October 4, 2000
Draco settled back on the couch in Spencer’s library. He had spent all of the afternoon and most of the evening walking the grounds of his new castle. Draco knew that if Potter and Granger denied him, he would be alone in the castle but he couldn’t not buy it because it was perfect. The grounds were massive and sprawling. There was plenty of room for a pitch to be set up so that he and Potter could at least play a few games of catch the snitch when they wanted. It was even on the other side of a massive tree line so that it wasn’t visible from the castle. There was a garden set up that was overgrown, but Draco would make sure that it was perfect as soon as it was possible. He would have to see about finding an Elf that was as knowledgeable as Qan was in gardens and maybe use Qan until he could find one. The asshole Elf would adore the chance to boss Draco around, and Draco would love the chance to call him horrible names.
The library was one of the largest that Draco had ever see and that included that one in the Muggle movie that Spencer forced him to watch something about a woman and a beast. Granger would love it. There were a lot of older books already on the shelves, held in stasis spells to preserve them through the ages. Every single shelf had spells like that, and the work had held up through the years.
A team of goblins was making sure that the wards were in perfect condition before Draco moved in which could be days or weeks. The information said that the wards hadn’t been checked in twenty years, but that wasn’t that strange as the properties that the Goblins held in trust were usually only checked once every fifty years.
“Master Draco need a book?” Quirinus asked as he entered the room.
“No, thank you. I just really like the feel of this room.”
“Master Spencer like the feel of it too. He says it’s my love of books that makes it feel like this. I imbue the room with love. I think it’s because of the love he has for his mother and their time in this room. Or it’s a mix. Xibby said that you bought a castle?”
“It’s perfect for me and my two soulmates. Enough room for all of us to move in together before we are ready for a full relationship. There are four wings, and the fourth can stay empty until we are all ready for a true relationship. The other three wings will be used by us as we get to know each other.”
“Jibby said that the library already has a lot of books. Quirinus can go over and check them out when you want. Make sure that they are all safe and good.”
“Thank you. I can make sure that you all have access as soon as the Goblins get it fully checked over.”
Draco watched as the Elf wandered over to a stack of books and opened up the first one. It had to be a new batch of books that Spencer had bought or had someone find for him. Draco let his mind wander to whatever it wanted which was the fear that neither of his mates would ever accept him. Granger had seemed shocked by how he had acted that day with the cloak but Spencer reported that she was wearing it every day. Granger had blossomed into a lovely young woman who if she were a Pure-blood would have many going after her. Draco knew that more than her fair share of Muggle-borns and Half-bloods from all ages tried to get her to talk to them. Draco tried to keep his jealousy down.
Soulmates were gifts from magic, and Draco knew that it would take a little while for Granger and Potter to fully understand Draco’s mind on that. Draco had been taught by his mother to always protect his soulmate. He had not asked her if she knew about his mates because he was afraid of what she would say. As good of a mother, as she was, she had been in love with his father for most of her life. While it was only when Riddle had returned the last time that Lucius Malfoy had turned into a horrible man. That love was still there in some way, shape, or form and it was hard to think that his mother might have kept that knowledge from Draco to make sure that he never sought them out and draw Riddle’s eye to them more than it already was.
Draco already knew of the gifts that he wanted to give to the both of them to show that he was willing to court them to gain their affection and their love. He had two copies of a book that outlined the courting rituals and things between soulmates. The book had been written by a Half-blood and kept things neutral when it came to bloodlines, but as Draco was the oldest male in the triad, he was the one that was needed to start everything.
There was still the visit to the book that Draco needed to do. He just wanted to go with Granger and Potter. To have them all three see it at the same time. It would be better that way but getting them to agree to go with him at all was going to be hard. Draco would do anything to make them happy, except for make a fool of himself. He would not humiliate himself to gain their love. Draco understood the pull of soulmates more than anyone else. Looking over most of his interactions with both of them over the years, Draco realised that the bond had started from nearly the first instant that Potter and he had met in Madam Malkin’s. Unable to understand what it was, Draco started to act out to get any attention from them.
When Granger had punched him, Draco had felt something that he had never felt before and had been unable ever to feel it again. He still wasn’t sure what the hell it was, probably a feedback from the very fragile bond between them. Draco knew then as well what happened when Potter had tried to use sectumsempra on him. It had been Snape’s spell that he had created and he had taught to to Draco as a last resort to save his life. Draco had just figured that Potter had been unable to keep the magic needed in his core to cast it and that’s why it never landed. The bond had to have been strong enough to stop the both of them from doing something that would have destroyed the ability to bond together at a later time. Hormones fueled by two seemingly proud young men as well as a very weak bond meant that they were not always in control of what they did when they were together.
“Draco?” Spencer called out. Spencer had a charm built into his Manor that worked like a Muggle intercom system. Draco pushed his magic into the charm thread that was weaved into the house, and it would tell Spencer where he was. Draco pushed himself up to his feet. He had the architect plans for his castle spread out on the desk that Spencer had given him to use for things. Draco had been doing most of his work at it for classes, but he was given a small reprieve from them and would work extra hard over the next few weeks to make them.
“Hello,” Draco said as Spencer entered the room.
“Hello,” Spencer said back with a wicked look on his face. He had a single sheet of paper in his hand, and he slammed that down in front of Draco on the desk. A few loose bits of paper fluttered off, but Draco didn’t say them any mind. The paper that Spencer had slammed down had the letterhead of St. Mungo’s on it. Draco knew it well. It was the listing of a spell that had been done. Draco read over the contents of the paper and realised that it was the breakdown of what was found to be in a potion. Draco was damned good at potions and had created only a single one while in school, but this was no potion that he knew. It was blood-based which made it hairline illegal. It was however seemingly crossed with a love potion. There was a lot in the potion that Draco would have never stuck in one, but it seemed to balance itself out. Unlike most love potions the extra ingredients would tempt the obsession that most got when under the effects of a potion for a long time.
“This is…very interesting. Who the hell created this?”
“That’s unknown at this point as we are assuming who gave it to the intended victim. The victim woke up after the second flushing draught was given to them and I was told that I could talk to his soulmate about this and only his soulmate. He wanted his soulmate to know that he hadn’t meant to ignore him for years. He’s worried that being forced to love someone else would make his soulmate hate him and not want him.”
“Then his soulmate doesn’t deserve him,” Draco said. He could never think of turning away Potter or Granger for something like that. Draco looked up at Spencer. “Potter?”
“Yes. This is what he’s been given for at least four years. It’s a masterful bit of brewing. I’ve already got samples of it. He’s been given it near weekly, and after talking to Neville a little, Harry has weekend dates with Weasley. Neville insisted on wards going up and other than Healers only Hermione is allowed into the room. Boyles sent her as his legal representative. I made sure that Boyles understood that Harry isn’t going to trust anyone but her at the moment and even Neville understands that he might not trust him a lot either.”
“How is Boyles taking this?”
“Not well at all. Harry mentioned that he has been seeing a Healer and getting health potions to rectify as yet unspecified issue with his health. He had to have passed to make it into the Auror program, but everything is going to come out. Every single spell that he’s been hit with, every potion he’s been given will be laid to bare by the time that the healers are done with him. There is not a single thing that I won’t know by the time I am done. I’ve been charged with dissecting this potion and finding a better antidote than just a flushing draught. I have no other active projects at this moment. While it’s pretty simple to deduce that the Weasley bint is the one that has been giving it to him, we are unsure if she could actually brew it and given that it’s at least four years, that means when she was still in school. So whoever has been brewing it for her will be charged as well.”
“Have they…” Draco didn’t want to ask it. He didn’t want to know, but he needed to know. He would make sure that Harry had everything that he needed to get over this. To get over everything if Ginevra had raped Harry. While she was a Pure-blood, he was a Noble, and she would be charged with a lot of things for the rape of a Lord.
“It was one of the first things that Healer Smythe did. He’s still a virgin in all aspects. He’s never had or given oral, never had vaginal or anal sex. Which we were all shocked about. He’s not pure as he’s masturbated but what male his age hasn’t? Given that he is bi-sexual, he’s probably been masterbating to both sexes and just kept it quiet. I will remind you that he told me I could talk about this with his soulmate, this is the only reason that I am telling you this. I will be spending the night there, and I want to be able to reassure him that his soulmate knows and still wants him.” Spencer collapsed into the chair that was across from the desk and closed his eyes. Quirinus left the room quietly, probably to go get Tibby and maybe even some food. Draco knew that all of the Elves saw Spencer as sort of their child and they loved him.
“Do you still have that charmed paper that changes handwriting just enough to mask it?”
“Harry would know your writing?”
“I am unsure but Gran-Hermione would.” Draco knew that he needed to start thinking of them in that way. “I want to write him a letter that tells him that no matter what I won’t reject him.”
Draco watched Spencer fling out a hand, and a stack of paper from another room came flying into it. Spencer tossed it on the desk without even opening his eyes. Draco was still kind of jealous at Spencer’s control of wandless and silent magic. Draco wasn’t the best at it, but with Spencer, it was like breathing.
“Sauron bitching,” Paddy said as he entered the room with the snake in his arms. Paddy dropped him into Spencer’s lap before huffing and leaving.
“How the hell do they know if he’s bitching?” Draco asked.
“Easy, he hisses a lot. He’s usually pretty silent around the Elves.” Spencer lifted Sauron up and the snake wrapped around his neck before disappearing. “I’ll take him to work with me for the night. Might be better anyway. I’ve heard rumours that Harry’s a deduce as well. It would be good to see how far along in the speech he is as well as seeing if he’s willing to talk to me in it if he doesn’t want anyone else to understand what he’s saying.”
Draco grabbed one of the Muggle pens that Spencer kept around the house and started to write. Draco liked them better than quills and even used them for his day to day school work. He started to write, telling Harry that he would never turn him away for something that someone else made him do as long as Harry never did it to him.
An hour later, Draco was sealing up the letter and used Spencer’s seal set to make sure that Harry didn’t recognise the Malfoy seal. Draco had kept it short, telling Harry that his only worry was getting better and that they had a lot to discuss when Harry was up for it. Spencer was asleep on a couch in the corner of the room with Sauron huge and draped over him like a blanket. The first time that Draco had seen them like that, he had been worried, but as time went one, Draco understood what it was more than anything else in the world.
Spencer never had affection when he was young, except from his mother. The Elves had kept their distance in that way. Draco had started to share a bed with him when he stayed over after learning that. It wasn’t out of place to see them cuddle on the couches in the house reading either even now. That was something that Draco worried about when it came to Harry and Hermione. Draco wouldn’t stop that. Spencer needed touch because he had none form anyone else. Draco just hoped that they understood that while they were fated, he and Spencer had a bond that was deep and true and not unlike brothers. Draco wished that Spencer’s soulmate would get his head out of his ass and do what magic needed him to do. Whatever was going on with Spencer’s magic had to be rooted in that. Spencer wasn’t losing control but Draco knew that he could.
Libby entered the room with a snack on a plate for Draco as well as what looked like something for Spencer to take with him.
“You needs to eat if you going to angst all night. Lord Potter has goods people with him, he has his Dobby, and he has Miss Hermione and her Rael now. Soon he have Master Spence with him again but making yourself sick will not help him if you are needed. So eat and then sleep and then in the morning you can angst again.” Libby turned on her heel and marched out of the room like she knew that Draco was going to do what she said because it was logical. Damn Spencer and his love of logic and teaching it to his Elves.
Draco picked up one of the three cakes on the plate, and he felt he small bit of magic that was imbued in it. He knew the cakes well. It had a mild food based sleeping spell on them, and Libby cooked them when Spencer was having trouble sleeping. The spell, unlike the potion, was non-addictive. However, only a House Elf could place it. It was one of the things that Elves were known for.
Grabbing the plate, Draco walked to the window to see the moon shining on the pond that was near the Manor. He ate all three cakes while standing there looking outside. He knew that he would pass out pretty quick, so he walked to the couch on the far side of the room, it was the best in the room. He laid down and felt Xibby start to change him for bed. He had no clue if he was going to wake up there or in his own bed but he didn’t care. Sleep was good.
October 5, 2000
Hermione felt something move and tried to push at it. It was probably her pillow trying to fall off of the bed again. When she pushed, she hit something hard, and it was not a pillow. Hermione tried to roll over only to realise that she was sleeping sitting up but was leaning over onto something. She made herself sit up, her back protesting it after sleeping like that for what felt like hours. The room was unfamiliar but the body lying in front of her as well as the messy black hair was something that she knew as well as she knew her own face.
“Harry,” Hermione whispered as she reached out. She had been the only thing to keep him calm during the night. One of the Healers had tried to throw her out, but Harry’s magic didn’t like that and had nearly destroyed the room. He stopped as soon as Hermione was allowed back into the room. Hermione was pretty sure that the Healer had been very pissed about that and it was why she was given the worst chair in the world to sleep in.
Spencer had been in and out of the room all night long. Checking on Harry and sometimes taking a reading with magic or applying something to Harry’s skin. It never hurt him but it turned colours and Spencer explained that ti was the only way to test out exactly which strain of a plant had been used in some cases. The flushing draughts had removed ninety-nine percent of the love potion that Harry had been given, but that last percent was still in his body, and until Spencer had found out an antidote to it or time evaporated it, there was no way to get the last percent out. Harry was sleeping and had been forced into it by brute force spells. Hermione hated that it had to be done, but when he was awake, his magic tried to protect him from something that wasn’t there. The love potion had reeked havoc on Harry’s magical core. Once the effects were gone, they would allow him to wake up.
“Harry,” Hermione repeated, trying to get him to calm down. he was shifting on the bed, fighting the sleeping spells.
“Hermione,” Spencer said from the doorway. Hermione turned to look at him. She watched as he turned to the door and put the strongest wards on it possible and made sure that no one was going to enter. “I’ve unlocked something that is going to remove the last one percent of the potion in him. It’s not an antidote as well…the potion is kind of ingenious. I’ve already started to work on a regimen to brew other potions like it but not for love potions but for patient health. I’ve figured out why that last percent isn’t being flushed out. The potion isn’t just a potion. There are spells on it as well, and it’s what I was missing.”
“What does the spell do?”
“Spells. Let me first break it all down from start to finish. It’s not actually a single potion but four different ones that are blended together perfectly. Which as a feat is impossible. The person who brewed this is brilliant, and I have a test for it now. We are going to be testing every single member of the Ministry for it just to be safe. The love potion on its own is not anywhere near standard; it was made from no potion base that I can find. There is one single issue with it though and that it only forces someone to love someone of the opposite sex. It does not control behaviour at all with the same sex which was why Harry seemed to hate the attention that I was giving you and in turn was flirting with me. The potion was what was making him act like he did that, or I assume that it did.”
“This seems like a big plot just to get Harry to marry Ginny.”
“I think has to do with control of what Harry has more than Harry himself. I’ll get to that more later. Whoever brewed this knows a great deal about Muggle science and the breakdown of all life into cells. The last time that I came in I took some of his hair remember and a fingernail clipping? When I looked at those under the Muggle microscope that I have and subjected it to magic to show me the potion, it was in every single dead cell that made up Harry’s hair and nails.”
“That’s…” Hermione tried to think if knew anyone who could do that.
“It’s what I was talking about using it for health potions. That one percent of potion in Harry’s cells scattered throughout his body will keep the effects of the potion in him for up to two weeks. So the person would be able to miss a week or so and have no issues. WHat’s left in that cell is a perfect mix of all four potions. After brewed, the four potions were subjected to a spell that makes each cell of the potion a perfect mix of ingredients. Then the four potions are mixed, and the same thing happens then. One of each cell of the potion is them merged together.”
“A pain potion that means that a small amount of backup is stored in the cells, meaning that those with chronic pain and are a high dose medication can take less of them.”
“Exactly. It’s quite interesting, and I hate that it was figured out by someone who has used it to harm at least three people.”
“Three?” Hermione asked.
Spencer looked shocked at that. He dropped his eyes away from her face, and she could see that he was upset.
“I didn’t mean to say three. I meant two, Harry and his soulmate.”
“No, I think that you meant to say three. Is there such a thing, three soulmates?”
“It’s rare, not impossible. Look, call it sleeplessness. Don’t say anything to him until he’s fully recovered. I brought a letter from his soulmate.”
“Harry was worried that his mate would refuse him after finding out that he had been potioned. I went to his soulmate, and he wrote him a letter detailing what his mate thought. It’s not going to be easy for Harry after this, and if making sure that he understands that he has something to look forward to at the end of this is going to help him, I’ll do it.”
Hermione was shocked about that. It had to have been after Harry had woke violently and a potion had been spilt on her. She had left to get cleaned up. What really shocked Hermione though was that Spencer cared. He went out in the middle of the night to get a letter from someone so that Harry knew that he had someone waiting for him. He had acted more like a friend than anyone else besides Hermione had ever acted toward Harry. It made Hermione want to cry. Rael appeared at her side with a box of tissues. The little Elf had been there with her as much as Hermione allowed her to be. Rael was taking her job of taking care of Hermione and Harry very seriously. It was just another thing that told Hermione that there was a lot more to Spencer than anyone except for maybe Malfoy knew.
“And his mate, why are they staying away?”
“It wouldn’t be good for them to show up here. Soulmate bonds are hard to resist, and while it might seem like a good idea to show Harry what he was waiting for him, his mind isn’t ready for it yet. He’s got a long haul, and his magic could latch onto his mate and then it would be bad.”
“I can see that. He could cling too much to the mate and not help himself as much as he needs.”
“Yes, so for now he will have you and me and our Elves. Dobby is asleep in the Elf ward for now, and when he’s awake, Rael will go to sleep.” Spencer walked around Harry’s bed and worked on getting the IV out of his arm. Hermione watched as Spencer used wandless magic to stop the saline from the bag from dripping out as he hung up the IV. Hermione smiled as Spencer brushed the hair back from Harry’s head. “It’s funny that we use Muggle IV’s to give saline, but there has been no spell found that can give liquid to someone over a period of time and not flood their system. Before Muggles figured that out, the nurses would have to spell a little bit of water into the body every twenty minutes. It was tedious you know. It made for a lot more nurses being needed during times of upheaval. It didn’t take nearly as long as I thought it would for us to steal the idea from Muggles and use their methods. Of course, we make our own, but the idea is still Muggle.”
“I was shocked the first time that I saw it. So what do you have to do to get this antidote into Harry?”
“We have to paint it all over his body to get it where it needs to be. The last scan that I did showed that the only cells that held onto the potion were the ones in the skin, where the potion just doesn’t quite reach, so I made a spell flushing draught. When we kept forcing more draughts on him, it packed his skin with more bits of the potion.” Spencer held up a large vial of the draught as well as two paint brushes. Two honest to God brushes. Hermione wondered where Spencer had got those as it wasn’t something that she thought they had in St. Mungo’s. Of course, one of Spencer’s Elves could have got went out and got it. Or Spencer had a room in his Manor that was full of painting supplies. Other than reading Hermione had no clue what Spencer’s hobbies were.
“All over?” Hermione frowned as she thought about seeing Harry naked after so long. When they had been on the run, Hermione hadn’t cared about either one of the boys seeing her. Ron had issues with Harry seeing Hermione naked, but after years in Quidditch, Harry had no care on who saw him naked. So Harry had always kept his back turned when Hermione was changing.
“Yes. That’s why the room is warded like it is. No one is going to enter. If you feel better about it, I can do it alone. I just figured that you would want to help in his care in some way besides wiping sweat from his face.”
“Yes. I’ve seen him naked before, but I just…he was awake then and consented. I just…He needs this, and I need to remember that. I’m not taking advantage.”
There was silence from Spencer, and Hermione looked up at him. He looked at her like he was trying to figure her out. Then a look of intense grief passed over his face. Spencer set down the vial and the brushes onto a table and walked around Spencer’s bed to her side. Spencer hesitated before reaching up to cup the sides of her face.
“How long have you been in love with him?” Spencer asked.
“It doesn’t matter. He’s got a mate out there and he…” Hermione swallowed to hopefully stop the tears that are falling. “He’s got two out there, and I can just be his best friend for the rest of his life.”
“Oh, Hermione. I’m sorry, but you are never going to be just his best friend. I was trying to be kind until Harry was better and your shared mate was ready to come forward.”
Hermione nodded but as she did Spencer’s words washed over his brain again and again. Shared mate. SHARED mate. Hermione gasped and looked Spencer in the eyes.
“He’s…we…” Hermione tried to back out of Spencer’s hold, but he kept a hold of her. Hermione’s knees started to give out. Spencer let go of her finally but not to fully let her go. Instead, he caught, and they crumbled to the floor gracefully. Spencer wrapped her in his arms. “Please tell me you are not joking.”
“I would never hurt anyone like that. I would never give them the hope of not just a mate but two only to have it taken away. The exact wording from the seer was your third, and the Potter heir would claim the brightest witch of the age as their wife.”
“Wife? They are both going to marry me?”
“Yes, it’s generally what one does to their soulmate. You would be married to the both of them. You think you will be able to keep up with two Wizards?” Spencer tried to put some humour in his voice. Hermione laughed for a few seconds before she started to cry. She buried her face into Spencer’s neck, and he just held her. “I don’t know what to do with a crying woman…my sexuality didn’t equip me for this nor did my friendship with Draco.”
“Just hold me.”
“That I can do.”
Hermione let Spencer be the only thing holding her up as she purged all of her emotions. She had known that she had a mate out there but never guessed that she and Harry shared that mate. Hermione had forced herself not to see how much she loved Harry until then. Before it had been because there was no reason to get attached to the thought that Harry would make it through the war. Then after he was with Ginny and falling in love with her slowly. Now it was all a lie.
“How did you know that he was under a potion?”
“Have you seen pictures of Lily Potter?”
“A few here and there.”
Spencer pulled Hermione’s fae out of his neck and turned her to where she was sitting in his lap, and they were both facing the same direction. He held out his hand and in it appeared a scrapbook of sorts. Hermione frowned.
“I made this when I was young to learn the Lords and the ladies of the Ancient and Noble houses. While dead, Lily and James Potter were very important. My mother and Lily Potter were good friends. Not as close as Lily was to Neville’s parents but close enough that Lily was around a lot and Bast got a lot of pictures of them. There was a page that was full of pictures of Lily and who Hermione assumed was Diana Reid. Hermione gasped.
“Ginny Weasley and Lily Potter look like they could be sisters. I heard one of the older students after you, Harry, and Weasley didn’t show up for school your seventh year that it had to be in the Potter makeup for them to like redheads. There is liking redheads and loving a woman who can pass for your mother. I mean growing up without a mother can give a person mother issues, but that’s…There is a lot more to do with it all, but I need to keep that quiet as it’s a Lord’s secret. Everything will come out I am sure over the next few weeks. I will keep the names of Harry’s two mates silent, so it does not become gossip material. As far as I care no one needs to know that he has one much less two. Ginny Weasley is going to get into a lot of trouble for what she has done. While if Harry had been anyone else there would be some consequences, but he’s not, and he’s a Lord, and she tried to steal from him, in word and in deed.”
“It’s so…I can’t see her doing it, but then I’ve never been that close to her. She was always obsessed with Harry, but so many students at the school were. I’m just glad that you were able to help him.” Hermione rubbed at her eyes with the sleeve of her shirt. She hadn’t changed after leaving the law firm, but she had grabbed clothes to change into and had. She was in some of her softest clothes that she owned. A handkerchief appeared in front of her. She laughed and used it to wipe at her eyes.
“It’s self-cleaning and drying so feel free to blow your nose. After we apply this potion to his skin, we will need to leave him alone for a while. He’ll wake up after a few hours. If you want, we can go and get something to eat, and you can come with me to check on my mother.”
“Doesn’t she live here?”
“Yes, there are long-term wards for people like her. She basically has a single room that she lives in. The bathroom is the only separate room, but she’s allowed a bookshelf and books as much as she wants. I make sure that Bast keeps her in new books.”
“This is all…” Hermione sighed but she pusher herself up to her feet before offering her hand to Spencer. He smiled at her and allowed her to help him up. “It’s almost too much.”
“Yes, I can understand that.”
“How did you know that you had a soulmate? You commented the other day that made me think you knew you had before you went to the book.”
“Magic promised me a mate after what I went through with my father. I didn’t think that I wouldn’t get my mate right then. I never even thought it. That hurt worse. That’s why I didn’t want to tell you until it was time. But things never work out do they?”
Harry felt warm, truly warm for the first time in a long time. He could hear little of thing other than the talking of two people in the room with him. He couldn’t smell anything that was off, but it also didn’t smell like his flat.
The voices were familiar, but one was more familiar than the other. It was a female voice that sounded like it should be really known to him, but there was something different about it. Harry didn’t open his eyes, he didn’t move at all.
“He didn’t?!” the female exclaimed.
“Oh no he did. Draco grabbed that dress from Jibby and went into the room and changed into it. He even cast a quick charm to shave his legs. There is a spell for padding in the dress cup, and there is something strange about it to where if a person casts it on themselves it doesn’t last long, so Draco did it for some of the girls in his class. So he did that. It was very…interesting to see Draco in a dress and made to look like a woman. I offered to do his makeup, but he said that he didn’t want to look like a clown.”
The female laughed, and Harry knew the voice then. It was Hermione.
“Clowns are scary.”
“Yes, they are. Muggles have created a very scary thing when they made up clowns.”
“You said that Harry would wake up soon.”
“Yes, he will wake on his own. He’s been sleeping a natural sleep the last few hours. I spelled some potions into him to help with calories and such. His magic was pushing out the potion just as much as the draught was so he expelled a lot of magic, more than he has been used to over the past few years. Don’t worry about him, he will be fine. He will wake up when he’s ready and not a moment before.”
That voice was new, but Harry knew it. Spencer Reid. A tragic young man who was denied access to his soulmate for some reason or another. Harry wasn’t sure on the exact reason why. Hermione liked him, and he liked Hermione for who she was. That made Harry like him more than anyone else in the world. With Spencer, Hermione could get herself. She could be a book nerd and not be made fun of. Spencer had read most of the same books that Hermione had growing up, even if he was as Pure-blood and she a Muggle-born. Harry could understand, Magicals didn’t exactly make a lot of things like science-fiction or fantasy books, and it seemed that Spencer adored them.
“You awake, snake speaker?” a voice asked, and it was a new one.
“Sauron?” Spencer asked.
“Snake-speaker is awake. He thinks he hides it but he not.”
“Spencer?” Hermione asked.
“I’m sorry, Hermione I forgot that I had Sauron on me. He is my bonded familiar. Here you go. He’s a reticulated python, and he won’t bite you as long as you don’t hurt him.”
“He’s pretty.” Hermione laughed a little and Harry heard her move. “I forgot that you were a parselmouth. You came after the Chamber and the mess with it.”
“Sauron would have been helpful in that case. Would have understood what was causing the problems long before it became what it was. I heard that Harry didn’t realise what he was hearing. I taught myself parselmagic and the language that goes with it. My family only had a book on it because my mother’s family reads everything. He’s probably going to play asleep until we force him to admit that he’s awake.”
Harry opened his eyes to see a snake draped over Hermione’s shoulders with its head facing him.
“Can I visit him?” Sauron asked.
“Why are you asking me?” Spencer said with a smile on his face. Harry glanced at him and nodded, but he didn’t invite the snake over.
“Can I slide on your body, Lord Potter?”
Spencer snorted and reached out to flick at the tail of the snake. Harry nodded again, and the snake started to coil off of Hermione’s shoulders and onto the bed. Harry reached out and let Sauron smell his hand before it arched up to pet himself on it.
“He’s spent too much time around my young cats Curiosity and Midnight who don’t like the fact that Draco is moving out into his own home and therefore leaving so they are hiding from me right now. Sauron doesn’t like it that much either, but he’s being a better sport at it, but that’s why he acts like a cat when he’s getting petted.”
“He is very beautiful, and I can tell that he knows it. I remember hearing about him at school. Ron was not happy that he was allowed into the school, but I can understand after reading about familiars why you were not allowed to be separated from him.”
“I would have stayed home and taught myself everything if that had been the case. I don’t take him into work much, but he’s been acting weird for the past few days, so I brought him with me. I would love to figure out what is wrong with him. But enough about me, how do you feel?”
Harry scooted up on the bed and found that he didn’t feel weak like he usually did when waking up in an infirmary and he had little hope that he wasn’t in St. Mungo’s. He pushed himself to sit up and found that the room didn’t spin at all. Hell, he felt better than he had in a long time.
“I feel really good. I’m kind of shocked. I’m used to waking up feeling like shite when I am in an infirmary of some kind.”
“I’ve kept a close eye to make sure that your muscles got a little work every few hours and that you got enough calories into you.” Spencer stood up from his seat and sat down on the opposite side of the bed right at Harry’s hip. “I can be gentle, or I can be blunt.”
“I’ve used a time turner to work on the potion, and I was able to get it all of the way out of your body. You will be fine and have no issues with it in the long term. You were dosed with it for years. A little bit in your third year keyed to an unknown blood and then your fourth year with another blood, not nearly as strong as the later one. In your fifth year, you were given a stronger version of it then nothing for most of your sixth year until late. That blood was used from then on. So about three years for the current blood. However, the method of being given it was always the same according to magic while you were in Hogwarts and that was pumpkin juice. Lately, it’s been wine. The potion itself was clear, odourless, and tasteless. You never you were being given it. There was a brief period during what should have been your seventh year that you missed a few doses, but the thing is that those doses were from what I was able to figure out from the story from Hermione when Ron had been gone from your side and then after that.”
“I didn’t trust him that much then and didn’t take food or drink from him at all.”
“After the final battle, it was given to you again. I have tracked down the potion maker, and he’s in Knockturn Alley and is being arrested at this moment. There are three women he has been making the potion for. One is an out of towner so France will be dealing with that while the other two are here in London. The second, I cannot talk about until proof has been made that she has actually given it to her husband and he was not aware. Making a potion to make yourself fall in love with someone is not an illegal offence, so we have to be sure. Ginevra Weasley has been the one picking up the potion for the last two years, but before that, it was her mother. SO they will both be arrested. You are going to be kept here in St. Mungo’s but moved to a very secure but very posh ward until the seventh. Then you will be cleared to go back to training on the eighth. Your magical core took a hit because of this potion Harry, and we want to make sure that it’s responding the way that we want before you start training again. Dobby and Rael are both sleeping at the moment but will be waking up soon, and they will be taking care of your food. You are not to take food from anyone but them. Libby will be making it and giving it to one of them unless you have a restaurant that is not in England you want them to pick it up from.”
“No, no I trust your judgement on that, and I mean…you are the one that figured this out. How?”
“It’s a Lord’s secret, but I’ve been given permission to tell you that Molly Weasley, at the time Prewitt was caught with a love potion and a conception potion and her father made her marry Arthur Weasley as punishment. It was a magical marriage and love grew, but she wants more for her only daughter. The whole of the Weasley family is being suspected at this point and will go through Veritaserum interrogation. The older boy’s and Arthur’s jobs won’t be harmed if they have no part of it. I was the only concession that I could get. The Aurors have already picked up Fred and George, and they are submitting to an interrogation without a solicitor present, so I made sure that mine was there for them. Even though it’s kind of a conflict of interest, he will at least make sure that nothing they say that can incriminate them on another subject won’t be gone after unless they harmed someone. Boyles will be fair to them. In this case, Boyles is going with the fact that he will be representing the House of Potter in this.”
Harry leaned his head back on the bed and forgot that he had sat up but hadn’t moved the head of the bed up. He almost fell back before he could push his body back up. Spencer leaned up and moved the head of the bed with the runes on the side of it. Harry leaned back on it and looked at him.
“I didn’t even know that the Potter’s had a solicitor that they used.”
“The Boyles family has been in control of many Ancient and Noble families for many, many years. Hermione has told me that you don’t care as much for the number of years as you do just knowing it was a long time. Newt is the current head, and he is grooming his daughter to take over for him when he wants to retire. Draco and I have used him for a lot of things, and Hermione is finding that her ostracisation there is getting less.”
“Yes, well that I think has less to do with me and more to do with my friendship with you.”
“That it might be, but you are showing them that you deserve a chance with your briefs. Newt had me read a few. You’ll meet his daughter Xenia soon. She’s over in the Americas representing a young man who got into a little too much trouble when out drinking while on holiday. Now back to what we are here for. When the Aurors raided the potion shop we found that the owner kept meticulous records and as well as brewing the love potion for her, Ginny bought several doses of potions to help her conceive. Now I already did scans, and I know that you have never had sex, but there is the threat of what would be considered line theft so that will be added. Miss Weasley will be facing these charges no matter if you press charges or not. You have plenty of things that you can charge her with as well, and Hermione will go over those when you feel up to it. It’s going to take weeks to get all of the interviews and interrogations as well as the Wizengamot meetings. Those you will not be allowed in for, but you will be able to read everything when the case is final, and she is sentenced. You will be allowed to speak at her sentencing to ask for a lessened sentence or a stronger one.”
Harry rubbed the bridge of his nose and realised that he had no glasses on but he was able to see. He vowed to ask about that later. He didn’t know what he felt about Ginny and didn’t want to make a rash decision, but she had at least been potioning him for two years. Her mother and it seemed Ron had been doing it before that.
“I will not speak out in help of her and I will not in relation to Ron or Mrs. Weasley.”
“Ron will be charged?” Hermione asked, and she sounded upset about that.
“Probably. Harry was always small and thin. Mrs. Weasley might have convinced him it was health potions and that Harry would be too proud to take them on his own. We shall see. That’s why all of them will be interviewed.”
“This is a large cluster fuck,” Harry said.
“Harry James,” Hermione said.
Harry opened his eyes at looked at her, turning a little to face her. He stared like he was seeing her for the first time. There was something there that he had never noticed before. A pull that felt wrong and so right at the same time. He had never felt it before.
“You said that we each had a soulmate.”
“I intonated that. The full truth has come out to Hermione, and I was going to tell you depending on how you felt when you came out of your sleep. You do have a soulmate, a male one and a female one. That’s part of what tripped me up. Most love potions do not allow for any straying, but it seemed that no one realised that you were bisexual, so they put everything in the spell part into the opposite sex. They never allowed for wandering feelings. It’s why you flirted with me but also stopped yourself and were very upset at me for what you thought was me pushing in on Hermione. You knew that there was something about Hermione and you hated her with anyone else. If you three had been allowed to come together naturally, and by that I mean allowed to see each other as equals when you got to Hogwarts, and the other things in your life hadn’t made you enemies and everything else. You three probably would have bonded as a triad in your fifth year, sixth at the latest.”
“Really?” Harry asked. He hadn’t looked at anything on soulmates since Hermione had told him about it. He had seen her reading the books she bought on it after classes and her work at the firm and sometimes even reading while eating dinner. Harry wasn’t sure what to think at the moment. It was hard to. He wasn’t tired, but he kind of was.
“It’s a lot of information, I know this, Harry but you were worried about your soulmate before you went under the last time.”
“I was afraid that he would never accept me. I remember you asking about what I wanted. You know who our third is?”
“Yes, I do. He’s worried about you, and I told him everything that you told me to. He wrote you a letter but the spell I put on your eyes will fail soon, and I don’t want you to worry. So I’ll tell you that he was very upset over what has happened to you and he wants you to know that no matter what happens with this if it puts you off of a relationship, he will be happy being friends. He just wants you happy and healthy. Whatever you need as far as a mind healer to help with this, he will make sure you get it. Even if it means that he has to go overseas and kidnap someone.”
Harry laughed and settled a little further down on the bed.
“I don’t want to visit him in Azkaban.”
“That’s good. I’ll tell him that. I will say that he’s getting a home ready for all of you. He hopes that one day the two of you live with him, even if it’s as friends. There will be room for that. You will each have your own areas. There is a library that’s bigger than Hogwarts I think and a place where he is already planning a Quidditch pitch. He’s adding things for himself, don’t worry about that but your mate, he’s a romantic at heart even though he would probably force me to duel him if I said it in front of anyone else.”
“You know a romantic would be good because I have no clue really what to do. My Uncle wasn’t the most romantic at all.”
“Let’s say that whatever your uncle did, why don’t you do the opposite. I’ve looked into Vernon and Petunia Dursley,” Spencer said. He reached behind Harry’s head and straighten a pillow that was there. Harry felt his eyes getting tired even though they were shut. “He was not a good man.”
“No, he wasn’t…he’s dead?”
“No, he’s alive, but I don’t know how long he will be. He’s been in and out of the hospital with severe heart problems, and his son is no better. They do not think that he will live until thirty with the way things are going with him. Your uncle has had two heart surgeries so far in the past two years. It’s not going to go well, and then I think that your aunt is going to be all alone in the world.”
“I shouldn’t be happy about that, but they made me sleep in a cupboard until I got my Hogwarts letter.”
“A cupboard?” Hermione and Spencer asked at the same time.
“The one under the stairs. My cousin would jump up and down over it to wake me up when he was feeling up to it.”
“How about you sleep and we can talk about things like that over the next few days?” Hermione asked. Harry felt her settle on his bed and start to cover him up. Harry forced his eyes open to look at her. He reached up and brushed at her face.
“I remember in second year where I so worried about you. Then things got weird.” Harry smiled at Hermione, and she smiled back. “We can fix this right?”
“We can fix this, Harry. I’ll make sure that no one stops us.”
October 8, 2000
Draco stood at the edge of the room and looked out into it. He wasn’t sure what was going on that had most of the people talking in the room, but he knew that big stuff had happened overnight. Spencer had been pulled into something for the Wizengamot at two in the morning according to Tibby. Draco kept waiting for the call to pull him into it but nothing had happened yet.
The only thing that Draco knew from the short conversation that he and Spencer had was that the third lady who had bought the love potions from the brewer was not buying them and giving them to her husband with permission from him. It was going to be a cluster fuck, and Draco knew it. He just wanted to be there to watch as the Lords of the Wizengamot realised what their posturing on love potions has wrought. Draco had been taught by his mother that love potions were not the way to gain any form of a relationship. His father had been on the fence about them. Then the truth of Riddle’s birth came out. How Merope Gaunt had potioned a Muggle into a relationship that had created Tom Riddle.
Love potions were horrible and disgusting to Draco, even before his soulmate had been drugged with one. Draco would never touch someone who had been potioned, even if they had taken it of their own accord. He would rather not be in a relationship than be a slave to a potion to love the person. Draco knew that some male Pure-bloods did it so that they could have a stable and loving relationship for their child and some did it because they were raised to believe that they needed to marry a woman and they were gay. That was a disgusting thought of a whole other realm.
Draco knew that Harry and Hermione knew that they were mates and that they had a third. Draco wasn’t upset for Spencer’s slip of the tongue as it meant that Harry wasn’t pushing Hermione away, but Draco did agree with Spencer that at the moment since there was no prior true bond between Draco and Harry that staying away from telling him that he was the third was the best bet. Harry had too much dropped on him in the past few days. Harry had been talking to many inside the Ministry about what he remembered from around the time that he was first potioned right up until he was being potioned into loving Ginny.
Ron Weasley had been cleared of all charges because it was as Spencer thought, Ron had thought that he was helping Harry for being too proud. Ron had shared his memories of what happened during that time with great speed. Ron was also helping to search for his sister and his mother, both of who were in the wind. Someone in the ministry had alerted them both. Arthur Weasley was distraught that the women in his family had done what they had, but the proof against them made it hard to pass the behaviour off as anything else.
Harry and Hermione were sitting at a table by themselves in a corner area of the large room that was used to take breaks in. It was just a room full of a lot of tables and chairs. There was no sink, no fridge, nothing. The rest of the Aurors in training who were eating at the same time were spread out around Harry in a protective manner, and that made Draco feel better. However, the fact that no one had noticed him did not make him feel better. Draco gripped the Muggle lunch bag that Libby had packed for him to share with Harry and Hermione. Harry still wasn’t eating as well as Dobby, Rael, and the Healers wanted, but Draco was hoping that this would do better. He remembered a little of what Harry liked from Hogwarts, the meals that he ate more than others. There was also a slice each of Treacle Tart. That he knew was Harry’s favourite. Draco liked it, but it wasn’t a favourite, but he would eat it as many times a week as Harry wanted.
Draco straightened up and took three steps into the room before someone noticed him. The whispers went up in the room, and Draco ignored them. Harry and Hermione had their backs to the room but given that Neville was one of the people closest to them and was able to watch the whole room. As Draco turned around tables and made his end destination known, Neville stood up. Draco stopped beside him.
“What do you want?” Neville asked.
“I just want to talk to Potter about the legalities that are coming his way. Spencer asked me to.” Which wasn’t exactly a lie, Spencer had been prodding him to talk to Harry about the team of solicitors that were working Harry’s case as Draco knew them better than Hermione. Draco had just been fighting going to see them because he was afraid that once he did, he would never want to leave their side. Draco’s magic was focused on the bond so much that Draco knew that he was nesting of sorts. He wanted them with him, even if it wasn’t in the same bed.
“I’ll be watching you,” Neville said.
“I’m very well aware. I’ve wanted to talk to you, about our time in school. I am sorry for how I treated you and will make a formal, public apology if you would like.”
Neville narrowed his eyes at Draco for a few seconds before he nodded and held out his hand. Draco clasped it, and they shook hands. That only made the whispers around them pick up and when Draco glanced at Harry and Hermione, they were not looking at him or even looking around to see what had the room in a tizzy.
“I think that they think it’s all about them. The rumours of what happened to Harry have jumped up, and I think they are on post RIddle resurrection mode. Ignoring everything. Of course, once you sit down the whispers are not going to lessen at all. Look, he’s…”
“I’m not going to entice him into a fight at all. I even brought lunch and Treacle Tart.”
Neville’s eyes shot up, and he looked at Draco like he was seeing him for the first time.
“Luna has been saying that you’ve been a lot different when you visit her shop. She thought that the scene with you and your new Elf was adorable.” Neville turned to sit down, but he shifted a little to where he could watch the room and the table with his friends.
Draco nodded at him and turned to head toward where he had been aiming the whole time. Neither of his mates looked up at him as he walked behind them, so Draco stepped around the table to stand in front of them.
“Malfoy?” Harry asked as he leaned back and looked at Draco.
“May I join you for lunch?” Draco asked. He stayed still as Harry and Hermione both looked at him. He knew that he was the interloper. He was coming into a deep friendship that at least on Hermione’s side had blossomed into love. Harry had been too potioned to long to develop any feelings for anyone except for the Weasley chit. That Harry had been able to form a good friendship with her was astounding and showed how much they had been friends before he started to be potioned.
“Why?” Hermione asked she was looking at Draco like she was trying to read his mind.
“I come on behalf of Spencer and the Boyles law firm.”
Harry looked at Hermione, and they had a silent conversation that showed how deep that friendship was. Harry nodded and only then did Draco set down the bag of food. He pulled out the three containers of the casserole that Libby had made. He settled on in front of him and scooted the other two over towards Harry and Hermione.
“Libby made it, she was a little put out that both of you refused her food for lunch today.” Draco sat down and pulled out the sets of silverware that Libby had packed as well before he grabbed the bottle of juice. Hermione drank down whatever she had in her cup, and so did Harry. Draco cracked open the bottle and gave them both some. Draco pulled a cup out of the bag for himself.
“She’s been cooking for us for days,” Harry said.
“Yes, and she loves to cook. She does nothing else in the house but take care of the kitchen and cook. She’s only had the Elves and Spencer to cook for before I moved in with him. SHe adored adding me to the list and started to cycle in some of the things that I liked. She’s liked adding your two favourite meals.” Draco opened up the container with his food, and as soon as the smell started to waft out of it, Harry grabbed his and scooted it close so he could open it up. It was a simple Cottage Pie, but Draco found that he liked the simple foods after not having to eat with his parents. Spencer was simple in the food that he ate. As long as it was filling and it was warm, he didn’t care.
Hermione opened hers much more sedately. She picked up her as yet unused fork and took off a small bite of the pie. She smiled and pushed back the cold sandwich that had been her choice for lunch for the day. Draco knew it was from the shop down the block as Draco went there on occasion. It would be good for dinner that night if Libby didn’t get her way a second time.
“Libby is a very good cook,” Harry said.
“Spencer had her sent to learn from many chefs around the world. She will take little sabbaticals if she hears of someone else who she wants to learn from. I think that Spencer lost about a half a stone the last time she was gone for over two weeks. The other Elves do okay when she’s away, but she bullies Spencer into eating, and some of the others don’t watch him close enough. It’s interesting to see him being run roughshod over by a tiny Elf. Rael was good at it, but I think that had more to do with her love of arguing with Spencer and he with her more than anything else.”
“I noticed that when we were visiting Lady Diana,” Hermione said.
“Oh, yes. I’m sure that you did. Spencer told me that Rael was in fine form that day.” Draco had received a floo call about it. Spencer ha gripped with a smile on his face for ten minutes about Rael and Bast making him look like an unintelligent cad in front of Hermione and his mother. It was good for Spencer not to be someone that Hermione would put on a pedestal.
“He was most put out.”
Harry was picking at his food and Hermione pushed the container closer to him. He took up a bite and ate it, but Draco could see that he was still a great deal off. He hoped that Harry would be able to eat dessert. Draco kept that quiet as he started to tuck into his food.
“How are you feeling, Potter?” Draco asked, making sure to use his last name. Anything else would have shown more than Draco wanted. He could feel his magic swirling in a way that Draco had felt a lot of times as a child and teenager, but he never understood it. He assumed it was his hatred of the pair in front of him.
Harry didn’t drop his fork, but he did stare at Draco, just like Hermione had, looking like he was trying to read Draco’s mind.
“I’m still a lot off. hermione has me an appointment with a mind healer tonight after I am done with training.”
“How is training going?”
“The book stuff is hard, but at least it keeps my attention. The practical stuff is easy, but then I’ve never had an issue with that.” Harry shrugged like it was nothing.
“That’s good. My own training is going well. I’m a little afraid because the Goblins like me so much. I feel like one or two of them want to adopt me.” Draco was trying for sounding less like he had in school and more like himself, the side of himself that only Spencer had ever seen before.
“That is kind of scary.”
“Are we really going to sit here and do small talk?” Hermione asked as she stabbed her fork into the middle of the pie and left it standing up there. She was looking at Draco like she had in school when she never knew if he was going to attack her or not.
“Isn’t that a sign of growing up? Making small talk no matter who the other person is?” Draco asked.
Harry laughed, covering his mouth when Hermione glared at him.
“I figured that it would be better to make small talk while Potter eats and then talk about what I came here for after he’s done so that I don’t put him off of his food. The look of disappointment when I go back and have to tell Libby that he didn’t eat it all would upset me.”
“Doesn’t seem like Spencer is the only one who is Elf whipped,” Harry said before popping a large bite into his mouth. He chewed slow but no less enthusiastically as he did in school when it was food he liked.
“No. I’m sure that you did a few things like it for Dobby.”
“You would be right,” Harry said with a smile on his face.
“How is Dobby?”
“He’s good. Happy that he can do something for me finally. He and Rael are making short work of getting my flat up to the standards that they want. I’m not sure that my flat will ever be up to the standards that they want. I didn’t have an issue with my flat, but it seems that everyone else does. Spencer thinks that it’s a downside to the potion I was under that I didn’t care where I lived because nothing was making me happy anyway.”
“I can see that. I really can. If your life is not what you want, why be happy anywhere.”
Harry was looking at Draco with a contemplative look on his face, but he didn’t say anything about how Draco’s life could be horrible. Harry had seen what the Malfoy Manor had been like with Riddle and the Death Eaters there. Harry tucked into his food quickly, and Draco was shocked at how quick he could put away the food without looking like a pig at a trough. Draco ate his much slower and Hermione ate at the same pace as him. Harry finished his food before Draco was through half of his.
“So what does the law firm want you to tell me that Hermione can’t?” Harry asked, and he seemed to be more sure of himself at that moment. It took Draco’s breath away. This was the man who as a teen had got under Draco’s skin and Draco had never been able to figure out why.
“Hermione has never faced a trial of any kind, and I know that you had a mockery of one with your use of magic but this is very different. You won’t be on trial but will have to watch someone that while they potioned you, you had forced feelings for. You are used to people watching you, but this will be different.” Draco took a deep breath because he did want to make sure that Harry had everything that needed, it was what Magic asked of him, no matter the status of their bond.
Hermione watched as Harry stared at Malfoy as Malfoy picked at his food after saying what he did. She couldn’t figure out what Malfoy’s angle was. He wasn’t acting anything like he ever had in school and just like that day in the alley, Hermione was feeling out of sorts being close to him. SHe didn’t understand the feeling if it was her magic telling her to stay far away or get closer.
Draco Malfoy had aged into a handsomeness that the sneer on his face as a teen had hidden from anyone seeing. THere were no wrinkles on his face that told her that he smiled a lot. Harry had less of them as the years had gone on and Hermione blamed herself for never noticing that he was under a potion but with how long he had been under it, she could understand why. Molly Weasley had been good at what she did. It wasn’t that hard to understand though because, by the time that Ginny had gone to school, she had no one to care for at home during the school year, so she had a lot of time on her hands. With her and her daughter in the wind, the Ministry had opened up one of their special apparition points to Harry so that he could arrive and leave without using any of the public areas. Harry had done it when he arrived that morning and had sent Dobby to Hermione so that she knew that he had arrived at training just fine.
“It is a lot different, Harry,” Hermione offered as she looked at Malfoy. He was at ease, and Harry’s tone wasn’t upsetting him. She wondered if he took a calming draught before sitting down at their table. Hermione turned to look at Neville who had not sat with them, instead giving Hermione and Harry some privacy as they ate. Neville was watching the room more than their table, but he had moved to where he could watch the table.
“I know that it is and I know that the firm is worried about me trusting them, which I appreciate but why would they send you?”
“Spencer cares nothing for trials and only sits on them in the Wizengamot when he is called upon for his ability to read quickly and remember it all. That’s what he’s doing now. The other woman who bought the potions it seems was not doing it with her husband knowing which I figured anyway but there was the hope. She was a Half-blood, but I am not supposed to know that as Spencer was tired when he told me. She is going to face a lot of derision. Ginevra will face a lot as well, but the Pure-blood aspect will work in her favour. You being the Boy-Who-Lived and the Saviour will help you and given that it was such a good potion will make it hard for her to escape for what she did, she’s still Pure-blood. Your opinion will matter a great deal in what happens to her. If you turn you back on her, she will face a lot of problems. If you are of sound mind and support her, they might go easy on her.”
“I don’t want them to go easy on her. Hermione and I have been discussing what I want to say out and about with the press. The trial won’t happen until they find her according to Hermione. That’s not going to be good in her favour because while I used to not understand how to handle the press, one of the smaller classes we are given as part of Auror training is how to talk to the press. Hermione also found me a book wrote by one of your Great-Uncles, I think Draco. How to make the press think you like them but you hate them was the subtitle of it I think. I read that while I was confined to my room. I was allowed to get up and take a few walks a day but that was it.”
Hermione knew that Harry was worried about what the Prophet was going to say about him. Hermione was worried as well, but Newt had assured her that they were going to keep a tight rein on them this time around now that they weren’t under an injunction that stopped them from taking care of it all when Harry had been in school. Those files had been sent over, and Hermione had forwarded them on the Head Auror to make sure that something was done about it and something happened because of it. Harry didn’t care about money, but a printed apology would be nice.
“Newt also asked me to ask you if there was any property that she could be hiding at that you have access to. Dobby allowed Aurors into your flat after he made sure that it was clean enough. She hadn’t been around there for a while.”
“No, when she’s in town, we go out and eat and dance, and she had been trying to get me to move into a much better flat that she could live in as well. She tried to talk me into a ring on her finger and that once that ring was on there, no one would care that we were living together. I asked her once about going to the book. She convinced me that we knew that we were soulmates and that we didn’t need a book telling us. She used her time that she waited while I was on the run and in hiding as proof that she loved me more than anyone else in the world. I was stupid, but at least I wasn’t that stupid. I wasn’t moving in with her until we were married, which after I told her that, every weekend she asked about the ring I had picked out and that she expected a yule engagement as my present to her.”
“Merlin,” Malfoy said. He shook his head and picked up his drink to drain it. He frowned at it like he wanted it to be something else. “I can be a drama queen, but I would never demand a ring from someone.”
“She didn’t like the answer that I wasn’t going to offer her a ring until my training was done and I was settled into my life as an Auror. That’s still two or three years away. She’s just getting a job as a player on a Quidditch team; she didn’t need the burden of engagement either. In my head, it would better that way. I see now that it was just a way to get access to my money. That’s the only thing that she wanted besides what being my girlfriend got her in the way of publicity. I wasn’t a person to her, but a means to an end, and yes the mind healer I have been talking to is the one that helped me see that.”
“It’s a problem with money and fame that go hand in hand. I think that it’s part of why arranged marriages are so popular. You don’t have to worry about what they are after when someone has as much money at least as you and a set procedure that will happen if a divorce happens. Mother and Father’s marriage was arranged, but it was after they knew each other. Father’s former arrangement partner had died in a tragic accident with a few others when the spells on a building broke down, and they were crushed when father was fourteen. By then Father and Mother had known each other since they started at Hogwarts. When Grandfather asked about her hand, Mother was happy with it. What is it called…a perfect storm? Those two families marrying given how strong both of them were supporters of Riddle.” Malfoy looked upset, and he covered his arm where most Death Eaters were marked.
“I’ve only heard the rumours about how you weren’t marked.” Harry ventured, and Hermione was glad that he asked instead of her because she wanted to know.
“It’s a spell and a series of potions that allow a magical core to be broken enough to accept the enslavement to that monster. Spencer helped me by brewing a potion that acts like an allergy to the core ingredient that allows the magical core to be broken like that. It’s taken a week before the ceremony. I was forced to take it. As soon as it touched my tongue, it swelled, and I was unable to take more it. Nothing that Snape did to me or the potion allowed me to take it. I slipped away and never let myself be caught like that again. It saved my life, and it allowed my father to have a reason to have not done as Riddle wanted. Another Death Eater to be had the actual allergy in the last war and had died because Riddle had been unwilling to let a Healer see him. My mother was there, and it was impossible for her to let me die. I stayed with Spencer as much as possible from then on and never went back to the Manor even when father demanded it.”
“That was smart thinking on his part,” Hermione offered.
“Yes. It was. Thankfully, Riddle was beyond the baser things like rape. He liked torture, and I think that he got off on that instead. Spencer told me about Muggles like him.”
“He didn’t even have a cock,” Harry said.
“What?” Hermione and Malfoy asked at the same time.
“I saw him when he was reborn. I saw his body, and what it did and didn’t have. LIke you know a nose and a cock. I mean I am all for animagus forms and shit but turning myself into a creature that didn’t have a cock. Or if he did, it was like a snake’s, and well that’s not going anywhere without a lot of pain on a human’s part. Though if he got off on torture, I could see him doing that.”
“You are right,” Hermione said as she looked at her food and realised that it was gone. She was glad that they had not got to that topic while Harry had still been eating. “I am glad we did small talk first.”
Malfoy lifted the bottle of juice and poured what was left out between the three of them.
“There was Nagini,” Harry offered as Malfoy was taking a drink of his juice. Malfoy made a weird face and the raised up the napkin that had been in his lap and dotted at his mouth before swallowing.
“You did that on purpose!” Malfoy near yelled. It drew eyes to them but Malfoy was laughing, and Harry started after a few seconds. Hermione didn’t understand what they were talking about. She looked between the two of them, and they were laughing so hard that she wasn’t sure that they were breathing at all.
“What about Nagini?”
“Nagini was a snake, if Riddle had snake parts…” Harry grinned as he said it and like a lightbulb in Hermione’s head she got it. Hermione grabbed her napkin and wadded it up before tossing it at Harry.
“HARRY JAMES!” Hermione’s voice was shrill as her mind supplied that image that she was never going to be able to get rid of. Harry caught the napkin and flung it on the table between them. He looked entirely too amused with himself, so Hermione reached over slapped his arm. Harry caught her hand as it tried to leave and laid it on his arm. Hermione squeezed it and left it to lay there.
“I don’t think that I have laughed so hard in a long time. Thank you for that. I will have to make sure that Spencer has that image in his head as soon as possible. He will, of course, ask what we talked about, so it will be easy.” Malfoy looked almost delighted by that, but given Spencer’s knowledge base he had probably shared many things like it with Malfoy that Malfoy would rather never know.
Hermione realised that Malfoy was looking everywhere but at where her hand was on Harry. She wondered about that.
“Have you ever gone to the Book?”
“The Book? What book?” Malfoy’s tone was like ice. There was something more there, and Hermione almost backed off. Almost told him to not worry about it.
“There is only a single book that I know of that is powerful enough to be called THE Book. All capitals and all of that shite,” Harry said.
“I was told when I was young, three if you want to know that I had no soulmates.”
“How did they know that?” Harry asked. He leaned forward and looked very upset at that. “I thought that…oh, one of your family seers discussed it as some point didn’t they.”
“That is what my father told when I was three and then again every year on my birthday all the way until I was seventeen. It was drilled into my head over and over again.”
“Oh, Draco.” Hermione stood up from her seat and came around. She saw that he looked shocked when she pulled him into a hug. He was stiff throughout it all, but when Hermione didn’t pull back after the standard time, he wrapped his arm around her and patted at her back awkwardly. Hermione laughed a little and pulled back. She reached out and cupped the side of Draco’s face and kissed his opposite cheek. Draco blushed a little at that attention, but there was something in his eye when Hermione pulled all the way back. She wasn’t sure what that look was. She wanted to ask what it was but there was a hardness to that look, and while Malfoy was submitting to the closeness, Hermione realised that she had never done anything like that and really the last time that she had ever touched him, she had punched him.
Hermione stood up and moved back to sit down beside Harry who wasn’t looking as murderous as Hermione thought that he would.
Harry watched as Hermione forced Malfoy into a hug. The hug looked like it hurt Malfoy to give back with that weird pat on her back but it wasn’t painful like Malfoy was touching something that was disgusting but more that he was denying himself something more. Malfoy started to blush when Hermione kissed his cheek.
Hermione stood up and fled from Malfoy like she had burned herself and settled in at Harry’s side.
Harry wasn’t the best at knowing when someone was lying but there was something in Malfoy’s statement that was a lie. There was such pain in his eyes that Harry was pretty well certain that Lucius Malfoy had done what Malfoy said that he did. He could see the elder Malfoy being that cruel as to remind Draco every single year about what he did not have. There was something like hope on the edge of that pain in Malfoy’s eyes though. Like he had found out that it was false but the pain of the years was still there.
“I would assume that you ask because you know that you are mates?” Malfoy asked, looking at where Hermione had put her hand on Harry’s arm again.
“Yes. We have not gone to the book, but we have found through a very trustworthy source that we are mates as well as we have a third.”
“Oh, that’s…there hasn’t been a fated triad in a long time in England,” Malfoy said.
“Yes, I found that out in my research. I’ve been researching everything I can find on soulmates in Wizarding literature. The notion of it has lasted in the Muggle world even though magic has been hidden from them. There is no way to figure out if one is a soulmate or not, but it’s there.”
“It’s probably from Squibs who had gone into the Muggle world instead of living in a world that scorns them for their families failing,” Malfoy said.
“Failing?” Harry asked. He had heard Hermione’s thoughts on Squibs and how they were created.
“Some of the Noble and Ancient families breed themselves into extinction. While many of the older people in my family never figured it out it wasn’t that hard to see that it was the families that preferred inbreeding that produced the most Squibs. There are a few families that it’s not the case, but in those cases, I found that the mothers went through something traumatic when they were pregnant. I found that in many of the Squibs that were born just after the war ended. Longbottom had no chance of being a Squib even though he was close to it until his wand was snapped on accident after the war. The new wand that he has is quite powerful. I’ve seen him cast with it as Luna’s shop. I’ve already apologised to him for everything that I did to him while we were in school.”
Malfoy reached into the bag one more time and pulled out another container as well as three plates and three more clean forks. As soon as he opened the lid, Harry could smell the Treacle Tart and his mouth started to water. Malfoy passed the first piece to Harry with a smile. Harry nodded his head in thanks. The next piece was handed over to Hermione. Malfoy kept the last piece for himself, digging into it with a smile.
Harry watched Malfoy eat. It was very different than how Harry ate or even Hermione, and it was loads different from the way that Ron used to eat and probably still did. Harry hadn’t been around him so long that even the thought of watching him eat made Harry a little sick to his stomach. Harry pushed those thoughts away and thought about Malfoy.
When it was late at night, and Harry was having trouble sleeping, he thought about things that could have gone differently when he was younger. What touchstone events could have been turned to make his life very different. Not believing Ron and his way of thinking right off the bat would have been a big one. Malfoy had been a brat that day, but given what he had seen between the two families, either of them had been the best. It wasn’t until Harry’s third year that he realised how deep friendship went and how much it could blind someone to what was happening around them. Had he learned from the tale of Peter Pettigrew? No, he hadn’t. It wasn’t until Ron had left them in the forest that he had even realised how fickle Ron really was. Then he had accepted him back with open arms.
If left to their own devices, Spencer was pretty sure that Harry and Hermione would have been bonded before that point and the third part of their triad would be there as well. That was the most interesting part, what would have gone differently with someone besides Ron with them as they fought Riddle? It would have saved many lives probably. Hell, a lot of lives could probably have been saved if Harry had just shaken Malfoy’s and. Peter Pettigrew proved that all witches and wizards that went bad did not all come from Slytherin. Harry had allowed his prejudices to be shaped by the first two magical people that he interacted with for more than a few minutes. Malfoy had been his snotty self when he was in the robe shop, but Harry knew that he acted differently in public than he did in private even back then. He had learned to not act that way as time went on because someone was going to find fault in whatever he did.
“The Sorting Hat offered me a choice,” Harry said, musing. His two table mates looked at him. Hermione looked a little shocked while Malfoy just looked inquisitive. “Said I would do well in the other but I wanted to be with Ron and Hermione. Hermione was already in Gryffindor, and it was very evident looking out into the Gryffindor table that Ron was going to sort there as well. So I asked to be put there. I have to wonder how things would have gone if I was sorted into the other house.”
“You do well in learning but you are not a Ravenclaw, and I can’t see you in Hufflepuff.” Malfoy propped his head on his chin and smiled at Harry as if he got the message that Harry was saying.
“You are correct that it was Slytherin. I mean I did well in Gryffindor, but I have to wonder if I was in Slytherin and forced people to see them for who they are right then than how the people who had gone before were. Over half of them had nothing to do with the Final Battle on either side much like the rest of the school did. But if I had been there to stop the ones that did go over, over. I could have done a lot of good there. I could maybe have stopped Spencer from being picked on my Gryffindors instead of watching it happen and given a token protest. We were children, and we were stupid, and it’s so evident now but back then was a different story.”
“It would have been interesting to have you in SLytherin. I can see where Weasley’s prejudice against us had turned you off of them.”
“Hagrid didn’t help. He told me that every single witch and wizard to go bad came from Slytherin. I found out later that it wasn’t true. There were several Ravenclaw and a few from Hufflepuff that were found out to be Death Eaters. Then there is the big one, and that is Peter Pettigrew my parents best friend who turned against them and allowed them to be slaughter by his git of a Master. Maybe if I had allowed myself to feel ambition I would have actually done something to help those around me instead of just focusing on taking out Riddle.”
“Ambition is not bad as long as one allows oneself to rein it in. Ambition for ambition’s sake is the failing of my father. I want to do damned good in life, but that’s to show the world that you can be make a living as someone who serves the light and not be a big ponce.”
Harry grinned and dug down into his tart. He really liked this and knew that having access to it was going to be bad. Of course, he was still taking in a lot of calories to help fuel his activity as an Auror. His Healer would love to see him put on some more muscle and some more weight in general. Harry still wasn’t the greatest at eating large meals. It was hard to eat a lot to him, and he knew that a lot of it was mental.
Draco reached out and pushed half of his tart toward Harry with a grin. “I can’t eat another bite of it, but you seem to be enjoying yours. You can have mine.”
Harry nodded and pulled the plate close with his fork. Harry finished off his before staking Draco’s on top of the empty plate.
“You look less like a third world refugee now,” Draco said.
“I eat better now and dress a lot better.”
“You mean that you are allowed to eat more.”
Hermione gasped and looked at Draco with shock on her face, but Harry only glanced between them before looking at Draco.
“Wisdom comes with age, and unfortunately, that means that I missed a lot of shite when I was younger. I heard you asking to stay the summer after the first year. That you would give anything to stay. I didn’t understand it then, but after having Riddle invade the Manor, I understood then. I would have done anything not to go home the summer after Riddle came back to life in a body. Things were horrible enough before with Father trying to make a ghost happy but that summer and then the one after. It was hell on Earth, and I loved my parents. You’ve never spoken about where you lived but I heard Weasley talking about the bars on your window but passed it off as him telling a story for fame when we were younger, but recently I’ve started to think about everything. We thought we knew everything when we were younger, and then we were forced to see that we were children who were playing at doing the right thing and playing at being something that we were not, which was adults. I lay blame on that because the adults around us seemed not to care what we were doing or care about protecting us.”
“My letter from Hogwarts, the first one and the ones that came after that while we were still home were addressed to Harry Potter, Cupboard Under the Stairs, Number Four Privet Drive. You can’t tell me that no one knew. Even if the process was automated, the place changed as my uncle tried to get us away from it. Someone sent Hagrid to where he found me. No one looked at the places that I had been before? Dumbledore turned me into an instrument of war that had nothing to lose and everything to gain by making sure that I tried to die to save the world. Heroes always fall when the war is over, and everything is laid to bare, but no one cares until it’s over.” Harry knew that his outlook on it wasn’t the greatest but there was so much that could have gone better if he had been prepared for what was to come instead of left to be blind and deaf to it all.
“We were children but I still feel the need to apologize for everything that I did during our years at Hogwarts together. I was a child who had been raised at the hand of a cruel and an callus man but instead of making sure that I was nothing like him even though I hated what he was, I tried to become someone that he could or even would love. When that failed, I still acted out because, in my mind, you had a loving home. I read those books about you as a child and I thought that it was truthful, even though I had seen what you wore and how you looked. I also apologize for how I acted about Buckbeak, that what the of the Hippogriff, right?”
“My father was livid with what happened after that, but I think that it had more to do with Sirius Black escaping more than anything else.”
“I have him in a sanctuary after Sirius died. He didn’t take Sirius not being around well at all,” Harry admitted.
“That’s good. Anyway, I mean it. I’m sorry.” Draco was just looking at Harry as he said it.
“I am sorry for everything that I did as well. I would like to start fresh with everything with you.” Harry held out his hand, and Draco reached out to shake it. When Draco leaned back after letting go of Harry’s hand, Harry felt bereft somehow. He didn’t like it. He wanted to reach out again and retake hold of his hand.
Draco looked at Hermione next. He smiled at her and held out his hand. When she reached out, Draco turned his hand to take hold of her’s and raise it up to his mouth to kiss her knuckles.
“You are the brightest witch of our age, and you are going to make the world take notice and look at you. I listened to my father’s words, and I took them to heart, even after he started to be proven wrong, time and time again. You outperformed Pure-bloods and Half-bloods time and again. Harry is a Half-blood who does better at most spells for defence and offence than anyone else that I know, and really that is saying something. I learned because of you that being scared isn’t a bad thing because look what the three of you did every single time you got scared shitless. You showed me that being a Muggle-born wasn’t a badge of shame but a badge of honour because coming into a world that you never knew existed and trying to find your way in it is braver than anything I have ever done in my life. You, Hermione Jane Granger, are the Heroine of the Boy-Who-Lived’s story and never let anyone else tell you different.”
Hermione looked speechless, which was a feat that Harry hadn’t seen that often. Harry was speechless as well. He almost wanted to ask Draco for proof that he wasn’t one of the twins using Polyjuice, but he didn’t want to break the spell that was over them at that moment.
“I had to learn how to look at the world again because of you. I had to see the world through the eyes of everyone else around me and see what I needed to do to become the man that I needed to be. I hope that I never disappoint you or Harry ever again.”
Harry shifted in his seat because there was something very raw and honest about the way that he said that and Harry wasn’t sure what Draco meant by that. Draco kind of looked shocked that he said it. He grabbed his cup of juice and drained it before standing up. He bowed a little and left without anything that he had brought with him. His face was red like he was blushing and maybe even ashamed of what he said.
“Are we sure he wasn’t polyjuice?” Hermione asked under her breath beside Harry.
“I was thinking the same thing but the only people I could think that would do that are the twins and well…that Muggle lunch bag has Spencer’s name on it so I doubt that they broke into his Manor, given the rumors about what the outside of the Manor looks like and stole a lock of Draco’s hair as well a Muggle lunch bag of food that had my favorite dessert in it. I seriously doubt that either one of them did all of that.”
“Then he was being truthful?”
“We know that he changed some when he started to spend more time with Spencer and was different even after the end of the war. Maybe we are finally seeing Draco Malfoy instead of Draco, Son of Lucius Malfoy.” Harry looked where Draco had disappeared through kind of hoped that he came back. He really wanted to talk to him more, person to person instead of enemy to enemy like they had through school. Spencer portrayed a side of Draco that Harry had never seen before, except there in front of him just a minutes before. It was someone that Harry could see himself being friends with. Someone that he wanted to know.
Harry cast a few spells to make sure that no one could read his lips or hear what he said to Hermione unless they got right up to them.
“He was acting weird through the whole soulmate bit, Mi,” Harry said.
“He wasn’t lying.”
“No, but I think that maybe his father was lying to him. I think he knows that he has a soulmate out there and I think he knows who it is. He was refusing to look at your hand where you were touching me. I know that we have a third out there. Spencer told you that he found that through reading through some journals seized in the war. Do you think that Draco let anyone but him read those journals?”
“Harry, are you saying what I think you are saying?”
“Let’s not discuss that here. You go to work, and I’ll go to training and we can talk about it tonight at the flat. I don’t want to do anything unless we are sure.” Harry looked around because too many were interested in watching them. Harry was used to it but if Draco was their third. They needed to go to the book sooner rather than later and Harry would rather go as a triad then alone.
October 9, 2000
Draco settled into the couch in the living room of Spencer’s Manor. It was just after midnight, and that meant it was the weekend for real and Draco was looking forward to that. That meant that Spencer was going to be home at some point soon and be able to spend time with him. They had a lot to discuss. Draco felt like he had lived a year in the past week. The Wizengamot package on the trial for one Haley Brooks was massive, and Draco knew that it was mainly compiled by Spencer which would mean that he would want the break as well. The Wizengamot package on Ginevra Weasley was less but no less damning to her.
Lord Aaron Hotchner was holed up in his Manor and Draco was pretty sure that he wasn’t going to come out for a while. Ginevra Weasley’s potioning of Harry had been horrific and what she planned to do just as bad. After searching the Weasley house, Aurors had found a journal that dated back to just before she had started at Hogwarts. Molly Weasley had spoon fed her daughter stories of Harry throughout the year where she was not in Hogwarts, but Ron was. That had been horrific as after that Ginny has her mind set on marrying him. Harry though by his own admission when he had been interviewed had never looked at her as more than a sister. He had never really looked at her during the summer between second and third year when he stayed with the Weasley’s. The change had been slow and perfect because no one looked at Harry and Ginny as a couple as anything weird up until Spencer started to really look at them.
Draco closed his eyes and tossed the two briefs onto the coffee table before he settled back onto the couch and looked at the fire. Draco wanted the book thrown at both of them, but he wanted the book thrown at Haley Brooks more and that upset Draco. Ginevra had potioned Draco’s soulmate and robbed him of the chance to have maybe done something a great deal different if they had been allowed to come together on their own. Now Draco had a soulmate that was messed up in the head and hesitant with everyone.
Yet, Brooks had fucked with a man for many, many years and it was only when no maternal bond settled with the child that she and her then-husband had created that anyone looked at them. Jack Hotchner had nothing of her in him. There was no magic from her and Draco was pretty sure that if DNA tests were done there would be none of that as well. The divorce had been pushed through before the court case had been enacted and Hotchner had pushed her out of his house in all ways that were possible. Two women, one Pure-blood and one Half-blood, were on trial for the same thing, and Draco was going to make sure that no matter what they both faced the consequences of what they did.
“Master Draco,” Tibby said as he stepped up to stand at Draco’s legs between the coffee table and the couch. He looked very, very upset and that was strange because Tibby was usually very calm.”
“I am worried about Master Spence.”
“He’s just working a lot on some Wizengamot things. He’ll rest this weekend, I’ll make sure of it, and it’ll start when he gets home.”
“That’s the problem, I don’t think that he be coming home until the Wizengamot things are over with. The trial for that lady is Monday right?”
“Yes, Ginny Weasley will be on trial on Monday.”
“No, the other one. The Mean One.”
Draco looked at Tibby. The Elf was very upset, and Draco didn’t know how to calm him down, but he had no clue why he was worried about the Brooks trial more than the Weasley one. They were both happening Monday, but Draco figured that both would last at least two days each, so he had no clue which one was going to happen first. That meant that Tibby thought that Spencer was going to stay at the Ministry until Thursday.
“I’m sure that once the Weasley trial is over with, Spencer will come home.”
Tibby shook his head, and he reached up to grab his ear. Draco reached out just as Tibby dug his nails into his ear and made it start to bleed.
“Why are you hurting yourself?”
“Master Spencer make me promise never to tell, but Master Spence also tell me that if something is hurting him, I am allowed to tell secrets to you.”
“What secret are you holding in your head that you think is hurting Spencer?”
“Who his soulmate be.”
Draco looked at the Elf, and he felt like he had been punched in the gut. Spencer’s magic had been acting up, and the only reason that it would be doing that was something massive. Spencer’s floo call on the seventh in the evening had said that his magic was calming down finally and Sauron was done being a bitchy familiar. Tibby was more worried about the Brooks trial. The only reason that the little Hotchner boy had been born without his mother’s magic was because he had been conceived in a ritual when all other methods of becoming pregnant had failed. When she was given an exam, there was no reason why she should not have been able to conceive. Hotchner had been subjected to the same thing, and neither had issues. Spencer had offered the thought that since the child had not been wholly the woman’s, then Hotchner had to have a soulmate out there. Hotchner said that he had never gone to the book because she was in a relationship with Brooks from before he turned seventeen until that point.
Spencer knew that Hotchner had a soulmate. The only way that Spencer knew that was if it was in a journal from the war but he had not said that. He had offered the suggestion that maybe Hotchner had a soulmate.
“Lord Hotchner is Spencer’s soulmate?” Draco asked.
“YES!” Tibby nearly made himself fall with the strength of his word. Draco reached out to catch the Elf.
“Gods. Hotchner is fucked up too. The Mind Healer stated that he had been on too many versions of a love potion for too long before the newest one and that he was going to be a long time in getting his head on straight.”
“Just make sure that Spencer doesn’t work himself into the ground. Force him to sleep. I can’t do anything that won’t piss him off. You guys can get away with mothering him in a way that I can’t. Just…make sure that he remembers that I will be here for him.”
“Youse dealing with your mates. You know he won’t invade on that.”
“I think maybe my mates and I will have to invade his life when this is all said and done.” Draco reached out and rubbed his thumb on Tibby’s cheek. “Don’t worry about me. I have my Elves, and they can take care of me. You deal with him. Set up around the clock care on him. Make sure that he eats. You know what to do, it’s war schedule again.”
“Good thing Tibby keep that schedule huh?” Tibby grinned, and he looked a lot more settled. Draco reached up and murmured a healing spell on Tibby’s ear. “Thank you.”
“You are welcome. Go find someone else to relieve you and you get some sleep. I’ll be up most of the night now worrying about Spencer and my own mates. I’ll ask Libby for some of that nice herbal tea that Spencer likes.”
“Okay, Master Draco. You be good and sleep too.”
“I will when my mind lets me.”
Tibby popped out of the room, and Draco sighed before rubbing his face. Spencer had thought that his soulmate was happy in the relationship with his wife. He thought that Hotchner had made that choice on his own to be in that relationship.
Draco summed pen and paper and settled in to write a letter to the healer that had helped the both of them post-war. He had decided to say nothing because he didn’t want to make his soulmate hate him by seeming like he was trying to force Hotchner into a relationship with someone that he didn’t love. The bad blood between Sean Hotchner and Spencer didn’t help matters at all. Aaron Hotchner probably had some form of disdain for Spencer on that fact alone. Add in Spencer killing his father in the protection of his mother, and the fact that Spencer had been a Slytherin and the relationship was doomed before it even started.
“Magic provides my ass,” Draco said. It was the tenant that Draco had been raised on. That magic provided everything that a wizard or a witch needed. At the moment Draco kind of figured that magic didn’t provide so much as it fucked up lives.
Draco was torn between keeping up with what he had started the day before, by visiting Hermione and Harry when they had been at lunch together. He could back off, and nothing would seem out of place. He had never associated with them, and the visit could be precisely what it was. Draco didn’t have to do more. He had his castle, and nothing said that he had lived in it until things were more settled between him and his mates. He could stay with Spencer and Spencer wouldn’t care. Spencer was probably going to need him. Draco could be selfish and not care about Spencer, but it wasn’t in him to do it. He loved Spencer like a brother, or what he assumed he would feel for a brother. Neither of them had a sibling, so he wasn’t sure. Harry and Hermione had no siblings either. Nor did Luna or Neville. The only person that Draco was at least familiar enough was Weasley, and he was never going to ask him because the dynamics between that family was all over the map. Some of the friends that Draco had made at school had siblings, but Draco had seen them with them, and it was only the two Greengrass girls that were remotely friendly to each other.
The flare of the boundary wards told Draco that someone was approaching the property. Spencer had added Draco to the wards years before to where Draco didn’t feel weird knowing when someone was close. Draco pushed himself up and moved to the front door. There was a spell there that worked like a Muggle security camera and allowed him and Draco, and even the Elves to see who was coming down the primary entryway to the property. Draco touched it pushing his magic into it, and he saw Harry Potter and Hermione Granger walking with purpose to the front gates.
Paddy popped into existence beside Draco.
“What shall I tell them?”
“Tell them that the Lord of the Manor isn’t home and bitch that it’s after midnight.”
Draco pushed more magic into the spell, and he could hear the crunch of gravel as Harry and Hermione’s feet walked. Paddy appeared on the inside of the gate and Draco could see that he was glaring at them.
“What be your business here?” Paddy asked.
“We are here to visit,” Hermione said.
“Visitors come when it’s light out, and the food is on offer. Wizards with bad thoughts in their head come in the middle of the damned night and expect to be allowed in with no prior engagement. Unless you are on the run for your life? You don’t look you on the run for your life. Are you?”
“Um…No,” Harry said, looking at Hermione with a very perplexed look on his face. She looked equally as confused.
“Lord Reid not be home. If you wish to see him, make an appointment, and I am sure that he be glad to allow you inside. He might even break out the fine china, even if you are here now in the middle of the night.”
“I wasn’t aware that House Elves could be mean,” Harry said.
“Master Reid not make us any different than how we are. We allowed to be assholes to those who are uninvited and to those that show up outside of normal visiting hours. Be gone, and I won’t pop you into a lake.” Paddy turned around and started to talk back towards the Manor some.
“We are not here to see Spencer. We are here for Draco,” Hermione’s voice was calm as she said it.
“It’s night, normal people are asleep at night. Come back tomorrow.” Paddy waved his hand and Draco was pretty sure that when he pulled it down only his middle finger was there.
“We demand to see him!” Harry called out.
“You can make all the demands that you want but you not get in unless I allow it,” Paddy said as he turned around.
“We demand to know if he is our soulmate!” Harry yelled. Thankfully there were wards that were out past the actual boundary lines for the property that stopped anyone from hearing what was said at the gate. Draco wanted to slap himself in the head. He had tried to hard, but he had to have messed up somewhere during the day if they were confronting him. He should have guessed that they would confront him, they were Gryffindors through and through.
Draco apparated to just behind where Paddy was. “Thank you, Paddy. You are free to go now. I’ll take care of them.”
“Master Draco needs sleep!” Paddy cried out.
“Who is the Wizard and who is the Elf?” Draco asked.
“You be my Wizard as much as Master Spence is my Wizard, so you will do what I tell you if you wants a happy household!” Paddy near yelled, but he popped away.
Draco looked up at the pair at the gate.
“Sometimes I think that Spencer practically being raised by his Elves is the worst thing in the world, and then I see how they care for him and how they care for me, and I don’t think so. Still, they think they are the boss. You two can come through.”
“Spencer’s wards are strong,” Hermione said.
“Yes, well as soon as Spencer harvested your magical signatures they were added to his ward scheme so that you two could come and go as you please.”
Draco watched as Harry held his hand out and pushed at Hermione’s arm to stop her from walking forward. Hermione huffed but stayed still. Harry stepped forward, and Draco could feel the wards part and allow him in with no issue. Only once he was on the other side did Hermione start forward. Draco expected her to stop when she got even with Harry but she didn’t and the look on her face Draco had seen before. Right before she punched him. Draco flinched back, taking a few steps and raising his hands to protect his face. He kept his eyes closed, waiting to feel anything. He braced for the pain, and when nothing happened after what felt like several minutes, he lowered his hands just enough to look at Hermione. She was looking at him a little ashamed. Draco lowered his hands all the way, but he didn’t step closer to her.
“I guess I deserved that. I’m sorry that I punched you.”
“You were wearing the same look and well…” Draco shrugged and looked at Harry who looked like he wanted to do something but he wasn’t sure what and wasn’t sure what would be right to do. “Please, come in. Spencer is at the ministry getting ready for the Wizengamot trials. He’s not going to be home according to Tibby for days.”
“Why?” Harry and Hermione asked at the same time.
Draco looked at them both and cocked his head to the side to give himself a few seconds.
“He has kept the name of his soulmate a secret stating that he didn’t want to disrupt a life they were happy with. Even though he and the man are perfect for each other, Magic herself says so. Tonight his personal Elf came to me worried because he is afraid that he is going to run himself into the ground because of the trials. Miss Brooks wrote down everything in journals, he’s reading them all to have the DMLE ready for the trial. I think part of it is that he wants no one else to know what his mate went through.”
“Lord Hotchner is his soulmate?” Hermione asked.
“It would appear so. Or at least it’s the name that he gave his Elf, but I don’t see him lying about it and why he’s working so hard on this when technically he shouldn’t be. He figured out the potion and the cure or antidote for it. He should be done but the journals.” Draco inhaled and looked at Harry. “If you had been under Weasley’s pull for that long and she had detailed every single aspect of what she did to you in a journal, I would read it and let no one else know anything that they didn’t want to know.”
“Me, too,” Hermione said.
“Let’s not stand outside. I’m sure that we can scrounge up some tea and a snack. Libby is probably asleep, but I asked for a pot of herbal tea before you two arrived. We can head into the kitchen.”
“You know the outside of his Manor looks horrific up until you pass through the gates.”
“It’s kept young Witches and Wizards away from gawking or just trying to pull pranks and shite. Spencer spent a long time on what the Manor looks like outside of the wards.” Draco waved them forward and tried not to frown when Harry wrapped Hermione’s arm around his as they started forward. Draco turned on his heel and started forward. They were not added to the wards to where they could apparate. Draco looked at the walk they had and sighed. He didn’t want to go that far that late at night. “Do you mind if I do side-along with you? I really don’t want to walk that far.”
“Sure,” Harry said, and it sounded like he was very sure of his answer.
Draco started to turn, but instead, he felt Hermione wrap herself around him from one side and Harry the other. Draco felt his magic shiver at that. He closed his eyes because being as close as he was with being as tired as he was, he felt his cock start to fill a little. He would have to wank before he slept and he blamed it on the two that were wrapped around him.
“That felt good,” Hermione said.
“It’s our magic trying to blend to get to know each other. It’ll get stronger the longer we spend with each other.”
“It felt right when Harry said it and I couldn’t disagree. We talked it over and didn’t really register what time it was before he headed to where magic was pulling us to.”
“I wondered how you had found Spencer’s Manor. I can see that.”
“Do you have the journal here?” Hermione asked, and it took a few seconds of Draco thinking before he figured out that she was talking about his father’s journal. Draco nodded. “Can I see it?”
“Sure. We can head to the library where Spencer has them instead of the kitchen.”
Hermione watched Draco as he showed Harry around Spencer’s manor. It was huge, but it seemed right for Spencer. Hermione liked Spencer’s manor and hoped to live in something like it one day. Three of them living in a house seemed to be wrong. Personality wise, none of them was even close, but she could see where they would work together. If Harry was right and the Draco that had been in the public eye for the past two years was the real Draco, he was the most passionate of them. Hermione was passionate about righting wrongs, but she knew that she stuck to books and facts over feelings. Harry was still finding himself and being potioned for years didn’t help that at all.
Harry was going to take time to become who he was meant to be. Hermione wanted to see him happy, but that would take time, a lot of time, and she was going to be there for him. Hermione looked around the room that they had settled in, which was the kitchen. Their tea was long gone, and Draco was making them a new pot of it. He was a gracious host and answered all of Hermione’s questions without dodging unless it was something that Draco was unsure if Spencer wanted anyone else to know.
“So when can we go to the book?” Harry asked as he settled down on a stool that was on the other side of where Draco was in the middle of the kitchen. There was an island that made up the centre of the room that was strangely U-shaped. It fit for the kitchen and Hermione could see the Elves all working on things all around the whole of the work area. It was a nice little place. It was the kind of kitchen for a family and not a bachelor. Spencer though had a family in his Elves, the only people in his life to not let him down in some way shape or form, other than Draco.
“It’s available twenty-four hours a day and seven days a week. The Record Keeper, the Wizard who watches over the book is completely magical. Or he is now. He was a Wizard once, but after accepting his destiny as the one to watch over the Book, Magic changed him. Not much is known except for the fact that he could stay away for days, sleep an hour, and be fine for days more. There is no mass rush though so he cat naps from what I am to understand.”
“How do you know that?” Hermione asked as she took a seat that was between where Harry and where Draco was. She kind of figured that she was the balance between the two. Most would think that it would be Harry since he was, from a blood standpoint, between them but he was more volatile than Hermione and Draco was as well. There would be bumps, Hermione knew that. Draco had been raised very differently than Harry or Hermione. Yet there were aspects of Hermione’s life that were radically different than Draco or Harry. Harry never knew love. He had no knowledge base for what it felt like, what it looked like, or even what it acted like. The last time that he had felt love was the night that his parents died. Draco had a mother that loved him to the ends of the earth and a father that was abusive. Hermione had two loving parents who sacrificed everything to give what she wanted. They agreed to go into hiding to make sure that there was no one to use against her when she had gone off with Harry to track down the Horcruxes. Hermione had lied to everyone but Harry about that. She had not memory charmed them without their permission.
“Spencer went back last year on his birthday to talk to the Record Keeper. Spent a great deal of the day with him if I remember correctly. He will probably go again this year.”
“When? I would adore going with him.” Hermione never thought about that. Going and just talking to the man. The Record Keeper was probably lonely.
“Um.” Draco looked away from Hermione as he settled her new cup in front of her before handing Harry his. Draco slipped around the island to settle on the inside of it. “Any time today.”
“Today is Spencer’s birthday?” Harry asked.
“He doesn’t like to talk about it. He would rather just celebrate on Halloween and have a large party on that day. Given-” Draco trailed off and looked at Harry. “I am sure that he will very much understand you not coming to the party, Harry. It’s just us and the Elves so it’s not like you would be expected to be happy for the whole night if you did decide to come. It’s a good excuse to get rip-roaring drunk as well. At Hogwarts, we would hole up in his room, and we should spend all night just talking. Birthdays were hard for him. His father didn’t care to celebrate it, and his mother after so long under his father’s thumb had memory issues. She would forget if it were night or day much less remember her son’s birthday. The year before he went to Hogwarts she had the Elves celebrate it seven times because she thought that it was that day seven times.”
“You know that I don’t think that Lord Reid ever should have had a kid much less a wife. He sounds like he had no clue what he wanted out of life,” Harry said after he set his mug down from the first drink. “Spencer said that he was afraid of being able to control him and when he figured out that he couldn’t he started to control his mother instead because Spencer loved her and would do anything to make sure that she wasn’t hurt. It’s that kind of shit that makes me want to do sweeping reforms that no matter what every single burst of accidental magic for all teens and kids under the age of seventeen are investigated. I mean when a one-year-old is throwing a tantrum because they don’t get ice cream and want it, that’s different, but after a certain age, every single instance of accidental magic that I had was caused because of a reason. If someone had investigated what happened with me, I might have been pulled from the Dursley’s before it became what it was. Spencer’s home life would have been figured out. He went to the Aurors, he went to everyone that we are told to go to when we are in trouble and because he was a Pure-blood he was seen by those who were Half-blood or Muggle-born as a snot then after he was sorted Slytherin it was because he was a dark git. If anyone had actually looked at his claims and went to his house, I am sure that it would have been noticeable.”
“My father used words and actions but never violence with me. It’s just as painful and horrible.” Draco started to run his finger over the rim of his mug, just circles and circles while looking down at it. “We can do a lot more for children. I know that really we aren’t much more than young adults but what does it say about our world that what happened was allowed to happen to us because of what society thinks everyone is and not see them for who they are. We looked to those above us as children and look what it got us?”
“We have to make the changes with our generation. Do it with our kids and not allow anyone else to tell us that we are wrong,” Hermione said, and both of the men nodded their head.
“I don’t want to derail the talk, but I want to see the book, I need to see the book. I know that you showed us the journal Draco, and I trust it, but I…I’ve been led about by my nose for too long. I trust in what I feel there, but there is a part of my head that won’t let it go until I see it.”
“We can go now. Less chance of anyone seeing us. Really there isn’t going to be anyone else there.” Draco looked kind of nervous either about it or something else, Hermione wasn’t sure.
Hermione nodded and frowned at Draco for a few seconds before she stood up. She stepped around the island and leaned into him, half hugging him. Draco let out a surprised laughed but wrapped his arm around her shoulder to hold her there.
“I think that both of you are touch starved.”
“What’s touch starved?” Draco asked.
Hermione looked up at him. Draco looked thoroughly confused. Hermione looked at Harry who was looking at Draco confused.
“It’s when someone has never really been touched in a way that is good or touched at all really. The only time I was ever touched was when I was being dragged around by my aunt or uncle. Even after I came to Hogwarts, no one really touched me at all. The only person that touches me is Ginny, and now I can’t quit thinking about that.”
Hermione looked up at Draco, seeing that he had his thinking face on. She wasn’t shocked when he disengaged from her and started to walk towards the opening of the island. After a few steps, he pulled her along after him. Hermione followed along with him. He dropped her hand when he stepped around Harry. Harry turned on the stool that he was sitting on to look at the both of them.
“Can I touch you?” Draco asked.
Harry looked at Draco with a confused look on his face.
“Why are you asking?”
“Because it’s proper to ask when one is not married.” Draco was acting like it was the most normal thing in the world where it really wasn’t, not to Hermione and probably not to Harry. Hermione knew that no one in his Harry’s life had probably ever asked to touch him. It broke Hermione’s heart a little because she hadn’t let herself see it. He was as Draco called him Perfect Potter. He wasn’t a hero if he was being abused, not in Hermione’s eyes. She had no way of knowing what kind of life harry would have had if Dumbledore had found out. Dumbledore could have left him there with his abusive relatives and then things would have been worse. Look what he made sure happened to Spencer.
“I guess it’s okay.”
Draco looked at Hermione with a look of consternation on his face. Hermione smiled at him and then poked Harry in the ribs. He wiggled away from that poke and glared at Hermione.
“What was that for?”
“Because you are a prat. If you don’t want to be touched, say so. We are not trying to force you into anything Harry James. I think that Draco is doing it because he’s never really thought of himself as touch starved. He wants to see if I am right.”
“Then why isn’t he touching you?” Harry almost looked like a little kid as he crossed his arms over his chest and pouted a little. Draco sighed and stepped back, raising his hands. Harry’s face fell as Draco did. “Don’t.”
“Don’t what? Don’t go? Don’t touch you? What, Potter, what don’t you want me to do?” Draco asked.
Hermione heard the Potter in there, and she knew that Draco was getting defensive. Harry reached out, and instead of grabbing Draco’s hand he grabbed the front of Draco’s shirt and hauled him in. Draco lost his footing a little and ended up almost on top of Harry. Harry looked a little shocked, but he didn’t let go of Draco’s hand. Draco braced his hands on the counter on either side of Harry’s body. Draco leaned in, and it looked like he was going to kiss Harry, but instead, he dived to the side and just brushed his cheek against Harry’s.
“I am never going to touch you if it’s going to freak you out, Harry. Soulmates are precious, and I would rather cut off my own arm than to ever harm you. When you are ready, then I’ll touch. This is not a race, and there is no winner,” Draco whispered just loud enough for Hermione to hear it as well. “I will not turn away from you if you take months or even years to want my lips on yours. My body on yours. We are mates in soul, and all that really means is that we are going to be the best of friends, but even that needs a foundation.”
“I’m scared.” It sounded like it took everything in Harry to say that, to admit it.
“I know you are, Hermione and I are as well, but we are all scared of different things. Me and you, we’ve never had unconditional love, and it scares us. Hermione is afraid of losing what little she had built for herself if this doesn’t work out but I have a secret.”
“What?” Harry and Hermione asked at the same time.
“As long as we don’t fight this. As long as we are honest, we can be everything that each other needs.” Draco leaned up and touched Harry only enough to disengage harry’s hand from his shirt. “Let’s go. We can side along to the Alley’s point and go from there. Glamours won’t work inside the arch of the hall of the Book, but we can wear them up to there.”
“I’m ready,” Harry said.
“So am I.”
Hermione didn’t like to side along apparate, but she knew that with Spencer’s wards it was needed. They landed in the Alley, and she looked around. There were people around, a few of the shops were twenty-four-hour ones. No one paid them any attention even though Hermione was sure that someone at some point would recognise them and the three of them anywhere together would make the cover of the paper.
“Who is going to open the book?” Hermione asked.
“You can,” Harry said with a shrug.
Harry wanted this, Hermione knew but wondered if he was truly ready for it mentally. He was strong, but at the moment he was a little weak.
“What about Draco? He was the one denied the right by his father.”
“Oh, yeah. That’s fine.” Harry’s voice cracked a little, and Hermione knew that he was hanging on by a thread. She pointed to where she knew the entrance was, and they all three turned toward it.
Hermione was lost in her head a little when she saw a man exiting the ďoors that led out of the Hall of the Book. He looked utterly devastated and kind of familiar. Hermione turned to Draco, and she knew by the look of sorrow on his face that he knew who it was. She waited until the man had passed them before she stopped walking. Harry and Draco did as well.
“Who was that and what’s wrong with him?”
“That was Lord Aaron Hotchner.”
“Is he upset that Spencer is his soulmate?”
“No. He’s upset that Spencer denied him the right to know who he was two years ago. Soulmates can do that. He’s not ready. He needs to get his head on straight. Harry doesn’t have years and years of memories of being wholly in love with a woman. Years and years of what amounts to rape at the hands of the woman that he loved. He has a son that needs him and a life that he needs to figure out before he’s going to be ready to bring Spencer into his life. It’s going to hurt him for a little while, but the good news is that when Hotchner has a clear head, he will know that it’s not the truth of the relationship that caused Spencer to hide it. It was well documented where Spencer has been since this all came out. Hotchner will figure out that Spencer did it when Spencer thought that he was in love with the Brooks woman. Is it really the best thing for him? Only time will tell.”
Hermione looked back at where she could still see Hotchner walking in the Alley. There was too much heartbreak caused by it all. Too much of everything because two women wanted something that was not theirs to have and though that they deserved it. Only the trials would tell them the truth behind it all. Only time would tell if the both of them would ever be able to fully recover. There was little else to do at the moment.
Harry stepped forward and opened the doors to the Hall. He ushered Hermione in and then looked at Draco next. Draco nodded and stepped inside.
If the Record Keeper looked shocked to see them, he hid it well. Hermione let Draco and Harry bracket her on each side as they stepped under the arch.
“Welcome, Lords, Lady,” the Record Keeper said.
“I am not Lady.”
“In the eyes of Magic, you have been since you were born. Lady Potter-Malfoy. Though a woman such as you might choose to keep her maiden name for your job. I can see that, and I can see your husbands allowing it. However, it doesn’t change what is.”
Draco looked at the Record Keeper before he stepped up to stand in front of the book. He reached out, and his hand hovered over the book. Hermione stepped up behind him and laid her hand on her shoulder. Harry moved up to his other side and touched his arm. Draco opened the cover of the book, and the pages flipped to the middle. There is no preamble. No flowery words. Just a simple sentence that rushed through Hermione’s boy.
Draco Lucian Malfoy is promised to Harry James Potter and Hermione Jane Granger.
It stood to reason that Draco opening the book was why his name was first.
“I’m glad to finally see you all here. I expected Miss Hermione first and then Draco of course. I hoped that Lord Potter would show up as well.”
“Spencer said his name was in the middle of the book,” Draco said, and Hermione wasn’t sure what he meant by that.
“Yours is next to his,” The Record Keeper said.
“Spencer might not be in today. Just to warn you.”
“I can feel the upset in the world. Many bad things.”
Draco nodded, and Hermione squeezed his shoulder as she thought about it.They were going to need to get going to make sure that no one did see them.
Harry felt weird as they landed inside of the wards on Spencer’s property. He expected to see the Manor in front of them, but instead, they were in the middle of nowhere with a tree in front of them.
“This is Erebor. There are three other trees that mark the edge of the grounds. Five more feet on the other side and we are out of Spencer’s lands. The other three tree are Bree, Angmar, and Minas Tirith.” Draco touched the tree that besides him and the glow of magic was easy to see.
“He likes series does he?” Harry asked.
“Yes. He does. His love of Muggle fiction is large, and I think it was so named because of Sauron. Tibby tells me the names came from the book and the direction that they are concerning the map. Erebor is the main one that you two need to know.”
“WHy?” Hermione asked.
“Because twelve feet away from it is a tree growing that will do the same thing for our property. We have the same amount of lands with a larger castle than the Manor. My Goblin, Spitehex, told me that the lands had belonged to twins at one point, so they are mirror images of each other. I found it nice. Later another bought our lands and built the castle. It’s a nice castle and very warm. Xibby and Jibby, my two Elves have been getting it ready to live in. The wards are all set, and things can be added or taken away as you wish but I figured that we are not going to get any sleep tonight so I might as well show you where for now I am going to live and I hope that you two will live with me one day.”
Harry waited for Draco to start walking before he followed the young man. Hermione tucked herself into Harry’s side, wrapping her arms around one of his and holding onto it tight. Harry felt the push on his magic as they crossed the wards and they were right in the middle of the awards. His skin felt like it was on fire, magic dancing over his nerves. It was interesting as he had never been between such strong wards before.
“I feel like I stuck my finger into a light socket,” Hermione whispered into Harry’s ear. Harry nodded his agreement.
Draco held out his hands to them, his back to the wards on his property. Harry reached out at the same time that Hermione did, and they were both pulled across the bounds much like with Spencer’s property the wards let them pass with no issue.
“The ward stone can be changed as soon as you both come inside and we can make sure that you can apparate across the lands as needed. Spencer will probably do the same once he’s home.”
“Are you sure that you don’t want to go to him?” Hermione asked.
“He hides himself away in knowledge when he can’t deal. If I try and force him to do anything he will go away for longer. He’ll come to me when he wants, let me hold him and cry himself to sleep on my shoulder. It’s what I did the day that he went to the book.”
Draco pulled them both to him before Harry felt the pull that said they were apparating again. Harry opened his eyes when they landed and looked at the castle. The stone of it was darker than most, almost black. It tried to blend into the black sky around it. He loved it already. They had landed just far enough back to where Harry and Hermione could just see all of the castle in its whole glory.
“The Elves have already started to discuss what they want to do. Feel free to call Rael and Dobby so that they know where they can find you today.”
Harry whispered Dobby’s name knowing that it would be all that the excitable little Elf would need to arrive. Dobby appeared with a pop that was a lot louder than it needed to be followed by Rael popping in silently. Harry had not got to talk to the Elf of Hermione’s that much.
“Why you here, Master Harry?” Draco asked.
“Because I asked him to be, Dobby,” Draco said. His voice shook a little, and Dobby turned around to look at Draco. Dobby frowned and looked at the castle behind him.
“That’s not Malfoy Manor.”
“No, this is my new place of living, and I hope that one day Harry and Hermione will live here with me.”
Dobby glared at Draco and stared like he was trying to figure him out. Dobby looked at Harry before looking back at Draco. Draco smiled as Dobby before he crouched down and held out a hand. Dobby stepped up to take that hand.
“Youse never should have sent Dobby away,” Dobby said.
“I know, but I had to protect you. Father was getting worse, and I knew that Harry would protect you, even if he wouldn’t know exactly what to do with you. I see that you are looking very good. He takes good care of you.”
“He no let Dobby cleans house. He keeps me busy with other families that need help while Dobby finds them help. I miss him.”
“Well, Dobby, he’s been sick for a while as you know and that was part of it. He didn’t trust Weasley with you and really neither would I.”
“Why you have them live with you?” Dobby asked turning again to look at Harry before he looked at Hermione as well. “Castle big but why stuff it with Miss Hermione and Master Harry?”
“Well Dobby, I think that it’s what soulmates do, but I’m not sure,” Harry said with a smile on his face. He stepped up behind Dobby and laid a hand on Dobby’s shoulder before looking at Draco. “And I don’t know. Even from the outside, I think that maybe this place would be lovely to live in instead of that old flat I’ve been in. Even if Rael cleaned it to look better than it was when I moved in. What do you think?”
“You live here, I come back to help you. You no living here alone. Where are we?” Dobby looked at Draco.
“East of Reid Manor. The wards on the castle and it’s land make it Unplottable, there is every form of Muggle repellant that can be bought on it as well as apparition and port key blocks. If someone who is not tied to the wards tries to get access, they are dumped into a cell in Gringotts and left there until the Goblins remember to check the cell.”
“Good. Master Harry need protections after what mean Weasel did to him. You protect him?” Dobby asked.
Dobby threw himself at Draco, hugging him before he stepped back and turned into Harry’s legs. Harry gripped the back of Dobby’s head.
“Xibby, Jibby, make sure that Dobby and Rael find the Elf quarters and you all four get some sleep. Tomorrow morning you four and work on getting the rooms set up for them. None of us is getting sleep tonight, so just the front room with the long couches will be used.”
“Yes, Sir,” one of the two Elves that Harry hadn’t even noticed were there said. He looked at them and could see a resemblance to the Elves that he had met of Spencer’s. Harry knew that Spencer’s Elves were helping with what they could. Draco had made sure that they both understood that really Spencer had too many Elves even as it was for a house that had just him and Draco in it so they spent time doing extra things and so helping with other things was nice.
“Where is the Elf Quarters?” Hermione asked as she started to walk towards the castle. Draco fell into step behind her and Harry followed behind him.
“Well, Xibby and Jibby didn’t like the ones that were already in the castle which amounted to a dungeon so the turret in the centre of the castle? That’s above the master bedroom fo the main wing. There are four other wings, but one was turned into a ballroom and other things for parties. So I took over that wing to allow you two to fight over the other two wings which are next to each other. Xibby had the Goblins help her set up the spire of the turret into nice quarters for them. Eight Elves can live in there with plenty of room, more if we get any bonded pairs of any of ours bond. Jibby also made sure that there was room for a nursery and two kids rooms. Those are in between the main wing and their rooms, proper protection for the young Elves when they are had. Someone would have to go through all of the other Elves or through our rooms to get to them.”
“Eights a lot but this place is huge.”
“And Qan has already taken over our gardens and declared them his. Spencer just laughed at him, but Qan does wonderful on Spencer’s garden. Libby has the kitchen well in hand. The other eight can focus on anything and every they thing else that they want. We will have to pick who we want to run the household, but that can come at any point.”
“Won’t Xibby or Jibby do it?” Harry asked.
“No. They don’t want the responsibility. Rael won’t want it either, so it’ll be either Dobby, or we will have to find someone else.”
Harry thought about Dobby having something to manage that wasn’t Harry’s everyday life and wondered if the Elf would like that. “I’ll ask him.”
“Good. So how do you feel about a tour?”
“Later?” Harry asked. He sighed and closed his eyes. “I’m too tired to run around. You said that the front room is or will be made up to sleep in tonight? Can we just lounge around?”
“Sure.” Draco waved them forward and then followed them into the castle.
Harry marvelled at the tapestries that were all over the walls in the foyer. It was a beautiful castle, and even the entryway made Harry feel at home. He felt more at home in this stupid castle than he had anywhere else in the world.
“I don’t want to sound like I am jumping the gun, but I do like this place. When can I move into my wing?” Harry knew that he was being slightly insane, but the protection that the castle could give was greater than the flat he had been living in. He had not wanted to buy a house or even a larger flat to live in because it would have meant that Ginny would want to move in but now he was free of her forever. Or he would be soon. As soon as the trials were done, Ginny would be gone in one-way shape or form.
“You can move in later today, I’m sure that the Elves will be glad to get your room ready for you as soon as possible. The other rooms and Teddy’s room will be a little longer.”
“He’s your Godson, and I would never deny you your right to visit him. I would love him to visit you here, even if you want to keep him away from me at first. He’s young and won’t understand some things. Mother visits him at her sister’s on occasion, and I have seen him twice now when Aunt Andromeda has brought him to mother’s. He’s darling and is good at changing his hair green. He likes to get it to match the drapes that I have in my room in mother’s flat.”
“Slytherin green?” Harry asked with a smile on his lips. Draco just grinned at him.
“Yes actually. I do like the colour green, but red has grown on me.” Draco waved his hand at a doorway. Harry slipped his arm around Hermione’s and escorted her into the room. It was decorated in light purples. Harry liked it because it made him feel calm. “I decorated this like a room that I stayed in with Spencer after the War. We went away to a weird as hell bed and breakfast that had something to do with cats in the States. One of the guests had written something about sat and forever am at work here. It looked a little weird like someone had changed what had been written there.”
“That makes no sense.”
“Yes, I told Spencer it looked like someone had written something about satanic forces, but he wouldn’t believe me.” Draco walked over toward the fireplace and sat down on the edge of it. Harry watched as Draco started to set logs into the fire before grabbing what looked like a Muggle lighter. There was a pile of paper and what looked like leaves in a basket. Draco grabbed a few of them and piled them at the base of the pile of logs that he made.
Hermione walked over to a large armchair and settled into it, tucking her feet up. The room had a chill, much like everything else in October in England. Harry walked over and found a blanket that he draped over her. Hermione smiled up at him. The fire started to crackle a little as the older logs on the bottom middle caught fire. With the help of the charms in the stones themselves, the fire caught a lot quicker than it would have. Harry was kind of shocked to see Draco starting the fire without magic at all.
It was one of the small changes that Draco had done to himself after the war and during it even. Draco had worked with Neville to protect who they could protect during their seventh year at Hogwarts.
“You told Spencer, Harry, to share many things with me that he never should have. I know what your status is as far as sex goes but I don’t care about it. I am not a virgin, and I never planned to stay that way past my sexual awakening. While Riddle was beyond acts like that, I never trusted my father’s friends. They were more depraved than he ever was. I fumbled my way through a night with a lovely Ravenclaw girl. If either of you wants to rid yourself of your virginity if you have it.” Draco looked up at Hermione when he said that before looking back at the flames that were jumping. “If you want it gone before we get serious, I don’t care. I don’t expect monogamy at all until we are all agreed and exclusive. I want your happiness more than I want anything else in the world.”
“You accepted us, word and deed, as soon as you saw the names. Even before seeing the book. Why?” Hermione asked.
“My family and my family magic are based on purity, and that purity will conquer. My father and his father took that to mean blood purity. The whole family has, but they took it a step further and joined a blood purist who was anything but a Pure-blood. From here on out, I choose that ti’s purity of heart and purity of magic. Any children that I have will learn that. I won’t forget the past that my family has done, but this is the change generation. This is the future that I want for my children. They won’t care about blood purity or worry about who they love. As long as the person they love is a good person I won’t care either.”
“The Potter motto is follow your heart. I found that out after the war. I found out a lot of things that were kept hidden from me while I was in Hogwarts. I agree that we have to be the change generation. The Wizarding world needs a wakeup call.” Harry reached down and ran his hand through Hermione’s hair before he settled down on the small couch that was facing Draco. Draco turned and settled with his back leaning on the stone wall that outlined the fireplace. He looked good there, and Harry liked looking. Harry knew that he was not ready for anything remotely intimate, but he liked looking at Draco. He liked looking at Hermione, too. It was different to want Hermione as something more than a friend. Hermione had been there through everything with Harry. She was the rock that Harry formed his life on, and now she was truly going to fully be that rock.
“There is a lot to change and a lot of it has to start with the laws.”
“There are a lot of them that I would love to see gone,” Draco said as he stretched his legs out on the hearth. “As society Muggle England lags behind every other country in the world. I would love to see our country getting into the times.”
“It’ll have to be kicking and screaming, but I think it can be done.” Hermione smiled.
October 11, 2000
Draco looked at his peers as he made his way through the Wizengamot chambers and into the main room. It was full up, and except for the Potter and Hotchner seats, Draco was sure that everyone else there would be there. There had not been a trial like this since Dumbledore’s posthumous trial where he was convicted. Draco was getting a lot of strange looks from people that never paid him much mind before. He knew that it was mostly to do with being worried about what he was going to vote. With Potter and Hotchner Houses abstaining and the Malfoy dislike of Potter well known, Draco was sure that many were going to think he would vote to not convict Weasley based on that alone.
“Draco,” Theo said as he stepped up to Draco and wrapped an arm around his. Their boxes were close to each other, so it made sense to walk up together. “Have you looked at the specifications of the making of the potion. The DMLE is not pulling our chain right?”
“No, Spencer is the one that broke it down. He is the one that figured out the whole cure and got Potter free of it.”
“Potter is in Auror training, I can see someone missing it on him, but Hotchner has been in the Auror program and before that other big deal shite, and he was missed? Hell, he’s been the leader of the Shadow Team, and none of them caught this crap?”
“You know that he’d been potioned since he was in Hogwarts. He went into the jobs potioned. The fact that no one has ever caught the potion use is more telling of other issues.”
“Spencer is friends with Potter. How is Potter doing?”
“Spencer hasn’t said. You know he is bound by oath to keep the secrets of patients just like Healers. He might not be one, but he was brought in on Potter’s treatment as well Hotchner’s.”
“What made the Auror’s decide to show the new trainees what reactions like that look like?”
“I know that a few months back there was a big hullabaloo because an Auror didn’t know what an allergy to a potion looked like. I figure that it’s all stemmed from that.” Draco disengaged from Theo’s arm as they arrived at his box. Theo said nothing but he nodded before heading towards his box. Draco settled into his box and activated the wards that would only allow family inside of it.
Draco had no clue what Harry or Hermine’s plans were. They had all discussed everything to death over the weekend, but Harry still wasn’t sure if he was to be there to see it all. To see the lie that had been his life plastered around for everyone to see. Draco hoped that there were some things that could be kept quiet. Harry already had too much of his life in the realm of public knowledge. It was stupid that the world thought that they were privy to everything in his life because he had been the one to take down Riddle. Draco was going to make it his job to make sure that it did stay that way. Their relationship was not going to be that fodder.
A note flashed into existence and landed softly in front of Draco. He looked around to see that it happened inside of every single box, if there was someone inside or not.
The trials of Haley Brooks and Ginevra Weasley will be taking place at the same time, as both of them have the same solicitor. Their actions will be judged separately, but all information about the cases will be presented at the same time. This is an effect to minimise your time presiding over the trial.
Draco looked up to see the faces of the rest of his comrades to see that many liked it. Draco wasn’t sure that he would, but he understood since the charges were nearly exactly the same this as the most expedient way to make sure that justice was served swiftly. Draco reached into his pocket and unshrunk the yellow pad of paper that he had snitched from spencer’s desk. He looked down where the Reid box was to find it empty. The Hotchner box was likewise empty. Draco didn’t know if Hotchner was going to be there to watch or just come in when he was called to give his testimony. Since the Ministry was putting forth all charges against Weasley, Harry did not have to provide a statement or have to be called as a witness.
Hermione and Draco had already talked to death the fact that Harry didn’t need to go if he doesn’t want to. He didn’t need to give Weasley any more fuel to torture him with it. Harry needed to do what was best for him and not what everyone else wanted him to do. The last that Draco had seen them, they were curled around each other in front of the fire in the front room. Harry had called it camping indoors, and Hermione had just giggled. They had not left the front room for long at all and in fact had only done so when what they wanted couldn’t be got from there. Even given the rocky start, it had been one of the better weekends in Draco’s life.
Harry wasn’t good with touch, but he at least would reach out and touch when he was near someone. Draco had found that he didn’t like being touched that much. Hermione said that it was part of the touch starved. His body, and probably even his magic, didn’t know how to react to it, so it felt wrong. Draco understood what she was talking about in theory, the only person real to touch him in years was his mother and Spencer. He and Spencer shared enough beds for Draco to realise that getting used to anyone else was going to take time. It made Draco happy in a small way; it meant that he had something to work on while Harry and Hermione did as well. It made the budding relationship feel more even. Like he was less of the stronger one, the better one if they all needed to do things to make this work.
A knock on the wall that separated his box from the one next to him. Draco pressed his hand on the wall, and a window opened up. Tiber Selwyn was frowning.
“Yes?” Draco didn’t like him much by the Selwyn family had stayed out of the war, outside of a single member. Instead, the family had packed up and headed to France after Riddle’s resurrection.
“Your little fuck friend is one of the ones who commissioned this whole affair. Where the fuck is he?”
“Lord Reid is probably with the Ministry solicitor working on his testimony for the method of extraction of the potion.”
“I want to talk to him about it.”
“You’ll have to take that up with him. I am not his keeper.”
“No but you are fucking him, and I demand that you make him talk to me.”
“I am not nor have I ever fucked him,” Draco said throwing the man’s crude word back at him. “You want to talk to him, you go up to him and talk.”
“He’s been ducking me and ignoring my demands.”
“I wonder why.” Draco slammed his hand onto the wood and smiled at the look of shock as the window closed. Draco locked down his box tighter to where the only thing he could hear was what was being said in the centre of the room and nothing else. Draco sighed because most of the Lords thought that Draco and Spencer were having sex. Lucius had thought it as well before his death. It wasn’t hard to understand their reasoning. They would never be friends with anyone that didn’t serve them in some way.
Draco settled in and let his eyes drift upwards. He settled his hands in his lap and felt the cool metal on his finger. H was used to his Malfoy ring and how it felt, but this was vastly different. He started to spin the mithril ring around. It had become a nervous habit already.
There was a loud commotion that drew Draco’s attention from the idiot in the next box to the front of the room. Harry and Hermione had arrived, and many people were trying to talk to them. Hermione had her determined face on, and she was making her way to the Lord and Ladies area of the Wizengamot room.
“I’m sorry you cannot go in there,” one of the Aurors stated.
“Who are you to stop me?” Hermione demanded. Harry was standing behind her, but his attention was elsewhere. Draco followed his line of sight to see that the was looking at where the Weasley family was sitting. Molly Weasley was not there as she had pled guilty and was already being transferred for her seven-year stint in Azkaban. Spencer had come and told them that before they read it in the paper. Draco knew that there was s small chance that Brooks and Weasley would get stints in the other jail that had been constructed after the war. For those who were deemed insane. Draco didn’t think that anyone could claim to be insane when they take something like what they were charged for to trial. There were records of the purchases going back years.
Spencer told them that Arthur and Molly had begged Ginny to take the plea deal that was offered. If for nothing else than the honour of the Weasley name. She had refused.
“I demand to see my daughter!” A man yelled from near where the Weasley family was. It drew Draco’ attention fully to him. Draco had no clue who the man was.
“Mister Brooks, settle down. You have been told time and again that you will be able to see her when the trial is over and not a moment before.” The Auror who spoke sounded like he had said it a million times already. The two women being charged had been kept from friends and family since they had been arrested. There was no direct contact because many suspects in the aftermath of the war had memories removed or were charmed for certain things and it was proven that someone who had visited them had done it. Draco had been livid had been a staunch supporter of it, even though it went against what his father was saying. It had been the first majorly public break between father and son.
“You will let me see my daughter or I will destroy this room!” Brooks yelled. There was a woman with him who looked like she was trying to calm him down. Draco didn’t know her, but she looked a lot like Haley Brooks and was too young to be her mother, so Draco assumed it was a sister of some kind. Brooks shoved the woman, and Draco stood up, ready to go down there and do something, but two other Aurors came up to push him down into a seat. His wand was taken from him, and Draco watched as the Aurors cast several spells on him. He was also silenced as Draco could see his mouth moving but no sound coming out.
“Stop,” the Auror with Hermione said. Draco spun his head around to look that way so quickly that he felt his neck protest a little. Draco stood up the rest of the way and was about to get out of his box when Hermione glared at the Auror.
“You have no reason to be rude to me, Auror Hopkirk. If I am allowed in, magic will let me in. If I am not, I will be blocked. You are here for the protection of the people in the building, and you cannot block me from going up there if I am allowed.” Hermione looked at the Auror like he was the most stupid man in the room which was saying a lot given Hermione’s thoughts of most of the men that Draco called his peers.
The Auror stepped aside and gave Hermione room to walk up. Harry stepped up and held out his arm for Hermione to take. Draco let himself down and made sure that his robe for the Wizengamot was covering the erection that was forming on him. He had never thought that Hermione eviscerating someone would be arousing but Draco wasn’t that shocked that it was happening, he just wished he hadn’t figured it out so early in their budding relationship. Going anywhere to give himself relief was out of the question.
Hermione and Harry started up the stairs and when Hermione was up on the level that the Potter and Malfoy boxes were on she stopped and looked down at the Auror with a smug look on her face. Draco watched everyone else as Harry bypassed his door and instead stepped up to Draco’s. Harry opened the door and ushered Hermione inside in front of him. Two seats were already behind Draco’s. Draco had never been surprised by the sentience of the magic that made up the Wizengamot chambers. Sometimes he thought that the magic of the room was more intelligent than the rest of the people that were inside.
Hermione looked straight ahead as she sat down in the chair that was behind Draco. The chairs were perfectly placed and upon a dais. Harry and herself were on either side of Draco so that their view was unrestricted. Hermione crossed her left leg over her right and sat with her back straight. She could feel everyone in the chamber’s eyes on them. She tried to ignore it. She had been the one to vote for this. Given that it was just her and harry voting they agreed that a split vote would mean them not going.
When Harry had said that he wanted to go just to show his face and to be a strong presence with Draco she had been shocked. It wasn’t hard to understand that Harry knew that he had to take control of how he was going to be seen from this point out. Hermione was proud of him even if his hand was shaking and she could feel how upset he was. The bond that Draco talked about forming between them was stronger than any of them thought that it was going to be. Harry had started to get really upset when Percy Weasley had started a stare down with him as soon as Harry had looked at the family. So far none of the Weasley’s had said a thing to Harry, for good or for ill, so no one knew how they felt in relation to Harry. Hermione was all for keeping all of them away from Harry until after the trial, but unless Harry stayed in the Malfoy or Potter box even during the breaks, someone was going to talk to him.
Draco turned in his seat and looked at Hermione, making her blush when his eyes raked over her form. Rael had helped Hermione find an outfit off the rack that would be perfect for her to wearing, knowing that she was going to be in the public eye. Hermione didn’t want to have anything with how she was presented become an issue for Draco or Harry at the moment. Later on, when things were more cemented, and they were right as a triad, Hermione didn’t care if someone hated what she wore or what she was wearing wasn’t the latest style. This was the public outing of their relationship, and it needed to be done correctly. With them sitting in Draco’s box there was already an assumption of what went on, but Hermione wondered who was going to be the first to actually ask.
“You are beautiful, you know that right?” Draco asked.
Hermione blushed even more and ducked her head down. Draco laughed and turned back around to look out into the people gathering. It was five minutes until the start time of the trials. Draco handed back a sheet of paper and Hermione read it before passing it on. That shocked Hermione that Ginny and the Brooks woman and their attorney were allowing it. It was strange, but Hermione wondered at thought process. Did one of them think that they would get a lighter sentence if the other were hated more? The justice system in Magical England was a little behind the times, but people like Draco, Neville, and Harry were trying to fix it with small changes. Harry was being downright Slytherin about it, and Hermione shouldn’t find that as amusing as she did.
The sounds in the room started to quiet down about a minute before the starting time, and Hermione felt herself starting to get nervous. Her palms started to get sweaty, and she wanted to cast a charm to dry them off, but only Draco could do magic inside the box, and it was limited to a few spells that were safety and comfort. Hermione focused on Draco to try and calm herself down. Draco was looking utterly bored, but Hermione knew that he was anything but that. He reached up to brush at his bottom lip and smiled at something. Hermione wondered if he was remembering the single kiss that they each had. Draco had Harry and Hermione kiss first, and Hermione’s magic had felt slightly out of control after that. Next, she kissed Draco, and her magic had turned even more chaotic. It was unlike anything else she had ever felt before.
Harry had been hesitant when he kissed Draco and when it was over, Harry had been silent for an hour. Which had put a pall on their festivities but neither Draco or Hermione pushed Harry for anything. Harry hadn’t left. He had not left the castle or even the room, but he watched. He watched Draco regale Hermione with stories about Spencer before she told him about some of the things she had done as a child. Draco was fascinated with Muggle Theme parks, and as soon as they felt comfortable enough, it was going to be one of their dates as a threesome.
“Welcome friends and colleagues. I’d say that it’s going to be a good day or even good days, but we all know that it’s not possible, not with what we are going to be discussing over the next few days. Today we are here for a single reason, to decide if Haley Brooks and Ginevra Weasley are guilty of using a love potion long term on two Peers. Lord Aaron Hotchner has declined his right to watch this trial and therefore will not be voting. Lord Harry Potter has abstained from voting as well, but it seems that he has decided to watch the trial.” The Chief Warlock looked around and settled his eyes on Harry. Hermione reached over and laid her hand on Harry’s leg. Harry gave a weak smile as he turned to look at Hermione.
The doors to the room opened, and Ginny and Haley Brooks were brought into the room. Hermione looked at Haley and wondered why she had done it. She knew that it would be brought forward, and everything explained, but Haley was beautiful, even looking gaunt and dressed in a simple set of black robes with metal handcuffs holding her hands together. Haley’s eyes moved around the room and settled on a box that was near where Harry’s was. She frowned and she looked pissed. It had to be the Hotchner box. Haley was upset that it was empty. Ginny looked around as well, and her eyes hardened when she was that the Potter box was empty. She continued looking around, and when her eyes landed on Draco, they widened in shock.
Draco was grinning and smirking at her. Hermione knew the instant that Ginny saw Harry behind Draco and then Hermione as well. Ginny looked pissed. She looked so upset that Hermione was sure that if her magic weren’t being suppressed there would be some form of accidental magic that was aimed right at Draco. It didn’t seem to be lost on her what Hermione and Harry being in the Malfoy box meant. Hermione was sure that Ginny had researched everything to do with Harry’s role as a peer. She had probably done it to make sure what she could and couldn’t get away with. The Auror escorting her in tried to pull her along to where she was going to sitting for the whole of the trial however she jerked in his hold and her mouth opened but nothing came out. She was spewing something, and nothing at all was heard. It was not lost on everyone there that she was yelling at either Harry, Draco, or Hermione or really all three of them. Hermione thanked whoever had cast a silencing charm on her.
The Auror finally got the upper hand by picking her up and throwing her over his shoulder and carrying her all the way to the chair where he dropped her with little care. As soon as she was in the chair, shackles appeared at her legs and held them against the legs of the chair. Ginny looked like she was fighting against the hold of the chair but was unable to win at all. Haley settled into the chair with no prompting from the Auror that was her guard. Hermione pitied those Aurors who had to be with the two women long term like they were. The Aurors took up their post directly behind their charges and nodded at the Chief Warlock.
“Normally, I would read the charges against Miss Weasley and Miss Brooks-”
“Mrs Hotchner, thank you,” a man at the table next to where Ginny and Haley were said as he stood up. The Chief Warlock looked at the man. He raised his eyebrow in askance. “She is contesting the dissolution of her marriage as you are well aware.”
“I understand that however as of this moment she is not married and she has no right to the name Hotchner as Lord Hotchner ritually removed her from his House. You have been told time and again that no matter the outcome of this trial, she is no longer nor will she ever be married to Lord Hotchner again. It is not the duty of the Wizengamot to force marriages between people, and as Lord Hotchner never wants to set eyes on her again, it will be hard for her to convince him to marry her unless she potions him again. From what I am to understand he has already made his will on being married again known. I think his words were that he would rather die than marry anyone ever again.”
Hermione looked around to find where Spencer was. He was in his box and that sort of shocked Hermione as she figured that he would be down with the witnesses that were going to be called. Spencer’s face was impassive, and there was nothing on it. Hermione had never seen a face so devoid of emotion before. Hermione looked at Draco but Draco was facing forward, and his body was stiff.
“As I was saying, normally I would read the charges whoever there is a small matter that I need to take care of before we start the trial.” The Chief Warlock turned where he was sitting and looked up at Malfoy box. “Why is Miss Granger in your box, Lord Malfoy? And why is Lord Potter not in his box?”
Draco leaned forward and steepled his hands in front of himself. He was glaring, even without seeing his face, Hermione could tell that.
“Before you became the Chief Warlock, no one questioned you when you brought your wife to watch trials with you, even though she barely got enough OWLs to be invited back for her sixth and seventh years.” Draco sounded exactly like he always had when in school, snotty and like talking to someone was beneath him. Hermione after years of hearing it directed at her shouldn’t find that as arousing as it was. She shifted in her seat to cross her legs the other way. She did not need to get aroused at all given what was going on, but it was happening, and she hoped that Draco cut short his flaying of the Chief Warlock for her own sanctity of mine if nothing else.
“It’s a totally different matter because she and I were married.”
“Yet, every single person in this room should understand what bringing Miss Granger, and Lord Potter means as these boxes are spelled to make sure that no one but who should be in there is allowed. I understand that deduction is beyond many of the Peers in this room, but it should be bloody damned obvious that if I have Lord Potter and Miss Granger in my box, that means we are married.”
There was nothing but silence in the room. Hermione was sure that someone was going to start yelling. Hermione smirked at the people that were watching them. Harry was still beside her, but she didn’t want to look at him. She didn’t want to show that she was worried about him. Hermione did look at Ginny who was jerking in her bonds and screaming at them.
“We were married this weekend in a private ceremony that was presided over by a Ministry ordained Minister. We were all three checked thoroughly for spells and potions. That memory will be available for anyone who wants to intrude where they are not wanted.”
“Lord Potter was recently released from a love potion, and he’s already marrying you and Miss Granger? You can understand why we would be upset and worried about that.”
“If you would like I will come down there and show the memory of our visit to the Book of Bound Souls,” Draco offered.
The three of them had discussed that before they had got married. Harry had been worried about exactly what the Chief Warlock was saying. Harry had been the one to ask what getting married before they were actually in love would do. Draco had stated that nothing would happen, but it would protect all of them from various manoeuvrings inside of the Wizengamot. It would stop all marriage contacts from being offered and would stop Harry from being flirted with. It would also make sure that Hermione was treated with more respect than she would normally be given. Hermione stated that it would also be a great big fuck you to nearly everyone. Hermione then pointed out that the state of their marriage bed was no one’s interest but their own. Of course, they had gone with a marriage ceremony that was legal and binding as soon it was done with no consummation needed. It had been from olden times when children were married to secure houses when deaths took adults out of power, and a married Lord of the House was needed. It would allow them to grow together and fall in love with no outside issues making them do something more stupid than to get married the same weekend as finding out that they were soulmates.
“Please do,” The Chief Warlock said.
Draco stood up, buttoning his waistcoat before closing his robe. He looked every inch the Lord that he was. Before he could make it to the door of the box a sound that was very close to thunder echoed through the chamber. Hermione looked down to see The Record Keeper standing there in the same robes he had been wearing when they had been in the chamber to see the book. The Record Keeper was looking at the Chief Warlock.
“Do you know who I am?” The Record Keeper asked.
“Yes,” the Chief Warlock spat at him.
“Still bitter over the fact that you have no soulmate? Your family never has because your love of money is greater than any love you could ever give another Witch or Wizard. Do not blame magic for your own failings.” The Record Keeper turned around to look at the people who were there for the trial. “Some of you have not come to visit me, but I am The Record Keeper for the Book of Bound Souls. I am here today to declare Draco Lucian Malfoy, Harry James Potter, and Hermione Jane Granger are soulmates. What magic had put together let no Witch or Wizard tear asunder.”
The Record Keeper left again with the clap of thunder. There was silence again. Draco sat back down, unbuttoning his waistcoat and draping his robe closing to either side of him. He was staring at the Chief Warlock.
“Ginevra Weasley is charged with one hundred and seventy-three counts of potioning a Wizard with a love potion, with attempted line theft, and with stealing three thousand galleons from Lord Harry Potter. Haley Brooks is charged with eight hundred and thirty-two counts of dosing a Wizard with a love potion, one thousand two hundred and seven counts of rape, attempted line theft, and theft of seventy-five thousand galleons from Lord Aaron Hotchner.”
Hermione felt like throwing up. She heard a chime and looked around to see what made it. The Chief Warlock nodded at a man.
“How exactly do we have such specific numbers on the counts of rape and potioning?”
“Lord Spencer Reid has spent the weekend reading over the journals. For Miss Weasley, the counts are lowered to reflect what we can actually count for, no matter if it was her or her brother who potioned him. For Miss Brooks, she kept detailed journals. From the little that I read every single time that she potioned him she had sex with him and later on more and more sex with him, and it was all documented. Lord Reid will be testifying as to what he read later.”
The man sat down, and the Chief Warlock looked like he was looking for anyone else to ask a question. Hermione wondered if there were spells that would make sure that she didn’t throw up. It would not look good for her to throw up.
The beginning of the trial was hellish to Harry. He had to listen as the details of the evidence collection and how it was all certified as well as Spencer giving his testimony on what he read and how he came to the numbers that he did for both cases. Harry was not shocked to find that Spencer had basically spent a month time turning to gather all of the evidence needed.
Draco’s hands on the arms of his chair got tighter and tighter, and Harry wondered why.
“Lord Reid, it’s stated here that you will be the only one with access to the journals of Haley Brooks, why is that?” Newt Boyles asked, who was acting as the Ministry solicitor for this. Harry was kind of glad of that. Newt was wonderful and perfect.
“Due to the intimate nature of what was contained in those journals, the DMLE is happy to keep it to where it’s not available for regular consumption.”
“Besides the fact that they wanted only a single person? I can read twenty thousand words and minute, and I have a perfect eidetic memory. I will be able to answer and tell you exactly word for word what Miss Brooks wrote about what she did from the first day that she started to keep the journals. Which was when she decided that she wanted Lord Aaron Hotchner for her spouse, no matter what he said about it until she was caught writing in the journal when Aurors entered the room that she had given birth in.”
Harry closed his eyes and rubbed at the bridge of his nose. Spencer would never be able to forget the abuse that his soulmate had taken at the hands of the woman that Hotchner had to have loved at some point to even start a relationship with her. Harry didn’t even have that. He had never liked Ginny that way. What both of the women had done to them was horrifying for various reasons. The length of how long that Hotchner had been under the potion and for Ginny what she was trying to do with it.
Spencer’s testimony turned from Brooks to Ginny and Harry wanted to not listen, but he had to. He had to listen to every single damned word because it was the only way that he could protect himself. The press wasn’t going to let this go. He would have to talk about it and relive it time and again so it would be better if he heard it all for himself instead of getting piecemeal from everyone else.
“What did you find out from the journal that Miss Weasley had kept while she was in Hogwarts?” Newt asked when the questioning turned from Ginny’s lawyer to him.
“That she has been in love with Lord Potter from the day that she met him when she was ten and he eleven. Which was all of ten minutes when Mrs Weasley helped Harry figure out how to get onto the train at King’s Cross. From then on she developed an obsession. When she was saved by him in the Chamber of Secrets the next year at Hogwarts, it cemented in her mind that the only reason that he had gone down there was to save her. Despite from what I have been told he could barely remember who she was and saw her like a younger sibling. That was also the year that Harry’s deep affection for then Miss Granger was noticed by Mrs Weasley.” Spencer never looked up at the stands, his focus always on who was asking him questions. Harry kind of envied him that. If it were Harry there, Harry would be looking at Draco or anyone else that was being talked about, but Spencer was entirely too damned good at ignoring everyone around him. It was kind of sad because it had to have been learned at Hogwarts.
“You knew though. How?” Newt asked.
“Because as much as I know that people with soulmates can fall in love with someone else, it’s rare if that person is right there. By fourth year, Lord Potter should have been trying to win Miss Granger’s affections. By the end of school, I would have expected that they would have been lovers. THere is also the fact that Ginevra Weasley could be Lily Potter’s daughter in looks. While I have issues with parents that this body knows well, I could never sleep with a man or a woman who looked like my parents as close as Ginevra does Lily Potter.”
“It’s kind of off-putting.”
“I know that there are some who are quite into that sort of thing but it’s not my kink at all. I’d actually not touch someone with a Death Eaters cut off cock if they looked that much like my mother.”
There were titters of laughter around the room. Harry cracked a smile, and he felt a little bit lighter about it all.
“You asked how I knew though and that’s answered in the journals of Lucius Malfoy. Draco had me reading over them for anything that he needed to know. There was a Seer in the Malfoy line that stated that Draco was the soulmate of the Potter heir and the brightest witch of the age. There is no other witch, and as Harry is the last of his line, he has to be the Potter Heir, so Draco’s soulmates were discovered. Lucius told Draco every single year from his third year up that he had no soulmates, according to a family Seer. Lucius did not want his son paired with Harry, and then just months after Miss Granger started at Hogwarts she was touted as the brightest witch of the age. It’s not hard to understand that he wouldn’t want his son with a Muggle-born. Not with his stance with Tom Riddle.”
“You used an accident in the Auror ranks to make sure that no one suspected what was going on with the flushing draughts that were given to Harry.”
“I had no clue what kind of backups that Ginevra had in place. It was a shock and meant that she couldn’t convince him to not go in that day. At that point, Harry had missed no training days, and there is a certain number allowed. Of course, the ones that he used this past week are not affecting him as it was an allowed absence since he couldn’t do magic and was weaker than anyone would like him to be to do training. He’s recovered well and is ready to begin work again, once the trial is over.”
“There is little that can be done to get her off isn’t there?” Newt asked with a grin.
“Oh, Ginevra Weasley is screwed. There are detailed records taken from the potion shop where she bought the potion, the new and the old version. She used Harry’s own money, which can be tracked as it was not spent by him. The Goblins did not like that Harry gave her such a free pass on using the money. He didn’t need it and didn’t miss what he gave her. She has never denied that she gave it to him just that she is a Pure-blood and therefore the laws shouldn’t apply to her. I think that she ranted that when she was finally brought in for all of the Ministry to hear. I only heard about it.”
Harry felt his body start to tense because he hadn’t fought the damned war to have the Pure-bloods be untouchable again. Harry jumped when he felt a hand on his knee where his hand was gripping tightly. Harry looked down at the hand and knew that it was Hermione. He followed the arm up to Hermione’s face and smiled at her. It felt good, and Harry knew that it was the bond wanting the touch of his mates. It calmed him though in ways that he never knew were possible. Another hand joined, and Harry looked up at Draco who was smiling at him softly. Harry covered Draco’s hands with his own and threaded their fingers together. Draco turned back around but kept his hand there until Harry let go when Spencer’s testimony was finished.
Harry knew that he was jumpy and that it would take a long while before he would feel up to having a relationship that was even and equal and everything that he truly wanted. He deserved to have a stable and good relationship after the hell that he had gone through in his life. Harry hated that he was so messed up that he couldn’t start to build a relationship like that from the beginning. His only solace was that Draco and Hermione could build that while he watched.
The thought of sex with Hermione was strange. He could feel that he wanted it when he was ready, but there was such a big part of him that still saw her as a sister, as a best friend. The change over would be strange, but Harry wanted it. He wanted to give his heart to his best friend because he knew that she would never do anything to hurt him. She was passionate, but she had got better at understanding what her intelligence could do to hurt people.
Harry and Hermione had grown up in so many ways during the war and at the end of it. Harry knew that he was more solid than he ever had been, even with the disconnect that he was feeling. That disconnect was gone though. He never wanted to feel it again. Ginny had tried to break him in so many ways, horrible ways that started with the potion and ended with his death when he no longer was needed. The joke would be on her though because the point where he was no longer needed was when she and he had a kid. As long as she was a mother to the Potter Heir no one would question what she did after he died. Though, she was never going to birth the Potter heir because magic stopped soulmates from betraying their loves in such a way. Hotchner and Brooks had a child but from what Harry had read in the details the child’s DNA and magic. The DNA had been a shock, but after it was found that magic could show DNA with the correct spells, which had been found out in the Department of Mysteries, it was being used a lot. Jack Hotchner was totally his father’s child. A clone of sorts. There was no magic inside of the child except for Hotchner’s and no DNA. Hermione had called him a clone.
There were witnesses after witnesses that were brought in by the defence and Harry tuned them out. He didn’t need to hear about how good he and Ginny were together from the mouth of someone who Harry had thought was a friend. Most were GInny’s actual friends, but Harry had thought that they were close as well. He wondered what kind of money Ginny offered them to sit on that stand and talk about how happy he had been with her even though there was no point in the relationship that he hadn’t been potioned into it with her.
Harry thought about Saturday and Sunday, just getting used to being around each other. They had all three taken a nap in the front room on Saturday morning after Libby had delivered breakfast to them and the food had put them to sleep. When Harry had woke up, he had felt a lot better than he had in years. Draco had been asleep in a chaise where he had dropped after they had eaten breakfast at the table that Paddy had conjured for them. It had disappeared as they left it and Harry wondered where it had come from. Hermione had taken the love seat, curled into a ball of sorts on it and that left the long couch for Harry. Draco had more height on him, but that chaise looked well used so when Draco settled onto it, Harry had said nothing.
They had woke up within minutes of each other with Harry waking first. He had just watched Draco and Hermione sleep for the few minutes there was between him waking and Draco waking up. Harry hadn’t protested when Spencer had a Healer take care of Harry’s eyesight. It was nice waking up without having to put on his glasses. Being able to see all the time was nice. After waking, Draco had just stretched in the chaise and looked around. He settled on Harry and smiled at him before they looked at Hermione. It was like she knew that they were looking at her and that was what woke her up. It was nice, and it was so different than anything else in his life.
Draco had slipped into his office in his wing for a little bit after they woke up. Harry and Hermione had split up and started to look around the castle. The wings were lovely, and Harry did like his, but he was drawn to the main one. The three bedrooms, as well as the master bedroom in the master wing, were perfect. It didn’t take but a look in each room to figure out whose room was whose. Hermione’s was in the middle with Draco’s on the left and Harry’s on the right. Draco’s room was in greens and Hermione’s in soft reds while Harry’s were black. He kind of liked it. The only way to get into the bedrooms was through the master bedroom which had a large bed dominating it in the centre. There was a small wall that the bed was pressed against that had shelves running up it. The three single rooms were connected to each other with Hermione’s room being the go-between for the two other rooms. It was a beautiful set-up, and Harry could see himself sleeping more in the main room than his single bedroom, but he could understand wanting a room that was close but not with the other two. It would give them time alone and time to just be without having to think about another person in the bed. Draco had chosen the perfect place to live.
That it was so close to Spencer’s a bonus. Draco worried about him a lot, and Harry could understand that, especially in the months to come. Spencer hadn’t processed what all of this meant for his soulmate. He would stop and think, and it would crush him. Harry had a few years under the thumb of the potion, but for Hotchner, it had been almost half of his life. That percent would drop the older he got, but it was still a significant portion of his life and would be forever. Harry wanted to be there for him, even if it was just making sure that Draco was there for him.
Lunch had been a simple and easy affair with them eating it in the kitchen. Libby had popped their food over to them to give them some time alone. The food had been simple burgers and chips but had tasted better than anything else that Harry had ever eaten, including the food at Hogwarts. Draco had bought a four-person bar table, including stools for a corner in the kitchen. They had set themselves up there to eat, and it had been really lovely. Moving around each other to get things like drink and napkins to eat with had been good. Touches on hips when passing behind each other or even just on the shoulder had been so different than anything that Harry had ever seen before. His uncle had never been touchy with his aunt, and in fact, it had been quite the opposite. His uncle gave his aunt a kiss when he left and when he came home, and there was no other affection given. Harry understood that it wasn’t normal was, but it didn’t help that it was the only real relationship she had ever seen. He didn’t count Molly and Arthur Weasley as Molly had ruled that relationship with a firm hand, probably in revenge for being forced into the marriage. Arthur was near subservient in that relationship.
Saturday dinner had gone just about the same. They talked about anything and everything. Sunday had dawned with rain and a soft thunderstorm. Spencer arrived just after brunch and Harry was still pretty damned sure that Draco had bullied him home.
The conversation that led up to the brunch had been about ways to protect themselves from everything that was going to be happening. Harry had been the one to ask about what would happen if they married. Draco had been unable to say that anything bad would happen but that it would seem really weird and he wouldn’t be shocked if they were going to have to submit that it wasn’t done with compulsions or potions. Spencer had offered to check all of that when he had been the one to stand up and marry them. He had been ordained as a minister for the Ministry just because the process had been fun just after he turned seventeen. Harry still found it funny that someone had become a Magical Minister just because it seemed fun.
“I call Harry Potter to the stand,” Ginny’s lawyer called out after his last witness was dismissed. Harry stood up and leaned over to press a simple kiss to Hermione’s lips before doing the same to Draco as he passed him. Harry had dressed himself in a suit that he had purchased after the war for all of the damned events he was invited to.
“Mr Potter,” the lawyer started.
“Lord Potter, please,” Harry said with a look at the man that was so nice. The man flushed and looked down at his notes. “I am the last Potter, so there is no question on if I am Lord or not. Even if I wasn’t, I am married to another Lord, and therefore the courtesy is given to me of that title. Just as Hermione is Lady Granger, she chose to keep her name so that it would be easier for her. Lady Hermione Potter-Malfoy is a mouthful and given that she has a lot of accolades under her name it made sense to keep it. Of course, in seriously formal settings she will be called that as I am Lord Potter-Malfoy, and so is Draco. I’ll forgive you for the faux pas now but I will not in the future.”
“Sorry, Lord Potter.”
“Like I said, you are forgiven, this time.” Harry crossed his right leg over his left and stared at the lawyer who looked like he was very nervous.
“Why did you feel the need to get married? So soon after being freed from a potion? One has to wonder if you were even clear of mind enough to consent to the marriage. Consummation would be impossible on consent front as from what I am to understand about potioning like this it’s generally considered bad form to have sex so close to being freed from a potion that you have lived under for as long as the Ministry is trying to say that you are.”
“Well, I guess then I will have to educate you on the marriage rite that we went under. There was no consummation. The rite was one of the older ones that were performed among young lords who needed to be married to be able to claim the right to be lord of their house before they were old enough to actually even want a spouse. The marriage is legal and binding. I always hoped that I had a soulmate. Ginny convinced me just after the war that she was my mate and I didn’t need a book telling me that we were. I went over the weekend even though I knew in my heart when Draco told me that he was my mate that he was telling the truth. I wanted to see it. I wanted to see my name in the most magical book in all of the world.
“As to the reason that I married them both so soon, it’s because I am afraid. No one wants to talk about it, but certain things are allotted to Lords of Houses that are married that are not allowed to others. Politically now Hermione and Draco both can shield me from what is to come. There is also the fact that a love potion won’t work on someone who is married. It’s stupid that I want it, but I feel better about this all. You’ve not been potioned or if you have been no one has figured it out. I was violated. My body, my magic, my mind. Everything that I have lived for the past four years has been an utter lie. If getting married to the two people who will love me for who I am and nothing more, nothing less, at some point in my life will protect me in ways that I’ve never had before, I’ll do it again and again. I was forced to live in the Muggle world every single summer as a child. With a family that hated me for who I was. Draco asked me Sunday after we married why I never feared Riddle and his Death Eaters and the truth is that I faced that kind of hatred when I had no ability to fight back. I was used to it. I had no reason to fear them because they are not any different than my Aunt and Uncle.”
“You aren’t afraid that they are both using you?”
“Using me for what? Draco has just as much money with me, even with his father attempting to ruin them financially but giving money hand over fist to Riddle. The Goblins have made sure that he’s set for life and so am I. Hermione has always had access to my money. I would have given her anything before marrying her or finding out that she was my soulmate. I was actually going to talk to her about getting a flat that was bigger with two bedrooms once she was done with her classes and was fully an intern at the Boyles firm. It would better for her than to have to go in and out of the Magical realm and back to her Muggle parent’s home. I was also not doing well at living alone and Ginny’s push for her and me to live together before we married made me feel like she wouldn’t do it if I had Hermione living with me.”
“Some would say that Ginny had right to want that. I mean you already stated that you cared more about Hermione’s happiness than Ginny’s.”
“Maybe if Ginny hadn’t tried to run my life the way that she wanted and actually listened to what I wanted I might have given a flying fuck about what she wanted.”
“Lord Potter,” the Chief Warlock said.
“Sorry, but Ginny wanted me to do what she wanted with my life and even under a potion I wasn’t going to do that. I am also greatly offended by the fact that it seems that it doesn’t matter that I was under a potion. I was not willing in the relationship. I was there under duress, and yet it seems like I am being treated like I’m a leper because I had a friend. I still don’t have any feelings for Hermione that are not friendly. Yes, my magic feels really good around her and other than the kiss when we were married and that kiss I gave her before I came down here, we have not kissed, made out, seen each other naked since the war, or had sex. I will never forsake friends for someone else. Hermione has stood with me for years. She’s done stupid shit because I knew that the adults in my life had no want to protect me. Ginny wasn’t there for most of it. Yes, she went into the Ministry with me in my fifth year, but she followed her brother during the Triwizard TOurnament in shunning me. I will not feel sorry because she is an entitled little brat who thought that she needed to potion someone to keep them. Even Death Eaters didn’t do that. Of course, they found spouses that were just as fucking dark as they were. Still, I’m sure that if Ginny had looked hard enough, she would have found someone who would love her for her but she wanted someone that didn’t want her, and she didn’t care about anything but herself in it all.”
“Ginny holds that you went down in the chamber for her.”
“I went down to save my friend’s sister and to save Hermione. In all truth, I went down because no one else it seemed gave two shites about what was going on. The adults in the school were saving face instead of telling anyone what was going on. Hermione figured out it was a Basilisk before any of the other students in the school. She tried to save herself from it but failed. Don’t get me started on Lockhart and how he even fucking got a job there. The whole school situation is more political than it is what is in the best interest of the school. Otherwise, no one would have cared about what was going on besides getting rid of the monster that was harming children in my second year. Dementors wouldn’t have been put there in my third. In my fourth, no one would have made me participate in the mockery that was the Tournament because I was underage.”
“No more questions.” Ginny’s lawyer sat down, and Newt stood up. He smiled at Harry who smiled back at him.
“You have had a trying week, Lord Potter. I’m glad that you have found something and someone who will protect you.”
“I find myself with friends now that I never knew I could have when in school. Spencer is a magicsend for me. He’s honest when he can be but doesn’t lie if he can’t answer something. He’s told me things about Draco that make me see him for who he is and not who he has had to be to save his own life because the Magical World doesn’t care about the home lives of children who they know are being abused. The fact that Death Eaters, no matter how they came about, can raise children in dark and disgusting homes with no one wondering how they come out that way is horrid. Hell, before me there was no orphanage for Magical kids to go to. Draco and Hermione are going to do everything they can to help me make sure that the Magical world is a place that we can be proud of.”