Harry learns something magical about relationships, Belle is in a bit of a spot.
Harry woke the next morning feeling somewhat drained but surprisingly refreshed; his bond with Belle had strengthened considerably from the force of his wizard's vow.
" You are the mother of my child and I will die before I let anyone harm either one of you. This. I. Vow!"
He reached over to gather Marietta into a snug morning cuddle but found that side of the bed empty. "Odd that," he thought, "Marie is normally a very heavy sleeper and enjoys a morning lie in and snuggle."
"Marie?" he called out, no answer.
He climbed out of bed, took down the robe from the bedpost and rolled it over his shoulders, then barefoot, padded into the kitchen's breakfast nook. He smelled fresh coffee and buttery croissants and realized he was ravenous.
Marietta lounged in one of the comfortable cushioned wicker chairs in her gown of emerald gossamer. She sat almost sideways; her legs curled under her. She was lost in thought and didn't hear Harry enter the kitchen.
"A knut for your thoughts?" he said
A startled "oh, you're up!" and she uncurled from the chair to give him a quick peck on the lips, then poured him a half-cup of coffee which he took gratefully.
"I missed you when I woke up, couldn't you sleep?" he asked as he grabbed a warm croissant from the platter.
"No, I had a good night's sleep, but when the sun came up I couldn't go back to sleep so I got up so as not to wake you - you looked very peaceful lying there." She smiled remembering the image.
"Why couldn't you go back to sleep?"
"Quite a lot on my mind."
"Care to share?" he asked, the concern evident in his eyes.
"Did you know you talk in your sleep?"
"Um, no. As I've never slept with anyone before you, no one has told me that."
"I've been listening in on your 'conversations' with Belle." She said, and it looked and sounded like an admission of guilt.
Harry didn't know what to say.
"Harry, you don't have to say anything."
Damn, he thought, how does she do that?
"Y'know, I wondered why, when Healer Dumphries told you that you were 'pregnant,' why you didn't feel the need to rush out and find your bonded mate? That should have been the first thing on your mind, but it wasn't. Do you remember what was?"
Harry thought, "Yeah, I wanted to find you, I wanted to tell you, to tell you that I . . ."
He was afraid how the words were coming out were not what he was trying to say, 'I don't want to lose you' sounded like he felt some degree of ownership, 'I need you' sounded like he was using her, 'I love you?' What did he know about love? Who in his life had shown him unconditional love other than his parents who died for him?
Marietta let the pregnant pause fill the air for a few moments then said, "I know. I actually do know; y'know?"
She took a deep breath then let it out and said, "I told you that night that whatever you want of me is yours Harry, whatever and however for as long as you'll have me."
Harry nodded and said "I remember."
"Harry, do we just suck at relationships?"
"I mean, you and Cho, puleeze, she'd have driven you crazy with her constant need for attention and adoration. And my beloved 'Puff?' He binned me as rubbish my last year at school. And why, exactly did you break off with Ginny Weasley?"
"I didn't want her to be a target, I still don't."
"So why are we a couple?" She looked a little panicked "Are we a couple?"
Harry looked thoughtful. "I was crazy about Ginny, but something in the back of my head says she's got this hero image of me. I don't know I guess she never got over the 'hero of the wizarding world' thing. She's tough, mind you, but she hasn't had nearly the level of training that anyone in this platoon's had. I know she's wanting to be there wherever the action is, but she would just be someone the Dork Tosser could and would use against me, again." Remembering Marie's second question he smiled, "Yes, Luv, we are definitely a couple, would you like to get a tattoo?" he teased.
She felt the tension she had been feeling drain out of her, "how about something with hearts and flowers, or maybe a heart pierced by the Sword of Gryffindor?"
Her smile faded, "you're already bonded to someone with a tattoo."
And that brought them back to the point, the unspoken point of the conversation.
"Harry, tell me, how do you feel about Bellatrix Lestrange?"
"Well first, and this is very important, she isn't Bellatrix Lestrange anymore."
And Harry told Marietta about Belle, and how, while still a child of sixteen she was married off to a much older wizard who twisted her mind and soul and how she had just come back into her own self since the conception of their daughter Alexis. Now she knew love and had a positive focus for her life.
"Um, I don't know a good way to say this so I'll just say it. Marie, every time, from the first night, y'know, the platoon party?
Marietta nodded, "go on."
"Every time we've made love Belle's been there, in my head, helping me, guiding me, giving me pointers on what to do, and when and, and . . ."
At this point the very last thing happened that Harry could have expected, Marietta exploded in laughter, pure unadulterated gut splitting hiccoughing mirth!
Tears streaming down both sides of her face Marietta finally got her breath under control enough to choke out, "Oh Harry, that's the worst chat-up line in the history of chatting-up 'I'm a lesbian, trapped in a, in a man's body!' And in your case it's twue, it's twue what they say!"
Marietta let out a very un-ladylike snort and dissolved into another fit of laughter, face down barely missing the croissant on the plate, pounding the table with her open palm.
Harry was horrified, he looked around for the signaling mirror thinking he needed to contact Healer Dumphries right away; Marietta had actually lost it.
"Oh Harry," she said, finally getting herself under some semblance of control, "it's not a bad thing; as a matter of fact it's better'n you know."
Harry looked puzzled but said "go on."
"Harry, a lot witches have other witches as lovers. It's like, a witch thing y'know?"
He looked confused but intrigued as she continued "d'you not know why I was such a bitch to you in your fifth year?"
He shook his head, eyebrows raised nearly to his hairline.
"It was because I was jealous. Cho needed comfort after, y'know, Cedric, and I tried to help her by being there for her and well, one thing led to another and we became lovers. Cho was my first; I had never had a girlfriend or a boyfriend before her and we were as close as two lovers could be. That's how I know about her need to be the center of constant attention, I didn't mind though; I was 'giddy' in love." She looked wistful "Goddess, what she can do with that tongue of hers. About that time along comes the "Boy Who Lived, Again" and suddenly I'm old news."
Understanding flowed into Harry by way of his link with Belle.
"I get it," he said, "No, really I do get it!"
It was Marietta's turn to look puzzled.
"The reason I didn't feel compelled to find my bondmate, was because she had already accepted my accepting you! She's giving me the word 'proxy,' does that mean anything to you?"
She looked thoughtful for a moment, then answered, "Indeed, it does. In some old wizarding families a witch will allow her husband to be 'taken care of' by proxy when the witch can't 'do her duty' to the Lord of the Manor."
"I'm not sure I like the sound of that, it sounds, I dunno, kind of like sexual servitude or some such."
Marietta smiled and said, "Don't knock it unless you've tried it, and believe me when I say you have, Luv, you have."
Then she sidled up to him tugging on the belt of his robe and whispered, "Most proxy relationships are polyamorous, does that intrigue you m'lord?"
She could tell by his reaction that it did.
"Are you okay with this?" he asked, genuinely concerned.
"Let me think, am I okay with having mind blowing sex with a man who actually does know what a woman wants because of the bond he shares with the other woman in his life?"
She pulled open his robe and sat him down on the chair, then lifting the edge of her gown sat on his lap, enveloping him in the process. He leaned slightly back and she pistoned up and down with the vitality and exuberance of the youth she was.
"Oh Hell yeah!" they all three said simultaneously.
In another part of the cavern Theodore Nott was going crazy with boredom, there had been no 'sport' for several days as the muggles in Derbyshire had instituted community watch programs and other safety and security measures since four secondary school girls had disappeared without a trace two weeks before. "That was a good time" he leered; it hadn't been a good time for the victims to be sure.
Then he remembered that old Rodolphus's widow was in the dungeon and could probably do with some company.
Harry and his Marie were enjoying a long luxurious shower, he was washing her back as she hugged him tightly, which allowed water to pool between her breasts, when she would lean back and the warm water would cascade down their bodies, they were both enjoying the 'waterfall game' when he paled and froze.
"What is it Luv?" Marietta could see the anxious look on his face.
"It's Belle and the baby, they're in danger."
"What can we do?"
"Get Cruz and two cover and concealment specialists; tell Cruz to bring his 'toys' and meet me back here in 15 minutes."
They both exited the shower with looks of grim determination.
Bellatrix had been 'showering' in her pitiful streamlet when she heard the grate open and the ladder descend. She had just put on her clean, dry robe when her visitor muttered "lumos" and a harsh white light flooded the pit.
"Well, aint this cosy n' chic?" a gruff male voice said.
The brogue belonged to Theodore Nott Sr. it was not a welcome sound.
"What do you want Nott?"
"Me? Nuthin,' I just thought you'd like a bit o' brekkers is all."
He placed what appeared to be a bacon sandwich on her bunk.
"Fer a dungeon you got this place lookin' homey."
"That was Healer Jones; he brought me a few creature comforts."
"He t'wernt no healer, in the end he couldn't do hisself any good; flat out told the Dark Lord he wasn't gonna cause the death o' nobody an' that he might as well let im' go f' sayin' so. The Dark Lord says, 'you think you can refuse me?' an Jonesy says, 'with me dyin breath' an' jus like that the Dark Lord kills im.' Jonesy did a service to His Darkness tha' night I tell ya, ain't nobody said "no" to the Dark Lord since."
Belle's grim resolve shattered at the news of the gentle healer's death. She sobbed and buried her face in her hands. Nott gathered her into a friendly hug and made soothing sounds even as he was fumbling to untie the knot at the front of her robe.
When she realized what the Death Eater was doing her first reaction was to scream and fight, but that would have only encouraged the potential rapist. She let her calculating mind take over.
"One of us has on entirely too many clothes" she said huskily.
"Right" he quickly agreed and, grinning like a lascivious baboon, began to disrobe. He pulled out his shirttails then lowered and stepped out of his trousers. Belle undid the tie at the front of her robe and opened it slightly to reveal that she was naked underneath, at least that was what Nott thought, what she was really doing was making sure her legs were unfettered so that she could kick as high and as hard as she possibly could.
As Belle prepares to 'split the uprights,' an Author's Note: I guess it's a common male fantasy to have a polyamorous relationship, so what can I say, I'm male. Although this is primarily a Harry/Bellatrix ship, let's just say Harry has a lot of love to go around. The line "It's twue, it's twue what they say!" is Madeline Kahn's immortal line from "Blazing Saddles."
Hang on Belle, the cavalry's commin!