Meanwhile the men were seated around a table in Paddy’s room trying to figure the best way to forward the now completed letter to Remus. “Why don’t you just go visit Gringotts and ask them to have their London office post it. They seemed quite willing to please you when we visited earlier.” Alan asked looking at Sirius.
“Never thought of it to be honest. Might cost a bit more but it would be secure and untraceable back to us. Gringotts should be open I’ll pop over and take care of it,” Sirius replied before disapparating while realizing that Hermione got her brains from both her parents.
Alan looked at where Sirius used to be causing Harry to say, “Don’t worry Mr. Granger he’ll be back soon. That is just apparating adult witches and wizards do it all the time.”
Alan smiled turning his gaze upon Harry. If his daughter didn’t change her mind this boy no young man might be a better description would shortly be his son in law. Deciding this was a good time he said, “Hermione has told Jane and I about you of course but this is the first time we’ve had a chance to talk man to man since that ride home from the train station last year. I was wondering how you were dealing with everything.” Seeing a bit of confusion on Harry’s face he prompted, “Like how do you feel about that lifetime ban from quidpitch, is it?”
“It’s Quidditch, sir and to be honest I was pretty torn up about it. The worst thing was she confiscated my broom and I couldn’t fly at all.”
“Seeing as you’re going to be my son in law I think it’s time you started calling me Alan. Now why is that the worst of it?
“The broom she confiscated was a gift from Sirius when my old one was destroyed crashing into a tree. Besides flying relaxes me. Even if I couldn’t play I’m sure the team would have allowed me to fly around while they were practicing. Maybe even play the opposing seeker.”
After a few moments silence they both spent searching for a new topic of discussion Alan hit upon the question he wanted to ask, “Harry tell me about Hermione at school. Jane and I see her for such a short period of time just over the holidays and summer vacations. What is she like at school?”
Harry broke in to a big smile before saying, “She’s brilliant. I mean as her parents you know she’s smart but that doesn’t any where near cover it. She’s the first in class to catch on to something new but she doesn’t flaunt it, at least I don’t think so, She’s always helpful to anyone who asks for help studying, either our year or below us. Even a few older students reviewing for their NEWTS ask her to explain concepts they didn’t understand or remember. Ron one of our classmates is always going on about how she nags us but Ron doesn’t understand Hermione. She just can’t stand to see anyone not fully trying to understand something.”
“How do you feel about her?”
“Me? I asked her to marry me.” Harry replied as if that simple statement said it all, which it did for him.
“Why?” Alan countered.
“Why did I ask her?” Getting a nod in reply Harry continued, “Because she’s been by my side since early in first year and I can’t see living without her. I mean she’s the most beautiful girl in school and she wanted to hang out with me… she even puts up with Ron Weasley to do it. Don’t get me wrong it isn’t just because of her looks. She’s Hermione, helpful to everyone, kind to everyone well except Malfoy but she treats him better than the rest of Gryffindor, then again she did punch him that one time.”
“My daughter hit someone?”
“Oh it was bloody marvelous. Hauled off and drove him right proper. Knocked that prat flat on his arse with one punch.”
“What do you plan on doing after graduation?”
“I’m not sure, earlier this year I was thinking about becoming an Auror, that’s a wizarding policeman, but Hermione pointed out they have to follow the Ministry line and I don’t want to be restricted like that. I did teach a group of our friends Defense against the Dark Arts for two months with Hermione’s help and enjoyed that. Possibly I’ll look in to teaching later on. This can’t be talked about but to be honest I’ve got to kill this Dark Lord and I was thinking that if I marry Hermione before I attack him she’d get everything should I get killed. That way she’d be set and could take care of herself without having to work.”
Alan looked at Harry with shock on his face, “You’ve got to kill him? What in the heck are your Auror’s did you call them doing then.”
Harry shrugged saying, “One of my teachers gave a prophecy that has been interpreted to mean I’m the one destined to kill him.”
“Do you believe it?”
“Honestly no, but the man I’m prophesied to kill believes it. That is why he has attacked me when I was a baby and three out of the four and a half years I’ve been at Hogwarts. I’m still anticipating his attempt this year, they usually come in the spring,” Harry said with a bit of cheek before continuing, “As long as he believes it he’s going to keep coming after me. If he succeeds one of these times I want to make sure Hermione is taken care of. Just in case we don’t manage to have a wedding she is already in my will to get everything and now that we are engaged it should make her claim that much stronger.”
With a crack Sirius arrived back in the room asking, “So what have you two been talking about?”
Harry and Alan exchanged looks replying, “Nothing much,” Before they heard a knock at the door.
Answering it they found Hermione and Jane standing there. “We were thinking about going out shopping and giving a call to Mr. Limbu and Anna while we were out. I know it’s Sunday but Wednesday is Christmas and I would like to have some presents here for everyone,” Jane said.
“What about what we have at home?” Alan asked.
“We can’t get to those so we’ll send them out later. Those for Hermione and Harry we will need to figure out a secure delivery method when the time comes. Right now I just want a few things to make it feel like Christmas,” Jane said.
Harry felt bad that the Grangers wouldn’t be home for Christmas. “I’m sorry everyone. You are missing a Christmas at home because of me.”
“Harry James Potter, we are not missing Christmas! I am celebrating it with my fiancée and my parents are celebrating it with their future son in law and his godfather. Besides it isn’t presents that make Christmas special. It is who you spend it with and for your information I do expect you to be beside me for any future Christmases we celebrate,” Hermione said firmly.
“She’s right Pup, This is the third Christmas that I’ve been out and the first that I’ve been free. There is no Christmas present anyone can give me that is better than spending it with you.”
Jane Granger felt bad her comment had started all this. “Harry I’m sorry. I was thinking about things and Hermione and Sirius are right. It isn’t things that make a Christmas it is the people you spend it with. Can you forgive your future mother in law?”
Harry looked to Hermione who did her best to avoid giving him any signals after a moment Harry stood. Approaching Jane he said, “If I can’t forgive the woman who is going to be my mum who can I forgive,” causing Jane to burst into tears as she enveloped Harry in a bear hug the fears she’d had earlier melting away.
In London Remus was lounging around 12 Grimmauld place, London headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix, when an owl bearing the Gringotts G on the chain around it’s neck dropped off a letter. Looking at the cover he saw his name in a familiar hand, one he’d seen on what felt like a million essays he reviewed over seven years. He noticed his name had the unique loop in Lupin that meant open only when he was alone. Taking his leave of the other two people in the living room he went up to his room and after casting numerous locking and privacy charms he opened it and then placed his hand on the blank parchment saying, “I, Remus John Lupin solemnly swear I am up to no good,” Watching as writing slowly appeared on the parchment.
Why don’t you take a train ride to Paris?”
The letter was unsigned but it’s security and handwriting made the writer obvious. Remus had planned on spending Christmas at 12 Grimmauld place hoping to see Harry but Sirius sounded lonely. Making up his mind he packed what little muggle clothing he owned before telling everyone he was headed off. “Where are you going Remus?” a member of the Order asked from the sitting room.
“I’m going to spend the holiday’s else where. I was debating staying around to see Harry but he’s staying with the Grangers. Quite frankly this old house is getting me down.” Remus said with a shrug.
Everyone gathered to say goodbye so no one noticed the decrepit house elf who took care of Grimmauld Place study the Black family tapestry in the drawing room closely muttering, “Mistress must be told.” Once the front Hall was cleared the elf approached the painting saying, “Master Sirius has appointed Harry Potter his heir.”
“Are you sure Kreacher?”
“The Black tapestry has updated with Potter’s name.”
“Tonight go to Narcissa. She must be informed of this development. Also tell her of the filth infesting this noble town house. Take orders from her as you would from me.”
Unaware of the instructions being given at Grimmauld Place Remus continued to the closest public restroom once inside he pulled his wand before casting the charms to detect and then remove all the tracking charms placed on him and his luggage. “I know Mad eye Moody is paranoid but this is overkill.” He muttered to himself before disapparating to the Leaky Cauldron then flooing to Kings Cross Station. Crossing into the muggle side he took a cab to Waterloo International station boarding the next Eurostar heading to Paris. Once he was in the tunnel he unknowingly mimicked Hermione checking again for any tracking charms he might have missed using a magically neutral place just to be sure.
Arriving late in Paris he rented a room in a small hotel choosing to rest before going to the Gringotts message drop to pick up further directions.
Narcissa Malfoy looked long at the decrepit house elf bowing before her. The position reminded her of her family’s house elves before she’d married into the Malfoy family. Easing her wand out of it’s hidden compartment in her robes she held it at her side as she said, “Speak.”
“Mistress Black commands me to tell you her blood traitor son has made the half blood Potter scum his heir.”
“I see, How is my dear Aunt?”
“Mistress is very mad. Her home is filled with blood traitors, half bloods and other vermin.”
“Remind me where my aunt’s home is.” Narcissa commanded the house elf causing the creature to go in to what appeared to be a fit.
Finally the house elf said, “Kreacher is sorry he can not say Long Beard must have cast a spell on poor Kreacher to prevent him from informing on the blood traitors and half bloods.”
“Take me there.”
After a few moments of trying the elf said, “Kreacher is sorry but he can’t. Kreacher can walk to the house from a place Kreacher can tell you about.”
“That will work however I need time to prepare,” Narcissa said noticing the elf looking at her with big eyes she added, “Return to your Mistress’s house and when the house is quiet and you will not be missed come to me.”
“Kreacher will comply provided mistress allows him to.” The elf replied before popping out of existence.
Monday morning found Harry, Hermione, Sirius, and the Grangers paying visits to several Lawyers, some muggle, some magical, they were finding and tying up any loose ends in their plans. The Firms they used were large enough to have both Paris and London offices. Returning to their hotel they found Remus sitting in a lobby chair waiting for them.
Remus looked up as he heard the hotel door open yet again. He was in the process of looking back down at the paper in his hands when he realized just who comprised the family that had entered. “Harry” was between his mind and his lips when the surreptitiously fired silencing spell hit him. Walking over James and Paddy made a point of helping the “friend of theirs that had been waiting to meet them” up to Alan and Jane’s suite where he cast privacy charms before turning to his fellow marauder.
Remus’ glare final worked as Sirius removed the silencing charm after three tries. “Must have been a little excited when I cast that one.” Sirius said joking.
“I cast one too.” Hermione said sheepishly.
“Will someone tell me why Harry is here with you? We will discuss the Grangers later.” Remus said looking at Sirius.
“Harry is here because no one currently in England is looking out for his interests.” Sirius replied firmly.
“What do you mean? Dumbledore is doing everything he can.”
“To insure I remain under his thumb,” Harry said speaking up.
Remus looked startled at Harry’s pronouncement looking from him to Sirius and back before Sirius motioned to Harry and he raised his left hand. “His Potter ring? Is that what this is all about? I heard from the Weasley’s that Draco was making a big fuss out of wearing the Malfoy heir ring. So you had to insure Harry had the Potter heir ring to throw in Draco’s face?” Remus asked startled.
“Take another look it’s the Potter Head of House ring. That is part of why he’s here the real reason he first came over is on his other hand.” Sirius said.
Remus looked at the ring on Harry’s right hand puzzled.
“That’s the Black Heir’s ring.” Sirius said continuing his explanation.
“Harry is the head of house Potter and the Heir of house Black? Isn’t that a bit soon? I mean Sirius you are still young.”
Sirius shook his head, “There were steps taken while I was in Azkaban. I checked with specialists in both worlds. I am the last of the Blacks. It seems someone wanted my cousins children to inherit the Black fortune. This way it stays on the side of the light and out of Draco’s greedy little hands.”
“What about the Grangers how do they fit in?”
“Besides my parents being Harry’s transportation there is this to consider,” Hermione said holding out her left hand where the Potter engagement ring sparkled in all its diamond glory.
“Wow, that’s some rock congratulations both of you.,” Remus said looking over at the two beaming teens. Turning to Sirius he asked, “So why am I here?”
“We need someone to pull together our tutors. Make all the arrangements, possibly teach a few classes himself.” Harry replied for Sirius.
“What about?” he asked waiving towards Sirius.
“You know both worlds better. Besides I’m going to be playing watchdog to these two. We need someone who can travel while I keep these two in line.” Sirius replied.
“You mentioned tutors, what about Hogwarts?”
“We are withdrawing. An owl will be arriving at Hogwarts on the twelfth of January with our forms hopefully just as The Hogwarts Express is pulling into Hogsmeade station. Everything needs to be in place by then including us.” Hermione said joining in.
“Dumbledore is going to go bat shit,” Remus mused.
Sirius nodded adding, “If not then he will when a letter from the Potter family lawyers arrives requesting the return of all Potter property.”
“What? Oh, his broom,” Remus said.
“That and a few other things, tell me by rights who owns Gryffindor’s sword?” Sirius asked a gleam in his eye.
That brought Remus up short. He looked puzzled for a moment before saying. “You don’t mean?”
“We might not win in court but Harry recovered it and used it in battle. Our argument is Dumbledore technically confiscated Harry’s property when he took that sword from him.”
“Harry?” Remus asked looking to the young man sitting next to Hermione.
“The family lawyers have been on automatic retainer for the last 15 years doing nothing. Sirius suggested to them their continued employment depended on their success with this case,” Harry replied.
Remus nodded agreeing that might provide sufficient motivation for them to succeed. Thinking things through he asked, “So where are you two going to be for all this tutoring I’m to line up?”
“That is going to remain secret.” Sirius said firmly.
Remus shook his head asking, “And how am I suppose to recruit instructors for these two without stating where they will be spending their time.”
The adult Grangers joined in on that discussion and after trying and failing several times to join in Harry took Hermione’s hand leading her down to his room where he drew her onto the bed before doing his best to snog her senseless. They emerged for a late lunch with everyone before determining the four adults had not finalized their tutoring. After trying to join in for a second time and failing they again retreated into his room. They were lying beside each other when Hermione asked, “How come you are not trying to get in to my knickers? Am I ugly or is it something else.”
“What?” Harry exclaimed. He’d expected any of a number of questions when she’d leaned away from him but that was not one of them.
“Why don’t you want to?” Hermione asked again exasperation showing in her tone.
“I do it’s just….”
“No you don’t every time we get close you stop. It’s because you’ve seen how ugly I am isn’t it.” Hermione countered tears forming in her eyes.
“No!” Harry protested emphatically. “You told me earlier that a girl that allowed that before marriage was just looking to trap a husband.”
“When did I…, Harry that was in second year we were twelve at the time.” Hermione protested finally remembering the conversation they’d had about how a seventh year couple was behaving.
“There you do remember saying it.”
“Yes I do and you remembered it all these years?” Hermione replied sniffling slightly.
“You said it…. I remember most of what you say. Try to anyway.” Harry said with an excuse me shrug of the shoulders.
Hermione looked at Harry for a few moments before shaking her head as she replied, “Love, we are engaged to be married. It is okay for us to become familiar with each other.”
“No, not until we are married. I won’t dishonor you.” Harry countered firmly.
“I’m on the potion.”
“And I can override it by accident. Not until you are Mrs. Hermione Potter.”
Ron and Ginny were gathering up the buckets they’d used in cleaning the Front Drawing Room. Dumbledore requested this room be cleaned and set up with chairs to be used as the order’s permanent meeting room. Mrs. Weasley decided her two youngest weren’t going to goof off this holiday like she’d always allowed her twins to do. Not wanting the same result with these two she gave them the task of cleaning the entire house without magic starting with this room. A chore they’d taken to a bit less than enthusiastically. Now five days and uncounted buckets of soap and water later they were done with the meeting room. Ginny wiped her hands on her work robe then brushed her dirt streaked hair out of her face back towards the ponytail it had escaped from. “Hey this is new.” Ginny said stepping over to the Black tapestry where a glint of shiny thread caught her eye.
From the doorway Ron said, “Ginny I want to get out of here and get back to the Burrow. This place gives me the creeps. Besides mum said she’d have snacks when we were done.”
“Alright, cripes one would think you’d starve if you didn’t eat every few hours. How do you manage at school?” Ginny teased her brother as she turned away from the tapestry before reading it never catching the line that ran from a burn off spot to Harry Potter-Black which was linked by twice more, one link running up to Dorea & Charlus Potter and a short double line link to Hermione Granger.
“Some days I don’t know how I manage it myself,” Ron said puffing out his chest bringing a laugh from his younger sister.
“When we get home you can head for the kitchen. I’m calling dibs on the shower. It will take several washings to get my hair clean,” Ginny said heading for the floo.
Tuesday casually dressed in jeans and trainers the Grangers and Evans were leaving Le Grand Louvre the restaurant located under I. M. Pei’s Pyramid at the Louvre after a full morning spent looking at what the Louvre classified as antiquities intending to spend the afternoon focused on paintings when a stunning blond woman who was entering stopped and looked at Harry for a moment before asking, “Harry Potter?”
Harry was about to deny the supposition when Paddy put his hand on Harry’s shoulder and spoke up saying, “My godson James Evans is often mistaken for him Madam Delacour. I am Paddy Evans perhaps you remember me we met several months ago in your husband’s office?”
Never let it be said that Apolline Delacour was not quick on the uptake. Seeing the fear in the eyes of a few of the young man’s companions she quickly responded, “I am sorry I meant no offense, I have only met the young man a few times when he was competing against my daughter Fleur. Although it is perhaps not a bad person to be mistaken for?”
Harry frowned for a instant before replying, “Perhaps in safer times it would be. However from the papers it seems he is always either seeking danger or it is seeking him.”
“True enough. How long will you be in Paris young man?”
Injecting herself in the conversation Jane Granger said, “I’m not sure we were currently discussing that issue.”
“Mrs. Delacour We are staying at the Hotel du Louvre perhaps your husband and you can visit us tonight and things can be discussed then.” Sirius said wanting to get moving. Stationary targets were never a good idea.
“Why don’t I send our car to pick your party up at eight for dinner? I know a lovely restaurant. It will be our treat naturally and a word of advice gentlemen, suits would be appropriate.” Apolline said hurrying off her relaxing meal forgotten. She had arrangements to make. The wizard who saved her youngest would be treated properly tonight.
The group watched her go. The men wondering what had just happened while Jane and Hermione had identical thoughts working through their minds. ‘I did not bring a suitable dress, where can I buy one.’
Jane looked at the rest of the group saying, “Hermione and I are going dress shopping. I suggest the four of you find suits.”
It only took Paddy a moment before he said, “Back to the hotel. The concierge will be able to set us all up a lot quicker than we can do it for ourselves and time is of the essence. Hermione use the card I gave you that draws on my account.”
“Mr. B… Evans I can take care of my family.” Alan said a bit miffed at Sirius’s take-charge attitude.
Paddy nodded replying, “I am sure you can Alan. I didn’t mean it that way. That particular card draws on a Paris bank. The approvals will occur quicker and the shop attendants should be slightly less surly than they would be if they saw a British bankcard. I’m also going to see if I can have two people accompany us.”
“My whole family speaks French.” Hermione spoke up not wanting to be bothered with an interpreter.
Shaking his head as they crossed the street to their hotel Paddy said, “In the case of you and your mother I didn’t mean to translate for you. More to ease the way let’s say. I however will need an interpreter to find a suit and I suspect James will also.”
Four hours later James, Paddy, Remus, and Alan returned to their rooms porters following behind with suit bags and boxes of other garments for tonight. After insuring everything was in their own rooms they gathered in the Pissarro Suite and called room service for a lite snack to be sent up. Just as the snack arrived so did the two women their own porters in tow. They grabbed a quick snack as Jane kicked the men out sending them to Paddy & Remus’s room saying, “We need these rooms. The hotel has arranged for a hair dresser, manicurist, and cosmologist to come in half an hour and we need to be ready.” Grumbling only slightly the men left as directed and placed a second snack order from Paddy & Remus’s room.
Once the bellhops had left after placing their meal Sirius watched Harry start to serve himself. Shaking his head Sirius said, “Harry pull the manners out you learned last summer and start using them.”
Alan looked to Sirius a raised eyebrow conveying his question.
“Alan these two are starting to move in the social strata where Harry’s and Hermione’s manners will affect how they are perceived for quite a few years into the future. Up to this point Hermione’s have been impeccable while Harry’s were tolerable. Tonight however Harry’s manners have to rise to Hermione’s level. I have no worries about her automatically rising to the occasion having met your wife. It’s my godson who needs advance warning. He defaults to servant manners because of those blasted Dursleys. I taught him a good portion of what he needs to know last time he was with me and I plan on completing his education this time.
Promptly at eight the men, all decked out in Armani’s finest, watched as the two women arrived in the hotel lobby. Harry knew he and all the men had spent time and effort to look their best. Paddy had even come to his room to insure Harry shaved properly. Nothing however could have prepared him for the sight of his beloved. He was prepared for her to look like she had at the Yule Ball their fourth year. That was so much less than what he saw now. This was Aphrodite personified. Shocked all he could do was stare until she came close causing him to involuntarily ask, “Hermione?”
“Yes,” Hermione replied looking at him puzzled.
“Good…, I did ask you to marry me didn’t I?”
“Yes Harry what’s gotten in to you?”
Alan looked at the boy before turning to his daughter saying, “I do believe you’ve stupefied him.”
“Harry?” Hermione asked waiving her hands in front of his face causing his eyes to snap into focus.
“Sorry?” Harry ventured in a hopeful voice his mind still processing the sight of Hermione wearing a shiny cream colored dress that started below her shoulders and had several layers of what appeared to be torn ending warping around it until it ended about mid-thigh. Her black heels were nothing more than small leather straps holding a base to her foot.
Hermione carefully shook her head not wanting to dislodge any part of her hairdo saying, “You can look at a family of Veela and not react but me dressed up causes this reaction?”
Harry looked at her replying, “I’m not in love with the veela.”
Jane heard the exchange and noticed her daughter starting to tear up. “Don’t you dare start crying and ruin all that work Hermione Jane.” She said sharply bringing her daughter’s attention back to her and away from Harry’s love filled eyes. “Right Mr. Potter we will be discussing appropriate circumstances for causing that reaction in my daughter later,” Jane said to Harry causing him to snap out of it.
Harry was still fixated on the vision in front of him thus his mental slip could have been predicted. Hermione had discussed calling her parents something other than the Sir and Madam he was currently using. Harry’s jokingly offered reply was also what came out of his mouth now, “Yes Mum G.”
Jane Granger had started for the hotel door and it was only her husband’s quick response to his stumbling wife that kept her upright when her brain registered what Harry had said.
“Mum, don’t you dare ruin all that work,” Hermione teased as she took Harry’s arm guiding him as they followed her parents out to a waiting classic Black Mercedes Benz S-600 limousine that was drawing appreciative glances from the hotel staff.
“When she said she’d send a car she didn’t fool around did she?” Alan offered as his eyes took in the classic lines.
Their comfortable ride ended when the limousine pulled up beside the now standard unadorned door with a small brass plaque beside it that concealed the high end businesses from all but those in the know. This particular door hid a high end dining room associated with a restaurant whose main dining room was one street over. Stepping inside Harry was grateful for this afternoon’s shopping trip. His dark green Armani suit with a cream colored shirt and matching tie that he thought was too flamboyantly tailored was echoed in other dark tones at several of the six tables in the room causing Harry to recall the tailor’s words, “After a brief fling with great fashion in the sixties the English have forgotten the joys of fashion. They and therefore the Americans dress for everything like they are dressing for a funeral.” Glancing around he noticed most of the male eyes were on Hermione causing him to take her hand as they were ushered to a table where Apolline Delacour sat looking like a regal queen. Her husband rose offering his hand to each one of the group as he introduced himself. Harry scored a few points with Hermione when he held her chair as she sat without prompting by Alan or Sirius. Harry took the seat indicated placing him to Apolline’s right and Hermione’s left.
As everyone settled into their Louis the 14th style chairs Apolline Delacour said, “You enjoyed the sights of the world’s most famous art museum earlier today. Now it is time for you to enjoy the culinary arts. I hope you don’t mind but I’ve already instructed the waiter we will take whatever the Chief feels is his best tonight and given the sommelier free reign to chose complementary wines.”
Conversation was light as everyone enjoyed the different courses. Harry wasn’t sure what he was eating but the taste sensations were fantastic. Nothing was really extreme but they definitely varied. Each bite seeming to caress a different taste bud.
Somehow by the time a flaming desert appeared a plan for the next few weeks was hashed out. The Grangers and Evans would remain in Paris along with Remus until the second of January allowing them the opportunity to enjoy New Year’s Eve in the city of lights.
On January second Remus would return to England allowing him sufficient time to get ready for the full moon on the fifth. The rest of the group would travel to the Delacour chateau where they would stay until Hermione, Harry, and Sirius headed to the island and the Granger’s returned to England on the 11th.
December 24th Molly Weasley was inside 12 Grimmauld Place checking what remained to be accomplished in converting the front drawing room into a meeting room. A meeting wasn’t due before the New Year and she noted the progress her children made was quite good. She apparated back to the burrow convinced her children had earned a few days off for their good work. Outside 12 Grimmauld Place Narcissa Malfoy was discretely following a house elf until the elf finally disappeared. ‘I don’t remember this area,’ Narcissa thought before remembering her training ‘find out what’s odd.’ Carefully taking note of her surroundings she noted she was in a square formed by row houses on four sides of a small park. Walking the block she noted and dismissed a variety of things until she stopped and stepped back slowly. The house she was passing was number 13 and the next one was number 11. Making a point of checking the house numbers she made another circuit of the park walking out of the immediate area before apparating back to Malfoy Manor.
“Any Success?” Lucius Malfoy Narcissa’s husband asked when she arrived back in her bedroom to find her husband getting dressed in his death eater robes.
“Yes there is a missing row house right where the house elf disappeared.”
“I should have gone.”
“You saw what happened when you tried. My aunt’s elf would not allow it. Her instructions were for me only and while inconvenient we know the elf’s loyalty to her will not allow it to warn the order. Let’s focus on just how the house was hidden.” Narcissa replied slightly annoyed at her husband’s attitude.
“That’s the easy part, they used the Fidelius charm. It is hard to cast requiring loads of power and it is even hard to break. Besides Dumbledore used it to protect the Potter’s last time around. This time however I don’t think he trusted the secret to someone that could be seduced. I must commend Bellatrix her plan of seducing Pettigrew in to becoming a death eater was brilliant. That idiot thought by joining she’d be his despite the fact she was already wearing a Lestrange family heirloom on her left ring finger.”
Narcissa knew her husband was enjoying this trip down memory lane while he prepared for an evening with their master kept quiet. Moments later, after he’d checked his mask in the mirror, a quiet pop signaled his departure which she took as indication to adjourn to her study for some wine, blank parchment, and a quill. She did her best scheming while relaxing with a good glass of wine from her favorite French vineyard.
When he returned she laid out her plan drawing a chuckle from Lucius, “That has never been tried Narcissa.” He said haughtily. “Still if it will amuse you I will allow you to proceed with this foolishness. It might be good training for Draco and his associates in following orders.”
Over the following days Narcissa, Draco and a few of his trusted confidants walked Grimmauld Place in various disguises while thinking variations on “12 Grimmauld Place” before returning to Malfoy manor and reporting their lack of success, never their failure just not success. Days most of Grimmauld Place’s residents noticed the increased foot traffic around their square. Traffic that no one inside number 12 noticed. Their attention was on apparition and floo travel. Basic muggle travel didn’t interest them.
In England Christmas Day brought unwelcome surprises. When noon passed and Harry Potter failed to arrive at 12 Grimmauld place using the Portkey that had been with his luggage. Both female members of the Weasley family became concerned. Molly took the lead pestering everyone about Harry until her husband who had retrieved Hermione from her parents on several occasions agreed to retrieve Harry. He returned minutes later bruised and without Harry insisting the muggles had rather forcefully told him Harry was not there. Headmaster Dumbledore nodded to retired master Auror Moody and Hogwarts potion’s professor as he passed them heading for the vacant study. Where after casting locking and anti-eaves dropping charms the Headmaster tried to locate Harry Potter using the tracking charms he had placed on the young man over the years. Getting no response he then tried the similar charms he had on Hermione Granger with similar results.
Seeing his old friend getting frustrated Alastor Moody tried the tracking charms he’d place on Remus Lupin. A moment later saying, “It appears Lupin found the one’s I’d placed on him.”
“Point me Harry Potter,” Albus called out his wand resting flat on the palm of his right hand. After several rotations it slowed before stopping pointing at Albus. After several tries he determined Harry was either interfering with the charm or he was out of range.
“Point me Hedwig,” Alastor called out his wand resting on his palm. His wand quickly snapped around to point just northwest.
Albus thought for a moment before calling out, “Point me Granger’s home.” His wand snapped around to point in the same direction Alastor’s was pointing. “It seems Arthur was lied to.” Albus muttered.
“What me get a group together and go retrieve him?” Alastor asked.
“No my friend. I think they would be expecting us to arrive quickly and in force after what happened to Arthur. We will wait until tonight. That will give them time to relax and get complacent. Severus I trust you can retrieve Mr. Potter with a minimum of fuss.” Albus said before dropping the charms and returning to the party.
Severus smiled inside a few quick obliviates and Harry will be back under Dumbledore’s thumb. And if he happened to over power the obliviation spell he cast on Hermione wiping several years knowledge from that pushy know it all’s mind forcing her to either retake classes for those year or leave the magical world. Well that would just be an incidental benefit wouldn’t it. Severus was brought out of his musings by Molly Weasley’s voice.
“Albus you need to go get Harry!” she screeched the moment Albus entered the kitchen.
“Now Molly there is nothing to be gained by confronting them now. Let everyone first calm down then Severus will go a bit later. I’m sure Harry will agree to come here once he’s had a moment to think it over.” Albus said his eyes twinkling as he finished in his mind, ‘And I remind Severus to obliviate that mudblood from his mind. Can’t have the hero of the wizarding world hooking up with a mudblood. I mean one every five generations or so to prevent the gene pool from becoming too inbred might a good idea but a mudblood for his mother and for his wife that’s too much.’
Rambahadur Limbu, late of the 10th Gurkha Rifles and currently all around handyman for his former junior officer Alan Granger was relaxing in his alcove in the bushes waiting for an uninvited visitor. He knew these wizards. They were just like any group, convinced of their superiority. They would obey the law only when it benefited them or when they were forced. Anna’s decking of that pushy red haired incompetent would not go unanswered. He looked out at a slight popping sound thinking, ‘there’s who I’ve been waiting for’ as he bought his weapon of choice up.
Severus collapsed like a puppet with his strings cut. ‘Worked just like Miss Hermione said it would.’ Mr. Limbu thought quickly stripping the man before him then hogtieing him. Once he was firmly secured he grabbed a garden cart using it to transport the dead weight to the stone cellar under the old stables. After securing the wizard to several rings set in the floor and wall he entombed the individuals hands in plaster then removed the prongs from a tazer carefully imbedding them under the intruder’s ghostly pale skin.
Severus came to shivering. He didn’t move beyond trying to open his eyes to assess his situation and realized his eyes were covered. Using his other senses he tried to piece together what he could of his current status. Which ended up being naked, bound with what he assumed were ropes and unable to move his heavy hands. ‘this is not good.’ He thought only to hear a voice speak.
“Ah Mr. Wizard welcome back.”
“I demand you release me, I…” Severus tried to say haughtily only to stop as his body went into convulsions
When he came too an unknown amount of time later Severus heard a lilting voice ask, “Care to try that again?”
Severus shook his head he not experienced discomfort like that from anyone other than the Dark Lord himself.
“Very well I will ask the questions, you will answer them. If I don’t like the answer you will experience that again. We will keep this up until you have answered my questions properly. Now why were you trespassing?”
“I was not….” Severus started only to be stopped by convulsions again. This time they ended quickly and he stayed conscious.
“I searched your clothes such as they were. You do not carry a badge so obviously are not law enforcement. Now being a private citizen and sneaking about on someone else’s property without the owner’s permission is the definition of trespassing. That is not up for discussion. I will ask once more, why were you trespassing?”
Severus stalled for a minute then tried to wiggle his fingers free if he could summon his wand.
Rambahadur Limbu let the man play for a few minutes before saying, “Your stick is in a different place. Along with all your other clothes.”
Severus realized he was in a no win situation and concentrated hard. Still he was surprised when it worked and he apparated to Grimmauld Place.
“Severus!” Minerva McGonagall’s voice rang through the house when a naked and hogtied Severus Snape appeared on the sitting room floor in front of her and the other members of the order who were discussing Harry Potter’s whereabouts.
“Don’t just stand there screaming line a first year. Untie me woman!” Severus bellowed.
Minerva pulled her wand casting Finite Incantatem with no effect.
“You stupid…” Severus started only to stop and gather himself, “Minerva what I presume are ropes were tied by a muggle there is no magic to undo. Might I suggest a severing charm. If you cast it properly you should be able to get the ropes and not me.” He said continuing under his breath, “Stupid bloody twit just like her Gryffindor’s… doesn’t use her brain for anything other than a hat rack.”
Unfortunately for Severus Minerva heard the sotto voiced part and had to compose herself for several moments before she cast the severing charm less she emasculate him by intent. The delay allowed the rest of the order of the phoenix time to observe the nausea inducing sight of a nude pasty skinned potions professor struggling out of the ropes binding him. A low powered blasting hex allowed him to free his hands which went to remove the bandages covering his eyes. The younger crowd looked then quickly moved out of direct sight thinking if the Grangers had wards that would do this to Professor Snape they wanted nothing to do with another visit to that house. It fell to Alastor Moody to ask the question on everyone’s mind, “What happened?”
“I don’t know you bloody useless lump. I apparated to the location Albus gave me. I had time enough to recognize I was in someone’s yard then everything went black. Next thing I knew I was naked, tied up, and couldn’t see and someone was questioning me. I don’t know who it was but their Cruciatus Curse was almost a match for the Dark Lord’s.”
“Now Severus I don’t think either of the two students would use that spell.” Albus interjected.
“I know their voices and speech patterns and it wasn’t Potter or …... Minerva once I deal with that half breed and his mudblood bitch Gryffindor is going to be so far down in points it will take your house decades to get back to zero!”
“Severus!” Dumbledore said sharply reminding his potions professor they were not alone before conjuring a robe for the man.
Snape wrapped the robe around him glaring in cold fury at anyone who dared look his way. His body language alone promised retribution. Still if a few of the younger order members realized he was wand-less there would have been a bit more excitement this evening.
After a quiet Christmas spent mostly in Alan & Jane’s suite everyone went to bed relaxed and ready for a week full of all Paris had to offer. Boxing day morning Sirius checked with the hotel concierge and a few other staff members regarding the best places for a New Year’s Eve celebration receiving various recommendations he shared with the group upon his return. After a bit of discussion everyone decided a night of dancing at one of Paris’s hot spots was a great way to ring in the New Year. Dancing of course meant new dresses for the women and they weren’t going to let the men off without new clothes either.
“But last time we went shopping you went off by yourselves.” Sirius said looking at Jane although why he was trying to get out of going with them was a bit confusing to Harry. Although he did note that Alan seemed to be in agreement with this course of action.
Jane shook her head saying, “No, this time we are going together. Hermione and I will pick out our dresses. Then we’ll go to a men’s shop and get Harry and Alan something that won’t clash with them. You and Remus can go off on your own but Alan and Harry need to be with us.”
Remus decided to end the discussion slapping Sirius on the back as he said, “Come on old dog. You did it with Lily and now you get to do it with Harry’s future wife and mother in law.”
“At least you didn’t say it would be fun.” Sirius grumbled as the two of them followed the others out of the hotel.
They were in their third dress shop when Remus sat down beside a confused Harry Potter asking, “What’s going on with you and Hermione?”
Remus shrugged knowing this was more a talk for a godfather to have but it was also one Sirius Black would never have with his godson more because he still didn’t get it himself than any other reason. “I’ve noted a bit of tension between you and Hermione. Just wondering what was going on,” Remus asked.
Harry mirrored Remus’s shrug replying, “I’m not sure she seems alright when we are alone but around anyone else… well you’ve obviously seen it.”
“Yes, is it is a reoccurring problem?” Remus asked inclining his head towards Hermione.
“No, that was just before we left Hogwarts,” Harry replied a slight coming blush to his cheeks at the discussion of such a topic.
“It appears you are not totally clueless.”
“I wouldn’t bet on that.” Harry countered with a glance towards the shop’s changing rooms.
Remus thought for a moment wondering just how to broach the subject before asking, “How do you view Hermione right now?”
“How do you see Hermione is she your intended or Jane’s daughter?”
Harry thought that was a daft question. Hermione was both of those things. Still his former professor appeared to be in teaching mode so he gave it some thought only to be interrupted as Hermione came out of the changing room in a beautiful dress that drew his eyes to her fantastic shoulders and great legs. Harry’s quick glance to Jane brought a frown to Hermione’s face that Harry didn’t see and answered Remus’s question for him.
“Don’t bother you just answered the question.” Remus said as the women returned to the dressing room.
“What did I do?”
“You looked to Jane to see what she thought. Harry I’m going to explain a difficult point to you and you need to understand me because it will really affect your relationship with Hermione. When you proposed you made the biggest commitment an adult wizard can make. You told Hermione you wanted her to be your life mate. What that meant to her is you promised to put her first when it was needed and to always consider her feelings and needs in any decision you made. You need to understand women are different than men. They are not just men with different parts. Women are unique beings with their own thought patterns. Most men don’t think beyond she looks great and we get along well, let’s get married. For a woman it’s different, oh they have the normal, do I love him? Does he love me? Thoughts but beyond that their thoughts include; can he support me and a family in the future? Does he look at other women? Will he be a good father? If it comes down to it will he put me first? Will he stand with me against the world? When she said yes she was thinking the answer to those questions were yes. The only thing close to a proposal of marriage is when the two of you decide to have children. When that happens you need to put her first for nine months then be prepared to back off while she concentrates on the child at least until that child can sleep through the night. Glancing at her mother to see if she approved of what Hermione was wearing when Hermione was looking to you for your opinion was a big hint that you might not stand with her against the world. Harry you need to become what the goblin told Sirius. You are Lord Potter of House Potter and right now House Potter is you and Hermione. Not you Sirius, Alan, Jane and Hermione. It is just you and Hermione and that’s the way it should be.” Remus said watching Harry’s eyes intently to see if he understood.
Harry took it all in his back straightening as Remus’s words worked their magic. Looking at Remus he asked, “What about the wedding?”
Remus shook his head before saying, “The wedding is nothing. It’s all show and pageantry developed over millennium. The true wedding occurs when both of you decided to marry. For years before weddings became the big thing they are today all that was needed were for two people to decide to be married then inform their friends. What Hermione needs to see in you right now is a man not a teenager looking to others for guidance. She needs Lord Potter.”
“How did you get so smart about women?” Harry asked Remus’s words still working through his mind.
“Your mother actually. I was feeling particularly down seventh year as most of my classmates were pairing up and she took me aside explaining her points using the various pairing that were occurring. She also explained that Severus’s problem was the one woman he wanted had already paired up with another leaving him feeling like the proverbial odd man out. Now what are you going to do?”
“I guess it’s time for Lord Potter to appear,” Harry said looking Remus in the eye.
“That it is. Don’t forget Sirius, Alan and I will still take you to task should Lord Potter start becoming a prat.”
“Don’t worry I believe Lady Potter will beat you to it and do it far more effectively. Like was said once about her by a friend of ours she is brilliant, a bit scary, but brilliant none the less.” Harry said as a smile came to his face. Moments after they finished Hermione stepped out wearing a sexy dress that, unlike the dress she wore to dinner with the Delacours, appeared to be made for dancing in. Harry looked her over letting his love show before nodding.
Hermione didn’t know what had changed with Harry but the sexy smile on his face combined with the fact he didn’t look anywhere but at her sent a tingle through her body. ‘Oh yes this dress is going in the buy pile.’ She thought returning to try on another dress.
Harry for his part was both cursing and thanking the clothing dictated by Hogwarts. He’d discovered just how much of a woman his betrothed was and the Hogwarts robes and uniforms hid that forcing both male and female alike into drab and unflattering robes. He was also grateful the robes and uniforms hid her beauty from other males who, in his opinion, lacked the maturity to truly appreciate the woman his Hermione was.
Clothes shopping for the males in their group was done quickly despite there being four of them. Jane took her husband while Harry was lead off by Hermione leaving Remus and Sirius to fend for themselves. The trying on was more to make sure the clothes fit than a check to see if the style and color flattered the wearer.
With everyone’s clothes selected, paid for, and safely back at their hotel the group settled in spending portions of the days between Christmas and the New Year visiting a few of the many museums, tourists attractions, and coffee houses that Paris offered. Moving from one to the other as whim hit. What they were unknowingly doing was merging three individuals and one three member family into an extended family that would shortly evolve into one young couple with two godfathers and one set of parents for the young couple.
New Year’s Eve Pansy Parkinson was walking the same path she traversed several times every night and day since leaving Hogwarts for the winter holidays when she felt a pull on her magic noting where she was and what she was thinking she did as her future mother-in-law had directed making her way to the apparition site before returning to Malfoy manor where she entered Narcissa Malfoy’s sitting room saying, “I felt something trying to appear but didn’t see anything.”
“What were you thinking of at the time?” Narcissa asked. her future daughter in law.
“The headquarters of the order of the Phoenix is located at 12 Grimmauld Place.”
“Very good, now let’s work on variations of that phrase,” Narcissa said reaching for parchment and quill.
One day later Narcissa was walking slowly down the street walking a house elf transfigured to be a dog when she observed Number 12 Grimmauld Place appear. Knowing she now had the pass phrase she continued down the street to the apparition point hidden in an now imperiused family’s back yard.
Lucius saw the smile on his wife’s face before asking, “You have it?”
“Yes my husband. I now know Dumbledore’s secret.”
“Who else knows?”
“Other than Dumbledore’s group I am the only one. Draco and Pansy were working with me. Both know several close phrases but only I know the right one.” Narcissa replied.
“Good, Draco and Pansy must stay in the mansion until our lord decides on a course of action. You will accompany me tonight to a meeting with our Lord incase he wishes to know the location.” Lucius said smiling and rubbing his hands together.
“Why can’t you just tell him?”
Lucius sighed sometimes his wife for all her social intelligence didn’t understand precisely how the more complex charms and spells worked. “Who can tell the location of a house under the Fidelius?” he asked her.
“Normally only the secret keeper.”
“How do you know it then?”
Narcissa looked confused before replying, “I figured it out. Didn’t that break the Fidelius?”
“No, you became a co-secret keeper. Only you and their secret keeper can tell anyone the location. Now that’s a good thing if it had broken they would have been warned and could take action to save themselves. This way they think they are still safe. If anyone else wants to find the location they would need to go through all that you did. I bet if you check with Draco or Pansy they can’t remember much about the search, I know I can’t.”
“What about Draco and Pansy they’ll be in the manor without supervision when we attend the meeting.”
“The manor is well warded against intrusion and as for those two they are betrothed. Giver her a dose of the anti-pregnancy potion if you’re that concerned. Now get ready our lord is not patient. We are bringing good news but still he has been quick to anger lately.” Lucius said dismissing her concerns and trying to do the impossible, rush his wife.
Voldemort looked over his Death Eaters assembled for tonight’s raid. None but Lucius knew of their target and he intended for it to stay that way until just before they left. “My Death Eaters tonight target is a difficult one. You will be port keying directly into a residence in teams of three. Some teams will arrive in different rooms. This is to maximize the terror you will cause. Study the layout you are given closely and be sure of your targets when you arrive. Two groups will be tasked with taking a guest each. The rest of you leave no one alive in the building. You will port key in with the killing curse on your lips. Cast it as soon as you arrive and have a target. Your port keys will be time activated returning you here one minute after arrival. Don’t bother to save strength cast your curses knowing you will return to a place of safety a minute after you start. Don’t release your port key the capture teams will be casting Incendio as they leave. Lucius has your port keys and will give you the information you need. Show the wizarding world why I should be feared and why you are called Death Eaters. Once you are back we will party like the old days!”
Once the group had left Lord Voldemort turned to Snape petrifying and binding him in ropes before Snape had a chance to notice his lord’s attention was on him. “Severus this is for your own good. Should you be interrogated later you can truthfully say you were bound and petrified when the raid occurred. You will be here when I receive the report on the raids success.
Severus Snape supposed spy for the Order of the Phoenix was pondering the target of tonight’s raid. He knew there was a meeting of the Order tonight in fact he was the one who’d told Voldemort of the meeting with Dumbledore’s permission. Confident in the Fidelius Charm cast by Dumbledore himself protecting the secret of their location he assumed the order meeting was safe. Perhaps it was a ministry official’s home that was due to be attacked. After all Lucius had been a guest at most of those homes over the years and would be able to provide enough information for an attack.
For the first meeting using the new room Molly had gone a bit overboard preparing a small buffet table at the back of the room. Once they’d passed their traveling cloaks to Kreacher 12 Grimmauld place’s house elf they smiled and thanked her for the small treats as they helped themselves. She’d thought about having her daughter Ginny or one of the boys still at home help with keeping the table refreshed but not all the order’s members were a restrained in their speech as she’d like plus given what had happened with Snape at Christmas. Well it was just safer for them to be home at the heavily warded Burrow.
The meeting was due to start shortly and as she looked around she was please with the remarkable job her two youngest had done getting this room ready. Not that she would tell them that, it would not due for her children to get swelled heads after all. The infrequent visitors which was actually most of the Order of the Phoenix were gazing around taking in the now posh room.
One individual after filling a small plate was studying the tapestry covering the room’s walls. It was the complete family tree for the Black family, which Sirius Black now headed. A small group slowly made their way along the horizontal tree each one pointing out a name they recognized or an ancestor that married into the Black Family or was descended from them. Occasionally remarking about one or another name that was well known in wizarding history. It wasn’t long before Sirius’s burn mark was discovered along with a gold line to Harry Potter from Sirius’s burned spot while a second dotted line lead to Claudius Potter. Everyone assumed it denoted Harry being Sirius’s godson what really created a bit of excitement was finding the two silver lines linking the name Harry Potter with Hermione Granger. That brought up the question what the two different colors as well as the single and double lines meant as all the double lines they could find were made of gold thread.
The discussion attracted the attention of Emma Vance who commented, “My grand parents have something similar. If I remember right Grandmother said gold lines link family members while double gold lines are a married couple and double silver lines are an engaged couple. I think the line between Sirius and Harry should be silver if Harry is just his godson. At least that’s what it was like when my uncle was my godfather.”
“Does this mean Harry and Hermione are engaged?” several voices called out drawing the attention of the rest of the order members present.
“I bet that’s what’s going on.” Bill Weasley said thinking out loud shifting everyone’s attention to him.
Molly looked at her eldest asking, “What do you mean Bill?”
“I told you I’d invited Fleur to join us tonight but she told he there was an engagement party she had to attend tonight and tried to get me to attend that instead.”
“Yes so….” Molly prodded.
“That entire conversation was in French and I’m still learning that language. I just realized I might have misunderstood what she said.” Seeing everyone’s confused looks Bill continued, “ At the time I though she said the party was for some champion. Now that I’m thinking about it she might have said co-champion.”
“Co-champion? You mean an engagement party for Harry?” Dumbledore asked.
“It’s a possibility.” Bill allowed not liking the look appearing on Albus Dumbledore’s face.
Albus thought for a moment before asking, “Did she say where this party is being held?” knowing if it was mentioned a curse breaker of Bill’s caliber would remember it.
Bill sighed as he said, “Yes they’re having it at her parent’s place.”
Dumbledore thought for a moment while looking around the room. Reaching a decision he asked, “Have you been to the Delacour residence?”
Bill was in a quandary the carefully cultivated habit of thinking out loud, so useful in curse breaking to keep his team informed was now a curse. His family knew he’d been there several times but he was sure Dumbledore intended to us his knowledge to ‘return Harry to safety’. An act he suspected Fleur’s family would view as kidnapping a guest. Not an acceptable act from someone who was hoping to marry a member of House Delacour.
“Bill need I remind you of the vow you took when you joined the Order of the Phoenix?” Dumbledore asked getting impatient at the delay.
‘Damn that arsehole just had to use that didn’t he. Dumbledore must really want Harry under his thumb. Well it does make my decision that much simpler. Do I choose the family I was born into or the family I hope to have?’ Bill thought before saying, “I was going over the location in my mind as you spoke. Given the way you phrased your last comment Headmaster I feel I must resign from this Order after providing this memory as you are forcing me to violate my word and possible costing me the woman I love.”
“Bill that creature wasn’t right for you anyway,” Molly interjected.
“Now Molly this is Bill’s decision. I’m sure he will return to us once he’s had a while to think this through. We did take special care to not interfere with his oaths to Gringotts after all.” Dumbledore said stopping Molly’s rant before it could gather steam. What was need now was fast action to recover Harry after all.
Bill held his wand out a small silver memory strand hanging from the tip.
Dumbledore motioned to a small pensive sitting on a table at the front of the room.
Nodding his understanding Bill dropped the memory strand into the pensive disapparating before anything else could be said. He appeared in Gringotts London taking an internal port key to Gringotts Marseille. A few quick apparitions later he was greeted by the Delacour’s Major Domo House elf who said, “Mr. Weasley Miss Fleur is busy entertaining.”
“I need to speak to her immediately. It concerns the safety of her guests,” Bill announced.
The elf looked him up and down before reaching a decision. This human was obviously linked with Miss Fleur. It would be best to let her deal with him. “I will inform Miss Fleur.” The elf replied before popping away.
Several minutes later Fleur entered stating, “Bill I thought you had a meeting in London?”
“I did…” Bill started then stopped and after a deep breath said, “Fleur I did something you will not like.”
“Go on,” Fleur responded in a cold voice her heart breaking at the thought of what it could be.
“We were at Sirius’s place and they noticed the Black Family tree had both Harry and Hermione on it. Well I was thinking out loud and mentioned you’d invited me to an engagement party tonight. Dumbledore put what he knew together and used my oath to the Order of the Phoenix to force me to give him the location of the Delacour Residence.”
“Oh Bill you didn’t,” Fleur exclaimed the pain of her disappointment obvious in her voice. About everyone at the ministry knew the floo address but the physical location of her family’s home was a closely guarded secret.
Seeing her look Bill quickly added, “I gave them the address of our place in Paris. Then resigned from the Order. Given the way my mother reacted I need somewhere to stay until my transfer out of the London office can be arraigned,” hoping Fleur would take pity on him.
Instead Fleur studied him for a few moments before asking, “You gave them the location of our Paris apartment?”
“The oath I gave was to truthfully answer all questions not protected by any previous oath. Just giving my word wasn’t good enough to protect this location. As it required a French citizen’s name on the lease you used your name. Therefore it was a Delacour residence. I don’t want to lose you Fleur.” Bill replied his voice breaking at the end.
Fleur’s reply was interrupted by her mother entering asking, “Fleur what is going on? We have guests upstairs.”
Fleur’s shake of her head, how ever slight, signaled to Apolline her timing could have been better. “Bill was just informing me Dumbledore has realized Harry is here. Bill was able to divert him and his vigilante group to my Paris apartment. I don’t know how long that will delay them.” Fleur said.
“Possibly not that long. All he needs to realize is a number of your father’s co-workers have been here and are unaware that Dumbledore is not welcome here. We need to inform everyone of this unfortunate problem.
In London England at 12 Grimmauld Place six teams of Death Eaters appeared in, two teams per room situated in opposite corners except for the front drawing room which had teams in each corner positioned to place most of the Order of the Phoenix in a crossfire. Unfortunately for several Death Eaters their compatriots took the Dark Lords words to heart and had their wands out pointing away from the other two members of the their group finishing the spell they’d already started as they arrived, “…Kedavra.” However with some of the Order of the Phoenix having left for France with Dumbledore to retrieve Harry Potter while the rest the left quickly for their homes it left just the other Death Eaters in 12 Grimmauld Place to be targets for those killing curses. Death Eaters and one house elf who approached one of the teams in the drawing room intending to inform them where everyone had gone to. That house elf caught a killing curse from the only remaining Death Eater of the three that had arrived in this particular corner.
Voldemort wasn’t happy; most of the teams were arriving back with less than a full three person complement standing. When moments later the two catch teams as he thought of them returned empty handed his glower increased. “Where are my prisoners?” Voldemort asked his hand twitching towards his wand.
“The home was empty my lord. When we arrived a few individuals were too eager and cast the killing curse hitting the other teams.” One of the newer death eaters replied before suddenly realizing speaking up before a senior death eater might not have been the best idea as a wand appeared in the Dark Lord’s hand before he could react. To the surprise of most present it was not pointed at the one who spoke instead it was Severus Snape that was the aiming point.
“Severus, would you care to explain why a raid to remove a thorn called the Order of the Phoenix from my side failed?” Voldemort asked his wand never wavering.
Severus looked down at the floor not meeting Voldemort’s eyes as he said, “I do not know my Lord. I accompanied Dumbledore himself from Hogwarts to the meeting location before arriving here to verify the meeting was taking place. The blood traitors had even set up a buffet at the back of the meeting room. So I had no reason to doubt there was a meeting taking place.”
His wand never leaving Snape Voldemort looked over at Lucius asking, “What say you about the meeting room?”
Lucius Malfoy wished anyone else had been asked that question. Still he knew hesitation was not a good thing. “There was a table set up against one wall. It looked like it had been cleared in haste. Additionally the chairs in the room while set in rows were off from each other like the people sitting in them had left in a hurry.” Lucius replied praying his friend would survive the night.
Voldemort debated in his mind. “Bella come forward and let me see what happened.” Voldemort said already probing her mind.
Minutes later as Bellatrix Lestrange lay panting on the floor If he was honest with himself Voldemort knew it was his orders to arrive with the killing curse on their lips that had caused the death of a few of his followers. Still he wasn’t totally sure of any of his followers beyond Bella. It might be best to… yes that was it. “Lucius assist Bella in retrieving a potion from my quarters. Bella it’s the one to the left we brewed several weeks ago.” Voldemort said before dismissing them along with the rest of his followers.
When Bella returned with the potion she found Severus Snape now lying on a conjured table in front of the Dark Lord’s throne. “He’s still bound and understands taking this potion willingly is an indication of his trust in me.” Voldemort said motioning for Bella to give Severus the potion. “The whole thing Bella.” Voldemort said sitting back and watching the potion take effect.
Severus Snape thought he recognized the potion as it was poured into his open mouth. If he was right his mental defenses were about to come crashing down allowing the Dark Lord free access to his entire mind. ‘I don’t recall this potion causing one to pass out,’ was his last thought before everything went black.
Seeing his prisoner’s head roll to the side Voldemort smiled. A conscious Severus would never have allowed his body such an act. “Bella keep an eye out. I will be in Severus’s mind and might experience a moment’s delay in reacting should anything untoward happen.”
Bellatrix beamed at the honor being given to her alone pulling her wand and taking a position with her back to a wall that allowed her to keep an eye on everything occurring in the room.
Seeing her on guard Voldemort entered Severus’s mind with a wand flick. He’d been in this mind several times over the years noting the fine detailed walls lined with bookshelves and storage boxes that was a hall mark of his potions master’s mind. ‘What do we have here?’ Voldemort thought noticing one of the book shelve units appeared slightly off. Pushing on the unit he smiled as it gave way allowing him into a room hidden behind it. Alternately pulling a book of a shelf and glancing at it before checking a nearby storage box in the newly uncovered room in Severus’s mind allowed Voldemort to build up a picture of what the room contained and how it was filed. He spent considerable time examining the room before exiting both this room and Severus’s mind.
“My Lord is all well?” Bella asked when she noticed Voldemort was active again.
“Yes Bella I am fine. I will need a few hours to digest everything I’ve found. I will need you and Lucius to stand guard over Snape until I return.”
“It will be as you command.” Bella replied already summoning her brother in law.
A good two hours later Voldemort re-entered his throne room taking a seat. Now was the time to deal with the reality of Snape being a double agent. He knew there was no way to keep him as a potions brewer. Any potions he brewed would be suspect. He knew his followers must remain convinced in his infallibility despite this betrayal. “Bella, summon my inner circle. Severus overstepped his warrant and has been telling Dumbledore some of my secrets without approval. I wish them to witness his confession and his punishment.
Sirius looked at Harry and Hermione, getting nods of agreement to his unvoiced question before turning to the Delacours saying, “I believe it is in everyone’s best interest if the three of us leave. Apolline, Gerald it has been a pleasure being your guests you must allow us to return the favor after this is all over.” Turning to face the Granger’s he added, “Jane, Alan if things get too hot in England you know what to do.”
Everyone voiced their agreement as Hermione moved over and gave her mother a parting hug while Harry shook Alan’s hand. “Take care of my daughter,” Alan requested of Harry.
“That I will do sir. And thanks for everything. I know it must be hard to let her go with us,” Harry replied serious.
“May you never find out how hard,” Alan replied the emotion thick in his voice before they switched with Jane pulling Harry into a hug while Hermione hugged her father.
“Thanks for letting me do this,” Hermione said looking up at her father while still in his arms.
“Thank your mother. I’d still vote to lock you in your room until this is all settled,” Alan said gruffly trying to hide his true emotions. Finally breaking down and kissing his daughter while his wife did the same to Harry.
“Here’s the port key and other things you requested,” Monsieur Delacour said passing Sirius a bag with a bright logo on the side that seemed quite out of place in the wizarding home.
Once Harry and Hermione were touching the bag Sirius activated it sending them whirling away.
Gerald Delacour took this opportunity to go to the partially open fireplace in his office where he’d been informed a Floo call awaited him.
“Gerald old friend we need to come through to escort Harry Potter back to his relatives home where he will be safe.” An eye twinkling Dumbledore said from the fireplace.
“He is not here. Now if there is nothing else I have a party to attend,” Gerald said dismissively.
“I’d like to verify that if you don’t mind.”
“Unfortunately Professor I am hosting a party that your presence would disrupt even more than you already are.”
“I’m afraid I must insist you allow my companions and myself through.” Dumbledore replied his voice going hard at the intractability of the head of house Delacour.
“Professor seeing as you are a pure blooded English wizard I will explain things simply. One I have stated that Harry Potter is not here, not that it has any bearing on my position. I merely wish to make this easier for you to accept you are not welcome here. Two I need to inform you that any attempt by you or any of your companions to search any Delacour residence without an order from the French Ministry of Magic will be treated by me and any willing to assist me as an attempt to cause harm to me and mine. This attempt will be dealt with using all possible force,” Gerald Delacour said formally.
“Gerald…,” Dumbledore started trying to placate the man before trying again to gain entry.
“Mr. Dumbledore I see you are also a bully who can not understand my hints so I will make it plain. You and you group are not welcome in my home and his conversation is at an end.” Gerald said as he turned and began locking down all means of access to Delacour Manor before bringing all his defensive wards to high alert status only lowering them when his own ministry informed him Dumbledore was back in England.
Sirius, Harry, and Hermione appeared in a storeroom of the Marseille train station. “What now?” Harry asked somewhat surprised they weren’t at an airport.
“We go muggle for a few days incase Dumbledore has someone watching this area. Not that they would detect us anyway,” Sirius replied amusement in his voice as he was passing them each a fancy one liter water bottle with designs all over it keeping one for himself.
“I’m not going to like this am I?” Hermione asked unscrewing the bottle top before taking a sniff of the contents.
At her glance Sirius replied, “Yes that’s Polyjuice. Apolline convinced me as you were muggle born and Harry was muggle raised it was best you two were in charge. The bottles you two have contain hair from a couple a bit older than you currently are. There is enough in there to last for several days.”
“What about yours?”
“Ah mine, yes well to hid the fact I’m lacking in muggle knowledge despite living on the island for a year. let me ask you this do you prefer mum or mummy?” Sirius replied his face alive with the joy of pranking.
Hermione didn’t bat an eye replying, “Let me see your age and I’ll decide. Have we got identification to match?”
Sirius passed Harry three passports saying, “Here you go dad, you’re Mr. Henry Roberts and your wife is Helen. You have a son named Charles Yeats Roberts that you occasionally call Cy. So if you start to say my real name you have a cover for it.” Sirius finished up taking a sip from his bottle. He quickly grabbed an adjacent storage rack for support as the Polyjuice changed him into an eight year old boy. Shrinking his six foot body down to just under five feet and losing roughly five stone’s weight in the process.
‘Darn I had him young,’ Hermione thought before taking her own sip which kept her the same shape but aged her appearance allowing her to wear the same clothes while both a now taller and buff Harry joined Sirius getting dressed using clothes Sirius found in the bag Gerald had given Sirius.
“My engagement ring can pass for a wedding ring and as some men don’t wear one you’ll be alright as you are Henry.” Hermione pronounced getting in to playing dress up.
After one more glance at his companions Harry kissed Hermione saying, “Let’s get going before Chuck gets fussy.” Leading them out onto a train platform. Sirius Black glaring at Hermione who had taken his hand just like a real mother would to lead her child around an unfamiliar area.
Two days later a still polyjuiced trio boarded a Virgin Airways flight from Munich to Rio de Janeiro where they were to meet their first tutor leaving Europe and Dumbledore and all the related problems behind.
The Hogwarts professors had just convened for their start of term meeting. The Hogwarts express was on it’s way with their students onboard. “I have reports that neither Mr. Potter nor Miss Granger were seen boarding the Express before it left London,” Albus announced to the group.
Noting the potions professor was missing Professor McGonagall the deputy headmistress asked, “Albus is Severus riding the Express?” slightly concerned how many points her house would lose before arriving at Hogwarts castle if he was.
“No Severus has disappeared I fear he has encountered foul play,” Albus announced solemnly before continuing, “ Septima can you act as temporary head of Slytherin house until we receive definite word concerning Severus?”
Septima Vector knew that really wasn’t a request, more an order given in a form designed not to offend. “Of course Headmaster, may I ask who will be teaching potions and what I should tell my house concerning their actual head of house?”
“I will take over the teaching of potions…” Albus replied stopping as a Gringotts owl appeared. After taking a parchment from the owl and reading it Albus passed it to Minerva McGonagall stating, “Minerva this is a withdrawal noticed for a Lord Potter of House Potter and his betrothed one Hermione Granger.”
“What?” Minerva exclaimed surprised her favorite student was gone without a word to her.
“I fear this is a direct result of Sirius Black’s influence. Harry had previously indicated to me he did not want to take up the mantel of Lord Potter until he-who-must-not-be-named was dealt with,” Dumbledore stated firmly upset that his plans were completely disrupted.
At the opposite end of the staff table from Dumbledore in a special wide chair the house elves had created High Inquisitor Dolores Umbridge sat thinking, ‘This is good, one problem gone one to go… Although the loss of Severus is an opportunity to get one of my own in here to help advance the minister’s agenda,’ a small smile appearing on her face which was quickly gone before anyone else at the meeting realized it had been there.
On the Hogwarts Express Ron Weasley entered the compartment where his dorm mate waited before announcing “Neither one of them are on the train.”
“Maybe their at Hogwarts already,” Shamus Finnigan offered.
“Nah, Harry didn’t show when he was suppose to at the order’s Christmas party. Dumbledore’s been looking for him ever since,” Ron replied unthinking.
Shamus was about to ask what he was talking about when Neville Longbottom held his finger to his lips shaking his head.
Neville’s nod to Dean Thomas their other roommate brought the question, “So Harry missed the Christmas Party didn’t he owl you over the holidays?”
“Harry has to be careful his uncle doesn’t like anything magical. He even hits Harry almost daily when he’s there for the summer. Still Harry didn’t use Dumbledore’s emergency port key so you know he’s just being Harry bloody I can save the world Potter.” Ron replied gazing out the window at the passing scenery not focusing on the conversation and having forgotten to kick in his mental filter that kept comments like this from happening around anyone but his family.
After a few moments silence Dean asked, “So what did Hermione look like at the party or was she still hiding behind those unflattering robes she wears?”
“She wasn’t invited. The party was for proper wizarding folk. Of course Harry was invited. His godfather owns Headquarters and Harry is Dumbledore’s pet something that might change now that Dumbledore’s finding out how much of a prat his pet really is. I hope the headmaster’s beginning to realize I wasn’t lying about Harry bloody Potter.” Ron replied.
Shamus exchanged looks with his two other dorm mates. All three had heard Ron mumble things in his sleep that didn’t make sense now however with Ron revealing this side of his personality the mumblings made more sense. With mutual nods to each other they silently agreed a joint owl was headed to Harry with these revelations.
Sign up to rate and review this story