Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Bonds of Love

Freshly Forged

by kinoth 23 reviews

The bond that once protected Harry is now killing him by inches. Can it be stopped and who will be able to shoulder the burden?

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: R - Genres: Action/Adventure, Humor, Romance - Characters: Dumbledore, Fleur, Lupin, Ron, Tonks - Warnings: [?] - Published: 2006-11-28 - Updated: 2006-11-28 - 7414 words

The day after the banishment of Lily Potter's ward-spirit was painful but enlightening for Harry. After much discussion with both Headmaster Dumbledore and Professor Trelawney, it was clear that while Lily's spell had protected him throughout his early life, the run-in with the Voldemort-posessed Quirrel, and later, the sharing of his blood in Voldemort's rebirth ritual had introduced a touch of corruption to the ward, even as it saved his life.
Sibyll Trelawney, unfortunately, had also been affected by the spirit, having been left with the spirit's entire wealth of memories and feelings. While it made divining its motivations and methods easy, the double set of experiences almost gave the Divination professor a nervous breakdown. A strong calming draught crafted by Snape had been needed after the first time she accidentally called Harry 'baby'.
Harry was kept from dwelling on the emotional loss of his mother's spirit-shard by the revelation that the ward's interference had caused both his magic and his emotional maturity to be greatly curtailed. With its release, his already great power would hopefully begin to regulate itself and allow his aura and emotions to stabilize. Throughout the day, he experienced moments of incredible insight, where a piece of his past, or something that Dumbledore would discuss would become clear.
After a pleasant dinner with the professors, Harry found himself in Sirius' room again, staring at the ceiling in a brown study. So many things were running through his mind that he completely missed Tonks and Fleur's entrance. The metamorphmagus apparently decided that she didn't like being ignored, however, and felt it would be endlessly amusing to poke him in the forehead whenever he began frowning. After the first two sharp pokes in the head, Harry began batting her finger away as it approached. The next time he blocked Tonks' finger, Fleur jabbed him in the temple while giggling. Between his good-natured grumbling and the calm that both witches seemed to radiate, Harry finally cracked a small smile and relaxed enough to speak his mind.
"So... what brought on the two of you showing up in my room last night? I'm a little confused on a couple of things."
The two women shared an amused look. "What'z zo confuzing, 'arry?"
The wizard leaned his head over the back of the armchair. "Well, earlier in the day you two were about to have a catfight, both had been acting jealous of any time spent with the other- and suddenly you both walk in and tell me you're going to bed with me. C'mon, even I'm not that dense."
Chuckling ruefully, Tonks replied, "You have a point there, Harry. While you were off charming a Potions Master-" she paused as he made gagging noises "-we took your command to heart and had a discussion. It helped us get a perspective on things, and allowed us to come to an agreement."
The Mona Lisa smiles that the girls wore were a bit unsettling. "And this agreement is...."
"Zat neizer 'ermione or 'leetle Gin-gin' dezervez to geet zeir clawz into you." Fleur replied heatedly.
"What Fleur means, Harry," Tonks supplied, "is that we aren't the only ones who've noticed how attractive you've become. Both ladies apparently had designs on you of one kind or another- after our eavesdropping the other night, I've been listening in to some of their conversations at the Burrow. They've decided to try and keep you clueless about how 'hot' you are until they can mould you into a 'proper' boyfriend." Every time the auror made air quotes, her hair color changed.
"What in the hell is a proper boyfriend?" Harry asked.
Fleur opened her mouth but was silenced by the metamorphmagus' hand over her mouth. "Nuh-uh, I'm telling this story, little flower," she smirked. Turning to Harry, she began in a plummy voice "A proper boyfriend is sweet and kind and always puts his girlfriend first. A proper boyfriend gets his girl on the cover of Teen Witch Weekly because he smooches her in public. A-"
"He what!"
"From what I overheard, Ginny seems to have two mental images of you in her mind- Harry, and The Boy Who Lived, dragon slayer extraordinaire, defeater of Dark Wizards."
"It was a basilisk, and I didn't kill him, or else he wouldn't be back, you know."
"Oh, shaddup and stop interrupting, Harry!" Tonks laughed. "Anyhow, Ginny seems to see you as these two different people, and she was trying to make you into one person- picking what she thought was the best part of both personalities, of course."
Harry groaned. "Please tell me Hermione set her straight."
"Actually, she seemed to think that Ginny's ideas weren't that bad- especially the one where she said she'd smack you on the head when you moped or got quiet, and kiss you when you acted nice- the carrot and stick approach, y'know. Hermione figured that having Ginny around to help control your moods would be better for everyone."
The messy-haired wizard's face had been turning Uncle-Vernon-puce as Tonks talked. As soon as she finished, he exploded "What in the hell were they thinking!"
"Zhey may not be." Fleur allowed grudgingly. "Eet's possible zat you fried zhere fluffy leetle 'eadz."
Predictably, Harry quieted a bit at that. "Hrm.. I don't like the fact that they seem to believe that I'd go along with something like that. I don't want to be controlled. Maybe I did do something to them." He stilled in thought, and a moment later ventured, "But what about you two yesterday morning when you pulled me out of the ward? You were trying to strip me naked! Did I make you crazy too?"
Again, the two witches shared a look, and Fleur shrugged. "Ze feeling waz overwheling, 'arry. I don't theek zat I've been zo turned on in my life. Eet waz not a conscious choice at ze time."
Tonks nodded in agreement. "And it continued during lunch too- I can't even begin to tell you if I had a coherent thought in my head or what we were arguing about- but then when you left, Fleur and I talked and had a chance to get control of ourselves. Maybe we're a bit better able to withstand the rush of hormones since we've been through puberty. Of course, later we got hit with the full flush of your aura when we got back to Dumbledore with the gems, and we still seem to be alright. Maybe you're assuming that your aura is more potent than it is, or maybe it's something you become used to."
"Albus cast the nullification spell on everyone last night, though."
Tonks shook her head. "We weren't in the room at the time."
Harry's eyes widened in horror. "I brainwashed you." he said.
"No you didn't."
"Non, 'arry."
"But, I-"
Both women slapped a hand over his mouth. "Hold on before you make assumptions, lover boy." the English witch smirked. "Look, I thought you were cute when I met you- way too young, and cute in a very super-skinny, diamond-in-the-rough kind of way, but you were cute. During the year, I heard you were broody and depressed, but when I saw you this summer, there was something about you that seemed- well, different. Yes, you were broody and depressed and weepy, but then again, I was too. But when I talked to you, there was a person under all the crap you had been through that I couldn't help but be attracted to. Your magic sex whammy was just icing on the cake."
The teenaged boy looked bemused and blinked a few times. "I never would have guessed that you'd really be interested in me."
"Well, neither did I at first, Harry. Until I got to know you, at least, and then it was a given. Of course, I figured that I could dance completely naked in front of you and you wouldn't get the hint- you are a bit clueless with women. You have reason to be so, though."
Harry almost swallowed his tongue at the dancing comment, but gamely replied, "I can't even believe that I'm having a conversation about this, especially since I'm acting sort-of-adult, and with two women, no less." He shook his head ruefully and looked at the blonde Veela. "Do you want to talk about it, Fleur?"
The French witch bowed her head and mumbled something in French, then began. "Eet was ze Second Task zat started eet, 'arry. What you did to save my sister was ze work of a true hero. Veela- even part Veela, like me- sense people differently."
Fleur was picking her words carefully and her accent had all but vanished as she groped for the right words to say. "I started to get a feel for ze kind of man you would become. Still, you were young, and Bill was irresistible to someone like me- dashing, strong, and manly. But when I saw you in ze infirmary ze ozer day, zere was something that caught my senses. Zhey told me you would be a perfect man for me. When you 'eld me as I cried, I wanted to pounce on you and claim you as mine. Of course, your-" the Veela's voice suddenly gained a timbre that sent a thrill through him, "-magic sex whammy gives you a certain je ne sais quoi that iz quite zomezing."
Harry took a moment to quiet his libido and get his thoughts in order. "So despite being hit with the full flush of my unwarded aura, neither of you think you were badly affected by it." When both ladies shook their heads he frowned a bit. "I don't know if I believe you, honestly. Look, I won't argue that either of you find me attractive- although I don't agree- but to have both of you see me as too young to be boyfriend material or whatnot, and then suddenly deciding it doesn't matter anymore at the time I'm leaking a lust-aura- and you're both sitting here telling me about it in front of the other? Acting like you're willing to share me? Or maybe you're you going to take turns- or wait for me to make a decision between you two and the other will accept it calmly? I don't want to say I'm sceptical, but hey- I am."
Tonks sighed. "We figured you'd be a little bit leery, Harry. Maybe not quite this bad, but close."
"We understand if you want to 'ave 'eadmaster Dumbledore verify we're in 'our right minds, 'arry." The pretty blonde witch's eye had a gleam Harry wasn't sure of. "But before you do, we 'ave zomezhing to tell you, and zomezhing to teach you- zomezhing every man should know."
"What's that?" Harry asked warily.
"We're going to teach you how to kiss!" Tonks chirped merrily.
"And 'arry- we do share." Fleur growled throatily.
They reached for him then, and all he could do was surrender to their sweet lips.
The next day started with a private conversation between the Headmaster of Hogwarts and the Boy Who Lived. After the elder wizard examined both women- including Legilimental probing- and the discussion was moved into a soundproofed room on the second floor.
"What did you find, Professor?" Harry asked worriedly.
Dumbledore turned from casting an imperturbable charm on the door without his normal twinkle. "Harry, I do not know if you will take this news well. Please do let me finish all that I will say before you ask questions."
The metamorphmagus and part-veela each grabbed one of Harry's hands as the old wizard settled into a conjured chair.
"While I did not detect signs of 'brainwashing', as you termed it, it does seem that your magic may have affected them in a different manner. I am sure that after viewing the veela at the World Cup that you are aware that they are not fully human- or rather, it is speculated that they are a very early magical offshoot of humanity that has changed over the centuries. While they are fully capable of interbreeding with humans- magical or muggle- someone with veela blood has drives and abilities that mere wizards may not understand, one of which is the drive to find a suitable mate." The wizard looked faintly uncomfortable discussing the subject in mixed company, and as Harry attempted to process the information given to him a stray thought occurred that discussions like this had probably been quite improper when the Headmaster was a younger man.
"Headmaster, if I can make a guess to what you're hinting at, while I didn't directly influence Fleur- like a love potion or the Imperious or something would, my aura marks me as a good mate?" Harry ventured.
"Oui," Fleur interjected,"Ozer witches may t'ink you are attractive when zhey sense the power of your magic, zhere is a feeling zhat tells me you are a perfect mate for a veela." The woman blushed prettily. "If I was a full-blooded veela, I do not zhink I could resist throwing myself on you."
Harry reclaimed his hand from Tonks and rubbed the side of his head pensively. "And it doesn't bother you that this sense of yours is telling you that a skinny, younger kid is your perfect mate?"
"If you were not ze 'arry I see, zhen I would be fighting it wit' all of my might," she stated firmly, "but you are a kind, 'onest, courageous man. Of courze, you are not perfect, and you 'ave anozer woman who wants you as well, but zoze zings do not seem to be so bozersome. Things will work out in time."
Tears threatened to fall from Harry's eyes as pulled the French witch into a hug. "Thank you, Fleur." he murmured into her shoulder. "I can't promise that everything will work out, but I will do all I can to make it happen." At her nod, Harry turned to Tonks, who waited with an unreadable expression in her eyes. "Is there something similar that's happened with you, Tonks?"
The metamorphmagus looked over at the Headmaster, then back at Harry. "Yeah." she sighed. "I didn't know all of this myself, but apparently research seems to think that metamorphmagi have a sense that allows them to detect people who are magically powerful, and the morphing lets them change themselves into a form that's attractive. Apparently the more powerful the wizard or witch is that you mate with, the more likely that one of the children will be a metamorph. And apparently metamorphs can happen through random chance, which seems to be how I came about."
Harry pulled Tonks into a fierce embrace. "Alright. I can't make promises, like I said. But if you're willing to put up with a guy who has absolutely no experience with women, then we can work this out."
At this , Harry was swept into combined embrace of the women and kissed quite thoroughly in front of the Headmaster. Harry's embarrassment manifested itself as a local loss of gravity that left all four sprawled on the floor and a disturbing twinkle in the old wizard's eye. Shortly thereafter, Harry was pulled into a training session with the Headmaster and Professors Flitwick and McGonagall. Between the time he spent with his paramours and the time taken by the three teachers, he was constantly tired, but nonetheless he could barely wipe the smile off of his face.
The blissful few days were interrupted by the return of Remus Lupin. The werewolf's arrival meant that the trip to Gringotts could be put off no longer. The three made arrangements for the next day, and set off early in the mooring.
Harry had been dreading this day. The reading of Sirius' Will made his loss too final for Harry, and in an attempt to keep himself from breaking down in tears, he had Occluded his emotions in preparation. He watched calmly as Remus spoke with a teller, who quickly ushered them through a myriad of confusing passages and ensconced them into a lavish antechamber. As they sat and stewed for a moment, Harry glanced over at the former DADA professor and noticed he was visibly pale and wide-eyed.
"Professor, what's wrong?" Harry asked calmly. His Occlumency shields were strong enough that he felt slightly disconnected from reality, but he could still sense Remus' agitation.
The scarred man looked at him incredulously. "Harry, from the name on the door, we're in the reception room for the Head Goblin of Gringotts!"
"Oh." Even Harry looked a little peaked then.
After only a few minutes, a goblin appeared and ushered the three through the tall mahogany doors leading into the inner office. As they crossed the threshold Harry felt a tingle, like passing though an active spell boundary. After the first touch the feeling faded, and neither Remus nor Tonks reacted, so Harry shrugged the feeling off.
The Head Goblin's office was gigantic, easily the size of four Hogwarts classrooms. The carpeting was a dark maroon, thick enough that it gave the impression of walking on springs. The desk they approached would have been imposing anywhere else, but here it was dwarfed by the scale of the room that contained it. Goblin-sized pieces of armor and weaponry covered the walls and reinforced the immensity the office.
Three goblins waited for them as they reached the desk. The two figures flanking the desk smiled widely and unsettlingly as the third rose from his seat to greet them.
"Miss Nymphadora Tonks, Mister Remus John Lupin, and Mister Harry James Potter..." the goblin paused as Harry met his eyes and felt a twinge of something primal in his brain. Unlike Snape, however, he sensed no hostility in the goblin, only power. The shorter figure's eyes widened and the pointed goblin smile became a bit more relaxed, "please be seated. I am Goldclaw, and this is Irongrip and Steelsnap, the executors of the Potter and Black estates respectively. There is much to cover today, and I am sure that you do not wish to remain here any longer than necessary. Unless you have any questions before we begin, let us start."
As the three sat, Steelsnap stepped forward and began to speak. "The Magical Will of Sirius Black has been activated. By his command, I will now execute his Will and Testament." The goblin produced a silvered disc covered with runes, placed it on the desk in front of them, and tapped it. A foot-high image of Sirius appeared, looking healthy and composed.
"I, Sirius Orion Black, give this pensieve memory to be taken as my will." The figure smiled grimly. "Now, there are only three people I want there- Harry Potter, Remus Lupin, and Nymphadora Tonks. If either of my sisters show up, you can leave- I'll even phrase it legally for you."
Arms behind his back, the figure of Sirius intoned formally, "I recognize Narcissa Black Malfoy, deny all claims to the Black holdings, and bequeath her nothing. I also recognize Bellatrix Black Lestrange, deny all claims to the Black holdings and bequeath her nothing. Leave this reading immediately." The figure paused and smirked. "And now for the people I actually love:"
"To Nymphadora Tonks, I leave one million galleons in a private vault, an additional one million galleons as a certificate of deposit with the greatest dividend offered by Gringotts, and the items and letter specified in Attachment One of my will." The image paused a moment, then grinned. "I suppose you're surprised to see me so serious. I don't find it quite as fun as being Padfoot, but alas, I'm stuck with being Sirius." The foot-high Sirius barked a laugh and spoke, "I pause for your groans."
"Now, on to the next order of business. To my best friend and brother in all but blood, Remus John Lupin, I leave five million galleons in a private vault- with the stipulation that he must purchase new clothes within a week of this will reading. And for the love of Merlin, Moony- get a woman with a sense of style to dress you. You look like a male Madame Pince." Sirius noted parenthetically. "I also leave him the items, letter and property specified in Attachment Two of my will."
"Finally, I will speak with Harry James Potter." The image frowned for a moment before continuing. "Not to a muggle or magical guardian, not to Albus Dumbledore, and not while either Narcissa or Bellatrix remain within the room."
Harry blinked and glanced over at Tonks and Remus. Both seemed shocked at the grave mien of the image, and Remus looked ready to ask a question before Sirius began speaking again. "Remus, Tonks, please stay. Ron Weasley or Hermione Granger can stay. If any Malfoys remain, turn them into ferrets and remove them." The figure froze for a moment while Steelsnap assured them that they were the only humans in the office.
"Done? Good. To Harry James Potter, child of Lily and James Potter, I bestow upon you all monies, items, and properties not bequeathed to another person previously in this will. Additionally, I ask- and only ask, Harry- that you assume the title of Lord Black. Before you agree or disagree, however, let me tell you some of what it entails, and what I think would benefit you."
"If you assume the title of Lord Black, you will immediately be emancipated, and further, as a titled Lord, be given far more leeway in your actions within the Wizarding World. There are few remaining Wizarding Lordships, and the rules are still in force that would render you effectively immune to prosecution of any type.
Once you are emancipated, you parents' will will also come into effect. The Potters are not Wizarding nobility, but they do have a seat on the Wizengamot, and have been seen as a powerfully Light-sided family for generations.
On the negative side, the Black name is not looked on kindly. At one time the Blacks were the Dark Lords of the magical world, then they were the right hands of the Dark Lords, and now Bella is the personal psychotic killer of a Dark Lord- so not only do we have the history of evil, we're also seen as crazy.
The sheer size of the inheritances may be an issue, but both families' estates are self-regulating with the help of the goblins. You would gain Narcissa, Bellatrix, Draco, Andromeda and Nymphadora as family members, but they are the only relatives still alive at this time.
Now, I'm sure I have not covered every possible question you would have. I may not have even scratched the surface. Had I not run away from the family and been able to take control of House Black, much of this would be a moot point. Don't do what I did, Harry- think this through. Don't do what someone else tells you, but listen to what they have to say and then make your own decision. I wish I would have been there to raise you and teach you- you're like a son to me, the best of James and Lily rolled into one person. I love you, Harry, and I wish I could tell you what to do. I know you'll make the right decision, though."
The figure paused, and as Harry blinked to refocus his eyes, Goldclaw peered over the desk at them.
"Does anyone here wish to dispute Mister Black's will?" he asked in a cold tone.
At their negation he continued. "Mister Potter, Mister Black's legacy to you is not without precedence. The Wentworth Family Head died without issue and bequeathed their Lordship to the Argyll Family four hundred years ago. The choice, as Mister Black stated, is yours. Please feel free to converse with your companions, or take a day to decide."
Harry nodded gratefully. "Thank you, Goldclaw."
Turning to the wizard and witch beside him, he relaxed himself from the quasi-trance Dumbledore had taught him. "What are your suggestions? Tonks, Professor?"
The two shared a look before the prematurely-grey professor gestured for Tonks to go first. The Auror shifted forward in her seat to look past Remus and locked eyes with Harry.
"Well, I can tell you that the nobility is an awfully powerful incentive all on its own. I think any auror would be leery of even saying anything to a Lord, and a Ministers who have tried to interfere with the few remaining Lords have all met with ruin shortly after. As for the rest of it- who cares what the world thinks of you? They'll change their minds in a day anyhow."
Remus' face had pinched up as Tonks had spoken. "I really don't know what to tell you, Harry. Tonks makes a good point about the Lordship itself, but taking on the mantle of two houses, and one being the House Black especially, is quite an undertaking, no matter how self-regulating they may be. That's not even talking about inherited blood debt you'd take on."
"If I may interrupt," the wizened goblin that had been introduced as Steelsnap said, "I can tell you that House Black has no blood debts outstanding."
"Are there any other outstanding obligations that you can tell me about, Steelsnap?" Harry probed.
"I cannot, Mister Potter. Blood debt is a touchy subject, and we feel it is only right to warn someone before they take it on. All other... obligations, as you term them, would be subject to negotiation."
Harry smiled as he nodded to the spectacled goblin. "Thank you, Steelsnap."
The goblin's eyes widened for a moment before he nodded back. "Of course." he replied, sharing a glance with the other two goblins.
The dark-haired boy leaned back in the plush chair and steepled his fingers. "I have already spoken with many people about this subject. As the final decision rests in me, I state that I accept the Lordship of House Black."
All three goblins grew identical wide smiles. "Excellent, Mister Potter. Unfortunately, the legalities of assuming Headship will be long and involved. Would you have at least three hours free today for the preliminaries?"
Harry suppressed a wince, and sighed as both Remus and Tonks nodded. "Yes Goldclaw. And please- call me Harry."
Almost exactly three hours later, Lord Harry Potter-Black stepped out of Gringotts. While visits to his various vaults would wait until later, he was richer by two family rings, which gleamed from both ring fingers.
"So, you didn't go with Black-Potter, Harry?" Tonks commented.
Harry shook his head, "No, Potter-Black, Tonks"
The metamorphmagus smirked as if he had fallen into a trap. "Oh so you will be taking my name when we marry? That's quite sporting of you."
Shocked, Harry stumbled into a laughing werewolf who pushed him back upright.
"Marry you?" Harry sputtered, blushing brightly. He paused a moment, collected himself, then looked at the lavender-haired woman speculatively. Squinting one eye and looking her up and down slowly, he shook his head. "Nah, concubine."
"Concubine?" she shrieked.
Shading his eyes, Harry looked up at the sky and laughed. "Yeah. Give me too much lip and I won't even make you Head Concubine of my harem." He chuckled a bit as he walked towards the Leaky Cauldron, leaving the Auror to gape.
Tonks turned to the werewolf doubled over in laughter beside her. "Did Harry just tease me back?"
Wiping tears from his eyes, Remus stood and nodded. "Yeah. I had my doubts, but I think Harry's learning to give as good as he gets. Finally."
Trailing after the two men, she shook her head slowly as she ran the conversation through her head. "Oh no, I'm not letting him get away with that!"
When the three returned to Grimmauld Place they found the kitchen occupied by Headmaster Dumbledore, Professor Flitwick, and a young Weasley.
"Ron!" Harry crowed as the two pounded each other's back. After settling back down, Harry noticed that Ron was playing Professor Flitwick in Wizard's Chess and acquitting himself nicely. Moving his bishop, the redhead turned to the Boy-Who-Lived. "So I couldn't help but overhear that I've missed out on a lot lately, huh?"
Harry scrubbed his face with his hands, then tapped his glasses back down onto his nose. "Just a bit, mate. I don't know how much your opponent filled you in on-" Both professors smirked at the green-eyed boy. "-but I caused the Dursley's house to explode, found out that the spell cast by my mother kept my mental growth stunted, and I'm the heir to two magical family legacies." Harry winced internally as he thought about how Ron might react.
"Ah. Killed Voldemort yet?" The taller boy asked laconically.
After a full minute of silence, Ron turned to see Harry staring at him in stunned silence.
"Did I mention that I'd already been filled in earlier?" he smirked.
"Git!" Harry bellowed before breaking up in laughter. "Now why don't you tell me what really was wrong with you."
Ron and Professor Flitwick agreed to continue the game after the boys caught up, and the two teenagers escaped to Sirius' room.
"Well, I was fine at first, but after I'd been home for a few days, all of a sudden I started seeing things that weren't there and remembering things I never learned. I feel all wonky, but apparently I was normal enough- for a while. Then mum told me to de-gnome the garden, and I started yelling at her in ancient Mongolian. After an hour of that and reciting thirty-seven lesser known potion ingredients and their uses, she finally got fed up and drug me off to St. Mungo's. They gave me so many potions I was even more out of it- I thought I was Merlin at one point! Anyhow, they straightened me out last week, and after hearing what happened to you from Hermione and Ginny, I finally convinced Mum to let me check up on you." Ron shrugged as he finished. "I'm glad too, because the two of them are acting barmy."
Harry nodded at that. "Yeah, from what Tonks and Fleur have told me, they've become Lavender and Parvati Junior."
The redhead chuckled at first, then paled as the rest of the sentence sank in. "Fleur is here? Oh Merlin," he groaned, "Has she told you what happened?"
"A little- all I know is that quit her job at Gringotts and there was a fight about something related to her at the Burrow. She's working with Madame Pomfrey now and helped take care of me when I blew up the Dursley's house. When I asked her why she was there, that's all I got before she started crying- well, that and something about not knowing how to do chores."
Ron had taken over Harry's favorite chair, so the shorter wizard sat on the bed and watched the freckled boy collect his thoughts.
"Well... This is going to sound strange, but I think part of the problem was the stuff that happened because of the brains- the Mediwizards called it something technical, but I just remember 'brain transference something, something syndrome'. Fleur was around the Burrow because she had just been let go- fired really- from Gringotts. Bill said something about how her veela aura caused goblins to become lazy and tired rather than attracted to her, so one of the bosses gave her the boot. Mum tried to keep her busy with chores like we get, but apparently Fleur's family has servants, so she didn't know how to do laundry or cook, or even de-gnome the garden. So then she was moping about the job and not being able to help mum.
Well, she's crying one day, and I start speaking French to her when Bill and Charlie walk in. Bill says something in one of the old languages he learned in Ancient Runes, I apparently say something back, and the next thing I know we're trying to beat each other senseless while Charlie's trying to pry us apart. Then Bill accidentally cracks Charlie in the nose, and we all start in on each other. Mum had to stun us to get us to stop, and by the time she enervated me and told me to de-gnome the garden as punishment, Fleur had broken it off with Bill and left. I figured she had gone back to France." he finished morosely.
"Damn, mate. If it didn't happen to people I knew, it'd be funny. I had no idea that everything was that screwed up." The wizard sighed. "And to make things worse, both she and Tonks have told me they like me." Harry figured that it was best to get all of the issues out of the way now, before it came back to bite him later.
Ron chuckled without humor. "I wouldn't worry about it too much. Bill seems to be okay with the breakup. We talked a lot in the past couple of weeks, and he said something about not feeling the constant sense of her aura made him feel more relaxed, like he didn't have to deal with other guys flirting with her or staring. Did the whole thing start because of your aura stuff that the Headmaster mentioned?"
Harry shrugged. "Who knows? They both claim it didn't, but I don't see why they'd suddenly have an interest in me at such a convenient time."
"Well, we are a couple of pretty attractive blokes, you know." Ron smilingly mentioned.
This time, Harry was the one who laughed humorlessly. "Yeah, right."
"No, really." Ron said, sitting up in the chair. "I don't know if it's something left over from the brains or what, but while I was in St. Mungo's, I was flirting with all the pretty nurses, and they'd flirt right back! I mean, I'm no Lockhart-" he smirked while waggling his eyebrows amusedly- "but there were a couple of mediwitches-in-training that kept showing up in my room to 'check on my recovery' more often than was necessary, and they always seemed willing to sit and talk for quite a while. One was Lavender's older sister, actually."
"You've changed, Ron."
The youngest male Weasley flushed, a bit embarrassed. "I guess- between the Department, the brains and their memories, the flirting with pretty women, and all the time I had to myself, I guess I've had to grow up a bit." He frowned slightly and looked off into the distance. "It sucks, really. I'd much prefer not to have to be serious, much less grow up."
The Boy-Who-Lived chuckled a bit. "I agree with you there, but we never have to be completely serious. It'd be nice if everything was as simple as being able to chat up cute nurses, of course. Instead, in addition to Voldemort hanging over my head, I have two houses to finish inheriting tomorrow, two girls who were scheming to turn me in to the perfect boyfriend, and two witches who say they want to be with me."
"Look mate, I'd be worse than useless helping you with the female side of things, but I'll be your right-hand man whenever you need it."
Harry gave a genuine smile. "I'd hoped you'd say that, Ron. In fact, I have a rather important issue for you already, and if you think I have it bad, you might have it even worse."
"Why's that?" Ron asked curiously.
Harry patted his pockets until he found a piece of parchment and fished it out. "If you want any of what Sirius asked me to bequeath you, you've got to convince your mum to take this."
Ron read the paper and gaped. "She won't accept this!"
The other wizard shrugged. "Well, until you get her to take it, I get to play around with the Firebolt he left for you."
"Bloody git."
"Lord Potter-
"Harry, please."
"Lord Potter-Black," the wizened goblin continued with a small but toothy smile, "I have completed the audit of all outstanding debts and issues of the Black Family. Narcissa Black Malfoy has brought suit for control of the Black Family, or as she stated- "Draco Malfoy's rightful inheritance"."
Harry sighed, but kept himself from making the sort of comments he dearly wanted to. Ron's derisive snort made up for holding his tongue. "And do they have a case against us?"
Steelsnap's face held what Harry had learned to interpret as a sneer. "No. Had the heirship ritual failed then she would have a case. Of course, it would be a moot point, as you would be dead. It is difficult to file suit against a dead man."
"The only suit I want brought against me when I die is a paternity suit from my young mistress." Harry commented, looking over at Ron and Remus.
"Only one?" they chorused in an odd synchronicity, then looked at each other and burst out laughing.
Laughing himself, Harry turned back to the goblin.
"Did you find anything else, Steelsnap?"
"Only one other item, my Lord. The only outstanding contract of any kind is an arrangement of marriage to the Greengrass Family." the goblin pronounced with a note of finality.
Harry's good mood evaporated quickly. "Oh dear God, I'd hoped you wouldn't say that." Harry groaned. "The loss of the lordship, giving money away, duels to the death- I expected pretty much any of it, but the one thing I was hoping wouldn't come up, did."
"Well, they're not common anymore, but arranged marriages aren't unheard of among some of the older families, Harry." Ron offered. "I think Malfoy and Parkinson had a pledge made when they were little." The youngest male Weasley ignored Harry's attempts to speak as he continued. "Now, I know that you probably think that it's a horrible idea and all- and well, it is pretty awful, but the idea's hardly unheard of- I'm sure the Potter Family has had a few in its history."
The dark-haired wizard shut his mouth and grumbled for few moments. "Ron, you are acting way too calm for my nerves."
The redhead shrugged. "I'm not the bloke with the marriage contract. Besides, you might be able to get out of it anyhow."
Harry sighed and shook his head. "Fine. Before I blow this out of proportion, what exactly does the contract say?"
Steelsnap handed Harry a piece of parchment nearly as yellowed as the goblin's own hands, then steepled his fingers in front of his face. "In essence, the Black Patriarch two generations ago promised a grandchild of the family in marriage, assuming the Greengrass Family had remained 'pure' until that time- at that time, many considered five generations of pureblood breeding to the the minimum required to be considered a truly pure line. You would be the generation of that granchild, even if you were not born into the family."
Smiling triumphantly, Harry remarked, "I'm not a pureblood, though."
"You'd need to ask the Head of the Greengrass family if they cared." the old goblin replied. "The agreement says nothing about the purity of the Black family, although I'm sure it was expected they would be. The Greengrasses happen to have a female of marriageable age, so you will need to present the contact to them. Only then can the two families decide to continue with it or not."
This time Harry's smile lacked warmth. "Wonderful. I get to present a marriage contract to the father of a girl I've never spoken to, or even noticed." He stopped and turned to everyone else. "Does anyone even know where their sympathies lie? I don't fancy showing up to talk with the man in the middle of a Death Eater potluck dinner."
Everyone shrugged save Dumbledore, who had remained deep in thought at the back of the room. "While the Greengrass family have never been openly Dark, their family fortunes were created on the trade and sale of potions ingredients, including a large amount of illicit and dangerous ones."
"So are they just shady, or actually evil? Or both, even?" Harry asked with a frown.
Ron shrugged again. "Well, she is in Slytherin. Could you trust her?"
"I don't trust Marietta, and she's Ravenclaw. Cho either, for that matter."
"Wormtail was a Gryffindor." Remus noted quietly.
After a moment of uncomfortable silence, Harry leaned his chair back onto its hind legs. "Great. So, is there a time limit that this needs to be accomplished by?"
"Before your sixteenth birthday, Lord Potter-Black." Steelsnap replied.
Fleur and Tonks both looked solemn as Harry told them what he had learned earlier that day. Neither woman wore the expression well.
Their relationship- if it could be properly called that- between the three was still too new for the wizard to guess how either would react, and he dreaded telling them that he might be forced into marriage before they could explore what they felt for each other. Both women had recent bad breakups- though Fleur's was more painful than most- and all three enjoyed and accepted the comfort that the others provided. It had looked to be a amazingly stable grouping, despite his youth and inexperience- and it looked as if it would be killed before it could bloom.
"An arranged marriage, huh?" Tonks finally ventured. Fleur was silent as she read through the contract.
"Yeah." he sighed. "I don't see an easy way out if they don't take offence to my half-bloodedness. Otherwise, like Steelsnap concluded, it's pretty ironclad. Maybe I could act all crazy and foam at the mouth when I meet them. The Prophet makes me out to be crazy anyhow, so I could use that to my advantage for once."
The quarter-veela looked up from the paper as he finished and nibbled daintily at her lower lip. Her eyes were focused on something beyond the room as she stood and kissed him soundly, grabbed the metamorphmagus and drug her from the room.
"Tonks and I will be in ze library." she commented offhandedly as she left.
Harry blinked bemusedly while the two newest ladies in his life swept out of the room. Shrugging, he wandered off to read a Defense text that Dumbledore had dropped off.
He found himself blinking again- rapidly and with shock- when a few short hours later they informed him that they would happily marry him as well.
"Is that legal? I mean, we haven't even-" he stammered.
"You will be the 'eir of two powerful families, 'arry. Zhere is precident zat when zomezing like zis 'appens, ze 'eir must try to reestablish the viability of both family lines." Fleur smiled toothily.
"And normally that was done by taking multiple wives, Harry dear." Tonks smirked. "Just be glad you weren't Lord Argyll- apparently he had ten wives. It also sounds like he died from acute henpecking."
Harry furrowed his brow. "Now, don't take this wrong, but I hadn't seen marriage in my immediate future, and I certainly didn't think I'd have three wives. Could we hope that the Greengrasses don't like me first, and then we can worry about getting married on our own schedule after that?"
The ladies shared one of the looks that Harry had been unable to interpret, even with the bit of Legilimency Dumbledore had recently taught him. "You're not arguing about wanting to be married to us, just the speed?"
"So you love us enough to marry us already?" Tonks probed.
"Look, I'm sure we've talked enough about how I grew up- I don't know if I know what love is. I'll be honest- I trust you both, I care for you both, and even if this isn't love, I don't want it to ever stop."
Harry didn't understand why both women began to cry, or why they were smiling at the same time. He would always remember, however, that the kisses burned like fire in his mind.

Author's Note:
Yeah, I'm slow.
I wanted to have another chapter of Hollow out at the same time, but damned if Tonks and Harry aren't causing me some problems- mostly Tonks, really. To compensate for them being so incredibly hard to write, I've written some non-HP-related stuff, and worked on a story I've puttered around with off-and-on that explains a system of magic I'd like to use in some original writings some day.
As always, the only beta was Microsoft Word, so if you see logical inconsistencies, misspellings, or you don't like the way the story's going, blame Bill Gates, not me. It's much more relaxing for me that way.
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