April 2018: I cannot apologize enough for leaving this story unwritten for so long. Therefore, I am finishing it. To do that, however, I need to rewrite what was here because it was simply not up to standard. I can confirm that this story will stay rated T and it will be far more thoughtout than previously. The entire story is outlined. If you want updates about this story, visit my profile, where I will be posting how far through this story I am. I wanted to get this up so that everyone knew I was working. Please do not be alarmed, but the next 4 chapters will be deleted when this is uploaded for continuity sake! Thank you!
Harry Potter wondered how exactly he got into this situation. Of all the things that could have possibly happened to him this year – this one is probably the worst.
At first, he thought it may be a nice summer. After all, The Prophet wasn't lying about him anymore. His Godfather's name was finally cleared. He'd become closer with Neville, Ginny, and had become friends with Luna Lovegood. Umbridge was gone, and wouldn't be coming back. Last week, there was a no confidence vote against Fudge. And most importantly, his godfather had pushed Dumbledore so hard that Harry would never have to return to the Dursley's again.
The only thing that could have ruined his mood was the fact he was entirely certain he failed at least two of his O.W.L.s. He wasn't even sure if that would have caused his mood to decline – after all, who needs good grades in Divination and History of Magic anyway? If he were being honest, he would probably admit that not taking either of those classes would probably make the coming school year better.
He was contemplating this while he sat in the kitchen of Grimmauld place when he heard the distinctive tapping of an owl. His dogfather looked up, a look of pensive curiosity on his face, as he took the scroll that the owl held.
Harry should have known by the look on Sirius's face that nothing about this summer as going to be easy.
Sixteen year old Harry Potter and his Godfather, a one Mr. Sirius Black, sat in the parlor of Secret Garden; more commonly referred to as Greengrass Manor.
Harry sat beside a blonde beauty with large violet eyes. Her name was Daphne Selene Greengrass. She looked just like her mother, Harry thought, gazing at the French witch in front of him. Adeline Abraxia Greengrass, née Delacour was most certainly in relation to Fleur Delacour.
Daphne Greengrass was in his year, a Slytherin, and probably a pureblood. He'd never seen her hang around Malfoy and Pansy's gang of bullies. But he had noticed in second year that she had a following of her own. Blaise Zabini and Theo Nott followed her around constantly, and he wasn't sure if the girl was even aware that half of the school was half in love with her. He himself had had a bit of a crush on her during third year. He'd been focused more on Cho's silky, inky, locks rather than Daphne's air of cold elegance. After the Quiddith World Cup, he realized that at least part of his fascination, and the fascination that seemed to fall across the student body with Daphne Selene Greengrass was due to the fact that Daphne Greengrass must have been at least partially Veela.
"I don't understand," Harry responded after his godfather and Greengrass's parents explained the situation to them.
"I'm so sorry, pup," Sirius said with a look of keen distress on his face. "I didn't know that this would affect you."
"Why didn't you tell me that this was a possibility?" asked Daphne angrily.
Harry stared near blankly.
Adeline sighed heavily, "I give up. Sirius, explain this to them while I get some more tea." She Greengrass stood up gracefully, and walked in even strides into the next room after handing the thick packet of vellum to the two teenagers on the couch.
Sirius sighed after she left, "You know I am the last of my family. Outside of me, the Black line is extant in my cousins – You know Narcissa, Bellatrix, and Andromeda. A woman cannot hold the title of the Patriarch, that's why my mother was never able to fully disown me when I ran away in fifth year. After Azkaban… I cannot have children, and that means you will be the next head of the Black Family. The contract stipulates that both partners must be able to conceive, which means I must pass the contract down. There is only one other person who could take over the family, and he cannot be allowed to do so."
Daphne narrowed her eyes, "Malfoy," she spat. Harry was surprised by the venom in her voice but she continued, "Narcissa's son is Draco Malfoy, which means he has the secondary claim after Potter to be the Patriarch of the House of Black."
"But, I'm not a Black," Harry said, "I'm a Potter."
Apollo smiled gently, "That isn't how it works, Mr. Potter."
"Just Harry, please, Sir," Harry corrected shifting uncomfortably in his seat.
"Well, then call me Apollo, Harry."
"Magic is about intent," Apollo continued patiently, "And you are Sirius's Godson. It is more than just words. In the muggle world, a godparent is usually a mere formality. Here, the acceptance of a godchild and godparent is more binding. It is literally the relationship between a second set of parents and a child."
Sirius paced behind Apollo's chair, "If the Malfoy gains control over the House of Black in the event of my death, it would be a disaster. He would gain the wealth, the properties, and he would gain Kreacher. Kreacher cannot be allowed contact with the Malfoys in anyway."
Harry shuddered, remembering how Kreacher had played in a hand in his godfather's near death only two weeks prior.
Apollo cleared his throat and then faced his daughter, "And there are several reasons that you must follow through with this contract, Daphne."
Daphne snorted sarcastically, "Really? And what reasons are those?"
"Aside from the fact that the Malfoys would control the Black seats in the government, the contract has been signed and if it isn't fulfilled Sirius and Harry will lose their positions. Your grandfather signed a contract to firmly align the Greengrasses with the Blacks when You-Know-Who began to raise power in the 50s."
Daphne's eye twitched, "Grandfather has been dead for over eighteen years."
"Yes," Apollo agreed, "But he signed that contract for me." Apollo sighed, "He signed it to marry me to Andromeda Black. She ran away to get married, and was struck from the tree, and then I married your mother. The contract has no consequences if it isn't fulfilled. It just needs to be passed on to the next available person. That means that the contract was passed down to you. In this case, that's a serious problem because of who would be after you, Harry."
"But doesn't that mean that she would have married Malfoy?" questioned Harry.
"Yes," Adeline said as she sat, "But Daphne expressed no desire to do so. The only thing to do would be to marry Astoria to Draco. But she has no desire to do that either. And we also have no desire for that."
Harry recalled that Daphne did have a sister, she was a rising third year in Ravenclaw, and mostly kept to herself.
Apollo and Adeline shared a look, "And we have decided not to be neutral in this war. We want to step firmly onto the light side. We cannot play the fence in this war, and after the slights against our house by some of the Dark houses, this is a firm way to do that and keep our daughters safe from the Malfoys."
"So that means that if we don't fulfill this contract," Harry began, "Then Daphne will have to marry Malfoy, and he will get the title of Lord Black. Can we at least… divorce after the war?" Harry asked hesitantly.
Daphne looked at him in great offense and opened her mouth but her mother beat her to response, "I'm sure he means no offense, Daphne. He doesn't know all of our customs. Unfortunately, Harry, in the Wizarding World there is no such thing as divorce. When you marry, you are bonded for life. The only way to escape a marriage is through very dark magic that could kill both participants."
Harry nodded silently and then apologized quietly for offending Daphne.
Daphne wiped her eyes inconspicuously. She whipped her head to the side to look at Harry and spoke, "Well we better get to know each other, before the end of seventh year." She slumped in her seat.
Harry gaped. "You're just going to accept this?"
Daphne glared at him, "What else are we supposed to do? I don't want to marry Malfoy, and if your godfather loses his position the Malfoys will gain six seats on the Wizengamot. You realize what that means?"
Harry shifted with a twitch.
Sirius sighed, "It means that the Malfoy family will control ten seats. And it means that Voldemort will control ministry policy before the ministry truly falls. He can coerce policy in a puppet government without ever admitting influence. The only thing that is stopping that now is that my seats were unable to vote while I was in prison, and Amelia Bones is taking a hard stance against the Death Eaters and Voldemort."
Harry was impressed when no one flinched at the name. Then he let out a great sigh, "We don't even know each other."
"You have two years to rectify that issue," Adeline pointed out, "before you have to have the bonding." She stood, "Daphne, come with me, please."
The two left, and Apollo left shortly after. They were trying to give Harry and Sirius a moment alone.
The two stared at each other silently for a while. Sirius understood Harry's reluctance. His mother had been in the midst of signing a contract between him and Narcissa before he had run away and was struck from the family tree. Harry was quiet for a moment, before agreeing, nearly silently, "I'll marry her, Sirius. I'll marry Daphne Greengrass. Not because of Voldemort and Malfoy, but because their family needs our help."
Sirius nodded, somewhat proudly, "That's the right reason to do it, Harry. Now, I've never been for the whole pureblood agenda shite, but there are some things you must do before you go back for your sixth year. You need to learn the rules. If we are going to get you through this war, we need to make sure you understand exactly what is going on around you. You'll be spending half of the summer with the Greengrasses, and Daphne will be spending the other half with us. Myself, and Apollo will be tutoring you both to make sure you are ahead of Voldemort." As if she had been summoned, Daphne walked back into the room.
"Are we staying at Grimmauld Place?" Harry questioned.
Sirius shook his head, "Not anymore. I'm a free man, Harry. We're going to be staying in a real house."
"Where, Sir?" Daphne asked.
"Call me Sirius. I've already spoken with your parents, Daphne. She will floo you to Headquarters some time at the end of the week, so you can meet the family."
Daphne folded her fingers and as she sat down and nodded. She had just had a conversation with her mother that she was not sure that she would ever chose to have again. In fact, she hoped she would never have a conversation like that for the rest of her days. Her mother had informed her in not uncertain terms that if she did not comply with the wishes of her family that either she or Astoria would be forced to marry Malfoy, and her mother explained exactly what that would entail.
"Of course, Sirius," Daphne paused, "Mother, father, Sirius, do you mind giving us a moment alone please?"
Sirius smiled lightly and stood, as Adeline offered to show Sirius some of the Greengrass family paintings.
Daphne turned to Harry, "I… Listen. I know what people say about me. I know they think that I'm cold, and… I just want to protect my family. They are all I have left, just as Sirius is all you have left. I don't want to marry Malfoy, not because of what he may do to me, but because of what he could do to everyone else."
Harry frowned, "But you're a Sly-"
Daphne glared at Harry before cutting him off, "That's unfair. Do you think I want someone who indiscriminately kills everyone to win? He's a maniac. Not all purebloods believe in Blood Purity or are Death Eaters," She looked at her hands where they grasped her cotton skirt, "Tracey Davis is my best friend and she's a half blood. She gets better marks than most of the people in our year… And I'm a quarter Veela. Don't you think I know what people think about that? I'm not a Blood supremacist."
Harry paused, "I'm sorry," he admitted, "I guess Malfoy and his gang… I think if we are going to make this work we are both going to have to not make assumptions about each other. I'm sorry I assumed the worst."
"Do you think we can make this work?" Daphne asked carefully.
Harry shrugged, "We don't have a choice do we? Neither of us want this. But… I think we can find a way to make it work."
Daphne paused before she stood and turned to look at him, "I'm going to pretend there's no contract," she said abruptly, "Let's become friends, and… maybe more without the contract over our heads. We can get to know each other. The right way."
Harry smiled and stood, "I think that's a great idea."
"In that case, call me Daphne."
"Then, call me Harry."
Sirius and Daphne's parents arrived then and Sirius called Harry over, "Well, we'd best be going. We've got things to do, Harry."
They bid the family goodbye, and Harry lingered a moment before giving a firm nod to Daphne Greengrass.
Sirius had insisted on buying Harry new clothes, now that he could freely spend his money. He took out about two hundred galleons out of Gringotts and the two headed over to Twillfit and Tattings.
"What do you need so much for?" Harry asked. "It's only clothes, which you don't need to buy me, by the way."
"Nonsense, Harry. You need the clothes. The Dursleys haven't been dressing you too well, aye? Besides, there's extra because I've got a plan for you." Sirius grinned broadly in a sly way.
Harry frowned, following Sirius into the tailors. He thought back to all of the other brilliant plans his godfather had had.
Some still gave him nightmares.
"You've got a plan? That sounds dangerous. What have I told you about thinking? You have to leave it to those of us with human brains."
Sirius glared at his godson, "Yes, I've got a plan. It does happen, on occasion. I heard the end of your conversation with Daphne. I know, I wasn't supposed to, but I did. I think, if you want to start this off right you should try to get to know her. I got this from her mother," he handed over a piece of parchment that had a few dozen things written down on it. "These are things she likes. Maybe you could get her a few gifts for her birthday. It's coming up – only a week after yours."
Harry frowned, "Isn't this… cheating?"
Sirius shook his head, "No. We're just trying to help you take those first few awkward steps. After that, you two are on your own." His voice trailed off at the end as she stared off into the distance. Harry followed his gaze. Sure enough, at the end of it was a buxom brunette witch with long curly hair. She was staring back.
Harry kicked his uncle hard, "Do you have to be such a letch?"
"I'm still young, Harry," Sirius complained, "Anyway, you've got to charm her, Harry. A girl like Daphne probably loves being pampered. The contract said her birthday is August 11th. Why don't you buy her a gift for every day leading up to her sixteenth birthday? That way you can impress her a little."
Harry hesitated, "I don't want her to think I'm buying her."
Sirius smiled, "It's not about the money, Harry. It's about the thought. That's what counts. Trust me, I know how to woo witches. Sirius led him away and Harry watched as the pretty brunette witch winked at Sirius and pressed her floo address on a piece of paper into his palm. Sirius circled his body and watched her backside sway as she walked away. "See? I can get the ladies without even trying."
Harry glared at him again in exasperation, but followed Sirius around for the next few hours as they shopped in Diagon Alley.
A few hours later, Harry dumped the stuff that Sirius had bought him next to the things he had bought for Daphne on his bed in the room he and Ron shared.
"Blimey, mate! What's all that?" Ron asked, sitting up quickly to look into the bags.
"Sirius took me shopping."
Ron pulled out a pair of women's shoes in a size dainty size. "You wear girl's shoes?" Ron asked.
"It's a gift."
"For who?" Ron questioned, suspiciously. Did Harry like Hermione?
Harry hesitated, but realized he had to tell his best mates about what they had discussed today, "Daphne Greengrass."
Hermione walked in at that moment and saw the shoes. "Isn't she in Slytherin?" Normally Hermione wouldn't have come this early in the summer, since she didn't get to see her parents as often as she would have liked. But she was still recovering from the Department of Mysteries, which meant that Andromeda Tonks, who was a certified medi-witch was visiting her daily to check how she was healing.
Harry told them all about the marriage contract.
"You have to marry a Slytherin?" Ron was gaping. Then he paused, "Well I guess if you have to marry a junior Death Eater it may as well be her. She's the hottest girl in our year!"
Frankly, Harry was starting to get really annoyed with his behavior. He felt guilty about that for a moment because he had had the same reaction when talking to Daphne earlier before she corrected him. Apparently, Hermione was as well because she replied, "Ronald, stop being so obtuse! Not all Slytherins are like Pansy Parkinson, and Malfoy."
Ron snorted, "May as well be. Not a wizard who has been in Slytherin that hasn't gone bad!"
Hermione glared at Ron, "What about Pettigrew? He was a Gryffindor."
Harry tried to stop his friends from fighting and cut in, "Daphne isn't evil, and neither is her family. She's a bit standoffish, but she's not rude. And her parents are both pretty nice, if not stern."
Hermione smiled proudly at Harry. Then her smile turned to a look of sympathy, "For all its worth, Harry; I do feel sorry for you. I know this isn't what you wanted…" Ah, so Hermione had noticed the lingering glances he'd been giving Ginny after Cho and he had split.
Harry sighed, "It's not. But, there's no alternative. If I don't, Malfoy will and that means Voldemort will have more money and more political support to pass legislation that could make his takeover easier. Besides, I don't think it will be so bad to be married to Daphne. We agreed we're going to try to become friends first, in any case."
Hermione smiled again. "She's very smart you know. She's top of Slytherin. She and her friend Tracey Davis don't seem to talk to Malfoy and Parkinson's gang. In fact, I heard last year that Malfoy pursued Daphne relentlessly, and she said no a thousand times. And he asked her to the Yule Ball but she ended up going with a seventh year from Beauxbatons."
Harry snorted, "She's made it pretty clear she has no love lost for Malfoy. Anyways, she'll be coming later this week and staying for part of the summer, so we can get to know each other better."
"She's staying here?" Ron gasped, "What if she betrays us to You-Know-Who?"
Harry sighed, "I told you, she isn't like that. And neither are her parents."
Hermione glared at Ron, "You couldn't try to be supportive of your friend, Ronald?" her voice began to rise in volume and pitch and Harry jumped in quickly to try to distract her by asking what they had done that day.
A few days later, the fireplace of the Black Estate revealed Daphne Greengrass and her parents. Daphne looked hesitant the moment she saw Ron Weasley. She knew of his infamous prejudice against Slytherin house. Some of it was warranted, after all, many of her housemates weren't very nice people. But some were very nice. They just couldn't outwardly show they were against their own house or they would be miserable at school.
"Greengrass? Hi," Hermione said, shaking her hand, "I'm Hermione Granger."
Ron glared and stormed out of the room, leaving Sirius, Hermione, Harry and the Greengrasses in the room together. They made pleasantries, and Hermione introduced herself to her best friend's future in-laws. Mr. and Mrs. Greengrass left promptly after kissing their daughter goodbye with promises of seeing her soon.
"So, Daphne, you'll be sharing the second floor suite with me," Hermione said as she led Daphne up the stairs and towards the room they would share.
Molly Weasley popped her head in as they left. "Was that… Is she a…"
Harry resisted the urge to sigh heavily. He loved Mrs. Weasley, really. But sometimes she couldn't see past her own nose and her own agenda. He knew that she'd been trying to push him towards Ginny since his second year. He'd never thought twice about some of the strange things she'd done in the past – until she'd snubbed Hermione two years before over what Rita Skeeter had written in The Prophet.
"What are you doing allowing a Greengrass into this home? What if she works for You-Know-Who?" Molly began shrieking and Harry stood dumbly. What was he supposed to say? Molly was like a mother to him. She was just shouting at him.
"Good grief, Molly, stop yelling. You sound like my mother," came a voice from around the corner. Sirius lounged at the doorway. "She's going to have to stay for a while anyway, Molly. I would let it go…"
"And why is that?" Molly hollered. Several members of the Order walked into the room, having heard the raised voices.
Sirius smirked devilishly, "Well, they're going to be married one day. The future Lady Potter should know her family."
There was a silence for a moment before the shrieking began again. Harry took that moment to escape from the noise.
Daphne sat upstairs in the room she was sharing with Hermione. It was nice, and the bed was very comfortable. But it didn't make her feel any more welcome. She had heard the whole argument downstairs and was holding back tears before Hermione walked back in.
"Hey, I'm really sorry, Daphne. They're a bit tactless sometimes…" Hermione frowned.
"What've you got to be sorry for, Granger? You didn't do anything." Daphne turned away from Hermione. She didn't want her to know she was crying. She felt pathetic. When did she begin to be a blubbering, sobbing girl? This whole situation was stressful. She didn't dislike Potter, or even Granger but she'd had a few unpleasant interactions with the Weasleys in the past. Specifically, with Ginny a year prior and Ron several times before and after that.
Hermione sat down next to Daphne.
"You know, Daphne – I think we're going to be good friends. Harry seems to think you're a good person… And I trust Harry. I know you're overwhelmed. The Weasleys can be… loud."
At this, Daphne nearly burst into tears, "I'm just so… I don't even know how to describe it. I'm mad that nobody told us that this could be a possibility. But I'm grateful I don't have to marry Malfoy... and I'm happy that Astoria will be safe. But I'm so scared. I've read The Prophet. Harry's got a target on his back and that means that my family, who've just aligned themselves with the light will have an even bigger target on their backs than before. This isn't fair. Not for me, and not for him. But I can't help but to hope that maybe it works out, and maybe we can be happy. And that's so selfish of me. People are dying, and disappearing everyday and all I want is to be happy."
Hermione smiled sadly, "I know. I understand how you feel… I'm afraid for my parents. I'm scared that someone will try to hurt Harry by hurting me and hurting them. I know he would blame himself. And I know he would be upset if your family was hurt because of him. But I think you've got to move past this, or else you'll stop yourself from being happy." She handed the girl a handkerchief.
"You all are so important to him, and I'm… afraid. I don't want you all to hate me when I haven't even been given a chance yet. Everyone hates Slytherin. But I swear we're not all bad… It's just a few people who make us all seem terrible!"
Hermione nodded, "It's true. Slytherin and Death Eater aren't axiomatic. Tonks's mum, Andromeda was a Slytherin and she's an amazing woman."
A knock came from the door, and Hermione stood to answer it.
Harry stood in the doorway, sheepishly. Hermione nodded and walked out of the room after saying she would see Daphne later, leaving Harry and Daphne alone.
"Hey, Daphne… I'm really sorry about this whole thing with Mrs. Weasley. Sirius is going off on her. Are you okay?"
Daphne sniffed and turned away from him, "I'm f-fine."
Harry sat down next to Daphne. "You don't sound very fine. In fact, you sound less fine than you did the other day."
Daphne wiped the tears from her eyes. "I just… I'm scared, you know? We're in this incredibly awkward position, and I'm worried about my parents, and Astoria. And here I am trying to start dating for the first time because I've never been on a real date. It seems so silly compared to what's happening right now."
"No, I understand. I only went on a date with Cho… It didn't work out so well. It was weird, you know? Since Cedric died. And now, I keep remembering that in two years we have to get married. It's definitely a little weird."
"Do you still like her?" Daphne asked hesitantly.
Harry snorted. "Definitely not. I really dislike Cho now, after what her friend Marietta did. Not that that is really Cho's fault, but you know… I think her response was cowardly. People got hurt because of what she did."
Daphne stared at him intently, "What about the Weasley girl?"
Harry blinked owlishly, "Ginny? Well. I thought maybe… at the end of the year but, that won't happen. Not just because of the contract," he hastened to clarify, "I just don't know if she sees me or the Boy-Who-Lived."
Daphne nodded, "I understand. I know what the guys in our year say about me, Harry. I know what it's like for people to look at one part of you and take it as the truth."
"Well, I know there's more than that," Harry said firmly, "Hermione's told me you do well in school. You care about your family. And you are against Voldemort. To me, that makes you a decent person. Plus," Harry started mischievously, "You're the only girl who's a good amount shorter than me in our year. I've got to marry you, haven't I?"
Daphne broke into peels of laughter and the sighed. She felt a little better already. "I think we're off to the start of a great relationship, Harry."
As you can see, this chapter has been entirely redone. Some of the dialogue is the same, but it's longer and the background for marraige contract has changed. I want to let you guys know I am actively working on this story, and I have plans to finish it by this time next year. I have planned 21 chapters and there will be a chapter a month for sure, and then maybe extra chapters when I have the time. I'm currently gearing up to write my disseration for my master's this summer, and when I'm not writing that, I will be writing this for stress relief. Please forgive my poor updating on this story. I know many of you have been following this story since 2011, and I am very sorry for leaving it for so long. I lost interest in the pairing, and I didn't have time to write. The second chapter will be fixed this week, and hopefully 3, 4, and 5 will all be up by mid-May! I'm also looking for a beta for this story. If you're interested, let me know. Thanks!