Hannah explains, Hermione confesses, Daphne decides, Rita overhears, Molly believes and Ginny gloats
Harry Potter and the Marriage Contracts.
Chapter Seven - Never Forget
September 28, 1997
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
Room of Requirements:
Daphne stood outside the door of the secret room that absolutely everyone knew about; wondering if she should enter. Why had she opened herself up to this? Why did it hurt so much?
Hannah Abbot had approached Daphne this morning at breakfast.
"I take it you heard about last night?"
"Yes. He stood me up for her. You warned me that if she called, he would go to her. I just didn't really believe it. Since she and Weasley are split, I guess that Harry will go to her now?"
"No, you don't understand Daphne. Hermione isn't a lover for Harry. She's... She's his Tracey."
"His Tracey? I don't understand."
"You know Harry's history. Like you he's an only child, like you he has no idea what its like to have a sibling, despite that, like you he has found someone to be that sibling. Hermione is Harry's Tracey. Tracey is your Hermione. Have you ever wanted to have sex with Tracey?
"And that is Harry's reaction to the idea of sleeping with Hermione." Hannah took a piece of bacon off the platter to her left. "Harry's terrified he's buggered up the best relationship he's ever had. Has he?"
"I... I don't know." The Slytherin appeared to almost be in tears. "I don't know if I can share. I was really amazed by how much his not showing up hurt me."
"If the situation was reversed and Tracey needed you, would you go to her?
"Of course I would, but..." Daphne shook her head. "Can this even be real? It's all happening so fast."
Hannah shrugged. "As far as I'm concerned, some things are just meant to be Daphne. The way I see it you've got a choice. You can walk away now and always wonder what might have happened, or you can give him a chance to make it up to you. Don't expect him to apologize though, not for going to Hermione when she needed him."
"And what happens if I walk away?"
"I go get Sue Bones and tell her that Harry needs some sympathy." The first hints of a smile showed on Hannah's face.
Daphne returned the grin. "You had to make it a competition didn't you? Where's he hiding?"
"The Room of Requirements. Take it easy on him Daphne. If you want it over, then it's over, but if you want to give him a chance..."
Daphne reached for the brass handle on the door to the Room of Requirements, before she could touch it, someone called her name.
She turned to find Hermione Granger approaching. "Have you spoken with Harry yet?"
"No. I was just going to."
The bushy haired Gryffindor looked around, and then she waved her wand in patterns that Daphne recognized as privacy charms. Non verbal privacy charms. Daphne was impressed in spite of herself.
"I'm sorry Harry stood you up because of me. There's something about last night you should know."
Daphne nodded for the Head Girl to go on, fully expecting to hear that Granger intended to claim her relationship with Harry.
"I threw myself at Harry last night. More than once. I just wanted the hurting to stop, to know that someone wanted me. He wasn't even tempted. He told me he was with you. I know that you are still in the early stages of your relationship, and that trust has to be important. Please don't blame Harry for last night. It was my fault for being such an idiot."
"I don't think I'm blaming anyone Granger. Thank you for telling me. I think I need to speak with Harry."
"I just thought you should know."
Daphne watched as the Head Girl, still appearing to be somewhat beaten turned to walk away. "Granger? I mean Hermione?"
Hermione turned to face her. "Yes?"
"If you decide to get some revenge on Weasley, come and talk to me... I've got all kinds of ideas along that line."
Hermione smiled. "I might do that."
September 28, 1997
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
Room of Requirements:
The door opened at her touch. The room was configured as alarge open room. The only furniture in the room was a table and two chairs. Harry sat at one.
"Would it help if I started out saying I'm sorry for last night?"
"It might. It would depend on if you lied to me about if you would do it again." She approached the table and sat next to him. "This room is a little sparse."
"I figured it would give you less to hit me with." Harry smiled for a second before hanging his head. "I can't promise that I wouldn't do the same thing all over again if she needed me."
"Good. You're not lying to me. You hurt me last night Potter."
Harry sighed. "If I had had the time, I would have come to you to explain, but I found out what Ron had done, and I..."
"What hurt was you didn't tell me what was going on in your note. I had to find out you forced your way into Granger's suite from others."
"You're right. I screwed up."
Daphne reached out and lifted his head so that he was looking at her. "Don't you ever lie to me or 'omit' details ever again."
"Again? There is going to be the possibility of an'again'?"
"I think I could be persuaded." Daphne stood up and pulled Harry to his feet. Her eyes closed in concentration, the table and chairs faded from existence. In place of the plain empty room was a duplicate of the Slytherin common room, the only difference Harry could see comparing it to his memories from second year was that the furniture had been replaced by a large chaise lounge.
"You have some very good friends Harry Potter. Hannah found me and pleaded your case, explaining to me that Granger is to you what Tracey is to me. Granger found me before I could find you, and made sure I knew that she came on to you and you told her that you were with me. Lock the door."
Harry drew his wand from his pocket and cast four different locking charms on the door. To be on the safe side he concentrated for a moment and a steel bar seated its self across the door frame preventing the door from opening.
"You're thorough. Good." Daphne pulled him over to the chaise, and then still standing she wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him. "We've been going out for three weeks now, for the last two weeks the only person I've spent more time with is Tracey. We've had our first fight. I think it's time for us to make up."
"I haven't completely forgiven you yet Potter. Perhaps after you earn it." She pulled him down onto the chaise.
Their petting had been going on for more than a quarter of an hour. Daphne sat up and pulled the jumper she wore over her head revealing a white tee shirt. She lay next to him again and began to play with the buttons of his shirt. "You've got hands Harry. It's alright to use them. Touch me."
"I'm Harry again?" He asked as his right hand traced down her spine through the tee.
Daphne shuddered at his touch. "I think I've forgiven you Harry." She said her eyes heavily lidded. "You've earned it. Now get back to work."
Harry didn't need to be told twice. Over the next half hour they shed their clothing. With unspoken agreement the both removed their underwear. She was fascinated with his erection, he with her wetness.
"What do you want me to do?" Harry asked
Daphne took hold of his erection. "I want to be very clear here Harry. As long as you are with me, this" She gave his penis a squeeze. "is mine. If you as much as show it to another woman before I am finished with you, I will remove it. And no bragging to your friends either." She leaned into him and kissed him tenderly. "Love me Harry. Love me."
Like most first times it was awkward, embarrassing and for Daphne, painful. Harry was horrified that he might have hurt her, despite Daphne assuring him that the pain was completely normal and she had been expecting it.
Dean Thomas' collection of 'art magazines' hadn't prepared Harry for the actual sex act. The written descriptions of the utter bliss seemed to be lies in the face of Daphne's tears. He cursed himself for his ignorance and lack of skill.
After half an hour they tried again. Their second attempt was just as awkward and embarrassing, but somehow all the more exciting for all that.
/December 23, 1996/
/Ottery St. Catchpole/
Harry loved Christmas at the Burrow. This is what a family was supposed to be, people who cared about each other even when they fought and argued. Ron was visiting Hermione at her parent's home, the two of them would come to the Burrow sometime after 6pm on Christmas day. Ron was ecstatic. 'Think about it Harry' he had said on the train 'Two Christmas dinners.' All was right in Ron Weasley's world.
Harry just hoped that he didn't drive Hermione insane while trying to deal with live as a Muggle. Harry suspect that he could have sold tickets in Gryffindor tower for the chance to watch Ron Weasley try to pass for a Muggle.
Where was Ginny anyway? Under his invisibility cloak, Harry left Ron's room in stocking feet, the better to sneak up on his lady love. A good scare was usually good for a quick snog. She wasn't in her room. Probably down stairs. He quietly descended the stairs. There she was, sitting with her mum talking over a cup of tea. He sat on the step and sighed. He loved seeing her like this. Oh there was no way in hell that Gin would ever be a stay at home mother like Molly, but still just the sight of the two of them together made him smile.
"Ginny, you've got to calm down. Minerva has caught you four times with different boys."
"That just goes to show that she's not as informed as she thinks. She missed five others Mum. Look with everything I'm doing for you, you can cut me some slack. That pathetic half blood upstairs must be a eunuch. I haven't managed to get a bit of action out of him."
"Ginny, you've got to stop speaking like that. If you're not careful you'll make a mistake in front of him. I don't care where you get your fun, but you could TRY and use Harry for that you know."
"Hardly. Mum he's a virgin and I think he plans to be one on his wedding night. Besides, he's a half blood. Can you imagine?"
"No, not really. Well we won't have to worry about that. Albus is predicting that Voldemort will make his move this summer, and our little hero will march off to his doom, and then we get everything we've got coming to us. You just make sure you don't let the hero find out about your hobby. Your job is to keep him distracted until it's time for him to do his duty."
Harry sat on the stairs unable to breathe, he couldn't believe his ears. Was this a dream? Was Voldemort manipulating his mind again? He drove the handle of his wand into his thigh. The pain made no difference in what he was seeing and hearing. Ginny and Molly were still there laughing at him and celebrating his upcoming death.
He had to get out of there. He returned upstairs and gathered his shoes and other things. Creeping down stairs he got his cloak from a hook by the door. He eased the door open and exited the Burrow. He made his way to the road and raised his wand. With a thunderous bang the Knights Bus arrived. He boarded, told the conductor "Diagon Alley" Hopefully, the Goblins could help.
/December 23, 1996/
Harry stumbled from the floo into Neville's private apartments.
"Harry, what's wrong?"
Harry looked into his friends eyes. "Neville, I've got nowhere else to turn right now. Can I hide out here for a few days?"
"Of course you can Harry. Should I get in contact with the Weasleys or Dumbledore?"
"No!" The raven haired wizard barked, his eyes panicked. He then closed his eyes and forcibly calmed himself. "I'm sorry Neville, but please, don't tell anyone, especially not the Weasleys or Dumbledore."
October 11, 1997
Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlor:
Rita Skeeter was on the prowl for a story. Pickings had been slim since her favorite Subject Harry Potter had killed Voldemort and dropped out of sight. Sure, his unauthorized biography had been a nice payer, but in the news business, you're only as good as your last story, and the last one of Rita's that had generated much attention was over three months before. It was then that she spotted them. Potter's Muggle born know-it-all and Longbottom, Potter's new sidekick. There was another girl at the table she didn't recognize. She dimly remembered that Longbottom had become engaged to a girl from the Abbott clan, so that might be her. Those three might just be her next ticket to the front page. She ducked into a quiet side alley and transformed to her beetle form. Taking wing she made her way to the top of the decorative trellis alongside the table where her new 'Sources' were sitting. She settled in to listen.
"No, not all of it." The bushy haired Know-it-all said playing with the necklace that hung around her neck.
Longbottom nodded sadly, "Every knut. It's part of the whole 'confiscate the assets of the Death Eaters' ruling that the ministry and Gringotts came up with. The Goblins determined that since both the LeStranges and the Malfoys were as client families sworn to the House of Black, the Goblin's confiscated the whole thing. Since Harry is the head of both the Black and Potter families, the fortunes were deemed merged. The Goblins took it all."
"But surely not all of it!"
Longbottom shrugged. "The money, the properties, everything. Harry actually laughed. He said it wasn't like he wanted all that money anyways. He grew up with nothing; he says he won't really miss it."
"I hope Harry knows he can always live with me if he needs to, at least until he manages to get back on his feet."
"Thanks, Hermione; I told him the same thing. Harry's proud though, I'm guessing he'll take a job in the Alley. He said something about seeing if the twins would rent him the apartment over their shop since they had moved in with Alicia and Angela."
Rita had heard enough. Once again taking wing, she made her way back to her office for some serious writing. Sometimes revenge was so sweet.
The Daily Prophet:
Harry Pauper, The Boy Who Owed.
By Rita Skeeter
Sources close to the Man Who Conquered report that his fortune has been confiscated by the Goblins of Gringotts as part of their "Death Eater Retribution" program. While Potter himself isn't accused of having been a Death Eater, both the Malfoy and LeStrange families have been declared clients of the Black Family, and as such the Black Fortune was declared forfeit. In as much as Harry Potter is the Head of both the Black and Potter families, his fortune was declared to be combined, and both were confiscated to the last knut.
Friends of Harry Potter have cast doubts upon his sanity, saying that when told the news, he actually laughed.
Harry Potter dependant on the charity of his friends. See Page 4.
Sins of the Fathers See Page 6.
October 13, 1997
Ottery St. Catchpole
Arthur was safely through the floo off to his Monday morning at the Ministry, Molly settled down for her morning tea. The morning owl carrying the Daily Prophet winged its way through the open window and landed on the table in front of her. She put the price of the paper into the owl's coin pouch and accepted the paper from the bird. After the owl left via the window it had entered, Molly opened the paper while sipping her tea, only to spit it out upon reading the headline. She stood and ran to the fireplace, threw in a handful of floo powered into the flames. She stepped into the green flames and said "Ministry of Magic."
October 13, 1997
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
The Great Hall:
Harry entered the Great Hall for lunch, and all conversation stopped.
What now? That hadn't happened since he and Neville had returned from the final fight with Tom.
Thinking about it there had been an abnormal amount of staring and whispering all morning. Had something happened at breakfast? Perhaps he missed something when he had surreptitiously taken Daphne to a surprise breakfast in Edinburgh...
Ignoring everyone he sat at the Gryffindor table and reached for one of the platters, when the double doors from the Entry Hall slammed open and Dumbledore escorted Arthur and Molly Weasley into the Great Hall. Oh Merlin on a Pogo Stick. What now?
He bent over his plate focusing all of his attention on not paying any attention at all to the Weasleys. Maybe it has nothing to do with him. Maybe it has nothing to do with why everyone was staring at him and talking about him. Maybe Ginny got caught on a 12 wizard 'serial date' at 2 galleons a throw. That made him smile just a little bit. Of course the Weasley's weren't here to see him. He wasn't the center of the universe after all.
"Stand up Potter." Molly Weasley's harsh voice interrupted his musings.
Crap. Like hell he wasn't the center of the Universe. Not rising from his seat, he turned to face the woman. "Could I help you Mrs. Weasley?"
"Did you think you could get away with it?" The woman was certainly worked up about something.
How had he ever considered this woman to be motherly? "Get away with what?"
"You know very well what. You will return Ginny's marriage contract now." Harry noticed that Ginny was standing beside her mother with an extremely self satisfied look on her face.
"I've been intending too Mrs. Weasley. I simply haven't found her alone in order to decline properly."
"You aren't declining the contract boy. Arthur is withdrawing the offer of the contract. You no longer meet the standards of the Weasley or Prewett lines."
Harry felt vaguely insulted by that. "I've always been a Half Blood Mrs. Weasley, what is it I did that brought about this change? I mean it's not like I was sleeping with anyone who was willing and had a pulse when Ginny and I were dating. That was her." The woman's face colored and Ginny's paled. Insult me, I insult you.
"Arthur!" The red headed matron sputtered.
"Mr. Potter, I find that the situation in place when the marriage contract for Ginevra was offered to you has changed, and I withdraw my offer of her hand to you." Arthur Weasley looked miserable. Poor bastard.
Harry shrugged. "If that's what you want sir." He reached into his robe for the contract he kept in his inside pocket. He had taken to carrying it so that if he had managed to find Ginny alone he could decline. This was far more public than he had intended, but the result was the same. "Your contract sir." He handed the roll of parchment to Arthur Weasley.
Molly snatched the parchment away from her husband, unrolled it and sighed with relief. "Thank Merlin he hasn't signed it." The woman turned her back on Harry and flounced away. Arthur caught Harry's eye and mouthed the word 'sorry', before turning to follow his wife.
Ginny on the other hand opened her robe to display her trim figure underneath. "See this Potter?" she said loud enough for everyone in the room to hear, including her parents. "You'll never touch me you pauper."
"I guess that puts me into a rather exclusive club, doesn't it Miss Weasley? Just me, Neville, Ron and the four or five first years you haven't managed to get to yet?" He toyed with the thought of asking her to confirm that Ron was part of the club, but refrained. He was angry at Ron, but not that angry.
She swung at him as if to slap him. He blocked her swing with his forearm. "No hitting Gin-Gin. It isn't lady like. Toddle off now ok?" Laughter broke out in the Great Hall; Harry could see that Molly's face was a livid mask. Ginny started to go for her wand.
"GINEVRA WEASLEY!" Arthur's voice rang out. The quiet man had evidently had enough. "Get yourself over here now. We are going to speak about your actions."
Harry watched as the Weasleys left the Great Hall. Ginny had called him a 'pauper'? What they hell was that all about? He looked up to find everyone in the Great Hall staring at him. "I'm here all week folks, tip your elves."
There was a spattering of laughter from the Muggle Born and Muggle Raised in the Hall, but for the most part the joke fell flat.
After lunch Harry walked Daphne to her Ancient Rune's class. At the door, she pulled him into a hug and delivered a light kiss. "Harry, you should have told me. I don't care about your money."
"That's good. I don't care about yours either."
Daphne kissed him again, then turned and entered the classroom. Harry shook his head in confusion. What was going on today? What had possessed Daphne to say that? Had life always been like this and he was just too wrapped up in Voldemort to notice?
Harry made his way to the Entry Hall. It was a cold, but clear day. Perhaps spending his free period in a walk around the lake would give the weirdness of the day a chance to dissipate.
October 15 1997
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
The Great Hall:
Harry entered the Great Hall hoping against all hope that the insanity of the previous day was over. The staring and the whispered had continued into the evening. Daphne had a detention (something about a confrontation with Ginny Weasley) so Harry hung out with Neville and Hannah until Nev pointedly suggested that he go the hell away.
Still, today was a new day. Breakfast was probably his favorite meal at Hogwarts. The eggs were good (not as good as his omelets, but there you go), if only he could convince the elves that other fruit besides pumpkins produced juice.
"Good morning Harry."
"Daphne!" He rose and kissed her cheek lightly. "Would you like to join me?"
"Neville suggested that I should eat with you this morning. He said I would especially enjoy it."
Neville and Hannah slid onto the bench on the opposite side of the table. "Good morning you two."
Harry regarded Neville with a suspicious eye. "And what have you got cooked up Nev?"
"Who me?" Neville said innocently. "I never cause trouble, I'm the comedy relief."
"Oi" Ron Weasley's voice came from behind Harry. "I thought this was supposed to be a Gryffindor table."
"Piss off Ron." Harry and Neville chorused. The pair then blinked and laughed at their synchronicity.
Ginny was evidently with Ron. "Let's sit at the other end Ron, something smells down here."
"A shower would probably help you with that Gin-Gin."
"Shut it Pauper!" the red head hissed as she stalked off.
"That's the second time she's called me 'Pauper'. Is that anew insult or something?"
Neville was about to explain when the morning owl post started streaming in through the open windows. Hermione slid into the seat next to Neville.
"Did I miss anything?"
"No." Hannah said. "The show should be starting just about now."
"What show?" Harry asked. "What are you three up to?"
None of them answered. Harry noticed that their attention was focused at the far end of the table where a post owl had landed in front of Ginny.
"Why do any of you care that Ginny got her Teen Witch Weekly?"
Neville gave him a mysterious grin. "Wait for it..."
Around the Great Hall were a series of exclamations of surprise, none louder than the one from Ginny Weasley, who tore her eyes from her magazine to shoot Harry a look of pure loathing.
"What the hell did you three do?" Harry asked Neville and his celebrating sidekicks.
From his left Lavender Brown asked "You're not poor Harry? You really didn't lose your fortune?"
"Lose my fortune? How would I do that?"
"The Daily Prophet said that the goblins had confiscated all your money as part of their Death Eater penalty because the Malfoys and LeStranges were client families."
Harry fixed Neville with an amused look. "Pranking the nation are we? I was wondering why everyone was acting so weird. What was your part of this Hermione? Abusing your favorite reporter?"
"Why would I ever do anything like that to someone who called me a gold digger when I was 15?"
"Harry Potter, 17, retains his place as Magical Britain's number one most eligible bachelor for the 74th straight week" Lavender read from her own copy of Teen Witch Weekly. "As this issue was going to press the Daily Prophet broke the story of the loss of Harry's fortune. Never wanting to be behind the curve on just who the next most eligible hunk might be, your intrepid reporter immediately sought out an interview with a representative of Gringotts Bank. I got both good news and bad news in my research Ladies. The following is a transcript of my conversation with Ripclaw, head of Public Relations with Gringotts:
TWW: Thank you for your time.
Ripclaw: My time is in fact valuable. How can Gringotts help you?
TWW: I'm sure in your position a the head of the bank's Public Relations department you are aware of the report in the Prophet of the confiscation of the fortune of Harry Potter, the Man Who Conquered?
Ripclaw: It is the policy of Gringotts to never discuss the private business dealings of our clients. Especially the dealings of our Most Special clients.
TWW: So, to be clear, though you cannot and will not discuss the business dealings of Mr. Potter, he remains a client?
Ripclaw: A Most Special Client. If you will excuse me, I have business to attend to.
There you have it ladies, the good news. In Gringotts parlance, a Most Special Client is someone with more gold than Midas. It seems that once again the Daily Prophet has gotten it completely utterly wrong about Mr. Potter. They must be so proud.
But wait ladies, before you resume throwing yourselves at young Mr. Potter, I promised you some bad news. My sources inside Hogwarts tell me that Harry has been seen with a lucky young witch on his arm. Daphne Greengrass (17) of Slytherin house seems to be his newest Lady love. A Gryffindor and a Slytherin? What interesting pillow talk they must have"
Lavender looked up from her reading to see Harry's pained face. "Lavender, please, do me a favor. Never read anything like that out loud again. Please?"
A/N: A special thanks to BJH for his wonderful suggestion for the Harry Pauper prank. Much better than what I was going to do...
A/N2: A few thoughts on the story thus far.
Many people have made comment on my Pound Sterling to Galleon conversion rate of 75 to 1, pointing out the canon 5 to 1. In my original draft I indeed used the 5 to 1, but that was questioned by several on the Caer Azkaban news group. And the more I thought about it, the less sense it made. Canon is full of instances where 'gold' and 'galleons' are used interchangeably. People are spoken of as having 'vaults full of gold'. This leads me to believe that a Galleon is actually made of gold. Period, full stop. Gold. The Goblins don't seem to be the type to buy into the modern habit of alloying their coins (I mean, they don't do paper money. To a Goblin, gold means GOLD) Granted pure gold is far too soft to be readily usable as coinage for any extended period of time, but magic is an excellent way of explaining that away.
At the World Quidditch cup the Muggle Property manager said "I had two try and pay me with great gold coins the size of hubcaps ten minutes ago." Even granting that on some cars common to Britain the hubcaps are very small(the size of a saucer), that's a huge bloody coin, and if it's actually made of gold, my 75 to one exchange rate may be off on the low side given that gold in the time period was going for the neighborhood of seven hundred dollars an ounce.
Further when you consider that the Weasley twins managed to set up their shop and stock it with inventory with a Thousand Galleons. London is one of the more expensive cities in the world. In the mid 1990 the first month's rent on a shop in central London would rent for a significant chunk of the 5 thousand pounds that the 5 to one exchange rate would suggest. The Goblins are business people first, last and always. If the rents they could get from the mundane population would be that much different, they would buy out the current wizard owners, kick the wizards out, and open the space to the Mundanes. Given the nearly instantaneous travel available to the Wizarding population, moving their shopping district out of pricey London and to some out of the way place with cheap rents (like say Ottery St. Catchpole?) would cause no hardship at all.
On the other hand 75000 pounds would be a reasonable amount (though still on the low side) of money to use starting a business from scratch. That's my reasoning for why I set the exchange rate so high.