Harry waved to his friends as the carriages took them to Hogsmeade. Hermione and Neville promised to get him some of Honeydukes finest chocolate since he wasn't able to get his own permission slip signed. They also offered to get some for Luna. He didn't mind not going with them, it gave him a chance to talk to professor Lupin about learning the spell used to drive away Dementors. Every time he came close to the creatures he and Luna both suffered flashbacks from their parent's deaths.
Harry headed through the castle to find Luna. He spotted her in the library and asked if she'd care to accompany him to professor Lupin's class, offering her his arm when she accepted.
Professor Lupin was far more skilled than his predecessors, much to the relief of the students. Harry's first class with the man involved the students defending themselves against a Boggart. Instead of it being a frightening experience, professor Lupin turned it into a fun activity.
The pair reached the man's class and Harry knocked. Professor Lupin answered after a few moments, smiling and inviting the two inside.
'Mr Potter, miss Lovegood, what can I do for you?'
'Professor, we were hoping you could teach us the spell to scare away the Dementors' Luna asked.
'The patronus charm? It's quite a strong spell' the man said.
'We understand that professor, but we'd feel better if we were able to at least try and learn it' Harry replied.
The man rubbed the back of his neck.
'Well, I could teach you. You would need to understand that it would take a lot of time and energy. Many adults can't do the spell, most that try only get a wisp'.
'Anything that could help us with the Dementors we'd be grateful for' Harry said.
Professor Lupin smiled slightly and nodded in agreement.
'Very well, however today is the Halloween feast, I wouldn't want to stop you going. How about you, miss Granger and mr Longbottom come to my classroom after dinner tomorrow. I'm sure they wouldn't want to miss out'.
'Thank you professor' Luna said with a smile.
'Did you hear Draco this morning? He won't let up about Buckbeak going missing like that. He's already got his father involved, claiming Hagrid hid Buckbeak in the forbidden forest'.
'Hagrid didn't know Draco would run to daddy and get the ministry involved' Hermione argued.
'Yeah but his father's making out that Hagrid did know about Buckbeak's sentence and let him escape'.
'It's stupid! No one knew anything about that sentence until today and Buckbeak went missing two days ago! Maybe Buckbeak could sense something was wrong and left' Hermione huffed.
Harry remained silent, watching the Malfoy heir rant about Buckbeak and not getting justice for nearly being attacked. Harry had a feeling Draco was up to something, far too many times the blonde had received a letter and sent a smug look towards Hagrid. Which was why Harry took it upon himself to have Dobby pop him and Buckbeak to the manor and introduce the Hippogriff to Fluffy. The Cerberus wasn't bothered about having a new companion on the grounds, and Harry made sure to mention Buckbeak's arrival to Saresh encase she saw the Hippogriff as prey. He asked the Elves if they could possibly build Buckbeak a stable, using the Potter money to finance it of course. He wasn't too worried about Hagrid. The headmaster had a record of protecting the half giant, and would no doubt do it again.
'What do you think Harry?' Luna asked.
He turned to the little blonde with a smirk.
'I don't know. Perhaps the Elves popped him away' he replied wryly.
Harry decided he would chance using his cloak to let Gilderoy come out and get some fresh air by the lakeside each evening. So far it appeared to work. The man had been very well behaved, keeping quiet when told and making sure anything he played with was put away before he went to bed. Harry made sure to reward him often by bringing in some treats and spending time with him. Gilderoy was starting to get the hang of casting spells. He delighted in casting a lumos and creating patterns in the air. He was able to levitate small items, and his matchstick to needle transfiguration was perfect. Harry often wondered if the man had the same trouble casting spells when he was younger. It seemed, before the memory loss, that the only spell Gilderoy could do right was obliviate. Nevertheless, the man was getting there, with the right teaching and encouragement.
'You look like you're in deep thought there Harry. Anything we can help with?'
Harry blinked and glanced at his friends.
'Perhaps. I was thinking about the chaos surrounding Sirius Black. The ministry seems to think that sending Dementors out to hunt for him means they don't have to do anything else. Is there anyone there who you can actually trust to write to regarding the situation here?'
The conversation paused as the morning owls flew in to the hall. Hedwig landed and dropped a letter in front of Hermione.
'Thanks girl. Are you sure Hedwig doesn't mind sending letters to my parents Harry? I would have got an owl of my own but then I saw Crookshanks and I just couldn't resist' Hermione asked, taking the letter from the snowy owl.
'Hedwig doesn't mind. I rarely have letters for her to deliver' he replied, stroking his familiar's feathers.
Hedwig gave a hoot of happiness, nibbled his ear affectionately, snagged a piece of bacon and flew back out the hall.
'You should try talking to Susan Harry. Her aunt is head of the department of magical law enforcement. Madam Amelia Bones. She's supposed to be really fair' Neville suggested.
Harry glanced over at the badger's table.
'I might just do that. Thank you Neville'.
'Are you going to tell Fred and George today Harry?'
He blinked at the question and glanced at Luna.
'What was it I am supposed to tell them Luna?'
She gave a little giggle.
'About your list silly! I think you should tell Hermione as well'.
Harry spent a moment with his mouth open, trying to figure out how that girl had known about the consort list. Shaking himself out his stupor he gave her a wry smirk.
'I will not bother asking how you knew. And yes, I was planning on telling the twins today'.
'What are you two talking about?' Hermione asked curiously.
He regarded her for a moment. Perhaps it was best he told her as well. However he felt it would be best to tell her on her own. He would do it after talking to the twins.
'I shall explain later this evening Hermione. First though I need to talk with Fred and George'.
As he finished his meal and stood he saw her readying to question him further.
'I promise Hermione, I will tell you everything. Potter's honour. If you will excuse me'.
She was satisfied with his promise and allowed him to head to the lion's table.
'Harry old boy!'
'What brings you to our humble abode?'
He smirked in amusement.
'Do you have some time to talk after dinner? I have something I wish to discuss with you'.
'Oh, sounds serious' George remarked.
'What'd we do this time?' Fred asked with a grin.
'You two have done many things. Are you free to meet me? We could use that room we discovered' Harry replied.
The pair had a silent conversation, then Fred spoke.
'Sure, we'll meet you there'.
'Say in half an hour?' George finished.
'Why are you two all friendly with him?! He's gone dark!' Ron exclaimed further down the table.
The twins laughed.
'Thinking our Harry here's dark'.
'Shame on you'.
As chuckles rose along the table, Ron went bright red and grumbled under his breath. George gave Harry a wink as Fred went on to tease their ickle brother further. Shaking his head in amusement Harry started to head back, only to be accosted by yet another red head.
'Hello Ginevra, what can I do for you?' Harry replied politely.
She gave a squeak and her face went bright red, but she didn't stop staring at him. He waited for a response, but it was clear she had zoned out. He sighed, he didn't want to ignore her, but over the past few days she was starting to appear wherever he was. He knew she would be worse than Cho.
'I need to get back to my friends Ginevra, if you will excuse me'.
'It's Ginny!' he heard her whine as he went back to his table.
'What was that all about?' Neville asked bemused.
'Nothing much. Ginevra was being a fan girl. And apparently Ronald believes I'm the next Dark Lord' Harry replied with a small shrug.
Hermione choked on her drink and Luna let out a little fit of giggles. Neville just stared at the girls confused.
'Uh…what exactly did I miss?'
'I will explain another time Neville' Harry replied, eyeing Luna curiously.
Again that girl seemed to know everything about him. His lion friend just nodded, not really sure he wanted to know why the girls were acting odd.
'So I guess you won't be studying with us?' he then asked Harry.
'I hope you don't mind. I have a feeling this conversation with the twins will last a while'.
Neville told his friend it was fine. He was getting on well with his schoolwork and if he got stuck he had the two best Ravenclaw girls to help. And, he had to admit, the two prettiest. He was one lucky boy.
Harry made his way to the seventh floor where the room of requirement was hidden. After a quick check to ensure the corridor was clear, he paced the wall while asking for a private place to share a secret. The door appeared and he peeked inside, satisfied with the arrangement. Gone was all the clutter, replaced by a small room with a comfy looking sofa and chair. A small coffee table lay close by. Harry remembered that the room wouldn't provide food or drink.
The little Elf appeared with a pop.
'Dobby be here master Harry!'
'I'd like three drinks, perhaps butterbear, please. And perhaps some of Mipsy's delicious cookies, if she has the time' Harry said.
'Dobby be right back! Mipsy just finished baking some!'
The Elf popped away, and returned a few moments later with three glasses of butterbear and a plate of cookies, sitting them on the table.
'Thank you Dobby' Harry said warmly.
Dobby gave a beaming grin and bowed, popping away. Harry glanced out as footsteps were heard coming down the corridor. The twins greeted him with a wave.
'Thank you for taking the time to speak with me. I've asked for a less cluttered room for us to talk'.
'Always so formal Harry' George chuckled.
'Just the many charms of the great Dark Lord Harry' Fred joked.
Smirking Harry invited them in, taking the chair while they sprawled out on the sofa.
'So what's with all this secrecy Harry?' Fred asked.
'I admit it is rather a delicate matter. I will say now though that in no way am I forcing you both to do anything' Harry replied.
He received confused looks.
'Why would we think you'd be forcing us to do something?' George asked.
'You might, once I explain. You already know that I am a Dark Lord, of course'.
They nodded. Harry encouraged them to take a drink and some cookies and began to explain.
'Just before I started Hogwarts, I looked up any information I could find regarding previous Dark Lords. All of them had followers, split into those who shared the same views, and those who were bullied into joining, making them little more than slaves. I don't want to have people using me to gain fame, nor do I want to turn people into slaves. I came across a possible solution, and began looking for potential candidates the moment I stepped on the Hogwarts Express'.
'So…we're two of those candidates?' George asked.
'Exactly. I remind you again that I have no desire to force you into doing anything you are uncomfortable with' Harry replied.
'You're starting to worry us Harry. What kind of solution did you find?' Fred asked.
Harry gave a little chuckle.
'My apologies for worrying you. Simply put, I'd like for you both, along with some others, to be my consorts'.
It was rather unfortunate that they had both taken a drink at that exact moment. Harry couldn't help but chuckle as he waved his wand over the mess to clean it.
'CONSORTS!' they exclaimed.
'Correct. If you will allow me to explain a little further. When I say consort, I don't mean someone to warm my bed, as it were. That would be a bonus, but it isn't essential. I created a list of people with whom I can share my company with, be that with conversation, a game of quidditch, or just sharing a prank or two. My consorts would be treated as the princes and princesses they are, and they will in no way be slaves, sexual or otherwise. It is my hope that those who agree to be my consorts will be able to live with me at my manor. If a consort has a dream, say an ideal job, then I will use the Potter money to finance anything that is required. I wish to spoil you.
Hermione was the first on the list, followed by yourselves. Professor Snape came next, then Oliver Wood. Your brother Charlie closely followed. During the summer after my first year I was fortunate enough to meet the full Malfoy family. Draco had been a possible candidate, his attitude aside, but he eventually made the list when I met his parents. They are also listed. My second year held no potential consorts, however I can tell you that I am responsible for Gilderoy's disappearance. He attacked me with a memory spell, intending on using my story to further his own fraudulent career. His spell bounced off my magic and wiped his own memory, rendering him as helpless as a child. I was intending on shipping him off to some faraway country, but in his mindless state he was innocent of his crimes, and thus I decided to keep him. I suppose he could be classed as a pet, rather than a consort. Professor Lupin was recently added to the list, along with one other that I shall not name.
I am hoping, though I realise I may be turned down by many on the list, I am hoping that I can bring all of you to live with me at the manor. Gilderoy already stays with me, along with a few animal companions and the nameless person on my list'.
He was met with two sets of wide hazel eyes.
'You understand now why I said I wouldn't force you?'
George's mouth was hanging open, he didn't know what to say. Fred wasn't much better, making a series of noises that not even he could translate into words.
'I am not asking you both to agree. Nor am I asking you to make a decision right away. I am willing to wait as long as you wish. There is nothing stopping you from saying no. I do hope though that if you do, then we could still remain friends. I am very fond of you, and I'd hate for my actions to drive you away from me' Harry explained.
Fred was the thinker of the two, and he really needed to think right now.
'Could, we possibly have some privacy Harry?' he asked before his twin could speak.
'Certainly. Take as long as you need. If you don't mind, I'm going to ask if another room will appear. I'd like to see what things are hidden here' Harry replied.
The pair watched as he stood and paused for a moment. A second door appeared off to one side and he gave them a nod as he went through.
'Fred…What do you make of all this?'
'Truthfully, I don't know what to think. I mean we know Harry's not a bad person, so if he says he doesn't want us just for sex then I believe him. But some of the names on that list of his…'
George fiddled with his robes.
'I know. Mental. You know…I'm actually rather flattered. I mean, it's not like he wanted to keep us like slaves'.
'Yeah I know. Whatever our dream was, he would support it. I'm kinda flattered too, it's not every day people like us are asked to be consorts'.
Fred gave a chuckle.
'Better still our own brother's on the list. How did he even get on the list?! I can picture his face!'
George laughed with his twin.
'Probably the same face we had. Maybe we should look at the pros and cons of this. That what we usually do'.
'That's what I usually do, dearest brother. You just agree with me'.
'Yeah I know, but you do it so well'.
'Alright. Pros and cons. Well the first pro I see is that Harry would support us in our possible business'.
'We wouldn't be mindless slaves, that's a pro. And we'd get to live in a manor, big pro'.
'We'd also have others there, like Oliver'.
'Also a big pro, our captain is one hot guy. You reckon consorts would be able to, you know, be with other consorts?'
'Dunno. Can't see professor Snape agreeing to that'.
'Aww but he's so damn hot! If he just washed that potion out his hair…Hell if I had to be honest, Malfoy senior's hot as well. Junior, not so much'.
'We're getting off topic'.
'Right. So, any cons so far?'
'Um…mum might flip her lid when she finds out'.
'Yikes! Big con! Haven't told any of them we're gay yet'.
'And mum didn't exactly react well when Bill told her he was bi. At least dad was ok about it'.
'Yeah, I'd call that a pro. Wait, I've just thought of the biggest con'.
'Indeed. You know she'll have our heads if she thought we were taking her precious Boy-Who-Lived from her'.
'Harry already told us he wasn't interested. Any more pros or cons?'
'Probably, but I think we've got enough'.
'Yeah, ok. So…Harry's consorts, yes or no?'
Harry had just placed Rowena Ravenclaw's diadem in his trunk, amongst other things, when he heard the twins call him back. He'd taken a good look at the head piece, and realised that it really was the almost mythical diadem of the Ravenclaw founder. His head of house would love to have it returned to its rightful place in the school, but Harry was edging towards keeping it for himself. A kind of trophy to remind him of Riddle's defeat.
Harry made his way back to the other room and sat, patiently waiting for the twins to speak.
'We've kinda made a decision Harry'.
'But we do have a few questions before we say'.
'I am happy to answer as much questions as you have. Though you don't have to make a decision so quickly, you have plenty of time' Harry replied.
The twins shared a look. Harry noted curiously that they were blushing ever so slightly.
'If you get more people on that list of yours to be a consort…does that mean that…'
'Can consorts…you know…be with other consorts?'
Harry blinked at the question. He hadn't really thought about that. But as he pictured the current people on his list together, he could say with certainty that he liked the idea.
'If it were up to me alone, then the idea is appealing. There would be rules regarding the females though. I wouldn't want them becoming pregnant if they had no desire to have children. My rule would be that the males can be together all they like, but the females would need to give permission before being with a male, and that unless they desire to have children, contraception is to be used at all times. However this isn't up to me, though I believe that rule should remain in place. If you wanted to be with another member of the group, all involved must be willing. I will not have people forced into something or hurt'.
The two nodded, seemingly content with the answer.
'What about professor Lockhart? Exactly how would we treat him?' Fred asked.
'I don't believe you will have much to worry about with Gilderoy, though I will ask that you call him by his first name. He is childlike and at first was shy around crowds, but he has come out of his shell and he'll be happy for the chance to talk with others. He already knows that more people may be joining us at the manor. Treat him as you would a friend, and trust me when I say he knows nothing of his former life. You'd be surprised to see the change in him'.
'That just sounds too bizarre. Ok, this might be a bit nosy, but what's your manor like?' George asked.
'I think you will like living there, should you agree. It spans over four floors, along with a basement and attic. Male guest rooms are on the first floor, females and couple suites on the second, and consort rooms and my own are on the third. The House Elves live in the attic. Outside there is a quidditch pitch, a lake with a beach, a large forest, and a lot of open meadows. The manor has enough room to house a hundred people without issue, so if you require some space there is plenty to go around. There is also a very large potions lab, I know you are quite fond of that class. As I've mentioned I have a few animal companions living there, which have been told that there may be others coming to stay'.
'What kind of animals?' Fred asked curiously.
Harry smirked and waved his hand dismissively.
'Oh, nothing much. A Cerberus called Fluffy, a Basilisk called Saresh, and my familiars of course. And I suppose I can admit that I was the one responsible for Buckbeak's disappearance. A stable has been built for him on the grounds. I was worried Lucius Malfoy would have him put down for threatening Draco. Saresh lives in a cave in the forest, and has promised me that she will leave my consorts and my guests alone. Fluffy is housed on the grounds, we recently created him a large kennel. He's quite friendly, Gilderoy plays with him all the time, so I'm sure he won't cause any problems'.
He snorted with laughter at the twin's faces.
'You're having a laugh, aren't you' George asked nervously.
Harry smothered his chuckles and grinned.
'No, as a matter of fact I'm not. Fluffy was the creature that guarded the forbidden corridor in my first year, and Saresh used to live in the Chamber of Secrets right beneath our feet. She was Salazar Slytherin's familiar'.
'They were in the school?!' the twins exclaimed.
Harry's expression turned sour.
'Indeed they were, something I have not forgiven the headmaster for'.
'And what about the Basilisk? Can't they kill you with a single look?' George asked.
'They can, but they have a second eyelid that they close to stop them using their death glare. My familiars asked for an audience with her and she agreed to lower her gaze so that I may look at her. I apparently impressed her and we have become good friends. Better yet she allows me to harvest many rare potion ingredients, scales and whatnot, something I will of course share with my consorts' Harry replied.
The twins looked at each other, debating this new information in a silent conversation. Finally it seemed they'd reached a decision.
'We would like to become your consorts Harry' George said.
'And…well…we don't mind making it, sexual' Fred finished with a blush.
Harry raised an eyebrow in surprise.
'You are sure? You are of course free to change your mind at a later date'.
'We're sure. We've…sorta had a crush on you since you arrived at Hogwarts' Fred admitted sheepishly.
'Yeah, along with a few others, most of which seem to be on that list of yours' George followed with a chuckle.
Harry gave a chuckle of amusement.
'In that case, I officially welcome you both as my first pair of consorts. Let me give you the access to my manor and you are free to travel there at any time, though I hope you decide to stay after your graduation'.
'So…did everything go ok with your conversation with the twins?' Hermione asked.
'Yes, it went very well' Harry replied.
He chuckled at her impatient expression.
'Alright, I did promise. Come with me, there's a place I'd like to show you'.
It was just before curfew, but she eagerly followed him back up to the seventh floor. He motioned for her to stop in front of the wall and smirked.
'A little magic trick I learned'.
Her eyes went wide as a room appeared out of the stonework as he paced. Harry chuckled and stood to the side, giving her a bow and waving her in.
'Welcome to the room of requirement'.
'The room of requirement?'
Harry had asked for a small room with a roaring fireplace and two cosy armchairs. He'd asked Dobby to have a couple of glasses of pumpkin juice and another plate of cookies waiting for them.
'It's a rather special room. It can become whatever you ask. For example, I can ask it to be a library and it will change around us. For the moment though, I wanted an area to talk with you privately'.
'That's incredible! This would be a perfect room for studying!' Hermione said in excitement.
'I thought that myself. After this discussion I intend on showing Neville and Luna so that we can all use it' Harry replied in amusement, waving her into a seat.
She sat, grabbed a cookie, and gave him a look.
'Alright mr, talk. What's going on?'
'I promised I will explain everything and I shall. First though, what do you know of consorts?' Harry replied.
He raised an eyebrow when she blushed.
'Well…A consort is a man or woman, or a group of people involved in a sexual or romantic relationship with someone of higher ranking. It can be sexual or not, though mostly it is. The word is also sometimes used instead of wife or husband in some situations'.
She blushed further at his look.
'I may have snuck a few of my mum's adult books when I was younger'.
Harry chuckled, holding his hands up in surrender when she swiped at him with a glare.
'I am not laughing at you Hermione. I am laughing because it sounds so much like something you would do. If I may take a guess, your love of books caused you to snoop around looking for more reading material?'
Hermione mumbled an agreement. Harry smiled and took her hand.
'Hermione I would never laugh at something you love. I confess I have not read such material myself, but I am always open to new options'.
She smiled at him, then blinked and gasped as some of the pieces of the puzzle came together in her head.
'Why are you asking about consorts? Harry you didn't go and make Fred and George consorts did you?! Why in the world did you ask them to be consorts?! Does that mean you're…'
He touched her lips with a finger and she snapped them shut with a squeak.
'I am but a simple male Hermione, I cannot keep up with your brilliant mind. Please allow me to explain, and hopefully I can answer your questions as well'.
She blushed and nodded, giving him a sheepish smile when he moved his hand away. He smiled back warmly.
'Thank you. You see when I was younger all I truly wanted was someone to care for me. My relatives were not the friendliest of people and the idea of magic both repulsed and scared them. They did not treat me well'.
He held up a hand as she went to speak.
'It's ok, I don't much care for them either, but when I was young I did hope I could make them like me' he said softly.
She gave him a sympathetic look and slipped her hand into his. He squeezed it gratefully and continued.
'When I was six they locked me out in the rain. I wandered the streets until I came across the library. It was a haven for me, and when I was seven I came across a children's book about magical people. While reading it I realised I could do what they did, and discovered I had magical powers. When I turned eleven I looked for as much books as I could find on the magical world. I learned about Voldemort and previous Dark Lords, and I realised that because of my grey magic others may believe me to also be a Dark Lord. I decided that if they wanted to see me that way, then I would become one'.
Hermione gasped and he soothed her.
'I assure you Hermione I am not about to slaughter the innocent, in fact I have no desire to kill if I can help it. However I have noticed that the residents of the magical world don't always see eye to eye with those who use questionable magic'.
She nodded slowly, realising that he was right. He smiled.
'So yes, I am a dark wizard, and because I got my inheritance, as the last in the Potter line, and thus became Lord Potter, it is only natural that I be a Dark Lord'.
She giggled slightly as his joke.
'Every Dark Lord in history had followers, and I decided I'd like some as well. However unlike previous Dark Lords, I didn't want people riding my so called fame, or forcing them to be slaves. I then read about a wizard who had consorts, and decided that would be my solution. To answer your questions Hermione, yes, I asked Fred and George if they would like to be my consorts. I made it clear that I was not asking for the sexual side of the title, rather for the opportunity to spend time with good company. They accepted' Harry finished.
'I see. Ok, I can understand where you're coming from. I mean that grey magic you performed on the Troll, that should have been my first guess that you weren't an ordinary wizard' Hermione mused.
'When have I ever been an ordinary wizard Hermione?'
She shook her head in amusement.
'Ok, good point. So, a Dark Lord, and two consorts. Two male consorts…'
She fell quiet and started chewing her lips, a rather sad expression on her face. Harry understood at once what she was thinking. He took both her hands and gazed into her eyes.
'Hermione, you flatter me. I feel that I am not worthy of your affection'.
She blushed but shook her head.
'No, I'm not good enough for you. I mean you're a lord, a rich lord'.
'What good is money when I don't have anyone to spend it on' Harry pointed out.
He tugged her a little closer.
'My beautiful Hermione, the gender of a person means nothing to me. I care for you a great deal. When I made the decision to have consorts, you were first on my list. And I hope now that I've admitted it, that you won't push me away in disgust'.
She didn't. She was gazing at him wide eyed.
'I was really the first person on your list?! But look at me Harry! I'm bucktoothed and I've got this stupid bushy hair!'
'You are beautiful Hermione. There is nothing wrong with you' Harry argued.
He got off the chair and knelt at her feet, brushing a stray stand of hair from her eyes.
'Hermione Jane Granger, will you allow me the pleasure of having you as my consort? I want to treat you like the princess you are'.
She gaped for a moment, then shook herself out of it and giggled.
'Dark Lord Harry Potter, I will become your consort, on the condition that you tell my father why I'm sharing you with a pair of male twins'.
She laughed at his horror struck expression. Realising she was, hopefully, making a joke, he chuckled nervously.
'Are you sure I can't do something a little easier? Perhaps bring you the moon on a silver platter?'
She collapsed onto the arm of the chair in a fit of giggles. Laughing Harry sat back on his seat. Eventually they got themselves under control. Hermione wiped her eyes and regarded Harry thoughtfully.
'Fred, George and I aren't the only ones on that list, are we?'
He blinked in surprise, then chuckled.
'Brains and beauty, I should reconsider making you my Dark Lady'.
She punched his arm playfully. Grinning Harry brought out his list and handed it over. Her eyes widened as she read the names.
'You are really aiming for the stars Harry! Oliver is handsome, professor Lupin too. I have no idea what you see in that git Draco, or his parents for that matter'.
She sighed and shook her head, giving Harry a look.
'Only you would pick consorts that are older, and mostly male. And then there are the ones who hate your guts. You are one strange person Harry'.
'I shall take that as a complement' he joked.
Rolling her eyes she looked back at the list. Then she frowned.
'Sirius. Harry please don't say this Sirius is Sirius Black?!'
In answer, Harry brought out the cage holding Pettigrew from his trunk.
'Do you recognise this?'
She peered into the cage.
'Isn't that Ronald's familiar?'
'Correct. However he is not as he appears. You see Hermione last summer I met with Sirius Black, and I discovered that he is not responsible for betraying my parents' Harry explained.
'You met him?! Harry are you sure he's telling the truth?!'
'I gave him a truth serum, not a strong one, but he didn't seem to fight it as he answered. He gave me a piece of information that was worrying. Apparently the real betrayer was Peter Pettigrew. When Sirius Black realised my parents were dead he went after Pettigrew and confronted him. Pettigrew then used a blasting spell to kill those around him, and cut off a finger on his right hand before transforming into a rat and escaping down the sewers' Harry replied.
He could see she'd worked out the rest.
'That's Pettigrew?!' she whispered.
'Indeed. Sirius, my father and Pettigrew became animaguses while they were at school, Sirius is a dog and my father was a stag. Sirius happened to obtain a newspaper showing the Weasley family in Egypt. Pettigrew was sitting on Ron's shoulders. Sirius recognised him immediately and escaped to stop him from harming me. You see Hermione, Sirius is my godfather' Harry replied, putting the cage back in his trunk.
She looked at him wide eyed.
'So he was innocent?! But surely he had a trial, and they used veritaserum on him?'
'He was thrown in Azkaban without a trial, nor was he given any form of truth serum' Harry said.
'But that's illegal!' Hermione exclaimed.
'I know. But now that I have Pettigrew, I can prove my godfather's innocence. My inheritance came with my family manor, which is heavily protected. Sirius has been living there with me for most of the summer' Harry replied.
More and more pieces of the puzzle were starting to come together in Hermione's head.
'So that's why you asked about who to trust in the ministry? I mean if Sirius was tossed in prison once without a trial then what's to say they won't do it again. Or worse, just kill him. So, is he ok? I mean spending twelve years in Azkaban would have really messed with him'.
'He is steadily getting better. A good diet, exercise and a regime of potions are doing wonders for him' Harry said.
'Oh good. It's good that you have family now, I mean other than those horrid relatives of yours' Hermione smiled.
She then frowned and looked back at the consort list.
'Wait a minute'.
Harry waited for the explosion, and it came.
'YOUR OWN GODFATHER HARRY?!'
'Unorthodox I realise, but as he is not related by blood…' he tried to explain.
Hermione glared at him and huffed, eventually calming down. It fell silent for a few moments.
'Is he really that handsome that you'd consider him for a consort?' she finally asked quietly.
'I believe once he fully recovers, that he will be very handsome' Harry replied.
She nodded, staring into space. When she spoke again it was in a rather sly voice.
'So…you mentioned a manor?'