The Party after the first exercise, the party after that, and some insights into how wizards handle sympathetic symptoms of pregnancy.
"Of all the stubborn, thick headed, ill thought out, stupid . . ." Marietta slammed the door of the bungalow as she entered, heedless of Harry who was on the other side.
"I told him you would react this way" Belle said calmly from the living room couch.
"You knew? Oh, duh, of course you knew, you're only in his bleedin' ead!"
The door opened and Harry came in "I don't see what the problem is . . ."
Marietta spun toward him "don't see the problem? In case you haven't noticed boys aren't built to make babies!"
"Belle, please tell this great lummox what the first potion in recorded history was, it was in Egypt yeah? Five thousand years ago, that's how long it's been around!"
Belle added, "It's generally agreed that the dampening drought was the first potion ever brewed" she looked thoughtful for a moment then added "I think beer was second."
Marietta was on a tear "so lets just ignore five thousand years of magical medicine and decide to 'tough it out' while your bondmate has a baby!"
"Marie, please, listen to me?" Harry soothed.
She sat on the couch next to Belle and glared up at him.
Healer Dumphries told me all that, told me that wizards who are bonded take the dampening drought so that they don't have the sympathetic symptoms of pregnancy, but if I take it we lose our bond, we won't be connected like we are now. Besides, I'm really not pregnant, I just share a few symptoms, there's nothing growing inside of me, well, I hope not anyway."
Marietta started to say something but Harry stopped her with a soothing gesture.
"Marie, I've been so alone, ten years living with those - people - you have no idea, then the miracle that is Hogwarts, friends but never someone who I could really share who I am and what I want to do and that's Belle, and, and you."
"But Harry . . ." she started
"And Belle has lived without love for seventeen years, thirteen of those in Azkaban, we support each other, we complete each other. I can't even think about taking a potion that would cheat us of that."
He lowered his voice so that it was just above a whisper.
"Did you mean it when you said you would stop using the contraceptive spell when we've graduated?"
"Because you want that connection too?"
She nodded again and said "partly."
"That's what I want too. I want the lines of where I end and you begin to be blurred as they are with Belle and me. I'm willing to endure it, the water retention thing, the emotional roller coaster, weight gain even the false labor as you must endure all these things for me if you're going to have my baby boy."
Regardless of her frustration with 'the boy who seemed to have to suffer' she couldn't help but grin "Baby boy, is that wishful thinking or are you a seer now too?"
He shrugged, "hey, we've got a fifty-fifty chance right?"
"But Harry" she pleaded, "this is what our bodies are put together for, every feminine feature we have is built around having the babies, the softness the breasts the wide hipbones. Bottom line - we're supposed to have the babies, didn't the healer tell you what happens to men who undergo the false labor?"
"He said that sometimes the men have hernias and internal bleeding and some pain."
"Always Harry, men in pseudo-labor always have their insides tearing themselves up trying to deliver what's not there!"
"And afterward the healers will wave their wands or crystals or whatever and I'm fine again."
"Unless you DIE!"
"When was the last time a man died in childbirth?"
"Let me see," she thought, "sometime in the last century? Of course that might be 'cause they always take the bleedin' potion!"
He kneeled in front of her "if I promise to take the potion if the pain gets too unbearable will you let me do this?"
"What's your pain threshold like?"
"Oh, very low, I cry when I get a paper cut, really!"
"Liar" Belle interjected, "you've been crucioed by Riddle!"
Marietta glared at him again, he just shrugged.
"Come along Commander" she said with an exasperated sigh "we have to make an appearance at your party, are you coming Belle?"
"All right" she answered and stepped into her slippers.
When the trio arrived the party was in full swing, the Seventh and Ninth Companies were enjoying the camaraderie as Commander Evans (Potter to his friends) pressed the flesh.
"Oi, why don't we combine companies?" one of the revelers shouted "then we'd be the, uh, um . . ."
"The Sixteenth you moron!" someone in the crowd laughed.
"Thas' right, sixteenth, sorry, y'know they say math skills are the first things that go when you drink!"
"I thought it was the todger!" one of the female recruits shouted to raucous approval.
"Knock, knock, knock!" Baxter shouted.
"Drink is the great equivocator!" Morris added.
"It sets a man on, and it puts a man off!" a third voice offered.
"It makes a man stand to, and not stand to!" Baxter rejoined.
"It increased the desire and decreases the performance!" Morris concluded.
"Hey Commander, is that why you're not drinking?" the room reverberated in good natured laughter.
While all this was happening Belle saw one recruit sitting off by himself, and went to offer him some company.
He was startled as her voice interrupted his musings, and then startled again as he recognized her, but he said "I'm all right, ma'am."
"Would you like something to eat, a sandwich?"
"No, thank you ma'am" he said through gritted teeth "I'm fine."
"Do I know you?" she asked, a little apprehensively.
"No ma'am, not me, but you met my Papa."
There was a cold, sinking feeling in her stomach.
"Y'see ma'am, all of the senior staff know who you are, red hair notwithstanding, and I was the one on the hill last week, the one with the rifle."
The ice in her stomach migrated to her bowels.
"My Papa was an auror, just like me, well, in a couple of days anyway. Anyway he went with his team to capture some death eaters a few years back and well, he didn't come back. But they say it was Bellatrix Lestrange that did him, and that she laughed as he lay screaming from the pain."
"I don't know what to say" she whispered.
"Nothing to say ma'am, Commander Potter says you're all good now and I believe him, I believe in him cause he trusts people, y'know?"
"But me, I always gotta think, and I think and I know you want to say "sorry about your Papa" but ma'am" he stood up and reached into his uniform pocket "some things 'sorry' don't make right."
He pulled a rifle cartridge out of his pocket.
"Do y'know what this is ma'am?"
"It's a bullet, isn't it? I saw what one did to a death eater back at the caverns."
"Yes ma'am, right in one. This one is for anyone and I mean anyone who hurts or tries to hurt Commander Potter. Do we understand each other ma'am?"
He continued "all these exercises, they're just games, y'know? Last week I killed three men. I'm the only recruit here who can say that an' it bothers me that it bothers me. I mean, these are death eaters, right? But death eaters have Mamas and Papas wives and husbands and little ones of their own, and when we kill them doesn't blood cry out for blood?"
"Some people think so." She responded, just above a whisper.
"What if someone just says 'enough' and doesn't demand blood for blood, would that break the cycle?"
"Goddess knows I hope it can be so."
Jose Cruz looked at the bullet in his open palm and offered it to Belle, who took it gingerly as if it could sting her.
"My people have a saying, 'dejado haya paz entre nosotros.' It means 'let there be peace between us' I say 'deje la paz comenzar con nosotros' 'let peace begin with us" he nodded to her and said "Good night ma'am."
She stood transfixed by the young man who had the courage to not hate; she was so overwhelmed by his profound insight that she didn't immediately feel Harry at her side.
Harry touched her elbow, "do you want to go back to our place?"
She looked up at him and asked "you heard?"
He tapped the side of his skull, "of course I heard."
"He's a rare man; he wants to be a peacemaker. All of us, magic and mundane alike, are going to need a lot more like him if we hope to have a future."
"Um hum" he nodded, "you know what I think?"
She smirked at him.
"Oh, yeah, of course you know, but let me say it anyway. When this is all over we're going to up and leave the UK, maybe not altogether but maybe Australia or New Zealand, what do you think?"
She smirked again.
"Oh yeah, you can run but you can't hide" he said, answering for her.
She smiled and said, "I like your idea of a nice long vacation, maybe three or four years?"
He gathered her in a warm embrace, "really; how hard can it be to travel with a baby or two?"
"Mister Baxter!" Harry called out.
"Please make sure everyone gets both potions before you turn in, and tell the senior staff that we'll meet in my quarters for lunch and brainstorming."
"Sah, yes sah!"
"Have some fun tonight, that's an order!"
Charles Baxter saluted smartly and strode off purposefully.
"I may have just created a monster" Harry mused.
They found Marietta and told her they were going back to the bungalow and that she could stay and party if she wanted to.
"As much fun as this gang of reprobates is there is no one here I'd rather be with than you loves, hey" she grabbed two stouts in each hand to take out "let's see if we can get our ghost girl pissed!"
Harry and Belle found themselves drawn into Marietta's ebullience and grabbed a bottle each on the way out.
"Myrtle we've brought the party home!" Marietta sang out as they walked into Harry's bungalow.
The ghost slipped out of the bookshelf and smiled, "party? I've never been to one although I have peeked in on some at school" she giggled "you wouldn't believe how naughty some of them turned out!"
"Well come on in luv, let's get you pissed!"
"Oh my . . ." she said nervously as she phased into Marietta.
A resounding "cheers!" and they all sat on the rug in front of the couch, popped open their stouts and took a deep pull from the bottles.
Harry stopped in mid swig and practically sputtered out "Belle, should you be drinking?"
She smiled and said "I can have this" as she handed her bottle over to him.
He sniffed and tasted that she had transfigured the stout into fruit juice, "oh, that's all right then," handed the bottle back to her, lifted his and said "cheers!"
Somewhere around the fourth bottle Marietta started acting a bit loopy as the drink hit her 'visitor' hard. Apparently Myrtle was a 'a bit of a lightweight.'
"Ish it warm t'you in here?" she slurred while fumbling for the buttons on her fatigue blouse.
"A bit," Harry chuckled.
"Oh Haaaary . . . not hairy" Myrtle/Marietta giggled, Marietta was obviously letting Myrtle have the full measure of the intoxication, "d'you know when I firs' knew you were gonna be, urp, s'cuse me, gonna be great?"
"No Myrtle, why don't you tell us?"
"Twas when you and Hermi-oh-my-knee were in my loo makin' the poly-je-ooose po-shun. You were so focused, you and Oh-oh-my-knee, what was Ron doing then? Oh yeah, he was always trying to put imself in front of Her-my own knee's knees." She giggled at this, "he was peekin' up her skirt with is' ands in is' pockets!" She rolled onto her back cackling, "I see England, I see France, I see Oh-mine-knee's . . . knickers!"
She sat up suddenly and put a hand to her head, obviously dizzy. "Why was she in the girl's bathroom sitting leg-crosses, I mean cross-legged on the floor in a skirt with two boys any how?"
"You remember Myrtle, we were making polyjuice potion."
"Yeah, you helped and Ron ogled. Ogle, ogle, ogled."
"Harry," she said in a sultry voice, "I wouldn't mind if you looked at my knickers y'know?"
"I can't do that Myrtle; you'd wake up in the morning and hate me for it."
"Oh I could never hate you Harry, I'll love you till the day I . . . oh, well longer than that!"
"I just mean you're a bit drunk right now, and maybe not thinking straight."
Marietta/Myrtle drew herself up to her full height, well, her full height while sitting cross legged on the floor, and said "I'm not so think as you drunk I am!"
She crawled on her hands and knees over to Harry right over to his lap and wrapped her arms around his neck.
"You know, I've seen some things over the years, things girls do ta boys and things boys to with th' girls. Any how, I want t'show you, okay?"
Harry chuckled and grinned, wondering who was in charge of the body at that moment, Myrtle or Marietta?
"What ever you say luv, what do you want to do?"
"Well, first you give me a real kiss, like you do your others - do you know I've never been kissed? You've shagged me silly over the past couple of days and not one kissey, I ask you, iszat fair t'me?"
"No Myrtle, that's not even fair, c'mere" and saying that he gently held her and placed a tender kiss on her upturned lips, which she retuned with equal tenderness until she forgot to breathe and passed out.
Harry held the unconscious woman in his arms and whispered "Myrtle? Myrtle are you in there?"
Myrtle, her head resting on Harry's chest began to snore gently.
Belle was beside herself with silent laughter, her whole body shook trying to keep it all in, "oh my prince, now you can wake her with a kiss!"
Harry chuckled, "Myrtle? How about Marie?"
Marietta's eyelids fluttered open and finding herself in her lover's arms she purred in pleasure, "this is nice."
"How about a nice bath and then t'bed?"
"Long as you don't plan sleeping for a while!"
"Come along ladies" Harry said as he stood, displacing a disgruntled Marietta.
"I'll give you a nice massage . . ."
Marietta jumped up and bolted to the bathroom.
"I'll take that as a yes then, coming milady?"
"Oh at least twice tonight if you're up to it m'lord . . ."
"He chuckled and reached down to help her stand."
"Have I told you lately that I love you?"
"Only every minute of every day m'lord," she smiled at his reaction, "not so much in words, though I never tire of hearing you say it, but love shines in your eyes when you look at me and I can feel it through our bond, and I know you feel it too."
"That's why I don't want to give it up, I've come to need you here" he tapped his forehead, "I don't want either of us to be alone anymore."
"While there is breath in my body, you will not be my lord."
The truth of that simple statement staggered Harry and he enfolded Belle into a gentle embrace.
"My lord, I know how much you love me, and you cannot love me less for taking the dampening draught."
"Later Belle, okay?"
"As you say my lord, and by the way, I love you too."
They kissed tenderly until they heard "Woooo hooooo! Followed by a splash that had water out the bathroom door.
They both laughed, enjoying the antics of their other lovers and hand in hand walked into the bathroom.
Some of you might recognize the "Porter's Speech" from the Scottish Play, one of Shakespeare's better comedic passages. Hey, if you're gonna steal a gag, steal from the best!