The aftermath of and explanation for the Breakup
Harry Potter and the Marriage Contracts.
A/N2: Warning. This Chapter is rated M and is rated M for a reason. If that would bother you, give this chapter a pass.
Chapter Eleven – Retribution
December 26, 1997
“I swear to Merlin, Harry you have to be the most clueless individual on the planet.”
Harry looked up from his feeling sorry for himself, somewhat hurt.
“I have to agree with Neville, Harry. When it comes to women at least, you are more clueless than most men.” Hannah nodded from Neville’s side. “Surely you don’t really believe that the note came from Daphne.”
“It is her handwriting.” Harry protested.
“She may have written it, but it wasn’t FROM her you prat.” Hannah said dismissively. “Think about it. If Daphne was going to dump you, she wouldn’t do it by owl post; she’d do it to your face.” Just to watch a little piece of your soul die she added to herself.
“If it’s wasn’t Daphne’s idea, then who could make her do this?”
“I don’t know the man, but according to Gran, Cyrus Greengrass is one of the biggest asses to ever walk the face of the earth Harry.” Neville explained. “Gran says he was furious that you declined his contract, and then had the temerity to date his daughter. Without the contract he doesn’t get his Bride Price, but still has to cough up her dowry.” Neville took on a look of frustration. “This is my fault. I should have explained all the intricacies of family line rules and politics, but honestly Harry, I never thought that you would get so involved so quickly.”
“Quickly? Me?” Despite his pain, Harry found himself laughing. “This from Mr. “Harry, she’s the one” after your second date?”
“Harry!” Neville protested.
“Second date? Really?” Hannah kissed her fiancé lightly. “We’ll talk about how romantic that is later. Explain this family line politics thing.”
Neville blushed. “Cyrus is the Head of the Greengrass family. Under strict interpretation of the rules of the old lines, family members are practically property of their Head of House. Only women have an out to this, and then only when they marry. At a traditional marriage between the Great Houses, for all practical purposes the woman is sold to her husband’s Head of House to become his or her property.”
“But Daphne’s of age!”
“So was Andromeda Black when she wanted to marry Ted Tonks, if you recall. It doesn’t matter.” Neville sighed. “She could be fifty, in the eyes of the old laws; she belongs to her father, who is her Head of House, until she marries. Refusal to cooperate could cause her to be cast out.”
“So it’s a huge deal for some people.” Neville hesitated, trying to think of a way to explain. “Being cast out is thought of by some people as being worse than death. Think about how it affected Andromeda when the Blacks cast her out. You saw how she broke down when you reinstated her to the family, almost thirty years after the fact. Hell, you saw what Cyrus subjected Daphne to when you got her photos and he offered you her body on a trial basis. You must have noticed how vulnerable Daphne is behind her defenses. I intend no offense to Daphne, but Daphne Greengrass isn’t as strong as Andromeda Black was. She will do what her father tells her to do. As far as she is concerned, he owns her body and soul.”
“Daphne is no one’s property” Harry stood suddenly, furious.
“Harry, mate. I agree.” Neville stood as well, putting his hands on his friend’s shoulders. “Say the word and I’ll help you storm the Greengrass castle. We’ll go to gaol, but I’ll be with you all the way.”
“Castle?” Harry asked.
“Actually it’s more of a smallish manor house. The Greengrass family is a relatively new one.”
“But ‘storming’ the manor would be a mistake Harry.” Hannah added.
“You think I should wait until we go back to school?”
“So that you can talk to her before you decide to do something illegal, yes.”
Harry sat back down and sighed. “It was so much easier when all I had to contend with was a homicidal maniac and his minions.”
December 26, 1997
There was a quiet crack in the Granger back garden. Martin Granger looked through the back window to see his daughter and a young man.
“They’re here Eve.” He said to his wife.
Eve glanced out the window. “She’s giving him his last minute pep talk. You be nice Marty. Don’t scare him off with your sense of humor.”
“Eve, this ‘Justin’ was raised in the real world, not like that Weasley boy. He’ll recognize a joke when he hears one.”
“I swear to god Eve, if this one is as condescending as that Weasley boy, I’ll kick him out of here, and FORCE her to date Harry Potter.”
“I like Harry too Marty, but I don’t think Hermione could be forced to do anything.”
“Heh.” The dentist chuckled in agreement. “That’s my girl.”
Standing on the pathway that led from the Granger’s back door to their Garden shed, Hermione looked into Justin’s eyes.
“Are you ready for this?”
“As ready as I’m going to be I suppose. Your dad hates me doesn’t he?”
“He hasn’t met you yet Justin.” She dimpled. “He hated Ron though.”
“You’re not helping.”
“They’re going to love you Justin.” Hermione reached up, pulled his jacket’s zipper down half way, and straightened the knot of his tie. “We’ll get through this, and then do it again tomorrow at your home. You wore my Christmas present.” She rose on her tip toes to lightly kiss him.
“It’s my new favorite jumper. Did you like your present?”
“Oh, yes. I’d never even heard of antique bookmarks, they’re lovely.” She kissed him again. “We’d best get inside. My dad’s been watching since we arrived.”
“Mum, Dad, this is Justin Finch-Fletchly. Justin, my parent’s, Martin and Eve Granger.”
"Welcome to our home Justin." Eve Granger said. "Dinner won't be ready for another thirty minutes, so you have a choice. Would you rather wait for the traditional interrogation by my husband, or get it out of the way before the salad?"
“My father always told me that the only way to go is forward. If you’d like sir, why don’t we get it out of the way?”
“Right this way Justin.” Martin led the young wizard from his kitchen to the sitting room. “Take a seat.” Justin sat on the sofa, as Martin crossed the room to his wet bar. “Drink?” he asked raising a bottle of Johnny Walker Red.
“Water would be nice, thank you.” Justin said.
“Good choice Justin. Ok, you carefully avoided my fiendish trap, tell me about yourself.”
“I’m a seventh year, like Hermione.” The Hufflepuff said accepting the tumbler of ice water and taking a sip. “I’m the first magical in the family and Cricket is my favorite sport, though I’m not much of a player. My family has been in finance for ever, my father runs his own brokerage.”
“I know, I’m one of his clients. ‘Finch-Fletchly’ isn’t the most common name around, but I never made the connection until I saw you in the kitchen. You look just like Miles.” Martin Granger. “Saying that he ‘run his own brokerage’ is a bit of an understatement wouldn’t you say? You make it sound like he works out of a spare bedroom at your home. Odd that Hermione doesn’t seem to know this. She is under the impression that your father is some kind of bank manager.”
Justin paled a bit. “Are you going to tell her?”
“That depends on why you haven’t.”
“Money changes things. Girls hear about the money and they don’t care much about Justin anymore, they’re interested in the Finch-Fletchley heir. What I love most about the Wizarding world is that no one has the faintest clue about who my father is.”
Martin Granger smirked. “That is precisely why Harry Potter likes the mundane world. You’re worrying about nothing you know. Harry is Hermione’s best friend and has, according to her, more money than god, and she doesn’t care about it.”
“She got to know Harry before either of them knew about his family’s money.” Justin pointed out. “I want her to know me before she finds out.”
“From what I understand, your home is a sight to behold. How are you going to explain a bank manager living like that?”
The young man’s mouth opened and closed several times without making a sound. Finally he spoke. “I hadn’t thought of that. I think I’ve got some explaining to do.”
This was harder than Martin expected. Of the three young men his daughter had brought home in her life, he had actually liked two of them. “You know what I do for a living, right?”
That question startled Justin a bit. “Hermione told me you were a dentist.”
“I am. Just remember, I know all about pain.” Martin flashed a small grin. “Feeling sufficiently threatened yet?”
“Relax Justin.” The older man laughed. “I have to threaten you; it’s in the rule book you get when your daughter is born. You should thank my wife; I wanted to put you in my chair to have our little talk. Eve wouldn’t let me. She thinks I scared Ron Weasley off last year.” The Dentist’s manner changed. “Hermione won’t tell us what happened with Ron. I know he hurt her, but she won’t talk about him.”
Justin knew that his best move at this point would be to keep his mouth shut, but he couldn’t. “I’m sorry sir, I only know the rumors that flooded the school the day after, and those rumors are probably wrong. Even if I did know, it isn’t my place to tell you. Let’s just say that as far as I’m concerned, Ron Weasley is an idiot, and I’m glad he is. If he wasn’t such a fool, I would probably never have had a chance to get to know Hermione.”
Justin pushed back his plate.
“That was wonderful Mrs. Granger. Thank you.”
“Thank you Justin. So, are you two men finished bonding? I hope Martin didn’t threaten you too much.”
“Hermione, your father didn’t threaten me at all.” Justin said with a wide smile. “He just showed me some photos.”
Hermione’s eyes went wide, and a blush ran up her cheeks. “What photos?”
“Oh, just some baby pictures… That cute one of you in the bath.”
“Calm down Hermione” Martin said trying not to laugh. “Justin is just having you on. I didn’t show him any photos.”
“Then how does he know about the pictures in the bath?”
“I didn’t until you confirmed them Hermione.” Justin laughed. “Everyone has those pictures. I think all parents take them.”
“I know we did.” Eve said. “Want to see them Justin?”
December 29, 1996
“Good afternoon Harry.”
Harry stopped with his hand on the handle that would open the door to Gringotts.
“Harry, your little rebellion is over. It is time for you to return to the Burrow.”
“I don’t think so Headmaster. There is nothing for me there, other than Ron, not even friendship.” The old man’s eyes widened in surprise. “Haven’t you figured it out yet Headmaster? I’ve got my memories back. All of them. I know what you did to us. I know you allowed my parents murder. I know you allowed Sirius to go to Azkaban knowing he was innocent. I know what you did to Ron, Hermione and me. I know that you expected me to die like a good little soldier taking Voldemort with me.”
“Save your empty lying words old man. The Goblins tell me that I can’t do a thing about the money you stole since you somehow made yourself my guardian. That spigot is now closed. I have managed to become emancipated. It’s amazing what you can get out of the Ministry for just a little gold. If I see any of your Order near me I will have them arrested.”
“Harry you have to understand, it was all for the greater good.”
“And still you tell lies old man. How was filling your pockets with my inheritance for the greater good? All you are to me is the Headmaster of my school. Nothing more. I have the political power of two ancient and noble houses behind me now, that and more money than the Ministry. Annoy me in anyway and I will destroy you.”
“But Harry, Voldemort will…”
“Fuck Voldemort old man. And fuck you too. You two deserve each other. He can have you.”
With that Harry entered Gringotts leaving a confused Albus Dumbledore behind him.
December 27, 1997
Harry stroked Hedwig gently. His pretty girl’s feathers still showed signs of the blood that had come from the wounds she received when attempting to deliver his latest note to Daphne. She had been attacked by something; Harry didn’t know what and had returned with his note still tied to her leg.
He offered Hedwig a few bits of bacon, which she nipped at.
“I’m sorry girl. You rest ok?”
The Snowy owl bobbed her head in an affirmative manner.
Despite his discussion with Neville and Hannah, Harry had attempted to contact Daphne, and Hedwig was injured because of it. It had to be intentional.
The Elf appeared with a pop. “Yes Harry Potter Sir?”
“Dobby, could you take this note to Daphne Greengrass?”
The tiny being’s ears drooped and tears formed in his large eyes. “No, Harry Potter Sir, Dobby cannot do this.”
“Master of Greengrass house tell Greengrass elves to keep all communications away from Harry Potter Sir’s Daphne. Pillet of Greengrass elves tell Dobby to stop Harry Potter from trying. I tells Pillet that Harry Potter Sir is great wizard and will talk to Harry Potter Sir’s Daphne when he chooses. Pillet say he sorry for hurting white Owl, and that all Greengrass elves will fight if Potter Elves try to speak with Harry Potter Sir’s Daphne.”
“I see. Thank you Dobby.”
The elf disappeared with his normal pop. Harry stared into the fire. The Elder Greengrass had certainly gone out of his way to keep him from speaking to Daphne… Maybe Tracey… No, she hated him, she wouldn’t help.
December 29, 1997
“Harry, I don’t know what to say.”
“Just tell me what you think Tonks. Am I doing the right thing?”
“You’re doing the legal thing Harry. Is it the ‘right’ thing? I don’t know, only you can decide that.”
“I thought…” He hesitated. “I thought that we were just having fun. But it’s been nine days since I’ve seen Daphne, and I… I can’t stop missing her. I can’t sleep. I can’t eat. I go over the last time we were together over and over and over looking for anything I might have done to push her away.”
“I know. I’m being an idiot.” Harry ran his hand through his hair. “How did I manage to get this pathetic?”
Tonk’s hair went blood red and she had a huge grin on her face. “It is fairly sad.”
“Thanks.” He grumped.
“Sirius would be calling you a girl.”
“Sirius would be helping me kidnap her.”
“Probably, yeah. While calling you a girl.”
January 5, 1998
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
Harry had not ridden the train back to Hogwarts following the Christmas holidays; rather he had Apparated to Hogsmeade at noon, and was waiting for Daphne.
Neville checked on him in the hall from time to time, but mostly left him alone. The first of the students arrived via floo and apparition to Hogsmeade by four p.m. No Daphne. The minutes crawled by. The Train pulled into Hogsmeade station early at 5:30 pm. The carriages delivered them to the entry hall. No Daphne.
“She isn’t coming Mr. Potter.”
Harry turned to face his Transfiguration Professor. “Not coming? What do you mean Professor?”
“I received notice today that Miss Greengrass was withdrawing from Hogwarts.” The Scot said.
“Mr. Potter… Harry. I know you and Miss Greengrass have gotten close this year…”
“Harry?” Neville had come back to remind Harry about dinner, the presence of their Head of House surprised him.
McGonagall straightened her shoulders. “Mr. Longbottom, Mr. Potter has gotten some bad news, make sure he makes it to your dormitory.”
“What’s going on Harry?” Neville asked after McGonagall was gone.
“Daphne’s withdrawn from school Neville. She’s gone.”
“POTTER!” a woman’s voice rang before Harry could tell Neville that he didn’t know.
Tracey Davis rushed forward with Daphne’s large purple stuffed rabbit under her left arm, a roll of parchment clutched in her left hand. Her wand was drawn and pointed between Harry’s eyes.
“This is your fault Potter. Daphne’s gone because of you, you selfish bastard!”
“I don’t understand, where is she? What did I do?”
“When you turned down her contract, her father found someone else to sell her to. She’s marrying a Romanian Count named Neacsu! Because of you, I’m losing my best friend!”
Neville reached out and pushed Tracey’s wand arm down so that her wand was no longer pointed at Harry’s face.
“When does she get married?” Neville asked.
“The Reading of the Bans before the Wizengamot is tomorrow, the ceremony Wednesday.”
“Married?” Harry said slumping against the wall. “She’s getting married?”
“Yes.” The dam holding back Tracey’s emotions broke; tears began streaming down her cheeks. “Daphne’s father has destroyed every single thing you have given her. She asked me to get her bunny and your contract and hide them until she’s left her family’s home so that she’ll have them to remember…”
“She kept the contract?”
“Yes.” Tracey nodded. “She said that refusing to make your relationship a business proposition was the most romantic thing you could have done. Damn you Potter, why didn’t you just marry her and save her from this?” The girl’s expression changed. “You’re Harry Fucking Potter. You’re the Chosen One. You’re the Man-Who-Won.” Her wand came back up again, not trembling this time. “You fix this. You fix this now. Or I’ll kill you.”
January 6, 1998
Daphne stared at the clock on the wall. She was to be married in twenty eight hours and seventeen minutes. She was to be married to a vile man sixty years her senior. She was to be married to a man with a son older than her father. She shuddered and hugged her legs closer to her body.
She had been informed of her upcoming nuptials the day she returned from Hogwarts for the Christmas Holidays. Daphne’s first reaction was to run. Being offered to Harry had been one thing, to be sold (her father made much of the bride price she was bringing) to this… ancient man she had just been introduced to… it was just too much. Quickly discovering that anti-apparation wards had been erected since her arrival, she almost made it to the front door of her families’ home before she slumped nervelessly to the floor following a stunning spell.
Daphne woke several hours later, her mother fussing over her. Eunice Greengrass nee Moody explained that Daphne would not be returning to Hogwarts, that she would be leaving for her new life in Romania after the first of the year. With empty, haunted eyes Eunice spoke of advantages of linking the Greengrass family to the Romanian Neacsu clan.
Daphne tried to tell her mother that she wanted not thing to do with the old man negotiating Daphne’s future with her father, that she loved someone else. Eunice wouldn’t listen saying that her father had everything arranged. The woman produced a vial and watched as her daughter swallowed the potion it contained. Daphne’s eyes widened when she recognized the slight citrus tang of the contraceptive potion, then her blood chilled when she realized the reason that her mother had given her the potion.
Count Neacsu would be exercising Clause Nine of his betrothal contract that night.
The pattern was set. During the day she would be given language lessons by the Count’s Valet, and then be instructed on what was expected of her in relationship to the Count’s estates by others of Benedikte’s party. Evenings she would be instructed in proper behavior and conduct for the Romanian Magical Court. Any errors in any of these lessons were punished by the activation of a pain cursed bracelet that she could not remove.
Nights however were the worst. Benedikte would come to her every night with his vile breath and horrendous hygiene.
On the third day she tried to run away. She got almost half way to the ward line when the cursed bracelet triggered and she thought she was dying. Her father retrieved her, and returned her to her room, where he had one of the house elves deliver a beating to her, all the while screaming at her about ‘embarrassing the family’.
On Christmas Eve Cyrus Greengrass entered Daphne’s room.
“Daphne, I need you to write a letter to Potter.”
Daphne didn’t even look up. “Why should I write to Harry?”
“He keeps trying to contact you and sending you gifts. You need to break it off with him. Write him a note telling him you don’t want to see him. Tell him to stop trying to contact you.”
Daphne nodded, and sat at her desk. She took a fresh piece of parchment, inked her quill and wrote:
I’ve reconsidered our relationship and have determined that you are not what I am looking for in a life partner. Your repeated attempts to contact me have become tiring; please refrain from continuing in the attempt. We had fun Potter, but we are through.
Cyrus snatched up the note and read it, nodding approvingly. “Thank you Daphne, I’ll get this owled immediately.”
After dinner that day Daphne was allowed to have a visitor.
“Daphne? Morgana! What’s happened to you?”
“Hello Tracey.” Daphne said dully. “It’s nothing. I’ve just been tired.”
“Daphne, talk to me.”
“I’m getting married Tracey, married on the 7th of January. You’ll be back at school then, I’m sorry you’ll miss it. I’ll write as soon as I get to Benedikte’s estate and let you know all about the Wedding.”
“Getting married? You’re getting married?” the strawberry blond asked.
“Yes, my father offered my contract to Benedikte a week ago, and after meeting me on the 20th accepted it.” Daphne said in a lilting voice.
Tracey wasn’t fooled for a moment. “Should I tell Potter?”
“NO!” Daphne bolted upright in her chair, showing her first real emotion since Tracey had arrived. “Leave Harry out of this.”
“Ok Daph, I will.”
“Tracey,” Daphne’s voice dropped to a whisper. “When you go back to Hogwarts would you get the Bunny Harry won for me, and keep it safe until you can send it to me? Oh and underneath my pillow is the Marriage Contract Harry declined. Would you hold that one for me as well?”
“Of course, but why?”
“My father had destroyed everything Harry has given me; he says keeping any of it would be disrespectful to Benedikte. But I want those things to remember Harry by.”
“Alright, that’s no problem Daphne, I can do it. Do you mind my asking, why the contract? I understand the rabbit, but the contract?”
“The contract is a symbol of what might have been Tracey. If Harry had wanted he could have had me, but he didn’t want me like that, so he waited until I gave myself to him. That is possibly the most romantic thing I have ever heard of.” She looked deeply into Tracey’s eyes. “I’m not returning to Hogwarts Tracey… After today, I will probably never see you again. I love you Tracey.” She hesitated, and then continued. “I know you don’t really like Harry, but please if you can, tell him I love him, and that I said goodbye.”
Daphne pulled her eyes away from the clock on the wall to look at the house elf standing at the foot of her bed.
“Tilict is here to help Young Miss be ready for her Reading of the Bans this morning.”
Daphne nodded. Twenty six hours forty one minutes until she got married. She stood from the bed. “Thank you Tilict.”
Daphne sat in the Wizengamot chamber, and waited for the session to begin. Her father and Count Neacsu were off politicking. Tracey stared at the floor at her feet, just wanting it to all be over.
“Good morning Daphne.”
She looked up into the smiling face of Neville Longbottom. “Hello Neville, how are you?”
“Oh, I’m fine Daphne. We missed you at the welcoming feast last night. I understand that you might not be returning to Hogwarts?”
“No, I’m not.” Why was Neville here? “Why are you here Neville? Skiving off school?”
“No Daphne, depending on how a few things work out this morning, I might have some business before the Wizengamot.”
“What the hell do you think you’re doing bothering my daughter Longbottom?”
Neville looked deeply into Cyrus Greengrass’s eyes. His manner changed from smiling geniality to cold distain. “I think perhaps the advancement of the Greengrass Family to the status of Noble House had given you ideas above your station Greengrass.” He said in a voice that dripped ice. “I am Longbottom of Longbottom, who are you to speak to me in such a manner?”
Neville’s voice carried throughout the Wizengamot chambers, the room went deathly quiet.
“My apologies Lord Longbottom, I misspoke.”
“In deed you did sir.” Neville turned his attention back to Daphne his tone softened. “Tracey Davis said that you might not be returning, so, since I was here anyway I thought I’d return the book you loaned me.” Reaching into his robes Neville withdrew a leather bound book, and presented it to Daphne.
“Thank you Lord Longbottom.” Daphne said quietly. Privately she wondered what Neville was up to, he had never borrowed a book from her. She placed the book in her lap.
“No, thank you Miss Greengrass” Neville said, still playing to the crowd. He gave Daphne’s father the slightest of nods as he left. “Greengrass.”
The book in her lap began to lightly vibrate. Daphne looked around, and then sure that no one was paying attention to her opened the book.
Inside the cover was a small self inking pen, the facing page was blank except for a hand written sentence.
Hello Beautiful… Did you miss me?
Daphne realized what the book was. It was one of a pair of charmed journals. They were children’s toys used to allow children to send ‘secret messages’ over short distances, usually less than 30 meters.
She took the quill in hand and wrote Harry?
Aw, you guessed. The words appeared in his sloppy scrawl. So much for finding your secret boyfriend’s name.
Harry, you can’t do this. She wrote
Daphne, seriously now, answer me two questions and I’ll leave you alone.
1. If I can stop this from happening, do you want me to?
Up on the dais Dumbledore gaveled the room into silence.
“Before we begin this morning’s session of the Wizengamot, it is my pleasure to announce that this morning we will be Reading the Bans to announce the impending marriage linking our own Greengrass family to the family of Count Benedikte Stefan Florinel Georghiu Neacsu of Romania.”
Daphne looked down at the book. Harry had added another question mark to his first question.
She wrote: YES YES YES
A/N: Many thanks to unicornzvi for his suggestions on the topic of the powers of a Head of House, taking it from an ill thought out ‘women are property’ concept to one that reflects the barbarism of a system that allows the level of control over junior members of a clan to the point where Marriage Contracts exist at all, and to Canoncansodoff for offering his views on the topic as well. You both made me think about what I was trying to say.
A/N2: The concept of linked diaries is not (of course) mine. I lifted the idea from JBern’s Bungle in the Jungle and Bobmin’s Power of the Press, carefully filed off the serial numbers and put them into this story. While theirs were planet spanning linked journals, I see them as children’s toys not unlike a cheap pair of walkie talkies…