Lord of Darkness
Awakening & Punishment
***One day ownership will be mine... BUT IT IS NOT THIS DAY! ***
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The very first thing that Harry Potter noted, upon waking from his coma-like state, was that the mental restraints he had placed upon his passive Magic had evaporated. For a second his heart clenched in concern, he knew exactly how protective, and therefore aggressive, his defenses could become even towards those he cared about.
What if something had happened? What if someone close to him had been hurt, or even killed? Instinctively he reigned back his powers, reapplying the chains that kept his Magic from lashing out at anyone even attempting to harm him. Next, he extended his senses to locate those whose presence he had long since memorized.
His link to Hedwig was still active, albeit locked off from his side, and she was unharmed as far as he could tell. The teen could also detect Luna, Hermione, Ginny, Fleur, Gabrielle, Tonks, and both of his godfathers within a relatively close distance.
No blood on the walls meant that Dumbledore hadn't been foolish enough to attempt an attack.
The boy-who-lived took a slow breath, calming his heart rate back to normal levels and quieting his mind. Everyone seemed okay, which meant on to the next order of business. His internal clock was clearly off, which meant he would need to reset that at the next opportunity. Gently flexing his muscles one by one the raven-haired boy found that although he was still rather sore his limbs were all still attached, and he lacked any serious injuries.
One of the few doors to his room softly opened as a woman entered, her eyes widening slightly in surprise as she noticed the conscious bed occupant. A few quick strides and she was at his side, checking his pulse.
"How are you feeling?"
Swallowing he replied in a low, raspy, voice, "A bit sore still, and hungry. It feels like I have been asleep for…"
Nearby he heard a gasp, followed by a crash and then a yelp of pain, which was further followed by a string of curses and profanities before his godfather slammed open the door to what the boy could only assume was an attached bathroom, based upon the fact that the man still had toilet paper stuck to his shoe.
"H-Harry!" The man practically leapt at the bed where his godson was still lying, only to find himself floating in mid-air courtesy of his cousin's Wand.
The woman, now with a disapproving frown on her face, merely shook her head, "He is still recovering Sirius, that means you can't jump on the poor boy."
Her frown deepened, and the man gulped slightly in concern, "How about you go and inform the others he is awake… and then wait outside. I need to check him over to ensure he can deal with the stress and excitement of a room full of people before exposing him to that."
Sirius Black nodded before being lowered to the ground and moving towards the door. Once there he paused, glancing back before giving the teen another smile, "I'm glad you're awake again Harry, we are going to have a talk about all this but for now just work on getting better." With that he left, closing the door gently behind him.
"So, you must be Andromeda Tonks?"
The woman nodded, before glancing down at her Wand, "Is there any chance I could…"
A sigh escaped the boy's lips, "Yes, go ahead. Sorry if I scared or… hurt anyone."
Shaking her head, the woman began a few diagnostic Charms, "It wasn't your fault; besides you didn't harm any of us anyway. Your friend Hedwig gave us enough of a warning even if your Magic didn't." Another minute passed before she picked up a piece of parchment that held the information. "Seems you are healing quite well. Still signs of mild malnutrition but that is to be expected considering you haven't really eaten since you went under. I will make up some nutrition Potions for you to take until you can handle solid foods again. If you were to try now your stomach would probably reject them. There are a few more restrictions we need to go over still but…"
She trailed off, glancing over to where he heard the excited whispering from just outside of the door.
Letting out a sigh, and giving a shake of her head, she turned back to the parchment in hand. "Stress levels seem fairly normal. Do you feel up for visitors? We will be keeping and physical contact to a minimum but…"
He gave a nod and she began walking to the door, only halting when he gently called out to her, "How do you feel about your daughter's relationship with me?"
Andromeda Tonks paused, before glancing back to him in confusion, "Why ask me? Nymphadora is an adult and surely…"
"Besides Ginny's parents I have never really had a conversation with the mother or father to one of the girls I am sharing a bed with. Even then, the Weasley's never really had a talk with me about it. I am curious as to how you feel about the situation."
The older witch turned before making her way back to the bed and gently sitting down at the edge, "I am not necessarily thrilled with the idea of my daughter being in a polygamous relationship… but I also know how good it has been for her overall. She has made some very poor choices in men over the years, many who saw her as nothing more than an exotic trophy. I know more than a few insisted she change her appearance anytime they went out in public… but as far as I know you never have. The way she talks about you… I just hope you understand what you are getting into Harry, these girls are going to fall in love with you if they haven't already."
"Yeah…" he whispered out, eyes dropping down to where his hands were rubbing gently against each other, "I know, and I'm not always sure what to do when it comes to them."
A gentle smile crossed her features, "And that is why I am okay with all of this. You still worry about doing your best and making them happy. Try and relax a bit Harry, let your guard down around them every once and a while. No one expects you to be perfect, they just want you to be... you."
With that she stood and went to the door, informing those on the other side to be calm and gentle, before letting them inside.
After over a half-hour of tears and joyful reunions the various adults, and teenagers, that were closest to the boy-who-lived, managed to cram themselves all into his temporary bedroom, with many of them standing along the walls, all waiting for the inevitable confrontation.
Sirius Black had been chosen, or demanded depending upon how one looked at the situation, to be the one to start the questioning. Thus, he went with the most obvious one first, "WHAT IN THE BLOODY HELL WERE YOU THINKING!?"
The teen, for his part, merely remained silent as his godfather continued his rant.
"GETTING YOURSELF HURT, ALMOST KILLED, JUST TO GET RID OF DUMBLEDORK!? YOU TELL ME THERE WASN'T ANOTHER WAY, YOU TELL ME RIGHT NOW THAT THERE WERE NO OTHER OPTIONS TO DO THIS!" He gulped in air, trying to catch his breath and prepare his vocal chords for another go.
"What Sirius is trying to say Cub is that you scared the hell out of us, and we just can't figure out why you did that." The Werewolf implied gently, trying to calm the mood enough to get a normal response from his godson.
The boy remained silent for a few moments, before choosing his response, "It is as I said, a Chess game. It was a calculated risk."
"CALCUL…" the Black Lord erupted, only for his best friend to gently grab his arm in an effort to force him to take another deep breath.
In the meantime, Snape took a turn to voice his mind, "If that is the case, then you are a rather poor player. Even beginners know that the goal is to take the King, not sacrifice it."
A small smile edged its way onto the teen's face, "If that is the case then perhaps you are the one who is a bad player professor. The goal in Chess is not to take the piece, but rather put it into jeopardy."
"Now you are arguing semantics Cub, they are one in the same."
Harry nodded, "True, however you are all making an assumption, you assume that Dumbledore and I are the 'Kings' of our respective sides of the board."
"Well, we do call you 'Lord' for a reason… my Lord…" Lucius noted, a small smile teasing at his lips.
"That is because you choose to do so. However, if you recall the King is not the most powerful piece on the board, just the most vulnerable. Dumbledore and I would be the Queens if anything."
Sirius had finally calmed himself enough to furrow his brow in confusion and ponder the statement, "Wait… but you said 'Checkmate' at the end of your battle, if it isn't you then who the hell is the King?"
"Not 'who' Padfoot, but what. The King is not a person, but an idea. It is the view of our morals and objectives. Tell me, which members of his 'Order of the Phoenix' will rally behind him now? Which Aurors will come to his aide? Who will offer him financial support? With one action I stopped a potential civil war from erupting."
"Then why not let someone else do it." The older Veela calmly intoned, "If it was this important but all you needed to do was let Albus Dumbledore nearly kill you then you could have chosen one of over a dozen others to take your place. A few sips of Polyjuice and it would be an easy disguise to maintain."
Harry turned to her next, "Tell me Fleur, would you rather have Dumbledore try and kill me or your sister?"
Her eyes widened in shock as she glanced over to where the younger sibling looked equally confused. "I-I don't know what that has to…"
"If Dumbledore found out it wasn't me, through any dozens of methods, there was chance he would go after someone else in order to lure me out. I would rather him fight me then someone who would have no chance of surviving. I believe we can all agree upon that?"
A lamp was thrown across the room, shattering against the wall and shifting the attention onto the former convict once more, "The hell we do! This isn't acceptable Harry, I can't… I won't let you throw your life away for some stupid plan! We are the ones who are supposed to die not you! It is my job! My job to be the one who sacrifices himself to protect you NOT THE OTHER BLOODY WAY AROUND!"
Silence filled the room, broken only by the deep, furious, breathing of the man.
"I am not going to apologize for saving your life…" Harry whispered, before staring back into the man's eyes, which were once again filling with anger. "I will, however, agree that I did not make the best choice. I should have informed you along with the others and discussed this before taking action and I apologize. I am used to doing things on my own and depending upon myself rather than others. I don't think it is too selfish to want a revolution without loss on our side though."
This seemed to deflate his godfather, who slumped back into his chair, allowing for the Malfoy Lord to speak up instead, "I think we can all agree upon that, but this is more than just a revolution, it is a war, and everyone here knows that there are casualties in war that cannot be avoided."
The emerald-eyed boy nodded, "I understand that, but is it so wrong to try and avoid as many of these as possible?"
"No Cub, it isn't but would it really be so terrible to let us help as well?"
He shook his head, "No… no it wouldn't be."
"Good, because you are grounded!" Sirius proclaimed, earning chuckles and more than a few eye rolls.
Harry, on the other hand, merely nodded in acceptance. "Very well, from what and for how long?"
"When you ground someone it generally means you are prohibiting them from doing something for a set amount of time Black…" Lucius replied with a note of humor in his voice.
"Uhhh oh yeah sure that's fair uhmm…." The Black Lord seemed at a bit of a loss, "Oh! I got it, no sex for…"
"AH HEM" Narcissa immediately interrupted with a sharp glare, forcing the man to cower back into his chair. "Perhaps dear cousin you misspoke, because clearly you are not suicidal enough to piss off more than half a dozen Witches, some of whom know where you sleep at night."
Reading between the lines Sirius cleared his throat, before shifting a bit uncomfortably under the glares he was now subject to. "Uh… yeah of course uhmm… well no Quidditch then until…"
"I don't actually play Quidditch."
The man paused, before biting his lip a bit in concentration, "Oh yeah… uhh… OH! I got it! No Magic, political, or leadership stuff for uhmm… well we will figure it out once you are able to stand and walk on your own."
Harry merely shrugged, "If that is your decision then I am fine with it."
"Good! Because I am your godfather and what I say goes!"
Snape, in the meantime, merely sighed a shook his head, "You do realize that means that we are stuck being in charge of everything until then correct?"
The Animorphmagus blinked a few times, before swearing under his breath once more.
Andromeda Tonks, formerly Black, let out a small sigh before packing up her remaining outfit into the travel trunk she had brought. "All good things must come to an end..." she muttered softly as she closed the compartment and began her walk to the door, only to be halted as the Malfoy matron practically walked into her.
"Andy, there you are I was..." the Witch halted, eyes glued to the case, "you're leaving?"
The older sister flinched, recoiling back a tad to avoid the guilt swelling in her stomach. "Harry woke up and I figured..."
"You figured that we only wanted you around because of that? Andromeda, neither Bellatrix nor I want you to leave. We were hoping you would stay longer, maybe even through the summer."
"I Just... didn't want to impose..."
The younger woman shook her head, "How many times do I need to tell you sister, you are never imposing. I lost most of my family years ago and I have finally gotten my cousin and two sisters back, I can't bear the thought of losing any of you again."
Nodding, her sister sat down the case and moved forward to bring her sibling into a hug, "You aren't going to lose me, I promise. Let's go find Bellatrix and have some tea okay?"
Harry Potter frowned slightly as the tension in his stomach increased. It had been a few minutes since the adults had vacated the room, leaving the most important females in his life, and yet none had spoken up. There had been no shouting, no anger, no threats just… silence.
Deep down he knew what he was worried about, as unlikely as the outcome might be. It was them choosing to leave, choosing to be hurt rather than angry and the logical option in such a situation would be to remove that source of pain from their lives.
"Harry…" Hedwig began, breaking the silence in a quiet tone. "We just… we want to know why. Why didn't you tell us? Why did you…" she shook her head, wiping away a few tears with the back of her hand.
"Do you hate us?" One could almost hear the snap as the bedridden boy's head shifted in the direction of the Weasley daughter, confusion evident on his face, "I mean… you chose to let Dumbledore almost kill you, why else would you do that if you didn't…"
He chose to interrupt at that point, "This world…" he began, "the one I am striving to make, to forge… it is a world of peace, of balance. One where people no longer need to live in fear of going out at dark, where parents do not need to live in terror when their child shows up a few minutes late, where hatred can be replaced with joy… I think we can all agree that such a world does not need those who would murder children in order to achieve such ends."
"You think… you think that you do not deserve this?" Fleur stuttered out, shaking her head in disbelief. "That you do not deserve to be happy?"
"I think that of everyone here I am the one who deserves it the least, not only because of my actions but what I am willing to do to achieve my goals. If you were an outsider looking in would you choose to save an innocent person or a mass murderer?"
Tonks slammed her fist against the wall, "BUT WE AREN'T!" After taking a few deep breaths the woman calmed herself to the point where she was no longer shouting in order to continue, "We aren't looking in you… you… stupid prat!"
"She is right Harry, it isn't that simple. We know you, both what you have done and what you were willing to do. We still stand with you. Doesn't that mean anything?" the Lovegood heiress whispered.
He nodded, "Of course it does, and I made certain to have backup plans should something happen to me that would ensure you would all be taken…"
"I DON'T CARE!" Luna practically screamed, earning shocked looks from the others, "I DON'T CARE ABOUT THAT! I DON'T CARE ABOUT MONEY OR POLITICS OR ANYTHING LIKE THAT! I JUST… I just want you. That's all any of us want…"
The injured teen's eyes swept the room, "Still? Even after all of this, after all the pain I have put you through…"
"Of course you dunce!" Tonks snapped, earning a nod from the others, "Do you really think we would abandon you so easily!?"
His expression softened, almost into one of sadness, "Maybe in a dream…"
None understood, save one. One that had been with him longer than any others, "Harry…" the white-haired girl whispered out, taking a step forward, "I… was it like last time?"
"With everyone else there as well…"
She bit back a sob, before slowly walking to his side and pulling his had gently into a hug, "We aren't going anywhere Harry, we aren't going to leave you, so stop trying to leave us."
"Did you… have a nightmare Harry?" Fleur gently inquired, receiving a nod from the former owl instead.
"We thought they were over a long time ago, but after all the injuries and everything else…"
The others began to move forward as well, taking spots on his bed to simply be closer to him.
"I'm sorry… I'm so sorry…" the boy practically whimpered out into the torso of the amber-eyed girl, who held him just a little closer.
A group of teenagers, along with two young adults, sat in a large circle in what had now become their unofficial 'meeting room'. All were silent, waiting for a certain bushy-haired Witch to finish skimming over the parchment she held in her hands and give them a summary. Harry had been bedridden for over a day now while conscious and, needless to say, everyone had been going a little stir crazy.
Andromeda Tonks had just finished another checkup, and dropped off some parchment to them before heading off in the direction of the boy's godparents.
"This… is going to make things a bit complicated…" she muttered, biting her lip in concentration and no small amount of stress.
"Well? Come on Hermione speak up! We can't all read over your shoulder."
The bookworm shot a mock-glare towards Tonks, who grinned cheekily back in response. "It is a list of restrictions finalized by your mother, and they are quite… thorough."
Fleur sighed before nodding, "Alright, let's just get this over with. How bad are they?"
"Not… awful but they are going to drive him nuts. No Magic except for healing and diagnostic purposes, no alcohol, no difficult to digest foods, no leaving bed, stress kept to an absolute minimum…"
Ginny cleared her throat nervously, "Does it uhm… say anything about… you know…"
Hermione lit up in a blush, "It doesn't explicitly say anything about not having sexual contact, but it does say that he should try and remain calm and rest as much as possible, to not push his limits, especially early on."
The former owl nodded with a sigh, "So yes Ginny, I do believe that means no sex, at least for a day or two. We want him to get better, I think we can hold off on stripping him naked to help speed that up."
Upon seeing the pouts on the other girls' faces she let out a far deeper sigh, "We will have plenty of time before he goes back to school and during the summer, although we should probably have someone start writing letters to the girls he has grown close to at Hogwarts."
"Make Draco do it, I am tired of him hogging Harry's time with stupid Quidditch score updates and whining about how unfair Umbridge was to him anyway." The older Gryffindor griped, earning nods of agreement. "What I am more concerned about is the bathing situation. He can't get out of bed on his own yet and we should not be using any Magic to levitate or help him. Harry has been lying in that bed for days now I can't imagine how gross he might feel."
Several nodded, and a few pointed out the possibility of a 'sponge bath' before a certain blonde Veela spoke up, "Actually…" Fleur noted with a gleam in her eyes as she looked at her younger sister, "I have an idea…"
A soft knocking earned the Potter heir's attention as he sat up in his bed and called out for them to enter. In walked the two French sisters, one of which had her gaze focused on the ground, with the occasional shy peek upwards to him.
"Fleur, Gabbie… is something wrong?"
The older of the two shook her head, "Not at all Harry, we were just discussing some of the restrictions that have been placed upon you by your doctor and how to help you with them. I think we have come up with a method of resolving your 'bathing' problem."
His eyebrow quirked upward slightly, "I wasn't aware I had a problem…"
Fleur flashed a smile, "You have been sitting in a bed for several days now, you are beginning to get a bit dirty, and that is where Gabbie comes in."
Based upon his, frighteningly large, knowledge of medicine the teen knew where the conversation was headed. "Despite not being allowed out of bed I assure you that I am fully capable of giving myself a sponge bath Fleur."
She nodded in turn, "Oh yes, we know. But after some discussion we decided that this would likely be rather inconvenient for you. Changing out water, and with all those hard to reach spots… instead the other girls and I came up with a far more practical solution."
"And that would be?"
The older blonde gave her sister a bit of a push, "Go on Gabbie, you were so eager to accept remember?"
If Harry didn't know better, he would have sworn that Gabrielle was related to Ginny in that moment, based upon the shade of red she blushed, but the girl moved forward regardless, reaching the bed before pulling back a corner of the covers and crawling under.
The teen was about to ask exactly what they were thinking when he felt a mouth begin kissing his unclad feet, followed by a pair of gentle, if eager, explorative hands.
"My sister volunteered to give you a bath herself… with her mouth and tongue. I will leave you two alone."
Nymphadora don't-call-me-that Tonks fought the grin that was forming on her face. It wasn't often that she got to see a look of trepidation, borderline fear, on Harry Potter's face, but when she did it was always in a rather humorous situation.
Of course, she knew very well that if the situation were reversed she would probably be more than a little scared but it was still funny to watch a teenage boy's widen in anxiety at the news that he was once again allowed to engage in sexual activity.
Now this in and of itself would probably not have raised many, if any, concerns. But, the fact that her mother had chosen to reveal such a fact while the room was full of hormonal teenage girls, along with her own two sisters, all of which had been forced to refrain from shagging the poor boy silly for the past week and a half, along with most of the school year, meant that the Wizard was now facing the equivalent of almost ten 'predators' all more than a little interested in sating their 'hunger' on him and his body.
He looked ready to bolt for the door, or perhaps break the rules and Magically escape, when the Metamorphmagus decided to step in before he forcibly stripped and pulled into a mass orgy. "Hold on there, just because my mom said he could have sex doesn't mean we can take advantage for the next week."
Tonks wasn't sure which was less surprising, the fact that Luna looked like someone had just kicked her puppy, or that Bellatrix looked like Christmas had been canceled. "As for Harry... you are all gonna have to wait, because I get first dibs according to the schedule, seeing as how it is my turn to take care of him tonight."
Now there were more than a few angry looks directed at her, while her mother gave a discreet wink. That single gesture threw her off balance for a moment, had her own parent been trying to hook her up?
The thought sent all sorts of emotions fluttering through her, both dread and a strange feeling of curiosity.
"I never thought I would be saying this but... thank you for stopping a room full of horny Witches from raping me Tonks." the boy-who-lived teased, earning a grin from the former Auror.
"Anytime my Lord, besides I wasn't lying when I said it is my turn to care for you, I figure that means everything from making sure you eat a proper dinner, to safeguarding your virtue."
The boy rolled his eyes, but smiled nonetheless, "So what did Dobby make tonight?"
Nymphadora grabbed a nearby tray and brought it over to set it up for him, "Oysters, pomegranates, cooked asparagus, celery, and chocolate."
The boy froze, blinking a few times in concentration, "Odd... aren't those all aphrodisiacs?"
A feral smile formed on her face, "They are, I saved you from a room full of women Harry, but that doesn't mean I don't plan on taking advantage of you myself for the rest of the evening..."
Harry Potter glanced up at the door as a knock sounded through his room, upon receiving his reply to enter the most important females in his life, and those closest to him in age, strode in, before shutting the door behind them, earning a curious quirking of his eyebrow. True, he had been expecting more demands of intimacy, but wouldn't have assumed that 'group sex' would be insisted upon so soon.
"Something I can help you with?"
Hedwig nodded first, "How are you feeling?"
Rolling his shoulders out a bit he twisted and turned his body a few more times before letting out a sigh, "Better, I won't be running any marathons for a few weeks, but I have been cleared to at least be walking by myself on the condition that I stay inside the mansion."
The bushy-haired Gryffindor nodded, "That's good to hear, we are glad you are recovering but there is something we need to talk to you about."
"And that would be?"
"Consequences Harry." Ginny answered, "we are going to talk about the consequences of your actions, of not including us, of how much you worried us."
Pausing, the emerald-eyed boy slowly nodded, "I understand, I did not mean to upset any of you, but I acknowledge that I did, I am sorry."
"We have made a list of rules that you will obey," Hermione noted, pulling out the sheet of parchment and handing it to him, "You need to understand how much you hurt us, and just like if we had done such a thing you need to be punished for it."
Harry blinked, before reading over the list and blinking again, "Not that I am arguing with any of you but… are you sure this is the correct list?"
"Very sure my Lord, we spent a lot of time discussing it and decided this would be for the best." Luna answered, a very serious expression on her face for once.
A slight twitch formed on the boy's eye, "I am sure you did but… could one of you explain exactly what number three is supposed to mean?"
Fleur nodded diplomatically, "Exactly as it says Harry, anytime a girl is on or in your bed both of you will be required to be naked at all times… to ensure your safety and that you are not hiding anything from us."
"I see… and I suppose it was Luna's suggestion for the rule that I am quote 'not allowed to bathe by myself'?"
"Actually," Tonks chimed in, "that one was my idea. You never know when you could slip and hurt yourself or try and think up some devious plans when we least expect it."
"Which would be when I am in the shower…"
"Or bath, either really. I am sure you have had more than a few plans form while covered in water… naked… your hair soaking wet as the water drips down…"
Hermione cleared her throat, ripping the former Auror, along with several of the others, out of their impromptu fantasy. "We just feel this is for the best Harry, we don't want you to feel like you are alone but also don't want you trying to avoid including us again."
His expression shifted into something apologetic, and the Witch looked away with a blush on her face, "I understand, and I appreciate the gesture. I am a bit curious on how you intend to enforce these on anyone besides those currently in the room though…"
"We have them posted on the door…" The youngest girl blurted out, before blushing an even deeper red and looking away in embarrassment.
"Gabbie is correct. Besides we have already discussed these with Lady Malfoy and Lady Black. Any visitors that come over to help care for you will also be informed, though I doubt Pansy or Daphne will be bothered by these much."
"No…" Harry remarked with a sigh, "I am sure they won't be."
The two teens sat in a comfortable, understanding, silence. Harry slowly ate the dinner Hedwig had prepared while the white-haired girl watched on with a warm smile on her face, neither needing words at this point in time to have a conversation.
It was just like it had been before Hogwarts, before any of the others, back when it was just the two of them 'against the World' as the former owl had often called it. He had been sick, or injured, few times as a child, but those rare occasions had allowed her the opportunity to take care of him in a way that made her heart swell with both pride and happiness. Harry had always been a very independent child, never needing much in terms of nurturing or comfort... at least on the outside. She knew that emotionally he had always craved acceptance and love, much like any child, especially orphans, did. The chance to care for his needs was one that allowed her to reassure him, and more importantly herself, that she did belong. That he did need her for more than just mental comforting.
His eyes slowly traveled to meet her own in understanding, knowing full well what she was thinking at that moment and silently reassuring her that he would always need her, and that she was never far from his heart or thoughts.
Her smile brightened at the emotions flowing across the reestablished link between the two. It had been torturous having him unconscious, not feeling any connection to him, even if sometimes he blocked out parts of it. It was like being locked in a dark room, not knowing when she would see the light of day, breathe the fresh air, or feel the breeze on her skin again.
The smile faded just enough for her to know that he was apologetic, that he had not wanted to worry and upset her or any of the others, that he would not be doing such a thing again.
She blinked away the water that gathered at her amber-eyes, turning slightly in a failed attempt to hide her tears. So rarely could they spend such time together alone that it could easily become emotionally overwhelming if she was not careful.
Fingers gently caressed the top of her palm, before she turned her hand over and clasped his in comfort.
It was going to be alright, everything was going to be okay. The happiness they had dreamed of was coming closer every day, and it was even brighter than either of them had originally imagined it would be.
Lucius Malfoy glanced up from where the documents he was working on as the door to his study was flung open and a group of former Death Eaters practically marched inside.
"Is it true Malfoy?" One growled out, earning the raising of one eyebrow from the man, "That Dumbledore killed him, that the boy is dead?"
Gently tapping his fingers across the wooden surface, the blonde let out a sigh before rising from his chair, "No, it is not. Our Lord is recovering quite nicely."
One of the men, that the former Minister of Magic recognized as being Nott Senior, stepped forward with a scowl upon his face, "Why were we not informed!?"
'It would almost be funny' Lucius mentally noted, 'if they weren't so convinced of their own importance.' Instead the man cleared his throat, before stepping from around the desk and gesturing for them to make a path and follow him, "I was not aware it was any of your concern Nott. Our Lord informed those of his inner circle and no one else, as I am sure you can understand the reasonings behind."
The opposing man sneered as he took a spot next to the Malfoy, the others following closely behind, "He is a child and should not be making such decisions. If this is how he is going to act then perhaps someone else should be in charge of overall affairs hm? He is neglecting his duties as a Lord." The Pureblood continued to rant, ignoring their destination. "I placed a request for my son to be given the Greengrass heiress in marriage and yet he refused for no reason! This is not…"
"Actually, I believe my reason was quite obvious in the reply." A voice called out from the room they had just entered, all freezing, save Malfoy, at the sight of the boy sitting at a dining table with his Godfathers at either side of him. "Have I not mentioned before that I find the forced marriage contracts to be a disgusting tradition that is no longer to be taking place? Correct me if I am wrong but it is even on the list of rules that such things were not to be written out unless I was first asked about it and given time to speak with all involved."
Most of the opposing adults fell silent, shifting awkwardly around in place as they avoided eye contact with the teen, "As for wanting to be in charge, take your shot."
"Uhm, my Lor…" one awkwardly began to reply, only to be cut off by a wave of the boy's hand.
"I still have not completely recovered, this will most likely be the only time any of you have the slightest of chances to defeat me, I know quite a few of you were utterly convinced I was either deceased or useless so why not try and finish the job hm?"
One, rather stupid, man decided to take advantage of the opportunity, and drew his Wand. What happened next caused more than a few cases of vomiting and gasps of horror as the man went rigid, lifted a foot off the ground before his limbs shot straight out, and were promptly ripped into bloody pieces, the fluids spraying across everyone save for the teen, his godparents, and the owner of the mansion.
"Oh my, it appears my control still isn't completely back. I only meant to tear him into three pieces, not five…"
Harry gave his current caretaker a 'are you seriously going to do this?' look and earning a glare from the redhead in return.
"Open" she growled, earning obedience this time as she helped him eat.
After swallowing the boy mock-scowled at the youngest Weasley, "You do know I am perfectly capable of feeding myself, right?"
"I am well aware I just… want to help okay? I want to take care of you, like I would if…" she couldn't finish the statement. There was enough going on in both of their lives without her trying to hint at marriage.
But regardless of her intent he always seemed to know what she was thinking, and flashed one of his understanding, knicker-ruining, smiles. "It is nice to be taken care of for once, rather than be the one to take care of others…"
Ginny nodded, "How about a compromise, you finish up your soup while I run you some bath water?"
He seemed to think the suggestion over, a smile tugging at the edge of his lips indicating that he was about to suggest something she would undoubtedly enjoy. "That depends, are you going to join me in the bath?"
"You know the rules," she teased back, not quite sure where the sudden confidence boost had come from but not complaining either way, "you aren't allowed to bathe by yourself. I will just have to make sure you are completely clean."
"I'm not saying 'no' Astoria I am just saying that you don't need to be rushing things. You are still young and…"
"Daphne…" the younger girl borderline growled as she turned to the other, "I love you and all but I swear if you give me another one of those 'you should be responsible and wait for your future husband' talks I am going to Hex your mouth off."
The Greengrass heiress' jaw dropped, while her best friend giggled from behind her, "She has a point Daph, you tend to be a little overbearing and well… prudish when it comes to Harry."
"I-I am not!"
Astoria snapped, letting out a hiss of annoyance as she interrupted the two bickering friends, "Enough, Daphne, I am coming with you to the Malfoy mansion two days from now, and since I was invited too you can't stop me, furthermore I am going to work up the courage to try and sleep with Harry, with or without your approval."
But the younger girl was done arguing, "No! You promised me we would talk about this when Umbridge was gone, well Umbridge is gone. I am done waiting, so you can help take care of him when we are over there but afterwards, I get him alone, or else I am going to tell mom and dad exactly who you invited over last summer when they weren't home."
The elder sibling merely groaned, ignoring the snickers from Tracey and giving a nod of defeat.
Hermione Granger entered the room carrying a large bed tray. Seeing the boy move to get out from under the covers to help her she stopped and gave him a 'menacing' glare, earning a sigh as he merely slid back down under the covers.
"That's better." She noted, a slight teasing grin on her face as she placed the object, along with the plates and bowls on top of it, over his legs. "Now then, Dobby was kind enough to make some homemade soup. You are going to eat it all, and if you are good I will read you a story."
Harry chuckled slightly, before nodding in defeat, "Who am I to argue with a Witch on a mission." She nodded once more, before taking a seat in one of the chairs beside his bed. "Will you sit in bed with me while you read?"
Although his voice was innocent there was an undertone of something far less innocent as well, secretly something that the bookworm enjoyed very much. There was always a bit of doubt in her, and many of the girls' minds, about whether Harry truly was interested in them, considering it had been them to setup their nightly sessions for quite some time. Having him actually do the flirting was a welcomed change, and one she suspected he knew.
"I don't know… can you behave?"
The rules were still in effect, and her being on, or in, the bed meant clothing would be coming off.
His innocent expression was back, and in full force, "I promised all of you I would be on my best behavior, you don't think I would do anything improper do you?"
She shook her head with her smile growing ever wider, "No, of course not, who would ever accuse you of such a thing. I suppose if you are going to be a good boy then I don't see any problem with sitting under the covers as well."
"I mean… you don't have to be under the covers, the room is so dreadfully dull that having something to look at while I am eating would be a welcome change."
"So, like this?"
"Oh yes my Lord, just like that, a little higher and... perfect!"
Harry chuckled slightly, "Now then, are you sure you want this there?"
"Mhmmm it will fit perfectly, I just know it."
The boy-who-lived did as asked, reaching forward and tying another corner of the sheet onto a bed post. Luna had decided that since it was her turn to 'comfort him' they would go camping like they had during the summer. Unfortunately, Andromeda had reminded them both that Harry was not allowed to leave the house, and thus the sole Lovegood decided to take the last remaining Potter, make a 'blanket tent' and camp out in his room instead.
As soon as the two crawled into the makeshift fort the blonde immediately began stripping down, "The rules haven't changed my Lord, no clothes on remember?"
He nodded with a smile as he began undressing as well, "You know, it does get a bit chilly at night, and with the blankets forming a tent we will likely need to figure out a different way to keep warm."
Luna paused, before turning to him with a happy grin, "Don't forget my Lord, I might get you all to myself tonight, but this summer Bella and I promised you a group camping session..."
Pansy Parkinson practically ran through the hallway of the Malfoy mansion, nearly knocking one of the less important of Harry's followers over in her haste. Ignoring the indignant shouts behind her the girl neared what would become known as the 'Private Wing' only to halt as she reached the Warded double doors that separated her.
"Shite, I don't have time for this…" she muttered, and it was true, she didn't. Draco had finally written her a letter after almost a week of silence. Harry had been injured but was recovering. Their Lord would not return to Hogwarts for some time yet and was still being taken care of nearly every waking moment. Therein lay the cause for her rush, an offer had been extended to her to join the 'rotation' of those helping him recover. There were rules, naturally, but she was sure that she could follow them regardless of what they might entail.
Her Lord needed help, and she had been among the few deemed worthy of providing it. This was a chance to separate herself from all of the other affairs he normally held during the school year, to show that she was not only a skilled lover but could be a provider as well. This single event could make or break her future with him, perhaps even the possibility of bearing him a child.
The thought sent shivers down her spine, and to a certain part just below her belly. She had to be at his side first though, before she could do anything else, she needed to find a way past this barricade and…
Pansy blinked, before looking down at the House-Elf that now stood between her and the door, Dobby if she remembered the name correctly. The creature's eyes narrowed as it tapped its foot impatiently, "Name?"
"P-Parkinson, Pansy Parkinson"
It nodded, before snapping and opening the door for her to proceed, the barrier closing again behind her. Once inside she continued down another hallway and neared another set of, rather ornate, double doors. Just as she reached them and entered another large living space a voice called out and brought her to a halt.
"Pansy, hold up a second." The dark-skinned girl turned to where a certain bushy-haired Witch was walking up towards her, a rather large piece of parchment in hand. "Have you read over the rules and restrictions Harry is under?"
Biting her lip the schoolgirl wondered which answer would get her in less trouble. The truth, that she had barely skimmed it, or a lie and hope for the best. "I uh..."
Hermione rolled her eyes, "Of course not, it isn't that surprising but still... alright look read this over real quick. Harry isn't under serious restrictions or anything but since it is your assigned night you will be in charge of taking care of him. That means making sure he eats, bathes, and generally stays relaxed. He isn't allowed to be doing any sort of political or Magical work yet, including schoolwork, so keep that in mind. You can cook for him if you want, otherwise the House-Elves will take care of it. Understand?"
The heiress nodded, before stiffening slightly, "Wait... does he need help with any of this?"
A sigh escaped the bookworm's lips, "Don't be ridiculous, we just want him to take it easy. Besides we all have rather enjoyed taking care of him and having him be dependent on us for once and decided to pass on this privilege to a few others, like you and Daphne. If you aren't interested..."
"NO! I mean... of course I am, anything for our Lord. I will help him eat and bathe of course. How long do I have with him tonight?"
"Normally shifts end around ten at night for the next individual who sleeps with him but since you haven't had any time with him lately the rest of us agreed you can stay until the morning as long as it isn't going to cause problems with your parents."
Pansy shook her head, "Of course not, I informed my mother and father that I would be spending the night to catch up with my betrothed, not entirely a lie..."
"Just mostly one..." Hermione finished with a slight smirk and a shake of her head. "Well regardless you will be relieved at breakfast. He is still recovering so try and let him get some sleep tonight hm?"
Harry paused in his reading as someone knocked at his door, now this was not odd, in fact it was almost a rarity to be completely alone at this point, however it was the fact he didn't quite recognize the owner of said sound.
"Come in" he called out, a bit surprised when the door opened to reveal Neville Longbottom standing on the other side.
The other teen shifted a few times awkwardly, "Uh… hey Harry…"
"I uhm… didn't catch you at a bad time, did I? Hermione said that you had a bit of free time and…"
The Potter heir nodded, "I do, just catching up on some reading for school, would you like to sit down?"
Nodding the Longbottom heir took advantage of the chair closest to where Harry was lying and practically slumped back into it. "I… have been thinking a lot about what happened, about what I heard…"
He nodded once more, "Yeah, I just… those things you said about Dumbledore… were they true?"
Neville shook his head in disgust, "To think I used to look up to him, trusted him. You said something about a prophecy, what was it?"
"It concerned Voldemort and someone who would defeat him, it was fairly vague though, speaking of a power he didn't know."
"Could…" the Gryffindor paused, working out how exactly to phrase his next question, "did it mention names? I know a lot of prophecies use vague birth dates and… could it have been about me instead?"
A soft smile appeared on Harry's face, "It did not give any names directly, but according to Sirius it could have been either of us. It was Riddle who chose to go after me and my family instead of yours."
"But Bellatrix still went after my parents and me… and Dumbledore knew it could happen."
"He did" The raven-haired boy confirmed, forcing the other to stand in anger.
"That manipulative old bastard… how many lives has he ruined? How many people has he pushed around in his sick game for control!?"
Neville's question had been rhetorical, and thus never expected the other teen to answer, "More than you realize." Turning back to face him, the Longbottom gave a silent plea for him to continue, which Harry did with a sigh, "Tom Riddle was a student at Hogwarts too Neville, according to my research he made requests every single year to be relocated, or even allowed to stay at the school rather than return to the orphanage he had been placed at. Dumbledore denied them each time. I am not saying that he created Voldemort, but he certainly did nothing to try and stop the man's fall or rise."
"Harry… Susan and I have been talking and… well after everything that has happened… would you accept us back into…"
The boy-who-lived raised his hand to halt his friend, "Wait to finish that statement Neville. The government is still in chaos, the world out of balance. Susan might seem to want stability now but when the entire truth comes out, I highly doubt Amelia Bones will choose my side. I wouldn't want to place either of you in that sort of position. Dumbledore is far from defeated, and I suspect that by the end of this year I will face him again. After that, after all is said and done, after the truth is laid out then you two should make your decision."
"So, how was work today?"
Fleur paused for a moment to swallow her food before smiling softly at the teen seated across from her, "It was nice. I had a meeting with some of the higher ups of management concerning my proposal. I was told they would be discussing it over the next few days."
Harry gave a nod, "Goblins do tend to discuss things quite a bit when it comes to money. You look lovely tonight, in case I hadn't mentioned it." They both knew he had, but the Delacour heiress' smile widened anyway.
"It is always nice receive compliments when I dress up for you… or dress down later…"
This statement earned a grin from the boy who took another bite of his meal, "The steak is fantastic by the way, a French recipe?"
"Oui, one I found in a cookbook long ago. I make it occasionally for Gabbie and I, speaking of which…" the blonde picked up a small silver bell next to her before giving it a shake. Moments later her eyes narrowed in annoyance before the door opened and a young girl dressed in what would be classified as a 'French maid outfit', albeit far lower cut and with a skirt barely covering any modesty, shyly entered.
"Y-you called m-mistress?"
"I have run out of wine, again. Bring some more, and try not to pick the wrong one this time hm?"
Her younger sister blushed in embarrassment, before giving a squeak of understanding and retreating, earning a frown from their Lord. "Fleur…"
She immediately shook her head, "I know what it looks like Harry, but I promise you it isn't like that. I spoke with Gabbie when I was planning the evening and she asked for a role such as this one. I told you her awakening started over the summer remember? She enjoys being used in this way by those who care about her, just as she knows I enjoy using her in return. It is the darker aspects of Veela taking effect. Some desire to hunt and dominate, other to be hunted and dominated."
"I understand that I just…"
He trailed off, and the older Witch reached forward to take his hand in her own. "And I understand your concerns. I promise you that I would never do anything Gabbie is not completely happy with, and she knows that. I can guarantee that she is enjoying herself. In fact, she is probably hoping we are harsher on her and more demanding."
If she hadn't been focused on him and his reactions, looking for signs of discomfort. Hadn't been part Veela, and thus very in tune to her chosen partner, and wasn't already expecting something then she would have undoubtedly missed the slight flinch he gave. Hedwig had warned them both about this type of relationship, that their mutual lover was very iffy concerning ownership over people.
"It is the reason why Gabbie has not asked you to destroy the contract yet, the one that states you own us. She is thrilled by it Harry, both her human and Veela sides are excited by it, but for different reasons. The Veela is aroused by it, turned on by the idea of you owning her body. As for the human… Gabbie never had much affection growing up, save for from me. The idea of belonging to someone is… well it is like marriage to her."
"Marriage is not one sided…" he noted, and the woman nodded in agreement.
"True, but this is not either. Talk to her about it sometime without anyone else in the room, I think you will be very surprised."
Before he could comment further the younger girl reentered, carrying a large bottle of wine and bringing it to the table before setting it down gently. Fleur scowled when her sibling made no further movement, "Well!? Do you expect me to pour my own wine as well!? What in Merlin's name do we keep you around for you little skank?"
"F-forgive me mistress…" the young girl muttered out, before taking the bottle once more and pouring a bit, her hands trembling just enough to spill a few drops.
The older Witch hissed in anger, earning another squeak, and a quick apology. "You will be punished later for this…" Fleur growled, earning a slight nod of acceptance from the young girl, who began to retreat, taking the bottle back to the side room. From the corner of her eye the former schoolgirl noticed the look in her lover's eyes, and gently grabbed her sister by the arm as she passed by, pulling her in close and putting her lips to the younger's forehead.
"Make sure you get something to eat okay?" she muttered, earning a quick nod. "I love you Gabbie…"
"I love you too Fleur…"
The elder nodded, before making another mutter of the other finishing up her homework, and then shooing her off.
An elderly Wizard crept between alleyways in the dark of night, pausing for a moment in one particularly dark shadow as a pair of Aurors walked by before quickly hurrying on towards his destination.
He should have known, and looking back the signs were obvious, hindsight often is after all, that Harry had been holding back, manipulating the situation. In his haste, however, he had ignored all of that, focused on his sole mission and missed the truth.
Truthfully, he lacked the ability to kill the boy, to stop a Dark Lord's so obvious rise to power. Perhaps he never had that chance, like the others that came before. Now though he needed to be calm and calculating. He needed to think things through and cover all his bases before making any future attempts to stop the evil rising in England.
First Albus Dumbledore needed allies, which presented the first of his many problems. Thanks to Harry's tactics many of the Order of the Phoenix wouldn't side with him, some he hadn't even considered contacting. Even those he had previously fought alongside, members of the 'old guard' would now be hesitant to lend their support.
But he still needed help, which meant reaching out to those closest to him, those who would at least consider listening to his point of view before making their judgments.
The former Headmaster slipped into an owl station and with a twist of his Wand sent the attendant off on an 'errand' he had conveniently forgotten about. Now he just needed to choose a safe location, send out the summons, and wait to see who would show.
The lights dimmed as Narcissa Malfoy entered the room, dressed only in a silky bathrobe. "I believe…" she purred, "that it is my turn to spend the evening with you." There was something predatorial in the woman's eyes, something that made the boy take a gulp and squirm back into his bed. "Oh no need to get up for me, I just want to pick up where we left off during the summer my dear husband. I have always wanted to spend an evening taking care of someone's every desire while sating my own."
She parted her robes, and allowed them to fall to the floor a moment later, exposing her nude form to the air and the teen's sight, "It is a bit chilly in here, we really should warm up under the covers…"
Daphne Greengrass smiled warmly as she watched her sister excitedly flip through her sketch book with Harry. She could remember back when Astoria was terrified for people to even know she enjoyed drawing, much less show anyone, even her own family.
Yet here she was, showing off her latest work with pride and excitement in her eyes.
"And this is one I drew just last week of my mom and dad, I remember she was rubbing his shoulders while looking over at what he had been working on."
The teen nodded and gave an appreciative hum of agreement, one that the heiress somehow knew was sincere, rather than those fake smiles that adults had a habit of giving when they would humor children.
It was just another reason she had fallen in love with the boy, he always seemed to sense what others cared about and could empathize with them.
Out of the corner of her eye the older Witch noticed the time on a nearby clock and gave a sigh, "Astoria, it is almost nine. I told mother we would be home at half-past at the very latest, start gathering up your things."
But the younger girl merely turned and grinned before shaking her head, "You go on ahead, I already told mom I was staying over with a friend tonight."
Daphne's eyes widened in realization, noticing the 'surprised' quirking of their Lord's eyebrow as well.
"I told you Daphne, I am done waiting. I want to stay with Harry tonight, I already talked to Ginny about it and since it was her turn to spend the night with him she agreed to let me instead. I will be back tomorrow morning sometime."
The older sibling tried to think of something to say, but a voice whispered in her mind that she had promised to stand aside and let her younger sister make her own choices, and that she was close to that age regardless, "Just... be safe okay? What friend did you say you would be staying with in case one of them asks me?"
"Evelyn Rosier, she's in Slytherin too."
Daphne nodded in agreement, "Very well, try not to keep him up too late okay? Our Lord still needs at least some rest."
The younger Witch grinned before shyly glancing back to the boy seated next to her, "No promises..."
Harry had just finished up his dinner when the door to his room opened, before promptly shutting, and locking, again. Looking up the boy-who-lived blinked several times in surprise.
She nodded, before a swish of her Wand dimmed the lights and levitated his tray off the bed. But that wasn't the most surprising part, nor the fact that he had been expecting Andromeda to be the one to check on him instead of her sister.
No, it was the woman's outfit that had thrown him off most. Instead of her normal Witch robes she wore a black leather corset and a pair of knickers.
"You've been a very bad boy Harry, I think you need to be taught a lesson…"
"Harry," the former Lestrange whispered as she lay next to him in bed. The fact she had chosen to use his first name was odd enough for the teen to turn and completely face her. "You… know I care about you, right?"
He blinked several times, unsure of where the conversation was heading or how exactly to respond.
"I mean… I know I can be a bit odd and cold but… you are one of the few to ever accept me as me. You didn't demand I change, didn't call me flawed or imperfect… even my former husband didn't care that much about me."
Her fingers found his lips, silencing him for a moment, "Just… I know the other girls have already given you the talk on what you did, on how badly you scared and upset them so… please don't do it again okay?"
The sole remaining Potter merely nodded, and Bellatrix Black breathed a slight sigh of relief, before cuddling just a bit closer to him.
A soft knocking at his door earned the attention of the boy-who-lived, who promptly allowed entrance to the visitor. In walked his favorite Metamorphmagus, looking more than a little confused and hesitant.
"Hey Harry, could I talk to you for a sec?"
"Is everything alright?"
The, currently pink haired, former Auror shook her head, "No… yes? Maybe? I don't know anymore…"
He gestured towards one of the chairs in his, rather ridiculously large, bedroom, "Then sit down and tell me about it."
She practically fell into the seat, before releasing a stressful sigh, "I… have been really confused lately."
"Oh, about what?" he inquired, taking a spot opposite of her.
"You know about my termination, right? By Bones and Dumbledore?" Harry nodded, gesturing her gently to continue. "Well, I mean afterwards I was sort of lost, I mean the only thing I had ever wanted to do was be an Auror and all of a sudden…"
The Potter heir nodded his head, "Your dream was taken from you, because of your association with me."
She quickly shook her head, "No, not because of you, because of some miserable old bastard who doesn't like things done anyway but his. Well anyway, so I got a new job working as a journalist for the Quibbler and… I mean it is fun you know? Something different, exciting, no politics that get involved… but two days ago…"
"Tonks, wait up for a moment please." The director of the DMLE requested, as she sped up just a bit to catch up to her former employee. "I have been meaning to speak with you, about everything that happened."
Nymphadora, of course, already knew what 'had happened', and wasn't quite sure how to speak to the woman she had previously looked up to, after her betrayal, "Yes Madam Bones?"
"Listen, I know some things were said and done that, looking back, may not have been the right decision but with everything going on in the Ministry and the DMLE shorthanded as is I would like you to consider returning to your position as Auror."
"Just think about it and let me know in the next few days."
When Tonks had finished her recap she slumped back into the chair, hands going to her face in frustration and stress, "What do you think I should do? What do you want me to do?"
Harry merely pondered the situation for a moment. True, it would be far more convenient to have Tonks as a mole in the Auror department, but it also didn't really matter at this point, "What do you want to do Tonks?"
"You have had two different jobs now, both Auror and reporter. Which did you enjoy more when you compare them?"
The woman's jaw practically dropped as her mind went into overdrive trying to do not only what he suggested, but also figure out why. "I… but why do…"
He leveled his gaze on her, forcing her silent, "Because it is your life and happiness Tonks, and just like it is for Hermione, Hedwig, Luna, Ginny and all those close to me your happiness is important to me."
Severus Snape made his way through the, relatively empty, halls of Hogwarts. Most of the students were still on an 'official' leave of absence due to investigations, periodic Auror sweeps of the castle, and Merlin knew what else. Still, he had received a letter a few hours prior, summoning him to stand before the school board.
Undoubtedly it would be his dismissal. Although he had not been present at Hogwarts during the last catastrophic year most knew how close he had been to the Headmaster, as well as involved in the old man's schemes. Not only that but there would be a long list of previous students and staff that would be more than happy to testify about how unfair and biased he was.
"Not that they would be wrong..." the Wizard mused, "I certainly have had my share of problems and failures..."
Finally, he stood before the double doors, before knocking to signal his arrival, moments later the barrier opened and allowed him admittance, where the board sat at a long table, hundreds of pieces of paper and parchment covering it.
"Severus Snape" an elderly woman called out, earning a nod from the man in kind, "you are a bit early, please take a seat."
A/N: Sorry for anyone expecting more plot, but I felt that coming so close to death earned Harry some angst from the others, and some recovery. Next chapter will get more into what is going on in the 'outside world' though.