Chapter 30 – A Promise To Keep
. . .
Harry Potter sped through the floo network in route to St Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries. Though Ginny and he had broken up several months back, she would always hold a special place in the wizard's heart. Harry couldn't help but wonder what had happened to Ginny and if it was due to something he had done. Visions of Death Eaters wanting revenge fluttered through his mind almost as quickly as the floo gates he hastened past.
Stepping from the floo and into the lobby of St. Mungo's, Harry quickly spotting the waiting redhead. Ron wore what could only be called a worried expression. His hair, once long and a bit unruly was cut short, abyproduct of going through Auror training no doubt, Harry thought. "Hey, mate. What happened?" Harry enquired.
"Bloody hell! It's about time you got here," Ron opened with as he grabbed Harry's arm and started leading his down the hallway."It's bad, Harry, otherwise I wouldn't have called for you," the redhead said over his shoulder as he led the way. "I know you guys broke up and all but I didn't know who else to call."
"I got here as quickly as I could," Harry replied in his own defense. Short of apparition, there were no faster means than floo travel. St. Mungo's did not allow for non-emergency apparition directly into the hospital, so floo or walking in really was the only means. "It's all right, Ron. What happened to Ginny?" Harry asked again.
"She was practicing with the Harpies," Ron explained as he directed them up a flight of stairs and down and adjacent hallway. "One of their Beaters was under the weather, so Gin stood in for them. You know she's always been pants as a beater, not like the twins at all. So there she was trying her best, at least as I heard it when she was hit by both bludgers at once! Thankfully only one hit her in the back of her head."
Harry recalled Oliver Wood telling him that he had been hit in the head by a bludger his first game and had been knocked unconscious for a couple of days. "Is she alright?" Harry asked hesitantly, fearful of the answer he might receive.
Ron stopped before a closed door and sighed heavily. It was readily apparent to Harry that his friend was having a difficult time talking about it. "Perhaps it would be best if you saw for yourself, Harry. I'm hoping you'll have better luck with her than I did."
With a heavy swallow and a sense of foreboding, Harry reached out and opened the door. Stepping through the doorway, he first noticed the bright red hair, a Weasley trademark, against the stark white sheets on the bed. Stray strands of amber escaped through the gauze bandage that enwrapped Ginny's head. The witch's head turned, and hazel eyes regarded Harry with blank recognition."Hey, Gin. How are you feeling?" Harry asked as he crossed to her bedside.
Ginny regarded the wizard blankly for a long moment before she responded. "I'm sorry, do I know you?" The young witch sat up in her bed and adjusted the pillows behind her absently as she greeted her guests.
"It's me, Harry," the young man answered with a forced smile as he slowly made his way to her. Bloody hell! She's lost her memories, Harry thought in disbelief."We're friends. Went to school together and everything. Even dated for a bit," Harry added with an unsteady chuckle.
"This is all so confusing," Ginny stated in a frustrated tone as her brow creased in confusion. "He says he's my brother," Ginny said with a nod towards Ron. "You say you're my boyfriend and yet I have no memories of anything before waking up earlier today."
Harry turned a pleading look towards Ron only to see that the Auror in training had his back turned, and his shoulders were shaking in silent misery. Poor Ron is so upset that he can barely keep it together, Harry realized. How will Missus Weasley take the news?Ginny was the youngest of the Weasley clan as well as the only girl which meant that she was doted on by the rest of her family. They're going to be devastated, he realized.
"It will be alright, Gin," Harry tried to reassure the injured witch before him. "I'm sure the Healers will get you sorted in a tic or two, and your memories will return. You'll be right as rain, you will!"
"But what if they can't?" Ginny asked in a sad little voice. "I didn't know that Ron was my brother or that you're my boyfriend!What if I never get my memories back!"
Running a hasty hand through his hair Harry's gaze dropped to the floor. The young man was a bit uncertain if he should correct Ginny or not, given her current condition but he didn't want her to be under false assumptions either. "Well, truthfully, we're not boyfriend and girlfriend anymore," he finally said.
"We're not?" Ginny asked in a surprised tone. "What happened?"
"Well…," Harry started with, hastily trying to decide just how to answer that question, "It was me. I was pants at being a proper boyfriend, Gin. In the end, you realized that and kicked me to the curb. You probably should have done it sooner. I was lucky to have you as long as I did." Harry decided it would be best to upset her as little as possible and taking the blame for their breakup would hopefully do that.
"I did? Really?" Ginny inquired only to see Harry nod in agreement. "Did we at least stay friends?"
"Sure," Harry quickly replied, his head rising and looking at the injured girl. "Of course we did."
"So, we wrote and stayed in touch with each other?" Ginny pressed with a puzzled frown.
"Loads," Harry lied.
"Funny, I don't remember a single letter," Ginny stated, her expression turning to one of anger. "Not even a Christmas card! I know we broke up, but I thought we'd at least still remain friends, Harry!"
"We are!" Harry replied defensively before the witch's words sunk in. "Wait, what?" the confused Wizard asked as he suddenly realized that Ginny had all of her memories. "Bloody hell, what's going on here?" Behind him, Harry suddenly heard Ron, unable to hold it in any longer, burst out laughing.
"I think that was a prank well played, Gin," Ron complimented his sister. "Worthy of the twins for sure."
Harry turned to look at his best mate in disbelief. "You knew?"
"Sorry mate," Ron replied, holding up his hands in surrender, "she forced me to go along with it. Threatened to hex my bits off if I didn't."
"You're an Auror aren't you?" Harry persisted with.
"In training," Ron pointed out in his own defense."It's Ginny!" he added as if that said it all. In some ways, it did.
"Honestly, Harry," Ginny exclaimed a bit exasperatedly,"I was growing tired of waiting for you to contact me to see how I was doing. I know we broke up and all but I thought we were still friends at least?"
"We are," Harry insisted, turning back to face Ginny."I've just been rather busy is all," he added a bit evasively.
Ginny regarded Harry for a long moment. She may not know him as well as Hermione, but she knew him well enough to know when he wasn't telling her everything. "Ron, can you be a dear and get me something to drink, please. I think it is about lunchtime so if you want to grab a bite to eat that's fine."
Ron, never one to pass up a meal when possible, readily agreed."Alright, be back in a bit. Go easy on him, Gin," he cautioned his sister before slipping out the room and closing the door behind him so they could have some privacy.
"So, what's going on, Harry?" the remaining redhead asked as she budged over and patted the empty spot on the bed for Harry to sit."What's had you so busy that you couldn't even spare a few minutes to write and see how I was doing? Mum missed you over the holidays and was more than a little upset that you didn't drop by for a visit," Ginny said in a disapproving tone.
Harry took the seat on the edge of the bed facing her. "You wouldn't believe me if I told you, Gin. I don't even believe it all at times," he added with a heavy sigh. Harry had known Ginny for many years and long before they had dated they had been friends. Truth be told she was one of his oldest friends in the Wizarding world. If it weren't for the fact that they had once dated, he probably would have been thankful to have someone to talk to concerning everything.
"I think you forget that I was there at Hogwarts for most of the craziness that is your life," Ginny reminded him with a small smile."I may not have been able to run off with you as Hermione and Ron did but I think I have an understanding of just what you guys went through from talking to you three. I doubt there is anything you can say that would truly surprise me, Harry," Ginny said as she reached out and gave his arm a reassuring squeeze.
In the way of answer, Harry held up both hands and allowed the rings on his fingers to become visible. "Are you sure?"
"Bloody hell," Ginny swore in a disbelieving breath."I think you better start at the beginning."
Harry took a deep breath and gathered his thoughts for a long moment. A part of him couldn't believe he was about to tell everything to his former fiancée, but another part of him knew that it would probably help to be able to talk about it. Usually, he would talk to Hermione about such things, but as she was a part of what was happening in his life, he couldn't very well do that.
"Well, I guess it all started when I visited Gringotts to check into my finances," Harry opened with. "Sirius had made me his heir, leaving me the Black family fortune and my parents had left me with a vault as well. The two together left me relatively well off. It also left me with several properties from the Black family."
"I'm not surprised as the Black family is rather old blood," Ginny interjected. "They are rumored to be one of the wealthiest of families."
"They are," Harry confirmed. "It turned out that they had a large piece of land in Essex that held the family's ancestral home. It was a terribly large place with its own lake and everything. I turned it into The Lupin Home in memory of Remus and Tonks. It is now an orphanage of sorts but not just for children but rather for families as well who've been displaced due to the war."
Ginny couldn't help but smile as that was just like Harry. "I bet the Blacks are turning in their graves!"
"All but Sirius," Harry replied with a chuckle."I'm certain he's having a good laugh as muggles, muggleborn and blood traitors calling the former Black Manor their new home." The two had a good laugh over that for a minute before Harry continued. "I also had a house built in a corner of the property as I did not feel like remaining at Grimmauld Place."
"It was during one of my trips to London that I ran into a former classmate. She was stranded in London with but a few galleons and without her wand," Harry explained, remembering the day he had met Daphne.
"And so you offered her to come stay with you?" Ginny guessed only to see a surprised look appear on Harry's face. "One thing everyone knows about you Harry is that you are noble, almost too noble for your own good. It would be near impossible for you to leave a witch stranded like that. So, who is she?"
"Daphne Greengrass," Harry replied a bit hesitantly, fearing that Ginny might get angry. "I couldn't just leave her," he quickly added in his defense. "I figured she would be safe as she was in love with someone else."
"Tracey Davis," Ginny offered, much to Harry's surprise once again. "I may not gossip like some of my other classmates, but that doesn't mean I didn't listen to the rumors that floated around. Enough people were saying that she flew on the other side of the broom to make it a bit more than a rumor," Ginny explained.
Having never heard that story while at school…or listened to rumors at all for that matter, Harry couldn't say anything. "Well, then it should come as little surprise then that Tracey started living at Westfield as well. Daphne was a bit lonely and asked that her friend be allowed to stay for a while. I was rather distracted at the time with Andi moving in with Teddy that I really didn't pay it much mind."
"Andi and Teddy?" Ginny prompted.
"Andi is Tonk's mum and Teddy is the son of Remus and Tonks, my godson," Harry explained, his smile dipped as he thought of Teddy's missing parents. "Andi wanted to return to school but couldn't really due to needing to take care of Teddy and all. I thought it would be great to have them there as well, being as they are the only real family I have now."
"Wow, Harry," Ginny exclaimed in a teasing tone. "I leave you alone for a bit, and you suddenly have three witches under your roof."
Harry ran a shaky hand through his hair, "A bit more than that actually," he confessed. Upon seeing Ginny's arched brow, he continued to explain. "I was urgently called to St. Mungo's one night. Mister Lovegood apparently had been ill all summer long, and for some reason, he wanted to speak with me." Ginny, like most others, didn't know that Xeno had tried to sell Ron, Hermione, and Harry to the Snatchers to get Luna back. It was something that the three of them had agreed to keep secret.
"Luna's father?" Ginny asked, only to see Harry nod. Growing up she had spent a lot of time playing with Luna, she being the only other girl her age in the area. Even though the blonde girl could be a bit off at times, Ginny still considered Luna as one of her best friends.
"He wasn't doing very well," Harry continued from where he left off. "The Healers said it was a wasting sickness that they had never seen before or something. Mister Lovegood made me promise that I would take care of Luna and make certain that she was not alone. That I would treat her as if she were my own. I'm certain he just wanted me to take care of her as he would. Right after I promised to do so, he passed away."
"I remember that," Ginny said in a sorrowful tone of voice. "The Harpies were on the road, and I couldn't get away to attend the funeral."
"He was laid to rest beside Luna's mum," Harry told her."Mister Lovegood had made me his heir before he passed, which made me the head of the Lovegood house. I had to go to Hogwarts and tell Luna that her father had died," Harry stated, his heart nearly breaking as he recalled that night and the effect it had on Luna at the time.
Hearing the pain in Harry's voice, Ginny reached out and took his hand in hers and gave it a gentle squeeze. "That couldn't have been easy," she said.
"It wasn't. One of the hardest things I think I've ever had to do actually," Harry confessed. "Luna, understandably so, was a mess and fell apart right there in the Headmistress's office. I knew I couldn't leave Luna there all by herself so I took her back with me to Westfield Manor. It took weeks to put her back together again. I still don't think she has gotten over it completely." Harry decided to leave out the bit concerning the resurrection stone as it wasn't essential to his tale.
"Well that explains why you have the Potter, Black and Lovegood rings, what about the others?" Ginny asked, feeling it would be better for Harry to continue talking rather than dwelling on such a sad subject as the passing of Luna's father.
Harry slipped his hand free of Ginny's and willed the Davis ring to appear again, having vanished along with the other rings when Harry wasn't concentrating on them. "This is the Davis head of house ring," he said, tapping the front of the ring with one finger. "They were in a bit of financial trouble and were about to lose everything. I managed to work out a deal with them that saw me becoming the head of the Davis house as well as the owner of Divine Dresses by Davis."
Ginny gasped, "I would kill for a dress from there! Only the most elite can afford them, though," she added wistfully. Every young witch dreamed of being a princess and in most those dreams the dress being worn was from Divine Dresses by Davis.
"Tracey has plans to hopefully change that," Harry informed the witch with him only to see a hopeful expression appear upon Ginny's face. "One of the reasons the Davises were in such financial trouble was because their cliental is very limited. While they make the most expensive garments, they can only sell a limited number per year as well. Tracey has plans to expand the business to include a more reasonably priced line."
"Really?" Ginny exclaimed excitedly. With her salary from the Harpies, she could afford to spend a bit, and a new wardrobe seemed to be in her future if that were true. "Do you know what she will be offering? How much will they cost? When can I buy them?"
Harry held up his hands to forestall further questions. "Gin, I'm just the silent partner in the business. Tracey is the owner or will be once she pays me back, but I really don't know anything more than I've told you. You'll just have to wait till the shop reopens I guess." Once again Harry left out the part of the Davises wanting to sell him, Tracey, deeming it not necessary to his tale.
Ginny frowned, not happy with the news but understood there was little she could do about it. "So that makes you the head of four houses then?"
"Five actually," Harry corrected her with a nervous chuckle.
"Five?" Ginny questioned. "I think you need to explain that to me.
"I'm getting to that," Harry replied. "When Daphne came to stay with me I was looking through old Wizarding customs. Andi had been cast out of the Black family for marrying a muggle-born, Tonk's father. I was meeting with Andi for the first time, and I wanted to right that wrong and bring her back into the Black family," Harry explained upon seeing Ginny's questioning look.
"While reading through what was considered proper etiquette, I happen to recall that it was considered good form to notify a family head when one of their own was staying under your roof. So, I sent a missive to Mister Greengrass informing him that Daphne was staying with me and that I would look after her well-being for the time," Harry stated.
"Let me guess, that was the wrong thing to do?" Ginny questioned. Knowing Harry, and the string of rather bad luck the man had all through his time at Hogwarts, it wasn't hard to imagine that something terribly wrong had happened due to such a harmless gesture as sending a note.
"Yes and no. It was the right thing to do according to custom, just not the right thing to do at the time apparently," Harry conceded. "Daphne had run away from home to try and avoid a marriage contract her father was placing her in."
"Did you know this ahead of time?" Ginny cut in with.
"Not right at that moment I didn't. I knew that the chances of Daphne appearing right there at that exact time in front of me were about as probable as McGonagall waltzing about the school with Moody," Harry replied.
"She did the waltz with Ron," Ginny pointed out with agrin.
"Still one of my favorite memories from fourth-year!" Harry replied with an answering grin. "The look on his face when she told him to place his hand on her hip!" The two of them had a good laugh at Ron's expense.
"The twins would remind him of that every chance they got," Ginny confided. "If Mum had the wireless on and was listening to music they would waltz through the room arm in arm." Ginny grinned recalling just how red Ron had gotten till their mum had chased the twins off."So, back to Daphne," she said to steer the conversation back on track.
"Yes, well," Harry said as he gathered his thoughts once more. "Things were going rather well. Lupin Home was running smoothly once I hired some additional help. It is amazing just how much paperwork there was before Padma took it over."
"Padma Patil?" Ginny questioned.
Harry gave a nod. "I hired her and her sister as well as Susan Bones to help manage the place. I don't know what I would do without them!" Harry let her in on. "They really have been life-savers!"
Ginny frowned upon hearing that another three witches had been added to the story. I'm starting to see a pattern here, she mused silently. "Anyone else living with you?" the young witch asked evenly.
"They don't live with me," Harry corrected her."They live at the Lupin Home. There is Mary, though. She went to school with my mum and has the most wonderful stories of mum and dad!" Harry added with a huge grin that stretched from ear to ear. Ginny could tell just how much those stories meant to Harry. "I hired Mary to teach the girls so that they could take their NEWTs."
"That still doesn't explain the other ring, Harry," Ginny pointed out to nudge the story back on course.
"I'm getting to that," Harry replied. "So, things were going well. Hermione came and stayed with us for the holidays." Harry felt it best to not mention fetching Hermione's parents from Australia for Christmas considering the huge fight Ginny, and he had over the fact that he had gone with Hermione to retrieve her parents in the first place. Leaving out the fact that Hermione was in love with him also seemed like a smart move, all things considered. "I managed to get Christmas presents for everyone, even buying Daphne's wand from her father so that she would have it for classes."
Harry took a deep breath, gathered his Gryffindor courage, and pressed on with his tale. "It appears that there is some old law on the books that provides for buying a witch's wand and giving it to her as a form of marriage contract. The result was that Daphne and I are now married apparently."
Ginny gasped at the news, never having suspected as much. She had thought that maybe some of the girls were chasing after The Boy Who Lived for his fame, but not marriage. A part of her felt a pang of jealousy that Harry was married to someone other than herself. "I bet that didn't go over well?"
"Not hardly," Harry admitted, a bit surprised at how well Ginny seemed to be taking the news. "Daphne punched me in the face before storming out of the place and returning home. Tracey gave me a good yelling before following her. Hermione returned to Hogwarts with McGonagall to research what had happened."
"What about Luna?" Ginny asked as Harry hadn't mentioned the former Ravenclaw as yet.
"Luna wasn't home at the time," Harry explained."She'd gone to visit her parents. By the time Luna had returned I was not in the best of shape, having downed a considerable amount of firewhiskey by then. While she was out, she had come to a realization of what I had promised her father. A part of it stated that I would give Luna a family you see. I guess she felt that there wasn't really a reason to wait."
"You bedded her?" Ginny gasped, completely shocked by the turn of events.
"Technically I think she bedded me, but yeah," Harry confessed, his eyes dropping to his hands in his lap as he was unable to look at the witch before him. "Luna told me she loved me," he went on to explain. "No one had ever said that to me before. I cared greatly for Luna, and once she explained the promise and what it meant, I agreed and saw no reason to wait. I even asked her to marry me, and she said yes." Harry said the last part as if he still couldn't believe it.
Ginny felt a pang of guilt as she realized that all through the time they had been together she never had once said those three little words to Harry. Not for the first time she had to question if what she had actually felt for the wizard was really love or something else. "What happened?" Ginny asked, almost fearful of what the answer would be.
Harry lifted his left hand and willed the Greengrass and Lovegood rings into existence. "Magic accepted the proposal and married Luna and me even though I was already married to Daphne just hours before. Don't ask me how or why because I honestly don't know. I have my solicitors looking into the matter currently as well as everyone else at Westfield."
"That can't actually be legal, Harry," Ginny felt obligated to point out.
"It's not," Harry agreed. "There is a mandatory ten-year sentence in Azkaban for it."
Ginny could do little more than sit and shake her head in disbelief. "Only you, Harry Potter. Only you could find yourself in such a mess. I told you back in August that you'd be absolutely pants at taking care of yourself without me there, didn't I? Now here you are with five women under your roof, and you're married to two of them."
"Eight living there actually," Harry corrected, figuring he might as well tell all the truth. "Hermione moved in shortly after Christmas and Astoria, Daphne's younger sister, came to stay with us when Daphne finally returned."
"Wait a minute. You're married to Daphne, but that doesn't explain how you have the Greengrass head of house ring," Ginny remarked, deciding to ignore the fact that two more witches were living with Harry for the moment.
"That is due to Daphne. As you might suspect she was none too pleased to find out that she was married to me. She threatened to go to the Prophet with the entire story unless her father made me his heir and then abdicated his position to me. It was rather brilliant actually," Harry said with pride in his tone at how well Daphne had done.
"Wait, that's seven. Daphne, Tracey, Andi, Mary, Luna, Hermione and Astoria," Ginny said, extending a finger for each girl named."You told me you had eight witches living with you?"
"Eight women," Harry corrected with a softening smile."Only seven of them are witches." Seeing Ginny's questioning look, Harry went on to explain. "There was a young girl orphaned by the war. Anon-magical girl. She and I became rather close. I think she reminded me of myself a bit. The first time I met Anna, it was in a cupboard at The Lupin Home. She'd taken up living in it, and the poor elves were beside themselves on what to do with her."
"Over the course of several months we grew close," Harry continued to explain. "There were times, what with all that was going on with the others, that Anna was the only bit of normality in my life. Just recently a couple came forward to adopt Anna, though. I was worried as they were apparently from our world. I needn't have worried as Luna had arranged for Anna to be adopted by her and myself. So now I am a father of sorts," Harry concluded.
Ginny knew that Harry wasn't telling her everything just as he had never told her everything that he, Ron and Hermione had done. It was a fact of life she had come to terms with some time ago. When she had first asked Harry what was wrong, she certainly hadn't expected to learn that he was married twice over and had a daughter. The young witch had really just wanted him to talk to her a bit. "Feel better?" Ginny inquired as she cocked her head to one side and regarded the wizard before her.
Harry actually thought about her question and was a bit surprised to discover that he actually did feel better. "Yes, actually I do. I think it helped just to talk about it with someone who is not directly involved with it." Harry regarded Ginny, noting that there seemed to be something different with the witch, but in a good way. "You've changed."
Ginny snorted, something he had never seen her do before. "A bit," Ginny admitted. "I was a pretty spoiled princess thanks to my family. Mostly thanks to me, though," she added so as not to blame her family entirely. "It didn't take long for the other Harpies to grow tired of that and let me know they weren't going to put up with it. It's amazing just how banged up you can get during practice. I was black and blue all over before I wised up," Ginny confessed.
Harry's face grew stern. "Is that what happened?" he asked in a serious tone. "Did this happen because they were taking it out on you?"
"Relax, Harry," Ginny said, reaching out and clasping his arm to keep him in place as if he were about to run out and have words with the Harpies. It touched Ginny none the less that Harry still felt that protective of her. I bet he would go off on them all if I let him…not that it wouldn't be funny to see."That was a while ago," she assured the irate wizard. "I learned my lesson, and this was nothing more than a regular accident." Ginny waited till Harry had calmed down before asking, "So what now?"
"I don't know," Harry replied with a shrug. "I have people working on it, and I'll just have to wait and see what they find I guess. You seem to be taking this all rather well, Gin?" Harry question. A small part of the wizard was a bit hurt that Ginny hadn't gotten all jealous and went off on him like he half expected.
"Like I said, Harry, I've been around you long enough to realize just how crazy your life can be at times," Ginny replied with a grin."Perhaps it was asking too much for that to change just because you defeated Voldemort."
"Perhaps," Harry agreed in a resigned tone. The two talked for a while about the Harpies and how Ginny fitted in. Before long Ron returned with Ginny's requested drink in hand. Harry excused himself, stating that he had to get back. After giving Ginny a hug and a chaste kiss on the cheek, he walked out with Ron beside him. "You should come by sometime, Ron."
"I've still got training, mate," the red-head replied."I wouldn't be here now if it wasn't for the fact that mum and dad are off seeing Charlie in Romania. Bill is off on work for Gringotts and George won't leave the shop," Ron explained. "We get a bit of a break around the Easter hols. I could drop by then if that'll work?"
"Sure, mate," Harry replied, slapping Ron on the back."You're added to the floo into Westfield Manor so drop by anytime you like."
"Thanks, mate," Ron said, and the two parted company with Harry returning home and Ron returning to Auror training.
"Where is he?" Anna asked for the numerous time. The newest resident of Westfield Manor was seated on the floor playing with Teddy. An assortment of wooden animals was spread about the floor as they played zoo. Even as she voiced her question, Teddy picked up a horse and made it fly once again. Anna had tried to tell him that horses didn't fly but apparently, he was having none of it.
"I told you sweetie, a friend of ours was injured and Harry has gone to visit her in the hospital," Luna calmly stated yet again."I'm sure he will be back just as soon as he is certain she is alright." The threesome had just returned from the Lupin Home and Teddy's play date with the other children. The young metamorphmagus had started to fall asleep playing, so Luna had scooped him up and returned home to put him down for a kip. Teddy had other ideas though and seemed to get his second, or was it third, wind on the broom ride back to Westfield.
"I know," Anna replied in a low whine, not appeased at all by the reason for the wizard's absence. Truth be told the small girl was rather frightened that her living with Harry and the others would be taken away from her just as her first family had been. The intelligent child had overheard several stories regarding her Harry and how he had fought in some war, defeating some evil guy whose name must not be spoken. How silly! How can speaking a person's name hurt you, she wondered/./It hadn't taken her long to realize that the war they were talking about was what had cost her the family she was born into.
Anna was glad to have a family once again but having lost one already she was also afraid of losing this one. The young girl was also a bit confused about what she should call Harry and Luna as she already had a mum and dad. Harry's actions around the others in the house also confused the young girl to no end. It's like they are all married to my Harry, she thought. Maybe Harry just loves us all?She finally settled on.
Still, Anna couldn't help but worry when Harry was gone like this. The wizard had become the center of her world over the last several months. It truly wasn't all that surprising to those over at the Lupin Home. Anna was lost and adrift and Harry had, in his own special way, reached out and comforted the small child. Anna, having lost everyone near and dear to her had latched onto Harry like he was a lifeline to a drowning girl. "I just miss him when he isn't here," she confessed finally.
"I know," Luna stated, "I miss him too. Still, we can't expect him to sit around here all day with us."
"We can't?" Anna inquired with a creased brow as she looked at Luna.
"No, we can't, even if that would be rather enjoyable," Luna affirmed with a small dreamy smile. "Our Harry has a great many things he needs to attend to besides just us. He has the entire Lupin Home to look after as well as several other businesses. Being who Harry is, his responsibilities are many," Luna explained.
"But wouldn't he rather be here with us?" Anna persisted as only a small child can.
Luna smiled at the young girl. "I'm certain he would much rather be here with you, sweetie. We don't always get to do what we want to," she tried to explain. "You certainly don't like to eat your carrots, but Winky makes certain you do," Luna pointed out by way of example.
"Carrots are yucky," Anna declared with a scrunched up eww face. Reaching out she snagged the flying horse from the air as it buzzed about her head and set it back on the floor. "Teddy horses don't fly," she told the toddler once again.
"Harry has ridden on a flying horse," Luna said in that soft tone that one uses when sharing a secret.
"Really?" Anna exclaimed in surprise, completely ignoring the triumphant look Teddy was shooting in her direction.
"Well, Thestrals aren't actually horses, though they are close enough, I guess," Luna continued with, giving a small nod of her head as she spoke to answer Anna's question.
"I want to fly on one!" Anna stated in a determined voice. "Do you think Harry will let me?"
"Will I let you what?" the wizard in question asked as he brushed the soot from his clothes with a wave of his hand. The two hadn't heard the floo activate as they were so engrossed in their conversation. Harry barely had time to clean himself before a brown-haired missile, traveling far faster than two legs should be able to propel it, slammed into him. "Hey there," Harry offered with a small smile as he hugged Anna.
"You were gone forever!" Anna exclaimed into the wizard's stomach, her voice slightly muffled.
"Someone has been anxiously awaiting your return," Luna offered, clueing in the confused wizard.
Feeling something run into his leg Harry glanced down only to see Teddy hugging on him. The small toddler still wobbled, a bit unsteady on his feet. "Hello, little man. Did you miss me too?" Harry asked as he reached down and ruffled Teddy's black hair.
"Up!" Teddy demanded, thrusting both hands into the air so that he could be picked up.
Harry, always one to indulge, obediently scooped up the young metamorphmagus and deposited him on one hip. Taking Anna's hand in his, Harry led her over to the couch where he sat, pulling Anna onto the sofa next to him."Now, what's this all about," he enquired as he set Teddy upon his knee and started bouncing the child, much to Teddy's delight and squeals of laughter.
"You should stay here with us," Anna replied bluntly, her eyes dropping to her hand still held by Harry where it rested in her lap.
"As much as I would love to always be here with you, Anna, there are things I need to do and places I need to go," Harry tried to explain.
"I don't care!" Anna exclaimed defiantly. "You have to stay here! You can't leave me!"
Hearing the note of desperation in the young girl's voice, Harry thought he understood what was happening. "Just because I leave doesn't mean I won't be coming back," he told Anna. "We're a family now. You, me, Luna, Teddy, I'll never leave you guys. I will always be here."
"Momma and Papa used to tell me that too," Ann pointed out. "They said we'd always be together," the upset child whimpered as a tear slide down her cheek.
"I know sweetie," Harry replied as he slipped his hand from Anna's and used his arm to pull the crying child into his lap. "I'm sure they wanted to be with you always and forever. They just got caught up in something they never should have been involved with," he told Anna. It was always nasty business when muggles were dragged into the affairs of the Wizarding World. "But that's over with now. We put a stop to the war, so you've nothing to worry about."
"But I heard them talking," Anna replied with a wet sniffle. "They said you might have to go away someplace for ten years!"
"That's not going to happen," Harry said, hoping he sounded convincing.
Anna, sat up a bit and turned to look at Harry before asking,"Promise?"
Smiling at the child's serious question Harry gave a small nod,"I promise."
Anna held out a hand between her and Harry. The young wizard looked down at the small curved finger before him only to hear the girl in his lap ask, "Pinky swear?"
Using his hand that had been holding the crying child, Harry hooked his smallest finger around Anna's. "Pinky swear," he agreed. Not to be left out, Teddy's tiny hand came to rest on their joined fingers as if he was witnessing the promise.
Luna, having remained silent during the entire exchange, couldn't help but smile at the image of the three of them before her. Standing, the witch came over and collected Teddy. "It is nearly time for dinner so we'd best get you lot washed up," she said, holding out a hand for Anna once she had the toddler settled on one hip.
Anna slid from Harry's lap as she took the offered hand. Harry watched three of the most important people in his life walk away, and he couldn't help but wonder how'd he'd gotten so lucky.
"What do you think we'll have tonight?" Anna asked.
"I don't know," Luna replied as Teddy played with the witch's hair, "but I'm sure it will be good."
"I hope there aren't any carrots," Anna quipped just before the trio disappeared from the room.
"Well, that's one promise I can't afford not to keep," Harry told himself softly. Far be it from me to break a sacred pinky swear promise after all.
Draco made his way down the stairs and headed towards the large fireplace to floo out from Malfoy Manor only to be stopped by the sound of his father's voice. "Going someplace?" the elder Malfoy inquired.
Turning, the Malfoy heir gave a short nod in the way of reply."I thought a night out with some company of the female persuasion was called for," Draco added, playing the part of the jilted lover. "I could use a little distraction at the moment."
"Perhaps I should come with you?" Lucius offered with an arched brow. That was, in fact, the very last thing the young Malfoy wanted and not just because it would be more than a little strange. Luckily his mother decided to make her entrance right at that moment.
"Not if you want to keep your bits attached where they are, husband mine," Narcissa said as she strode into the room, impeccably dressed as always and with a glass of wine in one hand. "Let the boy go have some fun for a change Lucius. Just be sure to use a contraceptive charm," the witch added. The last directed at her son.
"You're too easy on the boy," Lucius growled, none the less waving his son on.
Draco lost little time in flooing to Diagon Alley. It was a short walk over to Knockturn Alley and one of the many brothels that called that place home. In short order, the young wizard had purchased a room for the night and a wench for entertainment. It was only upon entering the room that Draco handed the woman a bag of gold and told her to go home for the remainder of the night. "If anyone asks, we spent the entire night together," he instructed her just before she slipped out the back. There were apparently apparition charms in place on the whole establishment to prevent patrons from leaving without paying.
A small pop singled the arrival of a house elf. Draco turned to regard the creature and had to blink several times to make certain his eyes were not playing tricks on him. Standing before him was a house elf like none he had ever seen before as it was dress in black tails rather than rags.
"Good evening young master," Kreacher said in the way of greeting. "Master Harry Potter has sent Kreacher to collect yous."
"I see," Draco managed to say as he got over the initial shock of seeing the elf dressed in such a manner. "Where is Potter? I must speak with him." Without saying another word, Kreacher reached out and grasped Draco's wrist. With a small pop, the two appeared again in the foyer of Westfield Manor. "Where are we?" Draco asked, looking about at the unfamiliar surroundings.
"My home," Harry offered, having arrived in time to catch the last question. "Welcome to Westfield Manor. Please accept my hospitality and protection whilst you remain within these walls."
"I thank the House of Potter for its hearth, shelter, and protection whilst I remain here," Draco replied as was expected. It wouldn't do to ignore his manners even if he were in a hurry. "Is there some place more private we can go to talk?" Draco quickly questioned.
Harry held up a hand to silence the heir to the Malfoy name, for all that was worth these days. "It can wait till after we've eaten. I assure you that whatever pressing business has brought you to my home can wait at least until then." Harry, with a gesture in the direction of the dining room, added, "Shall we?"
"I'm not sure it can," Draco began with only to be cut off.
"Draco!" exclaimed a female voice. Owner of said voice then hastened over too quickly hug the confused wizard,
"Astoria?" Draco stammered, "What are you doing here?"
"Did I forget to mention that?" Harry cut in with a knowing smirk. "Must have slipped my mind," he added, the very image of innocence.
Astoria rolled her eyes at Harry's antics before replying,"Pay him no mind. I'm here visiting Daphne for a bit is all." Slipping her arm into Draco's she steered the wizard towards the dining area, leaving Harry to trail behind. "I didn't know you were coming for dinner." The young witch pointedly ignored Harry's chuckle behind her.
"I wasn't aware that you would be here," Draco explained. "I wasn't even aware that I would be here, truthfully. Still, I am rather pleased to get to see you. I trust you are well?"
"Couldn't be better," Astoria replied, pulling the young wizard closer to her side as they entered the dining area. The two exchanged small talk while waiting for the others to arrive.
Winky appeared and quickly made her way over to Harry."Master Harry, Missus Hermione left word that she would not be home for dinner and may not be back until tomorrow."
"Thank you for letting me know, Winky," Harry said. The young wizard made a mental note to talk to Hermione upon her return. He was more than a little worried about her as she seemed not her usual self of late. There is also the matter of how she feels for me we need to discuss as well, he reminded himself. As much as he loved Hermione, and she apparently loved him, Harry hadn't a clue what either of them could do about it currently.
Making his way to his seat, Harry turned and addressed Draco."As you're my guest why don't you sit here," he said, gesturing towards the seat to his left where Hermione usually sat. "I'm sure Astoria wouldn't mind sitting next to you," Harry added with a small smile towards the witch in question. Though the table was longer and there were additional chairs on each side, Harry thought it might be best to put as much distance between Draco and Luna.
"I see we have company," Daphne's dispassionate voice stated from the end of the room where she and Tracey stood. "I wasn't aware that we'd be entertaining this evening, Harry." The blonde's eyes darted towards Harry who gave a little shrug. "I see," Daphne said before making her way towards the seat to the right of Harry. Harry was quick to pull her chair out for her before leaning down and giving her a peck on the cheek.
"Greengrass, Davis, always a pleasure," Draco offered in the way of greeting before seating himself next to Astoria.
For her part Tracey remained silent, not trusting herself. Knowing full well that if she opened her mouth something snarky would come out of it. Tracey had a long history of such behavior, having even done so to Harry at first, but it was an issue she was working at. It wasn't that Draco had ever really done anything to her directly, being a half-blood she was barely worth the young Malfoy's notice. Instead, the witch offered Harry a warm smile as he held her chair and gave her a peck on the cheek.
"Nephew, how good of you to join us," Andi said as she and Mary arrived. If Andy was surprised by Draco's presence, she did not show it. Years of upbringing as a daughter of the Blacks clearly working in her favor. As he was up, Harry moved and held Andi's chair for her, repeating what he had done for Daphne and Tracey. Mary quickly seated herself, fearful the young wizard would try the same with her.
Draco hastily stood and gave a small bow towards Andi."Aunty, you're looking exceptionally well," the proper young man replied.
"Must be the company I'm keeping," Andi replied, her eyes looking at Harry for a long moment before moving on to the others in the room. "This is Mary Macdonald, a professor and old friend of the Potter family," Andi said, introducing Marry.
"A pleasure Ma`am," Draco said with a slight tilting of his head at the seated witch.
"Oh goody! Everyone is here!" Luna exclaimed as she entered with Teddy on one hip and holding Anna's hand. The small girl hid behind Luna, unused to strangers and still a bit shy and frightened by them. Passing Teddy to Andi, who placed the squirming child in his high chair, Luna took the seat next to Andi with Anna sitting beside her and next to Astoria."I'm rather famished!" Harry gave all three a kiss, helping the girls to their seat before returning to his own.
Draco, astounded at the number of women in Harry's house, couldn't help but turn and look at the wizard. "How do you do it? I can barely manage with one!" His words earning him a reproachful smack on the arm from the witch beside him. Harry was spared from answering as just then the food appeared, and everyone discovered that, like Luna, they were also apparently terribly hungry.
The meal passed in idle chatter, that doesn't do much more than filling the space between one minute and the next. While everyone was a bit surprised to see Draco Malfoy seated at Harry's table, given their long-running aversion to each other in school, they trusted that Harry had his reasons.
Harry finished his meal and whipped his mouth before tossing the linen onto his plate. The plate quickly vanished and was replaced with a cup of tea. The last living Potter took a slow sip, gathering his thoughts before asking the question he was certain Draco was waiting for. "So, what was so urgent that you had to see me as soon as possible?"
Draco hastily swallowed the sip of tea he had just taken, his eyes darting about the table quickly before turning towards Harry. "It might be best if we spoke in private, Potter."
"I trust everyone in this room," Harry assured him."Save perhaps yourself, Malfoy," he added with a small smirk.
Draco opened his mouth to reply only to be stopped by the witch beside him. "Just tell him, Draco," Astoria urged. Though she did not know what had brought Draco there this evening, she knew that Harry did indeed trust everyone at the table. "If Harry says it is all right then you can believe him."
Glancing first towards Astoria, Draco noticed all eyes were now on him. Even the toddler seemed to suspect something was up and was eyeing the strange man, though the metamorphmagus made no attempt at all to look like Draco. The Malfoy heir turned back towards Harry and gave him a look as if to say /It's your funeral/, to which he merely received a slight shrug in reply.
"Father has been meeting with his contacts in the Wizengamot all week," Draco opened with. Seeing the blank look on Harry's face, he explained. "Father only does that when he is planning something, and he wants to make certain that when the time comes, the votes fall in his favor. He's also been meeting with your father," Draco added, looking towards Daphne.
"Each of those by themselves is not overly surprising," Daphne stated, knowing that the two of them had business dealings. "But the two together could mean that Father is up to something," she acknowledged.
"I'm certain that whatever that is, my Father is involved as well," Draco added.
"Why so?" Harry inquired curiously.
"Father knows that you are married twice over," Draco stated bluntly. He had been expecting the witches to explode in outrage, but he was severely disappointed as other than concerned frowns there was little reaction at all. "Wait, you knew this already?" he asked, looking about the table in disbelief.
"Not about your father and Daphne's working together," Harry replied, "but yes, they are all aware of my marital status. How did you learn of it?"
"Father left the parchment with the news on his desk and I happened to see it there," Draco replied.
"The real question is, what are they planning?" Tracey quipped, dropping the room into silence as they all pondered that question.
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