There's another ball with unexpected guests and the rush to the finish starts.
If you recognize something that you feel as yours I hope you treat it like we all hope she treats our writing. “Interesting but that isn’t cannon people,”
One part left after this one starts the downhill rush to the finish.
You’re my WHAT?
Returning for dinner that evening the teens found Sirius waiting for them. “Harry I have some things to talk over with you if your ladies wouldn’t mind being without you for a few minutes,” He said after greeting everyone.
“Oh you can take him until we retire provided you return him safe and ready,” Hermione replied a twinkle in her eyes.
“Ready for what?” Sirius teased back.
Gabrielle looked at Sirius replying, “I don’t think you’re old enough to know that information.” Drawing a laugh from Sirius and a look of consternation from Mrs. Granger who was glad her husband hadn’t returned from their dental practice yet.
Harry lead the way down to the wand shop where Sirius put up a silencing ward before passing Harry three boxes he pulled from an inner robe pocket. “You were able to get it?” Harry asked taking the boxes and opening one. “Bit gaudy isn’t it?” Harry remarked looking at the ornately carved gold ring with an impressive diamond supporting an intricate gold “P” that appeared to have a “G” intertwined with it.
“The old families went in for that sort of thing.” Sirius explained.
Harry looked between the two rings for a moment before remarking, “I wonder how they managed to affix the initials? A diamond is reported to be the hardest thing in the world and unable to be carved.”
“Harry ever heard of a thing called magic?” Sirius asked drawing a look from Harry that promised retribution should he continue that topic.
Sirius let him gaze at the ring for a moment before saying, “That is one impressive ring now put it on and become your head of house.” When Harry did as he was told the ring resized itself to his hand. Seeing Harry glance at the other boxes he said,” One is for Gabrielle and in the big box there’s two rings for Hermione.”
“You were able to have it made then?”
“There was some hesitation at first then negotiations became much easier when the goblins found out who it was for. I’m not sure rather it’s you or your lady but one of you swings some weight with them.”
“Probably Gabrielle, I haven’t done anything special to warrant such consideration from them.” Harry said opening the smaller box before falling silent while gazing at the ring in the box. After a moment he closed it then looked at Sirius as if he’d just heard him speak. “Two?” Harry asked opening the larger box.
“Yes the engagement ring you asked for and the lady of House Potter ring.”
“Right well I promised Margaret this would be short. She said dinner would be ready shortly.” Sirius added taking down the silencing wand only to hear Hermione calling them to dinner.
Herman Granger showed up half way through dinner sitting down and talking with everyone about how their day had gone. Once desert was over and the dishes done everyone gathered in the living room to talk Harry caught the look from Sirius and walking over held out his hand to Hermione pulling her to her feet before dropping to one knee saying, “I know we are already married in the eyes of magic but I have two rings for you to wear. This is the engagement ring you should have worn for months prior to being married.” He said slipping an impressive diamond on to the ring finger of her left hand. Taking the other ring out of the box he looked up taking her right hand slipping an old ornate ring on her ring finger that was a smaller version of the one he wore on his left hand Harry added, “This ring identifies you as Lady Potter. If someone insults you from this point forward they are insulting House Potter. It might not swing the weight in France that it does in England but I have been assured even in France the weight is not insignificant.”
Hermione pulled him to his feet wrapping him in a bone crushing hug. After several moments of kisses and hugs he turned to Gabrielle offering her his hand. Once she was standing he knelt again holding a ring out saying, “Gabrielle the Potter family did not have a suitable ring in their vaults. The goblins just finished crafting this ring for you. It is nearly identical to Hermione’s but wrought by a goblin master smithy in silver. I have their assurance it is suitable for the Head of House Potter’s Veela Companion.”
Tears were streaming down her face as she repeated Hermione’s actions. When he was able Harry turned to the Granger’s saying, “Hermione and I have discussed a muggle wedding once she graduates. That would allow you to have the celebration you and her have looked forward to. At that time I’ll place a wedding ring on her left hand. In the wizarding world the ring on her right hand functions as a wedding ring among other things.”
Margaret Granger looked at her beaming daughter hanging onto the young man’s right arm while the other girl claimed his left. Looking to her husband she could see he wasn’t able to speak so she spoke for the both of them, “Harry We were honored to witness this and grateful you and Hermione have agreed to a wedding in our world. We agree our relatives would better receive it after she graduates. Thank you both.”
Hermione then hugged her mother and father with more tears. While Sirius shook Harry’s hand saying, “Good going Harry you did much better with her parents than James did with your mother’s. When Hermione was finished hugging her parents Sirius pulled her into one taking advantage he whispered, “If you need help keeping our boy on the straight and narrow let me know,” in her ear before releasing her.
After a few more rounds of congratulations Sirius left and everyone settled in for the evening.
The next morning Margaret was up cleaning up from breakfast with Herman who’d just left to open their practice when her daughter and Gabrielle both entered the kitchen walking a bit funny. “Do I want to know just why you two are walking like that?”
“Mother if you don’t know I am not going to tell you.” Hermione countered a gleam in her eyes that her mother had never seen before.
“I take it you both had a fun evening?”
“Oh yes, Harry was quite good at his tasks.” Gabrielle announced grabbing a pastry and bringing a blush to Hermione’s face.
Looking at her daughter closely Margaret asked. “I take it this was your first time?” Hermione really didn’t want to answer that question but her mother read the answer in her body language. “In that case I have a few questions. I know what it means in my world. What does it mean in yours?”
Gabrielle looked at Hermione as the silence stretched before Hermione replied, “At the time, of let’s call it the event, I officially became Mrs. Harry Potter and Gabrielle became Gabrielle Potter. Where before last night we were considered wards of the House of Potter once our relationship with Harry was consummated our status changed in the magical world. From what was said last night Harry still plans on a church wedding for us in the muggle world.”
Margaret fell more than sat in a chair asking, “And children? Did either of you use any protection against that possibility?”
“I did cast the prevention spell.” Hermione said stiffly.
When Margaret’s gaze shifted to Gabrielle she added, “I am a Veela we can control that up to a point.”
Margaret sat for a moment then asked, “To a point?”
Gabrielle looked at Hermione who shrugged then nodded her head towards her mother in a tell her motion, “Veela control and prevention spells work similarly. The problem is if you are having a relationship with a sufficiently powerful wizard and he wishes for you to get pregnant at the right time. You get pregnant.” Gabrielle stated holding her hands out in a classic Gallic what can you do gesture she’d seen several times every day since moving to Agde.
Margaret looked between the girls before asking, “I take it Harry is a sufficiently powerful wizard.” The looks she received answered her question. “Right, I suggest a soak in the hot tub after breakfast while Harry works in the shop. That should allow you to walk normally to the beach. In the mean time I’ll try and figure out a way to inform your father about the latest development without him wanting to kill Harry. Now Apolline should be here in an hour to take the three of you shopping don’t be a burden and remember Hermione we want to pay for your gown.”
“Actually I will be paying for all three of us.” Harry said entering the room.
Margaret looked over at him saying, “There’s no need for that we are quite capable of buying our daughter’s outfits.”
A smile grew on Harry’s face as he replied, “I rather enjoy the idea of buying my wife’s clothes.”
‘Darn he looks so….’ Hermione thought watching the discussion between her mother and husband.
Harry and Margaret exchanged looks for a moment before she conceded saying, “All right Harry you’ve got us there. Hermione don’t bankrupt your husband before he’s out of school.”
Entering her fourth fashion house of the day Hermione decided clothes shopping in France was very different from clothes shopping in England. Admittedly she wasn’t shopping for dress robes to wear in a Scottish castle in the middle of the winter with her mother by her side knowing whatever they selected still had to be shown to a man who wasn’t fully on board with his daughter growing up. She was shopping for clothes to wear in Paris in the middle of the summer with a Veela in place of her mother and a husband, Merlin she loved the thought of that, to entice. ‘Still warming charms being what they were you would have thought the offerings would have been closer in style.’ Hermione thought before remembering her mother’s words during a summer shopping spree before the wizarding world entered her life. ‘British fashion is to keep you warm and dry. French fashion is to remind everyone what it means to be female,’ and this outfit would insure everyone knew she was female. Now all she needed was the courage to wear it.
Joseph Delacour had taken Harry to his tailor. Suits for men were not too different in Paris. While English tailors dressed bankers other stuffed shirts the French tailors dressed the flashier sport and music figures. Joseph’s tailor took to dressing the boy-who-lived with a vengeance. He knew pictures of this young man in the suit he was crafting would appear on the front page of most papers and he would not have anyone speaking ill of his fashion sense nor his quality.
Throughout wizarding Europe plans were being finalized to attend the various Summer Solstice balls. A few were planning on attending the French ministry’s ball in the hopes of seeing Harry Potter including two very different groups from England.
Margaret looked up as the teens returned asking, “How did your shopping trip go?”
“Shopping with Apolline was amazing. Remember how we had to wait in line at Madam Malkin's just to be waited on? Evidently in Paris things are done differently. She entered one shop looked around and had us out the door before anyone realized we were there. Then another shop one of the sales associates got a bit snooty, Mum I think you and Apolline could hold a contest on intimidating sales associates when she was done the girl was reduced to tears.”
“I take it you found something to wear?”
“It’s beautiful. We have to go back for our final fittings on the 19th, Apolline has the bags with our shoes and other items to go with them.”
“How about you Harry?”
Harry shrugged his shoulders replying, “I got a new suit, have to pick it up on the 19th also.” Seeing Margaret’s eyes were still on him he added, “It’s a dark suit and I picked up some black boots to go with the suit and Joseph said he’d pick up some underwear and socks. Hopefully I can wear the shoes at school.”
“Men you can try and dress them up but you have to watch them to make sure they don’t put on something old.” Margaret said taking the girls to the kitchen for more fashion discussion while Harry ducked down to the wand shop. He’d been working on a special wand for Hermione. With a little extra work it should be ready before the ball. Harry had devoured the books Claude Laperriere had left since their discovery and after hours of practice on various bits of wood was ready to select a wand blank to craft for Hermione. Roaming the racks of wood with her firmly fixed in his mind he was slightly surprised to find himself picking up a 30 cm Cherry wand blank. Walking over he placed it on the work bench before arraigning his wand and other supplies. He knew the next part was critical and decided to wait until the following morning when he was fresh to do the actual crafting.
Up in the kitchen Margaret was looking at the two young women saying, “I hope your keeping up your protections.”
“Oh we are. In fact Hermione talked Harry into giving us a magical promise that he would not consciously try to impregnate us without our approval until Voldemort was defeated.”
“Hermione?” Margaret asked looking at her daughter in shock.
“Once I figured out he could put us in the pudding club anytime he wanted I knew it was time to come up with something to protect us. A magical promise while not as secure as an unbreakable vow is a lot safer for the three of us. If he’d violated an unbreakable vow magic would have killed him. Now it will just punish him a little. And yes I made sure even if he does break it he can father more children. Honestly mother I fully intend to drown you in grandbabies with Gabrielle help and Harry’s of course.”
Several hours later Harry wasn’t sure of how fresh he’d be come morning. It seemed both Gabrielle and Hermione had enjoyed their day shopping and were too keyed up to sleep. As husband and companion Harry had the onerous task of “relaxing them”, a task that took two tries with each of his lovely companions.
It was closer to noon than sunrise before the three teens made their way to the kitchen where they found a note and breakfast waiting in the refrigerator to be warmed up. Harry was thankful the day was overcast allowing him to spend time downstairs rather than at the beach. While the girls did their thing Harry retreated to the shop and the cherry wood blank awaiting him. After using a small wood lathe that was to his right shaping the blank in to a rough wand form he placed it back on the table, Half an hour later after a lot of careful casting Harry was facing the wand blank and a tapered cylinder of cherry wood that he’d magically extracted from the center of that blank. Then he trimmed a small amount from the tapered cylinder using the lathe before drill a hole dead center on the small end with a tapered hole meeting the base of it from the side of the shaft. Taking two unicorn tail hairs, two strands of hair Gabrielle had donated, along with two of his own long hair strands, he positioned them so they laid root ends together. He tied the other ends together using a long hair from Hermione. This end fit through the little hole he’d drilled. Before winding the hair onto the tapered cylinder tying the root ends to it with more of Hermione’s own hair. He then inscribed a series of Runes on the cylinder.
Harry took a moment to admire his work this was his unique variation on wand construction rather than a hollow core the magical portion was wound around a solid center. Harry was hoping the magic flowing down a persons arm would react to the core material being wound like electricity. A quick painting of the runes with his own blood and short spell later the tapered cylinder was again within the wand. All that was left was any decorative carving and the polishing. Deciding now was a good time to test the wand He ran upstairs to get Hermione. This was her wand and while it might respond to him he had a hunch that it would bond with her better if she were the first magic user to pick up the completed wand.
Ten minutes later Hermione slowly and carefully grabbed the wand on Harry’s bench her eyes betraying the excitement she felt. This was a wand Harry had crafted just for her. Her biggest fear was it would be a failure. How many first time wand makers could surpass a master crafter like Ollivander? Closing her fingers fully around it she realized there was at least one. This wand practically begged her to be used. Not seeing anything around to levitate she cast “Lumos” and was shocked as the room was bathed in a brilliant white light. It took her a moment to utter “Nox”.
A beaming Harry said, “I believe that was a success.”
“Oh Merlin was that a success. Why don’t you to go in the office for a few minutes and let me see if I can control this better.” Seeing Harry’s concerned look she added, “I’ll only cast Lumos and Nox nothing else. I really need to get the light down to a normal level.”
Knowing she was right Harry ushered Gabrielle into the office where Gabrielle distracted Harry for the few minutes it took Hermione to gain control. When she had it she burst into the office saying, “Harry you won’t believe it I have to think about throttling my magic to get a normal light. This wand is fantastic.”
Noticing the look Gabrielle was giving him Harry held up his hands in mock defense saying, “Your wand will be next Gabrielle I promise. I just need to figure out what to use for a core. Hermione’s was simple to figure out I didn’t have any dragon heart string like her other wand but she would occasionally play with Ron’s and it worked well for her. So that’s where the idea to use Unicorn hair came from. Because I wanted her to have a multi-core wand I tried to think of any other magical beings that she loved with long hair. After a day it came to me. You and I are magical, love Hermione, and have long hair. I thought it was worth a try and I’m glad to see it worked.”
Gabrielle thought for a moment before saying, “I will ask Mum for some hair for my wand after the ball. How much do you need?”
“Four strands or so should do it. I only used two from you and two from me to make Hermione’s. Four should give me enough to make a mistake or two and still have enough.”
Gabrielle actually asked her mother on the 19th when everyone went for their final fitting. But before Harry could craft another wand it was the morning of the 21st and everyone port keyed to the Delacour’s. Hermione’s parents weren’t attending but they wanted to see everyone all dressed up for the ball. Harry, Joseph, and Herman disappeared into Joseph’s study where they relaxed and ate lunch that Dobby had brought into them. The Delacour house elves were busy catering to the five women, four of whom were attending the ball tonight. Their lunch was eaten in the Senior Delacour’s private lounge off their bedroom where a small buffet was set up so the ladies could snack in between having their hair, nails, and other items cleaned, arranged, or otherwise spruced up for the ball. “I would have thought you would have had an easier preparation given you can use magic but this feels like my sorority house getting ready for the big coming out ball.” Margaret Granger said looking at the commotion going on around her.
It was Apolline who answered her, “I suspect our total time spent getting ready would be about the same. Whether we use magic or not we are still female and want to look our best. Besides a little pampering is always a good idea It will put us in a much better mood before we have to deal with uncivilized men we will meet tonight.”
Margaret was about to make a comment before she remembered the occasional idiot who used to come around at the dental conferences before word got around that her husband was not someone you wanted to annoy. “Apolline just how big a deal is tonight? I know everyone needed new gowns but just how does this rank?” Margaret asked wondering if her daughter had told her the truth.
“It is the social highlight of the summer. There are only two balls the French ministry gives, the winter and summer solstice balls. This one is the biggest one in all of Europe this year. There are high level individuals coming from all of the wizarding governments.”
“Oh my I hope the three of them are not shoved to the side and ignored.”
That brought a smile to Apolline’s face that threatened to break in to outright laughter causing a frown to appear on Margaret’s face as she asked, “What did I say that was so funny?”
“Forgive me but you obviously missed something about your son-in-law. The reason this is the biggest one in Europe is everyone knows Lord Harry Potter is attending. A number of young ladies will be attending in the hope of snaring him as a husband. I can not wait to see him appear at the top of the staircase with our daughters on his arms and the major domo call out, “Lord and Lady Harry Potter and their Companion Gabrielle Potter,”” Apolline said the last in a very officious tone.
“I take it there will be a lot of disappointed young women.”
“Actually Joseph and I have a bet as to how many of the women faint at the news. If five or less faint he wins I win if it’s anything above five.”
“And you’re confident you will win,” Margaret said.
A smile broke out on Apolline’s face as she replied, “I know who will be there better than he does. I would have taken the over even if it had been ten.”
“So my son-in-law is the big draw?” Margaret asked appearing puzzled.
Apolline’s face became serious as she replied, “My dear Harry Potter is the biggest name in the wizarding world. Once it gets out that he is married to your daughter you will see the wizarding world react in surprising ways. Some will hate her and you by extension for taking him away from them. Others will see your home as a place to make a pilgrimage to in the hopes of seeing him. It will not be unusual for you to be walking down the street with him and have people you don’t know stop and bow to him. I know the French ministry has put up wards around your house and business but if he keeps on the same path to the beach each day like he has been it will leak out that if you are around such and such a corner there is a good change that Harry will walk by between one and one thirty on a sunny afternoon.”
“How long will this go on?”
“Who can tell my guess is should he defeat Voldemort it will never stop. And will increase to the point of forcing him and your entire family into seclusion.” Apolline said before getting up and taking her leave to continue her preparations for the ball.
As the trio was introduced that night Apolline, Joseph and Fleur scanned the hall each making a quick count. “Twelve,” Fleur announced.
“I agree,” Apolline stated,
“I also oh wait there’s one more that make thirteen. You win Apolline I never understand why I bet against you on these things,” Joseph said sounding slightly disappointed that he’d lost yet again.
Apolline smiled and kissed her husband before whispering in his ear, “Perhaps because the wagers are so interesting? I do hope you can still fit into that uniform.”
Her father’s blushing face told Gabrielle that her mother had yet again managed to tease her father in public. Harry unaware of family history inquired, “Joseph I hope you are feeling well?”
Sending a look towards his wife Joseph cryptically replied, “Yes it was just a reminder from my wife about an old flame.”
“Harry my boy,” one of the more unwelcome voices Harry had not wanted nor expected to hear called out as the individual approached the gathering.
Harry turned without bothering to place a smile on his face said, “Headmaster Dumbledore what a surprise to see you out of England.” Adding, “Mr. Weasley, Miss Weasley, and Miss Tonks how unexpected to see you here.”
Ginny stopped at Harry’s comment. She’d expected him to greet her with at least a hug but his cool greeting caused her to examine the situation in front of her more closely. A far more mature and well built Harry stood with Hermione on his right and a young woman on his left. The couple the threesome had been talking to might have been the girl on Harry’s left parents but she wasn’t sure. She’d quickly cataloged their, well was it fair to even call what the two women were wearing robes? Ginny wasn’t sure but she was sure that compared to them her neck to ankle robes covered far too much. Feeling quite like a farm girl in the big city she spared a moment to glance at her brother to see him standing gob smacked with his mouth open but no sound coming out.
“I’ve been trying to see you since school started but your guardian always prevented any contact. I thought it best to take this opportunity to talk directly with you about returning to Hogwarts for your sixth year,” Dumbledore stated.
“I’m afraid that is impossible I’ve renounced my British citizenship and taken French citizenship,” Harry said flatly.
Ron being the uncultured individual he is took the slight break in conversation that Harry’s comment caused to announce, “Hermione put some clothes on you look like a tart.”
Whatever Dumbledore was going to say never left his mouth as Harry turned to Ron asking, “Did you just call Lady Potter a tart?” in a voice that had the sane individuals in hearing range backing away insuring they were not behind Ron. Nymphadora Tonks also understood the inflection in Harry’s voice and started to position herself to protect the two teens as she’d promised Molly before she’d allowed them to join Dumbledore on this trip.
“What do you mean Lady Potter?” I’m talking to Hermione, my bookworm girlfriend.” Ron replied digging his hole deeper. While Dumbledore stood off to the side knowing that if Harry attacked Ron it would drive a wedge between him and Hermione causing one of them to return to England.
“Mr. Weasley you are addressing my wife, the Lady Potter, please understand that a lot has occurred since you last saw either of us,” Harry said still in the same cold voice he’d initially used to address Ron.
Ron finally caught the cold tone Harry was using and he was upset. Totally forgetting just who Harry was Ron’s only thought was this half-blood who he used to tower over was telling him he’d married his girlfriend. Half-bloods who do that to purebloods like himself deserve what they get and Ron had been getting trained by Aurors. This half-blood was going down hard! Ron began to pull his wand only to be hit immediately by ten stunners before he’d brought it to bear on Harry, none of the stunners came from anyone named Delacour or Potter. There were a number of on duty French Aurors on duty to deal with any problems and deal with this one they did. Unfortunately for Tonks she’d also drawn her wand intending to stun Ron. The French Aurors took the fact she had her wand out as a hostile act and hit her with a bracket of stunners causing her to fall forward on her wand breaking it.
Once everything was calm Dumbledore attempted to speak to Harry only to be stopped by a phalanx of Aurors moving quickly between him and the Delacour/Potter grouping. A voice from his side caused Dumbledore to look over into the eyes of the French Minister of Magic as he said, “Professor Dumbledore I believe you have worn out your welcome. Perhaps it might be best for you to gather your companions and return to your hotel or England depending on your plans. If I were you I would take it as a given that tomorrow I should either be in England or on my way there.”
When Dumbledore opened his mouth to speak the Minister said, “I will of course bid everyone good bye in your name.” Seeing he was left with either making a scene or leaving Dumbledore took the higher of the two roads and left calling out, “Nymphadora?” when he noticed she wasn’t joining him.
It was Joseph Delacour who spoke up saying, “I’m sorry she will be staying with us a bit longer. You may take the boy with you as he is obviously underage. This young lady however is of age and does need to answer a few questions tomorrow.”
Dumbledore only nodded his understanding and putting a hand in Ron Weasley’s back escorted him out of the hall and back to England while Ginny walked at his side wondering just where her fantasy trip to the French Ministry’s Summer Solstice Ball had started to go wrong. She suspected it was when her brother had joined her and for that he would pay. Oh, would he pay.
Dumbledore escorted the two teens back to the apparition point where his return port key awaited them he was quietly assessing where his plans for this evening had gone wrong. The most obvious was bringing the Weasley boy along. He had intended it to be just him and the girl but Mrs. Weasley had insisted that her youngest boy deserved a chance to get back with the Granger girl. While he had given in on that point quickly thinking it would allow the girl to have less interference when approaching Harry her additional request that a female auror accompany her daughter to protect her from those French swine. When he’d pointed out he would be going she’d mentioned bathroom visits and that was enough to cause his acquiescence. It seemed he’d also made a tactical error in having Mrs. Weasley and Mrs. Vance supervise Miss Weasley’s gown shopping trip. While he’d thought the gown they’d selected was the height of female fashion he was obviously wrong based on what the other young ladies had been wearing. Now the Auror was in French custody and the youngest Weasley boy had gotten them kicked out of France. All was not lost however he’d only found and destroyed three of Voldemort’s Horcruxes; the diary, Slytherin’s ring, and Rowena Ravenclaw’s diadem. Not counting the one in young Harry there were still at least two more so he still didn’t need Harry to finish off Voldemort just yet. He’d been hoping Mundungus Fletcher would have been able to find one or two of the remaining horcruxes but he’d been killed along with the Black family’s house elf one night when it was just the two of them in Black Manor. They’d obviously been fighting over some item of value. Well no matter. It was all a bit too confusing. He needed to get back to his office and review the evening’s events in his pensive. Perhaps he’d have a few lemon drops while doing so. Snivellus did make an excellent lemon drop the man should branch out into brewing sweets in addition to his potions.
Returning to the Delacour mansion very early the next morning a very tired group of partiers were surprised to see a note from Sirius Black requesting the call him upon arrival. Joseph was the one who made the Floo call to Harry’s godfather. When Sirius answered Joseph asked, “What’s so important?”
“I received an urgent request to contact the French ministry concerning Nymphadora Tonks. I was hoping you could shed some light on the situation I’m about to end up in the middle of.”
“I believe we can would you like to come through? We can talk for a few minutes before heading to bed.” Joseph replied insuring Sirius understood everyone was tired.
A moment later Sirius stood in the Delacour fireplace looking at the assembled group. The women were still in their dress robes shoeless of course but still looking stunning despite obvious signs of being tired. Focusing on the reason he’d come over Sirius asked, “I have been requested to look after my cousins daughter who is being held by the French ministry.”
“I take it your cousin called after the headmaster called her.” Joseph said looking at Sirius not sure which way he wanted to deal with this.
“Actually no, I was contacted by a school friend who was concerned. It seems his friend had not returned when expected and when he asked was told by Dumbledore “the Bloody French have her.” naturally he called me hoping I could help.”
It was Harry who put two and two together asking, “Remus?”
Sirius nodded adding, “It seems that they have, what is the current phrase, hooked up.”
“Good he needs someone like her,” Hermione added from her seat in Harry’s lap.
“So how much trouble is she in?”
Joseph took the lead retelling the events of the evening before promising to look in on her tomorrow and let Sirius know. Sirius nodded before saying good night to everyone.
Nymphadora Tonks was sitting in the French ministry cell praying that someone would come to her defense She’d tried to explain everything but the Aurors had obeyed the command of “Throw her into a cell and we’ll sort it all out tomorrow.” Well it was tomorrow and she needed a plan to get her out of this pickle.
“Miss Tonks are you well?” a man she felt she should know asked her then suddenly it came to her Joseph Delacour, the father of Harry’s Veela companion and a powerful ministry official.
“I’m fine Mr. Delacour may I ask what your plans for me are?”
Joseph gazed at her for a long moment before saying, “I have no plans but our minister has several. I believe which one will come in to play depends on the extent of your cooperation with the investigation into last night’s events. He feels it was an attempt by the British ministry to embarrass him. Should this prove to be the case he will use you to turn the ill feelings on to the British ministry. On the other hand if it is as I believe, yet another attempt by the head of your legislative body to force the return of Harry Potter to England I’m not sure quite how that will play out. Either way I would suggest you plan on spending at least a few weeks in France.”
“I hope you don’t mind my saying your accommodations leave something to be desired.”
, “I had been given to understand recently you spent several sessions with a specialized healer. Given what I know of the reasons I wonder why you were in the company of the esteemed headmaster?”
“I’ve had his implanted suggestions removed and strengthened my mental shields. If I’d avoided him he would have reason to suspect his suggestions have been tampered with. There are others that need to be dealt with first then the ministry will deal with him. I was instructed to play along. My being at the ball was at the request Molly Weasley. I was to be Ginny Weasley’s body guard when she was out of the headmaster’s sight.”
Joseph smiled causing Tonks to suddenly wonder what was up, “Now that I understand your reason for being at the ball I actually have a solution to your accommodation problem. It would require a witches vow that you agree not to leave France without my express approval.”
“Lot of good that will do me. I haven’t a wand nor any money.”
“Then you are in luck. Your mother’s cousin, Sirius Black has agreed to provide the necessary housing and anything else you may need while you are in France. In fact I believe an old school chum of his is due in on the train today.”
A whispered “Remus?” escaped Nymphadora’s lips and her eyes brightened at the thought of the two of them in France. Thinking quickly she thought through her options then asked, “Do I have your word that once the investigation is complete I may return to England. While I don’t mind visiting I would not want to be stuck here forever.”
Joseph replied, “Let me check with the powers that be. I will return with an offer for you that might be acceptable. In the mean time why don’t you have a discussion with these two gentlemen? They have the unhappy task of trying to determine what happened last night and more importantly why.”
After an hour of answering every question asked that did not impinge on British Auror tactics or protocol the two individuals thanked her and left. Shortly there after Joseph returned and made a wizards pledge that he would release her from her vow in six weeks. In return Tonks promised not to try and leave France without his approval for six weeks. With both vows given she was escorted to a room where Sirius was waiting. “Good timing we can just make the train from England,” he said grabbing her hand and heading out the door. Sirius was regretting the rush moments after watching his old friend get off the train. He wasn’t sure what he had been expecting but to see Nymphadora take off at a dead run towards Remus then launch herself into the air wrapping her arms around his neck and legs around his hips as she attempted to perform life saving mouth to mouth resuscitation on an already breathing individual definitely wasn’t it.
By the time he’d made his way to Remus Tonks had let up for a moment. Quirking an eyebrow he asked, “Is there anything new in your life Moony?”
With one hand around Nymphadora Remus replied, “Nah just asked this Auror here to marry me before she ran off and got herself in trouble with the French ministry.”
“Really?” Sirius asked in spite of a promise he’d made to himself years ago to avoid such comments.
“Really and I said yes. Now leave us alone I haven’t finished saying hi yet.”
“Nymphy you say hi much longer we’re going to be arrested,” Sirius said motioning down the platform where two individuals in uniform were making their way towards them.
She unwrapped herself from around Remus taking his hand turning to Sirius she said, “When we get to your place why don’t you take a walk for a hour or so.”
Sirius took the hint and disappeared until it was time to take everyone out for dinner. With the three of them situated at one of Sirius’s favorite restaurants Sirius asked, “Remus when’s the big day? I can’t come back to England but I can make sure there’s a wedding present there from Harry and me.” He almost kicked himself when he noticed the depressed look cross his friends face and his cousin’s daughter start to fight back tears.
“We can’t get married. The ministry passed a law prohibiting Werewolves from marrying, even if it’s to another werewolf. So we’ve decided to live together.”
“And I can’t have a baby. A man in the creatures office hinted I’d be sterilized if I ended up pregnant. It isn’t fair, Remus is a decent person. Heck I’m harder to get along with over a month’s time than he is. Besides his lycanthrope is blood borne not genetic he can’t pass it on to any children we would have.” Nymphadora sputtered out the pain in her voice tearing at Sirius.
“Hey, I know all about Remus’s furry little problem. What you don’t realize is you are not in England anymore. Let me talk to a few people about this. Now are there any other problems?”
“I need a wand. With me being a Metamorphmagus and all Ollivander took forever to find one I could use. The wand that broke wasn’t a great fit let alone a perfect one but it was a wand I could use. Now I don’t know what I’ll do. Hope he has another one in stock I guess.” Tonks said doing her best not to appear too hopeful at Sirius’ words.
“I’ll look into that also,” Sirius said going silent as the waiter appeared with their dinner.
It was as they were leaving the restaurant Sirius said, “Why don’t the two of you take over my place for the time you’re here.”
“What about you? Where are you going to stay? We don’t want to kick you out of your own place.” Remus said holding his intended close.
“Don’t worry about me. I’ve got an open invitation to crash at several different places. These actually come with house elves to pick up after me.” Sirius replied with a grin tossing his spare apartment key to Nymphadora.
After biding they a good night Sirius floo’d over to the Delacour’s were the room he’d stayed in while waiting for Harry to come out of the Veela maturation was kept for his use. Morning brought a discussion at the breakfast table about his guests and their problems. “Actually I might be able to solve the marriage issue. I don’t recall any restrictive laws like that on our books. Let me do some checking at the ministry and I’ll let you know. As for a replacement wand, why don’t you talk to your godson.” Joseph said a smirk on his face.
“Harry, what would he know about a replacement wand?”
“According to my youngest he’s made at least one wand and it responds extremely well for it’s owner. He’s in the process of crafting a wand for Gabrielle. If it responds to her as she seems to think it will I can’t wait to see her use it.” Apolline said speaking up.
Muttering to himself Sirius said, “Looks like I’m going to pay the Grangers a visit today.”