’ll find in due course that the healer who certified their bond was bribed or cursed to do so.”
Deadmarsh cleared his throat. “Headmaster, that is extremely unlikely. The ICW’s security would’ve reported an employee being cursed, and I happen to know Director Arnou personally. He is an honorable and honest man—he certified an immaculate Trinity bond and not a single person who knows the man will doubt him. He’s an accomplished healer and has worked for the ICW for over five hundred years. I don’t believe for a moment he would destroy his life’s work to lie about such a thing. Certifying a bond does precisely nothing for his career or his own station in life. The spell to verify the bond is very easy to accomplish so lying about it would be the height of foolishness.
“I’ve had the Potters in class, and they are obviously very enamored with one another. The two young men are intensely focused on the Countess, but that is to be expected—a witch in a triad marriage is highly valuable especially one at breeding age. It’s crass to say, but true.”
Dumbledore scowled briefly but then school his expression. “It’s my duty to Lord Potter to make sure his union is a good one, and he is genuinely willing in it.”
Deadmarsh merely nodded and made several notes on the parchment in front of him. “I’m experiencing no issues with the younger years, but the NEWT courses are a little light on their preparation skills. Not a surprise considering their OWL scores. Consort Potter is the stand-out in sixth year. He brews with a great deal of attention to detail and a passion that borders on art. He also manages to keep Lord Potter on track while exploring ingredient interactions with Lady Potter. I’d be interested to know how they work together in other courses.”
“Lady Potter is the most talented of the three in Charms, and she works well with her husbands in that regard—twice when they’ve been working together, my class has witnessed their bond shining on their skin. It’s quite a lovely sight, and I assume they aren’t far from a true sympathetic magical connection—not uncommon in a triad, of course, but unheard of in one as new as theirs.”
“Potter’s best subject is DADA,” Snape said reluctantly. “He’s very much in command in the subject—something I never saw of him in potions. He casts with the confidence of a wizard twice his age and easily works with both of his spouses and other classmates on their form and technique.”
“I’d say they’re equal in Transfiguration though Lady Potter has obviously spent some time on her own refining her craft as her conjuring is smooth as silk this year. They work well together, of course, conduct themselves properly in class, and often she is placed directly between them in situations where others are casting magic anywhere near them. Mr. Longbottom lost control of his transfiguration yesterday, and Consort Potter put himself bodily between her and rapidly expanding rock while Lord Potter obliterated Mr. Longbottom’s project with a silent reductor curse. Not Mr. Longbottom’s fault—he has a new wand so he’s adjusting to having a wand that suits him for the first time and he has a lot of magic to burn it seems.”
“I noticed that as well,” Flitwick pointed out. “I sent Augusta several letters a year since that boy was sorted telling her he had a bad wand match.”
“I do have a report on Mr. Weasley as well,” Pomfrey said as she shuffled her parchments around. “As most of you know, he reported to me that he’d had a persistent erection. At that point, it had been three days, and he assured me he’d tried everything.” She flushed. “At the time, I had no idea that meant his sister as well. Regardless, after an investigation, I discovered that he had an active pleasure charm on his person. I removed it and gave him a lecture about playing with sex magic. He denied it, of course, which is no wonder if his own sister put it on him. Since he waited seventy-two hours to seek help, he did suffer some muscle damage which I’ve unfortunately corrected with a potion. But there is a side benefit that will be a relief to us all—he’ll be functionally impotent for the next year due to the regeneration potion I gave him.”
“Perhaps by then his interest in his own sister will have petered out,” Dumbledore said then sighed when the entire staff burst out laughing again.
– – – –
Hermione was on the rug by the fire laughing her arse off, the memory still sitting in the pensieve on the floor beside her. Draco was wiping tears from his face and staring at Harry in wonder.
“How did you not laugh yourself sick?”
“I think I strained something,” Harry complained. “They have no right being that funny. Merlin, it was terrible.” He slouched on the sofa and sighed. “I had no idea Ron lasted that long with the tether charm. I’d be impressed if it were anyone else. That had to be agonizing.” He frowned then and focused on his wife. “We don’t have a secure set of stairs here to have a conversation on.”
“Let’s use the rug by the fire,” Draco said. He moved around the pensieve and sat down beside Hermione who sat up with a frown.
Harry joined them and picked up Hermione’s hand as he considered what to say and how to ask the question he’d never asked her in the future. He noticed that Draco took her other hand and pressed a quick kiss to her palm. She relaxed slightly between them, and Harry looked briefly at the fire before focusing on her.
“Are you prepared to tell us about your relationship with Ron Weasley?” Her eyes fluttered shut, and she turned her head from them, but tears spilled down her cheeks regardless. Harry used his free hand to wipe the tears from her cheeks. “Darling, you can say anything to us. You know that.”
“I do,” Hermione agreed. “But I put Ron behind me a long time ago, Harry.”
“And now you’re forced to see him every single day,” Draco said. “So it’s not behind you anymore—he’s in your face for hours at a time, and we’ve noticed that you can barely stand to even look at him. Did he…did he rape you? In the future? Is that why you were so put off sex in the beginning?”
“No,” Hermione whispered. “It wasn’t as bad as that.” She pulled her hands free and hugged her knees to her chest. “He lied to me, betrayed me, fed me obedience potions designed to make me subservient to his mother, and he made me doubt everything I’d ever believed about myself. He made even doubt my own memories of events. It wasn’t until he hit me that night that he ever got violent with me. The sex was terrible, of course, but that was just another part of his poor character. He convinced me that I was frigid and told me often that he only stayed with me out of pity.”
Harry pushed down his own anger. It really had no place in the conversation and wouldn’t do anything to make his wife feel better about the past. “And the night he beat you? What happened?”
“I’d…” Hermione took a deep breath. “I got pregnant, and I took a potion to end the pregnancy. I didn’t know that he replaced my contraceptive potion on purpose to get me pregnant because I’d been dragging my feet about getting married. Well, I was reluctant to marry him because the marriage contract he presented me with gave him absolute control over everything I had, even my inheritance from my great-grandfather. I was perhaps three weeks pregnant when I realized. I went and bought a termination potion immediately as I knew it wouldn’t work past the six-week mark and I’d have to see a healer to end it.
“But he already knew I was pregnant. He must have done a charm to check on the pregnancy while I was asleep. I woke up when he dragged me out of bed. He forced me to confess what I’d done then he hit me. He punched me in the face, in the stomach—shoved me to the floor and was going to kick me but I summoned my wand, and I escaped. I went straight to Harry because I didn’t know or trust anyone else to help me.”
Harry rubbed his hand over his face. “And that’s why you look so relieved when I offered to marry you. You thought I was gay and wouldn’t bother you for sex until it was time for me to have an heir.”
“I even looked up insemination options,” Hermione murmured. “It seemed like the perfect solution. You were both gay in my mind so I wouldn’t be disappointing either one of you with the fact that I was frigid. I could give you children if you desired through insemination. I had freedom, the means to continue my education and the potential for children. I didn’t think I needed anything else.”
Draco sighed. “I never really let myself think about your relationship with him. I’m relieved he wasn’t violent with you sexually because I see that sort of behavior in him and…well.” He glanced toward Harry.
Hermione’s gaze drifted between them. “What?”
“You walked in on me and Draco having what probably looked like really violent sex and you reacted really poorly to it, Mi. Merlin, I actually felt guilty like I had hurt him when I knew I hadn’t because you were so obviously upset. When we found you, you were shaking and could barely speak. You pretended everything was fine, but we both knew it wasn’t.” Harry blew air out between his lips. “So we just…don’t do that anymore because it upset you so.”
“Oh.” She huffed and patted her suddenly bright red cheeks. “I sort of brag internally about how awesome and great our communication has become over the years. I’m really kind of smug about how great our triad works, but this is lurking around in the background. Why didn’t you ask me about it?”
“Personally, I was afraid of the answer,” Harry said roughly. “I didn’t want to know what part of it had upset you and I certainly didn’t want to feel worse than I already did.”
“He didn’t fuck me for weeks,” Draco complained and grinned when Harry laughed reluctantly. He sobered. “I guess I didn’t ask because I was afraid of your answer but probably not for the same reason as Harry. I hoped that if you had been assaulted that you’d be comfortable enough eventually to discuss it with us, but I didn’t want to pressure you.”
“So.” Hermione took a deep breath. “I…I was jealous. Unspeakably, viciously jealous.”
Harry tried to think back to that day—it was during the “taking turns” phase of their relationship. “I don’t quite understand actually. Part of me had wondered if you were horrified by the anal sex itself.”
“Do you remember the first time you told me that you loved me?” Hermione asked.
“I…” He frowned. “Oh.”
“Exactly,” Hermione said and sighed.
“What?” Draco questioned. “You’d known for months by then that he was in love with you.”
“But I hadn’t said it,” Harry admitted. “In fact, Dragon, you said it to her before I did.”
“Wow, you emotionally dysfunctional arsehole,” Draco said with a groan, and Hermione laughed a little. “Seriously?”
“The first time he said he loved me was during the conversation about us becoming a true triad,” Hermione said. “He said—I love you both, and I want you to be happy.”
Harry winced. “So when you walked in on the two of us…”
“You were telling him you loved him,” Hermione said in a small voice. “You were holding nothing back from him, and he had your undivided attention like he was the center of your whole damn world and it hurt because you’d never been that way with me. You treated me like I was made of glass and I appreciated your care, but it was like getting smacked in the face to realize that you were different with Draco.”
He had no idea what to say. Harry ran a hand through his hair and took a deep breath. “Okay.” He didn’t treat them same, even now and it had nothing to do with how he felt about either of them. “You hugged me.”
“You hugged me,” Harry repeated. “You’re the first person I ever remembering hugging me, and I felt safe. I felt safe for the first time ever when you were hugging me that day, and it was silly since I was about to go through that fire and come face to face with Voldemort. Through the years, you never once stopped being there for me. You became a source of safety and comfort for me, and maybe I always had a bit of a crush on you that I tried to ignore because you seemed to want Ron even as far back as third year in the first timeline.”
“I think I had help with that,” Hermione said. “Not a love potion but some kind of charm. I felt a little tug of attraction toward him when we came back in time. It’s why I don’t look at him. I think our marriage bond totally destroyed whatever magic I was laboring under, but it was insidious. I tested myself several times and found nothing. Though at this point, it might have been conditioning.”
Draco nodded. “You had it for so long that even when it wore off your magic was used to finding him attractive, it’s possible. Whoever did it won’t be able to place another—not with our marriage bond in place.”
“Deadmarsh is in our corner publically,” Harry said. “I wonder if that’s a reflection of the bank’s position.”
“Perhaps we should’ve also sought verification from the Horde,” Hermione said. “We could do it during Yule. I don’t like that Dumbledore is gunning for Director Arnou. I’d hate to see his reputation ruined because he agreed to see us personally.”
“Arnou is a uniquely powerful man,” Harry said. “I don’t know that Dumbledore has the power to impact him that way as his power base is largely local whereas Castius Arnou is internationally known for his work as a healer. Any number of very important people will go to the wall and over it for him. It’s not a fight Dumbledore is going to win if he’s stupid enough to try to accuse him of wrongdoing.” He plucked at the rug. “I don’t know why I couldn’t say the words to you at first, Mi. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t love you—you’re really the only woman I ever wanted. There were others before I married Draco, but they were distractions at best.”
“It doesn’t bother me anymore,” Hermione said and nudged him. “It’d be pretty hard for me to doubt how either of you feel for me after what you did to keep me with you.”
“I’d raze this whole country,” Harry admitted. “Which I know isn’t exactly romantic, but it’s how I feel.”
“Well, it’s not a turn-off,” Hermione said and grinned when he glanced her way. “I think you should go have a conversation with Deadmarsh.”
“Agreed,” Draco said. “I’d like to get some kind of answer on his reason for being in the castle. It’s a big ripple in the timeline.”
– – – –
He decided to wear the cloak, more so he could fuck with Dumbledore than any other reason. He knew the man had “renewed” the tracking charm on the cloak when he’d asked to see it. Deadmarsh was in the potion’s classroom, but he wasn’t alone. The door was open, so he quickly slipped into the room. Snape was glaring at the man in his broody dramatic way that looked more comical than scary to Harry as an adult. He remembered being quite intimidated by Snape when he was young.
“I heard you’ve retaught basic prep skills to all the second through seventh years.”
“No, that’s not actually accurate since you never bothered to teach them to begin with. The vast majority of them didn’t even understand why some ingredients had to be chopped while others crushed. It’s no wonder there has been a huge decline in Potions Masters in Britain if this is how you’ve always taught. Only ten of the sixth years passed that portion of their OWL exam with an EE. My contract is only for one year, but I will be filing a report with the ministry and the bank regarding this matter. Did you know that the Unspeakables were considering doing an actual bloody study on the decline of Potions Masters in this country?” Deadmarsh huffed. “This is my classroom, Professor Snape, and you’re not welcome in it.”
Snape glared, swept his cloak around him like a villain and stalked out of the room. The door slammed shut behind him.
Deadmarsh sat down. “You can show yourself, Lord Potter.”
Harry pulled off the cloak and raised an eyebrow. “How did you know I was here?”
“I felt your parselmagic,” Deadmarsh said. “You don’t know how to hide it.” He paused. “I’ve felt it in your spouses as well. I assumed you did a magical gift exchange during your bonding.”
“Yes, but I’d rather that not be known,” Harry admitted as he put the cloak on the desk. “Why are you here, Professor Deadmarsh?”
“Ragnok said you weren’t one to beat around the bush,” Deadmarsh murmured. “The Horde is a writhing mass of fury over Dumbledore’s actions and the longer he survives, the closer they come to a full-blown rebellion. In fact, if Riddle were not a factor in the current situation, they would’ve already gone to war in Britain. One of the goblins that he magically corrupted was Ragnok’s nephew, a favorite nephew as a matter of fact. They’ve never been fond of Dumbledore as they find his politics problematic. He’s never supported creature rights of any kind despite the façade of tolerance he projects. They consider him a dark wizard.”
“Because he cursed their employees?”
“Because he uses magic to control others and that is a grave sin among the Horde. To take someone’s free will from them is the most heinous crime that can be committed in goblin society.” Deadmarsh leaned on his desk. “It was the goblins influence that made the Imperius an Unforgivable. Many wizards at the time didn’t see a problem with the curse.”
Harry grimaced. “Right.” He was suddenly grateful that Griphook had died before anyone realized what he’d done to him in the first timeline. “I won’t ask you what your primary mission is here—it’s none of my business. Do you have time to tutor me?”
“Your potions work hardly needs private tutoring, Lord Potter,” Deadmarsh said.
“In parselmagic,” Harry clarified. “I’m curious about it, and moreover I have a lot of books on the subject which could become a problem if I explore the subject on my own. I tend to absorb and use spells without thinking, and so far I’ve avoided reading about parselmagic spells so as not to inadvertently add to my spell repository with magic I don’t fully understand.”
Deadmarsh stared at him for a long moment then nodded. “I can give you two hours a week and perhaps more over the summer if you prove an interesting student. I’ll give you a list of books I’d like you to read, and I trust that you’ll be passing my lessons on to both of your spouses.”
“Yes, that would be preferred. I get a lot of grief for being a parselmouth. I don’t want to add to their burden in that regard despite the fact they were both utterly on board with receiving the gift.”
“I understand,” Deadmarsh said. “I’ll look at my schedule and make decisions about times before your next class with me.”
“Thank you, Professor, it’s appreciated.” Harry picked up his cloak and threw it around his shoulders but left his head uncovered. “For the record, watching you dismiss Snape was the highlight of my day, so thanks.”
Deadmarsh laughed. “Have a good evening, Lord Potter.”
“Lord Potter, a word?”
Harry looked around the hall and shared a glance with Draco who had drawn his wand. There was a clearing of a throat.
“I’m in the portrait on your right.”
He turned to his right and found Phineas Black. “Ah. Headmaster Black, how can I help you?”
“I heard in Dumbledore’s office that you’re the Earl of Blackmoor now—is that true?”
Harry stepped closer to the portrait and showed his ring. “Yes, I inherited the title from my great-grandfather through magical adoption.”
Phineas stared at him for a long moment. “So you’re my great-great-great grandson.”
Harry nodded. “Yes, sir. Did you need something?”
“I’d like to have a private conversation with you, but that appears to be a difficult situation to arrange. You were only in the manor briefly over the summer—when you punished Kreacher for his betrayal.”
“Yes,” Harry nodded. “I see. Aren’t you bound to the school and in turn the headmaster?”
“Oh, he wishes,” Phineas said. “Familial magic supersedes any other concern in such situations. Though in my current state he could force me to reveal family secrets as my portrait in the manor was never entailed. Sirius told me he would do it once he received the ring, but that never happened thanks to Dumbledore.”
Harry nodded. “All right. Is there an emergency?”
“Yes.” Phineas looked between the two of them. “A grave one. We must talk today, and you must secure me so the headmaster can’t use me against you.”
Harry turned to Draco. “What do we do?”
“We need the portrait from Grimmauld Place,” Draco said.
“I could ask Professor McGonagall to retrieve it,” Harry theorized. “But I’d rather not pit her directly against Dumbledore.”
“Is the secret worded in such a way that it protects the location itself or the use of the building?” Draco questioned.
“Its use,” Harry said then sighed. “Oh, for fuck’s sake.” He rubbed the bridge of his nose. “Dobby.” The house elf appeared immediately. “Go to Number 12 Grimmauld Place, the manor is unplottable, and retrieve the portrait of Phineas Black from the wall. Can you leave a copy in his place, so they won’t know the master portrait has been taken?”
“Yes, Master Harry.” Dobby reached out and touched Harry’s hand. His eyes fluttered shut briefly then he popped away.
“Voldemort should recruit witches and house elves. He’d have Britain by the short hairs inside a week,” Harry said, and Draco laughed.
By the time they returned to the suite, the portrait was propped up in a chair, and Hermione had tossed her school robe over it. She met them both with a frown. “What the hell?”
“My many greats grandfather has an emergency of some sort, and I need to entail the master portrait so Dumbledore can’t force it to discuss family secrets.” Harry shed his robe, and Draco took it before he could throw in the sofa.
“This portrait is an arsehole,” Hermione exclaimed. “He’s almost as bad as Walburga!”
“I resent that very much, Lady Potter,” Phineas snarked from behind her robe. “I was a brilliant academic, and I’m the youngest appointed Headmaster since Lionel Limebert served!”
Hermione jerked the robe off and glared at him. “You called me a mudblood summer before last, you old tosser!”
The portrait coughed. “Yes, well, I can’t help that. Armando Dippet cursed my portrait.”
“Why would he do that?”
“Blood feud—over a woman. Neither one of us won her in the end, and he blamed me. But honestly, he was already over a hundred, and I was much better looking.”
Hermione frowned. “How old were you at the time?”
“Fifty or so,” Phineas waved a hand as he said it. “In the prime of my life is what I was!”
“Sure you were,” Draco said dryly. “Why did he curse you?”
“To damage my legacy,” Phineas claimed and huffed. “The sorry motherfucker.”
“Language,” Hermione chastised.
Harry picked up the portrait and put it on the mantle above the fireplace. “I’ve encountered portraits that can change their appearance. Do you have that ability?”
“Yes, but it will only impact the master portrait. The copies are static so to speak as they don’t have the same magic that the master has.” The paint swirled, and the frame glowed gold for a full minute and when it was done Phineas appeared in his late twenties. “Dumbledore won’t recognize me at this age.”
“Good,” Harry said. He drew his stave from his bracelet and the portrait’s gaze widened briefly. “In rebus magicis!” The spell left the top of the stave and encompassed the entire portrait. The painting froze briefly as the spell worked then Phineas relaxed. “Better?”
“Yes, even the curse has been negated.” The portrait stretched and settled down. “I need to change the background of the portrait, Lord Potter, but I can do that while you’re sleeping this evening. It will take several hours, and I’ll have to travel around to other portraits in the school so I can take elements from several to build a new background. For now, I need you to issue a discretion decree.”
Harry hesitated then turned to Draco for help.
“Command him as the Earl of Blackmoor to work in your best interest and never betray you or any person that you claim is family.”
“Phineas Nigellus Black as the Earl of Blackmoor I order you to always and without stipulation work in the best interest of the House of Potter. You will not lie to, betray in word or deed any member of the House of Potter. So mote it be!”
The portrait rattled against the stone as the order was absorbed. “Merlin, you’re a powerful lad.”
“Now what is your emergency?” Harry questioned.
“Dumbledore called his pet Death Eater into his office and ordered him to brew Witch’s Destruction.”
Draco swore under his breath. “When?”
“Snape started brewing the potion three hours ago, and it’ll be ready by morning.”
“What does Witch’s Destruction do?” Harry questioned.
“It’s an illegal potion designed to destroy a woman’s ability to conceive a child. It corrupts the womb,” Hermione whispered. Her hand dropped to her stomach. “It is challenging to brew but well within Snape’s abilities.”
Draco took a deep breath, and his magic surfaced. “I can’t…” He turned on his heel and stalked from the suite.
“Stay here, please, Mi,” Harry said and followed Draco. He caught up with his Consort at the stairs, snagged his arm and pulled him back into a hallway then a broom closet. “What the fuck, Draco?”
“I can’t let that bastard…” Draco took a deep breath, and his magic shimmered on his skin.
“I agree but, Merlin, you can’t just march through the castle in a temper and murder him,” Harry said as he brought his husband close. “We need to think.”
“I’m too angry to think,” Draco hissed. He trembled against Harry and exhaled sharply. “Fuck.”
“You want to confront him,” Harry murmured. “Tell him how furious you are, then kill him, but we can’t give him an opening because he’s not your average Death Eater.” There was a pop and Winky appeared beside him. “Hey.”
She huffed. “Lady Potter furious with you both!” She popped away then returned with Hermione.
Hermione glared at them. “You don’t even have a plan!” She poked Draco, and he wrapped an arm around her waist and pulled her toward them. “His whole public argument about our bond being unsound is just his way of preparing people for this. Suddenly I’m infertile, and your marriage to Draco won’t be valid if I’m not replaced which will require the destruction of our Trinity. No one would even question it, really. Infertility happens, after all. The potion wouldn’t show up in my hair because it’s localized so there would be no evidence that I was dosed.”
“You’re not calming me down,” Draco whispered against her hair.
“We need to go back to our quarters because the portraits on the hall will report us out of the suite,” Harry said. “Then we’ll disillusion ourselves and go kill Severus Snape.”
“That’s not a plan, either,” Hermione complained. “Winky!” The elf popped into the small space. “Take me back, please.”
They returned to the suite, and Harry wondered if the portraits would report that they’d had some sort of domestic dispute. Dumbledore would probably be thrilled, the arsehole. Winky made them put on the armor she made. Well, she pouted until he and Draco put on the coats and boots which amounted to emotional blackmail which was force in Harry’s book. Winky, who was honestly the more militant of the two elves, stayed with Hermione while Dobby popped Harry and Draco to an isolated alcove not far from Snape’s quarters.
“Make yourself invisible and stay right here,” Harry ordered, and the house elf disappeared with a glimmer of magic. He focused on Draco. “Can you do this?”
“The man was your mentor at one time.”
“Any respect I had for him is long dead, Harry. He’s a vicious monster and our wife is not safe with him alive.”
Harry pressed his mouth gently to Draco’s. “Let’s go ruin Dumbledore’s year.”
Draco cast silencing charms then disillusioned them both. Arrogance, Harry thought, was the downfall of many a wizard. Snape didn’t have his door warded, and Draco used the password he’d been given in the first timeline to get in. The door opened silently, and they slipped in. Harry pulled the door shut, his fingers flexing in the gloves Hermione had forced them to put on. Though he knew for a fact that magicals didn’t have the first clue about fingerprint or even DNA evidence collection. Law enforcement could test a wand for spells used but only the last ten or so but without a wand, there was no magical evidence of a crime to be gathered.
They moved through the small sitting room, past the empty bedroom and stopped in the doorway of Snape’s private potion’s lab. The man was working diligently in front of a shining silver cauldron with a small smile. Harry had never hated Severus Snape more than he did at that moment. The piercing charm from Draco’s stave went straight through Snape and into the castle wall. Snape fell back and slumped with little fanfare. Instant death—far better than the man deserved, but they couldn’t afford a fight with a wizard like Snape head-on.
Harry watched the fire brighten under the cauldron, and it melted after nearly thirty seconds of intense flame, the potion hissed and evaporated. Draco’s hand slipped into his, and they left the way they came. Dobby put his hand on their joined ones the moment they entered the alcove, and they all three popped away. Harry ended his own disillusionment as Dobby released them. Hermione looked up from the book she was reading.
“He was brewing,” Harry said shortly.
“And now he’s dead,” Draco murmured as he ended his own charm. “A quick end—better than a bastard like him deserves. We should go to bed.”
Harry turned to the portrait. “Keep an eye on Dumbledore, I want to know what his reaction to this development is.”
“Of course, Lord Potter.” Phineas disappeared from the frame.
– – – –
They were getting dressed for a new day when Dobby appeared to tell them that the DMLE was in the castle. Harry left the bedroom and wasn’t surprised to find Phineas’ portrait empty. He wondered what was going on Dumbledore’s office and if their admittedly rash actions the night before had stirred up more of a storm on that front than they were prepared to deal with. He tucked in his shirt and fastened his trousers as there was a sharp knock door on the door.
He opened it and cleared his throat. “Good morning, Professor. Is something wrong?”
Minerva nodded. “Yes, Professor Snape was murdered in the night, and I’m doing a head count.”
“I’ll get Hermione and Draco,” Harry said and motioned her inside. He retrieved his spouses easily enough since they’d both been eavesdropping. “Do you know what happened?”
“Just that the Headmaster found the body in Severus’ private potion lab,” Minerva said and took a seat in Harry’s favored chair. “The Minister showed up shortly after Madam Bones, and it’s turning into an absolute mess. Who knew Snape would be a bigger pain in the arse as a corpse?”
Harry exchanged a wide-eyed glance with Hermione, but they all three sat down. “Are you okay, Professor?”
Minerva huffed and waved a hand. Winky appeared with a little table and a tea tray. “Thank you, dear.”
“Winky better host than Dobby,” the house elf declared and popped away.
Minerva fixed herself a cup of tea. “I’m also here to collect you and Consort Potter for questioning. Dumbledore immediately accused one or both of you of being involved but offered the DMLE no motive not that John Dawlish needs a bloody excuse to accuse you of anything, the ridiculous twat.”
Harry turned to Hermione who was staring at McGonagall in horror. “Maybe she needs something stronger than tea.”
“I’d like a whole bottle of Dragonfire bourbon,” Minerva admitted and plucked a biscuit off the tray which she shoved whole into her mouth.
“Professor, can you discuss the specific reason you withdrew from the Order?”
“No,” Minerva admitted and glared at the floor. “I took several unbreakable vows regarding Order business. But remaining a member conflicted with my duty to Harry as a godparent.” She took another biscuit and finished her tea with a sigh. “Let’s go then. I trust, Lord Potter, that you’ll act with all the benefits of your station.”
Harry just smirked. “If it would amuse you.”
– – – –
Dawlish stood the moment they entered the Headmaster’s office. “I’ll take Malfoy’s interview to another location.”
Harry’s gaze narrowed. “No, you won’t, Auror Dawlish and his name is Potter. Consort Potter and I will be questioned together if you must persist with this nonsense.”
“You don’t…” Dawlish trailed off when Bones cleared her throat. “Madam Bones, suspects don’t dictate terms.”
“They aren’t suspects,” Bones said tightly. “And Lord Potter has every single right to attend any interview conducted where his spouses are concerned. If you aren’t familiar enough with the Noble Protocols to conduct this interview, let me know. I’ll bring in Kingsley.”
Dawlish flushed red. “I know the protocols.”
“Then do you assume that the Earl of Blackmoor doesn’t deserve to be treated with all the care and concern required in the Noble Protocols?” Hermione demanded. “What exactly are they being accused of doing and what evidence do you have wrongdoing?”
Bones took a deep breath. “Lady Potter, as you might have already heard—Professor Snape was killed in the night. His quarters were entered easily with the use of a password, and he was killed with a piercing charm. A very powerful piercing charm. Consort Potter was a prefect for Slytherin and had the password. The headmaster reports that the power of the charm itself was outside the abilities of most of the students at Hogwarts, save Lord Potter who has demonstrated that level of power in the past and has had several hostile confrontations with Professor Snape.” She motioned to a grouping of chairs. “Let’s sit, please. I’ll ask the questions.”
“All right,” Harry agreed, and they sat. He unholstered his wand and offered it. “I assume you’ll want to check my wand.”
Draco unholstered his and Hermione did the same. Bones took all three wands and sat them on the table next to her.
“First, Consort Potter were you aware of the password used to enter Professor Snape’s private quarters?”
“Yes, but I’ve known it since my before my first year. My father told me the password and said I should go to Professor Snape if I had any problems. As far as I know, Slytherins First has been Professor’s password for more than a decade—perhaps even as long as he’d worked here as he didn’t have a portrait attached to the door for privacy concerns. He and my father were quite close, they’d been friends since Hogwarts though my father was slightly older than Professor Snape. My father was responsible for recruiting Snape to the Death Eaters. Voldemort was reportedly thrilled to get such a talented potions student in his ranks and even paid for Snape’s mastery testing.”
“I see,” Bones said quietly as she made notes in a small leather notebook. “When is the last time you spoke with Professor Snape privately, Consort Potter?”
“When he requested I meet with him in the DADA classroom. He told me that the headmaster intends to destroy my marriage and that I should be prepared to be accused of corrupting Harry,” Draco said frankly. “He also said that Headmaster Dumbledore appeared to be in the process of bribing or tricking someone at the ICW into proclaiming Director Arnou a fraud so our Trinity bond will be discredited.”
Dawlish made a choked sound and Dumbledore flushed with fury.
“Anything else?” Bones asked.
“Yes, he told me that Voldemort had killed my father for my betrayal and that Bellatrix Lestrange is dead, but I don’t know the circumstances of that situation. I told him that the Dark Lord was aware that he was a spy for the Order of the Phoenix that, in fact, all of the Death Eaters know. He didn’t believe me. But my father told me after fourth year that Snape couldn’t really be trusted to be on anyone’s side but his own.”
“Lord Potter, have you ever been invited into Professor Snape’s quarters?”
“No, I didn’t know the password until Draco said it just now,” Harry said and flicked a piece of lint off his knee. “I did visit his office several times last year for occlumency lessons as he’d volunteered to help me manage the connection Riddle had with me through my curse scar. In fact, I credit those lessons with my eventual success in purging the connection completely this summer. I learned a lot from him though I’ll admit we didn’t have a great personal relationship. He hated my father and was romantically obsessed with my mother. I reminded him of her loss on multiple counts—her marriage to my father and her actual death. I don’t think he ever forgave her for choosing James Potter over him. I look a great deal like James Potter, and Professor Snape was unable to see me as a separate person from him. I learned early on that I’d have to be mature about the situation since Snape was incapable of it.”
“Lady Potter?” Bones turned to her. “Did you have any private interactions with Professor Snape that I need to be aware of.”
Hermione scrunched up her nose in thought. “He didn’t do anything weird or criminal in my company if that is your concern. He was a terrible teacher, of course, but I’ve been assured more than once that isn’t a crime in itself. It certainly should be, and he often failed to follow his own syllabus which I also think is quite ghastly.”
Harry bit down on his bottom lip to keep from laughing.
“He also never washed his hair, not a crime, I suppose but certainly unpleasant. I never understood why Pansy found him attractive.”
“Pardon me?” Bones questioned.
“Well, it’s just a rumor, mind you, but I heard that Pansy Parkinson only passed potions because she did Professor Snape favors. What those favors were…well, I couldn’t say. Though I did hear her say that she thought Professor Snape was sexually attractive, but maybe she likes greasy old men.” Hermione shrugged her shoulders delicately, and Draco coughed into his hand. “I hope she isn’t too upset about his death because Merlin knows how she’s going to pass DADA now. Maybe I should send her some candy in the infirmary. Chocolate always makes me feel better.”
Harry was sure he was going to die from not laughing.
“Where were you at roughly 2:00 AM this morning, Consort Potter?”
“Asleep,” Draco said. “I usually sleep on the left, if that needs to be noted.”
Hermione swung her feet a little because they weren’t touching the floor. “I sleep in the middle.”
Bones offered her a wry grin, and Dawlish huffed like he was outraged. “So all three of you were in bed at that time?”
“Yes,” Harry said. “I was actually reading some correspondence, but Draco and Hermione were asleep. I couldn’t sleep, but I’m often up in the middle of the night lately due to the potions I have to take.”
“What potions?” Bones questioned.
“I grew up in a poor environment, Madam Bones. My Muggle relatives made a habit of underfeeding me. Sometimes I was lucky to get a single meal a day before I started primary school. Fortunately, the school did feed me, so I didn’t outright starve, but I have nutritional issues which resulted in weak bones and organ damage. I’m taking potions to correct that damage.”
“Did Professor Snape brew any of these potions for you?”
“No, I would’ve never trusted him with such a personal issue,” Harry said. “I don’t think I ever considered him a direct threat to me, but there’s really no need to poke a snake.”
“I see,” Bones said. “I’ll test your wands, now, if that’s okay?”
“Yes, of course,” Harry said and relaxed back in his chair. She did his first and the last ten spells he did flowed out of the wand in a stream of runes and numbers.
“Why did you cast a Patronus?” Bones asked.
“I’ve been teaching Draco the charm,” Harry said smoothly. “Hermione can already do it, and I figured since dementors have a crush on me for some reason that it would be in Draco’s best interest if he can cast it as well.”
“So far, I can only cast a mist, but that’s better than where I was last year on the charm,” Draco admitted.
Bones handed Harry’s wand back to him. “Your wand is remarkably clean, Lord Potter. Not even a hint of ill intent in the magic.”
“My godfather said that intent is what makes magic dark or light,” Harry said, and he also figured that Zir was in play yet again. “I tend to agree with him. You have to mean it—good or bad.”
“Yes,” Bones said in agreement. She picked up Draco’s next and performed the spell. She reviewed each spell then stopped and frowned. “You’ve cast a very advanced healer’s scan, Consort Potter.”
“Yes, I’m forwarding the results to Director Arnou. He has a personal interest in Harry’s organ recovery and suggested several potions to help. We agreed it would be silly to ignore such a valuable connection and offer, so he gets weekly reports and has already refined Harry’s potion dosage twice. He’s been accommodating.”
“I’m not familiar with the last charm,” Dawlish interjected and pointed to it in the results, his finger jabbed through one rune.
Bones huffed. “It’s a pleasure enhancement charm, Dawlish. I would think a wizard your age would be familiar with such a thing.” She sent him a dark look when he blushed. “There is nothing untoward about his spells either.” She handed the wand back to Draco. “And Consort Potter’s wand is also remarkably light. It doesn’t appear that he’s ever cast so much as a hex much less a curse with any sort of ill-intent.”
She picked up Hermione’s last and performed the charm. “Hair charms, a few cleaning charms, and a language translation.”
“I live with two wizards who think dust disappears by magic.”
“In our defense, it does,” Draco protested. “Your magic but still.”
Bones laughed. “And the translation?”
“Oh, Chieftain Ragnok sent me a book on transfiguration, but it was written in Italian. I speak several languages fluently but my Italian is a little rusty, so I use the spell to translate for me and also teach me the language at the same time. It’s how I’ve learned French, Latin, and German since entering the magical world. I know most people don’t bother with the teaching element of that spell, but I think that’s a bit lazy.” Hermione took her wand back when Bones offered it.
“Do you often receive presents from the goblin king?” Dawlish questioned in confusion.
“Hmmm, well, not presents but we exchange books regularly. Currently, he has several books from the Black library which I inherited from Sirius Black. I have two from him—one on transfiguration and another on the history of the goblin species. I was curious, and he’s quite the avid reader.”
“So you’re saying that your quill friends with Chieftain Ragnok,” Bones said faintly.
Hermione smiled. “I guess so, yes. We’re going to do a research project next summer. He promised me access to the Library in Alexandria.”
“Fortunately, Chieftain Ragnok has all the wives he’s allowed to have so I’m not worried about his crush on our wife,” Harry said and grinned when Bones laughed. “Is that all? I’d rather not miss breakfast.”
“You don’t seem upset about the death of a professor,” Dawlish interjected.
“I didn’t like him, and I won’t miss him,” Harry said. “And it’s hardly the first time we’ve lost a DADA professor. Two of our previous professors in that class are dead, Lockhart is a mindless idiot in St. Mungo’s and Lupin turned out to be a near-feral werewolf who came close to killing or biting both myself and my wife during our third year. I’d say this death is just another unfortunate event attached to the position. Besides, he was a Death Eater, and I don’t mourn Voldemort’s slaves any more than he does.” He stood and offered Hermione his hand.
“It was nice chatting with you, Madam Bones,” Hermione said earnestly. “I’ll tell Susan that I saw you this morning. Did you want to pass a note to her?”
“Yes, that would be lovely.” Bones pulled a sheet of paper from her little book and jotted down a note which she folded and handed to Hermione. “Thank you, Lady Potter.”
Hermione tucked the note in Draco’s front pocket as her uniform didn’t have pockets. “We have Arithmancy with her this morning, so if we miss at her breakfast, I’ll give it to her then.”
Harry turned to Dumbledore and wasn’t surprised to find the man looking mildly vexed. “Headmaster, are we dismissed?”
“Yes, of course,” Dumbledore said.
Harry nodded and turned to Dawlish. “For the record, Auror Dawlish, you don’t have permission to question anyone associated with my magical house without me. That includes my godparents through magical inheritance, my mother-in-law, my spouses, my house elves, and the entire Tonks family. I will file charges before the Wizengamot if you fail to honor protocol on this matter. Are we clear?”
Dawlish glared, but Bones poked him with her quill. “Clear, Lord Potter.”
“Good.” He stared at the man for a few seconds. “And you owe my godmother an apology for your vicious and unseemly behavior last May. I shouldn’t even have to say this, but it is beyond the pale to curse a witch old enough to be your mother into a wall.”
“What the hell is he talking about, Dawlish?” Bones demanded. “Who is your godmother, Lord Potter?”
“Minerva McGonagall. Dawlish cursed her into the wall during Umbridge’s little reign of terror,” Draco said. “It was a terrible scene, and at her age, she was lucky to survive it. He could’ve easily killed her.”
“I…” Bones stood. “Dawlish.” She pinched the bridge of her nose. “Lord Potter, I will resolve that situation personally.”
“My thanks,” Harry said and offered Dawlish a smirk as the woman turned toward the floo. The older man glared at him but said nothing.
“Lord Potter has two wands,” Dumbledore said suddenly. “At your suggestion, Madam Bones.”
“I don’t actually,” Harry said as he turned to Amelia Bones. “You can check with Ollivander if you’d like. The Headmaster and his little group of vigilantes kidnapped me once over the summer and tried again when I was in Ireland, so I didn’t feel safe going shopping for a second wand. I’d hoped to do it over Yule, but again I’ll probably be subjected to Dumbledore’s inability to mind his own business. In fact, when I escaped the first kidnapping, Mad-Eye Moody hit me with a blasting curse that required that I have the bones in my shoulder vanished and regrown.”
Bones turned on Dumbledore with a glare. “You told me that you hadn’t activated the Order of the Phoenix! Mad-Eye cursed a peer? You kidnapped the Earl of Blackmoor? Do you think you’re above the bloody law, Dumbledore?”
Harry felt like his business was done, so he just shrugged when Dumbledore glared at him.
“You didn’t mention all the cursed letters he sent,” Hermione pointed out. “We probably should’ve saved some of them. He sent several portkeys trying to kidnap one of us and more than one had some weird behavioral compulsion charm on it that I couldn’t quite figure out.”
Bones puffed up like a furious little cat and Harry resolved to never get on her wrong side because her aura spilled out and everyone in the room got a good look at why she was the Director of the DMLE at her age.
“You three can go,” Bones said tightly. “Be careful though, Minister Diggory is wandering about this place being a pain in the arse.”
“Thank you,” Hermione said and tugged them both toward the exit.
They made it all the way to a broom closet where they huddled in it and laughed themselves silly for nearly ten minutes. Dobby ended up bringing them bacon and egg sandwiches to eat in the closet before class.