A couple of differences between this Chapter and the original...
"Urg!" Harry blushed slightly and stared up at the ceiling as a young witch enthusiastically measured his inseam and rattled off the measurement to another witch holding a clipboard. As the petite, blonde, almost certainly veela seamstress moved on to the outside of his mostly-bare legs, Harry cleared his throat and turned his head to face the two witches watching with identical looks of amusement. "So, why did we have to come all the way to Paris just to get a couple of suits?"
Fleur shook her head and sighed, as if the answer to the question was painfully obvious. "'onestly, if you are intending to buy fine clothing, Paris eez a much more pleasant place to shop than rainy old London. It also `as a much `igher veela population, which long ago lead to the creation of zis particular chain of stores."
Harry blinked and glanced around. Aside from the entirely blonde and female staff, it didn't look all that different from most of the places the group had visited yesterday. A little more Upper-class, certainly, but... "What's so special about Burning Desires?"
His veela companion took a sip of her low-fat latte before answering. "Burning Desires caters almost exclusively to veela and those individuals in close relationships with veela. Our form shifting and flame abilities are the mortal enemy of fine clothing, so Burning Desires makes clothing specially charmed to be flame and tear resistant, easily cleaned, and capable of accommodating a sudden growth of wings, all while still being stylish and sophisticated."
The currently pink-haired Auror whistled, impressed. "Nice. Bet they've never had to make clothes to fit a guy with permanent wings, though."
"Non, but I floo called last night and spoke with the manager and 'ead seamstress, and she was very eager to begin working on the problem. She eez most likely in the back room right now working out designs just to fit you, `arry."
Conversation was briefly halted when one of the seamstresses asked him to flex his wings. She didn't speak English, so Fleur translated as she asked him to move his wings this way and that so she could add the range of movements to her list. It didn't take any speaking at all to get Harry to hold his arms out to the side, so conversation resumed as the woman measured his upper body. "How long do you think it will take to make up an outfit?"
Fleur questioned one of the workers in French to get the answer. "You will most likely get your first outfit today, and the other dozen or so by the end of the week."
Harry's eyebrows rose. "That quick, making outfits from scratch?"
"Keep in mind that they really only need to do custom work for your robes, vests, and shirts; your shoes, socks, pants and underwear can all be that of a normal man." Fleur shrugged, a wide smile spreading across her beautiful features. "You are also a very wealthy and famous individual, so Chanel eez eager to make a good impression for a client she `opes very much will come back again."
"I take it the Daily Prophet hasn't made it over here yet?"
The French Triwizard Champion sniffed with disdain. "The International Edition of that filthy rag 'as stained the breakfast tables of much of the country. Don't worry, though; most of France thinks very 'ighly of you, especially after your actions in the tournament and the interviews both Madame Maxime and myself gave to the local newspapers."
Tonks giggled at the somewhat surprised look Harry gave the blonde. "Nothing but good words for our little champion, I hope."
"Of course! I believe I said `e was `onorable, caring, powerful, and very, very cute, and your numerous non-human friends pleased the non-human population of France a great deal." Fleur's grin grew wider as Harry's face turned a little redder with every compliment. "I may just `ave to give another interview soon, changing '`cute' to '`andsome' after your little growth spurt."
Tonks frowned mock-thoughtfully, giving Harry the once-over. "I don't know about just 'handsome'. Devilishly or rakishly handsome, maybe, but not just handsome."
Most of the seamstresses didn't quite understand everything being said, but the growing blush and steadily rising body temperature of their customer was a source of great amusement and mild concern. Fortunately, the leader of the small group (Jeanette, according to her nametag) retrieved Harry's just-finished black pants from the back room, along with a matching pair of socks and highly polished leather shoes. She handed the clothes to the flushed wizard and pointed him towards the men's changing rooms, to which he gratefully departed.
Placing her beverage on the table, Fleur picked up a small pamphlet, stood, and made her way over to the measuring stool. "I would like to be measured up for this business robe, if I may."
Plucking the pamphlet from Fleur's slender fingers, Jeanette nodded approvingly at the style; professional, yet snug enough to show off the figure beneath. "Did you have any colors in mind?"
Fleur nodded. "I will need a very dark green, with a shining gold trim; the traditional uniform colors for Goblin Ambassadors, reversed as is usual for non-Goblin Gringotts employees."
Impressed, Jeanette sent a couple of veela off to dig up the appropriate fabric before turning back to Fleur. "Strip down, hop up, and let us see what we're going to be working with."
Completely at ease, Fleur kicked off her shoes and stripped off her pale blue robes and handed them to a waiting seamstress before stepping onto the stool.
Tonks arched an eyebrow at her new friend's choice of underwear; silky, transparent white stockings held up by a frilly white garter belt, coupled with a lacy g-string and bra combo. "Is that all you're going to be wearing under your robes at work?"
Fleur grinned evilly. "Of course."
Jeanette nodded absently as she ran the measuring tape over Fleur's voluptuous form. "A fine choice, though I would recommend something darker, perhaps dark green or gold, to match the rest of your uniform."
The new Gringotts employee smiled. "I already have just such underwear at home."
Shaking her head, Tonks couldn't help but admire the blonde's confidence. "You've got more guts than I do; I don't think I'd be able to stop blushing if I wasn't wearing jeans and a shirt under my uniform robes." Glancing past the blonde, Tonks smirked as she spotted the men's changing rooms in the background. "You do know that when Harry steps out of that changing room, the first thing he's going to see will be your butt in that skimpy thong, right?"
Fleur was the personification of wide-eyed innocence. Sadistic, barely clothed, sexy-as-all-hell, wide-eyed innocence. "Really? Imagine that."
"...Fleur; you are my kind of evil."
Stepping outside Burning Desires in his new clothes, Harry took a deep, relaxing breath. "Well, I guess that answers that question..." Since becoming spliced, Harry had gradually noticed that he was feeling pretty damn good, and not just because of his improved physique. The anger he'd felt towards his friends and godfather had diminished to a faint annoyance at their actions, and his burning hatred for Snape had also dwindled down to a mild dislike and an intense distrust. It was like every overly negative emotion had been dulled. This had become even more obvious when he felt absolutely no nervousness while flirting and joking around with Tonks the other day.
In a strange way, it was actually a bit of a relief that he got a little nervous while being in the presence of two utter babes like Tonks and Fleur, and doubly so when Fleur was walking around in her underwear. It didn't make it any less embarrassing to be bright red in the face, but it was nice to know he was still mostly human.
"Here he is!"
Turning with a smile in his face, Harry admired the two women who'd recently risen to prominence in his life. He'd only known Tonks for a day or so, and he hadn't said more than twenty words to Fleur before yesterday, but right now he wouldn't have given their companionship up for anything. "So, what should we do to celebrate Fleur's new job? Dinner at a fancy restaurant?"
Tonks grimaced, gesturing down at her muggle clothing, particularly her patched jeans. "I'm a tad underdressed for a fancy restaurant." She perked up as a different idea occurred to her. "How about we go to the movies? I hear they've got this new one out about King Arthur!"
Harry nodded, turning to Fleur to see what she thought of the idea; the French woman was smiling approvingly. "Sounds interesting. We should stop off at my 'otel room back in London so I can get changed into more appropriate clothing."
The spliced teen glanced down at his brand new fancy clothes; the open black robe showing off the deep red vest over the black silk shirt. "Should I get changed as well?"
Both women shook their heads emphatically and grabbed one of his arms, intent on dragging him to the Cross-Channel Floo network. "Not on your life, buster! We went to all that trouble getting you cleaned up, and Fleur and I will be damned if we don't show you off around town!"
Resigning himself to looking like a million galleons, Harry let himself be led away, ignoring the jealous looks he was getting from the wizards in the alley and glancing at one store after another until something caught his eye. "Hey, wait! Holdup!" Having stopped, he took the lead and led the small group to the front window of one particular store, until he was standing right in front of the object of his attentions. "...I want it."
Fleur blinked, studying the item in question. "Well, it's the right colors, at least."
Tonks snickered. "It's the finishing touch alright!" She let go of Harry's arm and nudged him towards the door. "Quick, go get it!"
"Interesting movie. Kinda weird seeing King Arthur without Merlin, though."
Tonks shrugged, snuggling closer to Harry as they walked down the street to Number 12 Grimmauld place. Fleur had already apparated back to her hotel, so it was just the two of them now. "It wasn't as good as I expected. Maybe we should have seen that Mr Holland's Opus, thing?"
The man of the duo nodded. "That looked like something Fleur might have enjoyed. Maybe we should see that one next time?"
The metamorph narrowed her eyes playfully. "Already planning another hot date with two sexy older women, hmm?"
Harry grinned, unashamed. "Of course!" He grew a little more serious. "Honestly though; I had a lot of fun with you and Fleur today."
"It was definitely one of my more fun dates." Tonks sighed a little wistfully as they stopped outside Number 12. "It's going to be a long wait until the end of your seventh year, Harry." She smirked slightly at his surprised look. "That's right; I like you, you big lug, and I want you to hurry up and finish at Hogwarts so we can see if this relationship can go places."
The part-phoenix bit his lip in thought. "...maybe we can work something out. It's not like anti-apparation wards can stop me, and Hogwarts is a big castle; there are plenty of places I can say I was without anyone being the wiser."
Tonks grinned, catching on. "You flame back to London, and we hang out for a while after work and school." She glared and poked him in the chest warningly. "Just keep in mind; you're not my boyfriend just yet, got it?"
"Yes Ma'am!" Harry snapped off a salute. He was naturally surprised when the pink-haired Auror wrapped her arms around his neck and molded herself to his front.
"You're not my boyfriend yet...but you're definitely getting there." She pressed a kiss to his cheek for a few seconds before hopping back with a grin. "So keep up the good work, Lover Boy!" With that, she threw open the front door and flounced inside. She was only out of Harry's sight for a moment when there was a loud thudding, a crash, and then a certain screaming portrait audibly getting into the swing of things.
Wincing at the wailing bitch-painting, Harry stepped inside and closed the door behind himself, moved to help up a grumbling Tonks, then righted the troll's leg umbrella stand she'd knocked over in her clumsiness.
The door to the kitchen burst open, and Sirius bounded out, screaming some unheard expletives at his mother as he wrestled with the curtains, finally forcing them shut with the aid of his old buddy Moony. Panting, he turned to his godson and grinned, brushing his hair out of his eyes. "That's a good look for you. The cane is an interesting touch."
Harry grinned, twirling the black cane in his hand before gripping it under the cap at the top; a ruby orb the size of a chicken's egg clasped in the golden talons of some bird of prey. "I figure if Lucius Malfoy can get away with carrying a pimp-cane all over the place, then why the hell can't I? Anyway, here's Cinderella, back from the ball before midnight, as promised." He waved and moved to the stairs. "See you when your little club meeting is finished."
"Harry." When Harry stopped on the stairs and looked back, Remus sighed. "Dumbledore wants to see you."
Dumbledore sat at one end of the kitchen table, Molly on one side, Moody on the other. On the other end of the table, Harry sat with Tonks on one side and Sirius on the other. The rest of the active Order members were arrayed along the length of the table and around the room. Curiously, Snape seemed to have seated himself as far from Dumbledore as was physically possible while still being in the same room.
In the total silence, Dumbledore sighed and pulled off his half-moon glasses. "Harry, I believe we have some things we need to talk about..."
Harry nodded. "Agreed. You can start by telling me what the hell you were thinking when you lied to the Goblins and kept my vault keys from me."
In that one instant, almost everyone in the Order was staring at the elderly Headmaster. If he hadn't expected to be put on the defensive right off the bat, he wasn't showing it. "I'm afraid that I only did what I thought was best. If the keys had been destroyed, you would have needed your blood relatives present to get new ones forged when it came time to introduce you to the wizarding world, and I think we can both agree that it was best that we avoided such a debacle. I only kept them because I felt they were safest in my care."
Nodding, Harry seemed to accept that explanation. "Fair enough. Now, why did you give Snape one of the keys?"
There was a lot of muttering at this question, and Sirius had to be physically held in his seat to stop him from attacking the snarky Potions Master in question. Albus shot the scowling Potions Master a withering glare before sighing and turning back to face Harry. "I was unaware that Snape had switched one of the keys in my care with a fake until yesterday, when your keys were destroyed, and Severus was admitted to St. Mungo's with a badly injured hand that was saturated with Goblin magic." He sighed again. "I swear to you that Severus' pay will be severely docked, and that you will receive whatever he doesn't get until such a time as you have been repaid in full."
Snape leapt from his seat, a look of utter outrage on his face. "You can't be serious!"
Dumbledore looked as far from the kindly, doddering old wizard he normally acted like as was possible at that moment. "I am completely serious, Severus! You have stolen a considerable sum of money, and your only options are to pay Mr Potter back what you stole, or face a lengthy stay in Azkaban."
Snape sneered maliciously, crossing his arms across his chest. "Then I choose Azkaban!" He was caught completely off guard when a dark crimson lance of magical energy slammed him violently into the wall behind him and into unconciousness.
Tucking his wand away, Sirius grinned happily. If anyone disagreed with Sirius' chosen actions, it was mostly because they wanted a shot at the greasy-haired bastard themselves. "Merlin that felt good!"
Looking very tired and aged, Dumbledore slumped back in his seat. "Harry...I don't know what to say..."
Crossing the room to stand above Snape's unconcious form, Harry shrugged nonchalantly as he nudged the downed Death Eater with his shiny new shoes. "Well, while you're figuring that out, I'll put Snape somewhere where he can't get up to any mischief." Before anyone could even think of stopping him, Harry stomped his foot on the spy's back and burst into flames.
With a flare of fire, Harry and his unconscious cargo popped back into existence in a damp, dark cave, where the only sign of humanity was a round door in the rock covered in snake carvings. With a grimace of distaste, Harry cursed Snape's clothes off of his body, then rummaged through the pile of garments, finding two wands, a coin purse, several keys, and a number of liquid-filled vials. His impromptu search over, he dumped the clothes on top of Snape's naked body and stomped on him again, bursting into flames once more and reappearing on the other side of the door.
There was silence for a moment, then- "YOU!?"
Harry grinned, stepping away from his insensate passenger and turning to face the scattered purebloods. "Hi there Lucy. How's life treating you?" The only reply was some very uncultured and painful-sounding promises of bodily harm, but the wizards stopped in their tracks when Harry held up his wand. "While I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be much of a challenge to a bunch of terrifying dark wizards like you in a straight fight, I'm deeply comforted by the fact that I'm the only man here with a wand. And you know that old saying; in the land of the blind..."
A very disheveled-looking Lucius Malfoy finished. "...the one-eyed man is King." The other Death Eaters, of which there was less than a dozen, stayed quiet, choosing to follow the lead of arguably their most intelligent and resourceful comrade. Taking a moment to gather himself, Lucius glanced around the chamber that had been his home for almost two days. "What is this place, Potter?"
Harry pointed his cane at the damaged, gaping, monkey-like face taking up one end of the chamber. "Built by Salazar Slytherin, that most cunning of Hogwarts' Founders, I give you the Chamber of Secrets! Recently cleaned of all basilisk remains, for your comfort."
While some of the wizards looked around the cavern with awe and a new appreciation, Lucius and at least a few others seemed to realize just how deeply they were in the shit. "Does Dumbledore know about this?"
Smirking, Harry shook his head. "Nope, and I don't plan on telling him, either. You see, after that whole mess with Voldemort coming back from the dead, I told both him and the Minister for Magic all of your names; the names of every free member of Voldemort's Inner Circle. Neither of them really did anything to stop you from taking up your wicked ways once more, so I decided to do it for them."
Malfoy was now nearly hysterical as the full weight of the situation came crashing down upon him. "You can't leave us down here, Potter!"
Harry disagreed heartily. "Sure I can! You've got plenty of room to roam around, clean running water, and good, nutritious food will be delivered to you on a regular basis. If I find out you gents have been behaving yourself, I'll even have some new clothes and books sent down so you don't get bored, and if the war ends in my favor, I'll make sure that the whole lot of you have honest trials before you're sent to Azkaban. Doesn't that sound fun?"
The mass of dark wizards didn't think that sounded fun at all, and charged at the Boy-Who-Lived with murder on their minds.
Too bad they didn't even get halfway to him before he vanished in a burst of fire.
Heh heh heh...all those men stuck down there...alone...and Lucius with all of that long blonde hair, fair skin, and pretty mouth...
Poor, poor, Lucius...
As for Fleur and her new job away from the curse-breakers and Bill Weasley...well, she is known to have at least a passing association with a valued and somewhat-slighted customer, and she walked out of the Bank on said customer's arm, so it encouraged the Goblins to give her a slightly higher starting position in the bank than she had in cannon. Now, she's a Junior Liason working with Senior Ambassadors to such clients as major businesses, various Ministries, and so forth.
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