Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Family Issue

Proposals and Preparations

by PerfesserN 6 reviews

Harry solidifies his relationships, personal and professional, readies for the final confrontation

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: R - Genres: Action/Adventure, Fantasy, Romance - Characters: Bellatrix, Harry, Marietta Edgecombe, Other - Published: 2007-04-18 - Updated: 2007-04-18 - 5412 words

Chapter 34 - Proposals and Preparations

Marie started to leave when Harry asked her to wait just a moment. He walked over to Belle and dropped down on one knee. Both women's eyes grew wide as saucers.

"Belle Black, I don't know if I'll be able to do this after tomorrow, I don't know if I'll be around after tomorrow, but I know I love you, and I love the precious life you carry within you. Will you please marry me?"

Tears rolled freely down both her cheeks as she fell to her knees and tenderly took both his hands in hers and said, simply, "no."

Harry felt the lump in his throat settle to become lead in his stomach. Then he 'heard' Belle over their bond.

"My love and my lord, I want to say yes in the worst way, but you must think in terms of the head of a great family, you can only have one wife, but as many consorts as you choose. As your consort I can give birth to your legitimate child and you can even adopt her as your own, either way she won't be a bastard."

"It's not just for our baby, Mon Cherie, I love you and I want you to be my wife!" he said aloud.

"I am not your only love" Belle pointed out, "and I will not force you to choose between us, any of us."

"You know, don't you?"

She tapped her temple and smirked, "of course!"

"In an ideal world I would be able to marry all of you . . ."

"Even the dear departed," Belle told Myrtle, "he loves you too."

Myrtle fell into Harry and asked plaintively, "oh Harry, where were you fifty years ago?"

Harry chuckled and said, "I think I was a gleam in my grandfather's eye!"

Belle rose from her knees, bringing Harry with her and faced Marie, "he loves all of us and would have us all take his name if he could, but the current law of the land says one wife."

"Wait just a minute," Harry interjected, "what's to keep us from taking each other's names?"

"I want to pledge my life and my fortune and my future to the three of you, can't we simply stand and pledge a binding union?"

Belle smiled beatifically, "My Lord, there is the hand-fasting."

Harry looked hopeful, feeling her thoughts as she voiced them.

"In the tradition of our ancestors we may pledge our troths to one another, all that is required is that we all be of one mind in this and have two witnesses to the ceremony . . ."

"Let's go back to the Great Hall, I'll bet there are at least three hundred potential witnesses there!"

"We can, milord, but as there are four of us here there are more than enough witnesses, we may proceed, if we are all in agreement."

"I would change my name to Potter at the drop of a pointed hat, love!" Marietta enthused. Myrtle sighed heavily while smiling and nodding.

"My Lady Belle, if you would help me with the proper words, please?"

"Just say what is in your heart, milord; that will be ceremony enough for us."

He got back on his knee, reached for all three ladies with his left hand, palm up. Each of his ladies placed their left hand in his, palm down, first Belle, then Marietta, then the warmed ectoplasm that was Myrtle. In the tradition of the ancient Celts he intoned the hand-fasting vows.

"Belle Black, Marie Edgecombe, Myrtle Frisbee, will you consent to take my name, share my future my fortune and my follies for as long as we all walk upon this Earth?"

He looked for a moment at Myrtle, who didn't actually 'walk upon the Earth' anymore but was reassured by her smile that the sentiment still held for an Earth bound spirit.

As he said this three white silken cords, two physical, one ethereal, appeared and wrapped themselves around the three hands binding them together

Three happy voices intoned a solemn "I will" and the cords tied themselves into three complex Celtic knots, which then turned emerald green.

Then, speaking for the first time as the husband and patriarch of the hand-fasted group, Harry formally stated "so mote it be" which caused the knots to phase into each of the four wrists leaving a green glowing tattoo of the interlocked design on the palm sides of each of their wrists.

Harry whooped and jumped up to embrace his ladies, his helpmates, his bonded partners, his wives.

"My lord husband," Belle said after they had all kissed to complete the ritual, "there is one more you need to ask."

"I know, My Lady Potter, I know."

Belle beamed at the sound of her new name.

Marietta wrapped her arms around her husband and asked "would you say my name, Commander?"

He lifted her chin to place a tender kiss on her upturned lips and said "as often as you'd like to hear it, Lieutenant Potter."

"And me?" the ghost girl asked, expectantly.

"Of course, Mrs. Myrtle . . ." he paused for effect and she appeared to be holding her breath, neat trick for a ghost, "Potter!"

She "Squeeeeeed" loudly and fazed into and out of her corporeal husband and co-wives so rapidly that they all laughed, sharing her delight.

The moment was broken all too soon by a knock on the door and Sergeant McClaggan announcing "the Fighting Ninth is assembled sir, awaiting your orders."

"Very well sergeant, send a message to Regimental HQ, Voldemort will be attacking Ottery, St. Catchpole tomorrow, I expect he'll have diversionary attacks in Diagon alley and Hogsmeade. He'll have dementors with him, probably werewolves as well."

"Remember the inferi my husband" Belle gently interjected.

Sergeant McClaggan was startled, death eaters, werewolves, dementors and inferi he took in his stride, but Potter married? That would take some getting used to.

"Commandant Hayden is in the great hall as well, sir, awaiting your briefing."

"Very well." Harry looked grim again as he faced his spouses, "when this is over, we'll have a proper honeymoon, I promise."

"We'll hold you to that, Mister Potter" Marietta smirked; then grew serious herself as the weight of their immediate future fell upon her.

"Myrtle," Harry began.

"Oh please call me Mrs. Potter," she giggled, "I just love the sound of that!"

"Of course, Missus Potter," he waited for her contented sigh to die down, "is it possible for you to possess an inferi?"

She looked thoughtful for a moment, and then nodded, and said "yes, but I could only occupy one at a time, we'll need more ghosts if we're going to control enough inferi to make a difference."

"Would you please ask the castle ghosts if they'd be willing to help?"

When he entered the hall, flanked by Marietta and Belle, Myrtle trailing behind, all the aurors in attendance stood smartly at attention. As his phantom bride flew off to confer with the other ghosts Harry couldn't help but notice there were more aurors than could be accounted for by his company alone.

A lot more.

The Great Hall was filled to its seams with maroon and black cloaks; the entire regiment stood tall and proud, as well as a good number of the regular aurors from the DMLE. Standing in front of the assembly Commandant Hayden stood ramrod straight, to his left stood Mister Jones in a flat black cloak of rank with black piping and epaulettes, Harry's eyes widened when he recognized the Unspeakable was a Brigadier. He halted in front of the assembly and began to salute but Brigadier Smith called out, "Brigade! Uh - ten - shun! Present - wands!"

Every man and woman placed their wands over their hearts then held them palms up in Harry's direction.

The Brigadier said in a normal voice that carried through the stillness of the halls "these wands are yours to command, Commander Potter. I know you'll use them for the greater good."

Belle prompted him to respond with "I pray, sir, that when this is over that I will have been worthy of your trust."

"You already are, son. Shall we begin?"

Harry faced the regiment, "Avalon Regiment, and honored guests, as you were!"

Everyone who could took their seats, house elves scurried around frantically trying to find or make seating for the late comers.

"Voldemort will be attacking Ottery, St. Catchpole sometime tomorrow. We expect diversionary attacks in other locations as well but we don't have those particulars at this time . . ."

Harry paused as Brigadier Smith cleared his throat, "if I may Commander?"

Startled, Harry said "of course Brigadier."

"Voldemort has planned a three prong attack on targets designed to shock the wizarding world into submission. Just before daybreak his werewolves will attack St. Mungo's Hospital with orders to create as much carnage as possible before retreating into the sewers. Later that morning, after all the ministry personnel have been ordered to the their offices to deal with the St. Mungo's crisis a force of death eaters will assault the Ministry of Magic from within, setting fires on all of the floors simultaneously then killing ministry workers as they attempt to escape the flames. Then, while our forces are split the main force, consisting of the remaining death eaters, dementors and inferi will attack Hogwarts with the mandate to kill everything that moves and reduce the castle to rubble. While all this is keeping the auror forces occupied Tom Riddle and a small group of seasoned fighters will attack the Burrow, his real objective."

Harry raised an eyebrow at the Brigadier and said, "all right Brigadier, who do you have inside?"

"Surely Commander Potter, you can figure that one out."

"Oh Sweet Merlin no!"

"I'm afraid so Commander, it's Severus Snape!"

"Begging the Brigadier's pardon, but what in the nine hells makes you think you can trust him?"

"That would be because he is, and has been, an Unspeakable working for me in the Department of Mysteries since his graduation from Hogwarts twenty-two years ago."

"Sir, I saw him kill Dumbledore!"

"I know, Harry, he did it under Dumbledore's orders, and if Snape hadn't done it, Greyback would have been all too happy to. Remember Dumbledore's injury?"

Harry nodded.

"He was dying from that, one piece at a time. He had, perhaps another two or three weeks of life left, even before he drank that accursed potion. Snape knew this as well, they argued over it but in the end Severus bowed to the inevitable."

"I don't trust him, sir."

"You don't have to Commander, you just have to trust me" saying that Brigadier Smith handed Harry a scroll "this is the incantation that will remove the dark mark from Miss Black's soul, only you or Riddle can perform the ritual."

Harry looked at the scroll and smiled then looked at Belle who was beaming "do I have time now, or are there preparations that have to be in place first?"

"All you need is a bearer of the dark mark who genuinely wants to be rid of it."

Harry walked over to Belle and placed his hand over her left forearm, he didn't need to see the tattoo to know it was there under her long sleeve.

He intoned, "Where there was darkness, let there be light! Where there was fear, let there be hope! And where there was emptiness, let there be love, absum obscurum animum!"

Belle stiffened as she was bathed in light, which provided a stark contrast to the dark mist that seeped out of her mouth and nose and ears and even the pores of her skin. It was as if a dark night were being dispersed by a brilliant dawn. Harry caught her as she began to crumple to the floor, easing her down.

"Belle? Belle, are you all right? Can you say something? Please my Lady Wife, say something!"

After a few moments her eyes fluttered.

"It's gone." She said simply, looking up at him with absolute adoration. "Great Goddess of All it's gone!" she let Harry pull her to her feet, she needed to stand, she wanted to dance, to shout "it's gone, it's gone, it's gone!"

With her right hand she grasped the seam of her left sleeve and ripped the fabric from her arm, those in the brigade who knew she had been a death eater gasped at the pristine arm, free of its supposedly permanent dark mark. Jose Cruz nodded in grim satisfaction.

No one present doubted that they had witnessed a miracle.

Two aurors detached themselves from the back of the room and strode purposely forward, one pointed his wand at another near the back of the room and shouted "stupefy!"

Four hundred wands were aimed at the attacker as he raised both hands and gingerly placed the wand on the table. Then he knelt down and bared his left arm, as did his companion. Both bore dark marks.

The one who had stupefied his fellow auror said, "check his arm."

Those nearest the unconscious man did, and found the tattoo.

The commandant ordered the room sealed so that all those present could be checked for the mark. The brigadier had developed a detection spell that would sense even a hidden dark mark, because, as he had explained earlier, the dark mark was not a tattoo on the skin, but a mark on the soul. Everyone was checked out; no further death eaters were present.

Harry walked over to the two kneeling men and asked "you didn't join up of your own free will, did you?"

"No Commander, neither of us wanted to, but our families are being held hostage . . ."

Harry understood, he asked each man in turn to extend the tattooed arm and repeated the spell over each of them. When it was over the marks were completely gone and both men stood to hand him their badges and wands. Neither auror expected to avoid Azkaban for their Death Eater activities.

"What are your names?" Harry asked.

"John Rolfe, sir, but all my friends used to call me Jack."

"Daniel Brearly, sir, or Dan, whichever" and he shrugged.

"Dan, Jack, you're going to need these" he said, handing each man his wand and shield back, "we've got a big day ahead of us tomorrow and we need all the good men we can get!"

Both men dropped to one knee and pledged their lives and their fortunes to the Noble House of Potter.

"It seems, my lord, that you have acquired two liegemen, I expect they will be the first of many." Belle explained to her perplexed spouse.

"I just wish I could free the death eaters who were forced into that dark wanker's service, a lot of good people are going to die tomorrow and they shouldn't have to."

"My Lord Commander," Jack offered, if you would allow me, I could rejoin the Dark One's forces and demonstrate to some of the others that the dark mark does not have to be permanent.

"Can you do that without being discovered?" Harry asked, eager for the chance to be spared unnecessary bloodshed.

"I'm sure of it my lord, I belong to a cell that is made up mostly of conscripts."

"It's the 'mostly' part that worries me Jack, I'll consider it if you take a portkey with you and promise me you can do this and not get caught."

"I promise, milord."

Brigadier Smith asked Harry, in a low voice that couldn't be overheard, "you know you just sent a death eater back to Riddle's camp, right?"

Harry answered as quietly, "ex-death eater, and I trust him."

Smith smiled and said, "And I trust Severus Snape."

That definitely gave Harry reason to pause.

"Avalon Regiment" Harry called out, "we have plans to make, traps to set and a dark lord to destroy, this is a skull session, I don't care how outlandish the ideas are; I need em,' lots of them" as he said this parchment and quills appeared on the tables in front of the aurors. Let's see what we can come up with!"

You would have thought O.W.L.s or N.E.W.T.s exams were in session, the scratching of the quills was furious on paper.

Myrtle phased up through the floor to 'stand' in front of Harry and smiled.

"Looks like good news from Missus Potter," he couldn't help but chuckle at the way in which she beamed to hear her new name. "How many of our specter friends are on board?"

"How many ghosts do you think you'll need Harry?" he turned to see Sir Nicholas at the head of a column of ghosts, every ghost Harry had ever seen at Hogwarts was in attendance, the Bloody Baron, the Grey Lady, the Fat Friar, assorted specters from times past, even Peaves the Poltergeist was standing by, awaiting orders.

"As many as you can get Sir Nicholas," Harry responded

"Riddle created quite a lot of us," the Bloody Baron intoned, "he has been a stain upon my house and seduced many of mine to evil. You will have as many ghosts as you may need Commander!"

Harry gave the Baron an auror's salute then turned to his fellow officers, "that should take care of the inferi, how many of you can produce a corporeal patronus?"

The officers looked around, embarrassed by the question, "that's a rare talent Commander; maybe one mage in a thousand can produce one. And it's even harder when you're being attacked by those soul suckers."

Harry wanted to say "I've been fighting off dementors since I was thirteen!" but knew it would be petty to do so. Belle knew though, and so did Myrtle. What he did say was, "okay, I'll get the professors who can produce their patronuses, patroni?" everyone shrugged, "to keep the dementors out of the fight."

Brigadier Smith interjected, "keep them in mind, but I have a strategy in place for the dementors" he produced a small hand torch and flicked it on. The light produced looked slightly bluish and made the white parchment on the table fairly glow.

"Its ultraviolet light; and a strong enough beam is as effective as a patronus for keeping the soul leeches away. We're setting up spotlights all around the castle even as we speak, and all personnel will be issued hand-torches like this one."

"I thought electronics didn't work around Hogwart's" Harry said, looking perplexed.

"Oh electronics work fine around magic, its just that batteries won't keep a charge in a magical field" he unscrewed the bottom from the light tube and shook out the batteries, which were encased in crystal. "Each battery is good for about an hour, frankly, I don't expect the battle to go that long; if it does we'll seriously need those patroni."

"No matter how you look at it, the castle will be the safest place tomorrow, right?" The older officers nodded in agreement. "Very well, evacuate the Burrow, bring everyone to the castle, owl the guests and explain the change of venue, there will still be a wedding, it'll just happen here. Molly will have a fit, but explain to her that Voldemort is planning to attack the wedding because of all the ministry dignitaries who will be in attendance and the last minute change of venue is in everyone's best interest."

He grinned and added "be sure to explain that she'll have an army of house elves to help her cook and clean and decorate."

"Commander, it's scary how well you understand the female mind" the Brigadier chuckled.

Harry just looked over at Belle and smiled.

"And where will you be Commander Potter?" Marietta asked.

"We'll be at the Burrow Lieutenant Potter, making the place ready for the soon to be dearly departed Tom Riddle"

She pulled her memo book out of her cloak and tapped it with her wand saying "portus Burrow!"

Then she held it out to Harry who grasped it the same time Belle did, as Marietta counted down "three, two . . ."

She was interrupted by a weak voice saying, "wait, please."

They all released the booklet simultaneously and it popped out of existence.

"Damn," Marietta groused, "I hope I can find that when we do get to the Burrow, our whole honeymoon itinerary is in there!"

"My lady angel," an ethereal voice drifted from the assembled ghosts "please save my son, he will not be much longer if you do not!"

The barely visible visage of Dawn Pennywhite faded in and out of focus.

"Myrtle" Harry whispered to his phantom bride "can you help us here?"

"She's not the ghost of a witch, she doesn't have much strength, and just talking to us is causing her great distress, my husband. Do you know her name?"

"Dawn Pennywhite" Harry and Belle said simultaneously.

Myrtle intoned "spirit of Dawn Pennywhite, tell us what you require of us."

A very faint, very weak voice pleaded "my baby, my baby boy, he will not be for very much longer if you don't help him . . ."

"How can we help, Dawn?" Belle asked.

"Oh my Angel, he is in a tiny room and he is so very sick and no one is seeing to him and he will not live if you do not help him, he is with us, with us, with. . ."

The mundane spirit seemed agitated and restless; she reached out and grasped Myrtle who grasped her in return, pulling her into a tight embrace. Dawn wailed and hung on as though she were fighting against the pull of a powerful tide.

Harry stood before the two phantoms, one magical and one muggle and said "We will find your son, and if it is in our power we will save him . . ."

"Do you know where he is Dawn?" Belle asked the agitated spirit.

"He is with us, with us, with us . . ."

Myrtle smiled and spoke, "oh restless spirit, I understand, we will go to your son and we will care for him. He will never know hunger; he will not live in fear. He will be loved. So say we all?"

Harry, Belle and Marietta solemnly intoned "so say we all."

The fragile ghost's eyes widened as she understood and smiled "you are all angels, my Angles. I am finished now, I am no longer needed here, farewell family of my son, farewell . . ."

Myrtle released Dawn from her tight embrace but held onto her hands and said softly, "it won't be long before you see us again, and we will tell you wonderful things about your son." Ghostly fingers phased through each other and Dawn Pennywhite was gone from this plane of existence.

"Sergeant Major!" Harry called out.


"Please proceed with the evacuation of the Burrow; we shall be along in short order!"

"Aye sir!"

"Mrs. Potter?" Harry called over to Myrtle and was chuffed to hear three voices answer "yes, dear?"

"Myrtle, please coordinate with our friends the Baron and Sir Nicholas, I'm sure they'll have excellent ideas for turning the inferi to our own advantage."

She curtsied and said, "Hurry back, dear."

"Yes dear" he rejoined with a smirk. Truth be told, he enjoyed the endearments.

Belle grasped both their hands and said "side-along with me, we're going to St. Paul's Cathedral in London."

A loud, triple crack of apparition and they were gone, reappearing instantaneously just off London's Ludgate Hill. Belle quickly transfigured her gown into a nicely tailored muggle suit and the two auror's uniforms into those of London Bobbies. Together they entered St. Paul's and asked to see the rector.

The Right Reverend Bruce Howe, a distinguished looking clergyman in a salt and pepper beard emerged from the rectory and asked "how may I help?"

"Yes, Reverend," Belle asked, "could you tell us what happened to the baby boy that was abandoned on your altar last month?"

Rev. Howe's expression turned somber, "yes, a sickly child - newly born he was. He was taken in by the Withus Children's home and I fear he has been very ill this past month."

"We believe we can help, Reverend, we discovered the identity of the baby's mother, deceased, I'm afraid, but there are family members who will care for the baby."

"Let us pray that this good news is but the first in a bright new beginning for little Paul."

"Paul, Reverend?" Harry asked.

"Yes, one of the nurses at the Withus Home named the child Paul for the church in which he was found."

"It's a good name," Marietta agreed.

"Indeed" Harry agreed.

They thanked the Rector and walked toward the exit as they neared the Narthex the trio looked around and Harry asked, "Do you know where the Withus home is?"

"No, but the cab driver will know."

Ten minutes later the cabbie deposited the two disheveled Bobbies and the lady at the steps of the Withus home.

"I think I'll stick to brooms" Harry said as he unfolded himself from the tiny back seat.

The official looking trio entered the home. The Withus Home was, in fact, a home. It was a nice Victorian with about ten upstairs bedrooms and a large sitting area in the entrance with offices for the administrator and an infirmary on the ground floor.

They entered the infirmary, starling the nurse who was looking worried as she checked the one-month-old baby's vitals for the twentieth time that day. Harry pulled his wand and waved it over the child.

"I'm feeling magic . . . Belle?" he handed his wand to his bride and watched her eyes grow wide as she nodded in agreement.

"Now see here" the nurse blustered, "you can't come bargin' in here and poke at our little Paul with sticks!"

"I'm sorry, miss," Belle said soothingly, "I'm Doctor Potter and these good constables are here at the request of baby Paul's family. They're here to bring him to his home and I'm here to ensure that he's healthy."

"Well he innt! Look at im' Doctor, he's so frail and weak, I'm afraid to even pick im' up!"

"I see," she looked around for a piece of paper and found a clipboard on a table, which she tapped with her wand.

"Here is the paperwork releasing Paul to our custody and an explanation of the inherited congenital condition which requires immediate treatment by a specialist."

The nurse looked at the bogus paperwork and, compelled by the charm on the paper, said "of course, Doctor, will you be needing anything else?"

"No, miss, you may go about your duties, the constables and I will take it from here."

As the nurse left the room Belle scooped the tiny waif into her arms and said "meet us in Hogsmeade, then arrange a carriage to the school, Madame Pomfrey needs to see this baby immediately!"

She disapparated with just the tiniest hint of a 'pop.'

Harry and Marietta were close behind; when they arrived in the magical village their muggle police uniforms drew curious stares but neither one of them cared about that. Harry hailed a thestral drawn carriage and spoke to the intelligent equine.

"We have a very sick baby here, my friend, we must go swiftly but gently, can you do this for us?"

The demonic looking winged horse nodded and Harry and the ladies quickly boarded the carriage.

True to his word the thestral was smooth as glass and fast as lightning.

"Madame Pomfrey!" Harry's desperate voice echoed down the empty halls leading to the hospital wing.

Poppy Pomfrey met the familiar looking policeman and was startled to see a tiny baby in his arms.

"Please, Madame Pomfrey, he's very sick!"

The nurse gently took the baby and placed it on a soft, warm blanket, then began the tests.

"This baby is a muggle, but he's been touched by magic. Very dark magic, I'm afraid."

Belle entered the room "his mother was tortured to death by Voldemort's animals, while she was carrying little Paul. He was born of her after she died" her eyes were brimming with tears. "He's been touched by evil, does that mean he will be evil?"

"No, of course not; what rubbish!"

The three oddly dressed people seemed to sag against each other for support at hearing this.

"Oh thank The Goddess" Belle said in a prayer of thanksgiving.

"Who are you people?" The nurse asked.

"Nurse Pomfrey, I'm hurt. All the times you've had me in here? You've seen more of me than my wives, I'll bet!"

The matron looked shocked; she didn't know what she was more shocked about, the fact that the stranger was an admitted polygamist or the fact that the stranger insisted that she had intimate knowledge of him.

"My Lady?" Harry asked, indicating his Bobbie's uniform.

Belle transfigured his uniform into that of his cloak of rank and restored his features to those of the Harry Potter that Madame Pomfrey, indeed, knew very well.

"Mister Potter? What have you been up to? You can't be an auror officer; you haven't graduated from Hogwart's yet! And what is this nonsense about wives, plural?"

"And Miss Edgecombe!"

"Lieutenant or Mrs. Potter, if you please ma'am, actually I prefer the 'Missus' over the rank!"

"And you are?" the healer asked, looking at Belle.

Belle, realizing too much honesty would be a bad thing here said, "Bell Black Potter, ma'am, my father was Orion Black but my mother's name is not listed on my birth certificate." Which was true, the new birth certificate listed her mother's name as unknown. Mme. Pomfrey understood that to mean her mother was unwed and probably a muggle.

"Madame, please, can you help Paul?"

"Hmmmm, yes, I can stabilize him and let his own immune system fight off the magical infection, but he will need some help, and I can't give a muggle baby half the potions we use here."

The matronly healer was in her element, she had a challenge and her patient's life hung in the balance. "What is the patient's full name, please?"

All present understood, there was power in a name, knowing a name made for the anchor that healing spells and runes required to work their, well, magic.

Belle answered "His name is Paul Pennywhite, but he will soon be Paul Pennywhite Potter." Her eyes implored Harry, who smiled and nodded 'of course.'

"That's good, a strong magical anchor in a strong magical family name. Tell me, Mister Potter, do you intend to make this adoption official within the next few hours?"

"Will it help him?"

"Oh most certainly, we just need an authority to make it binding."

"Madame Pomfrey, Harry here is a military auror with the permanent rank of full commander. He is the authority here."

Harry gently lifted the tiny baby from the blanket and looked deep into his large brown eyes, "by the authority vested in my by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second and the Ministers of Defense and Magic, I, Harry James Potter, take this child, Paul Pennywhite to be my son . . "

Belle and Marietta embraced man and child, one at either shoulder and said "I . . ."

"Marietta Edgecombe Potter . . ."

"Belle Black Potter . . ."

"Myrtle Frisbee Potter . . ." they all looked up to see Myrtle flit into the room to join them, and then continued together.

". . . take this child to be my son for as long as we all shall walk upon this our Mother Earth."

"So mote it be."

The littlest Potter gurgled and smiled as the combined magics of love and acceptance flowed through all of them.

Harry raised the happy infant in his arms and said "welcome to the magical world little 'Three Pea!'"

"Three Pea?" Marietta asked, eyebrow raised.

"Yep, Paul Pennywhite Potter, three 'Ps,' so I'm gonna call him Three Pea!"

Two things happened at that point, little Paul's diaper slipped and he decided it would be a good time to relieve his bladder, christening Harry's flat black auror robes.

Everyone present laughed, little Paul gurgled.

Myrtle's "Will you be spellin' that P-E-A or P-E-E, Commander?" was good for another round of good natured laughter.

Harry placed his son back on the soft blanket and let Belle clean and dry his robes.

"Madame, I leave my son in your capable hands until this is all over. And one way or another, it ends tomorrow!"


Whew, getting closer to complete here, lots of loose ends flapping in the breeze, four more chapters ought to do it.
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