Friday, 19 April, 1996
“Why? Why do I have to go back there? Why can’t I live with Sirius for the next two years?” Harry Potter was pacing the Headmaster’s office as if he would wear a rut in the elegant oriental rug.
Albus Dumbledore’s eyes followed him as he paced; this was an unpleasant duty, but it had to be done. If Harry didn’t return to the Dursley’s house, the blood bond wouldn’t be renewed; Harry wouldn’t be safe anywhere, except for Hogwarts. He needed Harry to stay safe; the boy had finally killed Voldemort, but he still wasn’t safe. The Death Eaters still out there would probably be only too happy to kill Harry.
“Harry, I realize that the Dursley household isn’t exactly the nicest place for you to go, but the Ministry has turned down Sirius’ petition for adoption. They will not allow him to keep you because they believe no one could be sane after 12 years in Azkaban prison. I know...”Albus held up a hand to stop Harry’s retort. “I know that Sirius is as sane as he ever was, but the Ministry is adamant. I don’t know why.”
“Can’t you find out why? After almost losing him in the battle at the Ministry, I don’t want to be away from him. I almost lost him! If anything else happens to him, I think I’ll go spare!” Albus placed a hand on Harry’s shoulder the next time the teen came near him. I’ll have to get a new rug after this.
“Harry, you know that Lucius and Draco Malfoy are our spies in the Ministry, right?”
“Yes, I know...what’s that got to do with anything?” Harry resumed pacing; he was getting more agitated by the minute. He knew he was being rude, but he couldn’t seem to help it; he had to release this pent up energy somehow.
“Lucius is trying to find out why the Minister is so against you living with Sirius and Remus. I personally think that it would be the best for you to be with Sirius. We’ve never found another fighter quite like him. And the fact that he is your godfather...well, needless to say, he wouldn’t allow anything to happen to his ‘Bambi’.”
Harry chuckled slightly at the nickname Siri had given him. He loved his godfather. He and Remus were the last two links to his parents that he had. He turned to look at the headmaster. “Maybe we can find another option; I can’t go back there...they’re abusive. I’ve come out of there with more scars than I have with anything else I’ve done. There has to be another option!”
Albus knew of several options, but each of them would be shot down by the Ministry. Another option occured to him suddenly...and Harry was the only one who could consent to this. His eyes narrowed slightly. “Harry, you are now 15, correct?”
“Yes sir. I’ll be 16 on July 31st. Why?” Harry was slightly confused. What did his age have to do with anything?
“I may have an option. It would require a lot of sacrifice on your part and on the part of another, but it would work. It would have to be done before you leave school.” Yes, that would work. “Harry, I am going to call a meeting of the Order members tonight...here, in the Room of Requirement. You will need to be there, so your curfew will not be in effect tonight. I will send someone to get you from Gryffindor Tower when it is time for the meeting. Please return to the tower now, and do not leave; call one of the house elves for your supper. Keep Ronald and Hermione with you at all times.”
Harry’s eyes went wide. “What is it? Please tell me.”
“Until the rest of the Order is here I cannot. Please Harry...trust me...I know that, right now, it is difficult for you to trust anyone. I have something in mind that will take care of the issue. Think about something for me, though, while you are waiting; you need to think of what you are willing to give up to remain safe. I realize you have already given up far too much for a person your age, but this could actually work in your favour. You will also need to think about your sexual identity.”
Harry’s forehead scrunched up in thought. “What does the fact that I’m bisexual have to do with anything? Why does that matter?” Harry had had a long discussion with the headmaster at the beginning of the term. He had come out to Ron and Hermione this summer and they had been very accepting; Hermione had explained that sexual orientation mattered little to the wizarding world. Love was love, no matter what form it took.
“It will play a large part in the decision you will have to make tonight.” Now, he just had to make sure that the two eldest Weasley brothers were present.
At 9:00 that night, Harry, Ron and Hermione were waiting in the Gryffindor common room for whomever Dumbledore was going to send for Harry. He had told them what had been said in the headmaster’s office and they had spent the last 6 hours wracking their brains to figure out what it all meant. They heard someone speaking to the portrait and then a knock came upon the portrait’s frame; Hermione got up to answer it. Obviously, it was not someone from the school, or they would know the password. She opened the portrait and Bill Weasley, Ron’s oldest brother, walked in.
“Bill! What are you doing here?” Ron got up to give his brother a quick hug; Harry followed more slowly. He knew Bill was a member of the Order, but he wasn’t sure why he had been called from Egypt.
“I can’t say right now, Ron. You ready Harry?” Bill’s breath caught slightly as Harry walked up. He hadn’t grown that much since the year before, but he had filled out, and was now starting to look like a man, instead of a boy caught on the cusp. He had found Harry very attractive last year, as had Charlie; it was rare that they both were attracted to the same person...usually their tastes were radically different.
Harry nodded at Bill, then he looked back at Ron and Hermione. He had a feeling that he would need them both when this meeting was over. “Please wait up for me. I-I think I’m going to need to talk to you two when this is over.” Ron and Hermione nodded; Harry noticed Hermione slipping her hand into Ron’s. He smiled slightly and turned to follow Bill.
Bill was extremely aware of Harry, walking next to him; he had never considered someone younger than him, especially not 10 years younger, but, with what Albus had proposed, he couldn’t get his mind off of it. He didn’t think that Charlie would actually go along with it; he was far too independent. He hoped.
Harry’s thoughts were a jumbled mess; added to that mess was the subtle attraction he felt for Ron’s oldest brother. He had felt the pull of attraction last year, and it had shocked him; it had been this attraction that had made him re-evaluate his thoughts about relationships. He had never given thought to being attracted to another man, let alone actually being bisexual. He knew that he was also attracted to women, but this was stronger than any attraction he’d felt for Cho or Ginny.
They entered the Room of Requirement; as the door closed, all eyes swung toward him. He saw many faces that he recognized, Molly and Arthur Weasley amongst them. As he looked around the room, he saw Sirius and Remus walking toward him. Sirius swept him up in a strong hug; Harry laughed, until he saw the tears in his eyes and fear lanced through him. Why would Siri be crying? What’s wrong that he would be crying? Harry’s thoughts took off and ran away from him. “What is it? What’s wrong?”
“Let Albus talk, Pup; he’ll answer your questions.” Harry hugged Remus hard, also seeing the sheen of tears in his eyes.
Sirius led Harry to a seat and took the one to the right of him. Remus sat on his other side, followed by Bill. Albus watched Harry closely; he sat stiffly in his chair and looked around at the Order members. His eyes stopped on Lucius Malfoy; he saw Lucius nod at Harry. Harry looked at Draco, sitting next to his father; he and Harry had become friends since it had been explained to Harry about them. Draco smiled encouragingly at Harry.
“Harry, we believe that we have come up with an option to keep you from ever having to return to the Dursley house. As I told you before, it would require yet another sacrifice from you and the same sacrifice from another.”
“What is the sacrifice?” At this point, Harry would give up almost anything to keep from going back to the Dursleys.
Albus drew a deep breath. “There is a bond that would allow you to stay wherever you wished. Of course, there would be wards there, as well, but you would be safe.”
“What kind of bond? I only know about the marriage bond.”
“This bond is called Vindiciae Nuptia; the literal translation is Championship Wedding. It would require for you to be bonded into marriage with someone who is willing to protect you, to see to your every need and comfort. The other bond-mate needs to be between the ages of 21 and 25. I...”
“You want me to get MARRIED?! I’m only 15! I’m not legal until I turn 16!” Harry was horrified. When the headmaster had asked him what he would be willing to give up, this had not been something he had thought of. Sirius put a restraining hand on his arm, keeping him in his seat.
“This bond is specifically for orphans, between the ages of 13 and 17, who need protection, due to their financial or societal status; you have both financial wealth and great social status, being who you are. This bond is not to keep you from your friends or family. Lucius, please tell Harry what you discovered.”
Lucius stood and walked over to where Harry sat; Draco followed and took Harry’s hand in his. “Just listen to my dad, okay Harry? Just hear him out...this could work out well for you.”
Lucius knelt in front of Harry. “The Minister of Magic is planning on taking your custody out of the Dursley’s hands, the day you turn 16, to make you a ward of the Ministry. He is then planning on marrying you off to the highest bidder, to someone he can control. He feels that you are too powerful and could, one day, take the Ministry from him. He wants to keep that from happening at all costs. You are too precious and important to us for us to lose you to someone under the Minister’s thumb. We’ll never be able to prove it, but I know that he was in line with the Dark Lord.”
Harry felt himself go pale; he sat for a moment in absolute silence, just blinking. He felt Draco squeeze his hand and returned the squeeze; Sirius put his arm around Harry’s shoulders. “Bambi, I won’t let anything bad happen to you, you know that, don’t you? Not after everything you’ve been through.”
Harry nodded slightly; he distantly recognized that he was in shock. He turned his head and laid it lightly on Sirius’ shoulder. “Why? Why me? What could a 15 year old do to him that would make him want to do something like this to me?” Harry felt a tear slide down his nose. Sirius tightened his hold on Harry and looked imploringly at Albus, who also came to kneel down in front of Harry.
“Harry, this may be the only way to keep you of the Ministry’s hands. Once the bonding takes place, you will be the husband of the other person; the Ministry could not touch you. Your bond-mate would control who comes into contact with you, to protect you; they cannot keep you from your friends or your family. They must be willing to promise, upon the pain of death, to cherish and protect you. This is not to control you; it is for your protection...do you understand?”
Harry drew a breath and nodded. “Who would want to marry me? I’m not much to look at and have the social skills of a flobberworm.” A slight chuckle ran around the room. “I’m practically a walking death sentence.” Remus felt Bill stiffen next to him. Hmm...wonder why that bothers him? “Who would give up the freedom to marry whomever they want, to be stuck with that? Not only that, but wouldn’t this bond kind of require that the other person be male? What if there isn’t a man who wants to be saddled with me?” He could feel Sirius shake his head, as if to deny Harry’s words.
“Yes, Harry, the bond-mate would be a male...a very strong and powerful wizard. This is why I asked you to take your sexual orientation into consideration; I don’t think that it would be a hardship for you to be married to another man, would it?”
“No, but what about him? And who would fit the criteria for the bonding?” Harry was still in shock, but could feel a slow anger starting to burn in his chest. No one was going to marry him off without his permission!
Albus and Lucius felt the crackle of Harry’s magic and stood back up; Draco stayed where he was, even though he could feel the anger and magic rolling off of his friend. Sirius was in awe of his godson; he, too, felt the magic and realized that Harry had a very tight hold on it. Sirius could feel the strength of that magic and knew that his Bambi was far stronger than anyone realized, even Dumbledore.
“Harry, we know of two men who fit the criteria required for this bond. They have both been advised of the requirements and are both willing...one more so than the other, but both are willing. You must enter into this bond willingly, it cannot be forced; you would have to choose one of them.”
Harry looked down at his trainers, magic back under control. “Who?”
Albus looked to his left and then to the back of the room; Harry heard the scrape of chairs on the floor and footsteps. He saw two pairs of dragonhide boots come into view; one pair was black and the other deep green. He slowly looked up until his green eyes met the blue eyes of the two oldest Weasley brothers.
Harry studied the two men. After explaining the bond in more detail, Albus had ushered everyone out of the room. Harry had asked Sirius to stay; he wanted him there, needed his support. Harry knew that marriage to either one wouldn’t be any kind of hardship for him. They were both taller than him, Bill by almost a foot, and very handsome. Charlie was more heavily muscled than his brother, and covered with scars and healed burns; they did nothing to detract from his looks, though, and only seemed to enhance his rugged appeal. Bill, however, was devastatingly handsome to Harry; he had long hair, currently pulled into a ponytail, and an earring dangling from his ear. Harry also knew Bill a little better than he knew Charlie.
“Alright...” Harry thought for a minute. “Can you sit down please? I want to ask a few questions, before I have to choose.” Both men sat in chairs opposite Harry and Sirius.
“I barely know either one of you...are you both either gay or bisexual?” He heard Sirius’ low laugh. “What? That’s kind of important! You heard Dumbledore, the bond has to be con-con...”
“Yeah, that...that means he would have to have sex with me; otherwise the bond is invalid...AND it has to happen within 24 hours of the ceremony. I just want to make sure that neither one, whichever I choose, is going to throw up on me during the whole thing because I’m a man! I don’t have a problem with it, but they might.” Harry heard Bill’s chuckle and tried, unsuccessfully, to suppress a shiver.
Bill smiled at Harry and he felt another shiver course up his back; as his arm was still across Harry’s shoulders, Sirius felt the shivers and realised that Harry was attracted to Bill. This bodes well...I would rather my Bambi bond with the curse breaker.
“No Harry, you don’t have to worry about that from either of us; I’m bisexual.” Bill met his eyes and grinned. Sirius heard Harry’s quickly indrawn breath.
“As am I; I don’t think that either of us is going to get sick at the thought of...well, of sleeping with you.” Charlie’s grin was infectious, but didn’t have the same effect as Bill’s.
Harry looked at Charlie. Might as well get Charlie out of the way before I choose Bill. Harry knew he was going to choose Bill; he knew Bill better, and was definitely attracted to him. Charlie was nice, but...
“Charlie, where do you live?”
“I live and work at dragon reserve in Romania; not much in the way of creature comforts, but it’s home. I’ve been there for 5 years.” He listened to Charlie wax almost poetical about the dragons and Romania. Harry didn’t want to leave England, didn’t want to leave Sirius, Remus, Draco, Ron and Hermione.
“If I asked, would you be willing to move back to England?”
Charlie was taken aback by the question. “I...I don’t know. I like where I’m living, and I don’t think I could give up dragon handling...it’s my life.”
Harry nodded and didn’t bother to mention the Welsh dragon reserve. He looked at Bill. “Where do you live?”
Bill smiled. “Right now I live in Egypt, but I’ve been offered, and have accepted, the position of Chief Curse Breaker for Gringotts in Diagon Alley. So, I’ll be moving back to England within the next week.”
“So, you would be able to apparate to Gringotts from wherever we would live, if I chose you?”
“Yes. Actually, Harry...” Bill paused to look at his brother. Receiving a small nod, Bill continued. “Charlie and I have already talked about this, when you were talking to Dumbledore and Malfoy. We’d like to make your choice a little easier.”
“I’ve been attracted to you since we met at the World Cup last summer. Well, both of us have, but, both Charlie and I feel that I would be able to give you more protection than he could. Due to the nature of my work, curse breaking, I am a more powerful wizard than Charlie here; not more powerful than you, but still powerful enough, in my own right, to protect you. I don’t need your wealth, I am wealthy enough on my own; Gringotts pays its curse breakers very well. I wouldn’t take anything that is yours. Charlie’s position as a dragon handler does not pay him nearly enough to allow him to care for you, in the manner that he would have to, without dipping into your own funds. The bond doesn’t allow the protector to automatically assume control of your accounts; you would have to give permission for that to happen.”
Harry looked at Charlie for confirmation; he nodded his head, keeping his eyes on Harry’s. “While I would love to be the one you choose, I really don’t think that it would be for the best.” Charlie had hoped that Harry would choose Bill. Their attraction was stronger and, even though Bill probably wouldn’t admit to it, Charlie knew that his brother was already a little in love with Harry; Bill was definitely the better choice.
Harry flushed, looked back at Sirius and then at Bill again. “When you say ‘in the manner that he would have to’, what do you mean?”
“Being in this bond means that I am your protector and must care for you, cherish you. I must clothe you in a manner fitting of your status and title.”
“What title?” Harry grew confused; he didn’t have a title...did he?
Bill looked at Sirius, who spoke. “Harry, when James died, you automatically came into several Gringotts vaults, full of family heirlooms and whatnot, but also, upon your marriage or 17th birthday, whichever comes first, you come into the title of Lord Potter. You are the heir to one of the oldest wizarding families in England; one even older than the Black family. You will have a seat on the Wizengamot, the same as I do. Severus Snape has one, as Lord Prince, from his mother, and Lucius Malfoy does, as well. Between the three of us, you, me and Malfoy, we own or control roughly three-quarters of the wizarding world in England. Then there’s your businesses and properties in other countries; Gringotts has been managing your businesses and accounts, and I can imagine that they have made you quite a bit of profit...no one knows money and business like the goblins.” Bill’s eyes went wide; he’d known about the title, but not about the extent of the wealth.
Harry sat still. He had a title? He was extremely wealthy? “Why didn’t I know about any of this?”
“The accounts and title were automatically frozen when Prongs died, and since you were underage, no one has been able to touch them; Gringotts will remove the freeze once the bond has been confirmed. If you had been raised by me, like your parents wanted, you would have known about it. But, as you know, things don’t always work out; I was sent to Azkaban and you were sent to live with the worst excuse for a family of Muggles that I have ever seen. I had no control over it.” Sirius looked like he wanted to cry again and Harry snaked an arm around his waist to hug him close; Sirius was shaking slightly.
“You can’t blame yourself. You didn’t know any of that was going to happen.”
“Just as you can’t blame yourself, Harry; you’ve had absolutely no control over your own life either. With this bond, you will be able to control most aspects of it.”
Harry looked at Bill. “You wouldn’t try to stop me from seeing my friends or Siri and Remus? You would allow me to make my own decisions?”
“Providing that those decisions don’t jeopardize your safety, yes. You would need to have someone with you whenever you would leave our house, but I’m pretty sure that Sirius and Remus would be thrilled to be your bodyguards.” Bill smiled and Sirius nodded emphatically.
Harry felt that shiver start again; maybe bonding with Bill wouldn’t be so bad. He looked Bill straight in the eyes, held Bill’s bright blue gaze with his piercing green one. “You heard Dumbledore and Malfoy...this is permanent. Are you willing to marry me, to be stuck with me for the rest of your life? Are you willing to give up your choice of who to marry, just to protect me?”
“Harry, first of all, I didn’t come up with the short end of the stick here. To contradict your earlier statement, you are very attractive, and, while we don’t know each other well, I’m pretty sure that we’ll get to know each other quickly. After all, I have Ron to tell me about your likes and dislikes, just as he will tell you about mine. I don’t know about the flobberworm comment, but we can work on the social skills. And, second, I did choose; I chose to volunteer for this...meaning that I chose you.” Bill flushed a little when he said this; seeing that blush, Harry felt a little better.
Harry looked at Charlie, who had a small smile on his lips. “Are you okay with that? That I’m not going to choose you?”
“Harry, like I said, I don’t think I would make the best mate for you. I’m too independent; I’ve been alone too long. I’m not sure I would be able to give you what you’re going to need. I think that you’ve made the best choice possible. Now...” Charlie stood. “...let me get the Order back in here so that we can plan this.” He walked to the door and opened it; gesturing to the others outside, he came back in and sat on Sirius’ right, Bill sat on Harry’s left.
Draco looked at Harry and, seeing the seating arrangements, gave him a thumbs-up and smiled; Harry returned the smile. Remus sat down directly behind Harry.
“Good choice, Pup; he’ll do right by you.” Remus sat back, then immediately sat forward again. “If he knows what’s healthy for him.” The low growl was more for Bill’s benefit than Harry’s. Bill paled a little and looked at Sirius, who nodded and smiled...the smile was a little on the feral side. Shite, better make sure I don’t ever do anything to piss Harry off. Sometimes he wondered about Sirius’ mental stability.
Albus looked at Harry, also noting the seating. “Well, Harry, have you made a choice?”
“Yes...based on what I’ve been told and what I already knew, I have chosen Bill Weasley as my bond-mate.” Harry flushed brightly.
“Married?!” Hermione and Ron both plopped down onto the squishy sofa in the common room. “To who? You’re not old enough!”
Ron just looked at Harry blankly, like his brain had leaked out of his ears. They had been waiting for him, like he’d asked; when they saw him walk through the portrait hole, they’d immediately run up to him, asking questions and guiding him to sit on the sofa. Harry chose to stand; easier to make a getaway if he was standing. Neither of them had noticed Bill and Albus following Harry into the room.
“Harry! No one can force you to marry, you know that, right? How can anyone expect a 15 year old to get married? You’re not even old enough; you have to be 16 for it to be legally binding, and then only with a guardian’s approval.”
Albus held up a hand to stop the flow of Hermione’s words. “Miss Granger, if you would calm yourself, William, Harry and I will explain.” She nodded. “Thank you. We have found evidence that the Minister of Magic has plans to claim Harry as a ward of the Ministry and marry him to the highest bidder, once he turns 16. The winning bidder would, of course, be someone controlled by the Minister.” Hermione gasped and went white; she grabbed Ron’s hand again. He put his arm around her, comforting her; his face had started to turn red with anger.
Bill took over. “Lucius Malfoy discovered what was going to happen. In order to keep Harry safe, there is a bond that allows an orphan, aged 13 to 17, to marry; it’s basically a protectorship. The bond-mates will essentially be equal partners; Harry is free to see his friends and family, free to spend his money as he pleases. The only thing he won’t be allowed to do is place himself in any kind of jeopardy and he will not be able to go anywhere on his own, outside of his home. The bond-mate’s responsibility is to keep anything from happening to Harry; it will be up to his bond-mate to determine what is a threat and what is not. The bond-mate has the right to challenge anyone who he thinks is threatening Harry; if the threat is dire enough, the bond-mate has the right to kill the person and not be prosecuted for it.”
Ron and Hermione looked at Harry now; he blushed bright red. “I decided that this was for the best...if it keeps me out of the hands of the Ministry, then, it’s worth it.”
“But Harry...” Hermione began, but Ron cut her off.
“If it’s a marriage bond, it’s permanent, Harry; even once you turn 21, it doesn’t end. You’ll have to renew the bond, but it doesn’t end; you’ll be stuck with that person for the rest of your life. Are you sure you want to do that?”
Harry smiled at Ron; he was starting to feel a little shaky. “Faced with choosing that or being sold into marriage by the Ministry, I’ll take that bond any day. As long as my bond-mate won’t keep me from you two, Draco or Siri and Remus, I’ll be fine.” Bill started watching Harry; he didn’t sound quite right.
Hermione looked at Harry, then she looked at Albus. “Who is your bonded going to be Harry? Were you at least able to choose that?”
“Yeah, Hermione, I was able to choose my bond-mate. My choices were limited, as there were only two who fit the requirements to fulfil the bond.” Harry paused and looked at Ron. “Bill and Charlie.”
Ron’s face lit up like a torch. “MY Bill and Charlie? My brothers?” He turned to look at Bill. “Do Mum and Dad know? What happened?”
Bill placed a hand on Ron’s shoulder. “Calm down little brother. Yes, Charlie and I were the only ones who fit the requirements, and I did only by a few months. Yes, Mum and Dad know; they were there. And what do you think happened?” He couldn’t resist teasing Ron a bit.
Hermione stood and gently touched a hand to Harry’s cheek; he resisted the urge to rub into it like a kitten looking for comfort. “Harry, which one did you choose? You know that no one can force you to do this, if you don’t want to.”
“‘Mione...I know. I am agreeing to this; no one is forcing me to do anything. If I’m a minor ward of the Ministry, they can do almost anything they want. Would you rather see me sold off on an auction block? I can guarantee that will be far worse than having to choose between Ron’s older brothers.” He looked at Ron; his face was the colour of curdled milk. “Sorry Ron.” Harry could feel his breathing getting faster and he was starting to sweat.
“S’alright Harry...just trying to wrap my brain around the fact that you’re going to be my brother-in-law, but not be married to my sister. Not that there’s anything wrong with it, I just wasn’t expecting this when you left.”
Harry giggled, a touch hysterically; Bill walked over to Harry and guided him to a chair. “Are you alright? It’s finally hitting you, isn’t it?” Bill was crouched in front of him, his hands on Harry’s shoulders; it wasn’t like Harry to giggle. Bill could hear Harry’s ragged breathing as he tried to control himself.
Harry nodded. He seemed to hear things as though they were a long distance away; he saw a grey fog lining the edges of his vision. He looked at Bill, fear in his eyes, not understanding what was happening to him; his eyes closed and he slumped forward into Bill’s arms as unconsciousness claimed him.
Harry slowly opened his eyes; he remembered being in the common room, remembered talking to Ron and Hermione, but nothing else. He was hoping that he wasn’t in the hospital wing; he saw the scarlet bed curtains surrounding him...he was in the dorm. He breathed a sigh of relief and sat up; he didn’t know how long he’d been unconscious. He looked around and noticed the chair set up next to him; the fall of long red hair hiding the face of the person told him that Bill was sleeping in the chair, his legs stretched out in front of him.
He grabbed his glasses and quietly slipped out of the bed, so that he could use the loo. As he closed the door to the bathroom, Bill moved, stretched slightly and opened his eyes. He shot straight up in the chair, hands gripping the arm rests, when he realized that Harry wasn’t in the bed next to him. He looked frantically around the room and saw the light under the door to the bathroom. He stood and made his way over to the door; he opened it slightly and leaned against the door jamb.
Harry, having relieved himself, was brushing his teeth. “Do you normally brush your teeth at 3 am?”
Harry emitted a small squeak of surprise. “Bloody Hell Bill! Don’t do that to me!” He spat out the toothpaste and rinsed his mouth.
“Sorry, I got worried when you weren’t in bed; I wasn’t sure where you were.”
Harry’s breathing slowed back to normal. “I didn’t want to wake you, just so that I could use the loo. How long was I out?”
Bill walked further into the bathroom, shutting the door. He didn’t want to wake the other boys in the dorm. “If you just woke up, about 4 hours.”
“I’m sorry; we’re not even bonded and I’m already causing problems.” Harry’s eyes were troubled; he didn’t want to be a problem for Bill.
Bill realized that there was more to Harry than Ron had let on; after Harry had passed out and he had gotten him into his bed, he and Ron had sat down to have a talk about Harry. He wondered if it would be hard to get Harry to trust him; Ron had told him that Harry had definite trust issues, stemming from his abuse at the hands of his ‘relatives’.
“Harry, look at me.” Bill put a finger under Harry’s chin, tilted it, so that he could look into his eyes. “You are not a problem; I don’t want you to think that you are. Being bonded to you will not be a problem for me; I find you incredibly attractive.”
“But what about...what's-her-name...the Veela?”
Bill’s lips tightened. “Fleur? She went home and I visited her...once. I don’t like being put on display for anyone, and that’s what she tried to do; she tried showing me off to her ex-boyfriend, to make him jealous.”
“Bill, I’m sorry! I didn’t know. I...” Bill put a finger on Harry’s lips.
“Don’t...it was a fleeting attraction with her. I saw her for what she really was...a shallow, conniving bitch; I’m glad I saw that before I was truly reeled in by the Veela stuff.” Harry’s eyes dropped so that he was staring at his toes.
Harry, Bill could see, was horribly insecure. He would have to work on that with him...starting now.
Harry’s eyes grew wide when Bill leaned in to gently brush his lips with his own; the last coherent thought he had before his eyes closed was that this was nothing like snogging Cho. He put a hand on Bill’s bare shoulder and pressed his lips back to Bill’s; Bill groaned slightly and put his arms around Harry’s waist to pull him closer. Harry stiffened slightly, before forcing himself to relax. Harry moaned low in his throat and parted his lips; he was rewarded when Bill ran his tongue over his lower lip before it made its way into his mouth to slide alongside his own. Harry lifted his arms and ran his fingers through the long, silky smooth strands of Bill’s hair.
Bill’s lips left his to trail slow kisses down his neck, before he buried his head in the corner of Harry’s neck and shoulder. “Wow!” Bill breathed. He had never been this affected by a simple kiss before; if it weren’t for the fact that he knew that Harry was truly an innocent, he would have pushed him up against the wall and taken it one step further.
“Yeah...Wow!” Harry’s green eyes were no longer a bright emerald, but smoky green with a hint of desire; it was, quite possibly, the sexiest thing Bill had ever seen.
“As much as I would love to keep going, we need sleep...we’re going to have a busy day tomorrow.” Harry nodded and allowed Bill to lead him back into the dorm room; Harry crawled back into the bed and looked at Bill. Bill leaned in and pressed a single chaste kiss on his lips. “Try to get some more sleep. We’re off to Diagon Alley tomorrow; I need to see if I can arrange it so that I can finish up my work here, instead of in Egypt. And we need to look at the contents of your vaults, then we’re going shopping.”
“Did you tell Ron and Hermione that I picked you?”
“Yes. After you passed out, they pestered me until I told them.”
Harry nodded again and removed his glasses. He wanted to see if touching Bill on his own gave him the same reaction as being touched; he drew a single finger down Bill’s cheek and heard Bill’s gasp. “No...no more touching...not now. We’ll save that for later.” Bill smiled, looking deeply into Harry’s eyes. Nope, definitely not the same reaction. How long will it take me to get over what the Dursleys did to me?
Harry smiled back and lay down on his pillows. “Are you going to sleep in the chair? Why don’t you transfigure it into a bed? Might be just a touch more comfortable.” Bill chuckled as he did just that and laid down; Harry pulled the covers over himself and relaxed into a light but troubled sleep.
Since it was Saturday, Bill and Harry got an early start on their day; they were joined by Sirius and Remus. While those two went off to drop in on Fred and George, Bill and Harry were met by a rather jovial looking goblin, if there could be such a thing. At Harry’s request to see a listing of the contents of his vaults, he was given a veritable ream of parchment; his eyes went wide and shot to Bill’s.
“Let me have half. There are some things we’ll need to see if you already have, or if we need to buy them.”
“What am I looking for?” Harry didn’t know how he would find anything specific in all this mess. He didn’t know that he’d had all of this; the Dursleys would have dearly loved to get their hands on any of these things.
“Bonding cuffs, circlets, rings, bonding robes...things of that nature. If you don’t know what something is, just ask.” Bill was already studying the papers that Harry had given him.
“What’s a circlet?”
“A type of crown, but it’s not a crown; it’s a circle of precious metal that will sit on top of your head. It lets people know that you, being an underage wizard, are bonded and they shouldn’t approach you without permission.”
“What about the cuffs?”
“Basically the same thing. You will wear two cuffs, one on each wrist; I will wear one, on my right wrist, showing that I am the protector.” Harry nodded and went back to his lists.
After about a half an hour, Harry came across a listing of several items that were probably what Bill was looking for. “Here, I think I may have found them.” He handed two sheets of parchment to Bill.
“This is it, Harry! There are several sets of bonding cuffs, several sets of bonding robes, rings and what looks to be 4 or more circlets.” Pressing a spot on the desk, Bill sat back and waited; less than one minute later, the same freakily happy looking goblin came back into the office.
“I neglected to introduce myself properly...I am Gronak. How may I help you, Master Potter?”
“This is William Weasley. He is my intended bond-mate, he will speak for me. Please do as he wishes.” Gronak bowed and looked at Bill.
“We need to see all of the bonding cuffs, rings, robes and circlets that are available from the Potter vaults. We wish to use the family heirlooms, instead of purchasing new ones.”
Gronak took the list from Bill and bowed. “I will return shortly with these items.”
While they waited, another goblin came into the office. “Master Potter, there are two men who wish to be shown in to you...Lord Sirius Black and Mr. Remus Lupin. May I show them in?”
“Very good sir. I will bring refreshment.” Harry nodded, bemused.
Sirius and Remus were shown in as Gronak returned with two assistants; they had the items that Bill had asked for. Once Harry thanked them all, they disappeared back into the bank. Bill looked at all of the items that had been laid out in front of Harry. “Love, why don’t you, Sirius and Remus go through all this and pick out the ones you’d like to use. I’m going to see about finishing my work here, rather than in Egypt.” At Harry’s nod, he rose and, pressing a light kiss on Harry’s lips, left the office.
“Well, Pup, that seems to be going well.” Remus had a small, amused smile on his face.
“Shut it, you. Help me wade through this stuff.” Harry’s face was the colour of a ripe tomato, he was sure of it.”
“What are we looking for, Bambi?”
“We need to separate the bonding cuffs, the rings, the robes and the circlets. I need to pick out which ones to use for the ceremony.” Siri and Remus were only too happy to help.
Harry found a set of dark blue robes made of a soft, silky material that he wanted to use for the bonding. Once the other robes were set aside, they moved on to the cuffs. Harry felt that most of the smaller cuffs looked too feminine for him to feel comfortable using. He opened the last box; this set had obviously been made for two men. Both sets of cuffs were masculine in appearance; the smaller cuffs were replicas of the larger single cuff. They were covered in strange runes that Harry had never seen before...he wondered what they were. Setting that box on top of the robes he wanted to use, they moved to the rings.
There were all manner of rings, some for bonding, some for just a wedding and others that Harry had no idea what they were used for. He picked up a small black box and opened it and gasped; the rings inside were also obviously made for two men. One ring was made of platinum with a large sapphire; the other ring, also platinum, was set with a large emerald. The emerald ring was larger than the sapphire ring and both rings had small runes etched into them. “These! I want to use these! They’re perfect. He gets the emerald and I get the sapphire. They’re like our eyes.” Harry looked up at Sirius in time to catch him wiping away a tear. “What’s wrong Siri?”
“Nothing Bambi, just happy to see that you’re happy; I’m glad you chose Bill. Not that Charlie wouldn’t have made a perfectly acceptable bond-mate for you, but you and Bill...you share something special. Not many people get to find that something special that you two have.” He was also happy to see Harry this excited; he had been told that Harry had fainted last night, when everything had caught up with him. He had been worried that his Bambi wasn’t going to take all of this very well; Sirius was just happy that Harry was accepting it.
Harry smiled at his godfather, glad that he was alright with this; he was now looking forward to the bonding with Bill. The kiss they had shared last night had done a lot toward alleviating his fears; he still had a fear of being touched, but he would talk that over with Bill later.
They moved on to the circlets; each of the circlets was made of a precious metal, some with jewels, some plain. There were 5 circlets on the desk in front of Harry; the only problem was that they each seemed rather feminine. I may be bisexual, but that doesn’t make me a girl. None of these will work.
“I don’t like any of these. The last thing I want is to look like a girl.” Harry was disappointed that there wasn’t a circlet there that looked in the least bit masculine.
“Trust me, Harry. You look nothing like a girl.” Bill’s amused voice came from the doorway. “If nothing else, the facial hair is a dead give away.”
Harry’s hand moved to his jaw. He had forgotten to shave that morning; he usually didn’t shave on weekends.
“What did you find?” Bill moved to his side and sat next to him. He was acutely aware of Sirius and Remus watching him closely; he knew that each of them would protect Harry to the death. He wished that he could reassure them that he felt more for Harry than just attraction, but he didn’t know how to put it into words quite yet.
Harry showed him the robes and the rings; trying the rings on, Bill had to shrink both of them down to fit properly. When he was shown the cuffs, he stared. “Harry do you know what those runes are?”
Harry shook his head. “No, I was hoping that Gronak could tell me.”
“They’re Elvish...these cuffs were made by elves. They only made whole sets for humans; there has to be a circlet and rings to match.” He looked around. “Somewhere in this mess.”
They all started going through the items laid out on the floor, desk and chair. Remus made a sound of discovery; he had unearthed another circlet box. He handed it to Sirius, who handed it to Harry.
Harry’s mouth made a little ‘O’ of pleasure when he saw the circlet resting on the blue satin inside the box; it matched the cuffs perfectly, down to the same runes. There were two stones set into the metal; one sapphire and one emerald. He realized that they matched the rings. “This matches the rings!” This was a set, an obvious bonding set. Bill removed the circlet from the box and set it on top of Harry’s head; it was masculine and fit Harry perfectly.
“Is it okay?” Harry was a little nervous. There was a look in Bill’s eyes that he had never seen before; although, both Remus and Sirius had both seen it before...from each other...for too many years to count.
Sirius and Remus were a couple; ever since the almost disastrous battle inside the Ministry, they had stopped hiding what they felt from each other. They weren’t ashamed of what they felt, but they didn’t know how Harry would take them being with each other.
Harry knew; he had seen the looks passing between his godfather and Remus. He knew that they were with each other; if you saw Sirius, you knew that Remus wouldn’t be far behind, and vice versa. Remus grounded Sirius, made him a little more down to earth; otherwise, Sirius’ boundless energy would be impossible to be around for long...Sirius livened up the slightly dour werewolf.
“It’s perfect Harry...just perfect.” Bill’s voice was barely above a whisper; he shook himself mentally. No. Can’t touch him here, not the way I want to. Bill ran a finger down Harry’s cheek, and felt Harry stiffen. Shouldn’t snog him here, but, I’m going to.
Bill bent his head and gently touched his lips to Harry’s; Bill felt him relax slightly. He heard Harry’s indrawn breath and stopped the kiss just before it deepened into something neither of them could control. Bill was shaking from the depth of the desire he felt for Harry...this damn bonding had better happen quickly.
Remus looked at Sirius; the mix of happiness and sternness on his features was almost comical. He wanted to stop them, but wasn’t willing to intrude on a moment of discovery for the pair. He caught Sirius’ eye and motioned for him to sit.
Sirius wanted to do two things; he wanted to growl at Bill to keep his hands off of his godson, but he also wanted to sit back and see where this went between the two of them. Bill, unless he missed his guess, was Harry’s soul mate. The bonding would tell; if their magic mixed, if they were indeed soul mates, the bonding would let them know.
They went into Diagon Alley from the bank; Bill had the cuffs, rings, circlet and robes. Gronak had gone over things with Bill, pertaining to Harry’s accounts and businesses. Harry had been assured that no one had been allowed to access the Potter vaults or accounts, although Fudge had tried...several times. The goblins had kept records of each time this had happened and were willing to produce this evidence if Harry decided to press charges once the bonding took place.
They went to see Fred and George’s shop next, as it was just across the Alley from Gringotts. They were happy to see Harry and, having had the situation explained to them by Sirius and Remus, were teasing Harry about not marrying one, or both, of them.
“But, neither of you is old enough...it won’t work if it’s one of you.” Harry was stringing the twins along, playing along with them. He looked at Bill and saw the laughter in his eyes. As long as Bill knows I’m only teasing. Bill’s the only Weasley I want.
Bill saw the slight flare of fear in Harry’s eyes when he looked at him, as if he expected Bill to get mad at him; he nodded slightly, encouraging him to play along with the twins. Merlin knows he needs some humour and relaxation in his life. Bill thought. If he had his way, and he would, Harry was going to get a lot of the things that had been denied him by those Muggles.
From WWW, they went down one of the side streets in the Alley, on it were several shops that catered to a more exclusive clientèle. Stopping Harry for a moment, he placed a light glamour charm on him. “I don’t want anyone to recognize you as Harry Potter. You still look like you, but your hair colour is slightly lighter and the scar is covered.”
Harry looked at Bill. “Do you think that someone would tell Fudge that I was shopping for clothing, when I should have been at Hogwarts?”
“Possibly...I’m not willing to take that risk.”
Guiding Harry into a clothing shop, Bill knew what he had planned. When the attendant asked how she could help them, Harry looked at Bill; he gestured around the shop. “Whatever takes your fancy...anything you want. We’re replacing your entire wardrobe.”
Harry’s eyes went wide. “Anything?” he breathed. He had never really been able to get whatever he wanted. He looked around the shop and headed to where he could see shirts and pants hanging; Sirius and Remus followed him, commenting on how good something would look on Harry, or how he should get this or that because it would make his eyes stand out.
Bill looked at the assistant. “All of this will come out of my Gringotts’ account; I’m on record here...William Weasley.” She nodded and went back to her desk. As the pile in front of her grew, she shook her head slightly. Bill watched as Harry looked longingly at a pair of leather trousers, but shook his head and walked away. Looking at the size on a pair of trousers and a shirt on the desk, he motioned to Remus to keep Harry occupied. He slowly made his way through the clothes, picking up things he thought would look good; he carefully picked up two pairs of the leather trousers and added all of this to the pile.
Looking at the girl, he said, “Put the leathers in a bag, but remember that they are there...a surprise.” He winked at the girl and she almost melted. He moved to the other side of the shop where there were boots and shoes displayed; he picked out a pair of dragonhide boots that would come to mid-calf on Harry. They would be the only pair of footwear that he would insist on; looking back at the pile of clothing, he noted the colours and added other colours of the boots to the first. He saw a pair of black boots with silver clasps up the sides; turning, he motioned to the attendant.
“I want a pair of these in my size and one in his; my size is on record.” She nodded and went to get the information; the boots would be for the bonding. He motioned Harry over to him. “You need shoes? The only ones I’m going to insist on are the dragonhide boots.” Harry smiled at him and Bill’s breath audibly hitched. Sirius had a hard time holding in his chuckle; he didn’t think it would help.
With all the purchases paid for, they next went to a tailor’s shop. Bill cast a different glamour charm on Harry’s face. “What’s that one for? What’s wrong with the one you already did?”
“I don’t want him to recognize you and for word to get back to Fudge; not until the bonding is done. I refuse to put you at risk for a kidnapping. All I did with the other glamour was to cover the scar and change your hair colour; this one is a little more involved.” Bill already knew what he wanted for their clothing for the ceremony, so he didn’t need to go based on Harry’s colouring.
Sirius and Remus both did a double-take when they saw Harry. Remus nodded. “Good idea Bill. The first one was perfect for that store, but this one needs to be stronger.”
“My thoughts exactly.” Bill cast a light glamour on himself, changing his hair and eye colour.
They went into the tailor’s shop. The tailor and his assistant immediately came over to ask if they could help.
“We need clothing for a bonding ceremony.”
“Participant or guest?”
The tailor and his assistant got to work. Bill told them what he wanted and what colours; Harry and Bill stood on the small platforms for what seemed like hours. Finally they were done, and Harry asked to see the clothes; Bill pointed him to a large mirror and came to stand beside him.
Harry’s jaw dropped; they were both wearing white leather trousers and white, long-sleeved shirts. The shirts had flowing sleeves that gathered at the shoulders, then flared out before being gathered at the wrists in a wide cuff. Over the shirts, they both wore vests made of leather; Harry’s was sapphire blue and Bill’s was emerald green.
“To go with the rings!” Harry turned to Bill and hugged him quickly. “Thank you...I’ve never had anything this nice. Not even my dress robes.” Bill hugged Harry to him, resting his chin on the top of Harry’s head; again he felt Harry stiffen...he would have to ask him about that.
“You’re welcome. This is a once-in-a-lifetime thing; I wanted to make it special for you.” Bill inhaled slightly and closed his eyes, allowing Harry’s scent to surround him. A small cough interrupted the moment.
“Alright, you two. If we’re done here, Moony and I have decided to take the happy couple out for lunch.” Sirius, for all his teasing, was almost getting teary-eyed again; Remus looked at him, worried.
“What’s wrong, Padfoot?” His voice was low; Bill and Harry were changing back into their street clothes, but he didn’t want anyone to hear him.
“Tell you later...this is their day.”
“Give me a hint.”
“Let’s just say that we’ve both wanted one for quite some time.”
Remus thought about it for a minute. His eyes grew impossibly wide. “You’re...”
“Shut it! Not yet...it’ll wait until after the bonding. I don’t want to take this away from Harry; he deserves so much more, but, if I can give him this time, just to be himself, I’m going to do it.”
Remus shook his head in wonder. “You know, you can be such an arse at times, but then you go and do something like this and it all goes away. You’re a good man, Sirius Black.”
“Don’t let that get out.”
Friday, 26 April, 1996
Harry still hadn’t talked to Bill about his fear of being touched.
Dumbledore was going to perform the ceremony that night, in the Great Hall at Hogwarts; Harry hadn’t wanted everyone to know, but, because of the cuffs, ring and circlet, everyone would know anyway. Bill had insisted otherwise; Fudge’s granddaughter was one of the 2nd year students...he was almost certain that she was spying for Fudge. The ceremony would happen just after dinner, before the students left the Great Hall for their dormitories; this way, there would be no lack of witnesses.
Halfway through the meal, the doors to the Great Hall opened and the members of the Order came in and sat at reserved spots at their former house tables; Harry and Bill, having eaten earlier, waited outside the doors. Sirius and Remus were already at the Gryffindor table with Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Charlie, the twins, Arthur and Molly. Lucius went to sit with his son at the Slytherin table; his presence caused more whispers to fly around the Hall than all the others had combined. After several minutes, Severus Snape walked from the doors to the head table and nodded at Albus. Albus stood and walked to the front of the head table, gaining everyone’s immediate attention.
“Tonight, students and instructors, you are asked to delay your return to your dormitories. You are going to bear witness to a ceremony joining two people in a bond of marriage.” Sirius, Remus, Molly and Arthur got up and walked to the doors. All of the Order members, including Lucius, Severus and Draco, stood; at the Gryffindor table, Charlie, Ron, Hermione, Ginny and the twins were already on their feet.
Arthur and Molly walked up the centre aisle, followed by Bill; many of the girls at the tables sighed in envy. Bill was gorgeous; his hair was loose and flowed down his back. His clothing emphasized his physique and added an air of mystery.
At Albus’ nod, Sirius and Remus walked up the aisle, followed by Harry; whispers and conversations started immediately. For the ceremony, Harry had allowed Bill to charm his hair longer, so that it just touched his shoulders; it looked shaggy, almost wild The clothing showed off his lithe seeker’s build and powerful legs; several girls, and boys, looked like they were going to start drooling. Once Harry had reached the head table and Sirius and Remus had moved to the side, Albus looked at Harry.
“Harry James Potter, an offer has been made for the bond of Vindiciae Nuptia. Do you accept the offer?” His voice carried easily throughout the Hall, due to a Sonorus charm; several of the instructors gasped.
“William Arthur Weasley, your offer for the bond of Vindiciae Nuptia has been accepted. Do we proceed?”
Arthur stepped forward with the box containing the bonding cuffs and gave them to the Headmaster. Albus held Harry’s bonding cuffs and said a few words, in Latin, that no one understood, but Harry and Bill knew them to be an extra protection on the cuffs and the bond; he handed them to Bill.
“William, place the cuffs on your intended and state your claim.”
Bill placed the cuffs on Harry’s wrists and kissed the upturned palms of his hands. “I, William Arthur Weasley, do hereby proclaim that I am, of my own free will, entering into this marriage bond with you, Harry James Potter. I give my word, as a wizard of legal age, that I will protect you, keep you from harm and cherish you throughout this life and into the next.”
Albus now held Bill’s bonding cuff and said the same Latin words; he handed the cuff to Harry.
“Harry, place the cuff on your intended and state your claim.”
Harry placed the cuff on Bill’s right wrist and kissed his palm. “I, Harry James Potter, do hereby proclaim that I am, of my own free will, entering into this marriage bond with you, William Arthur Weasley. I give my word, as a wizard not yet of age, that I will bend to your protective will and allow you to care for me, to keep me from harm and to cherish me, as I will cherish you, throughout this life and into the next.”
Sirius stepped forward and handed Albus the rings; again, he said the words in Latin. “William, place your ring on your bond-mate’s hand.” Bill slid the ring onto Harry’s left ring finger.
“Harry, place your ring on your bond-mate’s hand.” Harry repeated Bill’s motions.
Remus stepped forward and opened the box containing the circlet; Albus lifted the circlet from its satin bed. Saying the words yet again, he placed the final protection he could give on their bond; he handed the circlet to Bill.
Bill stepped closer to Harry and, looking into his eyes, placed the circlet on his head. “I give you this circlet, Harry James Potter, to show all that you are my husband, that you have come to me of your own will and are willing to cherish me as I will cherish you.”
Albus held a thin silver knife in the air. “The mixing of blood and magic is a powerful thing; Magic is what brings us here and binds us in its presence This bond shall never be torn apart by witch or wizard.” He made two small cuts, one in Bill’s palm and one in Harry’s.
Looking into each other’s eyes, they placed their palms together, to allow both blood and magic to merge; suddenly a bright white light burst from where their palms were joined. Both Harry and Bill stiffened and threw their heads back as their magic combined.
Sirius smiled through his tears. He had been right; they were soul mates. This bond could never be broken. Remus’ arms surrounded him, holding him tightly; he felt the ghosting of fingers across his flat abdomen, acknowledging the life there. Across from them, Arthur was holding Molly tightly; she watched her oldest child and his bond-mate share the deepest bond known to man. Tears streamed down her cheeks; even though she’d had her doubts about this bond in the beginning, she knew that she couldn’t be happier for them. At least Harry would be good for Bill, not like that Fleur creature.
At the Gryffindor table, six sets of eyes grew wide as they watched the bright white light envelop Bill and Harry; of them, only Charlie and Hermione knew what it meant. Lucius Malfoy watched the two men, his mouth gaping open at the sight; he had heard of souls bonding, but had never witnessed it. He placed a hand on Draco’s shoulder and squeezed; Draco’s hand covered his and squeezed back.
Severus Snape couldn’t believe his eyes; what had started as an almost forced bonding had ended up as one of the most beautiful things that a witch or wizard could ever hope to witness. He was awed; not simply because of the power of the magic flowing past, through and around them, but because of the thought that this might never have happened if it weren’t for one greedy man in a position of power.
Albus’ eyes were wide; he had seen and officiated at many bonding ceremonies. He had never seen this happen at a bonding before; he knew very well what it meant, but it was very rare for two wizards to be the two halves of one whole. This was a very powerful bond. There was a collective gasp as the two men levitated slightly above the floor, connected only by the palm of Harry’s left hand and the palm of Bill’s right hand. The light began to fade and they were gently deposited back on the floor.
Harry looked at Bill. “Wow!”
“Yeah...Wow!” They had unconsciously echoed each other’s words from the night of their first kiss.
Albus stepped forward. In a shaky voice he said, “William, you may kiss your husband, thereby completing the bond.”
Bill gently cupped Harry’s face with his hands; he tipped Harry’s head slightly and pressed his lips to Harry’s. Another light, this time bright blue, surrounded them; the light faded as Bill broke the kiss.
As they stared at each other, the sound of applause reached them; they looked around at the Great Hall. Everyone there, save one Ravenclaw, was on their feet, clapping enthusiastically; that lone Ravenclaw, a young girl, sat still in her seat, a look of shock on her face. Belatedly, she stood and clapped with the rest; Bill was willing to lay odds that she was Fudge’s granddaughter.
The prefects gathered the students up and escorted them from the Great Hall. That one Ravenclaw kept looking back at them, as if undecided; she stopped and ran back to Dumbledore. “Sir?”
He looked down into the tormented brown eyes of Amelia Fudge, Cornelius Fudge’s granddaughter. “Yes child?”
“I need to speak with you and...” She gestured to Bill and Harry. “...with them. I have something you all need to hear; I’m just sorry that I didn’t tell you before.”
Albus motioned to Bill and Harry as he led the girl down to the end of the Gryffindor table. “What is it?”
She took a deep breath and began speaking as if she was afraid she wouldn’t get it all out. “My grandfather is Minister Fudge. He’s been acting really odd lately. He asked me to keep an eye on you, Harry; he said it was for your own good. He keeps talking about You-Know-Who and you; he said that only someone terribly dark could have defeated him at your age. He keeps talking about marrying you to some Lord...a Lord Pembroke, I think. My parents won’t let me be near him anymore; they say that he’s gone crazy. I agree, but he is my grandfather, and he needs help. He came to me, over the Christmas holiday and asked me to watch you. He said that you couldn’t be trusted; that you would try to take his place. I tried to tell him that you were too young, that you’re still in school, but he wouldn’t listen.” The girl paused for breath and then continued. “I can’t keep this up...my grades are falling and...and” her voice trailed off.
Harry put a hand on top of hers, comforting her. “And?”
“I’m afraid that I’ll go to Azkaban if I do what he wants, if he keeps pushing me to watch you. I don’t know what he’s got planned, but I do know that, whatever it is, it’s not supposed to happen until your 16th birthday. He said that he’ll go for you then and the wards be damned.” Her face turned pink; she looked up at Bill and Harry. “What I just saw was the most beautiful thing I think I could ever hope to see; I don’t want my grandfather to ruin that. I don’t know what it was, but it was very special; I could feel the magic all around us. I made up my mind that I couldn’t let him ruin something so beautiful...I just couldn’t.” She started to cry. Albus put an arm around her and signalled to Molly to come over; No one noticed the girl’s glazed look as Albus took a quick walk through her memories.
“What is it? Why is the poor girl crying like that?”
“Molly, this is Cornelius Fudge’s granddaughter. She has just come to us with a story that I believe the Order needs to hear.” He looked at her meaningfully and then at Harry; her eyes lit with understanding. “Could you stay and comfort her while I speak with some people. I will get Poppy Pomfrey over here in a few minutes.”
“Of course Albus! You poor thing, come here.” She held out her arms and the girl almost threw herself into them. “I am Molly Weasley; my son is the taller of the two men you just saw being bonded.”
Albus drew Harry and Bill away, heading to where the members of the Order were standing. “Everyone, please follow me.” He led them to an anteroom off of the Great Hall; once everyone was inside, he turned to face them. “We have just had confirmation of Lucius’ information about the Minister’s plan for Harry; he has been pushing his granddaughter, Amelia, to watch Harry for him. He does plan on spiriting Harry away on his 16th birthday and marrying him off; she mentioned the Pembroke name.”
Lucius bared his teeth at the name. “Death Eater! He’s a bloody Death Eater! The only reason he hasn’t been caught is because we can’t prove anything; he doesn’t carry the Dark Mark. This isn’t going to make him happy.”
“Not that we doubted you, Lucius, but the girl is not lying. I used Legilimency to verify that her memories back up what she said.” He looked at Harry and Bill. “I am sorry that your celebration was disrupted by this.”
Bill shook his head. “No, everyone needed to hear that Fudge is completely off his rocker. What kind of man would use his own granddaughter that way?” The disgust in his voice was plain. He put his arm around Harry’s waist and drew him closer; again, the slight stiffening, followed by forced relaxing. “Harry and I will not be in England when his birthday rolls around. Just to be safe, I’ll take him on a vacation...maybe a delayed honeymoon.”
“That’s probably for the best; we cannot guarantee that Fudge won’t try anything else. Once the news of your bonding gets out, it will probably make him more determined to grab Harry.”
Bill felt the shiver that ran through Harry; while he would like to believe it was because of him, he wasn’t going to delude himself. Hearing it be confirmed that someone planned to kidnap you was not a pleasant way to end your bonding ceremony.
After the celebrations were over, Bill and Harry were led to a suite of rooms not far from Gryffindor Tower; Harry roamed nervously around the rooms while Bill watched. He knew that Harry was a virgin and he would take the time to be patient with him...no matter that his body wanted him to toss Harry on the bed and ravish him.
Harry turned to Bill and took his hand; he led him to the comfortable sofa, situated in the middle of the room and pulled Bill to sit next to him. “Bill...I have something I need to share with you. I know that we have to consummate this bond tonight...I want that...but there’s something you need to know first.”
Bill waited; he just knew he wasn’t going to like what he was going to hear.
“The Dursleys, my...relatives...” He almost spat the word out. “...they aren’t exactly the nicest Muggles in the world; they hate me, they hate magic. I grew up not knowing what love was; I still don’t. I’m afraid that if I let myself love someone they’ll go away. But, what I did grow up with, was abuse...for the smallest things, I would be beaten or be deprived of food.” Bill voiced a small growl of anger. “Please, let me finish, or I won’t be able to. I think that’s the main reason I’m so small...malnutrition. All of the pictures I’ve been shown of my parents show a tall man with a tall woman; I’m only 5 feet, 7 inches tall. I think that, with all the abuse and neglect, my growth was stunted. I have a fear of people touching me; I know you’ve noticed it...I can’t help it. It’s not like I’m afraid of you, I’m not; I can’t control the reaction. I don’t have a problem when I touch people, or when it’s Siri, Remus, Ron or Hermione; I’ve known Ron and Hermione for years, but, when we first met, I wouldn’t let them touch me either.”
Harry paused and drew a deep, shaky breath. “All I’m asking is this...please go slow. I don’t want to fear your touch. I think, if I’m able to get over this with you, it might help with the fear in general. I want you to touch me, but I’m afraid at the same time.” Harry looked up into Bill’s concerned gaze. “Please help me get over this.”
His pleading was almost more than Bill could take. He held out his hand to Harry; he waited until Harry took it. Bill stood and pulled Harry to his feet; silently he led Harry to the bed, then he spoke. “Harry, tonight will go at your pace, and yours alone. I will touch you tonight, and every night, but I want you to know that I will never, ever, raise my hand to you. You have nothing to fear from me, but you will need to learn that. You set the pace, you direct our movements...you tell me what to do.”
Bill held out his arms at his sides and looked at Harry. “Undress me please, husband mine.”
Harry walked to Bill and began undoing the clasps on his vest; he pushed the vest off of Bill’s shoulders and let it drop to the floor. He unlaced the cuffs and collar of the shirt and, with Bill’s help, drew it off over Bill’s head; Harry’s eyes widened at the expanse of skin and muscle that he had just uncovered. He ran a shaking hand from Bill’s shoulder, down his side, to the waist of the leather trousers; he repeated the movement with his other hand. Bill’s hiss of indrawn breath filled Harry’s ears; running his fingers around the waistband to Bill’s back, Harry tilted his head up and brushed his lips across Bill’s before looking down.
Bill’s hands shook slightly from the effort it took not to help Harry undress him. He would be patient if it killed him...and it just might.
Harry knelt down and undid the clasps on Bill’s boots and held on to them as Bill stepped out. He removed the trouser socks that Bill had on and, balling them up, tossed them over his shoulder; Bill chuckled but remained still. Harry’s hands rested on the fly of the trousers; he drew a deep breath and began to slowly unbutton the fly. Once all the buttons were undone, he slowly pushed the trousers over Bill’s hips and down to the floor. He discovered that Bill wore no shorts underneath; Bill stepped out of the leather and stood in front of Harry, completely nude. Harry ran his eyes over the nude form of his husband and sucked in a much needed breath; his lungs felt parched, like he hadn’t breathed in years. Gods! thought Harry. He’s huge!
Bill’s breathing was slightly uneven; this had to be the most erotic thing he had ever done. He had never let anyone completely undress him; usually, he did it himself.
“Now what?” Harry’s voice was breathy.
“Well, you can either undress yourself or allow me to return the favour...the choice is yours.”
Harry held Bill’s desire darkened blue gaze for a moment. He stood and held his hands out to his sides, palms open. “Undress me, husband mine.”
Bill’s hands shook as he repeated the motions Harry had used. He went very slowly, unwilling to scare Harry or make him panic; he had placed his trust with Bill and he wouldn’t abuse that trust. When Bill’s hands reached the waistband of the leather trousers he paused and looked Harry in the eye. Seeing the question in Bill’s eyes, Harry nodded and placed his hands on top of Bill’s to undo the buttons on the trousers; Harry helped him push the leather over his hips and down his legs, so that he could step out of it. Bill very gently drew Harry’s briefs off of his body and, repeating Harry’s motion with his trouser socks, balled them up and threw them over his shoulder. Harry’s resulting laugh soothed Bill; he didn’t want to go too fast, didn’t want to risk Harry becoming frightened.
Harry turned to the bed and climbed in. This was the part he had been both looking forward to and running away from for the past week; he lay back on the pillows and held his hand out to Bill. Bill climbed in next to him; he sat cross legged on the bed and looked at Harry.
“How do you want to handle this? What do you want me to do?” He could see the inner fight that Harry was waging. He wanted this to be perfect for Harry, not scare him into retreating. He saw a light behind the green eyes and they took on a strange glow.
“Touch me, husband mine, touch me. Make me forget...make new memories for me.” Harry’s words broke his heart and healed it all at the same time. Harry was trusting him to make this good for both of them; he wouldn’t let Harry down.
Bill came up to his hands and knees and crawled across the bed like a large cat stalking its prey. He lay down next to Harry and gently turned his head so that he could snog him gently. He gently, slowly, ran his fingers down Harry’s neck to his shoulder; he lifted his mouth from Harry’s and let it trail after his fingers. He could feel Harry’s breathing catch as he suckled lightly at the pulse point at the base of his neck. His hands continued to gently roam across Harry’s body, stopping here and there as he found sensitive spots. Harry began to moan quietly.
So far, Harry had not tensed up; taking this as a good sign, Bill continued to map Harry’s body with his lips and tongue. He stopped at Harry’s nipples; running his tongue over one of them, he heard Harry’s gasp. The sound actually seemed to shimmer in the air around him; Bill nipped lightly at the nipple in front of him and was rewarded by a deep groan. One hand crept up to tease at the other nipple, while his other hand continued its exploration.
Harry’s body couldn’t seem to stay still; no matter how he tried to control it, his legs, arms and hips seemed to have a mind of their own. Bill was doing things to his nipples that should probably be illegal, they felt so good. He registered that his other hand was still wandering, but didn’t pay it much attention until it reached his navel; as a finger dipped into his navel, he felt a jolt of pure lust streak toward his groin.
“Mmmm...do that again!”
Bill decided that just playing with his fingers wasn’t enough; his mouth headed south to meet up with his fingers. As he swirled his tongue around Harry’s taut abdomen, he felt Harry’s hands spearing through his hair; not to pull him away, but to urge him closer. Bill felt it was time to up the ante.
He raised his hand and wordlessly summoned a bottle of oil from his trunk. He moved his head further down Harry’s twitching body; he gently spread Harry’s legs so that he could settle between them. Opening the bottle, he poured a some oil on his fingers, rubbing them together to warm up the oil. It wasn’t a normal lubricating oil; it had several ingredients to help relax Harry, so that Bill didn’t hurt him, and some numbing properties.
He hovered for a moment, over the tip of Harry’s cock. He was surprised at how well endowed he was for such a small man. As he ran his tongue up the straining muscle, he heard a low moan from above him; he looked up and saw that Harry was now leaning on his elbows, watching him avidly. Keeping eye contact with Harry, he slowly lowered his mouth over Harry’s cock; his husband’s eyes rolled back and his head dropped back between his shoulders, an intense shudder wracking his frame.
Bill started a slow bobbing motion. Harry groaned loudly; one hand fisted in the duvet and the other came down to grip Bill's head with surprisingly strong fingers. As he moved his head to swirl his tongue around the head, his hand dipped between Harry’s legs and he rubbed his fingers over Harry’s entrance; Harry gasped and groaned again. Bill gently pushed against the puckered opening, taking his time; he felt the tight ring of muscles give slightly and he pushed his finger past them.
Harry bucked his hips, trying to get that finger to move faster, deeper; the movements of that one lone finger and the devastating motion of Bill’s mouth and tongue drew him closer to the edge. He felt Bill add another finger. There was a quick burst of pain, followed by the slow burn of pleasure. The fingers brushed something inside him and he let out a low keening moan; he was inexorably getting closer to orgasm. The fingers inside him began to spread apart and make scissoring motions; he knew Bill was trying to prepare him, but he didn’t care. He didn’t want the feelings to end; he growled, low in his chest, when Bill added a third finger.
Bill pressed his fingers once more over Harry’s prostate and he felt Harry tense and start to shake; he was on the cusp of orgasm and Bill wanted to watch it happen. He moved his mouth back to suckle lightly on the head of Harry’s cock and pressed again. The sight of Harry coming apart was amazing; Harry’s whole body tensed and he thrust his hips up one more time before almost screaming, his fingers convulsively fisting in Bill’s hair. Bill kept sucking, taking all that Harry gave him; once Harry stopped thrashing his head on the pillow, Bill gently removed his fingers and spread some oil on himself. Grabbing his wand, he cast a cleansing spell on Harry and then a lubrication spell.
Harry looked up, panting heavily as Bill knelt between his legs; Bill’s eyes met his and Harry moaned at the desire filling them. He wrapped his legs around Bill’s thighs and pulled; Bill placed his cock at Harry’s entrance. Harry kept his eyes on Bill’s as he slowly pushed; Harry felt a sting of pain as the head breached the muscles and he whimpered slightly. He breathed through the pain and thought, in kind of an abstract moment, that the pain, while bad, wasn't nearly as bad as he thought it was going to be.
Bill carefully pressed forward until he was fully sheathed in Harry’s warmth; breathing heavily and supporting himself on shaking arms, Bill waited for a sign from Harry that it was okay to move. At Harry’s slight nod, Bill began a slow flexing and thrusting of his hips; Harry moaned loudly at the sensation.
“Oh God! More...please...more!” A string of disjointed words and phrases followed this; Bill rested more weight on his arms so that he could get more power into his thrusts. Harry, hard once more, began to shake and moan, his hands gripping Bill’s forearms; Bill had never seen a more beautiful sight than Harry was at that moment. His hips pistoning steadily into Harry, he balanced his weight on one arm so that he could wrap his other hand around Harry’s shaft; he began to steadily pull in time to his thrusts. Harry began to lift his hips in rhythm with Bill’s thrusts; Bill could feel his release spiralling toward him. He sped up his thrusts, making sure to hit Harry’s prostate as often as he could; Harry bucked his hips twice more and this time he did scream as he reached orgasm. The feeling of Harry clenching around him was too much for the curse breaker; he thrust his hips three more times before following Harry over the edge with a shout. Neither of them noticed the red glow surrounding them as Bill’s release filled Harry.
Monday, 29 April, 1996
Percy Weasley was a git; he knew it, but that didn’t change the fact that he was a git. He hadn’t believed Harry when he’d said that You-Know-Who was back; he’d written a horrible letter to Ron, telling him it would be best if he severed ties with Harry. He hadn’t even been there for the final battle with You-Know-Who.
He had believed Cornelius Fudge when he said that Harry was lying, just to get attention; he now knew that he had been wrong, on all counts. He should have relied on what he already knew of Harry; Harry hated attention...with a passion.
Percy paced his tiny office nervously; he knew that something was wrong with Fudge, but he couldn’t place his finger on it. When Percy had shown him the Daily Prophet article about Bill and Harry’s bonding, Fudge had sat and stared at it, mouth slightly open. When Fudge had dismissed him, Percy left the door open slightly, so that he could hear him call if he was needed. What he now heard scared him.
“This can’t be! I’ll be ruined! Once Pembroke hears about this, he’ll have my head.” Percy heard a low moan. “Got to get the boy away from Weasley. That’s the only way. Got to get him away. Take him to...somewhere, don’t know where, but somewhere.”
Percy’s breath stilled in his throat. Fudge was planning on kidnapping Harry! Quickly making up his mind, he grabbed his cloak and knocked on the door; hearing Fudge’s call to enter, he opened the door.
“Sir? I just received a fire-call from my mother. My younger brother has had an accident and they wish for me to be there; I will be taking the rest of the day and tomorrow off. I am sorry that it is such short notice, but this is family.” Percy waited, with bated breath.
“Of course Percy. You must go be with your family. Give your mother and father my regards...congratulate your older brother as well.” The last was said through clenched teeth.
Percy nodded and left the office; he quickly made his way to the apparation point. Concentrating on Hogwarts’ front gates, he disapparated.
Bill and Harry had been summoned to the headmaster’s office; Harry had been in Transfiguration when the summons came; Bill had been with Charlie, discussing the best places to take Harry, so that he wouldn’t be in England on his birthday. Bill looked at Charlie and motioned for him to join him in the headmaster’s office.
They made their way to the statue guarding the entrance to the headmaster’s domain. Bill was surprised to see Harry walking toward him from the opposite direction. “Harry? What’s going on?”
“I don’t know. I was in Transfiguration when Dumbledore called and asked that I come to his office right away.” Bill could see that Harry was worried; he put his arm around his husband and pulled him close. Harry didn’t tense up; they had made inroads into Harry’s fear of being touched over the last two days.
Harry gave the password to the statue, surprising both Bill and Charlie. “How did you know the password?”
“The castle tells me...she talks to me. Mostly it’s feelings or emotions, but occasionally, it will be a word that will stick in my mind when I get near a door or something that requires a password.” Bill shook his head, smiling. He held out his hand to Harry and they went up the stairs, Charlie following.
Stepping in front of Harry, so that he was between Charlie and himself, Bill knocked on the door and was told to enter; he stopped and his eyes narrowed when he saw Percy sitting in a chair in front of the headmaster’s desk. Percy was ramrod straight, his hands in his lap, but when he looked up at Bill, Bill could see the fear in his eyes...fear of rejection, fear of disappointment...just fear. He suddenly realized that, of all the Weasleys, Percy was the most vulnerable; he had just never let it show.
“Percy? What’s up? How is everything with you?”
Charlie, not yet in the room, heard Bill say Percy’s name; he looked at Harry and Harry looked back. They knew that Percy was an Under-secretary to Fudge; they wondered what had brought him here.
“Bill.” Bill was startled to hear the nickname. Percy only ever called him William. “I heard something this morning, and I came here right away, hoping you and Harry would still be here.”
“What have you heard?” Bill put his arm around Harry as he stepped to Bill’s side. “Is it about Fudge?” The shock on Percy’s face would have been laughable, if it hadn’t been for the subject matter.
“You-you know about what he’s planning?”
“We know some of it; probably not all of it. What has he said to you?”
“William, I think it is best if you and Harry view Percy’s memory of the time...it is here.” Dumbledore pushed his pensieve toward them. They placed their faces to the top of the liquid and watched Percy’s memory unfold.
Charlie noticed a slight tremor in Percy’s hands. He’s scared, Charlie thought. He’s risking his job, the job he loves, to come here to warn Bill and Harry about Fudge. Charlie walked over to Percy and gently placed his hand on his shoulder. “It’s okay Percy. We knew some of it, but this should help them. How have you been?”
Albus watched as the two brothers reconnected; he hadn’t known exactly what had happened, just that something had happened to drive Percy away from his family. He hoped that they would eventually work through it, but there was the matter of Fudge to deal with first.
Bill and Harry were standing again; Harry was pale and shaking and Bill’s arms were wrapped around him. Charlie quickly made his way over to the pensieve; as Charlie was watching the memory, Bill sat in a large armchair and pulled Harry down into his lap. Harry moved as if to protest but Bill just wrapped his arms around him again.
Percy watched his older brother and his bond-mate. Percy looked at Bill’s face as he tried to calm Harry. Yes, there were protectiveness and anger, warring with each other, but there was also something else; it was the same look that their father got on his face, every time he looked at their mother...Love...Bill was in love with Harry. Suddenly, he knew what he had to do; he had to protect his family, all of his family, including Harry.
“Bill?” The question was soft; Bill looked up from Harry and straight into Percy’s eyes. “I have to quit my job.”
Bill’s eyebrows flew upwards as his eyes got wide. “Why? You love that job. Why would you quit?”
Charlie’s head came up as he heard the conversation. The memory was over, so he paid attention to what Percy was saying.
“I can’t work for a man who threatens my family; I refuse to. I was an idiot this year; I didn’t realize that Fudge was as terrible as that. I hurt my family for a man who doesn’t deserve the time of day, let alone my respect. He’s threatening Harry; I can’t work for a man who threatens my family!”
Bill had never seen Percy this worked up over anything before; he looked into Percy’s light hazel eyes, so different from his, yet the blaze of protectiveness there was very familiar. He was looking into his father’s eyes; they might be in a younger face, but they were his father’s eyes.
Charlie was struck by the same thought. He had often wondered what his parents looked like when they were younger. There weren’t many pictures of that time. But, looking at Percy, Charlie knew what his father had looked like at 19 or 20.
“Percy, if that’s what you want to do, but what will you do for money?” As much as Bill appreciated the support, he was not going to let Percy throw away a career because of him and Harry.
“I’ll work for the twins, I’ll work for the Daily Prophet, I’ll-I’ll...anything but work for him anymore!” Percy was so upset that he stood and started pacing the floor; Dumbledore smiled as he thought about a time, just over a week ago, when Harry was doing the same thing. “How can anyone threaten another person like that? Why would he do that? Who is this Pembroke person and what does he hold over Fudge that he would risk Azkaban? And why Harry? If this Pembroke wants to marry someone, let him find his own person.” Percy stopped pacing and whirled around to face Bill and Harry. “Harry is yours and I won’t let him take Harry away from you!”
Everyone in the room was stunned. No one had ever imagined that the contained person that was Percy Weasley could have this much passion in him. Harry wriggled his way out of Bill’s arms and walked to Percy; he slowly put his arms around Percy’s waist and hugged him. Percy began to cry silently, the tears running down his face; Bill and Charlie moved over to join them. Charlie put his arms around Percy and Bill put his around both Percy and Harry...Harry did not flinch.
After Percy had calmed himself, Albus stood and walked over to the little group. “Percy, I believe I may have an alternative for you. I am in need of a secretary/assistant. Professor McGonagall is very busy this year with the students and the extra classes for Advanced Transfiguration; she doesn’t have the time to assist me with all that needs to be done. I would appreciate it if you would consider working with me.”
Percy’s head lifted and he stared at his former headmaster. “H-here? Work at Hogwarts?” A huge smile followed these questions. “I don’t have to consider it. Yes! I would be honoured to work with you, sir.”
Albus nodded. “Well then, you had better tender your resignation with Fudge...effective immediately, don’t you think?” His eyes twinkled at Percy. “One other thing...just don’t tell him where you will be working, I don’t think that it would be in Harry’s best interest. You had best leave that memory here; I don’t want Fudge to think that we have any information about this yet.”
“Yes sir. Let me go back to the Ministry and pack up my things; I should be back within an hour.” Percy paused. “What should I tell him...he will ask.”
“Cite personal reasons; the excuse you gave him before should work quite well. Since you told a white lie before, I will assume you are not against telling him another one. Just say that you are needed to stay and assist your other brother and you don’t know how long it will take; he will assume you are talking about assisting Frederick or George with their shop.”
Percy smiled again and nodded; he looked back at his brothers. Yes, Harry is my brother now. “I’ll be back soon. I will probably want to go to the Burrow to see Mum and Dad about this, this weekend. Charlie, could you come with me?”
Charlie put a hand on Percy’s shoulder. “Of course. Now go take care of what you need to.”
Percy turned and left the room, a spring in his step that had never been there before.
Harry looked at Albus. “Were you serious about you needing help, or was that just something to give him purpose?”
“Oh, no Harry, I do need the help. Minerva has so many Advanced Transfiguration students this year that she had to add two more classes. I didn’t just offer so that he would feel better about leaving the Ministry; the need is real.”
“Good. I don’t think he’d like it if it wasn’t.”
“No indeed...I think I need to tell Minerva that she can rest easy now, knowing that I will have someone responsible to help me. If you will excuse me...oh, Harry?”
“You will no longer be staying in Gryffindor tower; Your things...all of them...will be moved to your suite. Bill?”
“This is not a request; You will be staying here until Harry’s term is complete. Once this school year is over, in another month, then you may take Harry wherever you feel is safe. You might want to go and bring some things back here; you may apparate to Gringotts from just outside of the gates.”
“I hadn’t planned on leaving. We’ll stay here. Right now, this is the safest place for both of us.” He hugged Harry close. He was surprised when Harry almost snuggled into his chest; he was still scared. Sometimes it was hard to remember that Harry was only 15; he seemed far too old mentally to be that young physically.
“May Harry be excused from classes for today? I don’t think that he’s feeling quite up to it right now. Are you?” Harry shook his head, but stayed in Bill’s arms; those arms represented safety.
“That will be fine...I will inform Minerva.” The headmaster left.
Bill turned to Charlie. “Come with us. We need to talk about things, just the three of us.”
“Okay, then I’ll go see Hagrid for a bit, later on.” Charlie followed them to their suite. Bill rang for a house elf; Dobby appeared.
“Mister Harry Potter sir! How is Dobby serving you today?”
“Hi Dobby. Can you get some tea for us? Maybe something to eat, too?”
“Of course Mister Harry Potter sir! Dobby is happy to help Mister Harry Potter and his Wheezy!” Dobby popped out of the room.
“Wheezy?” Bill asked, grinning. “I’m a ‘Wheezy’?”
“Actually, I think that all red-heads are ‘Wheezys’ to Dobby, it means ‘Weasley’. It started with Ron, blame him.” Harry grinned slightly.
Charlie chuckled. “Alright...you two have just over a month to plan something and get everything ready. Any ideas on where you’d like to go? What you’d like to do?”
Harry thought for a minute. “I have no clue; I’ve never been anywhere.”
“What?” Bill’s head shot up at that; he’d been leaning against the wall, arms crossed over his chest and his head down in thought.
“I’ve never been anywhere. The Dursleys used to go places, but I never went; they’d leave me at old Mrs. Figg’s place and then go on their merry way. The first time I ever went anywhere was when Uncle Vernon took us away to try to avoid my first year letters.” Harry thought for another minute. “The second place was Diagon Alley with Hagrid, then here and the Burrow. That’s it.”
“You’ve never been to the beach?” Bill’s voice was quiet. “Never been to an amusement park? Never been to the Hill Country? You’ve never been anywhere?” Bill’s voice cracked on the last word; he was trying to understand what Harry had been through. How could anyone take one child somewhere, but leave another behind? He felt Charlie put a hand on his shoulder as he stood beside him; Harry was looking at him, concern in his eyes.
“Bill? It’s alright...I knew the Dursleys hated me; I never expected them to take me anywhere.”
Bill was going to cry...he just knew he was going to cry. He could feel the burning in his eyes and closed them to stop the tears. How could anyone treat Harry, HIS Harry, that way? He felt himself losing the battle not to cry; one tear slipped out from under his closed eyelashes. He felt it travel down the side of his cheek before it was stopped by a single, calloused finger.
Charlie quietly edged his way to the door; Harry saw him leaving and nodded his thanks. If Bill was going to cry over him, then Harry wanted it to be just the two of them.
“Bill?” Harry’s voice came from directly in front of him; he opened his eyes and more tears fell. Harry stretched up to kiss him gently as he wiped the tears away. “It’s alright. It’ll be better if I don’t know what I’ve missed; that way, you can show me everything. You can take me to a beach, you can take me to an amusement park, you can take me to...wherever; it’ll be better with you than it ever would have been with them.” Harry took his hand and led him to the bed; he pushed Bill back onto the bed and crawled in next to him. “Please Bill...please don’t cry for me.”
He couldn’t help it; he pulled Harry to him and began to cry for the child that Harry had never been allowed to be; he cried for the scared, abused child that Harry must have been; he cried for the teenager who had never been allowed to choose anything for himself. He could feel Harry’s hands running up and down his back and arms, trying to comfort him.
“Bill, look at me.” Bill opened his eyes and looked at Harry, lying on the bed next to him. “We’ll go wherever you want. Take me some place fun, some place bright, with a beach and an amusement park...take me some place where it will be just the two of us, no one else. Since I don’t have bad memories about places like that, it’ll be a lot more fun.”
Harry held Bill’s eyes with his. “Make love to me, husband mine.”
Bill didn’t argue, and Harry didn’t flinch.
Monday, 6 May, 1996
The members of the Order were once again crowded into the Room of Requirement; this time, however, several students had been allowed to attend. They were Harry's friends...Ron, Hermione, Draco, Ginny and Neville; Fred and George were also in attendance.
When Harry, Bill, Charlie and Percy entered together, the silence was deafening; most of those present were aware of Percy's estrangement from his family, and so, were surprised when Percy followed Charlie into the room to take a seat. Albus noted this and supplied the explanation.
"Percy Weasley has brought some information to us about the plans that Minister Fudge may have for Harry." He went on to give more details about what Percy had witnessed. There were gasps of outrage from everyone and mutterings of retribution from both Sirius and Remus; at a look from Harry, they both fell silent.
"We need to have a plan in place for the eventuality of Cornelius Fudge attempting to kidnap Harry. Remus, you had mentioned looking into their bond a little more deeply. Did you find anything of any use?"
"Yes, while the bond itself is very powerful, in addition to the soul bond, which is unbreakable, the cuffs are one of the most important parts of the bond. Bill, please leave the room, so that I can demonstrate." Bill shot a look at Sirius, who nodded at him. Bill got up and left the room, closing the door behind him; Remus stood.
"Now...I am going to approach Harry and touch his arm. I'm going to be thinking about harming or taking him." He looked at Harry. "You know I won't, but it will serve the purpose." Harry nodded.
Remus walked quickly across the room and put his hand around Harry's upper arm. There was a loud crack and two things happened...Bill appeared next to Harry and Remus was thrown across the room; Remus had not expected the second. He knew about the cuffs apparating Bill to Harry, through any wards, but not about repelling someone away from Harry. Sirius got up and went to his side.
"You alright, Moony?" Remus shook his head and smiled.
"That was unexpected...didn't know it would do that."
Bill had a possible explanation. "The cuffs were for a male to male bond. Kidnapping a male would gain more attention and possibly garner more of a ransom. Sorry ladies, men were considered more important centuries ago." He thought for a moment. "Then, consider the facts that the cuffs, rings and circlet were all made for one bonding...and that they are all Elvish."
Gasps sounded throughout the room; Harry was confused...why would that make a difference? "What does that mean?" He looked at Bill.
"Elves usually only made male bonding sets for members of royalty. There is the possibility, since this set was in your vaults, that you are descended from royalty."
"No. No, I don't want to be. I'm weird enough without adding that to it."
Bill leaned in and whispered, "You're not weird. Even if you are, you're my weird and I love you." He straightened and missed the look of surprise on Harry's face; Sirius didn't and made a mental note to ask Harry what had been said.
"Now we need to find a way to use this to our advantage." Albus looked around. "Does anyone have any suggestions? Harry will always have someone with him, even in classes. While Amelia Fudge may have confessed to watching Harry, there is always the possibility that someone is being paid to do the same; we can't take the risk that someone will try to harm Harry or take him."
Bill felt a surge of anger. No one was going to take his husband away from him! He unconsciously pulled Harry a little closer to his side. Harry could feel the anger and wondered if it was directed at him. What could he have done?'
Bill leaned down. "It's not you; I don't like knowing that someone is out there plotting to take you away from me. I'm not leaving you alone...not even here. I'm going to go tomorrow morning and take a leave from Gringotts; I'm sure they'll let me have it."
"I don't want you getting in trouble at Gringotts because of me."
"I won't get in trouble; you, Sirius and Lucius are their biggest investors. They're not going to risk alienating you. I have to protect you...I need to protect you. Please let me." Harry couldn't resist the pleading he heard in Bill's voice. It felt good to have someone who wanted to protect him, not hurt him; he nodded and leaned his head so that it rested on Bill's shoulder.
The next morning, true to his word, Bill left Hogwarts and apparated to Gringotts. He asked to meet with Ragnok, the bank's director.
"You wished to see me, Mr. Weasley?" The ageing director was a truly imposing goblin; if Bill hadn't felt comfortable in his presence he would have, most likely, been afraid.
"Yes, there are some things that I need to speak with you about. First, let me give you this." He handed over a copy of the bonding document. He waited as Ragnok read it, watching as the goblin's eyes widened.
"It would appear that congratulations are in order, Lord Consort Potter." The use of the title surprised Bill. He hadn't thought about gaining a title. "This means that all of Lord Potter's vaults, properties and businesses will be immediately unsealed. We will need to have him sign paperwork, naming you as his consort and heir, until you have children. You do realize, though, that this gives you no more access to his vaults than you had before?"
"Yes, I realize that; I don't want access unless he gives it...those are his property, not mine. Is it possible to have a representative come to Hogwarts? It isn't safe for him to leave there."
"Is there a problem we are not aware of, Lord Consort?"
"Yes, there are still Death Eaters out there. I'm pretty sure some of them would just love to be able to kill Harry."
A frown gathered on the goblin's forehead. "Fools!" he spat. "Do they not realize that, without Lord Potter destroying that vermin, this world, the whole world, would have ended? Are they that stupid?"
"I believe they are that stupid; they don't seem to realize just how bad things had already been and how much worse they would be, if You-Know-Who had lived. They are currently plotting to kidnap Lord Potter, to take him away from me."
"We will do everything within our power to keep that from happening; I will send several goblins to Hogwarts tomorrow, so that we can speed this process along. You, I assume, will want to take time to be with your husband, to protect him...consider it done. Take as much time as you need; normally, I would say no, but this case is special. Lord Potter must be protected, at all times; who better than his husband to do that?"
"Thank you. I want to be with him, to make sure he is safe; I can't do that from here."
"Then, if I may ask, why are you here now?" The goblin smiled, a rather disgusting sight.
"I am going back to Hogwarts as soon as I can. I needed to come here to settle this and to get your approval for time off; I also need to get some clothing and then I'm going back."
Ragnok nodded and shook his hand. "Again, our congratulations, Lord Consort Potter. The group I am sending will arrive at 11:00 tomorrow morning; please wait for them outside the main doors of the castle."
"I will inform Albus Dumbledore and my husband. We will be waiting."
Harry, Bill, Albus and Sirius were waiting just outside of the doors of the castle; it was almost 11, and Harry was anxious to see what was going to happen. There were several loud cracks as a group of about 6 Gringotts goblins appeared before them. Harry recognized only one of them; he smiled slightly as Griphook separated from the others and bowed low before him.
"Lord Potter, Lord Consort Potter? We consider it an honour to serve you."
"I welcome you to Hogwarts; please come inside where we will deal with the business matters first. Then we will move on to the matter of Lord Consort Potter being made my heir." The formalities had to be observed. The goblins, happy that their customs were being followed, smiled; everyone, except for Harry recoiled...it wasn't a pretty sight. Having been tutored by Bill in the customs of the goblins had made this role easier for Harry to perform. Hopefully, he could relax now; the goblins, seeming to realise that it would make Lord Potter more comfortable, encouraged him to be himself.
The whole session was mind-boggling. "All of this is mine? You're kidding!"
"No, we're not Lord Potter. All of this is indeed yours; you are a very wealthy man. Now...these papers are to explain to you exactly what you own that is not in England, Scotland and Ireland. As you see..." Griphook continued on with the explanations; fortunately, Bill and Sirius were paying attention, because he certainly wasn't. Albus had left them alone, realizing that Harry's financial issues were none of his business. Griphook had moved on to matters pertaining to Hogwarts; Harry stopped him.
"You mean that I own the land that this castle sits on?"
"Yes, Lord Potter, your ancestors leased the land to Godric Gryffindor with an indefinite lease; it is payable at a rate of one galleon per year. You do not, however, own the castle."
Harry looked at Bill. "Now I know why Fudge is so determined to get his hands on me; I own this land. They could close Hogwarts and take over the school!"
They called Dobby and sent him for Albus; he needed to hear anything pertaining to Hogwarts. Albus was shocked to hear that Harry owned the land beneath their feet.
"This would explain a lot, but, how would Lord Pembroke and Minister Fudge hear of this. Weren't these records sealed?"
"Yes, sir they were, but this piece of information is actually written into several history books. Here is one." Griphook handed Harry a book on the history of the Potter family. He found the passages pertaining to Hogwarts and read them.
"According to this, the family that owns the land also owns one quarter of the castle. The first Potter to attend Hogwarts was a Lionel Potter and he was sorted into Gryffindor house by Godric's hat, held by Godric Gryffindor himself; he was in the first graduating class. It is, apparently, a Potter family tradition to be sorted into Gryffindor house; only one Potter, a witch, was ever sorted into another house, Ravenclaw, but even her children were all sorted into Gryffindor." He looked at Griphook. "So that means I also own a quarter of the castle."
"Yes, Lord Potter, it does. Actually, you will find that you own one half of the castle; as He Who Must Not Be Named was the last in the line of Salazar Slytherin, and he died without issue, when he marked you with that scar, he marked you as his heir. We at Gringotts recognize your scar as a birthright to all that he owned."
Harry recoiled. "I don't want it!"
Bill calmed Harry. "Before you turn it down, maybe we should see what it all entails. Maybe there could be a better use for it; hospitals, wards for those permanently injured in the wars."
Harry nodded. "Alright, but that will have to be dealt with later, not today...what's next, Griphook?"
He went on to explain that the land that Hogsmeade sat on was also hereditary Potter land; the town itself held the indefinite lease, also payable at one galleon per year. Harry was stunned; he had been raised by the Dursleys and had been led to believe that he owned nothing. It had come as a shock when, at eleven, he had been shown the one vault.
"What is the vault that I have been accessing for the last few years?"
"That is your trust fund, Lord Potter. It was set up several centuries ago, for the use of the Potter heir to use for their time at Hogwarts. Usually, the other vaults didn't get used until the heir actually came into their inheritance, upon the death of Lord Potter; you are the youngest heir to ever hold the title of Lord Potter outright."
"Great. Something else to set me apart...just what I always wanted."
Bill pulled Harry to his side. "Remember what I said...you're mine, just the way you are, and I love you for you, not what you have."
Harry's eyes shot to Bill's; he could read the truth in those bright blue eyes...Bill did love him. Harry's smile was blinding and caused Bill to catch his breath. The goblins all looked away, human emotions were messy; Albus and Sirius were embarrassed to bear witness to such a private moment. Sirius, however, was also thrilled; his Bambi's bond-mate obviously did love him. He knew that Harry had been falling for the curse-breaker, and it was fantastic that he returned Harry's feelings. Both Harry and Bill seemed to realize that they had embarrassed the others in the room.
Bill cleared his throat. "Sorry about that...got carried away." He leaned down and whispered in Harry's ear, "Later."
Harry nodded emphatically. "So, anything else, inheritance wise?" Upon receiving a no from Griphook, he looked at Bill. "Now, about naming you as my heir."
Griphook shuffled through the papers and pulled out another thick sheaf of parchment. "Upon your marriage to Lord Potter, you, William Weasley, became known as William Potter, Lord Consort Potter. You are required to take Lord Potter's last name, as your father's title is a lesser one."
"My father has a title? Does he know this? I've never heard him mention it."
"Really? Hmm...We shall have to inform him that, upon his older brother's death, he inherited the title of Lord Weasley and several estates, along with assorted Gringotts' vaults."
Bill was in shock. "You mean to tell me that my father has been struggling all these years to provide for us and he didn't need to? Why wasn't he told of this by Gringotts when my uncle died twenty years ago?"
"I am sorry Mr.--Lord Consort Potter, I do not have the answer to that. I do believe, though, at that time we were changing leadership families, as the current director's sire had died unexpectedly; I will personally look into that for your father. Until he designates your brother Charles as his heir, you still remain his heir; as such, you have the ability and right to request an inquiry into this discrepancy."
Bill stood and walked to the hearth; taking a pinch of floo powder, he threw it into the grate. "Arthur Weasley, Misuse of Muggle Artefacts Office"
A few moments later, Arthur's head appeared in the green flames. "Yes, Bill? Is anything wrong?"
"Dad, you need to take the rest of the day and get over here...there's something you need to hear."
Seeing Bill's serious expression, he turned to someone behind him and said something. "Let me get my cloak, keep the connection open." A few minutes later, Arthur stepped through the flames.
He saw the group of Gringotts goblins, Harry, Sirius and Albus, and was instantly concerned. "What's wrong?"
Albus stopped Griphook before he could start. "Allow Sirius and myself to leave and get Charlie for you. I will also take the liberty of ordering lunch for all of you. Griphook? The usual goblin fare?"
Griphook nodded. "Not dead this time, please."
Harry gulped and tried not to think about that.
To say that Arthur, Bill and Charlie were stunned was an understatement; Arthur had never known that his father had held a title, let alone his brother. One goblin had gone back to Gringotts to get the file on the Weasley holdings and vaults. The amount of money in those vaults shocked the four humans in the room.
Harry looked Griphook in the eye. "Comparable wealth to mine?"
"No, yours is, by far, the greater amount; the Malfoy and Black holdings are the only ones that come close to yours. Yours is one of the oldest wizarding families still in existence."
Arthur was sitting his chair, staring at a sheaf of parchment that listed houses and businesses that he owned. "Why did my father never tell me about this? Why didn't Geoffrey?" When Arthur looked up at Bill and Charlie, there were tears in his eyes. "All these years, just barely making it...all this time there was a fortune sitting there. I could have done so much better for you all." He put his head in his hands and started to cry quietly.
Harry stood when Bill and Charlie put their arms around him; he whispered in Bill's ear, "Should I send for Ron?" Bill nodded.
He rang and Dobby appeared. "Lord Harry Potter, sir! How is Dobby serving you?" His large eyes took in the small group at the table, all with tears either in their eyes or streaming down their cheeks.
"I need you to get Ronald Weasley. He should be in the Gryffindor common room right now."
"Yes sir, Lord Harry Potter, sir." With a pop, Dobby was gone.
Ron arrived a few minutes later, out of breath from running. "What's wrong Harry? Dobby said that my dad was in here crying. What happened?"
"I'll let your dad and brothers explain; my mind's still a mess from all of my stuff."
Ron headed to where his father was sitting and pulled up a chair. "Dad? What's wrong, Dad?"
Bill turned and handed Ron a sheet of parchment; Ron's eyes got wide as he read the amounts in the vaults and the listing of the properties. "This is Dad's? Where did this come from?"
Charlie sat next to him to explain. "Dad's brother, Geoffrey, was Lord Weasley; he inherited it from our grandfather. When Uncle Geoffrey died, no one thought to let Dad know that he had inherited the title, lands and vaults from our uncle; because of Bill having to take Harry's last name, we found out that there was a title and lands."
"Why is Dad crying?"
"Because he's worked so hard to just barely scrape by. If he'd known about this, he said he could have done so much better for us."
Ron got up and walked to his father. "Dad?"
"This isn't your fault. You worked hard to give us everything you could, but you gave us the one thing that all the money in the world can't buy...Love. You and Mum gave us love; that's more important than houses and vaults. You also taught us honour...you can't buy those things."
Bill was staring at Ron. "When did you grow up, Ron?"
"When my best mate was forced to bond because he didn't grow up with love and honour, just jealousy and hate. Harry may have all that wealth now, but he had the poorest childhood I could ever imagine...he didn't have love."
"But he does now." Bill walked over to where his husband stood, watching them; he bent his head to gently kiss Harry. "He does now."
The goblins and the Weasley men started going over all of the Weasley holdings; there was far more than even the goblins realized. There were several businesses, 3 houses, and 3 vaults. The title 'Lord Weasley' was immediately conferred upon Arthur, meaning that Molly automatically became 'Lady Weasley'. Charlie had fire-called their mother, to get her to come to Hogwarts also; she had promptly passed out when told about the wealth and title.
Dobby had been dispatched to get Percy, Fred, George and Ginny. They had sat silently, stunned, as they were told about the changed circumstances of their family. Fred and George recovered first.
"When did...""...all this...""...happen?"
Bill looked at Arthur, who was still busy trying to revive Molly. "About 20 years ago, when our Uncle Geoffrey died. Our grandfather had held the title and it passed to Dad's brother when he died; two years later, Geoffrey died. Gringotts was undergoing a series of management difficulties, and the inheritance was forgotten. About 6 other families have also just found out that they are much more wealthy than they had thought."
"How did Dad find out?" Ginny was shocked; they had always had to watch every knut they spent, never knowing if there was going to be enough.
"When Harry and I bonded, I took his last name. He is the last of the Potter line, and his title is a higher title than Dad's, so I was required to take the Potter name."
Percy's head shot up. "So you're not a Weasley any more?"
"No, not any more; Dad needs to declare Charlie as his heir, since I am now Harry's. Well, I am only until we have children." Harry flushed lightly. It had only been a little less than two weeks since their bonding. He thought it was a little early to be talking about children. Besides, they would have to adopt, or arrange for a surrogate.
George looked over at Harry. "So, Lord Almighty, are you preggers yet?"
Harry chuckled. "Men don't get pregnant, George." He felt, rather than saw, every head turn to look at him. "What?"
"Um, Harry?" Bill looked at him. "Muggle men don't get pregnant...wizards do."
Harry felt his eyes go wide in shock. "You-you're joking, right? Right?" He saw his husband slowly shake his head.
"No, Love, I'm not joking. Because of our magic, we can become pregnant, just as a witch can; it's a little more involved for us, but it does happen. And to answer your question George, it's a little too early to tell. We've only been together for just under two weeks; ask again in about a month." Both Harry and Bill flushed and looked at each other, desire rippling between them; Harry felt that tug and wished they were alone.
If Harry had anything to say about it, and he had a lot to say about it, they would become a lot more active. If he could actually get pregnant, he wanted children; he wanted a family. He'd never had a real family. Suddenly, he realized that, except for Remus, his family was in the room with him. The Weasleys had been like family to him for several years; Sirius was his godfather, the closest thing he'd had to a father; Dumbledore was like a grandfather, a slightly devious and manipulative grandfather, but a grandfather nonetheless.
Albus looked at Sirius. "I believe it is time that you had 'The Talk' with your godson, Sirius. I am certain there are many more things about our world that are far different than they are in the muggle world."
Sirius stood and walked over to Harry; he looked up at Bill and grinned. "Do you mind if I steal your husband for a little while, Oh Honourable Lord Consort Potter?"
Bill smirked at him. "Not at all, High and Mighty Lord Black. Make sure you tell him everything...I'm going to test him on it later."
Harry blushed bright red, much to everyone’s amusement. He and Sirius left the room, chased by their laughter.
Sirius led Harry to the chambers that he and Remus were sharing; the werewolf was lying on the sofa, sleeping, and Sirius woke him gently.
"Remy...Remus, Love, wake up. We need to talk about the birds and the bees with Harry."
Remus sat up, confused. "Isn't that Bill's responsibility now?"
"Well, seeing how he and the other Weasleys are with a bunch of goblins, trying to figure out Arthur's inheritance, I think we can take his place."
"Arthur's got an inheritance?"
Harry explained the situation. Remus was happy for the Weasley clan; like him, they had never had much, always having to make do, just barely having enough to get by. Now that he and Sirius were together, though, he didn't have to worry about it, even though he still did at times...it was an ingrained force of habit.
"Have you told him...?"
"Not yet...that's why we're here, so we can tell him in private."
"If it's about the two of you being together, I already know about that. You haven't exactly tried to hide it." Harry smiled at the two older men.
"Well, that's part of it, Bambi; the other part of it is this...I'm living proof that wizards can get pregnant." He reached for Remus' hand. "We are having a baby; he or she should be here in about 6 months."
Harry looked at his godfather, smiling broadly. "Really? I'm going to have a little brother or sister?"
Sirius gasped and tears came to his eyes. "You think of me as your Dad?"
Harry nodded. "I always have, ever since I found out about you; I've wanted us to be a real family for a while now."
Remus and Sirius got off of the sofa and walked to the chair Harry was sitting in. They drew him to his feet and hugged him tightly. "Bambi, oh Bambi! I want that,too; I just didn't want you to think that either Remus or I were trying to take James' place in your life. I know he's not here, but he's still your father."
"Yes, and he always will be, but what I don't have is a Dad or a Papa. Can I still have James as my father and have you and Remus as my Dad and Papa?"
Both Remus and Sirius were touched by the plea they heard in Harry's voice. "Of course, Pup! I would be honoured to be your Papa."
"And I would love to be your Dad. We both love you very much, you know that, right?"
Harry nodded, beyond words at that moment. He just hugged his Dad and his Papa tight as all three cried and shared a moment of bonding together.
After spending some time with Sirius and Remus, Harry went back to the room where the Weasley family was gathered; he paused in the doorway, watching everyone interact with each other. This was what he wanted; he wanted a large family, so that his life never felt empty again. The Dursleys had ensured that his memories of his early years were always marked by loneliness. He would do anything to keep that from happening again.
Bill looked up to see Harry watching him and his family. The expression on his face was a mixture of contentedness and loneliness; the gentle smile spoke of being contented but his eyes were almost sad, as if he felt he didn't belong there. Charlie came and stood next to him.
"Go on, he's your family now. I'm pretty sure we're going to be here a while; Dumbledore offered us several rooms for the night and the goblins are coming back again tomorrow. Griphook said that there is still stuff for Harry to go over and they're trying to sort out this mess they made of Dad's inheritance. Griphook mentioned compensation. We're going to need your help with that; Dad almost told them no."
Bill looked at Charlie. "I'm assuming you stopped him."
"Actually, Ron did. He said you'd explain it, but that he shouldn't turn it down."
"Smart kid...takes after me, you know." Bill gave Charlie a quick hug. "Try to keep Mum calm; I'm going to go see how 'The Talk' went and give Harry a quiz."
He heard Charlie's quiet laughter as he walked to Harry's side.
Harry looked up, the sadness in his eyes still lingering. "Yeah, sort of."
"What is it?"
"Just thinking. All my life I've been lonely, in one way or another; I don't want to be lonely anymore."
"Can I help you be less lonely? We can always go work on that in our rooms" Bill's grin was infectious and Harry took his hand.
"Lead on, husband mine."
Harry let one hand trail slowly down Bill's chest, ignoring the swift indrawn breath from his mate; he leaned in and pressed his tongue to one flat nipple, laving it before gently nipping with his teeth. He felt Bill's muscles quiver, then lock; he skimmed his palms around Bill's waist to rest on the sculpted cheeks of his arse. One quick tug and Bill was flush against him, hands on Harry's shoulders to steady himself.
Bill was determined to let Harry lead this time; so far, he had been the one to take the first step, now it was Harry's turn. He felt the ghosting of breath across his chest, followed quickly by a questing tongue; that tongue continued to follow the path of the line of hair down his torso. He felt his breath quicken and the muscles in his thighs quiver. He chanced a look down and had to look up quickly; Harry was on his knees before him, hands on his thighs as he looked his fill of Bill's cock.
Harry reverently ran one hand over the length, closing his hand around it. He began a slow, steady rhythm, stroking with just the right amount of pressure. Bill moaned, the sensations washing over his body and stealing his mind; just when he thought he wouldn't be able to take much more, Harry took his cock into his mouth and began to move over it. Bill felt his knees weaken and, before he ended up on the floor, he pulled Harry off of his length and picked him up.
Harry whimpered slightly as Bill laid him face down on the bed and crawled over his body. The heat pouring off of Bill was incredible, Harry felt like he was in a steam bath. Bill began to kiss and nibble at Harry's shoulders while running his hands down Harry's sides to his hips; those hands began to massage his arse with strong, supple movements. It wasn't long before Harry was turned into a quivering mass of nerve endings; his whole body felt alive from the ministrations of that tongue and those hands.
Bill reached for a bottle of oil on the side table and poured some into his hand. After rubbing his hands together, he gently ran a finger down Harry's cleft, unerringly centring on the puckered entrance; he pressed steadily until the muscles relaxed and he slid two fingers into Harry's channel. The angle was different and Harry could definitely see its benefits; Bill found the bundle of nerves after only a few seconds and moved those fingers in and out, in a devastating rhythm, touching that spot every time.
Harry began to moan almost constantly, grinding his hips into the bed; Bill added another finger and began to stretch Harry to take him. After a few moments of this, he pulled Harry up, until he was on his knees. He pressed his cock to Harry's entrance and gently pushed until he was completely inside. Harry reached up and wound both of his arms around Bill's neck; Bill held on to Harry's hips as he began to thrust.
Harry was beyond coherent; the sensations that this position allowed were amazing. This was even more intense than their first time. He knew it wasn't going to take long for him to come; he could feel it spiral toward him, and he urged Bill to move faster, harder. Bill complied, gripping his hips harder, so that he had more leverage.
Harry reached one hand down and wrapped it around his own cock; he began to stroke himself in time to Bill's thrusts. Bill gently pushed Harry forward, until he was on his knees, but his head was resting on one arm, the other hand still stroking himself. Bill gripped his hips harder and began to thrust harder, deeper. Harry let out a high keening moan as he came, his channel gripping and releasing Bill's cock; Bill pulled back and thrust once more before he, too, reached orgasm.
Bill slid away from Harry and pulled him close as he fell to his side; he kept up a steady stream of loving words and phrases as he ran his hands all over Harry's exhausted body. Harry felt a sudden sharp twinge in his abdomen and gasped.
"What's wrong, love?"
"I don't know...felt almost like a quick cramp." Bill's hands moved to Harry's taut belly and massaged the skin and muscles until Harry fell asleep. He gave his husband one last kiss on the back of his neck before succumbing to Morpheus' call.
Bill and Charlie wouldn't tell Harry what they had planned for Harry's getaway. As the school year came closer to an end, Harry became more convinced that something would happen the final day of the year; he didn't know why he had this feeling, he couldn't explain it.
Sirius, Remus, Bill and Charlie were taking Harry's fears seriously. They knew that Harry had had visions when Voldemort had been alive; they weren't taking the chance that it hadn't continued after his death. Lucius arranged everything for them; Bill got a portkey from Gringotts that would take them straight to their destination. Everything was ready.
The last day of the year arrived; Bill and Harry had packed and shrunk their bags, so that they could carry them in the pockets of their robes. This is where they were hidden now; Bill had arranged for Sirius and Remus to keep Harry's school trunk with them. The portkey was a wide silver cuff that Harry wore above the bonding cuff on his right wrist; Bill had insisted that Harry wear it, just in case anything went wrong and Bill couldn't get to him.
Bill and Charlie refused to leave Harry's side the entire day. His guards stayed with him wherever he went, even to the loo, where they stood outside the door.
The Feast was half over when the doors to the Great Hall were thrown open forcefully. Harry, sitting between Bill and Charlie, looked at Bill, fear evident in his eyes. Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge stalked into the Hall, followed by a tall, angry looking wizard; Bill looked at Lucius, who nodded to him, letting Bill know that the other wizard was Lord Ambrose Pembroke.
Bill looked at Charlie and nodded. "Alright Harry, Charlie's coming with us, to make sure we're fine. On three. One...two...three" All three men touched the silver cuff. There was a flash of light and the men disappeared from the end of the Gryffindor table, leaving everyone wondering what had just happened.
Fudge whirled around to look at the spot where Harry had been sitting with the two redheads. He turned back to glare at Dumbledore, absently noting the look of shock on the old man's face.
"Where did Potter go?"
"Cornelius, I can honestly tell you that I have no idea where Harry and his husband went. Why do you ask?"
As Albus had been speaking, Lucius Malfoy had crept up behind Lord Pembroke and Sirius had followed, to stand behind Fudge. Behind them were Kingsley Shacklebolt, Alastor Moody and Nymphadora Tonks, three Order members who were also Aurors; they were taking no chances that these two were getting away. Mention had been made to Kingsley, the Head Auror, of two rogue Death Eaters who did not carry the Dark Mark; their memories would prove invaluable at trial.
"Harry Potter is a minor orphan, as such, I am placing him under the protection of the Ministry of Magic. Lord Pembroke and I have come to collect him, to take him into protective custody. He needs to be kept away from those who would abuse him. Where did he go?"
As he had been speaking, more and more Order members had been surrounding the two men. Lord Pembroke finally realized that something was happening behind them. He slowly turned to find Lucius Malfoy's wand level with his throat. He looked at Sirius Black, snarling behind an oblivious Cornelius Fudge. Remus Lupin, standing behind and in between the two men, just stared at him, his glowing amber eyes revealing the wolf that was barely shackled.
"I beg to differ, Fudge." Sirius growled.
Fudge spun around to find Sirius' wand pointed right between his eyes. "Lord Potter is my godson; I am his legal guardian, whether you let him live with me or not. You've been trying to declare me insane for the last 6 months...I wonder why? Did you ever wonder why the Wizengamot won't let you do it without proof? Because they know; they know you're not right, that you're the one who is insane, not me. Kingsley!"
"Petrificus!" The spell came from two different people at the same time. Moody's hit Fudge and Kingsley's hit Pembroke; both men found their arms and legs magically bound. They fell backwards to the floor; they couldn't move but they could still speak.
"What is the meaning of this? I am Lord Ambrose Pembroke!"
"You're a filthy Death Eater! Both of you are!" Gasps filled the Great Hall as Lucius made this announcement. "You both knew that Lord Potter is bonded to his Consort. You were going to try to take him by force!"
Kingsley and Moody stepped up to the two men. Kingsley spoke. "I hereby place you under arrest for the attempted kidnapping of one Lord Harry James Potter. Your memories will be taken from you as testimony for your trial."
Moody and Kingsley levitated the two men and, with the bodies floating beside them, left the Great Hall. Small whispers and conversations grew around the adults; Draco, Ron and Hermione slowly walked up to Lucius, Sirius and Remus.
"Father," Draco looked at his sire, "Where did Harry and Bill go?"
Harry looked around at where the portkey had unceremoniously dropped them; they were picking themselves up off of a very soft patch of grass. Bill reached down and pushed on the grass a bit before chuckling.
"Cushioning charm. Damn, that's convenient! Why don't we think of these things?"
Charlie looked around, seeing the slight shimmer of a Notice-Me-Not charm. "Yeah, even a charm to keep the muggles from seeing us pick our arses up off the ground. Gotta like a hotel that does that for its clientèle. So, brother mine, where on Earth are we?"
Bill looked around. "I'm not really sure. Lucius said that it would roll almost everything Harry's never done before into one trip."
"There's an amusement park and a beach here?" Harry was beginning to get excited; he knew from how warm it was that they were no longer in England, but where were they?
"I don't know, Love. Let's unshrink our bags and get inside to register. Lucius gave me a name I was supposed to ask for, an Amanda Brooks-Brown. Let's see if we can find her."
After a few Engorgio charms, their bags were all back to normal; Charlie carefully left the landing area to see if he could find a trolley to carry the bags inside. A porter turned to him, noticing where he had come from.
"Hello, we have been expecting you. Allow me to assist you with your baggage."
He walked over to the landing area and stepped inside the charm; he smiled at the shocked looks on Bill and Harry's faces. "It's alright, several of the porters are wizards. We work here to make sure that the muggles don't see you land. Follow me, please."
He led them into the lobby of the large white hotel; Harry's jaw dropped as he gazed in awe at the sparkling white interior. A large grand atrium soared 5 stories high to the glass domes in the ceiling; Bill was silent, taking in the expensive décor of an obviously 5 star hotel; Charlie, for the first time in a long time, felt small.
The porter led them up to a large front desk and asked them to wait while he summoned their guide. After a moment, a middle aged woman came around the desk, smiling at them.
"Mr. Evans?" She smiled again at Bill.
"Ah, yes. I am Arthur Evans, this is my younger brother, James, and our cousin, Adam." The other two men looked at him as if he had grown another head; Bill glared at them meaningfully. Lucius had told him that he had registered them under the name Evans, and they were to use their middle names; he hadn't had time to explain it to Harry and Charlie, though, with the rush to leave.
"Wonderful, please follow me. We will get you to your room shortly, but I would like to acquaint you with some things first." She led them into an airy office and waved them to the chairs spread about. After she closed the door, she pulled a wand out of an inner pocket of her red jacket and put up a locking and silencing spell.
"Alrighty, then...I am Amanda Brooks-Brown and I welcome you to Florida and the Grand Floridian Hotel. Am I right in thinking that you have never visited us before?" She looked at Bill.
"That's correct. Actually, this is the first time any of us have been in the United States."
"Well, once again, welcome. I have your room keys here." She handed Bill two cards. "You will just swipe the card through the reader on the door, and it will unlock. Please try not to open the doors with a spell, it tends to really mess up the workings of the locking system. We don't frown on magic being used in the rooms, but try not to do it where the muggles can see you. It makes them upset if they can't explain why something is happening. Your agent from England, a Mr. Malfoy, stated that we would also need to arrange for a permit for underage magic, for your brother...that isn't necessary. The Ministry here realizes that, in order to perfect their skills, young witches and wizards need to practice. As long as you are over 15, Mr. Evans, there are no restrictions."
Harry nodded. "Yes ma'am, I am 15."
"Great!" She smiled at all three men. "I was, however, only expecting the two of you." She looked at Charlie expectantly.
"Oh...I'm not actually staying more than tonight. I have a business meeting I have to be at on Friday, so I will be leaving in the morning." He smiled; Harry wanted to laugh, as he could see the woman almost melt.
"That's fine. Do you have any questions for me?"
Harry nodded. "I know we are in the United States, but where are we?"
The older witch smiled and walked to a large picture window, currently covered by red and gold drapes. "My boy, you are in one of the most magical places on Earth. The area of Lake Buena Vista was created by one of the most renowned wizards of the 20th century. He gave all of his creations just a touch of magic, so that everything seems to be larger than life and you can feel the magic surround you."
She flicked her wand and the curtains spread to reveal the largest amusement park Bill or Charlie had ever seen. Harry left his seat and moved quickly to the window.
"Gentlemen, Welcome to Walt Disney World and the Magic Kingdom."
The three men were shown to their room...well, suite really. It was huge, comprised of a sitting room/eating area, kitchen, bathroom and a very large, bright bedroom; they walked out onto the balcony and stared. Across the water was what Amanda Brooks-Brown had called The Magic Kingdom; from what they could see, it was huge.
Harry was practically vibrating with excitement; he wanted to go today, but their passes, which had been waiting for them in the room, didn't start until tomorrow. Ms. Brooks-Brown had told them that there was also a credit card waiting for them there; it was connected directly to an account at Gringotts and could be used anywhere, magical or muggle. It had been arranged by Lucius, so that they didn't need to pay for anything.
Charlie wandered back into the room to allow Bill and Harry some time together. He was only staying the night, before heading back to Hogwarts to see how things had gone after they left; he considered sending an owl or making a fire-call before he remembered the twins' gift to Bill and Harry.
"Hey, guys? Come here. I need to show you something." Bill had to drag Harry away from the view of the park.
"What's up Charlie?"
He handed them a small leather case. "This is kind of like owl mail, but without the wait. You write your note on the pad inside, close it and think about the person you want to send it to. They will have the partner to your notebook and will receive your note."
"How do you know if they got the note?" Bill was curious as to where Charlie got this. He'd heard of such things, but hadn't seen one before.
"You open it up again. If the note pad glows green, they received the note. It will vibrate slightly to let you know that you have a response." He wrote a note to Fred and George, asking how things had gone. He closed the case, waited for a moment, then opened it again. The note pad was empty and glowing green.
He laid the case in Harry's hand; they waited for a few minutes, then the case vibrated, glowing faintly red. Harry opened it; inside were several pages of notes, telling them what had happened.
"After you've read the note, tap it with your wand and the writing will disappear."
"Where did you get this?"
Charlie smiled. "Yet another great invention from the masterminds at Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes."
Bill shook his head and chuckled; the twins were nothing, if not inventive. He knew that Harry had done something to help them, but hadn't been told what it was; he only knew that they had stepped up production of their products after the Tri-Wizard Tournament.
They decided to eat in the suite, ordering from room service. They were all exhausted from the stress of the day and quickly fell asleep, Bill and Harry in the bedroom and Charlie sleeping on the sofa in the sitting area.
The next two weeks were the best of Harry's life. He and Bill visited all of the theme parks in Disney World, a place called Downtown Disney and another set of theme parks called Universal Studios. They enjoyed themselves thoroughly and made plans to go back to two of the parks in Disney World.
That is, they made the plans before Harry started becoming ill. He had been feeling off for a few days and this morning was, by far, the worst; he had awoken slowly, feeling his stomach roil. He scurried off of the bed and ran to the loo; he didn't realize that he had woken Bill up until he felt his husband's arms surround him.
"Well, today, we stay in the room. I'm not having you get sick in one of those parks."
Harry nodded and felt another wave of nausea; his knees gave out and , if it hadn't been for Bill's arms, he would have fallen to the floor. After he was done, Bill cleaned him up and led him back to the bed.
"I'm going to go find Ms. Brooks-Brown and have her send a healer up here. I'll be right back." He leaned in and gently kissed Harry's scar.
Bill went down to the lobby and asked to speak with Ms. Brooks-Brown. She escorted him into her office and, once again, locked and silenced the room.
"How can I help you?"
"My hu-brother is ill. Is there a healer or medi-witch on staff?"
She looked at him closely; she hadn't missed the slight slip he had made. "Yes, we have a healer on staff. I must ask you something first."
Bill had a feeling she knew that Harry wasn't his brother. He nodded in acquiescence.
"Your name is not Evans." It was not a question.
"He is not your brother."
"He is your bond-mate." Bill sighed heavily.
"You know, we do receive the Daily Prophet over here. I recognized you from the photos of your and Lord Potter's bonding. Have you seen some of the most recent issues?"
"No, we've been avoiding them." She handed him a copy of the Prophet from about 3 days prior.
LORD HARRY POTTER AND LORD CONSORT POTTER STILL MISSING!!
The story went on to give photos and details of their bonding and what had happened with former Minister of Magic Fudge. There were speculations on where they were and what they were doing...all of them were wrong. The Prophet had tried to interview all of the Weasleys, the Malfoys, Albus Dumbledore and anyone who knew Harry; they had not cooperated.
Bill looked up from the paper to meet Amanda Brooks-Brown's amused gaze. "I must admit, Lord Consort Potter, that I was amazed that you were taking the risk of being found here. But, reading these articles made me realize that your papers are no more intelligent than ours. I will keep your secret, but I do suggest that you place a glamour on your husband, so that no one can see his scar. Now, I will send the healer up to your suite. I, of course, will get an oath from her that she tells no one what she is witness to."
"Thank you, I will do the same. We left England to protect ourselves; I am not willing to place my husband at any risk. I wanted to give him some of the things that had been missing from his childhood."
The older woman nodded. "I have read about Lord Potter's upbringing; I am sad to say that those things happen here as well. The Muggle world just does not understand magic, and those in it that do are few and far between."
She called the healer and Bill led her back to their suite. Harry hadn't moved from his spot on the bed, but he wasn't asleep; he smiled and looked relieved when Bill came and sat on the bed next to him.
"This is Healer Smith. She's going to see if she can find out what's wrong."
Harry nodded and slowly rolled to his back. The healer moved her wand over his body, starting with his head. As she reached his abdomen she stopped.
"Well, gentlemen, I've found the problem. You, Lord Potter, are about 6 weeks pregnant. Congratulations!"
Harry felt tears gather in his eyes. "I'm going to have a baby?"
She nodded and smiled at him. "Yes, you are."
Harry reached for Bill and hugged him tightly. "We're going to have a baby!"
Bill's mouth covered his in a soft, loving kiss. "Yes, Love, we are."
Bill looked at the healer. "Please swear on your magic that you will tell no one, not even Ms. Brooks-Brown, what you've found. I will not have my husband placed at risk."
The healer agreed and made her oath. She gave Harry some nutrient potions to take and asked that they see her again before they left for England.
Bill and Harry spent the next two weeks doing nothing but lazing around or shopping in the various theme parks. They had had to buy several new pieces of luggage so that they could carry everything with them back to England.
The last morning arrived and, with it, another bout of morning sickness for Harry; he was out of the bed and into the loo before Bill could even open his eyes. Bill was worried about how he was going to get Harry back to Hogwarts; they couldn't apparate, too dangerous for the baby; portkeys made Harry sick, as they'd found out when they went to Daytona Beach for a day. The only other option was the floo, but that involved a lot of spinning, so even that might be out.
Bill joined Harry in the loo, cleaning him up and getting him to brush his teeth. "I'm going to go find Ms. Brooks-Brown. I need to speak to her about how to get back home; we can't apparate, portkey or floo."
"Why can't we use a portkey?"
"They make you sick, Love." He put his arms around his husband and rested his head on top of Harry's.
"Bill, if it gets us back to England quickly, I'll use the portkey. I want to go home." He sighed and burrowed closer into Bill's chest. "As much as I've loved this, and spending the time alone with you, I just want us to go home."
Bill smoothed the fringe out of Harry's face. "If you want that, then, that's what we'll do. Let me write to Charlie and have him waiting for us with a bucket handy." Harry chuckled and slowly got off of the bed.
"I'm going to shower; I feel disgusting right now." Bill nodded and went back to writing in the twin's notebook; he sent the note and began packing their clothing and other toiletries into their bags. He shrank all of the bags down and had them lined up on the edge of the bed.
"Harry, I'm going to go pick up the portkey from Ms. Brooks-Brown. I'll be right back." Bill left the suite and headed down to the front desk.
The young lady behind the desk smiled. "How may I help you, sir?"
"I need to pick up a package from Amanda Brooks-Brown. She said that, since she wasn't working today, she would leave a package for Arthur Evans here at the front desk."
The woman turned and looked at various packages lined up on a shelf behind her; they all looked identical and Bill was stunned. There are that many witches and wizards staying here? Must be a popular place.
"Ms. Brooks-Brown said to tell you 12:00. She said that you would know what that meant. Did you want to check out now? It might be best to do that before you leave." The young woman winked at him.
"Mmhmm. I'm the one who takes over when Amanda has her days off. I want to tell you that it has been an honour having you and your spouse here for your stay." At Bill's startled look, she hastened to reassure him. "I'm sorry...no one knows that you've been here. We followed the story of your wedding over here and it seemed very much like a dream."
Bill smiled softly. "Yes, it has been...for the most part." His face darkened when he thought of Fudge and his plans, but then lightened as he looked at the young woman. "Thank you all for making this get-away very pleasant." He signed a paper stating that Arthur and James Evans had checked out of their room.
He had just re-entered the suite when the twins' notebook began to vibrate and glow red. He walked over to the desk and picked it up. He read the following note:
Be careful when you come back. Lucius says that your portkey will drop you just outside of the front doors of the castle. I will meet you there and then we need to talk right away. Please be careful!
As promised, Charlie was waiting for them just outside of the front doors of the castle. He helped them up off of the ground and hurried them inside, looking around them constantly; his behaviour didn't go unnoticed by either Bill or Harry.
"Charlie, what's wrong? Has something happened?" Harry's voice shook slightly. He hated being afraid of anything, but a fear of the unknown was, in his estimation, a relatively healthy thing, as long as it was kept under control.
"Let's get to Dumbledore's office first...just so that I don't tell you something and have Albus have to correct it." Bill nodded, agreeing silently; he was on edge about whatever was going on. He knew it had to deal with him and Harry, and he had the feeling it also had something to do with Cornelius Fudge.
The gargoyle guarding Dumbledore's office moved aside before they reached it, meaning that the castle knew Harry needed to get into that office; they climbed the steps quickly, reaching the headmaster's office. They could hear voices, several voices, before they even reached the top of the stairs; Sirius' voice was the loudest.
"How the HELL did this happen? Weren't there guards or anything there? Did they just open the doors and let him walk out? I know how hard it is to get out of that place, trust me! The only reason I was able to do it was because I'm an Animagus. Don't give me any shit about Fudge being one!"
Bill and Harry looked at each other, then back at Charlie. He shook his head silently and gestured to the slightly open door; Albus' words held them in place.
"Sirius, I realize that you are angry; the guards at Azkaban are still trying to figure out how Cornelius escaped. The administrators are guessing that at least one of the human guards is still loyal to Voldemort and arranged for the escape. Lucius is over there, right now, leaning on them to give all of the human guards Veritaserum, to see if one of them allowed him to escape. You know that Remus is at the Ministry, asking questions, along with Arthur; Moody is questioning all of the Aurors, via Veritaserum. They will find out why this happened and how; we need to wait for Harry and Bill to return, so that we may tell them about this and try to put a plan into motion."
Bill pushed the door open and stepped inside the office. "Alright, we're here. What's happened?" Harry and Charlie entered behind him and closed the door. "We heard some of it, but I want to know what's happened, from the beginning."
Albus gestured toward three empty seats, waiting until they were settled before speaking. "One week ago, I received notification that Cornelius Fudge had, somehow, escaped from Azkaban Prison. At this time no one knows how it happened, but happen, it did. As I'm sure you heard, Lucius is at the prison now, Remus and Arthur are at the Ministry building and Alastor is with the Aurors. We are trying to find out how this could have happened, and why."
The sound of the floo activating for a fire call stopped his words. Albus moved to the hearth and pressed a brick to allow the call. "Yes?"
Lucius Malfoy's head appeared in the green flames. "Albus, Sirius. The administrators are allowing the questioning of the guards under Veritaserum. I need Sirius here, along with Arthur, as a representative of Bill's family. Since Sirius was Harry's guardian, until the bonding, he needs to be a witness. Is Arthur there?"
"No, Lucius, but Charlie is. He is now Arthur's heir, so he will be an appropriate alternative."
"Can't I go, since I am here?" Bill wanted to know.
"No, you are Harry's heir. You can't be risked, since this affects you." Lucius was apologetic.
"But they are willing to risk my father or his heir? That makes no sense."
Lucius shook his head. "I'm sorry, this is what they specified. Sirius and either Arthur or his heir. Since Arthur isn't there, it will have to be Charlie. Can the two of you come now, so that this can be done quickly?"
Sirius and Charlie moved to the hearth. "Step back Lucius, we're coming through." Sirius grabbed Charlie's arm and threw a handful of powder into the flames, keeping the connection open, allowing them to step out, right into the floo in the office of the warden at Azkaban.
Once they were gone, Harry looked around the room, noting who was present. Molly and Percy were there from the Weasley family, Minerva McGonagall and Severus Snape were sitting next to Albus, representing the school and Kingsley Shacklebolt was standing in a corner, watching everything with sharp eyes. As his eyes rested on Kingsley, Harry felt Albus looking at him. He looked straight into the headmaster's eyes, asking him to use Legilimency on him. He felt the subtle invasion of his mind and pushed forward the thought that Kingsley might not be as trustworthy as Dumbledore thought. Harry felt Albus leave his mind and watched as his eyebrows headed toward his hairline.
"Harry, do you think you might like some refreshment? It has been a long day, so far."
"Yes, sir. I would like some pumpkin juice, or water, if I may."
"Does anyone else want anything? Kingsley? Molly?"
Kingsley smiled slightly and asked for tea, as did Molly. Bill and Percy both asked for water. Minerva and Severus politely declined. Severus seemed to realize what was going on. He wasn't the most accomplished Legilimens for nothing. As the drinks appeared, Harry was given his cup of pumpkin juice by Bill, and Severus handed a cup of tea to Kingsley. He waited for about 30 seconds and pushed a chair behind Kingsley as his knees buckled.
"State your name."
"Kingsley Maurice Shacklebolt."
"State your age, in full years."
"I am 39 years of age."
"Are you under the Imperius Curse?"
"Who placed you under this curse?"
"When were you placed under the Imperius Curse?"
"As Alastor Moody and I led him to his cell at Azkaban."
"Why were you unable to fight it off?"
"He is accomplished at throwing curses using wandless magic; he cast the curse at me from behind."
"Did you allow Cornelius Fudge to escape from the prison?"
"Yes, but only from his cell. I was told to question him and he commanded that I release him. I had to obey, no matter that I didn't want to."
"Do you know who released him from the prison itself?"
Severus pointed his wand at Kingsley. "Finite." He then walked over to the Head Auror and administered the antidote to the Veritaserum; he placed a binding spell on Kingsley before looking at Albus. "What do we do with him? He's admitted to letting Fudge out, but he was under the Imperius Curse. How should this be handled?"
Albus looked over at Kingsley and saw the true remorse in his eyes. "Put me in Azkaban. I deserve it for letting him out. He's going to try to take Harry away. I don't know what his plans are, but that will be the general gist of them." He hung his head.
Severus walked back up to Kingsley and tilted his head back. He gave him another dose of Veritaserum. "Will you swear, on your magic, that you will never again do anything to harm Lord Harry Potter or his husband, Lord Consort William Potter?"
"Do you know where Cornelius Fudge is?"
"If given the order to, will you go find him and kill him?"
Severus looked at Albus who nodded in agreement. Severus again administered the antidote and waited for Kingsley to become coherent again.
Kingsley shook his head and looked at Albus. "Give me the order."
"Swear on your magic first." Severus smirked at the Auror.
"I, Kingsley Maurice Shacklebolt, do swear on my magic, that I will never again cause harm to Lord Harry James Potter or his husband, Lord Consort William Arthur Potter. I will protect both of them with my life and will willingly give up my life for them. So I have spoken, so let it be." A soft glow surrounded Kingsley, then faded. He looked up at Albus and Severus. "Give me the order."
"You have your order. I don't want to know about it; just don't get caught." Albus motioned him out of the office. Kingsley left, looking straight ahead.
Percy made a small sound in his throat. Bill looked at him with concern. "What's wrong Perce?"
"This is my fault. I could have stopped him that day, in his office, but I didn't. I came here instead."
Harry stood and went to kneel in front of the distraught man. "You didn't do this. You didn't make Fudge into the person he is. Only he could do that. You are not to blame, I don't want to hear that again. Do you understand me?"
Percy nodded. Molly put her arms around her son to comfort him. "No one blames you, sweetheart. This isn't your fault."
"But I could have stopped him!"
"No, Mr. Weasley, you couldn't have." Severus now stood in front of Percy. He reached out and tilted Percy's head up, so that he could see his former professor's eyes. "You would have lost your life, if you had tried. The man is dangerous. All the more so because he is unmarked. The truly dangerous Death Eaters were unmarked. Fudge, Pembroke and several others. The others were all dealt with by either myself or Lucius, but Fudge and Pembroke remained free. He would have killed you and not felt the slightest twinge of guilt. You did the only thing that you could."
Percy still didn't believe it, but he stopped arguing. He knew he couldn't win against both Snape and Harry. Both men knew just how dangerous the Death Eaters could be. Snape, from being one of them and Harry, from fighting against them.
Bill placed a hand on Percy's shoulder. "They're right, you know. If you had tried to stop him, Mum would be mourning you instead of sitting next to you. You did the right thing by coming here first."
Minerva took pity on the poor man. "Mr. Weasley, I find that I need some help sorting out some of the spells I would like to use next term. You were always good at Transfiguration, I believe. Would you please assist me?"
Percy eagerly agreed. "Yes Ma'am! I would like that, very much."
Bill and Harry went back to the same suite of rooms that they had occupied before leaving. After getting their bags re-enlarged, Harry and Bill collapsed back onto the bed. Harry immediately turned and curled himself into Bill's side, sliding his arm across his chest. Bill could feel the slight tremors that shook his husband and turned so that he was facing him. He wrapped his arms around Harry and pulled him closer. He pressed a kiss to the top of Harry's head, murmuring soft words to him.
"I won't let anything happen to you, Love. Wherever I am, you will be safe."
Harry looked up at Bill. "But what about when you're not there? What will I do then?"
"Until this is all over, I will always be with you. I'm not going to let you go."
"...is letting me take all the time I need to keep you safe. You are important to everyone Harry, not just me, not just the Order, everyone. The goblins know that you are important; they also want to keep you safe. Ragnok told me to take as much time as I need...I fully intend on doing that."
Harry leaned in and kissed Bill before snuggling more securely into his side. Bill smiled, tightened his hold on his husband and fell asleep, listening to Harry's slow even breathing.
Bill and Harry had decided to keep Harry's pregnancy a secret for the moment; if that were to get to Fudge, it might completely unhinge the man, and there would be no telling what he could or would do. The only person that they had taken into their confidence was Madame Pomfrey; Harry knew that she would find out eventually, so they had gone to her within a week of returning to Hogwarts.
The entire Weasley clan had moved into summer quarters at Hogwarts; they all wanted to be near, to be able to help protect Harry and Bill, if it became necessary. Hermione had received permission from her parents to stay as well, and she, Ron, Harry and Draco had already started on some of the work required for their sixth year.
Things fell into a routine fairly quickly; since it was the summer break, there were no students about to hide things from. Severus and Harry began Occlumency lessons again; the need was not as pressing as it had been before, but, with Fudge on the loose, the ability would be a plus to have. Harry was already a fairly decent Legilimens; he was not anywhere near as accomplished as Severus or Albus, but he could, with a little effort, find his way into someone's mind.
It was during one of these lessons that Severus learned of Harry's pregnancy. He'd had to fight against Harry this time, just to gain entry; the first thing he saw was a large stone wall covered in red tape and signs that screamed 'DO NOT ENTER!' This wall surprised him, as it had not been there for the prior lesson. He didn't know that Harry had just come from a meeting with Poppy about his pregnancy and she advised him to shore up his Occlumency defences, if he was going to be practising with Severus.
Severus looked at the wall and was pleased to see it; it meant that Harry was finally taking these lessons seriously. He walked up and down the wall, looking for a way in. He placed a hand on the wall and pushed; he encountered resistance at first, but with more pushing and shoving, was able to force his way inside the wall. He could feel Harry fighting him and, for some reason, the fight was draining Harry quickly; he walked down aisles of boxes, Harry's memories he supposed, appreciating the neatness.
He turned a corner and found a box sitting in the middle of the aisle; he walked over to it, but as he came closer, the box moved away from him. Harry was moving the box, trying to keep him from looking inside; he could feel Harry's defences start to give way as he got closer to the box. He lifted one corner of the lid and found himself immersed in Harry's memory of today's visit with Poppy.
Severus was shocked; he hadn't expected this. He, of course knew about male pregnancy, but he had never met a pregnant male before. He quickly exited Harry's mind, realizing that his presence was draining Harry's magical reserve; as he came back to himself, he grabbed Harry's shoulders to steady him. Seeing that Harry was almost unconscious, he swung the younger man into his arms and quickly made his way to the infirmary.
Severus was worried; he didn't know how having his magical reserves drained would affect Harry or his baby. He burst through the infirmary doors, surprising Poppy and Bill, who were discussing Harry.
Severus laid Harry on the closest bed and moved back to let Bill and Poppy in; Bill immediately crawled into the bed next to Harry, giving him close physical contact, while Poppy ran scans. Severus sat on the floor, not caring that he was openly crying; he would never forgive himself if anything happened to Lily's son because of him. He felt arms come around him, holding him tightly; he recognized Lucius' cologne and turned his head into his blood-brother's shoulder and wept.
"I did this! I did this to him! I didn't know..." Severus felt a hand on his shoulder and looked up at Poppy.
"He'll be fine, Severus. He just needs to rest and have Bill close to him. You need to keep what you saw to yourself. Is that understood?" Severus nodded. "Of course, this means that the Occlumency lessons have to stop. He would have a difficult time recovering from that many drains on his reserves."
Severus nodded again and accepted Lucius' help to stand; he walked to Bill's side and leaned in. "I'm sorry. I didn't know that this would happen. If I had, I wouldn't have..."
"Severus, stop...you didn't know. None but the three of us knew, and now you. Please keep it to yourself. If this got to Fudge..."
Severus nodded in agreement. "Yes, I give my word." He straightened and walked back to Lucius' side.
"Will he be alright? I felt the pull on our blood-bond, that's how I knew where you were." Lucius looked over at the pale young man lying on the bed. "He will be alright, won't he?"
"Poppy says that all he needs is rest. Let's leave and give him that rest."
Harry slowly woke up. He recognized the ceiling and groaned. He felt the mattress shift next to him and looked to his right. His confused eyes met Bill's concerned blue gaze.
"How are you feeling, Love?"
"Really tired. What happened?" Harry yawned and curled into Bill's chest.
"The Occlumency lessons have to stop. The baby is taking a lot of your energy and the last lesson with Snape drained your reserves. We can't have that happening again."
Harry nodded, stifling a yawn. "How did I get here?"
"Severus brought you in. I saw two things then that I had never seen before."
"One, Severus Snape running and, two, Severus Snape crying."
Harry's eyes went wide. "Snape was crying? Why?"
"Harry, he severely depleted your magical reserves. He found out about the baby and didn't know if he had hurt either just you or both of you. I've never seen him get like that; I think it honestly scared him that he might have hurt you or the baby. He asked to see you, once you were well enough to see people."
"Has anyone else been to see me?"
"Sirius and Remus, of course; Ron, Hermione and Draco have been here almost constantly; Mum and Dad, Charlie, the rest of the family...oh and, believe it or not, Lucius has been in here several times over the last three days."
"THREE DAYS! I've been in here for three days? Why did it take me so long to wake up?"
"Poppy kept you asleep that long so that your magic would have time to replenish itself. Love, you don't realize how low your reserves were. Fighting Severus that day almost drained you completely. The baby is taking more of your energy and magic right now. Because of you being a man, your body has had to rearrange itself to accommodate the baby."
Harry nodded again; it did make sense, in a weird sort of way. "How does a male pregnancy work?"
"Um...not really sure. You know that men don't normally have the right...equipment...to have a baby, right?" Harry nodded. "Well, when a wizard gets pregnant, our magic forms a womb for the baby to develop in. I'm not sure how, but I do know that, once it's there, it doesn't need to be removed."
"It stays in there?" Harry was horrified. "What happens with it? Does it stay the size it was? Does it go dormant or something?" This was something that had NEVER been covered in any of the classes he had had so far. "Isn't this something that they should teach us? I mean...this is something that we need to know!" Another horrible thought occurred to Harry. "This doesn't make me a girl, does it? I don't want to be a girl!"
Harry and Bill heard a dry chuckle from the end of the bed. "No, Mr...sorry, Lord Potter, this does not make you a girl." Severus Snape stood at the foot of the bed, a rare smile gracing his lips. "The uterus that you have now, while it was not with you at birth, will stay with you, unless you want it to be removed. It would make things a lot easier on your body if you leave it where it is after the baby is born; that way, your body won't have to magically produce another one, should you decide to have more children. It will shrink in size and you won't even know that it's there."
Harry sighed in relief. "As long as it's not going to hurt anything by being there, then there's no reason to remove it, right?"
"Correct. As I said, it will make things easier on your body later, if you decide to keep it where it is."
Harry thought that this conversation was a bit surreal. First he was a male, discussing his own pregnancy, with his husband and his potions professor. Yup, nothing normal about this discussion, Harry thought. He saw a serious look come over Snape's face.
"Harry, I am sorry; I didn't know that you were pregnant. If I had, I would have discontinued the Occlumency lessons immediately. It is not good, for either you or your baby, to have your magical reserves drained like that...I'm truly sorry."
"Professor, this isn't your fault. I, well, we, wanted to keep my pregnancy a secret until either Fudge is caught, or I can't keep it a secret any longer."
Snape smiled slightly. "I understand; I won't say anything. I'm just relieved that this didn't cause any kind of damage to either one of you."
Harry returned his smile with one tinged with relief. "Thank you, I know I can trust you."
"I assume, then, that you have not informed your dogfather about this."
"Professor, it is godfather, and no, we haven't. When we decide it's safe, Siri and Remy will be the first to know, right alongside Mr. and Mrs. Weasley. Or rather, Lord and Lady Weasley, now."
"Ah yes, I had heard of the Weasley family's reversal of fortune. I can honestly say, that, of all the families I have met, throughout the years, William, your family is certainly deserving of some good fortune for once."
Bill hid his surprise. "Thank you, Severus. You know, I think I know now why my mother adores you."
Severus' eyes widened. "Why would that be, William?"
"You don't show it often, but you are, indeed, human after all."
After Poppy released Harry from the infirmary, he spent the rest of that day relaxing with Bill; well, maybe not relaxing, but definitely lying down. They were lying in each other's arms when a knock came at the door. Bill motioned to Harry to stay where he was and threw on a robe to answer the door; Hermione, Ron and Draco were waiting outside.
"Can we see Harry, please Bill? We haven't seen him all day and we need to make sure he's alright." Hermione tried looking pleading, but all she could manage was to look excited; Bill chuckled.
"Alright, give me a minute, he's lying down right now."
As Bill moved away, he heard Draco snort softly. "Lying down my arse. Since when does lying down involve a robe and no other clothing?"
Bill looked down at himself and noticed that his robe had parted and most of his chest was exposed. He chuckled softly and went into the bedroom, shutting the door behind him. "Ron, Hermione and Draco are here. Put on some clothes and go lay on the sofa."
Harry pouted. "Do I still have to lie down? I feel fine."
"I know, Love. Remember, Poppy said to lie down. Don't make me take you back there and leave you to her tender mercies."
Harry hopped out of bed and quickly donned clothes. "Alright, alright...I'll lie down."
Harry joined his friends in the sitting area and they began to talk about their day and asked about his. Bill moved around the kitchen area, making tea for everyone. After it was done, they all sat and just talked. About the honeymoon, about Disney World (what it was really like) and how much Harry and Bill enjoyed their time alone.
A frantic pounding at the door had all of them drawing their wands and Harry retreating to the bedroom. Bill carefully opened the door and held it open to admit Sirius; he looked panicked and scared. "Where's Harry?"
"He's safe. What's wrong Sirius?" Bill had told Harry not to come out unless he himself came for him.
"Remus has been attacked...he's in St. Mungo's and I need Harry with me." He looked around the room. "Where is he?"
Bill was starting to get a really bad feeling coming off of Sirius, like fear, but more pronounced. Yes, Sirius could be like this, but never to this extent; he usually calmed down once he had explained himself. Bill opened his mouth and found himself on the receiving end of a stunning hex.
As Bill collapsed, Ron moved protectively in front of Hermione and trained his wand on Sirius; he instinctively knew that this was not Harry's godfather. The man moved toward the bedroom, keeping his back to the door; Draco also had his wand trained on the man that he knew was not his cousin.
The man opened the door and ran in and grabbed Harry's arm; remembering what had happened to Remus, Harry let him. The man went flying out of the bedroom and landed in a heap in the sitting room. Draco hit him with the full body bind, since he was the only one with a clear shot; the man immediately straightened and his arms snapped to his sides and his legs came together.
Harry cautiously looked around the door and saw his friends, but not Bill; Harry slowly came into the sitting room and saw Bill lying on the floor. He gave a shout and dove across the room at his husband; pulling out his wand, he tried to wake Bill, but was crying so hard he couldn't get the word out. Draco motioned with his head for Ron to do it.
Bill slowly woke out of the stunning spell. He shook his head and saw Harry on the floor next to him, sobbing; he pulled Harry into his arms and held him, stroking his back and whispering reassuring things to him. He looked up at his brother. "Ron, go make sure the real Sirius is alright. Draco, can you fire-call Remus and your father and get them down here? Hermione, go find Albus and Minerva."
He looked down at Harry. "I take it he tried to grab you." Harry nodded, burying his head further into Bill's chest. "Why wasn't I apparated to you?"
"I-I th-think y-you have t-to be c-conscious." Harry stuttered out; he was running his hands over Bill's chest, making sure he was alright.
"I'm fine Harry...I'm fine. Let's go see who this git is." He kept his arms around Harry as they walked to where the man lay.
Sirius, Remus, Lucius and Severus all ran into the room. Sirius and Remus gathered Harry into their arms and hugged him tightly while Severus ran his wand over Bill several times, to make sure he was alright. Lucius walked over to the man lying on the floor and knelt down.
"You know, I think we're just going to sit here and wait for the Polyjuice potion to wear off. I think we all know who you are, but it always pays to be certain." He said this conversationally. He ran a single finger down the side of the man's face until it came to rest on the pulse beating frantically in the man's neck. "Ah, scared are you? I hope so. I may not have been a real Death Eater, but I learned enough to be able to torture someone very convincingly." The coldness in Lucius' eyes and voice scared everyone, including Severus. "My son was in this room. You threatened my heir. For that, I will see that you die a very painful death. There are still some dementors roaming around Azkaban, for the truly dangerous criminals, like former Death Eaters."
As they watched, the potion's effects began to end. The man lying bound on the floor slowly morphed into Cornelius Fudge. Lucius pressed that single finger on the man's pulse again and smiled menacingly as it jumped under his touch. "Ah, there you are, Fudge. We've been looking for you. Very naughty of you to stun poor Lord Consort Potter and threaten to abscond with Lord Potter himself. I think, if we use the memories of my son, Ronald Weasley, Hermione Granger and Lord Potter, we should have quite enough to convict you of the attempted kidnapping of Lord Harry Potter and the attack on Lord Consort William Potter. Hmm, what do you think gentlemen?" He looked at the adults in the room. They all nodded. Sirius walked over to Fudge and nudged him with the toe of his shoe.
"I think we'll have more than enough evidence." He lifted his foot as if to kick Fudge, but a noise from behind him stopped him. He turned to look at Harry, but he shook his head and pointed at Remus. Sirius walked over to his mate and put his arms around him. "Alright, Love. I won't hurt him. I want to, but I won't." Remus smiled in relief and pulled his husband down for a quick kiss.
"Um...guys? Innocent eyes over here." Harry had turned his head away. He didn't want to see his two father figures snogging.
"Innocent, eh? Bill, I thought you were going to take care of that for him."
Bill flushed and shook his head. "Oh no, you're not getting details out of me." Remus actually looked sick at the thought.
Mad-Eye Moody walked through the door and took one look at the man on the floor. "Gotcha you bastard! Thank you gentlemen, for apprehending him for us."
Sirius shook his head. "We didn't...Ron, Harry, Hermione and Draco did."
Moody looked at the children who had just walked back into the room. "Is there anything you kids can't do? Capture deranged former Minister of Magic, check. Kill Voldemort, check. You see, Constant Vigilance pays off!"
Moody levitated Fudge up and led him out of the room. "We'll let you know when we need memories for the second trial. I'll be in touch."
The Ministry sent a contingent of Aurors to Hogwarts to remove and seal memories from Ron, Hermione, Draco, Harry and Bill. It had been discovered that Fudge had accessed information and hair samples taken from Sirius when he had been in Azkaban before; he had used one of these samples to create the Polyjuice potion he had used to gain access to Hogwarts. He was being kept in a magic dampening cell and was under constant heavy guard.
Harry and Bill had decided to tell everyone about his pregnancy before the trial, so that could be used against Fudge also. They gathered everyone in the castle into the Great Hall early in the afternoon, the day before the trial. Severus had shrunk one of the large house tables, so that they were more closely seated, that way, everyone could hear the announcement.
Harry and Bill waited for everyone to arrive and the food to be served before Bill stood up. "We want to thank everyone for their help with this mess with Fudge. Without all of you, we probably wouldn't be standing here." He looked at Harry, who nodded back at him. "That being said, we have an announcement to make...Harry is pregnant."
The women, including Minerva McGonagall, all squealed happily, already mentally planning baby showers and gifts for the baby. The men all stood and clapped Bill heartily on the back and Harry, a little less heartily. Harry waited for calm to be restored before standing next to his husband.
"We didn't want this to come as a surprise to anyone tomorrow; we are going to use this as one more thing against Fudge. To have him try to kidnap me is one thing, but for him to try to kidnap me and my child? He might as well request the kiss beforehand."
Albus looked at Bill. "How do you want this to be handled? Is the solicitor going to know ahead of time?"
"Sterling already knows. We told him when we spoke with him this morning. We knew we wanted to use this against Fudge, so we let him plan how best to use the information. It won't matter that Fudge doesn't know that Harry's pregnant, just the fact that he is will be enough to cause an uproar. If there's one thing you don't mess with in the wizarding world, it's our children. There are few enough of us as it is; this will be the final nail in his coffin, so to speak."
The trial began early the next day. The denizens of the castle had all arrived early, to be assured of seats. Harry, Bill, the twins, Ron and Hermione sat in Harry's seats. Sirius and Remus sat in the Black seats with Ginny and Minerva. Arthur, Molly, Charlie and Percy sat in the restored Weasley seats and Albus, Severus, Lucius and Draco sat in the seats reserved for Lord Malfoy. The others found seats in the gallery, so that they could observe the proceedings.
Cornelius Fudge and Ambrose Pembroke were led into the room in shackles, surrounded by Aurors. Since they were now known Death Eaters, the shackles were used to cancel their ability to use wandless magic.
The trial began slowly, with the reading of the charges against the two men. The room was deathly silent when the following charges were read: "On the charges of attempted kidnapping of one Lord Harry James Potter, how do you plead?"
Two voices. "Not Guilty."
"On the charges of attempted kidnapping of Lord Harry James Potter's unborn child, how do you plead?"
Neither man answered. The sounds of shocked voices rang throughout the large room. "Again, on the charges of attempted kidnapping of Lord Harry James Potter's unborn child, how do you plead?"
Again, there was silence. "If you do not answer to the charges, it will be assumed that your plea is guilty." More silence.
"Let it be known that the lack of response from the defendants is taken as a guilty plea."
The trial went downhill for Fudge and Pembroke after that point. The memories taken from Harry, Ron, Hermione and Draco were exhibited for the entire room to see. The most moving memory had come, not from Harry, but Hermione, who provided the memory of watching Harry break down when he had been unable to revive his husband. To a person, everyone knew that the two men were guilty of the crimes they had been charged with.
The true surprise came later in the trial when the men were asked if they had ever been considered Death Eaters, even though they had never carried the Dark Mark. Both men answered that they had not; Lucius Malfoy and Severus Snape stood.
Lucius spoke. "It has been proven that Severus Snape and myself, Lord Lucius Malfoy were spies against the Dark Lord; as such we have evidence against those who were true Death Eaters, both marked and unmarked. If the Wizengamot wishes, we will give those memories over to be examined by the entire court." At the nod of the wizard in charge of the trial, two Aurors escorted Severus and Lucius to a holographic pensieve, where the pertinent memories were taken from them.
Gasps and cries of horror from the observers were heard as the memories were watched. Harry buried his head in Bill's chest as he saw a particularly gruesome memory from Lucius that he had been made to witness through his mind-link with Voldemort. The memories went further than Harry had seen at the time; they showed the Death Eaters removing their masks, once they were back in the presence of Voldemort. Two of those Death Eaters proved to be Lord Ambrose Pembroke and Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge.
The courtroom erupted in screams and calls for the immediate deaths of the two men; the Aurors had to close ranks around the accused, so that the crowds couldn't get near them. The Wizengamot ended the exhibit and asked to keep the memories as evidence; Lucius and Severus gladly agreed. The court broke for a recess, pending the outcome of deliberations.
The deliberations took only a few hours. Interim Minister of Magic, Amelia Bones, called for order and the trial resumed, now concentrating on the outcome of the deliberations. Two old wizards stood and every eye turned to them.
The taller of the two spoke. "The Wizengamot has taken into account all of the evidence presented before reaching our decision. We find Cornelius Fudge and Lord Ambrose Pembroke guilty on all charges. They will be sentenced as following:
"Lord Ambrose Pembroke, you will be stripped of your magic and are sentenced to spend the rest of your life in a black cell in Azkaban. With the stripping of your magic, you become as close to a muggle as we can get you. Your life will be shortened by many years, as your magic will not be present to keep you alive for the normal life span of a wizard.
"Cornelius Fudge, you are sentenced to the Dementor's Kiss. This sentence will be carried out as soon as this court session ends. May the Gods have mercy on your body, because the Dementors will not have mercy on your soul."
Harry leaned heavily into Bill's side, sliding his arms around his husband to hold him close; Bill's arms closed around Harry, providing comfort to his shaking mate. Bill pulled Harry into his lap when he realized that he had tears streaming down his face; he held Harry tightly, whispering in his ear. "They're never going to be able to hurt you again. It's all over now, Harry." He felt Harry nod into his chest before he started crying harder.
"M'sorry, Bill...I can't seem to stop." Harry was trembling so badly, he couldn't keep a grip on Bill's waist, so he settled for fisting his hands in the front of Bill's robes. "I know it's the hormones, but I can't stop. Please take me home!"
Bill leaned over to speak with Sirius. "I'm taking Harry back to Hogwarts. He's exhausted and staying here won't help him."
Sirius ran a hand over Harry's hair, causing him to look up. "Go on, Bambi; get Poppy to give you something to help you sleep. It won't be Dreamless Sleep, but it should help. Remember, we love you and you need to be healthy for that baby of yours." Harry nodded before burying his head back into Bill's chest.
Bill stood, with Harry in his arms, and strode out of the courtroom. He ignored the members of the press waiting outside of the courtroom and quickly made his way to the nearest floo. He flooed them straight into the infirmary where he asked for a sleeping draught for Harry. Poppy wanted Harry to stay in the infirmary, but Bill said that they would be fine in their suite. She gave him a phial of bright green liquid and asked that he bring Harry back the next day, for her to make sure he was fine.
Harry looked up and nodded. "I'll come by in the morning. I want to make sure the stress hasn't harmed the baby."
Bill carried Harry back to their rooms and directly into the bedroom. He gently undressed his husband and got him under the bed covers; he kissed Harry gently before handing him the phial. As Harry drank the potion, Bill undressed and climbed into the bed next to him; he pulled Harry into his arms. "I love you, Harry."
"Love you, too, Bill." Harry felt his eyes droop once the potion started to take effect. "Stay with me."
"I'm not going anywhere, Love. I'll be right here when you wake up."
Harry drifted off to sleep with a smile gracing his lips.
(Major time skip, Folks!)
The rest of the summer flew by. Harry, Ron, Hermione and Draco had already finished their summer work and had started on the work they would be doing during the term. Harry's pregnancy went just as it should; Poppy had insisted that he see her once a week, just to make sure.
Harry received a surprise shortly before his birthday, in the form of a letter from his Aunt Petunia. In it, she apologized for the years of abuse that Harry had endured while living with them. She informed him that she and Dudley had left Vernon after he'd had too much to drink one night and, not having Harry there to beat on, had taken his frustrations out on Dudley. She gave him her address, in case he wanted to write to her, but she would understand if he didn't.
His birthday dawned bright, cheerful and hot. He was now legally old enough to marry Bill without the bond; they had talked about renewing their vows, but decided to wait until Harry turned 21, to let the Vindiciae Nuptia bond end and have a better planned bonding ceremony. They knew it would please Molly and Bill could give Harry a wedding to remember, not one held after dinner in the Great Hall.
Bill and Lucius had planned a combined birthday party for Draco and Harry, even though their birthdays were almost two months apart. There had been no celebration for Draco's birthday because of the situation with Fudge and Pembroke, so Lucius had asked Bill if he minded it being a party for both boys. Bill hadn't minded in the least, so with Molly's help, they started planning.
Bill made sure that everyone knew that, even though Harry would be two and a half months pregnant at that point, there were to be no baby gifts, they were to give him things he could use after the baby was born. The suggestions of a new broom and broom cleaning kits were made, along with new Quidditch gloves and new clothing. Hermione, practical as always, made the suggestion of books, but only Remus agreed with her on that one.
Everyone had a great time at the party, laughing when Draco realized that it was a party for him as well. The two had been told that it was to be a party for the other; Bill had told Harry that they were having his party the following week. Harry hadn't believed him but went along with it, so that he wouldn't disappoint his husband.
They all spent the last month before the term started doing school work and lazing about in the sun. Harry wasn't allowed to do any of the rougher things, like pick-up Quidditch games, so he set about learning how to knit from Molly. They sat in the stands knitting while the others zoomed about on brooms; Harry figured that he might be able to competently knit a blanket for the baby by the time he or she turned twelve. Bill had gone back to Gringotts, ending his leave two weeks after Fudge had been given the Kiss, only to give his final notice shortly thereafter.
There were going to be many changes for the next term; Bill was taking on the Defence Against the Dark Arts position and Charlie was going to be taking over Care of Magical Creatures from Hagrid; Remus had happily accepted the History of Magic post, as Professor Binns seemed to have moved on sometime over the summer. Severus was, of course, going to stay on as the Potions instructor and Lucius was going to be assisting Minerva with Transfiguration while she taught the N.E.W.T. level classes. Albus was planning on retiring at the end of their seventh year; he felt that he'd had enough. Everyone was now betting that he would be Minister of Magic before the 1998-1999 term started.
Sirius' and Remus' baby, a boy, had been born on November First, making Harry a big brother for the first time. They would talk about it later, but they knew that Orion James Lupin-Black wouldn't be the youngest for long.
20 January, 1997
Harry woke Monday morning and immediately wished he hadn't; he didn't want to get out of bed. He could hear Bill moving around in the shower and knew he'd have to lever himself out of bed on his own. He rolled over onto his side and pushed himself into a sitting position before trying to stand. His pregnant belly was something that he didn't think he'd ever get used to; he grumbled as he stood, vowing that Bill would get to carry the next child. A sharp pain crossed his belly and caused him to lose his breath; he had been having what Poppy called Braxton Hicks contractions for several weeks now, but this one seemed different. He waited and another sharp pain ripped through him, much worse than the first one, this one causing his knees to buckle.
The water stopped and his husband ran out of the bathroom, wrapped in a towel. He saw Harry clinging to the bed post and ran across the room. "What is it? What's wrong?"
"I think..." Harry stopped and gritted his teeth as another pain shot across his belly; at the end of it, Harry was gasping for breath and could barely stand. Bill picked him up and laid him on the bed, casting a Tempus charm to time the contractions. He dried off, grabbed a pair of boxers and his robes and grabbed Harry's robes before going back to the bed. Another contraction had started, they were only six minutes apart. He threw on his clothing and shoes and got Harry into his robes before picking up his husband and quickly making his way to the infirmary.
Poppy began bustling around as soon as she saw them; she had been preparing for this for the last three weeks, ever since Harry had started having Braxton Hicks contractions. She motioned Bill to take Harry into the private room where Sirius had given birth almost three months before. She examined Harry as he cursed his husband up and down the wall; unlike Sirius, it seemed that Harry was going to be able to give birth naturally. A wizard's magic will create a birth canal for the baby in the final month of pregnancy, and Harry's was fully developed.
"Do you want to give birth naturally or do you want the Caesarean Section, like we talked about?"
Harry looked at her in between pains. "Am I able to?" Poppy nodded and Harry smiled, a huge happy smile. "I want to be able to say I helped my child into the world, I want to do this naturally."
While Poppy had been examining Harry, Bill had fire-called everyone he could think of in the castle and his parents at the Burrow. By the time he made it back to Harry's bed to hear him say he wanted to have the baby naturally, a crowd had started to form. They all got to listen to Harry scream and curse at Bill, telling him that if he ever came near him again, he was going to be fishing his manly bits out of the lake; all of the men in the room paled dramatically while the older women laughed at them. As Hermione had not been through childbirth, she didn't know how much pain Harry was in and couldn't understand why the women were laughing.
Six gruelling hours later Harry was still pushing and was rapidly becoming exhausted; Bill was sitting behind him, letting Harry lay on top of him in between pushes. Suddenly Harry felt the overwhelming urge to get this baby out, to push as hard as he could; Poppy seemed to realize that the time had finally come and got things ready at the end of the bed. Bill wrapped his arms around Harry's chest and helped him push; Harry felt a strange, prolonged sliding sensation and then there was the loud wail of a baby. Harry collapsed back against Bill, crying; he had done it, he had given birth to their child.
Harry and Bill looked at a teary eyed Poppy as she cleaned their baby. She stood and presented Harry with a blanket wrapped bundle. "Gentlemen, I present to you your son."
They gently unwrapped the baby to get their first look at their son. He was perfect, a little red and screaming, but perfect; he had Harry's hair, but Bill's nose and lips. He opened his eyes to look up at his parents as if to say 'What the Hell did you do to me?' His eyes were baby blue, but looked as if they would stay blue, there was no hint of green in them at all.
"What are we going to name our little boy?" Bill leaned in to softly kiss Harry's neck and then the baby's cheek.
"William James, your first name, my middle name."
Bill smiled and kissed Harry again. "William James it is."
They both looked up at the crowd of people standing in and about the doorway. Harry felt his heart swell; these people were his family, right alongside Bill and their son. "Come on in...come see our little miracle."
"Daddy, do we have to go to the train? Can't we just meet everyone here?" The eleven year old Will looked at Harry in frustration.
"No, Will, the Hogwarts Express is something every child should experience. Anyway, Orion will be there waiting for you. You know how excited he is about finally being old enough to go to Hogwarts to learn and not just to visit you and your sisters."
Will sighed, as only a put-upon eleven year old can. "Alright...we don't have to take my trunk or anything, do we?"
"No, just you, but you may want to take a game of Exploding Snap with you, so that you have something to do with Orion."
Will brightened and ran to get the game from his room. Harry looked around him while he waited for Bill to get there; they were both going to see Will off at Platform 9 3/4, and Harry would definitely need his help. Not only was there Will to herd about but the rest of their children, Diana and Lily, their eight year old twins, and five year old Margaret, or Maggie for short, were going as well. Harry couldn't handle all of them in one group anymore; he was due with their fifth child in just three months.
Bill came through the door and sat on the sofa, sighing in relief as he sank into the cushions. Harry walked over and ran his hands through Bill's hair, soothing him. "What's wrong, Love?"
Bill looked up at him and grimaced. "Well, you know how I've not been feeling quite right lately?" Harry nodded. "I just came from seeing Poppy."
Bill carefully drew Harry down onto his lap and placed a hand on his belly. "This one's going to have a brother or sister about four months younger than them."
Harry drew back and stared at Bill incredulously. "You're pregnant?"
Bill nodded and then his brows drew together in a frown. "Harry, this isn't funny! I thought we were done after this one. Harry! Stop laughing!"
The peals of Harry's laughter could be heard as far away as Gryffindor Tower, where Sirius and Remus looked at each other and grinned.