As far as Thorfinn Rowle was concerned, today was just like any other day in Azkaban, except for one thing....his mate, Antonin, had a high fever and he needed medicine and/or a healer, or both. And since he was in prison...with no money....well there was only one way a prisoner might "earn" medical attention that he couldn't pay for and that Azkaban wouldn't provide, and that was with a "favor". It wouldn't have been his first "favor" offered and accepted, and unfortunately, he suspected it wouldn't be his last either....but Thorfinn was wrong. Today, his life changed forever.
Thorfinn was standing by his cell door waiting for the guard making his regular rounds to come by so Thorfinn could make his quid-pro-quo offer. Instead, he was startled with the sound of multiple boots coming in his direction. He quickly moved to the back of the cell as multiple boots were never a good sign and usually meant someone was going to get a beating! Thorfinn wrapped an arm around Antonin and helped pull him to the back of the cell to give him as much protection as possible, not that it was much to begin with!
"Shit," he thought, "They are stopping outside our cell. What did we do and how bad was it going to get!
The guard banged his cane against the cell bars and yelled, "Rowle, Dolohov, you have a visitor. Stand back while I open the door." Instantly the door opened and someone heavily cloaked stepped into the cell before the cell door was closed again. The guard continued, "To give you privacy, I will step ten feed down the corridor. Bang on the cell bars to get my attention."
The person nodded and then turned to face Thorfinn, throwing back the hood of their cloak. Thorfinn couldn't believe it. Hermione Granger, in person, to visit him. What was the world coming too!?
Hermione said matter-of-factly, "Rowle, Dolohov! How are you both?"
Thorfinn responded, "It's Azkaban...we aren't supposed to be here for our health."
"Dolohov?" Hermione inquired?
Thorfinn pointed to Antonin and said, "He awoke to a high fever yesterday and I can't bring it down. I was about to arrange an "exchange" to get him some medical attention when you arrived."
"Antonin is sick?" Hermione hurried to Dolohov's side and putting her hand on his forehead, she confirmed to herself that Thorfinn was right. "Why hasn't he had medical attention before this and what do you mean by "exchange"? She continued.
"We're prisoners," Thorfinn shrugged. "We get all the creature comforts of home like all the bread and water we can eat, the use of a bucket (he gestured at it), a thin mattress, and a blanket or two. But medical care isn't provided. We are here to be punished until we die...end-of-story!"
Hermione was both shocked and horrified. Instantly, she stepped to the cell door and got the attention of the guard. "I want to see the Warden here, immediately!" she demanded. "You do know who I am? And that I am here under the Minister of Magic's blessing?"
"Yes, Ma'am," he replied, "I will fetch the Warden now. Will you be alright in the cell until we return?"
"Dolohov isn't in any condition to harm me, and Rowle isn't in much better condition," she snapped. "Hurry up!"
Thorfinn didn't have a clue what just happened so he just sat there holding Antonin upright and watched the visibly unhappy witch pace backward and forward, awaiting to see what would happen.
In a few minutes the guard was back with the Warden. "Yes, Miss Granger, how can I assist you?" the Warden queried.
"You do know who I am and what I represent"? Hermione responded.
"Yes, Miss, you are here under the blessings of the Minister..."
He didn't get to finish his statement before Hermione interrupted him, "These two gentlemen are under my protection and they are in abysmal condition. This one, Dolohov, is sick with a fever and has not received medical condition. Both are filthy and their uniforms are tattered and equally filthy. And it is obviously that they have been poorly fed. Is this the typical treatment provided to prisoners?" Hermione's temper was building with each word she spoke so that her last words were quite literally spat out!
The Warden shook in his shoes. He knew that the prison's standards had been allowed to slip as who cared what happened to prisoners in Azkaban, as long as they caused no trouble for anyone. He thought no one cared....but obviously, he was wrong....and in deep shit! What was he going to have to do to keep his position and not end up here himself?!
Hermione didn't leave him waiting very long. "These prisoners are to be removed from their cell," she demanded. "And they are to be given warm baths, NOT a cold hose-down. Dolohov is to have medical attention first though. Both are to have their hair and beards trimmed, dressed in clean and in good condition uniforms, fed properly, before being returned so we can continue our "discussions". Oh, and as for the cell, I want it scrubbed and dried, and the current mattress/blankets are to be binned and replaced with clean bedding. I will wait in your office while this is done and you can bring the prisoners to me there. Now move it!"
Thorfinn couldn't believe his ears. He and Dolohov had only been in Azkaban for a couple of months and already it felt like they had been there for years...a great many of them. It would feel so good to be cleaned up....but at what cost. Seconds later, they were rushed away by the Warden and two guards, ostensibly for the program outlined by Granger...Hermione Granger!
Just over half an hour later, a well-fed and washed Thorfinn Rowle and Antonin Dolohov were deposited in the Warden's office, their hair still wet. "Gentlemen, please be seated," the Warden said. Rowle shivered...this couldn't be good. The Warden continued, "Miss Granger has some business to discuss with you gentlemen so she will be using my office for the discussion." And then the Warden left his office, wishing he had the slightest clue of what was happening...but it wasn't his place to question Miss Granger, not when she had the Minister's blessing. He could only hope that this did not have permanent complications for himself...that's all that really mattered....himself!
After the door was closed behind the Warden, Hermione stepped around to the Warden's comfortable chair and sat in it. "Gentlemen," she started.
Thorfinn interrupted, "Miss Granger, we are prisoners now, not gentlemen, so what do you want of us?"
"Well, if you wouldn't interrupt me," she snipped and then continued, "I need you to stay silent for all of what I have to say as there could be unwanted complications if you were to speak up at the wrong place. I need to explain what happened, what I am proposing, how you may accept or not, and what will happen next. OK?"
Both Thorfinn and Antonin nodded their heads, albeit a bit weakly by Antonin.
"Good. To make a long story short, I have been involved with Ronald Weasley for the last three years, which I think you know. Last week I found out that I was pregnant by him and when I went home early to plan for a celebration dinner, I overheard him shagging Pansy Parkinson in our bed. I also heard him tell Miss Parkinson that the only reason he was still with me was because his mother insisted, but that he was hoping that if he could get her (meaning Pansy) pregnant, Molly would allow the marriage. Then Miss Parkinson asked what about me and Weasley told her that I didn't matter...that he never loved me and he was using me just to gain revenge on me because I had liked another before he and I became involved."
Hermione took a deep breath and continued, "At that point, I walked into the bedroom, kicked them both out, sent Weasley's belongings back to the Burrow, and changed the wards. And then I went and had a very long chat with Kinsley Shacklebolt, who is a very dear friend of mine."
Continuing, she said, "I explained my predicament to Kingsley and although he offered to marry me...to give my child a name and to claim him so that Weasley can't....it would cause too many problems for him in his Minister's role and I can't let him sacrifice himself for me when I was too stupid to see that Ron was only using me." Looking around the room, she then said, "Are you two still with me?"
At their nod, she continued, "You may not be aware but that wizarding law tends to favor the wizard over the witch when it comes to unmarried mothers. Ron could take my child away from me and raise it with Pansy, give it to Molly to raise, or even place it for adoption, and there would be nothing I could do about it. I would never see my child again and that is not acceptable."
“Kingsley and I did some round-the-clock research and we discovered that if a wizard willingly claimed a witch and the child by blood oath, knowing that the child was not his biologically, the blood oath would bind the witch, wizard, and child together as a family for all time and no other claim can wrench the child away from its blood-oath-sealed parents. Further, the child would no longer retain any resemblance to it’s biological father but take on all the traits and attributes of his or her father by blood oath. Do you understand so far?” Hermione queried.
After both nodded, she again continued, “Now I bet you want to know how does this relate to the two of you? Thorfinn, when I saved you on the battlefield…actually both of you…that created a life debt from both of you to me…meaning you owe me your life and I get to collect in whatever way I find appropriate.”
“If either or both of you are willing…and I don’t want this if neither of you are willing and I will simply search further afield in that case…if you are willing, then all you have to do to fulfill the life debt is to state that you claim me and my baby for yourself/selves and then Kingsley will perform the blood oath on us, using the Warden as a witness.”
Thorfinn looked at Antonin and they whispered to each other. Thorfinn being nominated as spokesman asked, “What happens if we say yes or if we say no? And what do you mean by both?”
Taking a deep breath, Hermione replied, “There are two reasons behind the “both” option. For starters, you both owe me a life debt and this could be considered one way to take care of that in one action…and secondly, you two are best friends. I don’t think either of you would like it if I took one of you out of Azkaban, leaving the other to rot. Thus, although it would not be my first choice, should one or both of you choose to claim me and my baby, I am prepared to offer a triad sealing.”
Hermione reached for a glass of water and drained it. “If either or both of you accept, you will go back to your cells for a few days until we can get you released to my custody. I am sure you will find my home far more to your liking than your current cell. And when you return to your cell, you will return under the protection of both myself and the Minister for Magic…meaning, you will be well fed and watered, kept warm and clean and away from all neglect and/or abuse."
“If you choose to say no, you will still go back to your cells and you will remain under my protection as you two owe me a life debt and I see no reason to let you die in prison before you fulfill it. It is just that because of the nature of a sealing…the required sex…that I want only willing applicants as I am not in favor of forced sex and/or marital rape. So, gentlemen, think of it for a few minutes and then each of you say “I accept and I claim you and your baby as mine” or you say that you “decline” the offer. I promise I will not hold your refusal against you as I am sure you didn’t exactly plan on marrying a Mudblood, especially one that is pregnant by a man who doesn’t want her.”
Hermione walked over to the Warden’s window, giving Thorfinn and Antonin a moment to make their decision. Really, it wasn’t much of a decision for either of them to make. They could claim her and her baby for themselves and that would get them out of Azkaban and into her bed and her life. Definitely only one choice to make! “Hermione,” they called.
Hermione turned around and said, “Have you two made a decision?”
Together they said, “I accept and claim you and your baby as mine.”
Hermione smiled and then walked to the door. Asking the Warden to come in, she asked him to Floo-call the Minister. When Kingsley responded, Hermione told him that he and his secretary were needed for a blood oath bonding. Kingsley and his secretary then stepped through, having kept themselves ready as only a moron would have turned down Hermione’s proposition.
Kingsley Shacklebolt stepped out of the Floo and into the Warden's office. With him was his secretary who was to act as a second witness. After hugging Hermione, Kingsley then placed himself in front of the fireplace with his secretary and the Warden on either side of him. Hermione stood in front of him, with Thorfinn and Antonin on either side of her, holding hands.
Familiar already with the words, Hermione stated, "I, Hermione Jean Granger, pledge everything that I am to thee, Thorfinn Oscar Rowle AND to thee, Antonin Mikhail Dolohov. I promise to be faithful to you and to be the mother of your heirs, and in particular, I will consider you both to be the father of the child already within my body. Further, I will place the two of you above all others, in all things, and in all circumstances, for time and all eternity! I pledge thee my troth!" Both Antonin and Thorfinn repeated the vows only changing the wording to reflect that they accepted her current baby as their own and as their heir. After the three spoke their vows, they were surrounded by a golden light pulsing around and into them, leaving them glowing.
Kingsley then reached for a ceremonial dagger that his secretary had held in her hand. He spoke, "Hermione, Thorfinn, Antonin, step forward." Thorfinn, Hermione, and Antonin stepped forward and held out their right hands. Picking up the knife, he slashed the palms of their hands, and then pressed them together while stating, "Having exchanged vows with each other and having mutually shared your blood, let this spilled blood act as a blood oath protection for your bonding for as long as you all shall live."
While raising the clasped hands of Hermione, Thorfinn, and Antonin together, Kingsley recited, "Let it be known to all that Hermione Jean Granger, Thorfinn Oscar Rowle, and Antonin Mikhail Dolohov, having exchanged permanent binding vows as well as sharing blood, are now united into one triad flesh that no one can put asunder. So let it be!" As the Minister spoke, the bright golden light that surrounded the witch and two wizards formed golden ribbons which wrapped around their arms and sunk into their skin, leaving golden chains for all to see. “A golden soul bond!” gasped the secretary!
Hermione whispered a spell and then their hands healed. She reached over and kissed both of her husbands and then hugged and kissed Kingsley, shaking hands also with both the Warden and the secretary, not bothering to reply either way regarding the secretary’s claim of a golden soul bond having been made.
“it’s been a pleasure, Lords Rowle-Dolohov, to participate at your sealing and I look forward to seeing more of you upon you release, which will be in a few days.” Kingsley said as he shook hands with both wizards. “We need to get through some paperwork and I have to admit that your soul bonding will make it that much easier to get you released”.
After a few words with the Warden about the care of both Rowle and Dolohov, Kingsley extended his arm to Hermione and stated, “Lady Hermione Rowle-Dolohov, may I escort you back to the Ministry?” Hermione nodded and holding on to his arm, stepped into the Floo, leaving Thorfinn and Antonin with the Warden. The last thing that the Warden heard was Hermione telling the Minister that she wanted to discuss prison reform with him...and he shuddered!