Chapter 1: Round Table
“So do you think it’s because they came to the same conclusion I did?” I ask a little offhandedly. Hermione gives me a sharp look, but Ron’s snort is the answer I was looking for.
“Why would they come to that conclusion? They are adults, with a lot more knowledge at their disposal than what we have.”
“I dunno, they don’t have their very own Hermione.” I tease her. She grins at me even as her face blushes.
We’d been called up to the headmaster's office after dinner. We had had the same memo two weeks ago when Dumbledore had been in a slight panic, but the meeting between the four of us had been brief. After fifth year, he never did anything without telling me, or occasionally even asking my permission if it was something to do with myself. So it wasn’t a surprise when I left the office with my head spinning about attempted line contracts and trying to avoid them.
Apparently, when the dark lord died last year, a lot of people weren’t happy. And not just death eaters either. Some people wanted a war so that they could profit from it. One of those people being ex-minister fudge. He had arranged a contract without my permission or anyone's knowledge between me and himself, citing an act of orphaned ‘war children’ and their houses. It essentially made him my lord and master until I was 21. I wasn’t happy when I heard it, just like I wasn’t happy when I realized that for once, it wasn’t something I could get out of, unless I married, or entered a similar contract with someone else.
But there was such a large amount of rules, that it would honestly be easier to just marry then try and find someone to fit all the criteria. I’m fairly sure that Fudge himself didn’t fit, but he was the minister at that time and had signed off on it himself. The only problem I saw that being, is that marriage in the wizarding world was permanent. No going back. I couldn’t decide in five years that I didn’t like them anymore and that I wanted a divorce because they were against the law. At least in a contract like this one, it was only until I was 21, but until then I was going to be subjected to who knows what and made to run in whatever side of the new war he was trying to stir up that he wanted me in.
The proverbial clock had been hanging over me the last two weeks, and now I had nearly just that amount of time before the year and a half to the day portion of the death of Voldemort was met. Meaning I had 16 days to decide what I wanted to do.
I had jokingly said I should just put myself in a coma until I turned 21 by flying off the astronomy tower, and I had been beaten black and blue with the book Hermione had been reading.
Apparently, it wasn’t funny to joke about things like that.
I knock once before entering the headmaster's office, a habit that I have developed over the years. I glance around in surprise. Molly, Arthur, Bill, Charlie, Kingsley, Tonks, Remus, Sirius, even snape was sulking in the corner.
“Didn’t we leave before you?” I ask Albus, amused. His eyes twinkle at me as he chuckles, motioning to the two seats open across from him. When no one makes a move to make it three I perch myself on Hermione’s lap with an oomf from her and a roll of his eyes from her boyfriend as he takes the open seat.
“People keep telling me I need to be worried about you two,” he grumbles.
“Really? I heard the same thing about you two.” Hermione quips back.
“And that one is more probable.” I chime in, making them both snort.
Dumbledores soft laugh has us turning back to him. His smile has brightened considerably, which is what the aim had been- to lighten the mood.
“So, have you had time to think over the conversation we had two weeks ago?” he starts off. Sirius sits up straighter. Apparently he didn’t know that dumbledore had already talked to me about what was going on.
“Yes, we have. We came to some conclusions on our own-”
“He means that he came to conclusions on his own, which I really don’t think are the only options. What did you find out?” Hermione asks around me. We shift a little until I’m reclining on the arm and her left arm his hooked around my waist so she can lean around me and see everyone.
“I’d like to hear what you came up with first,” Albus deflects.
“Headmaster, one of Harry’s options was flinging himself into a coma via the astronomy tower until he turns 21. I really don’t think his ideas should count at this point.”
“It was a joke!”
“A tasteless one!” she exclaims, even though I could hear the grin she was trying to hide in her voice. I glare back playfully at her and the mature woman that she is, she sticks her tongue out at me.
“Well. Uhm. We have all been looking at what you could possibly do to avoid the minister's manipulations. After about a week's worth of searching for alternatives, we spent the next week ironing out the two plans that we had.” Sirius says as he sits up straighter.
“Finding another who would take the same contract, or getting married.” I point out calmly. At their startled looks I snort.
“I’m not stupid, no matter what front I put on for the public eye before. I knew when you told me those would likely be my only options. We spent the first week looking, but when we couldn’t find anything else I started looking into what the requirements for the contract would be. They’re extensive and I know that Fudge doesn’t meet them, but he signed it as minister so that no one could dispute it. I couldn’t think of anyone off the top of my head that would fit the criteria, which really only leaves one option.”
“Wait, you aren’t seriously saying Harry is right? He’s going to have to get married to avoid this… this blatant attempt at starting another war?” Hermione says a little loudly.
“Hey, go yell in his ear, not mine,” I grumble, covering the offended appendage. She swats at me again and I roll my eyes at her but stay seated.
“Unfortunately, that’s the same conclusion that we came to as well. It’s why so many of us are gathered here today. Bill and Charlie were going to be my first options, of course, but they recently revealed-”
“Bill is very much straight and in love and Charlie is Asexual, to the point he’s almost repulsed by the thought of sex. Tonks, as lovely as she is, is like a sister to me and I prefer men anyway. That and she has eyes for Remus. Sirius is a father figure to me, as is Remus, and Snape, no matter how much we get along now, is a professor and a git when we are in public. No one would believe it. Which leaves Kings.” I rattle off. There’s a stunned little silence before Sirius huffs.
“It took us three hours to get that all hashed out, and another two trying to fret over how to tell you, and you already figured it out,” he complains.
“Well, as I said, when it became obvious what my choices were I started looking around. The only other real option I thought of was Dean Thomas or Seamus Finnigan since neither are straight, but one is dating Justin and the other has some fling they are thinking of proposing to when they are done with school back home.” I admit. Hermione’s arm tightens around me. I knew it was going to take a second to kick for her, and that she would react like this when she realized that not only was I right, I had even reached the same conclusion that they had.
“You’re really good at this strategy thing, you know that?” She murmurs, low enough only I can hear. I shrug just slightly and she sighs.
“So you have 16 days to sign and-”
“Not so fast. Harry hasn’t said he was okay with it yet.” Kingsley cuts in. I give him a startled look only to realize he was already focused on me.
“You haven’t said if you are okay with the marriage contract idea yet.”
“I don’t have much of a choice.”
“I don’t know, the astronomy tower option is an alternative we hadn’t considered,” Sirius says, a weary grin on his face.
“Don’t encourage his destructive behavior.” Hermione huffs.
“Jokes aside. We can try and put you under fidelus, we can try and get you in another country. We can hide you. This isn’t your only option.” Remus says gently.
“It’s the only one that’s guaranteed,” I argue back.
“Did you agree to this? It hardly seems fair to force you to marry some kid.” I add when the room is still silent. A slow smirk spreads on Kingsley’s face.
“I did. It would be no hardship of mine to be married to you.” he agrees. Hermione’s little squeak of ‘oh’ behind me has Ron guffawing. I set my jaw, looking around at everyone in the room. They all looked uncomfortable, and most of them look resigned like I’ve already said yes or no, whichever they wasn’t wanting. Finally, I settle back on Kingsley, who was waiting patiently, face blank again.
“If, IF, this happens, what marriage contract would be used?” I ask. Dumbledore grabs my attention as he begins sifting through paperwork on his desk. He finds what he was looking for and I’m handed a sleeve of paper that I uncurl. Ron’s chair is loudly scooted closer so that we could all read through it. I read it once, and then again, as Hermione had taught us.
“We felt that the fidelity clause was needed, in case someone pointed out it was lacking from the contract and therefore it wasn’t a true marriage. Where you will be living is left open to you two, of course, though I would suggest it be put under Fidelus for the time being. You’re allowed to have your career, though trying to work anywhere where you would be put under Kingsley is frowned upon, not that I see you taking a ministry job. At witenagemot meetings, Kingsley would vote for you until you turn 20, which is when you can join by law. After that, you would have all your seats back. You have control of your properties, your funds, your investments. You, er…” dumbledore goes red as he’s reading down this checklist he’s made of the finer points of the contract. I had forgotten, Kingsley had been officially voted as the minister two months ago. I focus on the conversation again.
“I get to choose any school the children we may or may not have go to?” I ask in curiosity, spotting what had made him come to a stutter stop.
“I will, of course, heavily suggest Hogwarts. But considering you would be the one carrying the children, I thought you would like the final say,” he says, for the first time sounding hesitant. It was also the first time someone had addressed the obvious- the fact that he was nearly 6’5 and I barely touched 5’2, there wasn’t much of a question who was going to be doing what in the bedroom.
And that’s something else I was going to have to get okay with very, very quickly, as there was only a week after a marriage contract was signed to ‘make it official’ before magic attacked us both. I had only slept with one other person, Oliver wood, and despite him being slightly taller than I was he had been very eager if mouthy, bottom. I knew that I would like bottoming, of course, otherwise, this wouldn’t even be a thought to entertain. I’m pretty sure standing facing each other I would be staring somewhere near his sternum, which would make any rows we had particularly entertaining, at least to him.
“Fair,” I murmur into the strained silence, going to the contract again.
“You’re not allowed to stay over at other peoples houses?” Ron asks in surprise after his second pass through.
“That’s more for media. I doubt if stayed somewhere together it would be a problem but could imagine what would be said if I stayed over at yours with four available mid to late teenagers? Especially by the prophet.” I muse before anyone can cut in.
“Or what could be done to my job if I stay at Tonks’ house after a few too many drinks after work.” Kingsley chimes in.
“At least Tonks could make herself look like me.” I tease her. She huffs at me, purposefully making her hair match mine.
“I can’t pull that devil may care attitude off.”
“Sure you can. You just have to remember that 90 percent of the time the only thought going through my mind before I do something stupid is ‘if this doesn’t kill me, ‘mione will,’”.
I get another smack for that one.
“You’ve already signed it,” I say in slight surprise as I realize that really, all I needed to do was sign the bottom and I would be married to the man.
“I have. I figured if you agreed after you signed we would go to Gringotts, then to a country of our choosing away from here. We would pick out rings, of course, at some point, but we would be gone a week to get used to this. After that, you’d return to school for the remaining month and a half, and then once you seat your NEWTS you would be moving in.”
“Counteroffer,” I say as I sit up straight, moving to find a flat surface to lay the paper on.
“I sign this, we go to Gringotts, we go to this lovely shop in Russia called Letztes Spiel . It’s where I got Hermione her birthday gift and they have plenty of beautiful rings. After that, we can decide where we’re staying and focus on staying there for a week and getting it sorted, and then once I’m out of school we can go someplace.” I dictate as I sign my name. I wasn’t expecting the heavy tug below my navel and at my chest at the same time, and from the grunt that Kingsley suddenly gave he had felt it too.
“Well, at least I know where to go if I ever make her angry now,” Ron mutters behind me, making me laugh. I had bought her a full set of Saphire jewelry for her birthday. She rarely took the ring off, and more often then not she had the necklace or bracelet on too. I had yet to see her wear the earings but they were the bigger pieces of the set, the others just set into yellow gold and smaller. The necklace usually hung under her uniform and the bracelet barely peeked out from her sleeve most times.
“Are you sure that’s what you want?” Kingsley asks as the adults in the room begin to stand. Some of them looked angry, but I wasn’t worried about it. I did what I had to do, for the greater good.
“It’s the most efficient.” I agree as Dumbledore, Remus, and Molly sign the document as witnesses and an official. Strong fingers wrap around my shoulder and turn me so that I’m looking up at Kingsley.
At my new husband.
“That’s not what I asked. Is that what you want .”
“I mean, yeah,” I say after a little more hesitation. He nods once and looks at Dumbledore, his hand still not leaving my shoulder.
“How are you going to explain away Harry suddenly deciding to get married in the middle of the school year?”
“He could tell everyone it was planned all along that way.”
“No one would believe that he would have told them beforehand.” Ron cuts in.
“True. But everyone thinks I’m having some scandalous affair right now anyway thanks to Seamus, so would it be hard to sell that we decided on a whim to get married?” Bill chokes beside his mother and I smirk before my attention is caught.
“Whoa wait, a scandalous affair?” Sirius calls from across the room.
“With who?” Dumbledore asks in amusement. I roll my eyes.
“Anyone they can think of!”
“Okay, and what are you really doing to get these rumors started?” Remus asks curiously.
“I’m sneaking out of Hogwarts.”
“You can’t just announce that in the headmaster's office!” my friends’ shouts has me laughing.
“Actually, I gave him permission to at the beginning of sixth year,” Dumbledore says when people quiet down.
“He’s getting his Mastery in Warding.” Bill chimes in helpfully, a little red in the face at having so many eyes on him.
“Really? But you haven't taken arthimancy or Runes.” Sirius asks, jumping up and down in excitement.
“Well no, but I do have a particular skill set that no one else in the world has.” I disagree. At their blank looks, I roll my eyes.
“Parsletongue. I’m the only one on earth who can speak or read it. Which means that anything that nagi, or shapeshifter reptiles, or Slytherin himself made, only I can break.”
There’s a stunned silence as they all realize exactly how rich I was going to be in a few years.
“And I know when I get tired of warding, I can always retire early and begin translating Slytherins library and selling those. And then there's always any nagi families who want me to translate family heirlooms. And lost cities I’m sure are behind the found wards will need translating.”
“So you… you have your whole career laid out for you on a silver platter because you’re the only alive who can speak to snakes.” Ron sputters a little and I laugh at him.
“I’m going to make millions because I can read squiggly lines.” I agree, making bill grin. We joked that I was going to be more famous than him in the warding world just because of a couple of curly lines that said ‘fuck off’.
“Well, that aside, you best be off. You two have several decisions to make today.” Dumbledore says gently, sobering the mood again. I nod at him, and Kingsley’s hand finally slides off my shoulder as I move to the fireplace. I floo to Gringotts with him right behind me and we both look at each other for a long moment.
“Don’t you dare,” he says mildly when I go to open my mouth. I pout at that and he steers me to a teller with his hand on my back.
“I’d like to withdraw…. 40,000 galleons from my family vaults, and then I would like to speak with Blackgem and the goblin in charge of the potter estates,” Kingsley says smoothly. Before I can protest we’re being ushered down a hallway and I pout again.
“Don’t do that. There’s plenty of other things you should be spending your money on.” he murmurs. I ignore that statement as we enter an office and are seated before the goblin leaves. An almost uncomfortable silence falls and I struggle for something to say.
“When is your birthday?” I ask.
“June 12th. I’m 37,” he says dutifully, if not amused.
“I’ve married a cradle robber,” I say dramatically, and that gets a laugh.
“Harry, I-” before he can say whatever had put such a serious look on his face, three goblins are rushing in. one drops a sack of gold on the arm of Kingsley’s chair before he’s gone, the other two settle on the other side of the desk.
“How can we help you, gentlemen? Congratulations are in order I think,” one begins. Kingsley opens his mouth but I cut in smoothly, no longer feeling wrong-footed now that I had made him laugh and calm down from the tight posture he had held before.
“I’m Harry, er, Shakbolt nee Potter. Thank you for the congratulations. We were hoping to speak to you all about any properties in our names that we could potentially move into later today.” I explain politely.
“Of course, I am Blackgem, Lord Shaklebolts account manager. This is-”
“Griphook, we’ve met, how are you?”
“I’m well, thank you. Especially since my promotion earlier last year,” he says with a beaming grin. It was the pride of the bank that the customers remember their names. The fact that Harry had remembered him from a mere cart runner had been talked about for ages.
“You deserved it. And your intended?”
“We had our ceremony two full moons ago. She’s expecting our first child.”
“Oh, congratulations!” I grin happily with him before Blackgem makes a discreet, slightly confused, sound.
“Sorry, sorry. Off-topic. Properties?” I focus again.
“Right. Yes. the Shaklebolt name has several, but as you are- was- the only one, only the ancestral home is being used.”
I glance at him curiously and he shrugs.
“It’s where I grew up as a child, and when my parents passed away quite suddenly I stayed. It’s huge though, and I’m okay with moving out if we find something else we both like,” he assures me. I nod eagerly at this.I hate big, open, airy, empty homes. Even Hogwarts made me feel this way.
“One floor,” I say immediately. He gives me a puzzled look but doesn’t disagree.
“A large kitchen. I love to cook.” I add on when he gives me a very confused look.
“How many bedrooms?” he asks, and I feel myself blushing so hard my head spins. I didn’t have my safety blankets here, Hermione and Ron couldn’t help me shield myself from these hard questions with jokes and banter.
“Er, uh, a master and a guest? Or maybe two guests, in case Hermione and Ron and Tonks are over at the same time?” I suggest, blushing harder when my words come out stuttering.
“Three bedrooms, a large kitchen, two studies, and one floor.”
“You have three.” Griphook says promptly, followed seconds later by Blackgem saying “You have one.”
So four possibles. I reach over hesitantly and skim the details of the first one on top of Griphooks pile, disliking immediately that it was flat in muggle London. It’s slid out of my vision before I can even open my mouth and when I look up Kingsley is setting it aside.
“You don’t like it.”
“You didn’t even look at it!”
“But you don’t like it. And you’ll be spending a lot of time there,” he tells me evenly, leaning closer to look at the other two that Griphook had.
“This one is out in the country, but I’m not sure what you consider a large kitchen. Do you want a separate dining room?” he asks, motioning to the floor plan on the one he was looking at. I glance at it. Before I can give my opinion, I see the outline for the Shaklebolt home.
It looked like a large home, but it seemed cozy. There was a breakfast nook in the kitchen itself, which had two large islands, three ovens, a dishwasher, and a small table. There was a separate dining room. There was a living room with a fireplace that was large, and a parlor opposite the main hallway of it. Farther back in the house was four bedrooms, and three study sized rooms.
I took this all in in a blink before focusing on the one that Kingsley was asking about, but he was already shutting the folder.
“This one is a little bigger, so I didn’t think you would like it. It’s also in the country.it has a garden and is surrounded by woods. It’s somewhere in Germany, unplotted, which would help if we put it under fidelus.” he explains, tugging the Shaklebolt one between us.
“Don’t you want to-”
“So do you like this one? You said one floor so I thought you wouldn’t like a big house,” he says, cutting me off again. I give him an incredulous look and he smirks.
“You’re doing this on purpose!” I exclaim.
“Of course I am. We have a lot to do today, and if I didn’t want to stay there I wouldn’t be bringing it up. For example, I’m vetoing this one because it’s the middle of the posh side of Diagon.” he says, pushing the last potter folder aside with the first one. Despite my annoyance, I laugh a little at that.
“I prefer yours,” I admit after he gives me an expectant look.
“As do I. Blackgem, if I give you the keys to my current home will you have a team move any relevant furniture and my things into the house? And anything Harry would want?” he asks, giving me a curious look.
“Tell Ronald Weasley that you want my main possessions and he’ll have it ready for you in five minutes if he doesn’t already,” I tell Griphook. He nods, making a note as Kingsley's hands a key over.
“What time will the moving be ready?”
“It’s already one, so say five?” Blackgem answers immediately. Kingsley nods.
“We would like a portkey to a shop in Germany as well. If the house is already in Germany maybe we could just stay in the country. I will need the floo connected to my office, but otherwise, I’d like it unregistered for now."
“Yes, Minister Kingsley. It will be done before five. What store?”
“ Letztes Spiel.” I murmur at Blackgems gaze. He blinks in surprise.
“That is a…. Notorious store.”
“Alright Lord Potter, Give me a moment.” he leaves and I give Kingsley a confused look as Griphook shifts paper around on the desk.
“You’re still Lord of your house. In formal settings, you will be addressed as Lord Potter, Consort Shaklebolt. I’ll be announced as Minister or Lord Shaklebolt, Consort Potter.” he explains patiently.
“How are you settling as Minister? Are you going to be able to afford to take time away from your office?” I ask, realizing that I was probably ruining this mans life. To my surprise, he snorts.
“I’m ready to pull my hair out,” he says dryly, his fingers brushing his bald head.
“Really Though. I didn’t even run for the minister, I was just acting minister after Fudge’s disaster. People shouldn’t have been able to vote for me. I have about ten undersecretaries. I show for wizengamot meetings, of which DUmbledore and I set the dates, trials, of which I set the dates and occasional meetings. Which I also set the dates for. My undersecretaries sort everything for me so that I have most of those in a two-day setting, I have about a day of reading over things and signing documents, and the rest of the time I’m helping Amelia track wizards from the Auror conference room. It will be no hardship for me to spend the week with you.” he assures me. That reminds me of his comment earlier, and I feel myself blushing again. His eyebrow raises but before he can ask BlackGem is back.
Chapter 2: The Ring to Rule Them All
Harry and Kings get to pick their rings!
I got some help on the German in this chapter, I will be editing it soon!
Also, I've decided to give people a voice when it comes to NANOWRIMO, in November. There's a poll up here:
It will end around midnight, October 31st, CMT.
ALL THE KINGS MEN is part of the poll, and I will be backburning all other fics for that month, so if you want updates on this fic make sure you vote!
“ Hallo Gretchin! Ich bin wieder da und es wird ein größerer Auftrag als beim letzten Mal. Ich war heute verheiratet und wir brauchen ein Paar Binderinge.”(Hello Gretchin! I'm back and it will be a bigger job than last time. I was married today and we need a pair of binding rings). I call into the shop as Kingsley and I land on our feet. I’m getting a shocked look from Kingsley but before he can say something a tall blonde woman with bright blue eyes is marching towards me.
“ Harry! Ich habe dich nicht so schnell erwartet. Was ist das mit Kleben? ” (Harry! I wasn’t expecting you so soon. What’s this about bonding?)
“ Mein Partner spricht kein Deutsch. Können wir für ihn wechseln? ” (My partner doesn’t speak German, can we switch?) She makes a grunting noise but kisses my cheeks.
“Fine then. Bonding? Oh! Minister Shaklebolt, hello!” She startles seeing the man next to me and I smirk at her reaction.
“We were married today, a bit of a rush but we would like rings,” Kingsley says smoothly. His hand settles on my back and before it had been a guiding hand, now it was a heavy weight.
“Of course of course. I have the set you were wanted worked on?” She questions me and I blush at the sharp look I can see from Kingsley
“Those are for my best friends, not me. I’m…. not sure what I want.” I admit to her. Her smile warms and I feel my face heat again.
“Fine, fine. We will go to see what we can find. Any colors?”
“Emerald for mine,” Kingsley says immediately. I give him a confused look until he gives me a pointed one. My mother's eyes, right.
“Hmmm. maybe Pearl for mine? It’s June’s birthstone.” I tell him when he gives me an odd look.
“Or maybe Pearl and onyx?” I ask her hesitantly. She beams and nods, turning to see if she could find a band I would like.
“What’s July’s? Birthstone I mean.”
“Red. you’d look a bit like a Christmas decoration.” I tell him laughingly.
“Harry!” Gretchin is back suddenly, thrusting a ring in front of me, and I gape at it.
“It’s a mother of pearl in the inner ring. On the outside is African Ebony Bentwood. Very hard to break. There’s titanium on the inside to reinforce it.” she assures me.
Gretchins' store had a reputation. Not a bad one. But she always had the piece that her customer was looking for. It was always perfect, and it was always in the right size.
“Harry, you don’t have to-” Kingsley looks concerned that it’s been ten minutes and I was claiming a ring. I glare up at him.
“I want this one. It’s perfect. Exactly what I was trying to explain, badly, before. Gretchin knows that. She has a gift.” I explain as she rushes off again. He huffs, even as I play with the ring between my fingers. He catches my hand and tugs the ring away deftly. Before I can protest his other hand is on my chin, making me look up at him.
“We are going to need to talk. Soon. but for right now, let me do this at least, okay?” he murmurs, studying my face a little too intently for my liking. I nod against his fingers and he lets go, grasping my left hand to slide the ring in place.
“It fits,” he says, a little surprised.
“I told you, it’s a gift. She’s going to come back with something and you’re going to love it.” I assure him. He was still holding my hand, and it was surprisingly not uncomfortable. If it wasn’t Ron or Hermione I had a hard time letting people touch me, but so far, this had been nice.
“Here, let's try this one,” Gretchin says happily.
It was a solid green band, to my surprise. I saw no seams, no fancy lines or sigils. Kingsley looks a little surprised as well.
“What is it?”
“It’s the exact color of your eyes.” he murmurs distractedly, holding it up as if to compare them.
“So those two?” She asks uncertainly.
“Yes.” he agrees immediately.
"Dieser ring ist etwas ganz besonderes,"(This ring is very special), Gretchin murmurs. I give her a sharp look and she grins a little too widely.
"Ein mächtiger Ring an einen Mann der Macht." (A powerful ring on a man of power), She says it in a bright tone and I decided against saying anything about it just yet because she's turning to Kingsley.
“Do you want anything inside?”
“Give us a moment?” Kingsley suggests. Gretchin nods and disappears into the back room and Kingsley turns back to me.
“I would like to get your name on the inside,” he says softly.
“Oh, I mean, I didn’t think-”
“Harry, you are my husband, I’m going to want people to know that,” he says firmly.
“I- right. Okay. we can do that. But then I get to put your ring on you.” I counter. He nods once and raises his voice to call for Gretchin. When he explains what he wanted, they were taken from us and to the back. Not five minutes later she was back and I was sliding the solid green band on his finger.
On my husband's finger.
“Are you hungry or would you like to walk around the shopping center?” Kingsley asks as we exit the shop. I was already fiddling with the band back on my hand, twisting it back and forth.
“I think I’d like to sit in one place for more than a few minutes.” I murmur. I don’t think he’s heard me until he steers me to the left.
“You’ll have to do the talking I’m afraid. I know French and Arabic from school, but I know no German. Where did you learn it, by the way?”
“I have a gift for languages, not just Parsletongue. French, German, Russian, Japanese, Bulgarian, Spanish… There’s quite a lot.” I say, getting a startled laugh from him.
“There’s a lot I don’t know about you,” he says with a pleased look about him.
“And I don’t know much of you either,” I respond.
“We will get there. Is that a restaurant?” he nods at a building to our left and I scan the signs around it quickly.
“More like a cafe.”
“Do they serve sweets?”
“Come on then. We’ll each get a treat in celebration.” he gives me a warm look as he steers me to the cafe. We get in line, Kingsley asking about the things on the menu. When it’s our turn I place our order and then Kingsley is moving us back outside to a table. He casts a few disillusion charms and a few privacy spells so that we aren’t interrupted.
“I’ve been trying to find a space to talk to you since you signed the contract,” he explains t my puzzled look.
“I don’t want this to be a forced marriage. I would really like us to try.” he starts off.
“What do you mean?” I ask in surprise.
“You’re nervous. I’ve never seen you this skittish around anyone,” he says wearily.
“Well yeah, I don’t have Ron or Hermione to fall back on if I fuck this up.” I blurt before I can think about it. At his puzzled look, I groan.
“Ron and Hermione are my… Hermione calls them safety blankets. You know, like the comfort item that a child carries around to feel safe? I’ve made them mine. If they’re in a room I can put on the show.”
“I’m not confident, or cocky, or ignorant. I’m not in control most of the time. I’m… I’m shy and stuttering, and when I can I hide behind Hermione and Ron and let them take the brunt of whatever is being thrown at us. Partially because I have panic attacks. I can run into a room full of dark wizards because I know they’re at my back and will help if I fuck it up. But here, alone, with you, it’s just me. And I’m a bit of a mess.” I admit.
“You’re much different than I imagined, yes. But you… well, you don’t hide all of that. Everyone in the order has had glimpsed enough of you to realize there’s an act there, they just hold meetings about what the act could be covering.” he muses. I blush at that though it wasn’t news. George and Fred take great fun in telling me what everyone thinks. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were the one that started the little side meetings in the first place.
“I’m going to be honest with you. Well, I hope to be honest with you all the time, but I’m going to tell you something that no one but Tonks knows about just yet.” He explains, before pausing as our treats enter the bubble we had put up. He thanks them charmingly before waiting for them to leave.
“Right. Anyway. I’ve…. I found you very attractive for almost a year now. Before that really, but I felt like a dirty old man admitting it then. I was going to wait until you graduated before asking to start courting you anyway. I can already tell that you have a good heart and head, and to make it even better, you’re gorgeous.” he explains carefully. I blank my face in shock, studying him to see if he was joking or not.
“I’ve been consistently around you for several years now, and I’ve liked almost everything about you that I’ve seen. I know we don’t know each other, but I would like a real relationship with you. And not just a physical one, either. When you said you liked to cook I immediately got the image of you pattering around the kitchen when I floo home, making dinner or desserts, maybe with a kid on your hip or running around the room. I want this with you. It’s rushed and not ideal, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make the best of the situation.” he explains when he sees the look on my face. I feel my face flame at his words and he gives me a wicked grin I’d never seen on his face before.
“I’m sure you already know that I am a very passionate man Harry. And you are, too. If we get along and you’re willing, I have the feeling that there or going to be quite a few Shacklebolt-Potter children.” he says playfully.
“I didn’t know how many you wanted to be honest. I’d love a whole hoard of children though. “ I admit softly, shyly. His hand slides over and squeezes mine, his fingers brushing the ring there.
“We can make this work if you’re willing. I’m never going to force you into anything, but I really do want us to try.”
“We can try.” I agree immediately. It wouldn’t be a hardship for me, either. Kingsley was an attractive man, and even if I never thought I had a chance with him I could see that. If we were going to be together for life, if we were going to make this work, we needed to get along and try.
Chapter 3: Blow Your House Down
Yes I know I still need to edit the last chapter, I'll get there I swear! In the mean time, please enjoy this short chapter as an offering. once I get the next chapter edited I might put it up as well.
If you would like to vote on my NANOWRIMO project this year, do so here:
It's open until October 31st 2019.
“Oh, this is beautiful.” I murmur when we land in the garden of our new home. He makes a humming, agreeing noise before we head inside, touring each room together and making comments. When we get to what I had immediately claimed as ‘my’ study, I pull out my wand and change the wall color to a deep blue with white trimmings and furniture.
“Maybe an accent color in the pillows?” he suggests from the doorway, motioning to the cushions on the window seat and the white pillows on the couch near the fire. I hesitate before I nod and snap through several colors before landing on a dark grey color.
“What color would you like the bedroom?” he asks, guiding me back into the hallway. I feel my face burst into flames and he chuckles at me.
“What, you’re going to be sharing it with me and we will have to learn to compromise. I was thinking a forest green or brown?” he teases me, but ends on a serious note as we reenter the room. I had forced myself to ignore the fact that this is the room that I would be sharing with him, but now he’d so glaringly mentioned it and I was thrown for a loop.
“I always liked light colors for a bedroom,” I admit hesitantly. Was he going to argue with that? He sends me a teasing glare.
“Is it because it makes you wake up in the morning or because you like waking others in the morning?” he asks.
“Both. and it makes it look cleaner.”
“That’s fair. Fine, I’ll settle for an ivory color on the walls if we can have dark brown furniture and green accents.” he declares as if he was passing a law. For some reason it has me giggling and he seems proud of himself for making me laugh as he changes the colors again. We have a ten minute argument on or not the duvet should be green or brown, which he won after pointing out that the bed itself was already going to be brown and if it wasn’t green then the few throw pillows and rocking chair in the corner would look out of place because there wasn’t enough green otherwise.
I find my things already in a wardrobe in the corner of the room, and after a quick look, Kingsley finds his in the one opposite of mine. I wasn't aware, until a moment before it happened, that he had crossed the room again. I felt him in my space only a second before his hand was low on my waist, turning me to face him.
"You feeling okay?" he murmurs, looking me over with concern. I was surprised by that. I thought I was hiding my panic attack pretty well, all things considering. I had realized while I was shuffling through my things that this was now our room. A room I was sharing with my husband. A room that may or may not lead to some interesting times between the two of us.
"I'm just... Overwhelmed." I finally settle on. he makes a snorting kind of sound and I look up to glare at him for disregarding my feelings so flippantly, but his eyes are soft as he grins at me.
"I would be worried if you weren't, Harry. I'm glad you're being honest with me though. let's go find the kitchen and get something to eat. I don't think this home has any, but you said you liked to cook, right? Maybe we can just hire one to keep the place clean?" he's musing to himself as he steers me gently out of the room that was causing my panic and back into the hallway.
Our room was at the very end, and on either side were two more bedrooms, and then two bathrooms, and then another two bedrooms. the hallway tee'd off to the main hallway, and across from the bedroom, hallway was the two smaller offices and then one large office that took up the right side of the hallway. it had huge, glass double doors and I was already dreaming about turning it into a sunroom of some kind. back down the main hallway, the kitchen was on the left, the dining room across from it on the right. There were no doors to either room, just big open archways. there was a double set of doors on the right that led to the private living room, and another large archway to the left that led to the more professional looking one. they both had large fireplaces, as did the main bedroom. it was a cozy place, and I was already in love with it though I wanted to change a lot of the colors. Kingsley and I just weren't burnt orange and sunshine yellow people.
"What colors do you want the kitchen?" He asks as if reading my mind as he leads me into the room. I glance around as I take everything in. the cabinets were painted white already, and the walls that I could see were black, which I hated. the counters were white marble, and the island in the middle had white cushioned chairs on the outside, and one of the stoves and ovens and a sink on the inside. there was a double oven to the left of the archway and then plenty of upper and lower cabinets on the long wall and half of the other wall. then the wall dipped out for a window with a cushioned seat and a small round table that seated four that was also painted white.
"White and grey? It's just... the bathroom and kitchens should look clean, and this looks..."
"Dark." he fills in, swishing his wand. a few colors filter through before most of the walls are stark white and the wall that didn't have anything on it, or against it, was slate grey.
"We will have to go shopping soon, for decorations and desks for the offices. this wall is too bare. I'm sure the living room and the receiving room are the same way." he muses as he settles into a chair on the island. I had mindlessly begun opening cabinets, getting familiar with the large kitchen, and when I hear his chair move I glance back in surprise.
"Oh, er, what did you want to eat?" I ask, realizing I was more focused on how I wanted to rearrange the kitchen then I was on making something.
"You get the kitchen sorted. I'm going to eat this and then head to my office and figure out what I want in it. We can make a list tonight and go out tomorrow." he says, motioning with the orange that had appeared on the counter before him. I hesitate again before nodding once and going back to pulling things out onto the counter and rearranging them.
It takes me a good hour before I'm happy with it, and when I wander into the living room to see the shag carpet and burnt orange walls I want to pull my hair out. Who thought that and an all-white leather couch was okay? and the fireplace was atrocious!
"I think the last people to live here my grandparents, so it's a bit... eccentric." I spin to face the open doors and see Kingsley standing there. he'd stripped his robes off, leaving the white button-up and slacks on. he'd also kicked his shoes off at some point as I had. I could see him digging his toes into the shag carpet and he makes a face of disgust, making me laugh.
"The walls we can paint, but the fireplace needs to be redone, and I refuse to have a shag carpet. You might be able to talk me into carpet in general, but I prefer wood flooring and rugs."
"hmm. well, since you will probably spend most of your time here we can have wood floors. but in the receiving room, we are having carpet. and my office."
"You want carpet in your office?"
"If it's where I'm going to be spending a lot of my time, yes. I enjoy carpet," he says with a grin.
"Fine, fine. what else did you decide?"
"I thought maybe, especially along this wall, we could get some photo frames and put up pictures of our parents. That way it's a real family room. Anyone else you consider family can go up too, of course." he says, going to the blank wall behind the couch that was shared with the dining room.
"I love that idea." I murmur softly, surprised. He looks up in concern and then shrugs.
"I'm sure you're going to have all sorts of people in and out, and I want this to feel like home. Tonks will love it and demand I throw up a photo of her, and moody won't bat an eye. anyone else that comes over to visit me, I don't honestly care what they think." he points out. I nod, not quite able to voice what I want to say, and he walks out of the doors and into the hallway with a thoughtful look.
"What color do you think the hallways should be?"
"Uhm, I'm not sure..."
"If you say white, I'm vetoing it," he says with a smirk, making me smile back.
we eventually decide that the hallways will be an ash-colored border from about halfway, down. the top half will be a light blue color. The family living room will be either red or green, depending on the furniture and rugs that we find tomorrow, and the fireplace will be replaced once we find one we want. The fireplace in the receiving room was a dark brown color and massive, so I didn't mind leaving it the way it was. the room was massive but bare besides the brown shag carpet and the brown walls. we decided that the room could stay brown, but we were going to get a wood that flowed from the hallway into any of the rooms that had arches, meaning the kitchen, the receiving room, and the dining room. we also decided that we would have a couch and a love seat and a few chairs in the room, and in the living room, there would be a huge 'L' shaped couch so that a lot more people could sit in the room comfortable. I also suggested armchairs and a few ottomans, and he agreed so long as they matched the couch.
The dinging room we immediately decided would stay the same besides ripping up the carpet. it was a reddish colored wood table with plenty of seating, a chandelier that was massive, a white ceiling and dark red walls. it was beautiful and we didn't change anything in it. He had changed his walls to forest green, something I was quickly realizing was his favorite color, and he insisted his carpet would be the same color. I didn't argue because it was his space and he had let me do what I wanted with mine. he explained that he wanted a corner desk, but that he was going to set it facing the door and that he wanted the window behind him so that he didn't have to work with the lights on very often. he also needed a storage unit and he was going to have moved his copy of his secured filing cabinet from the bedroom to the office as soon as it was set up.
"I'm still not sure what to do with this room." he muses as we walk through the large study.
"Tear down the ceiling and outer walls and make them glass. Make it a sunroom." I suggest immediately, already picturing it.
"We could set up a little lounge area, and maybe a few plants, and when I get better at the piano I can practice in here. it's at the back of the house, so it will overlook the lake we saw and the forest." I explain as I move around the room, trying to explain what I was envisioning.
"Deal, on one condition." he agrees easily, surprising me. he was just going to let me tear apart a room?
"When you practice, practice with the doors open."
"I want to hear you practice," he explains as he looks around the room again.
"I... I'm not very good, I just started learning a year ago and it's only sporadically, with Remus coming to the school occasionally or teaching me while I'm on break."
"Well, he can come and go whenever he wants from here, so you can learn more and practice with the door open. It'll break up the silence of the days in my office," he suggests. I feel my face flushing again, but I finally agree to do so. we wander back down the bedroom hallways and I point out that the two on the left would be good for Hermione and Tonks, and that Ron can have one on the right.
"And what do you want to do with this one?" he suggests, motioning to the one closest to our bedroom on the right. I glance inside and realize that there's a magicked window because it was an inside room but there was sunlight coming through a white paneled window.
"Hmmm. I'll think of something later." I suggest, making him laugh.
"Right. well, I don't want you cooking our first night here, so I'll go to Diagon and get something from Tom while you decide what you want to do with the bathroom, though you already told me white. maybe some gold accents and I want my towels green." he suggests.
"Fine, fine. I'll get that done and meet you in the kitchen." I agree. we both pause awkwardly for a moment, realizing this is the first time since this all started that we would be out of hearing range of the other. but after another heartbeat, he goes to his wardrobe for a robe and some shoes and I wander into the bathroom. I change the dark brown color to a white and the silvery colored appliances to gold. after a brief hesitation, I charm the towels green, for now, knowing we would buy them tomorrow. Turning to face the bath itself I decide to leave it the color it was and focus on the shower, changing the handle to the door to gold and then all the tiling on the floor to a deep forest green. I glance around one last time before I leave the room and head to the kitchen. He wasn't back yet so I focus on the cooling cabinet I had found earlier and decide that I could still make something for dessert.
When he gets back, nearly an hour longer then I expected him to be, he looks more then a little haggard. I'm sure if he had hair, it would be standing up like mine usually did.
"What happened?" I ask in alarm, standing from the leather couch I had been lounging on and reading, waiting for him. I had decided to start my charms homework when he hadn't came back.
"Apparently Albus hadn't thought that we would be going back to Diagon for a week. He announced the marriage for us. I was ambushed by reports as soon as I hit the Leaky, and I had to give a statement to get them to back off. Then I went to the Ministry and requested a restraining order for you and myself on all press, and if passed they won't be able to be within photo distance of us via a spell. I'm sorry I made you wait." he says apologetically at the end, putting the two containers he was carrying down on the table before shucking his robes again.
"It's fine, I was just worried. I'm glad you're okay." I murmur softly, watching him untie his shoes and then lean back into the couch with a groan. I nudge him with my foot and hand over his container before opening mine. Shepherds pie and corn with a roll and mashed potatoes wafted out at me and I sigh in contentment.
"I didn't stay to get a dessert, I'm sorry," he says when I'm about halfway finished. I notice that he's got beef stew with green beans and potatoes as well, and a buttery roll that looked more yellow than white.
"It's honeybread," he tells me when he sees me eyeing his roll.
"You can make bread with honey?"
"It's a muggle thing, have you never had it?"
"I've never heard of it," I admit, giving him a wary look when he tears off a piece and holds it out to me.
"Come on, try it. it's pretty good." he encourages me. I nod at that and take it carefully before trying it.
"Hmm. maybe I'll have to find a recipe for this." I muse, making him chuckle.
"Would be better with meatloaf, or maybe a chicken noodle soup," I admit, finishing off my plate. When I notice that he's finished as well I take his plate while he protests.
"Just shush a minute and sit." I chide him, leaving for the kitchen. I set the dishes in the sink where they begin to clean themselves, something I had learned earlier and had watched in fascination. I take the cooling dessert out of the freezer and find two spoons before making my way back towards the living room.
The look I get when I walk back in is one of surprise as I hand him a spoon and the full bowl of Strawberry sherbert. Before I can move to take a seat he has caught my wrist and slowly pulls me towards him.
I was half sure I wanted to bolt away, and I was half sure that I trusted him not to push me too far when it came to things like this. I was still wavering when he settles me sitting across his lap with my legs stretched on the couch and my back on the armrest. The cold bowl is settled back into my hands and he smiles softly at me as he scoops out his first spoonful.
"When did you make this?" he asks casually, ignoring my flushed face and the way my hands were trembling slightly. I appreciated that. Sometimes, even when I was okay with a situation, I still needed a minute to adjust. And while I wasn't sure okay would be the right word for this situation, I definitely wasn't going to be complaining.
"I decided that you probably wouldn't want to stick around for Tom to make a dessert, so I wanted to make one. I was going to give it to you later before we went to bed, but you took long enough to let it set." I explain to him as I try it myself. it was Tart, but not as bad as I thought it would be. I wasn't sure how fresh the berries I had found were, but they seemed alright.
"This is really good. Do you cook desserts a lot?"
"I cook anything and everything. My relatives made me cook a lot, but after I made it to Hogwarts I found that I enjoyed cooking for people who showed that they enjoyed it and didn't just stuff their faces. So I started cooking for my close friends once a week and It's a tradition we try hard not to break." I explain as we continue to eat. I was very aware of his arm settled on the cushion I was leaning against, making it wrap around my waist, and the way I was settled onto his lap wasn't exactly unpleasant as much as it was new to me. The few times I had been with someone, namely Oliver, It had been a quick spur of the moment thing that was more of right place right time. the only time I was ever really cuddling with anyone was with Ron or Hermione, and that was in a completely different context.
"Hey, you okay? You disappeared on me." Kinglsey's voice makes me startle and realize he's touching my face with the hand that had been holding his spoon.
"I- yeah. Just, not used to things like this except with Ron and Hermione, and that's in a completely platonic way." I murmur, carefully shifting so my knees were more bent and I could tuck my toes into the cushions of the couch.
"I'm just trying to get you used to me. you seem very skittish right now and I know that's partially my fault. Right now we need to get to know each other to make this work, but..." he trails off, but I understand what he's getting at.
"But we also only have 168 hours after the contract is signed to consummate the marriage, and I'm going to have to get used to you touching me very quickly." I finish for him.
"Hmmm. True, but not what I was wanting to hear. We want to make this work, remember? Granted a normal relationship starts in reverse and we probably wouldn't want to make love immediately, but I don't want you to resent us sleeping together, either. And on top of that, I enjoy holding you like this and not expecting anything more. With the few partners I've had over the years I've been very.... hands-on. I like to hold my partner when I can, I like to hold hands or their waist or lay with them on lazy days just curled up on the couch. I understand it's new to you and I don't expect anything more than you're willing to give, but I do want to show my affection." he tries to explain.
And as he's talking, I do feel myself relaxing. Having him sort through what he was wanting out loud was actually making me feel better about this. So I try and relax and we sit and finish the sherbert around light conversation and in front of a cozy fire. At some point, my tee-shirt had ridden up on my side and his long fingers were slowly brushing up and down on my bare skin, sending pleasant shivers down my spine every once in a while. As we continue talking he floats the utensils and bowl to the coffee table and I find myself relaxing enough to rest against his chest. feeling his voice rumble through him as he talked about the Ministry was an experience that I hadn't expected to affect me as much as it did.
I was so enraptured with feeling him speak underneath me and his fingers on my side that I didn't notice until he touched my face that he was reaching for me and tilting my head up to look at him.
"Are you falling asleep?" He asks in amusement, eyes sparkingly slightly to show he was making fun of me more than he was upset.
"No, not falling asleep. I like listening to you talk. especially from here." I say a little cheekily, surprising a laugh out of him. It was light and free and the most honest laugh I'd ever heard from him as he threw his head back with it.
"I'm glad I can entertain you," he says with another chuckle once he's finished.
"You are very good at it." I agree with a smirk of my own.
"Hmm. Are you ready to head to bed?" he asks after a few minutes of silence where he's let me settle on his chest again. I must freeze up again, because those fingers are back on my chin, lifting my head, and the ones on my side settle curled around my hip.
"Hey, Just to sleep if that's all you're wanting. I told you I'm not pushing for anything," he assures me with a small smile.
The thing was, I wasn't sure I wanted to just go to sleep. Granted this wasn't my first choice and we are closer to strangers then we were friends, but...
He was my husband, the fidelity clauses made sure that he was all mine and I was all his. We could always spend the rest of our lives getting to know each other properly, but you either had a physical attraction or you didn't. And from the looks he'd been giving me since we had signed the contract, he was more than easily attracted to me. And I knew for sure I was attracted to him, even if I was shy about it.
"Harry?" There's concern in his voice again, and that decides it for me. Before I can lose my Gryffindor courage I sit up and brush my lips on his. He freezes and I do too, giving him a moment before I do it again. This time he responds, but he's being careful to only follow the motions that I'm making, which won't do at all.
"Are you sure about this?" he murmurs when I pull back with a small frown.
"Yes. my only stipulation is that I find a contraceptive potion first, which I saw in the bathroom. I don't need to be pregnant while I'm finishing school." I clarify when his face settles into a deep frown.
"And when would you want kids?"
"Immediately after, if at all possible," I say a little amused before I tip my head up again. This time he responds with enthusiasm and when my head stops spinning I'm pinned to the couch and he's looming over me as I try and catch my breath. both of our lips are kiss swollen and I can feel the slight burn around my mouth from his five o'clock shadow.
"I'm glad that you initiated that, if Sirius finds out we consummated on the first day he'd kill me." he pants, making me giggle at the thought.
"Remus signed the contract, I'm sure he'll tell him when he feels it."
The shudder that he gives makes me laugh again and he growls playfully at me as he picks me up a little too effortlessly for my liking.
"I can walk!"
"Shush, isn't this a muggle tradition?" he teases as he carries me down the hall, towards the bedroom.
"For the Bride! and the house, not the bedroom!" I exclaim, feeling my cheeks blush deeply.
"Well, we will have to make do." He teases as he tosses me. I'm airborne for a terrifying few seconds before I'm bouncing on the bed.
"You jerk!" I exclaim, sitting up and getting ready to launch into an indignant speech. my brain stutters to a stop as I find him again and see that he's already starting to strip down with a smirk, and my throat goes dry.
The sunlight glinted off of my ring in an odd way.
The Mother of pearl part in the middle caught the light, but the wooden part of it wasn't polished and the shine just abruptly stops on either side of it.
I was laying down still, my pillow tucked between my head and my arm, which was bent so that I could see my ring.
I had been woke up this morning by Kingsley, murmuring something about someone trying to floo call him and a few brief kisses to my bare shoulder before he grabbed a bathrobe and headed out of the room. I had rolled onto my stomach, more than a little sore, and the light coming in from the windows that didn't have curtains yet had caught my ring, which had pulled my attention to it.
I'm still lying there when he comes back in, and when I glance over my shoulder he's balancing some kind of tray in his hands. I sit up to see him properly and he gives me a weary grin.
"I attempted breakfast."
"That doesn't sound good." I tease back, moving towards the middle of the bed as he climbs back onto it with me. The first thing he does is hand over a pain reliever, and that warms something in me I wasn't used to. I hadn't even told him that I was in pain, but he had thought to bring the potion with him anyway. I reach up and pull his face down for a shy kiss before I tip it back in thanks.
"Fruit, toast, and eggs. I tried sausage and bacon, but I burnt it pretty badly so I just settled on this," he admits.
"Still smells good. Did you put cheese and basil in the eggs?" I ask after a curious sniff.
"I did, it's the only way I ever learned how to make them. Is that okay?"
"More than." I agree as I pick up a fork and begin eating off of the large plate he had filled with eggs. I make a humming noise in appreciation and he beams at me.
"How are you feeling?" He asks after a few minutes of us digging in.
"How are you feeling? That second time around we were pretty rough." he murmurs. I feel my face flame at that and he grins, but he's still looking concerned.
"I was pretty sore, and I'm sure I have a few bruises, but Nothing the pain reliever didn't fix, and nothing I didn't ask for last night," I tell him firmly. I wasn't going to have him upset with himself just because I had asked him to treat me a little too roughly.
"Are you going to want to go out today?" he asks instead of answering.
"Hmmm. maybe after a shower." I agree, dragging my toast through the cheese that was left on the plate from the eggs. Once we've polished the food off, I fall back on the bed again and stretch out with a yawn, making the blankets fall away completely.
"Now you're just tempting me. I don't think you're ready for round three yet." Kingsley's voice is tight and a little rough, and I grin up at him.
"I thought I would be the one to say that to you. You're the old man, I'm a horny teenager. It should take you a lot longer to catch up." I tease him. He growls playfully and lunges towards me, making me let out a surprised squeak as I scramble off of the bed and move into the bathroom with a loud laugh.
"I won't forget that, brat!" he calls through the door, making me laugh again. I turn to the shower and start it, and then turn to the mirror against the wall. I was right, there were several bruises on my waist and my thighs, and there was some circling my wrists from where he'd pinned me down at some point. I think about putting a bruise paste on them, but then I decide not to. I liked seeing them, and they stood out against my milk-white skin. I shower quickly, washing my hair with a sweet-smelling shampoo that reminded me of honey.
When I exit into the bedroom Kingsley is nowhere in sight, so I change into a longsleeved teeshirt that was blue and a pair of black bluejeans. I throw a simple black robe over my arm and go in search of Kingsley. I don't hear anyone moving around in the kitchen, so I move down the study hallway and poke my head in his open door. He isn't there, either, so I move towards the living room. I hear talking, and when I poke my head into the doorway his eyes immediately fall on me and he nods before going back to his conversation. less than a minute later he's straightening up and facing me again.
"I got ahold of the goblins, they're going to start on the sunroom today while we're shopping, and another is going to rip up the carpets. We can install the hardwood easily enough, but I'm not sure about the carpet in my office and the receiving room," he explains as he stands up.
"We've got a lot of shopping to do today." I murmur worriedly as I look over the list he has in his hands. he steps closer, wrapping his arm around my waist, and I lean up automatically when he bends down to brush our lips together.
"Don't worry, we can afford it," he assures me in a low tone. I worry my bottom lip but nod as I move away to the fireplace. I don't immediately see the floo powder and glance back at him curiously.
"Built-in, here." he taps a brick and it pops out to show it's hollowed out and there's powder.
"Where are we going?" I ask, taking a fist full.
"Poppy Alley, it's french. Let me go first," he says, pressing at the small of my back with a smile before disappearing into the flames. I let out a slow breath, count to ten to give him time to get out of the way, and then step through.
As usual, I stumble and almost fall on my face. Unusually, I'm caught around my waist with a warm chuckle. He lets me find my footing again, and when I straighten up his arm stays around my waist as he guides me through the crowded inn. We exit onto the street immediately, no little alcove like Diagon. I look around in curiosity, trying to take in the new wizarding shopping center.
"The French Ministry is just there," Kingsley points out, pointing to our left. I see an almost solidly glass structure towering over everything else.
"It's beautiful here." I murmur to him as we move down the street. I see a marble building that is obviously Gringotts, and I'm surprised that the streets are set up more like Hogsmeade instead of Diagon in that there are stores on the off-shooting streets instead of houses. This was purely an industrial town, and The hustle and bustle were happy, unlike Diagon's atmosphere. even a year and a half after the war, they were still scared of their own shadows.
"Do you see a furniture shop?" He murmurs, and I have to take a few moments to translate a few signs. His rusty attempts were almost laughable and he admits he might have been generous saying he was fluent in French the day before.
"How hard is it going to be picking up the house and moving it to Britain when I turn 20?" I ask grumpily, making him give me a startled look before laughing.
"I'm sure we can afford it. Just tell me where to drop it." he teases as I steer us towards the furniture shop I saw. We enter and a bell rings, but I don't see anyone behind the counter. I immediately drift towards the shelves, confused. until I realize what exactly I was seeing, and then the name of the place made sense.
Miniature furniture indeed. the shelves were arranged with little modules of living rooms, kitchens, bedrooms, any room you could think of.
"Look, Kings!" I say excitedly, tugging on his sleeve since he was still frowning at the counter.
"Look at them!" I point to the shelves and he finally focuses on what I'm talking about. He makes a surprised sound and moves closer. After a few minutes, we figure out that the first two rows were displays of arrangements, and the rest of the shelves and counters were organized by item. we settle at the fireplaces first, and my head was spinning a little by how many there was to choose from. We narrow it down to four, a light marble colored one, a black one, a red one, and a modernized brick one. We go to look for the couches and there's only a few that are as large as Kingsley wants them, but I notice that they all have plenty of swatches of color next to them. so we decide to get the biggest one. it was honestly almost the size of a bed on any side, and there was an extra piece that was almost a chaise on the right end so that it extended as far as the 'L' part of the couch, but didn't have a back to it. We took the sample swatches and found three armchairs and ottomans that would match and a rug that was satin-soft to the touch but fluffy and would take up most of the flooring. We go back to the fireplaces and settle on the light marbled one. Now that we decided that we wanted Brown furniture, I made sure the rug was a dark green color I could replicate on the walls.
"Bookshelves." I murmur when Kingsley turns as if looking for what to find next.
"If you tell me what you've picked so far, I can start setting it aside for your order." a gruff voice says to my left, startling me so bad I stumble into Kingsley and his wand slides into his hand. I feel that warmth again as his body automatically moves to shift me away and his wand between me and the threat.
The threat, of course, being a man pushing 300 and rolling around in a wheelchair from the 1900s.
"So sorry. I'm Ivan, the owner," he says pleasantly. His English is flawless, to my surprise, and Kingsley stays still a moment longer before relaxing.
"Minister Shaklebolt, and his new partner, Harry Potter. You made the news this morning. I'm surprised you haven't been mobbed yet." He cuts in with another smirk. I groan at that, and Kingsley chuckles.
"I'm so sorry that I didn't get down here sooner, I was in the workshop and sometimes my old bones take a while," he explains as he wheels back towards the couches, since we still had their swatches in hand.
"We've decided on these so far," Kingsley takes control, pointing out what we want and in what colors. Once the man is getting our order ready, we go back to looking for the bookcases. We find a dark brown colored set that I want on sight just because of the intricate lilies carved in the corners. Kingsley doesn't argue, and I think he realizes why I want it so badly. We also get a coffee table in the same color. Once we get it organized to be delivered via floo for almost all of it, and by Goblin for the rest of it. I make sure he gives him the receiving room floo address, which I had learned was different the night before while we had been eating our sherbert. We pick out the furniture we want for that room as well, though it isn't as furnished and only has the basics and a carpet. Kingsley finds the carpet he wants, and I pick out the shelves, storage, and desk that I want for my office.
When we finally leave the store it's gone from almost nine to almost noon and I was hungry again. I point this out to Kingsley with a pout and he agrees to find a place to eat immediately. unfortunately, they don't speak near as much English as Ivan had, and I end up translating everything for him again.
"You sound upset," he tells me as soon as the waiter leaves after dropping off our food.
"He's annoying." I grit out. Once he knew that my partner couldn't speak very much French he had set in on flirting, suggestive comments and more than one vulgar 'idea' between me and him.
"What do you mean?" He asks immediately, sitting up straighter. I hesitate, not wanting to ruin the day, but he asks again and I explain to him what the waiter had done.
"I thought this was a five-star restaurant?" he grumbles to himself, and I give him an amused look.
"It's fine, Kingsley. He doesn't realize who you are, and he doesn't know who I am. He's just horny." I tease him. He chuckles in response and we continue to eat in silence. a few minutes later he glances around the restaurant.
"Where's the bathroom?" He asks me. I look around at the few signs and point to the men's restroom sign.
I realize after 15 minutes that he probably wasn't going to the bathroom and I want to be annoyed, but I couldn't help but feel pleased that he was 'defending' me as it was.
20 minutes after he's left for the 'bathroom' he comes back with a satisfied smirk.
"Does he still have his job?" I ask conversationally. He looks startled and goes to protest.
"Please. Either you got laid in the bathroom or you reamed the poor man for looking at me wrong." I tease him.
"Well, actually, I talked to the manager. They speak English very well, and knew who I was immediately."
"You're going to get him fired." I chide him with a grin.
"No more than he deserves. No one should be talked to like that, but especially you," he says matter of factly, making me blush again.
"How much more do we need to get?" I ask to derail the conversation.
"How much do we have left, or how much more can you take?" he teases.
"If we were playing that game I wouldn't have come out today. I hate people." I tell him, eyeing the people in the restaurant with us.
"Do you hate people that much?" he asks in surprise. I scowl at my food as I think over my answer, and thankfully he lets me.
"I don't like the public if that makes sense. I like people as individuals usually, but the mob or sheep mentality that a group of them gives off is annoying." I explain finally.
"I can see that. especially the way the Prophet has taken an interest in you. To answer your earlier question, I have one more place I want to stop, and you'll need plants for the sunroom as you asked. Why don't you go to the greenhouse down the street, I'll pick up the package I had the ministry send me, and we can meet up out front of the greenhouse if you're quick or I'll come to find you?" he offers.
"Are there any plants you're allergic to? Or foods, for that matter, if I'm going to be cooking." I muse. He shrugs one shoulder and shakes his head.
"The smell of roses gives me a headache, and I can't stomach fish, but I'm not allergic to either of them. Are you wanting inside or outside furniture for that room?"
"I'm thinking of painting the walls a light yellow to reflect the sunlight, so maybe it should be outside furniture, something wicker. and I want the floors to be white tiles so that I can lay down thick rugs and have room to sit and work on the floor if I need to." I explain.
"And the plants, where are they going to go?"
"On the tables, on the walls, hanging from the ceiling if I can work it that way. maybe a metal little shelving unit, painted white or gold to match the walls." I muse.
"I'm starting to think your favorite color is white." he teases me lightly.
"White is the absence of color, not a color itself. And I prefer white and black themes of colors, though I do like the color blue." I agree. His eyes flick down to my ring and I smirk at him when he raises an eyebrow.
"I'm not sure what potions are in the bathrooms and kitchen. Do you want to make a stop at the apothecary?" I ask as we finish our foods. I had barely glanced into the bathroom cabinet to find the contraceptive potion last night, and besides deeming the stand-alone cabinet that the potions were already in good in the kitchen I hadn't inventoried those, either.
"We can owl order those if you want to make a list later. I prefer having Severus brew my potions anyway," he says after studying me a moment. I was grateful for that.
"So, just the plants?" I ask hopefully. He sighs and gives me a rueful look.
"Tell you what. you stop by that furniture store and get a catalog for furniture. that way Tonks, Ron, and Hermione can order their bedroom furniture and you can order the sunroom stuff. I'll get one from the Greenhouse, because it's on my way, and you can do the same for those." he decides. I joyfully punch the air at this. I didn't have to be out in the public anymore! His dark chuckle has me narrowing my eyes at him though.
"There's a catch?"
"Mhm." he nods as a new waiter comes over and drops our bill in front of Kingsley, cleaning away our plates with a tight smile that was obviously forced.
"What would that be?" I ask wearily, trying to think of any possible downfall to the plan. I wouldn't be able to see the furniture arranged, true, but besides that...
"You'll see in a few minutes. I'm going to set the time for the goblins to install the carpets and fireplace tomorrow, when do you want them to be there?" he changes the subject and I sigh at that.
"After nine, before noon. How long do you think it will take to get the sunroom finished? we need the tile in there too."
"Oh, I'm sure it will be done by the time you floo home. I'll set that with them as well. You just want plain tiles?"
"Yeah, there's no need to make it look fancy if people are always going to be looking up anyway." I agree with a nod. Now I wanted to get home and see how the room had turned out.
"Alright, well then let's get going. I'd like to sort the furniture that has already been sent through tonight, and maybe find someplace to send the old furniture." he muses to himself as we walk and I agree that that was a good idea. as we exit the resturant I feel eyes on us from every direction, and Kingsley slings his arm over my shoulder casually.
"You really don't like them." He says, but he's more amused than surprised. I nod enthusiastically in agreement and he laughs, spinning me to face him as his other arm joins around my waist.
"Alright, well, It's time for that catch," he says, and the amusement grows in his expression as I try and puzzle out what he was saying. before I can figure it out completely his lips had descended on mine in a slow, deliberate, sensual kiss that was definitely not Public Affection approved. It made me weak in the knees and when he pulled away I was leaning on him and breathing heavily.
"I don't see that being a downside." I pant out lowly, very aware of the murmuring around us.
"Not yet it's not, but that'll make the papers and Britain in no time." he grins, leaning down to kiss me much more chastely this time before letting me go.
"Go, go get your magazines and get going home. Remember to use the living room." he reminds me as he slowly lets me go.
"Right, er, right. Magazines." I murmur, blinking up at him as he walks away. I can hear the chuckle he gives me, and I can feel his smugness as he walks away. I duck into the crowd immediately, trying very hard not to blush at the very obvious show we had just put on. How many people were going to see that? Someone must have taken a picture if he was so sure that everyone would know about it. And why did he see it as an exchange for letting me go home early? It wasn't like it helped his reputation. If anything it could be detrimental if someone, for some reason, had missed the update that we were now married.
I puzzle this over as I stop by the shop again and head home. It wasn't until I was in the house and letting an owl in through the window that a thought hit me.
That wasn't a kiss to be shared between two virtual strangers. At least not usually. He was proving to the public that we had been together for longer than we actually had. He was proving to Fudge, specifically, that his attempts to get me under his thumb had been thwarted. He was making sure people knew that we were together after the stunt the waiter had pulled.
It was a very territorial move and it made that warm feeling spread across my chest again as I settle in with the letters addressed to me. the four owls that came through had dropped their letters and ran, and Hedwig had followed them in empty clawed but wanting a head scratch. I had four letters total, and Kingsley had 8, so I set his on the coffee table that looked like it was about to break. propping my feet up on it, I open the letter that I recognized as Hermione's writing and skim through it. She was apparently impressed with Kingsley's speech from the Prophet. I knew he got it delivered through the floo every morning, one of the first things he had set up, so I suppose I could find a copy and figure out exactly what it was he had said.
The next one was from Dumbledore, asking me how everything was going. I could feel the bubbly amusement coming from him. He had obviously written this not long after feeling Kingsley and I finishing the contract.
Sirius had also written, though his furious scrawl was harder to read. From what I gathered though, I'm lucky it wasn't a howler. The last letter was from Bill asking if we were still having our twice-weekly meetings for warding. I set them all on the table and stretch before heading to the receiving room where boxes were sporadically popping through as they were finished. I notice with relief they're all labeled and I quickly have everything we wanted for the offices down the hallway and into the side hallway with the office doors. I peek into the new sunroom curiously, and I gasp at it as I stride into the room.
Kingsley had obviously talked to the goblins because the room was much bigger. I could tell where the old room was and the new room began only because there was no flooring on the new stuff. the glass paneling started on the shorter wall to my left, and instead of having a corner where it met the longer wall it was a curved dome shape that was nearly flawless. I had to move close to see the thin, weblike veins of gold and silver that held the pieces of glass together. the longest wall of the room was massive and the view from it was breathtaking. I couldn't wait for it to snow again to see what that was like. did the glass have a heating charm on it?
I spin a little excitedly in the middle of the room, beaming as my idea took shape. I could picture the wicker furniture, and the piano, and the plants. I could envision the rugs and, now that I was alone, I could picture what I had wanted to say but was too embarrassed to mention in front of Kingsley just yet. Telling someone you wanted kids was completely different from telling them you could see your children having a small play area in the room that you were building. a corner of the room, maybe the rounded one that faced the sun, that had scattered toys and playful laughter and enjoyment. a space that I could sit and read or watch the outside world while the imaginary kids toddled around with no fear and safely explored.
There was a pang of longing for the image that was so vivid I almost felt like I had the children already. I knew that I wanted a family, a big family, of my own. I just hadn't thought it would be that easy to make me want to throw my education to the wind and start on that dream now. Not that we could, the contraceptive potion was good for six months. But still, seeing the room take shape was hitting home that this place was a place to raise said family.
"So you like it?" Kingsley's bright voice behind me has me spinning again, grinning so wide my mouth hurt.
"I love it. why did we extend it though?" I ask, motioning to the right where a portion of the solid wall gave way to more glass to accommodate where they had built out.
"It was too small to be a proper sunroom." he shrugs as if this wasn't a big deal, so I didn't make it one. I did, however, give him a weary look as he strides toward me and stops a few inches away to take in the room from the middle as I had been.
"Did you get any furniture besides the offices moved?" he asks curiously.
"I didn't want to move the stuff into the living room if they were going to be working in there tomorrow. I figured we could move it to the dining room until the goblins were finished." I explain.
"Good idea. I'll get that moved and then we can set up the offices. If you want to start setting yours up, I can see if I can't find your trunk with your things so that you can add the personal stuff to it." He explains.
"It's in the closet in the front hall," I tell him, shrugging. his arms twine around me again, this time from behind, and I lean back instinctively.
"I'll bring it to you when I'm done then. It shouldn't take too long."
"You have mail sitting in the living room. One of them is probably Sirius and Albus." I tell him, making no move to take my weight off of him. he huffs in amusement but allows it.
"I'm sure most of it is shock over our marriage."
"Most probably." I agree readily. when I still make no move to let him leave, he snickers and picks me up by the waist, startling me.
"What are you doing!?" I exclaim, too afraid to struggle properly. he had lifted me so that we the same height and was carrying me from my waist as if I weighed nothing.
"We do need to get things done before we return to the bed you know." he teases me.
"I'm tired, you're comfortable!" I exclaim in mock indignation.
"sure you are." He sets me sitting on the desk I had picked out and nudges my legs apart before stepping between them. I was now staring somewhere between his chest and his navel and I scowl. Why was he so freaking tall, and why had I picked a desk that was so short?
"Hey, none of that now." his fingers tilt my head up and I blink at him as chides me.
"I'm just teasing, I didn't mean to truly upset you."
"You didn't, I'm just mad that you're so tall," I tell him easily, surprising myself. I startle a genuine laugh out of him and I beam when he leans down to steal a kiss for it.
"So I have a proposal."
"Should have done that before you married me," I quip. I was uncomfortable again. Not by how close he was, or how dizzying his kisses seemed to be, but at the suddenly serious look on his face.
"Harry," he starts, then trails off with a sigh. His fingertips trail down my arms, playing with the sleeves as he thought best how to say what he was thinking so hard about.
"Talk to me Kings, I can't say no until you've asked the question." I tease, trying to get him to ease up.
"You know you're the first person to shorten my first name?" he asks with some amusement.
"I'm not sure. My parents always called me Kingsley, and Tonks and moody just call me Shaklebolt. or shaks. No one at school shortened my name but I learned later it was because I was intimidating. I like it though." he reassures me with a small smile, his fingers slipping under the cuff of my sleeve and tracing along the inside of my wrist.
"It suits you." I agree, trying not to shiver and squirm at the way this simple touch was affecting me.
"Anyway. I was thinking that we could finish setting things up tomorrow morning, and the next few days we can seclude ourselves in the bedroom."
I frown immediately, before I can really mask it. Was that all he was wanting from me? Sure, he was my husband and I was a more than a willing partner, but I would like to get to know him more intimately than just in bed. I'm ready to shake his hands away, suddenly not comfortable with him touching me like this when they slide away from my hands to cup my face and force my gaze up.
"Whoa, hey, let me finish. I didn't mean like that. I just meant that everywhere else in the house there are distractions. Books, cooking, paperwork. I meant that we could close off the floos, and close up the bedroom, and focus on each other for the next few days. I want to learn about you, Harry. Every time I try though, something comes up. I want to know what your favorite dessert is and how to make it, your favorite color, your favorite animal. If you've mastered the animagus transformation yet and if you want your first kid to be a boy or a girl. How often you practice the piano, who you consider family over a friend. Since I decided that I was wanting to court you I've been accumulating questions for you and now that we've skipped that part of a relationship we need to catch up." his voice is soft and reassuring, obviously realizing he'd upset me with the way he had worded his statement before. I melt into his hands again and curse how easily a solid touch and a few flowery words had affected me.
"Please, Harry. I want to make this work beyond just sex, and to do that we have to know each other." he murmurs lowly. When I nod in agreement his face breaks into a wide grin.
"Not that I don't plan on that, too. But it is secondary," he says with a laugh when I feel myself blushing again.
"Oh, hi Siri."
"Pup, can I come through?"
Well, at least he sounded calmer. I glance out to the hallway. The goblins had just finished installing the new fireplace and were now working through the carpet and tile we wanted laid out. I spy Kingsley and make a head jerking motion to let him know I wanted him in the room before nodding to Sirius.
"Sure Siri. Is Remmy coming too?" I ask curiously. he gives a curt yes before I back away so that he could step through.
I'm immediately engulfed in a hug and I return it just as fiercely, leaning into him when it's obvious he isn't letting go for a while. I feel another arm snake around my waist and realized Remmy had snuck through too.
I'm not sure how long we stood there, but when we part Kingsley is leaning in the doorway.
"We're trying to get this place redecorated, sorry. It looked like it had jumped out of a 60's magazine." I explain when I see Sirius' eyes trail a goblin hustling by the open doors.
"This looks good though, is it done?" Remus gestures to the furniture around the room. now that the carpet was torn up, the wood was colored to match the chairs and couch, and the walls charmed to match the rug, it did look better. I shrug one shoulder as I motion to the chairs for them to take a seat. Sirius perches on the Ottoman in front of Remus' chair and he rolls his eyes when Sirius leans against his legs instead of taking a chair for himself.
"To answer your question, Remus, no, the room isn't finished. Though the last part of the decorating we could use your help with." Kingsley speaks up for the first time, finally walking into the room as I settle onto the couch. he makes a point of taking the seat next to me and I wiggle until I'm braced on the end of the couch and my toes are tucked under his thigh with a cheeky grin.
"How can we help with you decorating?" Sirius asks, but his voice is tight.
"Oh, right! we want to make a display wall with pictures. Do you have any pictures of mum and dad? And I'll need any of you two, and maybe of Rmeus and Tonks together, and Andromoeda and the Weasleys. we want to make it a wall full of family photos." I explain as I focus back on them.
"We can look and see what we can find. That's a brilliant idea though, especially across from the fireplace. It iwll be the first thing people see."
"From this one, anyway. we have another through there that is more formal. I let Kings decorate that." I say with my nose scrunched up. Kingsley chuckles beside me and I feel one of his hands fall to wrap around my ankle briefly before it settles on the bridge of my foot.
"How's the decorating going then?" Remus asks curiously. This has me launching into how the house looked beforehand, with Kingsley chiming in every once in a while with a witty comment or a dry sarcasm.
"I'll have to give you a tour here in a few minutes, the goblins are almost done. I just don't want to be in their way." I admit as I brace my hand on my head, the other falling into my lap as I rest against the back of the couch.
"Can I see?" Sirius is suddenly excited, and it takes me a moment to realize his gaze is fixed on my ring. I hold out my hand and explain what exactly it was as he studies it, twisting my hand this way and that. He then demands to see Kingsley's and studies that one, too, before a goblin calls for him and he excuses himself. As soon as he's out of the room, it's like they pounce.
"Are you doing okay? Is he treating you right? I was worrying myself sick when Remus informed me that you'd finished the contract the first day. You're not being pressured into anything, right?" he asks anxiously.
"Sirius, no! I'm doing fine. It's a little rocky right now because we don't know eachother well but we do like each other. Kings has been great. He's patient and kind and lets me have just as much say in everything. He let me tear out half a room when I suggested it!"
"He's not that patient." Remus snorts, but his amber eyes gave away exactly how he felt about the situation.
"Yes he is. Merlin, Remus, Sirius, he's too patient. I'm the one who suggested we slept together that first night, not him! He was more than willing to wait until the last moment if that was what I wanted." I chide them. I curl my left hand around my right wrist just thinking about it. We had both been exhausted after setting everything we could up yesterday and had fallen asleep fairly quickly, but not before he had seen the bruises I left on me that morning. He had thought I was upset with him about it before I explained why exactly I had left them. The ones on my waist were already fading, but the ones around my wrists had actually darkened further. he had warned me that if he found out that they were hurting me in any way he was going to pin me again and put the bruise paste on himself, and that had made that warm feeling spread through me again as I agreed.
"Pup, I love you, but I so didn't need to hear that." Sirius murmurs, looking a little green, and Remus looked just as upset.
"And good merlin I didn't need to smell it!" he says playfully, but I can tell it really was bothtering him. Before I can start teasing them, Kingsley's head is poking around the door.
"Goblins are done if you are still wnating that tour." he explains.
We start in the recieving room, working our way through the kitchen, the dining room, the bedrooms, and then we head for the study rooms. I'm bouncing, waiting to show off the sunroom, but Kingsley stops me.
"It's not finished, but I did have them set a few things up in there." he explains before allowing me to throw the doors open. I launch into the middle of the room with a laugh, spinning in excitement before I stop dead in my tracks as I see the far corner.
Somehow, this was even better then what I had imagined.
In the curved corner of the room, a pure white grand piano was standing out against the dark wooded scenery behind it. I had always pictured the piano to the left, but now that I saw it as the center of the room I could picture the toy chest on the left and little feet running around and under the impressive peice.
"When did you buy this!?" I exclaim in surprise, and before I could think about it I launch myself at him, wrapping my arms around his middle excitedly. His genuiine laugh rumbled underneath where my ear was pressed against him as he returns the hug.
"My little errand yesterday. I hope you don't mind, but when you suggested that the floors be white, I just... Couldn't picture anything else. So I found the shop and ordered it. It arrived with the goblins this morning and they set it up after the tile was finished." he explains as he holds me against him.
"Thank you!" I say earnestly, reaching up and pulling him down to my height for a chaste, sweet kiss. When I pull away, beaming again, I spin back to the piano and approach it giddily.
"What do you think, Remus, will this work for practice?" I call over my shoulder. I hear them shuffling, obviously not sure what to do with my display of affection. I didn't give out hugs to just anyone after all, and they'd undoubtedly never saw me kissing anyone before today. That thought makes me freeze before I look up at Kingsley.
"By the way, did we make the news again?" I ask lightly. Kingsley just gives me a self-satisfied smirk and I groan.
"What? News? I didn't look at the prophet this morning, did you, Moony?" Sirius demands as they follow me across the room.
"Huh?" Remus' dazed look clears and he tears his eyes away from the piano. Sirius huffs and repeats himself and Remus' gaze snaps to me with a small smirk.
"I hid it before we flooed over." he says casually, running his fingers over the edge of the piano.
"Why?" Sirius demands in surprise.
"Because the front image was a much more... sensual display then the one you just witnessed and I didn't want you exploding. again." Remus tells him bluntly. Kingsley's laugh has me mock glaring at him.
"It's your fault." I chide him, making him grin unrepentantly.
"Maybe." he agrees with a shrug.Sirius was sputtering next to me, so I sling my arm around his waist.
"We're married, Siri, you better get used to it." I tease him gently. he lets out a distressed sound and wraps his arms around me tightly.
"You're too young!" He wails in mock despair.
I'm old enough to force into battle. I'm old enough to put through trials. I'm old enough to kill a man. I'm old enough to disregard as nonpriority every summer that I was sent to the Dursley's, even after Sirius, Remus, Dumbledore, and the Weasleys got to see exactly how I was treated. I was old enough to sacrifice my life when at the other end of Voldemorts wand with no idea if I was going to come back from it at the ministry.
I was old enough to see my parents and not fall into their arms and never come back, to let them take care of it because I had sacrificed enough for the greater good.
I was old enough to save their world when they were too cowardly to do it.
But I was too young to marry? Too young to sleep with a man I found attractive.Too young to show affection.
"Harry and I actually have reservations soon. Harry, why don't you go change and I'll see Remus and Sirius out?" Kingsley says softly. I had only slipped for half a second, but those intense eyes were on me, obviously seeing what I was thinking to some extent.
"But-" Sirius starts to protest, but I'm already walking away with a cheery wave and see you later. I bounce into our bedroom, close the door, flick up a silencer, and scream.
It was a healthy way to let my anger out, or so I tell myself. I wasn't hitting anything, I wasn't cursing anything, or breaking anything. I was hurting my throat, perhaps, but there was a potion for that.
After one good, long scream I suck in a deep breath and it steadies me enough I don't feel the need to do so again. I drop the silencer as I shuck off the Jeans I had been wearing and the shirt, falling into the bed and curling myself around one of the pillows I had claimed as mine.
Sometime later I feel a hand running through my hair and I glance up to see Kingsley with a concerned look leaning over the side of the bed.
"What do you need?" He finally asks.
Not, are you okay? What can be fixed? What can I do? He didn't tell me to shake it off, to suck it up. He didn't even ask me what was wrong. Just, what did I need?
I feel the tears hit my face before I realize I'm crying and this seems to alarm him. before he can get too worried I'm tugging on his arm and moving so that he can lay in the bed with me. He's in his day clothes and shoes, but he immediately crawls in next to me and pulls me close.
It's a long time before I stop crying, and when I do he doesn't ask any questions. He just continues to play with my hair and hold me, content to sit in silence with me.
maybe that's why I start talking. I don't even realize I'm explaining myself, defending myself, until his fingers in my hair make my head tilt up.
"Hey, none of that. You're allowed to be angry, Harry. Just don't shut me out when you do, okay?" he asks. He didn't defend them or make excuses. And he validated what I had never heard before. It was okay to be angry with them. I wasn't in the wrong for feeling betrayed and sick at them pushing me to face a killer. and that, more than anything, made the words spill from my mind faster then I could really keep up.
He listened, and was patient, and didn't once condone me for feeling the way I did, and it was liberating.
And if I cried again because of it, he just held me that much closer.
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