Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Harem of honeys

chap 6

by GOLDJMW 9 reviews

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: R - Genres: Drama,Humor,Romance - Characters: Harry,Hermione,Padma - Published: 2013-10-26 - 25966 words

5Exciting
Harry Potter and the Harem of Honeys

Chapter Twenty

Days and nights has thirty-one

Harry didn't have to wait long for his and his inner circle's fertile imaginations to supply a scenario that would turn out to be amazingly close to what would actually happen. Dumbledore would at least be suspended. The only thing that could bring him back would be a worse attack. The idiots in the Ministry would need a scapegoat, so Hagrid would be arrested. Dumbledore would lay out there somewhere, still hooked to the wards and doing who knew what, so he could swoop in and be the hero. Harry sighed in frustration.

The next morning, the ninth of May, saw the Minister of Magic at Hogwarts and the beginning of the scenario they had envisioned. That morning's Daily Prophet ran a whole series of articles outlining both the last time the Chamber had been opened and this time—at least articles that painted the Minister in the best possible light and Dumbledore in the worst.

Hermione had been forced to push Harry into disused classrooms twice to distract him when he saw the Minister in the halls. Harry acquiesced to her distractions, although he was simmering with rage. Hermione, while enjoying it, was worried; Harry really wanted the Minister dead, for some reason he couldn't explain. The wizard just set his teeth on edge.

Over the next week the Coven settled into studying and projects again while Harry was on a hair-trigger. If the wards tickled at all he was right there. It was hugely frustrating that most of the time it was either some pair of lovers out until just before curfew, or the twins. Fred and George agreed to put aside their pranks until after the beast was caught after Harry's hands, glowing green, dragged them out of a secret passage by their ears.

Life at Potter Castle was tense, too. The dueling rooms were receiving a serious workout nearly twenty-four hours a day as Coven members and their families worked off stress. Amelia was deadly quiet—a bad sign, Susan said. Amelia was completely unable to do an end-run around Fudge and get Hagrid out of Azkaban, and it pissed her off no end. Beatrice and the Malfois had gone back to France; the wards installed around their properties were unintentionally massive, vicious and deadly. Beatrice had postponed her campaign to get a Potter/Malfoi heir, but only postponed. It really didn't matter where they lived. Like all the extended Coven, most of their time was spent at Potter Castle.

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On the fifteenth of May Harry flung himself down on a blanket on the grass in the afternoon after checking Tracey and growled. Tracey glided out of the French doors and lay her head on his stomach with a huge smile. Hermione sighed. Tracey was in her element, mentally jousting with Riddle, and she was slowly but surely eking the truth out of the little prat, but Harry was in a straight-ahead kind of mood. Of course, that only pleased Tracey more. She was a straight-sex kind of witch for all those exotic looks she could manage with makeup and school robes and uniform.

Alice Longbottom, now almost completely cured of what may have been stress-induced madness, walked over to Harry and eased down into a conjured rattan chair that appeared beside her. "Harry, why are Neville and Ron still investigating this separately from you all?"

Neville winced. "I'm right here, Mother."

"Yes, but you've apparently lost your mind."

Ginny stuck out her tongue at Neville. "Told you so!"

Harry blinked and then laughed. He laughed for a long time. Neville pouted. Harry finally managed, "You know, Mrs Longbottom, I don't know. To tell you the truth, I never thought about it. Dumbledore said something to him. Do you think it could be some kind of compulsion?"

Alice and Ginny immediately looked concerned as Neville protested, "It's not a compulsion! I know what's going on. You have most of this covered, Harry—well, you and the Coven—but there are some things at the edges that need looking at. I have no intention of going up against a Basilisk. Meanwhile, though, Ron and I might find the Chamber. Then we can come get you, and after that we'll see."

Harry nodded. "I'm coming to get Moody after you get me, just so you know. I have no idea how to kill something you can't look at."

Su frowned. "We hadn't thought of that. We'll need to work on it, Padma."

Hermione nodded along with Padma and Nicholas, whose interest was piqued.

Beatrice took advantage of the apparently happy mood and sashayed over and lay down next to Harry. Tracey snickered as his stomach muscles tightened. "Morgana, Harry, just shag her again already. We know you want to; she obviously wants to, too. Merlin, all this preening and posturing!"

Harry muffled her with a hand and got his palm licked.

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At the staff meeting on the twenty-first Sirius was the soul of professional conduct. Minerva arched a brow at him. "Sirius, please pull a prank. You've got me on pins and needles here."

Sirius smiled. "Oh, no, those days are gone. I find myself very comfortable with you as the head and Filius as the assistant."

Augusta nodded. "I concur."

Minerva rolled her eyes. "Fine. Exams will be held as scheduled. Please remain alert and watch out for Mr Potter. He seems to be everywhere."

Aurora grinned from ear to ear. Harry had burst in on her in the fifth floor Prefects' bath. She just liked that one. She had just disrobed to climb into the bath and he had goggled, stuttered, and disappeared, but not before she saw the hard-on tenting his trousers. That was perhaps the most generous compliment she had ever been paid; let's face it, he didn't lack for women, even full Veela now. His getting wood from looking at her was uplifting, to say the least. Her sources said the Coven teased him hard—hehehe—over it. She would have to repay the compliment somehow.

Remus, of all people, looked over at the smiling full-lipped, dark-haired, green-eyed Aurora. "Something to share, Aurora?"

She shook her head quickly and Minerva sighed. They never really stopped being school children, did they? "Yes, well, if that's all?"

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Neville scratched his head. Ron nearly stamped his foot in frustration. "Outside, Neville, they're going outside. Come on." Ron took off and Neville followed. A pair of eyes watched and a slow smile spread across Draco's face. Now all he had to do was catch the blood traitor whore alone and he could use the curses on her as Dumbledore had suggested. Of course the old man never knew he was telling Draco how to recover the diary; Draco had been very subtle about it all. Yes, these scum would pay for what had happened to him!

Ron and Neville followed the spiders deeper and deeper into the forest and soon enough found themselves at a huge web.

Draco watched the door to that reading room of Potter's and was rewarded soon enough as the whore stepped out, smiling, and headed to her tower.

As Ron, now nearly petrified with fear, and Neville spoke with Aragog, Ginny was hit from behind by some curse.

The Ford Anglia saved the day for Ron and Neville. No one saved Ginny as instructions were whispered in her ear. Draco debated doing something else to her besides the plan, but his semi-public location with the whore pinned up against the wall behind the suit of armor on the second floor landing, and Longbottom and the Weasel bursting into the entry hall panting and shaking, dissuaded him. Too bad, too. There were so many things you could do with a witch and a wand. He might not have his bits any more, but witches could still be made to be fun. He released the whore and stepped back into the shadows. She, of course, ran to Longbottom, who immediately kissed her and led her away.

In the common room Neville cut a hard glare at Ron and flopped into a seat. Harry arched a brow. Neville snorted. "The spider thing nearly got us killed. Did you know there are a million of the dirty great things in that forest and they have a leader, Aragog; size of a house, he is. He can talk. Oh, and being friends of Hagrid only gets you not eaten for a while. If it hadn't been for that mad Anglia, Ron and I would be doing our best mummy right now!"

Harry looked startled. The Coven started asking questions and pried the whole story out of Ron and Neville before lights-out.

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On Saturday the twenty-ninth of May, Hermione watched Ginny. Something was wrong with her. She seemed lost in thought all the time—well, when she wasn't focused on Neville. It was a little difficult as the Harry-Beatrice show was becoming nearly all-consuming. Gods, why didn't he just shag her again?

Because, Ne.

Because why, Harry? She's hot, you want some, she wants to give you some, we're all dying to see what you do to each other once you get used to each other. Just go do it before I do.

Hermione blinked and then smiled as Harry and Beatrice disappeared. Angus McDougal grunted. "Finally! That's some slowing down we've needed."

The extended Coven froze for a moment and then laughed.

No one noticed Ginny slipping away.

Hannah nodded to her group of the Coven, and as the inner circle suddenly sat down hard they levitated them and the Coven towed them away. Emma arched a brow. Melba opened her mouth and Dan put his fingers in his ears. "Lalalalala, nananana, lalalala. Oh, the monkeys have no tails in Zamboanga!"

Emma glared at him and the others laughed until they cried.

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Beatrice found herself in a well-appointed bed, nude and getting stuffed full. So this wasn't going to be all slow and romantic. Fine. In fact, good. Circe, she was tired of waiting. She needed a good fuck.

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Ginny trailed through the castle and into the dungeon. She looked into the rooms, cells really, until she found the rebuilt room with the glass wall. She slid in the door and looked through the wall. There it was, the diary. Now...how to get in?

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"Oh my gawd! Harrryyy!" Beatrice was stuffed completely full, and somehow even with her Veela talents Harry was pouring fire into her from every erogenous zone she had. It was like he had multiple hands and at least three tongues. OH, again! Nnnnggghhh mmmmm, Harry's coming. Beatrice smiled and stretched under Harry as he filled her. He never got soft, and after his hips unlocked he took up a nice slow rhythm. Beatrice tensed and then melted. Something had happened; Harry was still very large but he wasn't so large that he was locked in her any more. Still, this was the biggest she'd ever had. Harry rubbed across her cervix and she tensed, then relaxed into it. As he pushed in to the limit of her vagina's ability to accommodate him, he pulled back just before it was truly painful and just as he nipped a stiff pink nipple moderately hard. Beatrice rolled into a small orgasm and thrust with her hips. Who had taught this boy all of this? Oh, duh. He had a lot of regular lovers; but really, how did he know exactly what part of her wanted attention just as she did? Mmm, so full, aieee! Gods, if he licks my ear like that again I'm going to explode. Damn, I didn't even remember that. It's been years!

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Ginny looked at the cover over the diary and thought hard. She had to get the thing. She needed it. Why? Harry would be furious. Neville, too. She had to, though. She had to take it to…who? Who was it? Oh, a latch.

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Hermione breathed her way through another orgasm and smiled at Morag. "So you got me, huh?"

"Won you. Rocks smash scissors."

Hermione grinned and chuckled. Each inner circle member had a watcher. "So the rest?"

"Went back out to the 'rents, Ne. Your dad was doing his Cleopatra, Queen of Denial apparently, and needed more oarsmen for the royal barge."

Hermione cracked up and then curled around Morag, shuddering. Morag smiled and rubbed her gently. Morgana, it was amazing when they just let go and came and came and came. Morag squeaked when an arm snaked between her thighs and a hand began wandering purposefully. She wriggled as another arm circled round the back. This was very nice too, of course. Hermione was a genius with those long, slim fingers and that tongue of hers.

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Ginny looked at the diary in her hand and tried to put it down but she couldn't. She closed the crystal case, put the diary in her bag, and left the dungeon. Back out on the lawn the sun was shining and Neville was smiling. Her mind snapped back to reality and she went and joined Neville.

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Ginny and Neville returned with the rest to dinner in the Great Hall at Hogwarts. Harry was actually walking slightly off the ground. Hermione scowled at him and then laughed helplessly. Harry really couldn't do any better. His power level—radiated power level, whatever—was completely off the scale. Beatrice had some teaching to do. She was a professional Harry-winder.

The Coven sat and chattered happily as dinner passed. Hermione, still watching Ginny, noticed that she seemed much more focused. Hermione turned to Harry and focused herself.

After dinner a swirling mass of Potter Coven led the way to the reading room. No one noticed Ginny getting pulled away into a passageway. Neville thought she was talking to Luna, and no one else was watching her.

When Neville finally noticed that Ginny wasn't in the reading room, he began to feel uneasy. As he grew more and more anxious, Harry called for Professor McGonagall, only to find she had been called away. Professor Flitwick answered the redirected Floo-call to her and stepped through into the reading room. Harry explained the situation.

Harry tensed. "Okay, we have to find her."

Tracey frowned. "Wait a minute, Harry." She dropped her trunk, opened it, and jumped in. She was back in moments. "The diary is gone, Harry."

"Dammit! Why did she steal it?"

Neville replied hotly, "Harry! You don't know it was her."

Harry looked around at the witches; he looked into each of their eyes. "It has to be her, Neville. None of the Coven took it. You didn't, and there's no reason for the parents to. It wanted to be back here at the school. It or something else made this happen. She's the only one who's touched it besides Tracey.

"Okay, we fan out in groups."

Hermione nodded and the Coven broke into groups as Neville ran to get Ron and the twins with Katie, Alicia, and Angelina.

Filius got the teachers organized.

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Two hours later, after a very methodical search of the whole school, they had found nothing but an ominous message in chicken blood hinting that Ginny would never be found and that now the Chamber was fully opened. Harry was nearly howling in frustration. He looked at his wrist and added this last message and was hit with a blinding flash of the obvious. "Myrtle's bathroom. She's not flooding it—she's a ghost, not a poltergeist."

Hermione hit her forehead with the heel of her hand. "A student killed mysteriously. A Muggle-born witch. How did Myrtle die?"

Harry shrugged. "Let's ask her." He led the troops to Myrtle's bathroom as the teachers continued the search. "Myrtle?"

An echoing "Yes, Harry?" came from the second U-bend from the end.

"Myrtle, have you seen anything in here tonight?"

"Malfoy." She somehow made it sound like "miserable streak of piss". "And he was levitating some girl—I couldn't see who, he had her covered. Small-breasted, though. He jumped in a hole, then the sinks slid over it."

Harry sighed. "Right in front of us. Aren't we stupid?" Open!

The sinks slid back at Harry's Parseltongue command. He walked over and looked down. Stairs! He stepped onto the stairway as it formed and the Coven, then Neville, and finally Ron followed him. They spiraled to the bottom and, Lights! "So predictable, like the rest of the school," Harry announced.

Su snapped her fingers. "Harry, feel for wards."

Hermione and Padma smacked themselves with the heels of their hands. Hermione barely beat Padma to it. "Of course—wards in Parseltongue; Parselthought, maybe."

Padma nodded and tapped her map. It sprang to life and Harry concentrated. He frowned as the Parseltongue slithered through his mind. He suddenly felt the wards and they recognized him fully when the Slytherin ring flared silver and green. Su's map grew whole levels and interconnections between the existing levels and the new ones. Ginerva Molly Weasley Longbottom appeared in a large chamber next to Draco (No Name). Harry nodded.

Neville activated his map and took off at a run. Ron chased him and Harry led the group jogging after them. He kept calling, Lights! Open! in Parseltongue as he jogged. Hermione frowned. Is that a good idea, Harry?

"Maybe not, Ne, but he'll have more energy when he gets to her if he hasn't blasted his way through a hundred meters of solid rock. I know that's what I would do if it was you. Besides, Weasley already thinks me the Dark henchman. Muhahahaha."

Hermione blushed, smiled slightly, then frowned while the rest of the inner circle laughed. She was very pleased with Harry and mad at herself for not thinking of Neville's state; she was also still angry at Bilius, or angry again, perhaps.

Neville, followed by Ron, charged into a large hall. As the lights came up they skidded to a halt next to Ginny, who was sitting on the floor with her head in her hands. Harry and the others jogged past, marveling at the hall. "Merlin, I hope that statue is Salazar's idea of a joke. If not, he was an even bigger ponce than that Lockhart faggot. I really don't want to be related to that kind of faggot, even distantly."

"Besides it looking like a monkey with a squashed head, wouldn't shag that with Edgecomb's cunt." The rest of the Coven gasped at Tracey's sally and then giggled.

"Who insults the greatest of the Four?"

Harry looked around while shaking his left hand. The snake on the Slytherin ring had nipped him. Tracey saw the figure first. "Well, Tom Marvolo Riddle. How are you projecting yourself from the diary?"

Hermione stepped up to Draco's unconscious form and kicked the diary away from him.

Tom the shade laughed. "Oh, that won't work. I have him now, and soon I'll have all of him. He was easy to manipulate. He finished the incantation willingly, even eagerly, and now there's no stopping the process."

Padma frowned. "What process, Tom?"

"Oh, you are a pretty one, one of the old Asian families. You'll make a fine consort for me as I rise to power. Any of you—all of you, in fact; beautiful, each and every one, each one prettier than the next." He turned to Tracey. "You feel slightly familiar."

"Ewww, don't say that, you needle-dick bug-fucking perv. It was all I could do to keep from puking on you, no matter that I used mmmyy—" Susan had stepped up and muzzled her with a hand, and Daphne laughed at Tom and sneered. "Like we would have a Dark magic damaged limp prick like you? You probably have to use engorging charms to rape witches already. That miserable piece of shite no-name you picked to be your host was already headed that way. I suspected you'd created a Horcrux when we looked at the diary." Shot in the dark, folks. Let's see the reaction. "Little did you know that ritual causes so much damage you'll never breed."

Tom fumed, then laughed. "Yes, I've mastered that charm and will be glad to use it on you low-born sl—arrrrrrgh!"

Harry lowered his hand. "Language there, Tommy. She's mine, as are all of these."

"How is this possible? I am still spirit! And don't call me Tommy!" He waved what had to be Malfoy's wand, and flaming writing appeared and morphed from "Tom Marvolo Riddle" to "I am Lord Voldemort".

Harry shrugged. "I wanted you hurt. Magic made it happen. And an anagram—really, Tommy? You couldn't do better than 'flight of death'? What is that, owl shit? Owl shit, it's dead mice and little voles and things, right? It flies, at least for a while. I'll go with Tommy. Poopy Boy just seems rude."

Tom grimaced in rage. "See how you deal with this, then!" Come forth!

"Shit! Close your eyes." Harry turned his head toward the slithering noise coming from the base of the statue. He yelled, "There's a hole at the base of the statue. Most deadly curses, fire!"

A blistering wall of Reductos and Bombardas streaked toward the statue. Not all of them were well aimed, and that end of the Chamber exploded and collapsed. Tom screamed, "NO!"

Harry watched tensely. Neville stood in the end stages of a rage and fired a Reducto at Tom. The solid matter that had congealed in his shade blew apart and the wand flew away, and Tom wailed. Harry smiled at Neville. "Good shot! Now what are we going to do, though?"

Tracey shrugged. "Wait until he congeals again and kill him."

The Coven turned at an ominus grinding noise and the Basilisk exploded from the rubble. Harry panicked and threw up both hands.

The Coven watched in amazement as the Basilisk was peeled, stripped of useful parts, those parts packaged and labeled, and the whole mass lined up neatly just at the edge of the pool near the Coven, and the rest dropped into the fetid pool of water. Harry and the inner circle collapsed without a sound. Hannah examined them immediately. "Magically exhausted."

Riddle's shade reappeared. "So I get my whores anyway, then."

Neville blew him away with another Reducto. Su sighed. "That's going to take a while; meanwhile, he's killing Draco."

Hannah scanned Draco. "Taking his life force and his magic."

Tracey frowned. "Don't kill him—blow him away so quick, whatever—next time, Neville. We need to finish what Daphne started. If it's what she and I researched and talked about, Riddle used a Dark ritual to put a piece of his soul into that diary. We need to kill it if that's true."

Neville rubbed his hand through his hair. "I think we need a teacher here. How do we kill it?"

At that moment Draco stood, summoned his wand, and fired a curse at Neville. Ron threw a shield around Neville and the fight was on, the Coven protecting the inner circle and Neville, Ginny, and Ron fighting Draco/Tom. As the fight continued, Draco/Tom became more and more Tom/Draco. Several of the Coven took minor hits from reflected curses, but they gave as good as they got. Their particular defense included a wicked coordinated offense, or what would be one in a few years. Hannah was by their sides nearly immediately if they were wounded, using all the healing magic her mother had ever taught her.

Fawkes flashed into the battle with the Hat in his claws and then joined in the attack on Tom/Draco.

Neville looked down in surprise where Fawkes had dropped the Hat and saw the hilt of a sword poking out of it. Neville snatched up the sword; at first it shocked him a little, then a surge of power flowed down it to his arm. Ginny and Ron were hit and down, and Neville's mind was consumed with killing the diary. He took a leap and just as he landed, sword-point first, in the book, he was hit with a Cruciatus. His body weight forced the sword through the diary and the sword glowed red. An odd scream issued from the diary and it began to smoke, and an odd black fluid flowed from it. Tom/Draco screamed and clutched his chest, crumpling to the floor.

Fawkes circled once, and because Hannah had not yet gotten to the trio he grabbed Neville, flew him to Ginny, who was holding Ron in her lap, and disappeared in a flash of flame. Hannah threw her trunk on the floor and the Coven evacuated the Chamber through it.

Silence reigned in the Chamber, broken only by the slow screech of nails on slate as Draco/Tom tried to drag himself toward the diary that lay still impaled on the sword. The noise slowly faded away and all was still as the torches guttered almost silently.

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Unknown to all the players, Dumbledore had been recalled by a terrified Board at the whinging—erm, urging of Cornelius Fudge. After all, if someone was to die and Dumbledore wasn't in place, then the blow would fall mainly on the Minister, as Elphias Doge had pointed out to Cornelius just yesterday.

Dumbledore strode into the castle and found the Professors holding the students in their dorms and a group of them gathered in the Hospital Wing, according to the wards. Dumbledore strode to the Hospital Wing and entered to find Minerva, Sirius, Remus, and Poppy. "Well, what's happened?"

Minerva turned. "So you're back, then?"

"Yes, Minerva."

"Stupid slackers!"

Minerva sighed. "Sirius! Two students are missing, Albus, and we found a note intimating that they would not return. We're looking for them."

A flash of orange landed three spell-burnt and bleeding students on the floor and Poppy sprang into action.

Sirius looked at Remus and they disappeared after making eye contact with Minerva.

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Potter Castle was a madhouse when they arrived. The Coven was calm but the extended Coven, parents, siblings, and relatives were in a complete uproar. Magda and Evangeline walked up to Sirius and Remus and pecked them on the lips. Evangeline leaned back from Remus. "So you're all right, then?"

Remus frowned and nodded. "Yes, why?"

Magda, finished looking Sirius over, waved, and the Marauders looked over to see boxes, giant jars, a book with a sword through it, and an apparent corpse on the edge of the lawn. "Oh, no reason."

Sirius grimaced. "Don't be that way, baby. Oh, by the way, Ginny, Neville, and Ron look to be all right. Fawkes brought them to the Hospital Wing and Poppy was fussing up a storm, so they're probably fine. When it's serious, she doesn't talk."

Magda nodded. "Alice will be relieved. She has her knickers in a serious twist since the girls didn't bring Neville and Ginny back with them."

Remus frowned. "Isn't that Draco formerly-known-as-Malfoy over there, apparently dead?"

Evangeline nodded. "Yes, and more than apparently, dear—very. That's what has Alice wound up. We need to go find her." She led the group off. "Otto and the elves brought him, that book with the sword through it, and all of these boxes of Basilisk parts back. We laid out the skin over there. That monster was fifty-six feet long! Apparently, according to the girls, Harry wanted it to be useful. They think he meant dead and was being humorous—'the only useful Basilisk is a dead Basilisk'—but the magic took him seriously and processed the thing alive. Well, it was dead when he finished. Narcissa was a little upset over Draco but it had to happen sooner or later, or so she said. You should talk to her, Sirius. Harry is still unconscious and she's acting a little strange."

Sirius and Remus stopped and stared at their fiancées.

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Sunday the thirty-first of May was the fun day for Harry and the inner circle. The Coven had been hard at work and had time-lined the whole thing by the time they woke up. Sirius, Remus, Minerva, Amelia, and the parents had put together the political side of the story and Harry could only laugh at the whole thing now that it was over. Dumbledore was in some kind of odd way not only taking credit but making political hay from the whole thing. Wizards were so stupid. The sword had turned out to be the sword of Gryffindor and was now over the mantel in the study of Potter Castle. A vassal, any vassal, could wield it, but when Harry took it the castle shook. Hermione made him put it away after he knocked Sirius out of his chair for the third time. "Certainly it's funny, Harry, but not if you do it too often."

Harry nodded very seriously and went and put the sword up on his mantel in the study. Hermione smiled after him. The women watched, amazed. Hermione looked up. "What? It was funny. The second time especially."

Ginny was nearly inconsolable when Harry visited her in the Hospital Wing. Neville was working hard on it, though. Harry smiled. "Ginny, stop. No harm done. We were going to have to go after that thing anyway, and Narcissa is convinced this is perhaps the best thing that could have happened to Draco. I'm glad you're all right. Su wants to study you a little to try to find out how those curses got around your bond to Neville and your vassal oath to me, as well as the loyalty charm I put on you when I did Ron's."

Ginny nodded. "I'm still sorry, Harry."

Harry smiled and hugged her. "All right, Ginny, if it makes you happy."

Ginny pouted at him. The group talked through the whole fight again and had just gotten to the part where Ginny, Ron, and Neville fought Tom/Draco when Dumbledore showed up. "Ah, Mr Longbottom. Please continue, as I was just coming to talk to you about this."

Neville faltered slightly but Harry asked a few leading questions and waved slightly at Ron again and soon enough all three of them—Neville, Ginny, and Ron—had told their stories. Dumbldore rubbed his beard. "And where is the entrance to this Chamber?"

Neville answered, "It was on the second floor through the girls' bathroom that Myrtle haunts, Professor, but that entrance caved in during the fight. Fawkes fire-flashed us, or whatever that was, out of there to here."

Dumbledore nodded. "Sadly, he now refuses to take me back there, so I must seal the entrance on this side of the cave-in, too. Oh, well. Now, have a good rest, children. Oh, and the Mandrakes are matured, Professor Sprout tells me, so everyone should be restored by the end of term." He nodded to himself and walked away.

Hermione was left gaping. "Seal the entrance? That's all? Not check and ensure the giant deadly creature is dead, not investigate the chambers of one of the most famous wizards in Britain? Seal the entrance, the Mandrakes are done, all's well that ends well? Could we not find a better school than this?"

Harry blinked and Hermione looked around at a sea of quivering lips. She sighed. "Apparently not."

Harry stuck out his bottom lip. "You never would have met us, Hermione." He gave his best hurt-puppy look.

"Arrrrgh!" Hermione caved immediately.

Harry kissed her and then had a thought. "So when do we get Hagrid back?"

As it turned out, Hagrid was already back. The Coven took him the SSWA guides and Harry encased his wand core in a new length of wood and laid the necessary runes on it. The Coven watched avidly. While this first attempt was enormous lumpy and rough, Hagrid couldn't talk for his tears; the Coven anticipated a new guide to be written soon. Wandcrafting for all, maybe. Hagrid was very grateful to the Coven, but hurt that Dumbledore hadn't even come to see him yet. Harry stored that away for later.

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Back at Potter Castle that evening the extended Coven put the whole timeline together on a big chalkboard and then toured the Chamber. The Potter elves had taken some liberties with their instructions to clean up and had drafted the castle elves, who all bowed to Harry and continued their cleaning. Harry put his head in his hands for a moment. "Otto!"

Pop! "Master?"

"Otto, what keeps these elves from telling Dumbledore about this?"

Otto smiled. "You are their master. They work for the Headmaster, but you are their master as the Heir of the Four. The castle is yours; so are the elves. They work with him but tell him nothing about you or yours. They never have."

Hermione shook her head. "We really need to do some work on the elves and their bonds. One day we're going to get in so much trouble."

Narcissa looked down at the floating Leyland being carried by an invisible Dobby and nodded. "Especially with this one."

The Coven cautiously explored the private chambers of Slytherin until Harry got tired of being nipped by the ring for making wisecracks about the statue—well, head of a statue now, as the statue itself was blasted to rubble. Daphne finally sighed and whipped her wand at it and fixed it to match the portraits of Slytherin she had seen. When the dust cleared, Harry nodded. "Better. Thank you, Daphne. Now he looks human."

Daphne shrugged. "Foreshortened perspective, Harry. Whoever carved it originally didn't think how it would look from the ground in a cave looking up at it from close range."

Harry nodded. "Okay, this is obviously going to take more than one evening to sort out, so if we could all move back to our appropriate places we can get this year over and hopefully relax over the summer." He looked around and got nods. Offering his arm, he led the Coven back up into the school through the trunks, having replaced Hannah's with an unassigned one, and to their dorms.

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On the morning of June first, as the rest of the inner circle laughed, Harry distracted Hermione from her pre-exam panic. Twice. Hermione decided that maybe exams could wait out a long shower after that, and the Coven skidded into the Great Hall nearly late for breakfast, laughing and joking with everyone.

The twins looked down the table and before they could move they turned into a pair of birds of paradise and flapped around the Hall. Harry laughed hard until first Fred, then George started to dive-bomb him. Harry took a piece of toast and Hermione's elbow and fled.

Hermione and the rest of the Coven lived the next eighteen days in a whirl of studying, tests, pranks, generally being teenagers, and settling into the Malfois as they kept a few hours every few days to explore the Slytherin passages and rooms, albeit cautiously.

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On the evening of the eighteenth of June, at the leaving feast, Dumbledore finally put to bed the rumors that had been flying around—or perhaps launched another bunch—when he singled out Neville for saving Ginny with Ron's help and awarded them fifty points apiece, winning Gryffindor the House Cup to go along with the Quidditch Cup. Harry looked at the other Houses, smiling, as the Gryffindors looked embarrassed. The Hall exploded into cheers at Harry's look, the other Houses knowing that another Harry leaving party was coming. Dumbledore beamed at the modest Gryffindors and the cheering students. The school was coming together nicely.

Augusta caught Minerva's hand as it began to rise, almost of its own accord, to slap Dumbledore.

The party that night in the common rooms was the stuff of legends. Gryffindor was empty, but the others were packed. Cho barely remembered getting nearly shagged and succumbing to an orgasm while Harry dry-humped her as they were dirty dancing in the middle of the common room; but this time her housemates did remember it and were properly scandalized. She couldn't care less, as the idiots had seen her catch a belly full of Harry on numerous occasions. This was mild compared to that. Oi, speaking of which—

"Harry, you can't just leave me hanging. Come shag me. What are we going to do about this summer, too?"

Marietta's eyes nearly popped from her head at this nonchalant admission. Hermione dragged Cho off to her room for a little lesson in using her inside voice. Hermione also passed Cho a trunk. Cho thanked her. Thoroughly.

In the Slytherin common room it was a subdued House to start with, but soon the party was going full bore as everyone realized they hadn't lost anything but a pain in the ass, and they had gained a free party and perhaps some calm. Eliza found herself hemmed into a corner by Audrey Nott and her gang. "Eliza, what are we going to do? Our parents are Death Eaters. Dumbledore is back on top of the light side, so as soon as things settle a little the light and Dark will be back at each other again."

Eliza shrugged eloquently. Seventh year Mary Rookwood snorted. "Fine for you, Eliza. You're still in school and your beast is having you continuously. Plus your father is unmarked. We'll end up the toys of Death Eaters, or their baubles."

Eliza grinned. "Or you can join us."

Mary smiled. "Last year I thought you were all crazed. I mean, he's good looking and kind to you all but vicious to his enemies, but he was a first year—admittedly larger than average, but still a first year. What could he have known? This year I've been watching. He's the size of a normal sixth year and Circe, he's gorgeous. You all walk around here with those happy cow looks, and as far as I can tell he demands nothing of you. He and Hermione are brilliant, too. What will he be able to do against a fully trained Dark wizard, though? My father would kill him."

Eliza laughed. "Jacques Malfoi thought so too. He's dead. Harry has his wife and daughter, whenever they can seduce him into it."

Mary blinked. "I had heard Jacques ran into a problem with the new head of Malfoy. Wait a minute! Narcissa Malfoy! The Malfoy heir and Draco being cast out—Morgana, what do you mean seduce him into it? Beatrice Malfoi is a full-blood Veela."

Eliza laughed as the dots connected behind Mary's eyes. The witches clustered around for this conversation, knowing that if they failed to answer the right way at the end of the evening they would never remember it. One look showed them the hard-eyed Coven members and the cover wizards who had closed in behind them.

Hufflepuff was a joyous celebration of Hufflepuffness and the Hufflepuffness of Harry Potter and his friends. Hannah and Susan ruled the commons. The 'Puffs were mostly drunk out of their minds. Everyone had a great time.

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The Express home in the morning turned into the usual party. Cho joined Pansy in being passed from Coven member to Coven member, being looked over and serving them, before she got a belly full of Harry. It was oddly fulfilling...acceptance...something. It was great.

Percy had a little scene with Penelope Clearwater, explaining his disappointment in her. Penelope shrugged and let herself be pulled back into the compartment with Cederic Diggory with a not very sincere "Sorry you feel that way, Percy. It was nice. Bye." It was hard to be sincere while a Quidditch-mad Englishman was trying to find your Snitch with his lips.

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As the Express wound through Scotland and England, Dumbledore spoke to one of his oldest friends. "The boy is coming along nicely, Alastor. For the second time he has defeated Riddle, or a version of Riddle."

"With help, Albus, always with help." Alastor still felt some loyalty to Albus. Not much any more, but some of the loyalty that comes from shared peril. Truthfully, though, if it hadn't been for either Longbottom or Potter they would all be dead now. The last war had not gone well, and much of that could be laid at Albus's feet.

"We all need help from time to time, Alastor. Did you know your new protégé is the Matriarch of his house?"

Alastor blinked at the non-sequitor, then frowned. Albus still couldn't see it? "I have heard that." From you, you thundering moron, he didn't say.

Albus nodded, deep in thought, and continued, "I wonder why he lets her pursue such a dangerous career."

Alastor snorted. "Because she wants to. That is a very strong-willed witch. She'll make a fine Auror." Besides which she's pumping my brain for every combat tip, tactic, and procedure I know, and I'm giving them to her gladly because her lord will kill and we'll be done with these bastards.

"So Lord Potter doesn't rule his own house, then?"

"Albus, you do know what the word 'assume' does, don't you?" At Albus's blank look Alastor snorted. "Makes an 'ass' out of 'u' and 'me'. I wouldn't assume too much about one of the ancient and noble houses, especially as it's backed unconditionally by the other."

Albus grimaced and nodded. "And now has Narcissa Malfoy Black pulling the strings on both. I fear we're headed for interesting times, my friend."

Alastor goggled. "Like your oft-predicted return of Voldemort wasn't going to be interesting, Albus? I think you need a rest. Perhaps you should give up either the school or the Wizengamot. Maybe both."

The discussion went on and on but never really got anywhere after that. Dumbledore did, however, bring up one point that pleased Alastor. "I see your new leg, Alastor."

Alastor smiled broadly. "Tonks gave it to me for Christmas. It's the best thing ever. I may get the other one cut off so I can have two of these. Tonks says they're working on putting a wand in it for me, like I had in my peg."

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The pure-bloods made way on the platform as Harry, with Hermione on his arm, sailed up to Emma. Lester Jones watched them with a jaundiced eye; they weren't all happy about it. Some were, though, more of them than the frowning fops, but they all made way. That was telling.

Emma kissed Hermione. "Better, much better. You don't smell like a brothel. Whose is that perfume, though? Lotus works on you."

Hermione blushed slightly. "Mother!"

Emma laughed and then watched, holding Hermione's arm, as Harry worked the crowd on the platform with a rotation of Coven members. "He's very good at that."

Hermione smirked. "You should hear his comments in my head. He really doesn't think much of the general wizarding populace."

Emma frowned. "We'll have to work on that. Can't have him just abandoning them."

Hermione rolled her eyes. "No worries there, at least with the witches. Eliza has cooked up some scheme to get them all under Harry."

"Hermione!"

"As vassals, Mother—well, most of them. Some of them are very nice, brilliant too."

"Harry will never go for it, Hermione."

Hermione sighed. "Yes, tragic, isn't it? Such a waste."

"Hermione!"

Hermione giggled and leant over and kissed her mother on the cheek. Emma rolled her eyes.

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Harry sat in his corner of the penthouse office of the SSWA building, looking bemused. "Shouldn't this be Victoria's, Hermione? I mean, she is running the thing."

Hermione bent over and looked under the desk. Victoria shook her head vigorously around her mouthful and Harry groaned. "Apparently not, Harry."

Harry pulled the blond, buxom, nude Victoria from under the desk and laid her across it. "I use it, Harry, when you—aren't here—OH, MY GODS!" Harry smiled as he tapped her in the very back of her vagina.

Tracey, just walking in with a sheaf of parchment, paused and took in the view: Victoria spread magnificently nude on the desk, Harry—also nude—driving into her, and Hermione watching with sparkling eyes in that very sexy suit and the high-heeled wingtips Lavender had put her in this morning, all in front of the wrap-around floor-to-ceiling windows. Hmmmm. "I'm next!"

Harry grunted and his hips locked. After a moment he pulled Victoria into his lap as he sat in his leather-covered chair, breathing hard and smiling. Victoria squirmed around until she was sitting reverse-cowgirl and took the parchment from Tracey. "It's the title searches from Gringotts, Harry. We can buy those up now, the properties at the intersection of Knockturn and Diagon."

Harry nodded. "Good. I want to clean them up but leave the look like it is for the first hundred yards or so. Like set-dressing. We can work on those repelling charms some more and eventually seal off Knockturn from non-approved pure-bloods."

Victoria shuddered as Harry reached around her barely padded hip, down her flat warm belly and between her legs, and applied a Scourgify. "Oh, gods, Harry, warn a woman. Thank you, though. I love that."

Hermione looked at the pair. "Not to break this up, because the view is breathtaking, but we do have some appointments coming this morning."

Harry and Victoria nodded and stood and began picking up their clothes. Victoria was climbing back into a thigh-high pin-striped skirt and white silk blouse. Tracey and Hermione watched, hypnotized. Victoria was breathtaking, Harry no less so. Paravati burst into the office with Lavender, Kristen, and Daphne. Josephine Malfoi drifted in behind them. Parvati's prepared plaintive request dried up, along with her mouth. Harry was beautiful with the sun behind him like that. Victoria, too, but Harry, oh, my.

Josephine cleared her throat and Parvati snapped back. "Harry, we want the Malfoi Veela to model the No Secrets line for us."

Harry looked over at her, slightly confused. "Okay, and?"

Parvati rolled her eyes. "Show him, Josephine."

Josephine dropped her robe to reveal that she was in a bra and panty set with matching garter belt and very nice real silk hose. Harry froze, like a cable in one place. Josephine beamed at him. Hermione's "Holy Circe's brass bra!" fully expressed the sentiment of those in the room. Josephine was tanned, taut, and a perfect thirty-six, twenty-four, thirty-six, and a generous C-cup. She was the very image of the blond that men dreamed of.

Harry laughed and put a hand on his heart. "Well, if that doesn't sell underwear, nothing will. Very impressive, Josephine."

Josephine blushed faintly. "Thank you, Harry."

"That's the problem, Harry. Normal women could never match that!"

Harry waved and Lavender was similarly attired and just as impressive in a younger, fresher, definitely sinful way, like a high school girl ready for her prom dress, ready and ripe and full of promise. Harry had to sit down. The girls in the room oohed and ahhed at Lavender, who blushed furiously. Harry smiled. "Uh, that's a resounding no, Lavender. The Malfoi Veela will model for the No Secrets line. You, however, will not." Lavender squeaked in surprise as she flew into Harry's lap.

Tracey pouted. "I called dibs!"

Harry smiled. "I just don't want anyone else near her. I'll have to kill someone."

Hermione smiled. "Unfortunately, Harry, we have an appointment in five minutes."

"Grrrrrr."

"Harry!" Hermione knew she was swimming uphill—stream—whatever. Oh my! What is he doing?

Lavender giggled as Harry stuffed her under the desk and Tracey squealed as she flew to the desk and her panties were pulled aside. "Harry James Potter! We have work to do." Hermione watched as Tracey's eyes rolled up in her head. Harry had Parseltongued her, a new trick learned since he had been perusing Slytherin's library.

Daphne laughed. "Come on, Ne. We can delay Fortescue for a few moments."

"Grrrrrr."

"Hmmm, perhaps you want to work off some aggressions first?"

Daphne offered a pert butt. Hermione sighed. "No. Later, though."

Josephine shook her head and settled in to watch. Harry was like porno candy. Kristen and Parvati didn't let her watch for long. Josephine smiled. It was heaven for little Veela around here. Hermione was a perfect Matriarch for an active warlock like Harry.

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Narcissa looked at the dingy, dank passageway and the snarling guard. She had had enough. "I will see my sister now."

"Oh, you will? And what's in it for me?"

Sirius stepped out from the shadows. "Your life, churl. Be thankful I'm here rather than her master, or you'd already be dead."

The guard started and looked at the Black. "Milord." He turned and led the way down the passages.

Narcissa cut her eyes at Sirius; he was right on the edge of an explosion. This place obviously raised his ire.

The jailer stopped in front of a cell and Narcissa looked in. Bellatrix crawled listlessly to the bars and arranged her face against them with her mouth open. Narcissa tried to stop Sirius, she really did; all too late, however, as black flames consumed the jailer...but didn't. They crawled over his flesh as he ran, screaming and bouncing off the walls, up the passageway. Narcissa knelt in front of Bellatrix and reached through the bars and hugged her. She managed several scans and passed the nutrient and health potions to Bella before the warden returned with five more guards, only to be lit on fire by Sirius. When the alarms went off, Narcissa knew it was time to get them out to the docks to wait for the Aurors. She dragged Sirius away as the first breath of cold wafted up the hallway. She missed the pleased gleam in Bellatrix's eyes.

Sirius went on some kind of rampage. Well, not some kind: a flat-out rampage. Narcissa trotted to keep up. It was strangely gratifying watching the Black rain terror on these scum.

Amelia Bones arrived to a scene from Dante's Inferno. The wards held the Dementors back from the boat dock where all the human jailers writhed, screaming, burning but not, consumed by an odd black fire. Sirius and Narcissa stood regally composed and rigid in the midst of this. "Milord Black?"

"Lady Bones. I suspect these men have been taking liberties with the female prisoners."

Amelia's eyes hardened to glittering agates. The Aurors standing near her drew back as a visible white aura flared around her for a moment. "I see. Aurors, arrest them all. Thank you, Milord Black."

Sirius gave a stiff bow from the shoulders and held out his arm. Narcissa laid her hand on it and looked into Amelia's eyes. Amelia winced. She would be explaining this to Harry before the day ended. Sirius disappeared with a huge crack and the anti-Apparition ward of Azkaban ripped away as a block of stone buried in the stone dock exploded. Amelia cursed luridly for a moment. "Johnson, get those boffins from the DoM up here now!"

Johnson, being an intelligent Auror of five years' service, Apparated away that instant.

"Williams! Bring me that piece-of-shite warden."

Williams looked down at the burning-not-burning warden, sighed, thought Gryffindors charge ahead, and reached down. As soon as he touched the warden the flames died. Williams let go in surprise and the flames reappeared, along with the screaming. He shrugged, grabbed the man again, and dragged him to Amelia.

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Hermione waved a second silencing charm at Harry's office door. "Now, Mr Fortescue, what can we here at SSWA do for you?"

Florian blinked. This was a child. Admittedly she appeared at first to be near her majority, from her shape and face, but she was in fact very young. Gorgeous, but very young. "Well, I would like to speak to someone in charge about the changes to Knockturn Alley."

Hermione nodded. "What are your concerns?"

Florian opened his mouth and then snapped it closed again when the Matriarch's ring on the girl's finger came into view as she sipped her tea after the young Daphne Greengrass, changed nearly out of recognition, played mother. "Beg pardon. I intended no insult." Florian looked closer and recognized the Potter Arms. "Duchess Potter."

Hermione beamed at him and Daphne chuckled. "Ask now, Fortescue. She'll give you anything after that."

Florian looked at the Slytherin and saw that she was serious under the humor. "I would like to open another ice cream parlor and perhaps a pizzeria down here. I've noticed a lack of public houses and eateries, yet there are many people here. Also, I've begged my neighbor merchants to improve their premises, but they will barely sweep their shop fronts. It's cleaner, more family-oriented here. There are children playing in the Alley here."

Hermione pulled a moue at Daphne, then her face turned serious. Daphne looked at Florian. "See? Told you."

Hermione refocused and smiled. "How long have you been in the restaurant trade, Mr Fortescue?"

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Tracey tapped out on the desk and Lavender took over. Josephine concentrated on Kristen after destroying Parvati. All six of them were sitting on the rug—well, Harry was in the desk chair still—when Hermione sailed back in followed by Daphne, who was shaking her head.

Harry beamed at them. Lavender and Tracey waved weakly; Josephine and her victims smiled. Hermione's smart suit disappeared on the way to the desk and she leapt into Harry's lap. "I got us a percentage of the profits on a pizzeria, an ice cream parlor, and casual and fine dining Italian restaurants, Harry! It was easy!"

Daphne nodded. "Fortescue would have given her his next kid. He's completely in love with her. It's so strange. She just talked to him."

Hermione turned to Harry, beaming. "My very own conquest, Harry! My first!"

Harry smiled back and reestablished his love and that he was her first. Hermione was a little spacy for the rest of the morning.

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Amelia Bones listened to the last Veritaserum-assisted questioning in the dock. "All under arrest for malfeasance and mistreatment of prisoners. Put them in high-security cells here. Their trials will be by the DMLE here, too."

Horace Heath stepped up to her. "The wards are repaired, Amelia. That shouldn't be possible again as now the ward anchor for anti-Apparition is inside the main wards. Nasty business, this."

Amelia snorted. "And you don't have to explain it to the Black or the other Ancient and Noble house."

Horace nodded. "Yes, young Harry, interesting case there. A warlock and quite powerful, melting instruments all the time. The Unspeakables are like children around the instruments that monitor him. Not to report, just to observe, you understand. He is quite interesting."

Amelia grinned. "Let something slip, Horace? Afraid he's onto you and might come visit?"

Horace grinned back. "A little insurance, Amelia. I would hate to be misunderstood. Now to pay for it. The prison system is the direct responsibility of the Wizengamot and its chief Warlock."

"Horace, you wonderful wizard, you!" She leant toward him with pursed lips.

"Ah-ah-ah, Amelia, still married to June, you remember her? Your year, Ravenclaw, redhead, horribly jealous. If I go home smelling like the alluring Chief of the DMLE, she'll Potter me. Besides, from what I hear you have another interest."

"Potter you? And if only I were twenty years younger. I'm going to have to wait a while, though."

"It's what we call emasculation around the department now. You know that's not true; he's a warlock. You can do what you will with him—or, more, what he wills with you; leaving that alone, he is one of the two. Again, what he wills and the Black doesn't object to; and somehow I don't see the Black objecting to much that his orphaned godson wants. Especially a witch who knows what she wants."

Amelia nodded. "I know, but you know how people talk."

Horace laughed. "Like you've ever cared before? Oh, I see, you—erm—'have it bad', don't you? You don't want him painted in a scandal. Wait until June finds out!"

Horace Heath disappeared near-silently and Amelia growled, "Wizards!" June would pester her to death now. She looked around. "All done, then? All in irons in cells?"

Auror Williams stepped up. "They won't stop burning, ma'am."

Amelia beamed. "Good!"

The Aurors recoiled. Williams sighed and tried again. "They'll be insane in a week, ma'am."

Amelia sighed. "I'll speak with the Black. Wouldn't want them insane before the Dementors suck out their corrupt little souls, now, would we? Okay, four on duty here until we can get more guards for this hole. Sorry."

The Aurors nodded and four stayed while the others popped away. Being keyed to the wards, they neither splinched nor blew apart the wards. Like any of them could match the Black's power anyway, but it wasn't a problem.

Severus Snape watched the comings and goings in front of his cell with mad, glittering, beady eyes. He closed them and pulled his arms in close as the Dementors began their rounds.

Chapter Twenty One

Swelter'd venom sleeping got

Harry awoke early in the morning on the twenty-second of June feeling like he'd forgotten something. He lay there for a moment until Lisa put her hand on his abdomen right above his pubic arch. "Your signature on the Dursleys' house, Harry. We never did it. We've never figured out whether it was truly necessary, but better safe than sorry."

Harry nodded and popped away. Lisa sighed and opened an eye. Good, it was still dark. At least the naked, well-endowed, apparent sixteen-year-old would have the cover of darkness.

Harry appeared in the back garden of number four Privet Drive and looked in the window. He saw only darkness. Smiling, he laid his hand on the wall of the house and concentrated.

Lisa grunted and then snuggled into Harry when he reappeared under her. "No alarms?"

"Nope. That should keep Dumbledore convinced I'm there if he monitors me like we suspect."

"Good boy. Sleep. I'll wake you in an hour or two."

Harry smiled and caressed Lisa's fine, light-blonde hair.

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"You have to turn the fire off, my lord. They will be insane," Amelia explained again.

"Good." Sirius grinned.

"Yes, but then we can't extract more information from them, like who's responsible for this, what exactly happened, and what reparations are owed." Amelia sighed. Sirius was like a petulant child at this point. Probably better than Harry, though, as when he'd heard his eyes had flared a green like the Killing Curse and he hadn't said a word. That was ominous, to say the least. Bloody terrifying is what it was, really. Those men—and perhaps their sons—were dead men, just like Dawlish. Dumbledore wouldn't be able to hold them forever if he didn't convict them, and Harry would kill them out of hand the first time he saw them. Dawlish was a perfect example. He would have to be let out, pre-trial, soon. Harry would kill him if Nym didn't. Oh, thinking of Harry, hmmm. Maybe Horace was right; no, not now—later.

Amelia opened her eyes and found herself staring into two knowing, deep black pools. Sirius smiled and waved his hand. "Fire's out, Amelia. For now." Sirius wasn't happy with Dumbledore at all. This would become a constant in his life.

Lester cleared his throat. "You've no heir, Sirius. You can't challenge Dumbledore yet. You and Harry need to practice more first."

"This has nothing to do with Harry, Lester; it's a Black matter."

"Ha! Other than he now knows where a bunch of bullies are. The Coven will be researching Dementors and wards all summer until he can find a way to get to them and kill them, painfully. Dumbledore is responsible for this. No matter how he squirms and lies, he's the Chief Warlock; it's in his brief. Harry is the closest approximation to you fighting Dumbledore, so therefore your best sparring partner. Oh, he doesn't know as much, but he's perhaps even more powerful, and he'll learn as you go."

Narcissa yawned. The adults of the Coven had been at this all night. "Sirius, you need to wait, too. I can't see Bella letting that happen; she would die first. She would certainly starve to death before she serviced less than a pure-blood. She might have just used you to tip us or Amelia to what was going on. Her name hasn't come up in any of these interrogations yet, though that's no guarantee as it's hard to tell through the screaming, apparently. Something is odd about her, too. Anna, Donna, and David have her scans and we'll visit her again next week."

Amelia nodded. "The Aurors are rounding up the retired guards, administrators, and wardens. We'll question them all. Bellatrix is notable by her conspicuous absence from any reports of sexual abuse. Apparently she terrifies the guards—the human ones, anyway."

Sirius's black aura flared and Magda sat in the middle of it in his lap. "Yes, we know you don't like Dementors. Now, take me to bed; I need my rest."

Remus narrowed his eyes and Evangeline grabbed his chin, turning his face to her. She nodded, then shook her head nearly imperceptibly and looked down at her own belly and smiled. Remus leapt up. "Well that's settled. Night, all!" He dragged a chuckling Evangeline away. It was three in the morning.

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Lisa was as good as her word; she rolled onto Harry and woke him with a series of kisses. They even made it out of bed in fairly short order after a very nice session of lovemaking, not just sex, and headed down for PT in a tumbling mass of pleased witches and Squibs. Harry had no idea how he made them so happy, but he was pleased that he could.

After PT, breakfast, and some rushing around, the tumbling mass made it to Knockturn; Harry was touring the facilities today. It turned out to be an exciting day for all involved as Harry didn't just tour, he worked the machines, prepared ingredients, or stood on the packing lines mangling cartons as Victoria introduced him to product line chiefs and workers, and he sat around talking to the workers in his shirtsleeves on their breaks. By the end of the day he was a smash hit. So was the Coven.

The werewolves were particularly enamored. Harry made no distinction between them at all and objected ferociously when the pack leaders suggested that payment for the Wolfsbane be taken from their pay packets on the grounds that it was unfair to the other workers, since it constituted a day's extra pay for the werewolves. This, of course, set off the normal lunch and pub argument that the werewolves could do more work so were inherently more valuable even with the Wolfsbane and their one-day absence each month. None of the foremen wanted to give up their werewolves.

Johanna Householder looked thoughtful. Why couldn't they have health insurance like the Muggle government?

Knockturn and all its facilities were well turned out, the residents and workers glad to be there; Squibs, half-bloods, and magical creatures, too. The children were overjoyed, as were the parents, with living conditions in the Alley. Harry was well pleased.

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Beatrice frowned as Narcissa handed Leyland to Harry that evening. "That's so unfair, Cissy."

Narcissa smiled smugly. Beatrice gave her a flash of tongue and dragged Harry away. Harry handed Leyland to Hermione on the way past. Hermione sighed. "Cissy, you have to control this urge to torture Beatrice just because you have Leyland."

"Well, that would be no fun at all, Ne. Besides, she'll be all knocked up and insufferable soon."

"Narcissa!"

The mums sat around smiling and shaking their heads.

Sirius looked at Daphne and asked quietly, "How is it Hermione tolerates all this from all these women?"

Daphne smiled. "She loves them as much as Harry does, maybe because Harry does. We all—the inner circle, anyway—do. It's a little odd."

Sirius blinked. "Really? You love them?"

Daphne smiled. "We're in Harry's head continuously. We see ourselves and them from his perspective." Daphne blushed slightly. "Sure, it's not the burning, all-consuming love he holds for—well, us, the inner circle—in all cases, but it is love. He doesn't know it, but it is. I would warn you, though, that he will destroy the world for Hermione if she hints that that's what she wants."

Sirius smiled. "Even I figured that out, Daphne."

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Harry stood in Knockturn Alley the next morning with Lester in front of the new Gringotts branch. "Yes, Harry, we built it. They actually owned the old building that stood here and commissioned us to tear it down and build this."

Harry grinned. "For next to nothing, right?"

Lester laughed. "Do I have a lump, Harry? Do you think I fell down and hit my head? For every Knut I could get from the little tightwads. Oh, by the way, I want your Chinese girl—Chang, is it?"

Harry bristled. Lester laughed. "Not for that, bucko—for interior design. Somehow the Goblins have seen some drawings she did and they're all gaga over that Chinese lacquer. The Goblins get loopy looking at them. Frightening, really, all those teeth and that drooling."

Harry mumbled, "Sorry."

Lester looked at him. "Surprised yourself there, didn't you? She started out as a problem, I'll bet, and you've convinced yourself you don't care about her other than to punish her. Time to learn, Harry. We don't—we, as in you and I—invest in them if there isn't something there, and I don't mean how pretty they are. Melba would just find me another one even prettier, and you have Nym."

"I wouldn't ever use her like that, Lester."

Lester grinned and threw an arm around Harry's shoulders. "So she'll never stop trying to find a form you like better. Witches are strange, lad."

Harry nodded and then winced. Lester laughed and dragged him into the gleaming white three-story building. "Come on, let's put you to work before you get in more trouble."

"Before you get me in more trouble, don't you mean, Lester?"

"Or that." Lester nodded. "Good idea, this branch bank down here. Of course, the Goblins will connect the vaults somehow and install their own wards, but it feels more ours somehow."

Harry nodded. "I know. It's strange—I still don't agree about the human tellers thing, though."

Lester nodded. "Which, if I didn't know you, I would suspect was a ploy. It put the Goblins right in your corner."

Harry grinned. "I like Goblins. They're very focused."

Lester blinked. "If you say so, Harry. It's what they're focused on that worries me."

Harry laughed. "That's easy, Lester: gold, and how to get more of it."

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"Ginny, godsdammit! You perv! Quit sneaking up and licking me. You need a few of your own if you're going to be all curious!"

Ginny nodded vigorously as Hermione sat up with a rock-hard left nipple where Ginny had again sneaked up on her and given her a lick and a lips-over-teeth nip on the nipple. "Agreed. Which ones, do you think?"

"Me? Why me? I had to find my own. You and Nev find your own." Hermione rolled her eyes.

"Neeeeeee!"

"Ginevra Molly Weasley Longbottom, stop whinging!"

The inner circle lay suppressing their laughter. Ginny had adopted Hermione as her big sister, bi experimentation interest, and matriarch advisor, all rolled into one. It was very entertaining—unless you were Hermione, of course. They were all laid out on the lawn on a break between Nicholas's advanced potions and Bathsheba's advanced runes lecture, the Hogwarts instructors having once again jumped at the chance to tutor at Potter Castle over the summer.

Clementine Malfoi looked over interestedly. Fourteen, Beauxbatons student, one-quarter Veela, tanned, toned, and very, very cute with a completely innocent face that disguised a razor-sharp mind and a very mischievous soul, she was taking advantage of the tutoring for the summer. Ginny was very interesting with that flaming hair, milk-white skin, tight body, and hint of massive magical power lurking in there. Sure, she was a little flat and boyish still, but coming on nicely. Something might have to be done here. This Neville boy was interesting, too; much too self-effacing but very competent, and he adored plants.

Clementine nodded. She would need to speak to Mother, who would speak to Beatrice, who would talk to Narcissa, who would speak with Hermione. A contract could at least be arranged; after all, they had the trunks. Harry was marvelous, but really there was no sense even trying that. Oh, sure, he would no doubt be massively skilled, but he was so involved with so many already. Including Aunt Beatrice, cousin Josephine, and a few of the older Malfoi witches and Veela. No, he wasn't a long-term prospect, and a dalliance there would get you killed unless Hermione approved—of course Hermione would approve of anything he showed the least interest in—but no. He was committed, too committed to too many for any new ones to get in.

Daphne watched Clementine watching and smiled. Hermione sighed with relief. Finally! What took them so long? Neville is good-looking and Ginny's very cute.

And not the power couple here, Hermione. Narcissa smiled smugly. She was in the bond now, no question.

The inner circle turned and beamed at her and Narcissa shuddered from a very aggressive mental hug from Nym. Good, you're finally here with us full time, Cissy.

Yes, Nym. Uh, Nym, what was that you did? I mean, I am your aunt.

Nym's laughter filled the bond. Oh, now you think of that! Too late. I've ridden along every time he shagged you.

Narcissa's forehead creased. Susan sat up and reached up to rub her forehead smooth. You'll get wrinkles. Don't worry about it. After all, it isn't Padma riding along shagging Parvati.

Padma shrugged from where she lay on her back on a towel and her breasts shifted interestingly. Some moralities are outmoded by the bond.

Tracey distracted them by nudging Daphne. "Look at Millie."

Daphne looked and chuckled. Millie was lying with her head on a washboard set of abs belonging to Greg Goyle, who had come a monstrously long way in a year. He would never be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but he was smart enough and very proficient at the combat magics, as well as being built like a Mr Universe contestant. Also, he was obsessively devoted to Millie. Millie was smiling all the way to her eyes. Harry beamed and the inner circle's breath was taken away by how happy he was for her. Millie was more of a very dedicated vassal; sure, she'd been getting her dose directly from the source, but she wasn't really into full sex with Harry, no matter that he could make her head cave in—well, nearly. It was just sex. Harry wanted her to be happy, all of them, really. It was one of his life goals. And Millie was happy. She would forever be an ecstatic vassal. Her family were another story like Greg's.

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That evening Emma smiled as she gaveled the meeting to order in the firstborns' hub trunk. It was really the firstborns', Squibs', and magical creatures' hub trunk, and they all used the mansion it contained for meeting rooms and parties. It did have an enormously expanded great hall that could accommodate hundreds, as it did tonight. "Good evening. This will be the last meeting for the summer. I'm sure we all have plans and want to spend some time with our children or families."

She waited for the clapping to die down. "We've passed out handouts that detail everything we know about the events at Hogwarts this year, and, as always, Harry will gladly answer any questions you might have that aren't covered." They didn't need to know it would be a group of the Coven unless they didn't know the answer; then Harry would get the question.

"The new students for next year have all met their sponsors." Emma nodded to the sixteen Potter vassals. "And the families that have recently had magical children have been contacted. They will be showing up in your local groups over the summer. Please make them welcome. Now, unless there is any new business?"

Emma hoped for an early night tonight. Harry had been in rare form lately and so, therefore, had the bonded. Hermione was a complete joy to be around, the witch to know; erudite, beautiful, confident, and fully in charge of those Malfoi Veela. It made a mother so proud.

M. Thomas Atwater, a half-blood product line manager for SSWA, disappointed her. "Mrs Granger. While we appreciate what you, our sponsors, and His Grace have done, we are British. Understanding that the Magical world functions along manorial lines, we would like at least some formal representation before His Grace. To that end I have prepared a scheme I believe would satisfy our needs and allow us to better help His Grace provide for us and defend us, as is his charge under the manorial concept."

Emma blinked. Thomas took the vast silence as consent and launched into his scheme. Soon they were all rapt. Thomas had mirrored the current magical world and then streamlined it and put in the best people or creatures for each job. The werewolves were pleased to find themselves listed under Security Forces. Of course all lines flowed up to Harry, but oh, my, this was good.

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Alastor Moody looked at Nym as they strolled down the magical alley in Manchester on a training mission. "I would speak to your lord, Tonks, not least to thank him for this leg. It's great to be out here without being recognized."

Nym blinked. Her eyes had a green ring around the light blue they were today. "So, not buying the Matriarch thing, then?"

Moody tapped his magical eye and Nym winced. "Never have—well, not since I saw you and the Matriarch together. By the way, those contacts of yours—they helped you with that top of the class mark in Stealth and Tracking, didn't they?"

"Aren't you Dumbledore's man, though, Alastor? Yes. The contacts, like your eye, help me a lot."

Moody bristled. "The Moodys are their own! Sure, I've worked with Albus, but something's wrong with him. It's becoming more and more apparent. Your lord and the Black are the only real hope left, at least for those who don't want to be servants of the Light or the Dark. I'll not be a servant. Shouldn't you have been ready if you were going to be so blunt with that question?" He looked at her eyes. "Oh, I see. That won't save you from a close-range Killing Curse, him being ready to be here instantly like that."

"It might not, but I would hate to be the one who cast it. Harry would torture them for a thousand years before he let them die and moved on to their son. Even if this vest worked as planned. Sorry, Alastor, no offense intended with that Dumbledore comment. Harry will be glad to meet with you. Sirius, too. After our tour today?"

Alastor nodded. "Now, let's go check this report on Jugson. Is that what he plans for Dawlish?"

Tonks chuckled. "Harry says I can have him first, but he gets to kill him."

Alastor grunted. "So, no hope for Dale, then."

Nym shook her head. "None. Harry wants people to remember. It will be spectacular."

Moody nodded and watched Tonks move. She was well balanced and smooth. "How do you do that with the mass of that vest?"

Nym blinked. "Uh, mass? Oh, got it." She shrugged. "I've always worn it. It's a part of me now; I'm used to it." She grinned as Alastor grumbled. Amelia was working to get the money to supply the vests for all Aurors. He would have to train for a year to be proficient with that much extra mass on him. The vest were charmed weightless, but the laws of motion were immutable and the vest retained its mass.

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That same day, the twenty-fifth of June, late in the morning, Sirius and Remus fled the sitting room of Potter Castle and went to find a drink. Who knew you could talk about the paper on which a wedding invitation was printed for three hours? Sirius sighed. "We'll never make an August twenty-first wedding at this rate."

Remus nodded. "It does seem more involved than I thought it would be."

Sirius barked a laugh. "Pity poor Harry. His wedding will be the worst ever. Every one of the mums will want to be involved."

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Frank, Alice, Augusta, and Neville climbed out of the limo Harry had provided in Ottery St Catchpole just at lunchtime, and Frank led them to the house.

Arthur had taken the day off, Molly had scrubbed up the boys, and Ginny was nervously pacing in a very pretty sundress.

Frank looked at the house and smiled. Arthur was such a character; only he would have a house as crazy as the Burrow. He had to have made it lean like that on purpose. Frank raised his hand and knocked at the door.

As the knock reverberated inside the house, Molly had a flashback or mental review of the chain of events that had led to the present. Ginny had written her a letter hinting that she was interested in the Boy Who Lived. Molly had thought about it and smiled. That little black-haired, green-eyed boy who had kissed her the year before? He was a cutie, and the Potters were well off. She had spoken to Arthur and they had agreed that this could be fine. Then that party at Potter Castle, the birthday party—parties, really. She should have seen it wasn't Harry Potter. That Granger girl and the Patil, Greengrass, and Bones girls had Harry's complete attention. Well, maybe not complete, there were all those other girls; but it was fairly obvious that Harry Potter was taken, a lot taken.

Neville Longbottom, the anointed Boy Who Lived, had captured Ginny. That service contract had not been a surprise, at least to Molly. Ginny could enter into it with a wizard within two years of her own age even without her parents' consent. Of course, that was just not done, but it was legal. Molly had sent back instructions, given her approval, then cried for two days when Arthur wasn't home and the house was empty. She had longed to talk to someone about it and had finally had to speak to Minerva. Even thinking of talking to Dumbledore made her physically ill.

Now Neville Longbottom had saved Ginny from a horrible fate at the hands of that Draco No Name. It was like a storybook, really. Molly looked up. Arthur had opened the door and let the Longbottoms in. Molly shook hands with Frank, kissed Alice's cheek, curtsied to Augusta, and crushed Neville to her in a hug that stopped his breath. "Thank you, Neville, for saving my Ginny."

Neville managed to extricate himself and smile. "I was very glad to, Mrs Weasley."

Molly wiped away a tear. Arthur cleared his throat. "Well, we have a lunch laid in the garden."

The families trooped outside and enjoyed a fine afternoon together. Neville and Ginny walked off holding hands with the other kids, and the parents watched, smiling. Arthur sighed. "Ginny is in a right state. We're going to Egypt on the eleventh of August to see her brother for two weeks, you see."

Alice looked at Molly. "Ginny is bonding to Neville. It's not good to separate them now."

Molly wrung her hands. Arthur looked at her. "Bonding?"

Molly nodded. "No question. Accelerating now since the events at the end of term."

Arthur frowned. "I really wanted her to see Egypt and Bill. It's been a few years since she saw him, and this might be the only chance she has to see Egypt." He sighed. "So she could stay with the Duke and Duchess Potter?"

Molly nodded. "I haven't spoken to Hermione, but I was going to ask her."

Frank cleared his throat. "I think Neville could travel to Egypt with or at the same time as you. A young man should see the world at least a little." Frank knew about the trunks, as did the twins; obviously the other Weasleys didn't yet.

Arthur smiled. "We'd be happy to have him."

Frank smiled back. "He'll pay his own way, Arthur, but I'd be happy if you could keep an eye on him for me."

Arthur opened his mouth to say something about the money and Augusta cleared her throat. "Fine idea, Frank."

Arthur clapped his mouth closed.

Down by the pond Ron sat with Neville and engaged him in conversation at every opportunity. The twins watched and chuckled. Ginny was going to explode any second.

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"GINNY!"

"Thank you, thank you, thank you, Hermione! Neville is coming with us! I know it was your idea—well, yours or Harry's."

"Ginny! Oh, gods!"

It was late the same evening and in the master bedroom of Potter Castle. Harry lay with his head propped on his bent arm and smiled. Ginny had burst into the room and dove on Hermione, and after her little speech she had slid down and was now face-down in Hermione's crotch. Hermione was resisting, but Ginny was really enthusiastic and very aggressive. Hermione wouldn't last much longer.

Padma wriggled her butt against Harry and he unfolded his arms and reached down and around, cupping both breasts. He pulled her over onto her back and began one of the detailed inspections coupled with lovemaking that he was becoming known for.

Narcissa looked at Susan. "Will her vassal oaths hold? I mean, Harry just shagged Hermione; Ginny has to be getting a belly full of him from Hermione."

Padma lifted Harry's head. "It will be like Marietta and Cho. When Ginny gets through playing with Hermione she'll go right on with or back to Neville. Randy as she is, she'll probably never stop with Neville. There won't be any permanent attachment; it will just reinforce her vassal oaths and that loyalty charm Harry hit her with." She let go of Harry's ears and giggled as he sought out a nipple again with his lips.

The Coven watched as Harry drove Padma out of her mind and Hermione wrestled Ginny to a massive loss; well, a loss if being driven completely out of your mind and succumbing to a muscle-pulling orgasm is a loss. Weasley could apparently do amazing things to a pussy with her mouth. Harry rolling over onto Hermione and reestablishing his claim afterward by Parseltonguing her erogenous zones while he slid her belly completely full before he took her ass slowly and gently in full view of Ginny had everything to do with Hermione staying in bed until one p.m. Saturday afternoon and Ginny walking around wide-eyed and clinging to Neville when he showed up at the castle.

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Monday the twenty-eighth of June found a new schedule in place, with Moody having an hour a day after six p.m. Moody had shown up with Nym on Friday before the bedroom shenanigans began and talked to Harry and Sirius. He was satisfied they weren't Dark or going that way but were willing to take the fight to the Dark wizards to even the playing field for normal witches and wizards. Interestingly to the Slytherin, he had also asked leading questions about the Light. Narcissa finally pressed him. "Just what are you, Alastor? You don't like the Dark and you apparently dislike the Light equally."

Alastor laughed. "A wizard trying to make my way in the world."

Narcissa raised a brow. Moody shrugged. "It's the fanatics who cause trouble. They can be Light or Dark."

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If anyone in Britain would have agreed with that on Wednesday the thirtieth of June, it was Amelia Bones. "Albus, if you send Dawlish out there, Duke Potter will kill him if Duchess Potter doesn't. There will be absolutely nothing we can do about it. He assaulted a claimed witch, in public."

"Nonesense, Amelia. Dawlish is a trained Auror. He will be able to protect himself until his trial, which will, I am sure, satisfy Harry."

Amelia glared at Dumbledore. "It will cost Dawlish his life, but I'll be there to tell you I told you so. And I will inform the press that this was done over my objections, Dumbledore."

Albus waved her concerns away; as a matter of fact, he smiled. That would only help to paint the Duke and Duchess Potter as loose cannons. "Now, these good wizards you're holding at Azkaban, Amelia..."

"No. I have the evidence on them. They will be convicted and sentenced. The Wizengamot will pay reparation to the families of the inmates involved or those inmates' estates, and they will be incarcerated in the high-security section of Azkaban after their wands are snapped. The Wizengamot has a clear conflict of interest here, so Minister Fudge has agreed with me and appointed an impartial panel of judges."

Albus frowned sadly. "Hardly impartial, Amelia. Four of the five are witches."

Amelia smiled. "I'll tell Augusta, Griselda, Rosmerta, and Minerva you feel that way, Albus. I'm sure Arthur Weasley will be interested in your comments, too."

Dumbledore flinched. Amelia continued, "Meanwhile, the Wizengamot will continue to pay for the Aurors guarding Azkaban until it can come up with appropriate and acceptable candidates who can survive the vetting process the Ministry and the DMLE will undertake."

Dumbledore nearly growled. "This is a complete usurpation of the Wizengamot's authority."

Amelia smiled. "Which they abandoned willfully, allowing or purposely putting deviants into positions of power over the powerless. Sell that one to the people, Albus; please, at least try. I would like a new Chief Warlock; you have become a problem." Amelia caught herself. That was a little too blunt.

Albus narrowed his eyes. "I see. I shall take my leave, then." He stood and left. Amelia sighed. She needed a rest. She had let her temper get the better of her there. She leant her head back and listened to her inner voice telling her that, yes, a little rest with a gorgeous young green-eyed, black-haired wizard would be just the ticket.

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Dale Dawlish made it all the way out of the Ministry and halfway down Diagon Alley before he spotted Nypmphadora Tonks. He made a beeline for her. "So, been waiting for me, then? Well, let's get going. I have a place round the corner," Dawlish announced loudly, and then laughed.

"No, Harry, you promised," Nym said with a smile.

Dale Dawlish looked at her. "Nice try, girlie; old trick, though. Come on; I hate to be kept waiting. You'll be a nice toss for a start."

The gathered crowd looked at each other and took a step back, then another. Nym smiled brightly and waved and a dueling shield sprang into place. "All right, Dale, no waiting, then. Incendio!"

Dawlish grinned and skipped to the side. First he would beat this bitch and then he would fuck her right here in the Alley. "Stupefy! Reducto! Incarcerous!"

Nym swatted the curses down with one hand and returned, "Confrigo! Flagro!" and an entrail-expelling curse left center and right. Dawlish backpedaled.

Harry said from behind him, "Remember, Nym, I get to kill him," and went back to work conjuring parts and assembling his slingshot as Hermione pouted and put the Coven to rounding up the kids in the Alley and sending them away.

"Yes, Harry. I'll do field medical spells on him to keep him alive long enough for you to kill him."

"Thank you, dear. Almost ready."

Dawlish's head followed the conversation as if it were a tennis match.

The wizarding press had now gathered and were recording every word and snapping pictures like mad. Sirius popped in and conjured a tray and started selling popcorn. He soon had the Black elves selling cotton candy and butterbeer.

Dawlish tried every trick he knew and got nowhere. He also only got marked twice, but once was a full-on hit in the ass with an Incendio that burned him badly. He caught glimpses of the building carnival atmosphere, and his constant stream of lewd taunts and comments grew even worse.

Finally he had had enough and cast Fiendfyre at Nym. While she was busy extinguishing it he charged her and got hit with a quick Incarcerous just as she got the Fiendfyre under control. Nym extinguished the Fiendfyre through main effort and the crowd cheered wildly.

Harry ran to her, kissed her, and levitated Dawlish down the street ten yards and into a set of stocks he had conjured. Nym leaned on Susan and Daphne—she was exhausted—and watched as Harry skipped back to his ballista, smiling. "Witches and wizards, this being the second time Dale Dawlish has accosted my fiancée, I take exception. If I were you, I would close my eyes."

Harry turned to his ballista and loaded it with a long wooden spike, six inches at the base. He lined it up and looked up. "Really, I'd close my eyes now."

Harry checked his aim and jerked the lanyard. Five meters of sharpened pine trunk crossed the ten meters to Dale Dawlish's arse and a meter of it disappeared. Dawlish's strangled scream rang over the retching noises that filled the Alley. Harry released the stocks and levitated the trunk into a hole that appeared in the middle of the cobbled alley. He turned to the reporters with his aura unsuppressed and his eyes glowing a weird green. Cameras flashed. "Next time I won't be so nice." The crowd was silent; Dale Dawlish's death rattle settled over them as Dale slid another meter down the spike, its sharpened point exiting his throat and cutting off the horrible noise. Harry looked into their eyes and disappeared. The crowd exploded in screams and protest. The Magical Law Enforcement squads were overwhelmed and had to call for reinforcements.

Amelia Bones arrived with them and was set on by the press. "Madam Bones, when will you arrest the rising Dark Lord Potter?"

Amelia sighed. "Harry Potter is the Duke Potter, Rita. Nothing he has done today or up to today exceeds his authority. He can in fact dispense high justice, as he has done today. In fact, he warned the Wizengamot that if the former Auror Dawlish was released he would kill him. I myself warned the Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot just this morning that releasing the former Auror Dawlish was tantamount to a death sentence, Rita.

"In the last few years a callous disregard for witches has crept into wizarding society in Britain. I would advise all those who practice that callous disregard that those days are over. The Black and Duke Potter have both expressed their displeasure.

"I would hope that Duke Potter does not continue to dispense high justice in such a spectacular manner, but that remains to be seen."

Amelia turned to Dawlish's impaled corpse and shook her head; then she Apparated away almost silently. Harry had to let her remove this; it was hideous, something from the Dark Ages.

The press looked around and their eyes fell on Sirius. "Popcorn, peanuts! Get your popcorn right here, folks." Sirius cleaned them out of their pocket change through the simple expedient of holding out a bag of popcorn or peanuts every time they asked a question and fixing them with his all-black eyes. They couldn't leave him alone and they couldn't not pay when he looked into their souls. He never answered a single question. He did, however, make a comment after his tray was empty and just before he disappeared. "Did you all notice former Auror Dawlish had his wand in his hand the whole time?"

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"You will not do that again, ever, Harry!"

Amelia stood watching quietly as Hermione was angrily hysterical.

Harry nodded. "I shouldn't have to, Hermione."

Hermione burst into tears in her position in his lap. "Ever, Harry, never again! You won't! That was inhuman."

Harry hugged her. Daphne said, "As compared to the real method of impaling someone it was actually quite humane. Dawlish lasted less than a minute; historically it took days for impaled people to die sometimes."

"DAPHNE!"

Daphne sighed as Hermione's harsh scream that was mostly retching penetrated the room, but she replied, "It had to be done at some point, Hermione. Now perhaps the casual idiots won't try Harry or us and won't have to die. Dawlish had his wand the whole time. The press will have seen it. It will scrape off the idiots, and since they have no way of knowing who we are…."

Harry pulled Hermione tight to him and a single tear tracked down his face. "I don't want to hurt you, Hermione, but I'll protect you if it kills the whole planet. I-I didn't want to do it. I know you think I was trying to be funny, but it had to be horrific. Just killing him wouldn't—wouldn't—" Harry couldn't continue and laid his head on hers.

Amelia stood silently watching and thinking. Good, he isn't a complete unfeeling beast. She had never seen him stutter before. This might take a while to get over, but it was good that way, right?

Moody stumped into the sitting room. "Amelia, what are you doing here? Fudge is trying to issue arrest orders for Duke Potter."

Amelia growled, then barked, "I came to ask Harry to take down that horror in Diagon."

Moody harrumphed. "Leave it, I say. Good object lesson for idiots."

Amelia rolled her eyes and opened her mouth, but Harry cut her off. "Otto is seeing to it, Madam Bones."

Amelia started. "What happened to Amelia, Harry? We had made so much progress!" Her outraged pout brought a laugh and she smiled. "Now, I'm off to the Ministry to stop Fudge from committing suicide, though I don't know why."

Sirius stood and raised Narcissa. Susan joined them. "I'll—uh, we'll go with Amelia."

Moody nodded and stumped along behind.

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Cornelius Fudge had presented an opportune target for the press and had reacted in a way that made them nearly orgasmic with glee when he saw Dawlish's corpse impaled in the middle of Diagon Alley. He had Flooed to the Ministry, trailed by the reporters, and ordered the immediate arrest of Harry Potter. The Auror Captain on duty looked over her pince-nez glasses and refused that order in no uncertain terms. "No." It wasn't her fault the idiot had brought the press along and refused advice, instead giving orders that couldn't be followed. That he was about to get a lesson in magical Britain's real system of government wasn't really her concern, either. If the idiot fired her she could get a job at SSWA tomorrow for more money, with better benefits, retirement, and equipment. Plus she could sue him stupid—well, stupider—for wrongful termination.

Cornelius fairly glowed red. "You are refusing an order of the Minister of Magic!"

Martha Masters sighed. "An illegal order. The Black and Duke Potter can dispense high, middle, and low justice as they see fit. They're outside the system. No, that's not right—they are the system. The authority of the DMLE devolves from the Queen to them and from them to the DMLE. If Duke Potter walked in here and blew your head clean off I would call for an elf with a mop and bucket and ask him what else I could help him with. The Dukes of Magical Britain are not signators of the Magna Carta or any follow-on treaties or agreements. Magical Britian is Manorial, the Six Dukes' Manors, in fact. All power derives from the two Dukes; well, unless the Founders' heirs are found, then it would be six Dukes again."

Cornelius Fudge's eyes rolled back in his head and he went straight over backwards. His head sounded like a pumpkin splitting when it hit the floor. Cameras flashed and Martha sent a Patronus message to the duty medic. The press turned to her. "So, the Wizengamot and the Ministry have no power, then?"

Martha snapped, "I didn't say that, Rita! In this case they would advise the Duke of what the people thought and they could possibly censure Duke Potter."

Rita's eyes glittered. "And what would this censure accomplish?"

Martha rolled her eyes. "Get me a better job, because the Duke would probably not take their verbal admonishment well and he might withdraw his authority and his grace, leaving at least half of the Wizengamot without titles, therefore without seats, and the Ministry without authority. I suspect his godfather, the Black, would back him up completely and remove his authority and grace also, and that would take care of the rest. Didn't you pay any attention in History, Rita, or were you too busy swapping spit with Rookwood?"

Rita frantically looked about. "So who can protect us from this rising Dark Lord?"

Sirius entered the Duty Auror office. "Rita, if that gets printed, nobody will protect you because I will kill you and then give you to Harry for him to kill you some more. My godson reacted to former Auror Dawlish's multiple extreme provocations with great restraint. He could have killed all the males in house Dawlish and taken the witches for his chattel. He regrets that former Auror Dawlish pushed events to this extreme, but he will not tolerate the abuse of women or children, and neither will I. Harry especially will not tolerate the abuse of a woman to whom he is affianced through contract, and I will not tolerate the abuse of a Black witch, full stop. The wizarding world should be glad it was Harry. If it had been me, Dawlish would still be burning and screaming in the middle of the Alley. Anyone care for a demonstration?"

The reporters backed against the wall away from the black-eyed Sirius, who had black flame dripping from his hands.

Amelia, Narcissa, and Susan looked at each other. This wasn't going well at all. Obviously Sirius and Harry had to be kept from contact with the press. Amelia stepped forward. "Any questions?"

Rita immediately fired off, "So will you be pursuing the Dark Lord Pot—AAAAIIIIIIIEEEEE" Her scream went on and on in the silent room as the flames crawled over her body.

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Several hours later Dumbledore was actually whistling as he went about the halls of the Wizengamot section of the Ministry. By all reports Potter had impaled Dawlish, in public. Now the Kneazle was truly out of the bag and the press would vilify the little beast. Oh, he would survive, but the sheep would flee screaming from his presence and he, Dumbledore, the Lord of the Light, would be there for them to rally round with the other Boy Who Lived at his side. He threw a pinch of Floo powder into the fireplace in his Chief Warlock office. "Rita Skeeter!"

The call bounced and his head popped back into his office. That was odd; Rita was normally so reliable. Ah, well, a letter, then.

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Melba rolled her eyes. "They'll be fine. They had a spat, scared each other. They'll work it out."

The mums looked at her with raised brows. Hermione was still curled in Harry's lap in the overstuffed armchair. The inner circle was gathered around them silently. They hadn't moved other than for slight shifts of position in hours. Emma frowned, worried. "Shouldn't we be to the make-up sex by now?"

Melba sighed. "Remember your first married spat, dear, the bad one where you told him not to do something and he totally ignored you in public?"

Emma nodded. "Yes. This will take a while, then. Amazed she's sitting in his lap."

The other mums nodded.

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Dumbledore waited for the morning papers at his house in Hogsmeade with great anticipation. The Prophet owl arrived and Dumbledore grinned and snapped the paper open. But instead of the three-inch black headlines he expected, he saw a normal headline: "DUKE POTTER ANNOUNCES HIS RETURN". What? Dumbledore quickly perused the article that mentioned—only mentioned—Harry killing Dawlish for his second assault on Harry's fiancée, while it viciously castigated Dumbledore for releasing Dawlish, against advice and counsel, pending his trial. What the hell was this?

Why, the second headline was even bigger: "NYMPHADORA TONKS, FIANCÉE OF DUKE POTTER, A BLACK WITCH". Thi article was longer, too. Details of the rogue Chief Warlock, page two. Is Dumbledore at fault for the shocking lack of knowledge of our political system? Op ed, pages five through nine. Dumbledore promotes the abuse of witches? Page eleven! What? This was going too far! Dumbledore flung the paper down with a snap and strode to his fireplace, throwing in a pinch of Floo powder. "Rita Skeeter!"

"We are sorry, but this Floo address has been disconnected."

Dumbledore stood and turned abruptly, coming to himself in the dooryard of Rita Skeeter's modest home. He knocked on the door. Rita opened it and then tried to slam it closed. Dumbledore had the door in an iron grip, though. "Good morning, Rita."

"What the hell is good about it? Every time I even think of the rising Dark Lord Pot—AAAAIIIEEEEE!"

Dumbledore stumbled back as the woman burst into flame, black flame. "I see." Godsdamned Sirius fucking Black! How had he learned about that power of his House? "Well, I will take my leave, Rita. Try not to think of it, dear."

"AAAAIIIIEEE, BASTARD! GET OUT, OUT!"

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Cornelius Fudge looked at his office door. There had been a noise, he was sure of it. He kept his wand in his hand. How was one supposed to rule, for the greater good of course, when these Dukes could just sweep in and kill him and everyone would sit around drinking tea and commenting on their technique? He needed more guards. Somehow he had to break these Dukes' power, now!

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"Aunt Amelia?"

"I asked how we were, Susan."

"We? So, admitted it, then?"

"Susan!"

Susan, lying on her towel, rolled over and laughed. "We're fine. Hermione and Harry are in their own private little world but they let us, the inner circle, in, too, and they're fine. Just don't expect much activity out of them for a while. Well, not external activity. They're very focused on each other and us right now. Classes will be fine. Victoria is moving on the purchases of the properties with the Goblins. Padma and the other 'Claw types are working on the ward sets, and so many other projects I don't think even Padma can keep them straight. Daphne and Tracey are working on the marketing and sales end. Lavender, Parvati, and Kristen's No Secrets line is shooting their adverts with the so-inclined Malfoi witches and some of the Squibs as models. Harry will never approve them going in magazines or the paper, but they're very nice. Fudge has lost his mind and is desperately seeking a way to break Harry and Sirius's power. We don't think he'll be able to subvert magic, though, so we're fine, and that's giving me an opportunity to work. I think I can have Fudge firmly in Sirius's vest pocket by the end of the summer. We're fine."

Amelia nodded. "Speaking of Sirius, I need to talk to him. I need him to terrorize Cornelius a little for me."

Susan frowned. "Perhaps we should start thinking long term. Instead of terrorizing Cornelius, perhaps we can appear to be conciliatory without giving him anything of substance. I'll talk to Eliza."

Amelia smiled and stroked Susan's hair. "Such a good girl, always thinking."

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"Now, Sirius, no lighting people on fire this time. I want a chance to talk to Bella."

"Like I don't, Cissy?"

"Well, don't light the guards on fire, then."

"Grrrrr."

Narcissa laughed. "You aren't Harry, Sirius."

Sirius pouted. "How come he gets all the respect?"

"Because. Now here we are." The Auror opened the cell and stood well back, wand at the ready, suppressing his grin. The cell was scrubbed clean and so was Bellatrix. Bellatrix looked at Sirius. "Who would have thought a malformed blood traitor like you would mature into the Black, and wielding the powers, too?"

Sirius grinned. "And you, you cow, who would have thought you'd spend all these years in prison rather than on your knees entertaining pure-blood faggots?"

Narcissa's mouth opened and closed soundlessly as Sirius took Bellatrix in his arms and hugged her bony frame to himself, crying in her hair as she wet his shirt with her tears. It was as if they had just left a Black family function a few moments ago, the same harsh words and tender touches. Narcissa shook her head; so it was still that way, then. She should write a book. All this unrequited and unrequiteable love; she'd have virgins in tears for years.

Bellatrix finally pulled back. "What took you so long, Siri?"

"Sorry, Bell. It's been hard to get here."

Narcissa looked at her sister. "Bellatrix, do you know what's happened? What you did?"

Bellatrix snorted. "Of course. My lord turned to Voldemort and took me with him. I've been faithful to him. I took Voldemort's Mark and helped my lord in his work."

Narcissa narrowed her eyes. "And suddenly you are lucid and fairly calm. Still our parents' child, apparently, though a howling blood purist."

Bellatrix shrugged. "Rodolphus has lost his mind. The Dementors, I think. I have him boxed off in a corner of my mind or I'd have been vulnerable to those deviants outside my cell. Who else's daughter would I be, Cissy?"

Sirius looked into her eyes. "So you never had to..."

"No, you pervert!" She looked at him. "It excites you, though. I always knew you wanted me."

Sirius blinked. "Bell, how did you make that particular leap? I never laid a hand on you, and we fought like cats and dogs."

"Because you want me, Siri. You've always shown your interest in me that way." Bellatrix pouted. "I'm married, though, and until something can be done about my bond, well, we can't, Siri. Rodolphus may be mad, but he's still powerful. Even then we're first cousins, Siri. I mean, it has been done, but too much in our family." She sighed sadly.

Sirius leaned his head into Bellatrix's shoulder and his shoulders shook. Bellatrix patted his head. "There, there, Siri. We'll figure it out."

Narcissa covered her mouth. She could actually see Sirius's silently laughing face. She shook her head. "Fine, Bell. Now, our Healers say you're fine, in all respects. How is that?"

"Narcissa, do I look stupid? Dark magic makes you sterile unless rigidly controlled and limited. Really, a Cruciatus or two a day is all you can get away with of the Unforgiveables. The Killing Curse is nearly instantly addicting and the Imperius rots your brain like a banana in the sun. That's why we always took some lower-ranking Death Eaters with us and I taught them the blackest of the black arts as quickly as possible. The Crucio is a great motivator. They never lived long in service, well most of them; a few made it for years. I mean really, why would I risk one of the old lines' scions? Poor Rodolphus is already very confused and thinks he loves his brother Rabastan. I was just making headway when Rodolphus' lord was killed and we were captured. Shame, really; a few more months and he would have taken me."

Sirius had sat up and Bellatrix reclined across his lap. He rubbed her ribs gently. He looked at Narcissa, whose face was a mask. The Auror stepped up to the bars. "Lord Black? Time, sir."

Sirius nodded. "Bell, we'll be back next week. Keep well, smelly git." Sirius kissed Bellatrix on the temple and stood handing Bellatrix to Narcissa, who took her time leaving and held the Auror's attention, hugging Bellatrix as Sirius left the cell. While the Auror was distracted Sirius ran scans on both Rodolphus and Rabastan in the next cells down. He turned and looked in the cell behind him and smiled. Severus Snape glared back at him like a demented scarecrow. Sirius hadn't felt so good in days, months. It was better than sex; well, no, but it was close. Snivellus looked like absolute shite. Pale, rail-thin, sores leaking pus over his visible skin. It was a glorious moment. Narcissa shook her head and towed Sirius away like a little boy from a candy store window.

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Back in Grimmauld Place Narcissa looked at Andromeda and Sirius. "Okay, so at first blush she seems quite mad." They had already shown Andromeda their memories.

Sirius shrugged. "No worse than she ever was. There are levels and levels to Bell. She was perfectly rational explaining it all to us, but the explanation is mad."

Andromeda nodded. "She was always a bit like that. She could accept any rationalization that reinforced her perception of the purity of blood. Except for taking you, Sirius. Somehow she got it in her head that you were to close to provide viable offspring otherwise you would be her slave. She was also very, erm, cagey I think they call it. She reads people really well and can adapt and tell them what they want to hear. I learned how to see through it. Perhaps I should visit her."

Sirius rubbed his hand through his hair. "We'll need professional help with her. Meanwhile, your visiting might get us closer to the truth, Andi. And I never laid a hand on her."

Andromeda blinked. "For what? She's a life sentence, Sirius. Oh, and we know, but you can't deny she interests you, or did when you were young."

Narcissa chuckled. "We've decided not—a life sentence, I mean. As soon as we can get her in shape we're going to take her and the Lestrange brothers from Azkaban, mate Bell to Harry, and kill the Lestranges like we did Lucius. We'll save the names and lines and everyone will be happy. The girls and I are working the whole thing out. Harry will agree once we get two or three candidates for each of the Death Eater wives to marry, either cover or for real. Sirius might have liked her like that once, but not any more."

Andromeda actually pounded her head on the table they were sitting at. Sirius and Narcissa looked on, concerned.

Chapter Twenty Two

Boil thou first i' the charmed pot

"Hermione."

"Yes, Harry."

"I love you and I'm sorry."

"Not that I mind you telling me in public or doing these physical exams in private, Harry, but are you going to wake me up like this every day for the rest of my life? Not that I would mind, love."

"Yes."

Hermione smiled and hugged Harry's head to her belly. "Promises, promises, prat. It's been a week, you know. I'm still here, it's still me."

"Hey! It isn't about that any more—well, not completely. Somehow I just can't resist looking you over."

Hermione giggled "Pray continue, Your Grace." She stretched luxuriously in Harry's arms, then wriggled around and took his hard length into her mouth and down her throat, forcing him to pull her head up and off as she got woozy from lack of air. Hermione caught her breath and choked herself on Harry again. Harry growled and shrank himself. Hermione pouted and applied suction and every bit of her skill with tongue and cheeks to get him to relax so she could choke herself yet again.

The inner circle of the Coven smiled and got up. Susan walked on tiptoe to the bath. The Coven watched intently; tiptoeing did very interesting things to the rest of Susan, starting with interesting shifts in those magnificent breasts and not leaving out a taut jiggle in a pink arse cheek and tightened muscular legs, all surmounted by the sexiest head of deep red bed-head hair, the kind with hand grips still in it. They kept very straight faces. She had tamed the savage Harry last night—well, after she'd talked him into being the savage Harry—then Hermione had used Harry to tame Susan, in the arse, twice.

Harry and Hermione made PT with the rest and saved their bath time for after PT with the use of a few Scourgifies.

Emma sidled up to Hermione in aerobics. "So?"

"So what, Mother?"

Emma arched a brow. "Don't you 'what' me, young lady. You know what. How is it?"

Hermione rolled her eyes. "Do all of you sit around discussing my sex life all the time? It's fine, if you must know. The night before last Harry shagged me completely bowlegged and last night I helped him shag Susan until she passed out for the third time. This morning I sucked him hard and choked myself nearly unconscious on him. So there!"

Melba chuckled. "We didn't need that much detail, dear. A simple 'we're fine' and a look is all it takes. But it is rather important, especially in a couple as young as you are—the sex, I mean. Later, in sixty or seventy years, it won't be so important."

Hermione spent the next several minutes trying "looks" on her mother. Emma's commentary kept the women in stitches. Especially the "That one's your poopy face from when you were in diapers, Hermione."

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Over in the men's exercise room Sirius was fighting Harry in their now normal morning duel. It was instructive to watch. Moody was coaching Harry on spells as well as Harry taking them from the minds of the Coven, which now included the older but still in childbearing years Malfoi widows and Josephine and Melissa Malfoi.

"TIME!" Moody's shout broke the stalemate Harry and Sirius had on each other, shielding with one hand and casting offensive strings from the other at the same time. Harry returned to his start position, smiling for the first time in a week. Moody groaned. "And now you're having sex again. That's going to play hob with your training, lad."

Harry's stunned face confirmed it to all the men in the room. Harry blushed. "Never stopped, really. Now we're just back at normal levels —well, normal for the Coven. I don't think it will bother me too much, for the training, I mean. I'm much more relaxed and better able to pay attention now."

Moody grimaced while Dan smiled, then frowned, then smiled and frowned some more, in alternating cycles. James, on the tie that hung loosely around Sirius's neck, was busy coaching Sirius. "We can use that against him. A few illusions of the Coven members will distract him. Might not ought to make them naked like we used to do in school, though; he might get angry. Maybe have them stripping, or messing about with wizards."

Sirius began, "James, this is your son, remember, so those are your daughters-in-law—erh, or something—and hey, are you trying to get me flayed?"

James snorted. "I'm trying to keep you in the fight. You know as well as I do that if he was using lethal spells you'd be dead now."

Sirius nodded. "I would have thought my years of experience would matter more, but I think he may be able to shield against anything, and what he can't shield from he dodges. And those curses! His Stunners might be lethal."

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Albus, sitting down to a light breakfast on the top of the turret his office occupied and looked at the paper. Gah! Now they'd gone too far! How dare they accuse him in public like this of being a homosexual? He would sue this time! Elphias's objections notwithstanding, this was going too far. It just wasn't done!

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Andromeda spewed a fine orange pekoe all over Ted. Ted raised a dripping brow. "Something in the paper, dear?"

"Ted, I'm so sorry." Andromeda was on her feet in a flash and around the table with a tea towel, dabbing at Ted as he grinned. She smiled. "I do love you, you know, and I appreciate that glacial calm of yours."

Ted pulled her down and kissed her and then grinned. "So?"

Andromeda looked confused for an instant, then, "Oh, the op ed piece in the Prophet this morning flat-out accuses Dumbledore of being homosexual and posits that if that's true, he shouldn't be allowed to be the Headmaster."

Ted frowned. "Uh, that doesn't make any sense. There are witches and wizards at the school, and no one was complaining when he was apparently heterosexual. He could have been bothering the witches all these years."

Andromeda smiled. "I know, dear, but you know how wizards are—or rather, how they act like they are."

"Ouch! Too early, Andi. I've not had me tea yet." Ted grimaced.

Andromeda grinned. Ted did like to put on that he didn't understand, but he was even more a political animal than she was.

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"What?" Harry frowned in confusion.

"You Turn with the Harpies, Harry, but to do that you have to Turn now, then we wait a few moments and Turn again, but only for a moment or two; and then your last Turned self Turns with them and the real you stays here with us. Or with the us that are here, as we'll be Turning with you when we all come back up-time—well, not all of us, but the group that turned short. We wouldn't dream of missing the babies!" Hermione smiled at Harry.

"What?"

Hermione sighed. "Should I draw you a picture, Harry?"

Gwenog put up her hand like she was in class. "Erm, can I have one of those pictures too, Hermione?"

Hermione put her head in her hands for a moment, then raised her head. "You all trust me, right?" The Harpies and Harry all nodded. "Fine. Hold still, then."

The Coven passed the Time-Turner chain around, pressed close together, and Hermione wound it once and released it. She looked at it intently as the group moved to a different wing of the castle, waited for some signal known only to Hermione, regrouped tightly and passed the chain around again, and then Hermione nodded and wound it all the way up and released it again. They turned for a second and stopped and Hermione looked at the heat shimmering off the Time-Turner. "Good thing we brought more of these. I don't think this one will last. Now, everyone remember, we stay in this wing." They moved off as another group of them appeared behind them. That Hermione looked at them and smiled and led her group back to the castle proper.

I still don't understand the first short hop, Hermione.

It's fine, Harry. Now the other Uses will carry on with the summer while we're here. It will look a little odd, though, as the Harpies are going to be suddenly hugely pregnant for the birthday parties and the weddings. Oh, and don't mind doing this again in an hour or so.

Harry shrugged and then squawked as the Harpies, led by Gwenog, dragged him down on the very nice silk oriental carpet. Hermione blinked. Daphne laughed. "There's no one here but us, Hermione, at least in this wing. Remember, we warded the place like Tintagel."

"Yippee!" Luna's clothes disappeared with a wave of her hand, not to be seen again until after the births and recoveries—well, except on the Luna in the other parts of the castle. Some crafty smiles followed and Harry was suddenly doing support charm after support charm on naked witches.

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Ginny looked at Clementine Malfoi. It was a week to Neville's birthday and there was no doubt what she intended to give Neville, the slapper. Morgana, why doesn't she just suck his cock right here? Ginny stood up from her seat beside the standing Neville, took Clementine's hand, and led her away. Clementine was smirking and thinking, So she will show me her power, fine.

Ginny spun Clementine into a smaller sitting room and glared at her. "As this is my liege's house, I hesitate to destroy anything, but don't think I won't. What do you intend with my lord?"

Clementine braced herself and released her compulsion. "Is he really yours?"

Ginny laughed. "You'll have to do better."

Clementine recoiled from the red eyes and the floating hair, then froze. Ginny's chuckle had stopped her. Ginny walked over to Clementine, who was impressed with the predatory glide the girl employed, and examined the older girl with eyes and hands. Clementine found the experience not unpleasant.

Neville sat down in the other sitting room with a gamut of expressions playing across his face until he suddenly paled and leapt to his feet. Lester shook his head. Kids! Did they never learn? Oi! "Melba, what was that for?" Lester rubbed his triceps where Melba had given him a pinch..

"Taking all the romance out of it, you big oaf!"

Lester grunted and rose. "Harry must have some work needs doing. Where is he?"

Melba frowned. "Coward."

Lester accelerated his gentle wander to a purposeful walk.

Melba smiled and the other wives shook their heads.

Griselda Marchbanks cleared her throat. "As I was saying before we were interrupted by the romance—" a nod to Melba— "I want to increase the standing of Hogwarts, particularly in the areas of recognition of the Dark Arts, the History of the Wizarding World, and Muggle Studies, which will be expanded to a whole department covering all the GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education)-required subjects to prepare our children to take their A-levels and then attend Merlin's College at Oxford, which will be re-staffed. Its endowments still run, as do those at Morgana's College at Cambridge, which will also be re-staffed. The students will be required to be Squibs or full witches and wizards as always, who are capable of passing first the GCSE and then the A-levels, a new requirement from Her Majesty's government, then NEWTs for the wizard folk taking advanced wizarding courses, of course. We, that is, the staffs of the Colleges, will set the other admission requirements over and above the standard of Oxford and Cambridge for both the mundane and wizarding courses."

Emma blinked. "There are universities? Wait—there are wizarding colleges at the universities? The universities know?"

Griselda flushed. "They haven't been attended in, well...since the end of the first great mundane war and the war with Grindelwald, but they're still endowed and propertied. The students always had to meet the Muggle standards of the universities in order to attend. Somehow we just never got back to them. First there was the recovery after Grindelwald, then the immediate or near-immediate rise of an even more powerful Dark Lord as we really just wanted to be happy; and, well, things just got away from us. The population had dropped and then Riddle turned it insular. We, the light-side pure-bloods, helped him with our prejudices. Now the last of the staffs are retiring or have died and we have no students." Griselda shrugged.

The room fell silent as the mothers contemplated how this had happened and what it meant now. Lily frowned from her landscape. "Albus went to which College?"

Griselda's head snapped up and she growled. She hadn't even thought of that. The old bastard knew about the colleges and had deliberately allowed interest in them to wane. She would have to get herself and the others checked for compulsions.

Emma frowned. "Dumbledore keeps going on about Hogwarts being the preeminent school of magic in Britain."

Griselda nodded. "It was—is, but at a lower state."

Emma nodded. "So how did the colleges work, then?"

Griselda beamed. "Oh, well, you don't want your young men and women with your children, and we are wizards. The students took lectures at Cambridge or Oxford along with having their quarters there, and they took labs and did purely theoretical magical research at Hogwarts. They traveled back and forth using magical means. Squibs can Floo, after all. The restricted section of the Hogwarts Library is full of university-level and higher books; Madam Pince has served us very well. We do still have the best publicly available magical library in the world. The labs are scattered over the school now, but if in use again I believe Hogwarts would move them back together to suit the departments, as she used to.

"Haven't any of you wondered at the size of Hogwarts versus her low population? Why, in my day the staff quarters were five times the size they are now. If they aren't occupied they shrink, you know. It was a favorite puzzle of the Charms department in my day, figuring out the null-space charms the Founders had used. Salazar and Rowena applied such elegant solutions, but it took Godric to deal with the heat. Never one to waste, Godric. Apparently he directed it into the bedrock under the lake; keeps the lake slightly warm and unfrozen, and improves the climate around the school just enough to keep it tolerable."

Charlotte Greengrass blinked. "You mean all these years there were…he…Merlin!"

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If you paid strict attention to life around the Potter Coven you could easily become very confused or paranoid as the Coven members appeared and disappeared in different clothes at nearly simultaneous times and the Harpies kept changing sizes of bumps. Barring that the build-up to the now combined birthday bash for Neville and Harry was proceeding apace, with Ginny and Clementine firmly anchored in time and Hermione using that anchor to her advantage.

Of course, paying strict attention to the Potter Coven was precluded by the tumultuous, apparently burgeoning Longbottom Coven forming up and deciding who was actually in charge. Sometimes it was even Neville. Truthfully it was fully Neville, but he had a distinctly different style of command than Harry. Ginny and Clementine were both happy with a softer hand, while they made a few mistakes that the Malfoi, Weasley, Longbottom, and other assorted matriarchs were only too happy to point out to them.

Anyway, the thirty-first of July 1993, a Saturday, rolled around and the party took off in a big way for Harry—all the Harrys. The Harry attending the party, though, got rushed out of bed and into the shower and then dressed and towed out the door to the main part of Potter Castle. He was already well satisfied, goofy even; it had been a fun night, with the Potter Coven playing up outrageously at a slumber party with one male attendee.

Harry and Neville, having stood at the head of a receiving line and greeted their guests, skived off for a moment. Neville looked at Harry. "So Clementine wants to, uh, well, uh…."

Harry looked at Neville and laughed. "Shag you rotten and get contracted, hopefully to be one of a very few?"

Neville flushed crimson. "Errh, yes."

"Good, have fun." Harry frowned. "This isn't just about her compulsion, is it?"

"Gah! No, Harry!" Neville looked around then leaned in and confided. "That compulsion thing the Veela do freaks me out a little. I mean, I feel it, but apparently not like Ron. He's completely useless when a Veela is around."

Harry grinned and nodded. "Me, too, Nev, on the freaks-me-out part. It has no effect on me, and it seems to piss them off no end when it doesn't. Ron is useless when any girl with breasts is around—a little gross, really. Glad you aren't that way."

Neville smiled and nodded, then suddenly turned serious. "Harry, you know we can't keep getting lucky. Someone's going to get hurt if this thing with Riddle keeps on. I want to talk to Dumbledore and reach some kind of accommodation with him. We can use him."

Harry rolled his eyes. "You waited for the party to bring this up, Nev? Come on, let's get through today and then we'll talk about this some more. I think it's a lost cause, though. He's a million years old and will never listen to us. The others, the Death Eaters, they're just bullies. I'll not have them around when it's done, one way or the other, and you need to stop falling into Dumbledore's little manipulations."

Neville eyed Harry and blushed slightly. "You'll not, Harry? You're thirteen, remember."

Harry looked up at Neville and grinned. "I know. It's fantastic, isn't it? Come on, we have witches to mess about with!"

Harry took off running, leading Neville into a day full of the pleasures and pratfalls of youth.

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Another Harry goggled and groaned as, in another part of the Castle, the full No Secrets line was modeled for him. Lavender was curled into one side of him under an arm in a bra and panty set and Parvati, in the same style and color bra and panty set, black satin with a white lace trim—formal, somehow—curled into the other side with his other arm across her shoulders. They described the products by whispering into his ears as the Coven modeled. Harry lasted through the misses' lines before the whole thing dissolved into—well, into Harry, really; a sticky, tired, satiated mess of Harry with a side of well lathered Lavender and Parvati.

Hermione shook her head. "How does he get so sweaty?"

Susan snorted. "Him? Lav and Parvati are dissolving like that hag with the flying monkeys after she was hit with the water on that show on the telly." She wrinkled her nose and the others giggled.

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Friday the sixth of August found Harry in Diagon Alley directly across from the entrance to Knockturn Alley. Cornelius Fudge eyed his quarry. This young wizard was dreadfully difficult to contact, but here he was at long last. One of the two stocks around his neck. How hard could it be to manipulate a child, after all? And no Blacks here to support young Potter. Now, if this meeting could just be made to go the correct way. "Aha! Duke Potter, you shouldn't be out alone, especially here. Let me accompany you!"

Harry eyed Cornelius and managed to stop himself from rolling his eyes or sighing. The Coven inner circle praised and coached. Harry nodded. "Certainly, Minister. Thank you."

Cornelius smiled. "So, out school shopping?"

Harry nodded. "After a fashion. Checking on some properties that I apparently own in the area. Not on Diagon, but in the area." Harry had been watching Dark-side full-bloods he hadn't taken as liegemen fight against the compulsion a hundred yards down Knockturn, lose, and turn back. They knew there used to be more to Knockturn, but they couldn't quite remember what. It didn't matter, really; all they needed was still here or could be gotten via owl order.

Cornelius blinked, then chuckled. "Beg pardon, Your Grace. I forget when I look at you."

Harry stopped and turned to Cornelius. "An easy mistake to make. Why are you so interested in me?" Harry asked bluntly.

Cornelius looked around the alley and waved. Harry smiled. It was really a very good silencing dome. "Let's not be insulting, Duke Potter. You know exactly what interests me: my continued career. To that end I would rather work with you than the other alternatives."

Harry frowned. "There are more options for you than the one other? As far as I can tell, it's the Black or me."

"Don't be naïve, Your Grace. There is the Black's faction, which I believe includes you. Then there is Dumbledore, a powerful wizard steeped in tradition with powerful friends. And last but not least there are those wizards who followed He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named; they are still a coherent group," Cornelius rejoined.

Harry shrugged. "None of whom, aside from the Black and me, have any true power, at least as far as you're concerned, Minister. You need to see Sirius. I wouldn't get involved with Dumbledore and Riddle's followers, if I were in your position. I would hold the Ministry strictly neutral and enforce the law rigorously. You won't want to be involved in what I'm going to do to the rest of them—well, the Death Eaters. What happened to Dawlish will be a pleasant afternoon by comparison. I am not the Black—I lack his sense of humor." Harry waved Cornelius's silencing dome down and walked away.

Cornelius stood lost in thought. So Duke Potter had no ties to Dumbledore or the other faction. That put him firmly in the Black's camp. Good. Fine, as a matter of fact. It simplified the field. He shuddered, remembering the glowing green eyes he had just looked into. Which would be worse: Riddle or Potter?

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"No, Harry, you can't just kill him now," Hermione huffed at Harry.

"It'll save time and angst later, Ne."

"Dawlish. That's all I'll say, Harry."

"Exactly what I'm talking about, Ne. If I do Fudge now, he won't have a chance to make me mad and we won't have to go through another one of those."

Hermione stopped and thought about it. Daphne rolled her eyes. "Harry, you can't kill the Minister of Magic just because he irritates you. Well, you probably could, but you may not. Hermione, what's wrong with you? You're letting him win you with these morning sessions. Sirius and Narcissa will reel Fudge in if it can be done, then we'll have to wait and see. Ne, stop thinking with your heart or bottom instead of your brain. Morgana! All in love and you'll let him use any old kind of logic on you."

Harry pouted. The Coven dragged him away.

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Clementine eased through the door to the guest bedroom and slid into the bed on the eleventh of August. Ginny smiled at her and pulled her down into a kiss. Their experimentation had made them a fast couple; slightly daunting for Neville, but very comforting for the witches. Hermione was massively relieved as now Ginny had someone to focus on besides her. Ginny and Clementine hadn't gone past the oral stage with Neville, and while Clementine was fully capable physically, she and Ginny were building to it slowly. Neville was grateful. "Ginny, you'll be gone two weeks!"

Ginny snorted. "Clementine, really. It's only two weeks, and you'll be here with Harry and the Coven. You'll be fine."

"Stupid contest. I can go with you, Ginny!"

"Ron, Clem."

"Ugh! What's wrong with him? He's always looking at me or you. That's just strange. He knows we're taken. I've seen him look at some of the Jones and Potter witches the same way. Merde, you're his sister!"

Ginny nodded and shrugged. "I don't know, really. I thought us being claimed was supposed to make us unattractive to him—and I am his sister. It's creepy."

Clementine nodded. "You're going to have to talk to your mother about it, Ginny."

Ginny sighed. "I'll think about that later."

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"So, what do you think, Harry?"

Harry shook his head. "I think you should have dumped him the first time around, and certainly after you became the Dark Wizard Longbottom this past year."

Neville grunted. "Easy for you to say, Henchman. He won't be your brother-in-law."

Harry chuckled and nodded sympathetically. "Still, it's no excuse, Neville. She's his sister, for Merlin's sake. Sure, I laughed about it, too, but it's sick when you think about it. The same with the other girls—he shouldn't even be interested in them. Something isn't right with him. You need to be careful down there in Egypt."

Neville nodded. "Thanks, Harry, but you need to be careful up here. I'll be having fun!"

Harry nodded. If Bilius wasn't careful he wouldn't be Neville's brother-in-law, either. Ginny would kill him.

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It was really a marvelous snake; so powerful, muscles contracting and relaxing smoothly in great bundles as they crushed the life from the rabbit. Life was good. She was malleable and intelligent, too. Yes, this could work out well.

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It's amazing, really. How is it that the blood doesn't rush to my head? Oh, well, never mind. Into the forest and away from this dock before they notice.

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Saturday the fourteenth of August was a bright blue clear summer day in the south of France. Harry lay beside the pool at the Malfoi chateau, brown as a nut, lean and hard-muscled. The Veela tittered about him and Hermione lay there rolling her eyes. "Harry, go shag some of these so they'll shut up."

"Hermione!"

"What, Beatrice? They all want it. Mmmph!"

Beatrice smiled. "Thank you, Harry." Harry waved above Hermione as he kissed her into a puddle on her towel. The young Veela watching slipped into the pool; some cooling was in order, and now. Fleur Delacour couldn't believe she was here, even. Sure, it was a social event, the social event of the season, but really! He was so young, as was she! Phhht! Like that mattered, obviously. Who was the one in the pool trying to get images of those hard, tanned young bodies out of her mind, after all? Still, an honor to be invited, and oh, my, wasn't he fun to look at! Fleur smirked. Marie Posey swam up next to her and whispered, "So, would you?"

Fleur blinked. "Would I what, Marie?"

"Let him have you right here, Fleur. The matriarch, she is not joking, she will set him on some of us in a moment or two, to distract him if nothing else."

"Marie!"

"You are interested, Fleur, don't try to deny it. You want more than this modeling contract."

Fleur said nothing. Marie was dead on the money. Sure, the contract was nice, and a way into the world of modeling with what was reputedly the safest agency MMM (Malfoi's Magical Models); but father would go insane. That was exactly why he had allowed her to come here. Duke Potter was so young and yet ultimately responsible. That he was very, very taken was the key. Who had known that the Potter Matriarch could be a complete—well, a complete Dominatrix?

Marie looked at her smugly and chuckled. "You should go home after lunch, Fleur. Hermione will pick his entertainment for this evening then. You don't want to be here for that."

Fleur growled at Marie, who laughed brightly.

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George looked at Fred. "He'll never survive."

Fred nodded sadly. "She'll kill him the next time he monopolizes Neville."

George thought about it. "Why does Neville put up with him, I wonder?"

"Compulsion, maybe? We should ask Bill." Fred rose to go do just that.

Bill looked at the twins working themselves back along the center line of the Nile ferry they were on. "Here they come, Ginny."

Ginny looked forward and smiled. "Not all my brothers are prats, then."

Bill sighed. "Nope, just the two, Percy and Ron. You know, I like your Neville."

Ginny leant up and slapped Bill on the arm. "Mine—get your own! Morgana, what is it with you all?" She glared at him fiercely. Bill looked surprised and Ginny laughed and threw her arms around his neck, kissing him and sitting down in his lap. Bill's blush was epic. The Egyptians on the ferry watched and laughed.

Neville looked toward the laughter and smiled. The Weasley brothers were so thrown by his paying attention to Ron while being excruciatingly polite and obviously wanting to spend more time with Ginny. They didn't even bother to check Neville or Ginny at night, just like Ginny had said they wouldn't. It had been a great trip so far; the trunks were great.

Bill thought he would call a Weasley Brothers meeting and talk to the boys about all of this soon. Something was wrong with Ron, very wrong. Percy wasn't exactly right, either. No charms or curses he could find, but still.

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Harry beamed in the front row of the enormous crowd gathered on the lawn of Potter Castle for the weddings of Remus and Evangeline, then Sirius and Magda. Sirius had elected to go last as the elder house, which meant he could preside over Remus's wedding, and then Harry in his Duke Potter mien would officiate for Sirius.

The summer was flying by and things were going fine. Gwenog, Marilyn, Julia, and the rest of the Harpies were super fun, and the Coven was getting great training in healing from the trainers and in Quidditch from the players. Sure, there had been a few moments, but everyone was trying to get along, which to Harry made all the difference.

Hermione looked at Harry and smiled. Time, Harry. Go on.

Harry rose nervously, moved to the front of the crowd, and flawlessly handfasted his godfather to Magda. Cheers went up all around and the event of the decade got underway. Sirius was in his element. Harry watched and shook his head. His father nodded from the tie Harry was wearing today. "I know, son. Hard to believe, really."

Lily looked over from her brooch on Hermione. "Hard? I still don't believe it. I think it's all a dream." Lily looked at Harry. "Speaking of dreams, how are my grandchildren, and are you making more?"

"Gaaack! Mother!" Harry glared.

Lily was nonplussed. "Well?"

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As Harry and the Coven spent a glorious summer—or two, perhaps even three (it was a little hard to tell with all the groups Turning)—playing, working and gestating, the wizarding and mundane worlds continued to spin and players moved through them with less than the best of intentions, or perhaps intentions that would in the end not be best for the Coven.

Andromeda continued to visit Bellatrix, now with a mind Healer, who flatly stated that Bellatrix was curable and proceeded to attempt a cure to prove her point. She seemed to be making headway. Andromeda watched for the tricks Bella used to pull, but they were absent. She was left unsure.

Dumbledore was neither making headway nor sure, either. While there were plenty of non-aligned Light-side pure-bloods out there, they remembered the last rise of Riddle. They were loathe to commit to a course. One bright spot on his horizon would make the papers tomorrow. Severus Snape had escaped from Azkaban somehow.

Neville, Ginny, and the other Weasleys returned, amidst Harry's golden summer and the hullabaloo surrounding Snape's escape, with tales from the trip that kept the Coven in stitches. Ron, unfortunately, was a cautionary example in most of the tales, and Percy debuted as a idiot in several as well. Hermione was severely disappointed in the process that would let the young man portrayed in those stories rise to Head Boy.

Minerva got all hard-eyed about it after hearing some of the stories. Augusta sighed. "We'll fix that, too. Meanwhile ,we have to get theses GCSE requirements lined up and the instructors hired."

One thorny problem haunted Daphne and Victoria. Daphne flopped on the leather couch in the penthouse office. "Victoria, it's fifteen million, six hundred eighty thousand grains per ton, right?"

Victoria nodded. "UK long ton."

Daphne huffed. "So do we charge our divisions market rate for Basilisk parts by weight in grains avoirdupois or do we give ourselves a break and make it up in the marketplace and on the price of the finished goods?"

Victoria sighed. "Only the research and development division uses Basilisk parts right now. The eyes are a curiosity and have use, but no one on the planet could afford them as they're over a hundred pounds in weight apiece and they sell by the grain for thousands of Galleons. They'll have to be prepared for use—dried, ground, sliced, whatever. They, all the beast really, is useful in several Dark rituals and some obscure healing rituals with Dark elements that Harry wants to be prepared for in case we need to do them. The healings are already being bruited about, and that's why we don't have the eyes on display but stored with the rest of the Basilisk in that high-security vault. I believe we charge R&D full rate and they charge it against the projects, to be added to the per-unit cost later."

"The real advantage to us is that we'll never have to buy Basilisk on the open market as we have essentially an unlimited supply. Harry will vet those seeking the ingredients from the outside for the abovementioned healing rituals—yes, there have been enquiries—and we will charge them full market rate. Meanwhile, the girls find substitutes for the Basilisk ingredients on the industrial scale potions as fast as we find uses for the bloody thing. Apparently that gas chromatograph and all that other stuff Suzanne wanted comes in handy."

Daphne nodded. "You have to help me with Hermione, Padma, Su, and the other 'Claws. They're brilliant, but they just aren't getting the macroeconomics of it all, somehow."

Victoria smiled. "Now?"

Daphne chuckled. "Again with the shagging in the office, Ms Jones?"

"Or the car. That was fun! I'll have the Bentley brought round." Victoria reached for the phone as Daphne blushed, remembering a few days ago when she was literally ridden round London in the back of that Bentley with her feet tied to the hand-hold straps and Harry straddling the drive shaft tunnel.

"Yes, the Bentley," Daphne nodded, flushing slightly.

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Sirius looked over the room and snorted. "Sirius! Sit up," Narcissa sighed.

"I interrupted my honeymoon for this, Cissy. They'd better get on with it." Sirius was more than a little upset. Magda Ivanova Black was responding very, very well to being married.

Dumbledore stood in the raised box at the front of the room. "Members of the Wizengamot, I would like to point out the deplorable conduct of one of our members in the recent past. I speak, of course, of the senseless killing of Auror Dale Dawlish in a grotesque, even medieval manner in full view of the public in broad daylight in Diagon Alley." Dumbledore paused for effect.

Sirius grinned and rose. "I too would like to add my voice to those condemning the member responsible for this heinous crime, and enquire of the Director of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement as to why the moronic miscreant hasn't been brought to justice but instead still stands at the head of this body despite his proven ineptitude. Albus Dumbledore caused the death of the former Auror Dale Dawlish by releasing him prior to his trial and conviction despite warnings from the DMLE and his Grace Harry Potter. For this act I propose that he be censured for a period of ninety days while the DMLE looks into criminal charges.

"Furthermore, it has been noted by the DMLE that prisoner abuse at Azkaban, especially of the witch prisoners, has become so common as to be accepted and expected. I myself can confirm this to be true. As the prison is the direct charge of the Chief Warlock, I propose that Albus Dumbledore be removed from the possibility of control of the prison while the abuse charges are investigated; and that this newest disaster—the escape of the convicted Death Eater, murderer, rapist, pedophile Severus Snape—be resolved and the criminal scum Snape immediately apprehended and executed."

Sirius had not even sat back down when Aidan Greengrass sprang to his feet. "Second! Call the question!"

The Wizengamot exploded. Narcissa looked at Sirius, who smirked. "That'll teach the old bastard to interrupt people's honeymoons."

Narcissa sighed. "So, what are you really after, Sirius?"

"Oh, that's easy: money for the DMLE to buy all the Aurors that Harry vets a set of Nym's gear, Cissy—contacts, vest, forensics stuff, all of that. Well, that and tarring Albus with his own brush. He really should have left me alone on my honeymoon."

Narcissa chuckled. "Apparently. You could give someone a proxy and not come, you know."

"Bite your tongue, Cissy. This is the only fun I get. I'm too old to run around impaling people or crushing idiots' nuts like Harry gets to. I can only stand by and sell popcorn. I have to do it figuratively, in here."

Narcissa leaned over and kissed Sirius on the cheek. "I have only ever been prouder of Harry."

Sirius blushed heavily.

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While this was going on Harry sat amongst a garden of green-eyed babies. Leyland was with him. The Coven watched as he played with his children. Thankfully he had calmed from the deliveries. The new mothers sat watching, smiling. Harry was great with children.

Harry had been amusing during the deliveries and then had collapsed after the last baby was delivered and her mum well and resting. He had been in a frothing frenzy for fifty-two hours by that point. Now he, his children, and the mums were rested and just getting to know each other and their aunts, the rest of the Coven.

The Coven parents and families sat around the periphery of this group watching and smiling. Emma shook her head. "It's like a young pride of lions, really."

Melba chuckled. "More than you know, Emma, or perhaps not. You do realize he has about the same moral code as a young pride lion? The only sure way to be safe around him is to leave him completely alone and not make any sudden moves within, oh, say fifty miles of his lionesses or the children. It's a phase. He'll settle, but everyone should be made aware."

Emma nodded. "Which after careful review of the pure-blood world may be the wisest thing I've heard. I mean, they're essentially crazy—the ones we haven't captured as vassals, anyway. We should just put the word out in the paper or something and kill the idiots who come and challenge Harry."

Melba laughed. "Now you sound like Lester. He loathes them, Light and Dark."

Louisa Parkinson snorted. "He's not alone, either. Peter and I will never be able to repay Harry for the opportunity to stay out of the coming struggle, or at least being able to pick our own side."

Sheryl Davis nodded, then smirked. "Though apparently our daughters are enjoying working off the debt."

The mums looked at each other and giggled.

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September first closed in on Harry and the Coven with an oddly doppler-affected speed. Fast one moment as more projects, Invisibility Cloaks for the Werewolf security squads, the lycanthrope vaccine, more forensics devices, magical biometrics, and others continued to be worked on or were added to research schedules; then slowly, as the Coven was forced to take meeting after meeting with all manner of beings before school took fully half of them away again.

Kristen Thomas, fully matured into a brunette, blue-eyed English rose of a Ravenclaw, being named Head Girl opposite Percy Weasley as Head Boy finally got the attention it deserved and Kristen woke with a goofy smile for the whole week preceding September first. Harry and Hermione both congratulated her whenever they thought of it. Eliza, Ella, and Emma, fully matured seventh years with Kristen, finally stepped in and took some of the congratulations so Kristen would be conscious for the train ride.

Cho Chang surfaced as a separate entity again after spending the summer so subbed to Harry that she appeared to be furniture unless Lester had her working on a project for him. She was a happier witch now, joyful even, a pleasure to be around. She would grow more and more outwardly independent and strong and forever be welcomed back to Harry and the Coven. Melba counseled Hermione over the phenomenon and introduced a few of the independent subordinate witches that orbited Lester in the same way. They never orbited too far away or for long, Hermione noticed. She sighed. Apparently Cho would be with them for a while. Oh well, she was pretty and smart and a very pleasant witch now. Luna smiled and nodded.

All in all a spectacular summer for the Coven and its supporters.

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Minerva looked out at the new staff. She sat patiently waiting for Dumbledore to show up. Augusta was nowhere near that patient. "Minerva, start the programme. Dumbledore obviously couldn't be bothered."

Minerva sighed and nodded. "Welcome to Hogwarts, one and all."

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"There will be no nonsense this year, Albus. You are skating on very thin ice. I wish you would come to your senses and pick either the Wizengamot or the school. You cannot do both well, as has been evidenced by the last few years." Griselda relayed this in a sharp but not hostile tone.

"The Black has set upon me in the Wizengamot, Griselda, and Augusta has somehow turned the school. It is all related to the return of Voldemort. You shall all see in the end."

"Be that as it may—and I do not agree—the Black merely capitalizes on opportunities you provide him; and Augusta could not care less other than for Hogwarts to be the preeminent institution of magical learning in the world that it was in her first days there. Voldemort cannot be your concern when you are running the school, other than keeping him away from the children. These ploys of yours have allowed him into the school twice in two years. To what end, Albus?

"You were a good boy once, Albus, a boy with friends. Seek the counsel of those friends again and heed what they tell you. I can't believe someone hasn't pointed out the madness of that plan with the Stone; and a group of children found the Chamber.

"As Chief of the WEA and Chief of the Board of Governors, I am cautioning you, Albus. As your friend, I'm telling you that I'm concerned for you." Griselda looked at Albus with obvious concern.

Dumbledore sighed, nodded, and left at her obvious dismissal. He would have to be devilishly careful here. He needed control of Severus and Longbottom, but he would have to tread very, very carefully. Griselda was right. The Board and Sirius were laying for him. How had the Board gone so Dark so swiftly? Sirius—well, he was a Black. They always ended up Dark. Too bad about the Potter lad, but he might be saved yet. He would no doubt hang around Longbottom again.

This new curriculum, what a boon that was. The Professors would be frightfully busy teaching that monster, and the students would have six full periods a day, minimum, Monday through Friday. No more free time for the kiddies now; they would be exhausted, too. Yes, definite possibilities.
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