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By right of conquest
Chapter the last

By kokopelli

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Author Notes:

As always, thanks to Jeconais, who has very different ideas as to what constitutes a proper breakfast, and to GardenGirl, who is reconsidering when she breeds her goats, as late night birthing sessions in November is not for the faint of heart.

By Right of Conquest – Chapter the Seventh

Returning from Australia by way of the shadows, Harry picked up his travel kit from Andromeda and returned to Grimmauld Place for the rest of the day, dividing his time between business and reading more chapters in the Riddle diary. The house was more or less habitable now, and Harry felt that he had to give the place a chance now that it was not choked with dust, doxies and the shadows of Sirius Black.

He woke the next day and reached for his glasses, finding instead a note written in Kreacher’s copperplate script.

Master Harry

Mistress-to-be came home early this morning. I led her to her room and I have advised Mimsy of the Greengrass household as to the whereabouts of the young mistress. Her room is found on the third floor.

K

After the initial cleanup of Grimmauld Place, Harry rarely had occasion to go up to the third floor, as everything he needed was either on the ground floor (the library, kitchen, office) or second floor (bedroom). He pulled on some trousers and plucked a clean t-shirt from the drawer. After a quick visit to the loo, he decided that it was time to see just exactly what Kreacher had been doing whilst Harry was away.

Harry found three rooms newly made up and furnished from the Black storage rooms, where treasures and junk from prior generations were stored without any apparent system of organization. He found a large bedroom decorated in a masculine style with a large bed. The room had a connecting door to the adjacent room, which was considerably smaller and furnished with a single bed. The decorating theme for this room was light and floral. Daphne was asleep under the covers, sheets and blankets askew at the foot of the bed, one pale foot sticking out over the edge.

This room had a connecting door as well, leading to a bright, spacious room furnished as a nursery with changing table, crib, a low day bed and a rocking chair next to the window. Harry felt drawn to the rocking chair.

As he sat in the rocking chair some previously locked portion of his memory unfolded sights, sounds and smells. He was in a room much like this, only now of enormous scale, rocking away, snug and warm. He saw a yellow bathrobe covering a white nightgown, scarlet hair draping over his feet as he looked up at an enormous woman and listened to a lullaby. The memory receded and he was once again here and now in the newly decorated nursery at Grimmauld Place.

He wiped his eyes and rose from the chair, heading back to what he would now always call Daphne’s room. Before he entered the room, he turned and looked back at the rocker.

The room changed again, and he saw Daphne sitting in the rocker, dark blue bathrobe covering a white nightgown. The nightgown had seven buttons all of which were undone and a small bundle with dark hair was attached to her breast, with a thup-thup-thup sound coming from the infant. Daphne looked tired with bags under her eyes, but she had an enigmatic smile on her face as she rocked and nursed.

Tears flowed freely down his face and he pondered the scene until it faded, and the room was empty again.

“Harry?” Daphne called from the next room.

Harry turned and entered the room. Daphne sat up in bed and patted the mattress next to her.

“What’s wrong?” she asked.

“Seeing things,” Harry explained.

“Like what?” Daphne asked.

“Past and the future, I guess,” Harry said, wiping his eyes. “I think the nursery triggered both – although I’m not sure that I believe in visions of the future.”

“What was in the past?”

“I remembered something from when I was living as a tot in Godric’s’ Hollow. Before today I remembered nothing about my parents apart from the night they were murdered, and that I remember all too well.”

“So, what do you remember now?”

“My mum was holding me, she was rocking me in a nursery – it wasn’t this nursery, but there was a rocker in it. She was wearing a yellow bathrobe over a white nightgown and I could see her hair falling down over her shoulder. She was singing, but I don’t know any lullabies, so I don’t know which one it might have been.”

“That’s it?” Daphne asked.

“It’s more than I had before,” Harry said, smiling.

“What about the future?” Daphne asked.

“The same, only different; I saw you, sitting in a different nursery, different rocker. You were wearing a dark blue bathrobe over a white nightgown. It was different than what you’re wearing now, it had seven buttons down the front,” Harry said, tracing his finger down Daphne’s breastbone. If he noticed her slight shiver he didn’t mention it.

“You were unbuttoned, and you had a small person, sorry, I don’t know the gender. And you were feeding this person that we’d made together with that wonderful, amazing, beautiful breast,” Harry said, tracing the curve under her right breast through her nightgown with the tips of his fingers. “The sight of the two of you there was breathtakingly beautiful.”

Neither said anything. Harry traced the upper swell of her breast with his thumb and then took his hand away.

“Where are my manners?” he said, pushing himself back a bit. “Good morning, my queen. I didn’t expect to find you here.”

Daphne laughed.

“I didn’t expect to find me here either,” she said.

“I stayed very late with Hermione. I met her mum and dad, and we went for a long walk, and then we polished off a bottle of wine, and after I realized I’d been there way too long, I went back to the shadows and tried to Apparate home. Long story short, I couldn’t find home. So, not wanting to be a damsel in distress, I Apparated to you,” she said, smiling at the thought.

“That’s supposed to be really hard,” Harry said.

“Well, I was coming in from the shadows, so maybe it’s easier from there. You were in bed, sleeping. My wicked plan was to just climb in bed with you, but Kreacher came and took me by the hand and led me here. Apparently this is my room,” Daphne said, wrinkling her nose.

“It’s a little stingy in the bed department,” she said. “And I’m really not happy about the notion of separate rooms, much less separate beds.”

“Don’t look at me,” Harry said with his hands raised. “This is all Kreacher’s doing, this must be what was fashionable and decent, perhaps when Victoria was queen.”

“You’re not planning on keeping me in a separate room when we’re married?” she asked.

“You’ll sleep wherever you want when we’re married,” Harry said with a shrug. “I was hoping that it would be with me. Changing the subject, Kreacher says he told Mimsy where you were, so your parents are either no longer worried about where you might be, or they’re just now starting to worry.”

#@#

Grace wandered into the kitchen where her husband handed her a cup of coffee mixed to her preference.

“Did you get any sleep?” Grace asked.

“A little,” Malcolm said. “I got back around midnight, you were already asleep. I stayed up when I found that Daphne wasn’t home yet. Mimsy let me know this morning that Daphne made it back to Harry’s house in London.”

“They weren’t together?” Grace asked.

“No. They started the day out together and then Daphne went off with one of her school friends. She didn’t come back until late this morning,” Malcolm explained.

“Which one?” Grace asked, raising one eyebrow.

“I’ve told you what I know,” Malcom said, swiveling in his seat to look out over the estate.

“So, how was the trip?” Grace asked.

“About what I expected; the Potters are English and Welsh, the Blacks are completely English as are the Gaunts,” Malcolm reported.

“You’re leaving one out, Malcolm,” Grace said, a knowing smile on her lips.

“Clan Gordon’s historian can document Peverells in the Highlands in the 1100’s, and the documentation dovetails nicely with what I’ve found subsequent to that,” Malcolm said.

“So, he can wear the Gordon tartan?” Grace said.

“As rightly as we wear Cheyne,” Malcolm said.

“After all this, his kinsmen were our neighbors?” Grace exclaimed.

“That was quite some time ago,” Malcolm said.

“The historian, he’s not just blowing smoke to curry your favor?” Grace asked.

“Hardly, he can’t stand me.”

“Well done, my lord husband, we’re almost there,” Grace said.

“Did she buy your suggestion about executing the betrothal?” Malcolm asked.

“She took no convincing, but there was no sale with Harry,” Grace said.

“That’s counterintuitive,” Malcolm said.

“Yeah,” Grace replied. “He did have a point. He objects to the terms of the current betrothal. He says if he accepts the only the negotiated terms, Daphne is physically safe, but not much more than that.”

“What’s he want?” Malcolm asked.

“The Prayer Book vows: love, honor, comfort, keep, forsaking all others,” Grace quoted from memory. Daphne says that Harry intends to fuse the mundane ritual with magical intent. He’s going to make a mundane rite magical.”

“He is a very singular young man,” Malcolm said.

“Indeed.”

“Are there any rolls left?” Malcolm asked.

“I hid some from the midget.”

“Ooohhhh,” Malcolm sighed.

“You get one, I get the other,” Grace said, reaching for a dish on a high shelf.

“Deal!”

#@#

Harry and Daphne ate breakfast in the kitchen of Grimmauld Place and then Daphne went upstairs for a shower. When she returned from the en suite in Harry’s room to her tiny bedroom, she found the bed made and the clothing she’d worn the day before laid out on the bed, cleaned and pressed.

“Thank you, Kreacher,” she said.

She wasn’t sure, but she thought she heard a faint sigh.

Going downstairs she found Harry in the office, staring at a statement from Gringotts.

She rubbed his back as she read over his shoulder.

“Need help?” she asked.

“A lot of the portfolio’s been on autopilot since my parents died,” Harry said. “I think there are some really underperforming assets in here.”

Daphne looked further at the reports, spreading the sheets out, side by side.

“I think you need to look at more than just the prior year’s performance, Harry,” Daphne said.

“Oh?”

“One year’s performance may or may not be significant. Do you want me to give you a five and ten year report on earnings? That would let you see the trends you can’t spot in one year’s earnings statement,” Daphne volunteered.

“You can do that?” Harry asked.

“It might take me the better part of a day if I did it by hand, but sure, I can do that,” Daphne said confidently. “Remember, I’ve been in training to run an estate, mine or someone else’s since the time I could read.”

“It’ll be yours soon enough,” Harry said.

“Where are the prior year reports?” Daphne asked.

“Uh, at Gringotts?” Harry said, looking sheepish.

“Well, I think I know where we’re going this morning. You’ll need to be there, because until we’re married, they won’t give me the time of day on your accounts,” Daphne said. “Beside, this will give me a plausible reason to delay coming back home, as I’m probably in a bit of hot water.”

“What for?”

“For not coming home last night or more accurately, for not telling Mum or Father that I wouldn’t be coming home,” Daphne explained.

“You’re of age,” Harry objected.

“True, but irrelevant,” Daphne countered. “It would be common decency to let them know before the house shuts down that I wouldn’t be home. Parents worry, even when their children are of age. You did it with Andi when you spent the night at our estate, I should have done the same.”

“Is this a rule?” Harry asked.

“Yes.”

“Okay, here I was being responsible and I didn’t even know it,” Harry said with a grin.

Harry closed up Grimmauld Place, and then dual Apparated with Daphne into Diagon Alley.

They were both dressed in every-day robes over Muggle attire, a fashion statement commonly seen in Diagon Alley in their age group.

About a block from Gringotts, Mr. Rufus appeared and began to walk beside them.

“Mister Potter, M’am,” he said with a tip of his hat. “Let me take you through the private entrance.”

They walked into what appeared to be an Apothecary and through a door at the back of the shop. The door opened into a quiet, hushed hallway. As they turned the corner, they recognized that they were in the richly carpeted and paneled hallway that led to Ragnok’s office.

Mr. Rufus stopped before the door.

“Please excuse me while I announce you,” he said, disappearing behind the polished walnut door. Within a short moment, he opened the door again.

“Ragnok will meet you in the conference room.”

“Lead on,” Harry said.

When Mr. Rufus opened the door to the conference room, Ragnok was already seated at the table, a book and folder beside him. The buffet table was again set with tea service and pastries.

“It appears that Mr. Rufus has maligned my coffee, so I will offer you tea,” Ragnok announced.

“Thank you, Director Ragnok,” Daphne said with a minute bob of her head.

Daphne turned to the side table and began preparing cups of tea for everyone.

“Mr. Rufus?”

“Straight,” he said tersely.

“Director?”

“Sugar, three lumps,” Ragnok replied with what might have been a smile.

Once they were seated at table with tea, and in Harry’s case, another doughnut, Harry opened the conversation.

“Director, we came to Gringotts for prior year earnings statements of my holdings, but given that we’re meeting with you in person, I assume that you have business we need to discuss,” Harry said respectfully.

“Not business per se ,” Ragnok said after sipping his tea and placing the cup back on the saucer. “I believe first that congratulations are in order on your impending nuptials.”

“Thank you, Director,” Harry said.

“Harry, the Goblin Nation is forbidden by treaty from interfering in the internal affairs of Wizarding Britain,” Ragnok began. “The Bank has only slightly greater latitude. A reliable source brought information to my attention.”

He pushed a folder across the table to Harry.

“What is it?” Harry asked.

“A draft article, I believe the word is ‘galley’ being written for the Daily Prophet” Ragnok said, curling his lip as he pronounced the title.

“Indeed,” Harry said.

Daphne opened the folder. Inside was a full scale layout of a newspaper page with pictures and notes affixed with Spellotape. The banner headline read “HARRY POTTER TO WED BRIDE OF VOLDEMORT.”

“Well, at least they have the courage to not say ‘you-know-who’ or ‘he-who-must-not-be-named.’” Harry said. “What is Gringotts’ interest in this?”

Ragnok paused, as if composing a diplomatic answer. “Uncertainty is bad for business,” he began. “The old order is gone; the new order is not yet in place. Factions in Wizarding Britain are vying for position and attempting to neutralize other factions. I’m afraid that I cannot say much more than that.”

A chime sounded and Ragnok opened what appeared to be a pocket watch from his waistcoat pocket. “Oh, dear,” he said. “I’m afraid that I must attend to another matter.”

He rose, gave them both an almost imperceptible nod of his head, and left the room. Mr. Rufus followed in his wake.

“Stay as long as you wish, your earnings statements will be brought here in a minute or so,” Mr. Rufus said. “You know your way out.”

“Mr. Rufus?” Daphne called.

“Yes, Mistress Greengrass?” Mr. Rufus responded.

“Do you have a card?”

“Yes, I have a card,” Mr. Rufus said, moving to go out the door.

“May I have one?” Daphne asked.

“Certainly,” the Red Cap said, slipping his hand in a pocked of his suit coat and pulling out an ivory colored card.

“Thank you,” Daphne said.

“You are most welcome, Mistress Greengrass, now, I too must be off.”

Mr. Rufus closed the door behind him.

“What was that about?” Harry asked.

“A hunch, I wanted to see where he fit in the organization,” Daphne said. “The front side is printed in Gobbledygook, the reverse side is printed in English.”

“So, what’s it say?”

“‘Rufus, Director of Field Operations, Red Cap Division, Gringotts,’ is what’s on the English side. The Gobbledygook side has some sort of motto afterwards,” Daphne said, her lips moving silently.

She put her hand to her face and laughed.

“‘When it absolutely, positively has to be dead by dawn,’” she quoted.

“Does that mean what I think it means?” Harry asked.

“That Mr. Rufus is in charge of what we would call special operations,” Daphne said.

“Okay, that’s good to know,” Harry said. “Let’s get back to the article.”

Daphne and Harry read the article together.

“That picture of me is terrible,” Daphne complained. “It’s from our fifth year at Hogwarts.”

“Apparently someone at the Prophet agrees with you, as the note next to it says ‘this is a terrible picture, get something better’,” Harry said.

Harry went back to reading the article, which spread out over two pages. Daphne finished before he did and she began running her fingers through his hair at the back of his head.

“Harry?”

“Hmm?”

“Ragnok left a book on the table,” Daphne said.

“Okay, yeah, he did,” Harry said.

“Harry, hand it to me, please,” Daphne said with mild exasperation.

He handed her the book and she opened it to the page where someone, presumably Ragnok, had left a hammered brass bookmark.

Daphne cleared her throat and began to read.

“Okay, there’s a bunch of legal stuff, which is unremarkable, as it’s a commentary on law. Then there’s this, which is underlined: ‘The fealty owed by vassals to liege lords conquered in individual combat may be deemed an asset of the vanquished liege lord, depending upon the wording of the oath of fealty. The conqueror has a year and a day to claim this fealty, before the oath is deemed extinguished,’” Daphne read. “Subtle, Ragnok, really subtle.”

Turning the book over she read the title page “‘A commentary on the uncommon laws of England, Scotland and Wales’ by some guy named Blackstone,” Daphne murmured.

“So, who knows the details about your betrothal to Riddle?” Harry asked.

“You, me, Mum, Father, the midget, the late Bellatrix Lestrange and Lucius Malfoy,” Daphne said, ticking off fingers as she recited names.

“Hermione, Andi, Augusta and Neville Longbottom, and Luna,” Harry added.

“Well, unless it’s the midget, which is bloody unlikely, our most likely source is Lucius,” Daphne said.

“I think we might want to visit dear Lucius,” Harry said.

“Let’s talk to Mum and Father first,” Daphne said.

#@#

“Nervous?” Harry asked as they passed through the gate leading to the Greengrass house.

“A bit,” Daphne said. “Time to take my medicine like a big girl.”

They entered the house through the kitchen. Mimsy was standing on a stool, rolling pastry of some sort. She stopped, turned and pointed a finger at Daphne.

“Mistress is unhappy with Missy,” she said seriously. “Welcome back, Missy’s Mister,” she said, changing her expression.

“Yes, I know, I should have called,” Daphne explained. “Where’s Mum?”

“Mistress and Master are out by the fountain,” Mimsy said. “I am glad that you are safe, Missy.”

“Thank you, Mimsy,” Daphne said.

Walking back through the house, they walked into the back garden. Harry took Daphne’s hand and gave it a squeeze as they approached the fountain.

“Mum?” Daphne said, approaching her parents as they sat together on a bench by the fountain. “I’m sorry, I should have called.”

“What happened?” Grace asked.

“I don’t think this is the place to discuss it,” Daphne said.

“Let us away to my office,” Malcolm said.

#@#

“You were in Australia? Pull the other one, it summons the servants,” Grace said.

“She’s telling the truth, Madam Greengrass,” Harry said. “We Apparated there from the shadows.”

“From the shadows, fascinating,” Malcolm said. “You’ve done that before, I take it?”

“Yes, sir,” Harry said.

“So, I was in Australia, talking to Hermione, one thing led to another, and I kind of got messed up as to what time it was here versus what time it was there, so I didn’t get back to England until three o’clock this morning,” Daphne said.

“England?” Grace said.

“I couldn’t find home from the shadows,” Daphne explained.

“So how did you get to England?” Malcolm asked.

“I Apparated to Harry,” Daphne said, smiling as she said it.

Malcolm slapped his thigh and laughed heartily. “Well, you don’t do things by halves, do you, daughter?”

“Evidently not,” Daphne said.

“And what was so important to discuss that you had to spend fifteen hours with Hermione?” Grace asked.

“Mum,” Daphne protested.

“I’m waiting,” Grace said.

“We were discussing which one of us should really be marrying Harry,” Daphne said, looking down at her shoes.

“I see,” Grace said. “What was your conclusion?”

“That I would be marrying Harry,” Daphne said. “That took about half an hour; the rest of the time was just girl-talk.”

“I don’t get a vote in this?” Harry asked.

“You already said yes,” Daphne said. “I just wanted to make sure that I wasn’t making a colossal blunder. The woman loves you, fervently. I needed to know why she was making it easier for me to get to know you.”

“Well, bypassing that for the moment, we visited Gringotts this morning and received some interesting news,” Harry said, changing the topic.

#@#

“Conclusions?” Malcolm asked.

“It was written by a committee,” Grace said.

“How so?” asked Harry.

“The story seems to have conflicting lines – you’re the next Dark Lord, you’re a pawn captured by my Dark Daughter, the Greengrass family is slightly lower than families who would sell their daughters into prostitution, the Greengrass family members are noble pureblood heroes, et cetera, et cetera,” Grace said. “One writer wants to make Daphne a femme fatale who manipulates the Dark Lord, another paints her as a homely girl who can only snag a man by magic.”

“Hey, I resent some of that,” Daphne said.

“Which parts?” Harry asked.

Daphne made the sign against evil and thrust her hand in Harry’s direction.

“If it’s any comfort, I think they’re looking for a picture where you look hot, because that would sell more newspapers,” Harry said.

“Not helping, Harry,” Daphne said.

“Obviously it’s coming from Malfoy, he’s the only one left who has knowledge of the betrothal and some motivation to cut Harry down to size,” Malcolm said.

“Why not the goblins?” Harry asked.

“What’s their benefit?” Grace asked.

“Hard to tell what motivates them, but Ragnok said that there were competing factions within the Goblin nation, some of whom would like to see my head on a pike,” Harry said.

“I don’t buy it,” Grace said. “The motive of this article is to neutralize you politically, that’s something humans would worry about, not goblins.”

“Maybe,” Harry said. “Look, there’s no love lost between me and any of the Malfoys, but I’m willing to consider alternatives.”

“That’s fair,” Grace said.

“I’d love to know how Ragnok got the story,” Malcolm said. “He doesn’t miss much; he has a better intelligence service than many nations.”

Daphne handed Mr. Rufus’ card to Malcolm.

“Okay and we now know who’s in charge of special operations,” Malcolm said.

“What’s the significance of the legal commentary?” Grace asked.

“It means that if I want, I own the surviving Death Eaters,” Harry said.

“Quite appropriate, as that’s how Riddle got many of them in the first place,” Malcolm said.

“How so?” Harry asked.

“During Grindelwald’s rise in Germany, there was an affiliated cult in Britain that called themselves the Knights of Walpurgis. After Grindelwald was defeated, they more or less disbanded, except for the die-hard true believers. Riddle challenged their leader in individual combat, and became the new leader. It gave him an instant organization and power base. From there he did selective recruiting and years later we fought the war of his first rising,” Malcolm said.

“Not a lot of Death Eaters left now,” Grace observed.

“Only one of interest at the moment,” Harry said. “I think I need to study some more of Riddle’s papers.”

“Mum, are we having dinner together tonight?” Daphne asked.

“Your father is taking me to the symphony,” Grace said.

“What about the midget?” Daphne queried.

“She’s going too, but she’s taking one of her school chums,” Grace said.

“Pick me up for dinner tonight?” Daphne asked Harry.

“I think that can be arranged,” Harry said. “C’mon, walk me out.”

Daphne fell in step with Harry placing her hand in the crook of his elbow.

Once they were out of the room, Grace asked “Malcolm, can you Apparate to a person?”

Malcolm looked thoughtful. “I don’t know, I’ve never tried; it’s supposed to be fiendishly tricky, but that may just be the conventional wisdom of lazy minds. I guess I’m going to have to find out.”

#@#

“Let me know when I get too clingy,” Daphne said. “I don’t like being apart from you.”

“Just a few more days, my queen,” Harry said.

Daphne smiled and pecked him on the lips. Harry then faded from sight.

#@#

Queenie’s Diary – June 1998 - enciphered entry

There are days that I truly resent my Mum’s questions. Today is one of those days. It was a day that started with Harry sitting on my bed, caressing my breast as he shed tears because the vision of me nursing our child was so beautiful.

It ended, of course, with an interrogation over pizza in which Harry was insinuating that Hermione and I were rolling dice to see who got to claim him. That wasn’t how I’d planned on the day ending. I wanted to show him that I did indeed own a seven-button winter weight white nightgown and a dark blue dressing gown. Both of them are hanging in my wardrobe right now. He’s already seen the summer weight nightgown (apparently he approves) and the summer dressing gown (apparently he doesn’t care).

Harry met me at the gate and we dual Apparated into London where he knew of an “authentic pizza joint.” I had a Mexican beer; he had some fizzy stuff, ginger beer maybe. We negotiated the toppings and settled on a pizza that was half pineapple and bacon with the other half topped by sausage, peppers and mushrooms. Once our order was placed, he pierced me with those emerald eyes.

“Now exactly why were you talking to Hermione?” He asked.

So I pulled the cork and let spill about how I feared that he was marrying me out of duty and how he obviously loved Hermione and she loved him.

He laughed at me.

“I spent a year on the run with her, living in a tent. Don’t you think that if I loved Hermione in that fashion that I’d have told her by now?”

“But you do love Hermione,” I protested.

“Yeah, but not like that.”

“Not the sweaty kind of love?” I said, not bothering to suppress a smile.

“Nope,” Harry said. “What were you going to do if Hermione said that she loved me and wanted to be Mrs. Potter?”

“I was going to break the betrothal so you could be with her,” I confessed.

“You twit.”

I blanched at that.

“You’re putting me in a box, Daphne, anything I say or do you’re liable to interpret as me being dutiful. I thought I was supposed to be the one with loathing and self doubt. Do you trust me?”

“Last time you asked me that you then asked me to let go of a broom at an altitude of one hundred feet.”

“Yeah, and what happened?”

“You taught me how to fly.”

“I really do want to marry you, Daphne; it’s not a matter of rescuing a damsel or doing my duty. You’re going to have to decide that you trust me on this.”

Then our pizza arrived.

If I was to be fair to the pizza, I’d write a couple of pages here about it, as it was really, really good, but frankly, it was just a pizza, not a transcendental experience, so I won’t.

After we each had a slice, I started the conversation again.

“I’m sorry,” I said.

“For what?” he asked.

“For not trusting you, for going behind your back.”

“Daphne, that’s Hermione’s mistake, thinking that she knows best, that’s why she’s in such hot water with her mum and dad.”

“From you that’s high praise,” I said.

“Being compared to Hermione?”

“Yes,” I said, hoping that I was defusing this bomb I’d cobbled together.

“Don’t kid yourself. For being a book-smart girl, she can do some really bone-headed things, usually because she thinks she knows better. For her the problem is most of the time she really does know better, but the fact remains that God didn’t go on vacation and leave her in charge.”

He picked up another slice.

“I appreciate that you were trying to put my interests ahead of yours. What I don’t appreciate is that you took the decision out of my hands. I called it quits with Ginny because I thought I knew what was best for her, and I didn’t even give her a chance to discuss it. I know now that was stupid, really stupid. You’re smarter than that.”

He bit into the slice, rather savagely.

“You know what? I’m not betrothed to Hermione; let’s not talk about her anymore.”

And so the topic closed.

Harry’s like that – he has it out, lets me know where I’ve screwed up, and then – bam – the subject is closed.

At least that’s how it looks right now. Maybe he’ll bring it up again in the future and rub my nose in it, but somehow, I don’t think so.

After that we talked about a lot of things – wedding plans, our future, where we’d be in five years, things like that. We talked about the midget and Mum and Father. I told him the very condensed version of how Grace became my mum.

He told me more about living in the cupboard under the stairs and learning the contents of the prophecy. He told me about how for years he didn’t expect to live to see his eighteenth birthday, much less twenty-one.

I said something silly about how I’d have to make his eighteenth birthday special.

Yeah, right, maybe I’ll dig deep into my hidden femme fatale, but somehow I imagine I just get up early that day and make cinnamon buns, assuming of course, that Mum will teach me how.

He took me home and kissed me at the gate and then faded away.

Tomorrow’s another day.

End of entry – Checksum 7147

#@#

Queenie’s Diary – June 1998 - enciphered entry

The next day started as most do, with a trip to the loo followed by breakfast. Mimsy handed me a note in Harry’s sloppy handwriting (it truly is wretched) “Come by my place before noon if you want to see the Longbottoms after the procedure.”

I reckoned that win, lose or draw, Harry wanted me there, so there I’d be.

I met Harry at Grimmauld Place and then we dual Apparated to the travel point outside St. Mungo’s. I’m fully capable of doing it solo, but I enjoy his embrace as we fold through space. He doesn’t seem to mind either.

The staff at St. Mungo’s seemed to be expecting us, as there were pre-printed badges with our names at the reception desk. The witch running the desk seemed a bit shocked when she read the badge that she was handing Harry, but she recovered nicely.

Rather than going upstairs to the Thickey ward, we went into the basement, and then down a sloping hallway that ended in a doorway marked “Ritual Room.”

Once inside, the Ritual Room seemed to be indirectly lit – there were no ceiling fixtures or wall sconces, but it was somehow fairly bright. We were behind a transparent barrier – kind of a room surrounding an inner room.

An older man, Frank Longbottom I presumed, was suspended vertically above a containment circle in the inner room. Rune covered stones were sitting on the perimeter of the circle, each of them glowing a different shade of light. One by one they started to go dark. A man in a green Healer robe handed the stones to an older woman in a white robe who weighed each stone and recorded the weight in a notebook. When there were finally no more stones left, the Healer broke the containment circle and gently floated Mr. Longbottom into a wheelchair that just moments earlier hadn’t been there. Mr. Longbottom’s face was slack and then it assumed a more normal expression, that of a sleeping man. He then started squirming and opened his eyes.

“Who are you?” he rasped to the healer.

“I’m Healer Hodge,” the healer replied. Healer Hodge had a broad smile on his face.

“Do you know who you are?” Hodge asked.

“What a stupid question, I’m Frank Longbottom. Where’s Alice?”

“She’s undergoing treatment right now; you’ll be able to see her in about a half hour.”

“Are we at St. Mungo’s?”

“Yes Mister Longbottom,” Hodge answered. “It’s 1998, you’ve been out of things for about sixteen years.”

“What the hell happened to me?” Longbottom asked.

“We’ll get to that – there are some people who’d like to see you.”

“Okay.”

Neville came into the inner room, as Harry and I came in through a different entry.

“James?” Frank Longbottom asked, looking at Harry.

“James was my dad,” Harry said. “I’m told that I look like him.”

“Was?” Frank asked.

“He’s been dead since I was very young.”

Frank Longbottom pointed to me. “You look like Fiona, you her granddaughter?”

“Daughter,” I said.

Then he pointed to Neville. “You look familiar, but I don’t know why.”

“Hi, Dad,” Neville said.

“Neville?”

I can’t say a lot about what happened after that. Neville and his dad embraced and we quietly excused ourselves.

When we were alone again, I told Harry that I was very proud of him.

Circumstances forced my hand on starting a relationship with Harry, but I don’t regret it one bit; I’m certain that I couldn’t select a better man if I had all the time in the world, but then my objectivity is a little impaired right now.

End of Entry – Checksum 1317

#@#

Queenie’s Diary – June 1998 - enciphered entry

Needless to say, I didn’t see much of Neville after that day. He did, however, send over some severely pruned ‘Rosa Mundi’ bushes that he’d ripped out of an old garden he was replacing on the grounds of Longbottom Hall. It’s an old, old rose variety named, if memory serves me correctly, for a mistress of Henry II of England. It’s hearty enough that it grows in the public gardens in Aberdeen, so I reckoned that it would do well in the back garden of Grimmauld Place. I don’t have time to do proper gardening anywhere this summer, but Harry’s okay with me ripping a few things out (most of which are completely dead) and planting a few specimens here and there. I planted two of the roses at Grimmauld Place and then two more at our little house in Aberdeen.

I’m getting cranky (crankier?) about being apart from Harry. This wedding business is for the birds – several times a day I just say to heck with it, we should elope, but Harry remains adamant.

On the plus side, he no longer flinches when I get close to him, and he’s quite affectionate.

We try to eat at least one meal a day together, some days it’s lunch with Andi and Teddy, other days it’s dinner with my family, but most days it’s breakfast.

This morning we filled out the survey that Fr. Backer will be using for our counseling. I handed Harry his copy and suggested that he just get it over with, filling it out at the kitchen table and putting it back into the envelope. He did so, using a pencil to fill in the blanks, check multiple choice answers and write a sentence or two for the open ended questions. I filled mine out at the same time, folded it, put it in the “Daphne” envelope and sealed it. Minutes later Harry finished his, put it in the “Harry” envelope, and handed it to me. I put both envelopes together in the big envelope that Fr. Backer had originally sent to us and made a mental note that I should ask Father where I address the envelope for return service.

“Daphne?”

“Yes?”

“Question twenty-four?”

“What one’s that, Harry?”

“What’s our approach to contraception?” he asked, trying to not look embarrassed.

“Well, Harry,” I drawled. “Abstinence is one hundred percent effective.”

“Very funny,” he replied.

“Under the terms of the betrothal there’s a ritual that I’ll perform the first time we come together,” I said, feeling my own face get a bit warm. “Because of the ritual, we won’t be using anything at all the first time; after that…” my mouth was open, but I couldn’t say anything.

“I’m sorry, Harry, apparently I really can’t talk about that.”

“Damn grimoire magic,” he said.

“It’s not going to be a problem,” I said, surprised that I could say that much.

Later that day we had a working lunch with Luna. She rather thoroughly interviewed us for almost three hours in preparation for our preemptive article that is scheduled to appear the Monday after the first reading of the banns. I was hoping for the hat trick and wanted to invite Harry for dinner that evening, but he said he needed to talk to the midget about some ‘fiddly magic’ and he’d see me tomorrow – for breakfast.

End of entry – Checksum 1549

#@#

Breakfast was at the Greengrass estate, so Harry Apparated to the gate and walked in, noticing as usual that the gate closed behind him. He figured that someday he’d ask how that worked, but it never became important enough to spend more than a moment thinking of it.

Daphne met him at the door and held her arms out.

“You have to pay the toll,” she said ominously.

“The troll?” Harry said.

“That would be the midget, give me a hug, mister,” she said.

They embraced, and then they kissed. It was a slow, thorough kiss and Daphne ended up with her back against the door frame.

“You’re getting better,” she said.

“Thanks, you’re not bad either,” he replied.

She fell in step with him.

“After breakfast Moppet needs to measure you,” Daphne said.

“For what?” Harry asked.

“For your suit coat and kilt,” Daphne answered.

“My what?” Harry asked.

“Harry, we already went over this,” Daphne protested.

“I must have not been listening. I’m wearing a kilt?”

“It’s not a horse, it’s not an elephant, it’s not a pink tuxedo,” Daphne said.

“Oh, okay, I guess,” Harry said. “Do I have to go traditional?”

“That’s up to you,” she said with a smirk.

“Call me Sassenach if you want, but I always felt that I shouldn’t have a breeze down there,” Harry said.

“My gown is blue, and I’ll be wearing a sash with our family tartan, which has blue and green in it,” Daphne explained. “You’ll be wearing a black suit coat and a kilt – the kilt will be in the Gordon tartan.”

“Gordon? I’m a Potter,” Harry objected.

“You are Peverell of House Peverell, remember?” Daphne chided. “Peverell is a minor branch of Clan Gordon, so you’re entitled to wear the tartan.”

“What’s the Gordon tartan look like?” Harry asked.

“Ever seen the Black Watch?” Daphne asked. “It’s like that – blue, green and black with little yellow lines. Thankfully, we won’t clash, although that’s more of an issue for the midget than it is for me.”

“Astoria?”

“She’s really particular about colors – won’t wear pink on a dare, and gets really, really snooty about what colors she thinks go together, or not.”

Breakfast was eaten and then Harry was given an efficient measuring by Moppet, the other Greengrass house elf.

“What’s your day look like, Daphne?” Harry asked.

“Pretty open, what do you have in mind?” Daphne asked.

“I think it’s time that we pay a visit to one of my relatives,” Harry said.

“Are we snatching from the shadows?” Daphne said with pleasure.

“That would be yes,” Harry said, with equal pleasure.

#@#

Rebuilding the Malfoy fortune and influence was top priority to Lucius, although truth be told, he was spending more time with Narcissa these days and this investment of time was rekindling the romance that had blossomed briefly before he’d pledged his allegiance to the late Dark Lord.

Voldemort had been very free with the Malfoy money, but he hadn’t had access to all of it, so there was still a respectable amount left, especially after Lucius liquidated a few of his lesser real estate holdings. He had some Muggle rental property and a Muggle hotel that he’d just sold, allowing him to pay off the last of his creditors. He was low on cash, but he was no longer dreading unscheduled Floo calls. Narcissa was off collecting rents from the Wizard tenants, a task that usually took her the full day. Lucius had no idea where Draco might be, and frankly didn’t much care. He took off his shoes and padded off into his study. He never saw the wand appear behind him.

When he was revived, he couldn’t see and he was outside somewhere, the sounds were no longer the sounds of Malfoy manor.

“You can untie him now,” a male voice murmured. He felt long fingers undo the ropes holding his hands behind his back and felt a fabric bag lift from his head.

A man and woman dressed in black sat opposite him at a rude wooden table. It looked like a Muggle park of some sort. His wand sat on the table in front of him.

He looked again at the couple, recognizing them at last. He smiled.

“Hello Lucky,” said Harry Potter.

“If you wished an audience with me in the future, I recommend that you go through my secretary,” Lucius said stiffly.

“But Lucky, you don’t have a secretary any more, and Narcissa is out taking care of business,” Potter said.

“My name is Lucius,” he said with some pride.

“Your name is whatever I say it is, Lucky,” Potter said.

A round disc of leather lay on the table in front of Potter; it was scratched with various runes.

“Recognize this?” Potter asked.

“Should I?” Lucius asked, feigning indifference.

Potter put one finger down on the disc. A searing flame erupted in Lucius’ left arm. Without thinking he grabbed his arm with his right hand, which did nothing to abate the burning. Potter removed his finger from the disc and the burning ceased.

“Let me tell you a little story, Lucky,” Potter began. “Your father, Abraxas, was a well to do pureblood, he became quite taken with the rabble-rouser Grindelwald when Abraxas was visiting Germany, and when he came back to England, he helped found the Knights of Walpurgis here in England. Sound familiar? I don’t know what he was thinking, but he swore a personal oath of fealty to Cuthbert Waffling, grand chief of the Knights of Walpurgis.

“One fine summer’s day, a stranger came to visit and dueled with Cuthbert, and left him dead on the dueling field, which is how a half-blood named Tom Riddle became the new chief of the Knights of Walpurgis, only Riddle was now calling himself Lord Voldemort, and the Knights become the Death Eaters. Abraxas became a Death Eater because his oath of fealty transferred by Right of Conquest. Stop me if this is getting boring,” Potter said.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Lucius said.

Potter touched the disc again and a different searing pain swept up Lucius’ spine and out through his arms and legs. Potter took his finger off the disc.

“Yes, it happened,” Lucius said through gritted teeth.

“Poor Abraxas died of the Dragon Pox and his son decided that the new power in Britain was going to be this Voldemort fellow and this son also swore a personal oath of fealty to the pretend Lord. It seems that bad judgment runs in this family, because Abraxas’ grandson swore an identical oath to this pretender too.”

“Yes, but we have learned from our mistakes,” Lucius said.

“Oh, I doubt that,” Potter said, moving his finger to the disc again.

“That won’t be necessary,” Lucius said hurriedly.

“I know, Lucky, I know how the Dark Mark works and what it can do. I know how I can claim the fealty of Riddle’s vassals. This is your lucky day, Lucky, I’ve come to collect.”

“How could you possibly know?” Lucius protested.

“Know that you slipped Riddle’s old diary into Ginny Weasley’s books at the bookstore? Know that you were punished severely when Riddle found out about that unauthorized operation? Know that Riddle took your wand when he took over your manor house? Know that you’re the source for the article the Daily Prophet is writing about me?” Potter asked.

Lucius struck out for his wand. Potter didn’t move at all. Lucius aimed the wand and snarled “Reducto.”

Nothing happened.

“You don’t have any magic left, Lucky, I took it all,” Potter said quietly.

“You bastard,” Lucius growled.

“Oh no, that was Riddle, he’s the one who marked you with that silly tattoo, the one that lets the liege lord tap into the magic of his vassals. Let me use plain words, Lucky,” Potter said, his voice just a hair louder.

“I am Harry James Potter, I defeated your liege lord Tom Marvolo Riddle in individual combat, and by Right of Conquest, I am claiming the fealty you once owed Tom Marvolo Riddle,” Harry said.

“What do you want?” Lucius asked, his shoulders slumping.

“Oh, many things, Lucky. I want to change Wizarding Britain, I want to marry this woman and raise my family in peace, and I want to change the world. Meet the new boss, a bit different from the old boss, but still your boss,” Potter said, smiling for the first time.

“I’m of no use to you without magic,” Lucius said, a spark coming to his eyes.

“I’ll be the judge of that,” Potter said. “I’m giving you two tasks, Lucky. The first task is to insure that article doesn’t run in the Daily Prophet until after the Solstice.”

“And the second?”

Potter dug into a pocket and rolled a smooth black glass orb across the table. “You’re going to record every crime you’ve committed on that recording orb,” Potter said with a smirk.

“And then return it to you, no doubt,” Lucius said.

“I don’t need the orb, Lucky, the orb is a reminder for you,” Potter spat. “I walked into the most heavily warded part of your manor, your sanctum sanctorum, and you never knew I was there. I grabbed you today, I can grab you tomorrow. I’m not going to touch Narcissa, not yet, but I have no reason to show any mercy to little Draco.”

“What’s the or-else?” Lucius asked.

“I’ll know if you fill up the orb, and I’ll know if you leave it blank. If it’s not full by dawn, the magic that I’m returning to you at the end of our conversation will leave you again, permanently. It may take a while for you to persuade the Daily Prophet, but I’ll give you all the time you need there, assuming that it doesn’t print before the Solstice.

“Let me make a few ground rules very, very clear. If you touch my friends, you die. If you hire talent to touch my friends, you die. Muggle baiting and Mudblood hunting is out, in fact you aren’t even going to use the word Mudblood, ever again. If you lie to me, I’ll strip your magic. If you fail to come when I call you, I’ll strip your magic. I will, from time to time, ask you to do things, things you’re pretty good at, and if you do them to your utmost ability, you might even recover some of the fortune and influence you squandered on the half-blood Riddle. I am your liege lord now, so I’ll also be watching out for your interests, when they don’t conflict with my own.

“Do you have any questions?”

“How do I reach you?” Lucius asked.

“Well, if you weren’t a troglodyte, you could call me on the phone, but you’re stuck in the Victorian age, so you can just leave a message on the orb, I’ll get it pretty much in real time,” Harry said.

“You are my liege lord,” Lucius said bitterly.

“What is your name?” Potter asked.

“My name is Lucky.”

“Very good,” Potter said, and he then faded from sight.

Lucius felt a surge of power course through his body. He picked up his wand again and waved it in a lazy circle. A sparrow appeared on the table, looked at him, and then flew away.

“Damn you Potter,” Lucius spat.

“You don’t have to love me, Lucky, you just have to do as I say,” said Potter, although he was nowhere to be seen.

Lucius silently cast the revealing charm – nothing happened.

“That one doesn’t work, Lucky, but do keep trying. Toodles.”

#@#

The penultimate Sunday of Harry’s single life found him seated at the back of the sanctuary of the Alford Parish Church, known to all simply as “the Kirk.” The minister paused before pronouncing the benediction.

“It is my privilege to announce the banns of marriage for Daphne Isabella Greengrass and Harry James Potter, who will come together in holy matrimony next week, here at the Kirk at one o’clock in the afternoon. A reception will follow afterwards at the pub,” the minister said, nodding as he saw varied responses to the announcement on the faces in the congregation, especially the part about the pub.

He then said the benediction and dismissed the congregation.

“Seven days,” Harry said, blending into the crowd leaving the Kirk.

On Monday a special edition of the Quibbler hit the streets containing the first in a series of articles on the inside story of the second rise of the pretender, Tom Riddle. Also included in the article was a two page spread on the upcoming wedding of Daphne Isabella Greengrass to Harry James Potter, complete with photographs showing a happy couple standing by a horse barn.

The Quibbler sold that issue out in less than half an hour, and it was reprinted four times before the end of the day, each printing run being larger than the one before. The Daily Prophet was curiously silent, although the letters to the editor that week discussed things found only in the Quibbler article.

At Neville’s recommendation, Harry had hired a social secretary, Eloise Hopkins ( nee Midgen) who screened all of Harry’s mail, sorting it into four categories she had nominated as: routine, important, dangerous and outright disgusting.

The latter category included a steady stream of ladies’ garments (and a few from gentlemen) which were routinely laundered and then donated to a women’s shelter in London. Important correspondence was delivered twice a day, routine correspondence twice a week, and the dangerous correspondence was usually binned.

By Tuesday personal letters began to arrive from people Harry actually knew, congratulating him on his impending wedding. Harry had sent out very few wedding invitations: the surviving faculty of Hogwarts, the Weasley family, Ollivander and Susan Bones.

Daphne’s invitation list was primarily family (all abroad) and a handful of classmates from school. The people of Alford, of course, presumed that they’d all been invited, so the assumption was that the wedding would be predominantly mundane, which was mentioned in the invitations sent out to magical guests.

Daphne fetched Hermione from Australia on Wednesday and she quickly became a fixture at the Greengrass estate, staying in the other, less colorful guest room. Hermione tried very hard to not give opinions on any of the logistics or arrangements, and spent much of her time picking Grace’s brain on Wizarding culture and customs.

After a somewhat confusing discussion over dinner, it was agreed that Neville was serving more or less as the best man, Hermione as the Maid of Honor, and Astoria as the too-old-to-be-a-flower-girl-too-young-to-be-the-maid-of-honor, which she actually relished, as she was in the thick of things, but actually had no responsibilities.

Hermione’s dress, purchased in Australia, was soundly vetoed by Astoria on the (to her) self-evident principle that the “color was all wrong.” After a frustrating afternoon spent shopping in Aberdeen, the coven, as the ladies had taken to calling themselves, descended on Augusta’s trove of classic couture and found a dress that fit and flattered Hermione, was somewhat consistent with the bride’s dress, but was still deemed by Astoria to be “stupidly wrong in color.” Astoria returned to the Greengrass estate by Floo and came back with a palate of acrylic paint, which she dutifully blended until she was satisfied.

“Queenie, make a color blob just like this,” Astoria commanded.

Daphne did as she was told and held it up.

“Much better,” Astoria decided with a grin. “Now apply it to the dress, let’s see what it looks like in this blue rather than that simply awful teal.

Daphne followed the instructions and thankfully the coven pronounced themselves satisfied, and then proceeded to discuss what would be worn Thursday evening for the wedding rehearsal.

Harry met with Neville for breakfast on Thursday morning, where he was regaled with stories of Frank and Alice, who had moved from the Thickey ward to a rehabilitation ward on a different floor of St. Mungo’s. Alice had progressed to the point that she was capable of being discharged, but she refused to go home without Frank, which Harry thought was as it should be.

“Is Longbottom Hall ready for them?” Harry asked.

“It will be when it needs to be,” Neville said with determination.

“Their original rooms were on the second floor, but I’m moving them down to the first floor, because Dad’s still not so good on stairs. He’s trying to rebuild sixteen years of muscle tone, and even with potions and magic, he’s got a ways to go,” Neville said.

“That therapist has been making eyes at you,” Harry said, half seriously.

“Yeah, right,” Neville said. “It’s not like it is with that git Potter, but ‘the Longbottom’ seems to have its own fan base. I’m in no hurry.”

“Well, I wasn’t planning on getting married this year either,” Harry said.

“Yeah, but, remember, you’re a git, so weird stuff happens to you that the rest of us just wonder about,” Neville said.

“What’s to wonder?”

“Primarily who you pissed on in a prior life that Karma keeps treating you like its own personal chew toy,” Neville said.

“You’ve got to admit that things are looking up,” Harry said.

“Yeah, you hit the jackpot with Daphne,” Neville said. “It could have been so much worse.”

“Bellatrix was already dead by the time Riddle snuffed it,” Harry objected.

“Umbridge?”

“Now, that’s just cruel,” Harry said.

“We set for tonight?” Neville asked.

“Yup, you’re going to love dinner afterwards,” Harry said.

#@#

The now obligatory wedding rehearsal took about forty-five minutes from start to finish, the procession with the pipers being omitted, because Homer assured them that his crew had done more than a dozen weddings in the last two years, so there was nothing to rehearse.

The organist arrived, having spent most of the afternoon pumping various musical compositions through the pipe organ, trying to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the instrument and the acoustics of the church. He pronounced himself satisfied and played two pieces during the rehearsal that Harry found pleasant, but were otherwise unknown to him. Father Backer was there in his grey habit and directed traffic like a metropolitan policeman, and after two run-throughs, pronounced himself satisfied.

The wedding party then proceeded to Aberdeen where Harry had reserved the little Italian restaurant (‘not a pizza joint’) for the evening, much to the delight of Rosa, the proprietress, who was thrilled to hear that Harry had proposed to Daphne after lunch in her restaurant.

Harry reckoned that the real story was way too complicated, and if Rosa wanted to misunderstand what he’d told her, then he was content with her version of the story.

Andi was the first to leave, stating that Teddy needed to be put to bed, but the others continued talking until eleven o’clock, when Rosa pointedly started stacking up chairs on the tables that weren’t in use.

Harry caught Neville’s eye, and the envelope handed to her as they left the restaurant was slightly thicker and heavier than had originally been negotiated. Rosa hefted the envelope, gave Harry a sharp glance, and then nodded.

Malcolm rather brusquely escorted Astoria and Grace into the house, leaving Harry and Daphne by the fountain.

“Still want to elope?” Harry asked.

“Absolutely,” Daphne said vehemently. “A lot of people would be disappointed, but I don’t want a spectacle wedding, I just want to be married, to you.”

“Soon, my queen,” Harry said soothingly.

“Come on inside,” Daphne said. “I’ve got something to show you.”

Without waiting for Harry to respond, she stood and walked toward the house. Harry caught up quickly.

Passing by the kitchen, Daphne announced, “Mum, I’m taking Harry up to my room to show him something.”

Astoria remarked “I bet!” which was met with shushing sounds from the kitchen.

Harry had never been in Daphne’s room, and was unsurprised to find that it was cluttered with bookshelves, and had one shelf dedicated to a row of equestrian trophies.

“I’ve been meaning to show you this for a while,” Daphne said, opening a wardrobe where two garments hung on hangers.

Without saying anything further, she pulled out a white winter weight nightgown, and ran her fingers over the seven buttons at the neckline. She then pulled out the blue dressing gown and held them both out to Harry with a mischievous expression.

“Seen these before?”

“They’re real?” Harry asked. “They’re really real?”

“Ask Mum if you want, but I got these for Christmas this year,” Daphne said.

“We’re going to have children,” Harry said with a tone of awe.

“Not immediately,” Daphne said, “but eventually, it’s generally considered to be part of the package.”

“I’m speechless,” Harry said.

“Say thank you, and then say good-night,” Daphne said, hanging the garments back up. “C’mon, get out of my room, there’s only so much self-control this girl wants to exercise.”

#@#

By agreement, there was no stag party or hen night. Neville took Harry fishing on Saturday on the river Tweed, teaching him the intricacies of how to cast flies, before he agreed with Harry that it was a waste of time, and they relocated to Aberdeen where they paid a heavily stubbled and tattooed man to ferry them around in a powerboat for the afternoon and went exploring on the coast.

“Nervous?” Neville asked in a quiet moment.

“Yes and no,” Harry answered. “I’m convinced it’s the right thing, I’m convinced that she’s the one, I’m worried that I’m going to make a fool of myself Sunday night, and I’m hoping she doesn’t wake up next week regretting all of this.”

“You’ll do fine,” Neville said reassuringly. “Andi said she was most thorough with Adam and Eve.”

“You know about that?” Harry asked nervously.

“Harry, the whole wedding party knows about that,” Neville answered.

“I must not have been paying attention,” Harry said.

“Yeah, you were staring at Daphne; you seem to be doing that a lot.”

“I think I’m done being a chew toy, Neville,” Harry said seriously.

“I think you’re right,” Neville agreed.

“Let’s head in.”

#@#

Sunday began as most days do, the sun appeared on the horizon, children awoke, mothers and fathers made breakfast, the day began. For some it was a day to get dressed and go to church, for others it was a day to recover from the excesses of the night before, and for yet others it was just another day.

With some grumbling, Kreacher had made changes to the suite on the third floor, somehow expanding both Harry and Daphne’s room. Two wardrobes were moved into the master bedroom while one remained in “Mistress’ room” which Harry found somewhat amusing, as Daphne hadn’t managed to move any clothes over to Grimmauld Place; all the wardrobes were empty.

Kreacher had polished Harry’s sturdy shoes to a high sheen and otherwise cleaned and pressed what Harry dubbed his “wedding costume” with every button buffed. The costume was waiting upstairs, Harry knew, but for some reason he dawdled in the kitchen. He went outside to the garden. They’d cleared the majority of the dead and overgrown plants from the garden, but even by Privet Drive standards, it was pretty bleak.

Daphne had planted roses by either side of the door, but the plants had been severely cut back prior to transplanting, so it looked more like a cluster of thorn sticks with an odd leaf or two than something that would provide beauty to the garden.

“Not time for everything,” Harry mused.

He finished the last of his coffee and went back into the kitchen, washing and rinsing the cup, leaving it on the counter to dry. When he next returned to the kitchen, it would be dried and back in the cupboard; it was hard to remember to leave something for Kreacher to do.

He looked at the clock once again and decided that he’d procrastinated enough. He walked the stairs to the second story, showered, shaved and then put “the costume” on, fussing with his socks to make some effort to having the ribs be more or less straight.

Kilt, shirt, waistcoat, suit coat, all were donned, adjusted, inspected, and with a sigh, he reckoned he’d done what he could. His sporran, which he called a “furry purse”, was lined with mokeskin, allowing him to store more than would normally be fit into the small space.

He tucked his wallet, keys, and Riddle’s old wand into the sporran, tucking his own wand into the scabbard he wore more or less without any thought on his left arm. He closed up Grimmauld Place and walked out into the back garden. When next he stepped through that doorway he’d be married.

#@#

The bridal party had assembled at the north end of town, waiting for the last of the congregation to disperse from the service at the Kirk. The groom’s party was at the south end of town: Harry, Neville and Andi with Teddy in a stroller. At the appointed time the first piper began to play and after the first tune concluded, the bridal party began its slow procession southward to the Kirk.

Harry found it odd that an instrument he associated with marching armies would also be used to bring his bride to her wedding, but he chalked that up as just another thing that didn’t make sense to a Sassenach groom.

As the bridal party crossed the first intersection, they were joined by another piper, and then another until at last four pipers led the bridal party to the steps of the Kirk. Upon entering the Kirk, Harry noticed two men dressed in black with black kilts on the groom’s side of the sanctuary. On their left arm each man carried a black bowler adorned with a blood red hatband. Gazing over to the bride’s side of the sanctuary, he saw two more men in black suit coats and black kilts. They too were cradling black bowlers in their arms.

The groom’s party entered the church and as he turned and watched out the open front doors, he saw Mr. Rufus standing outside, dressed identically to the men Harry had noticed inside the church. Mr. Rufus caught his eye, tipped his hat, and then moved back into the crowd that was milling outside the steps of the church.

The pipers crossed the threshold of the church and two of the pipers went silent, the four marching slowly up the aisle, dividing when they reached the front, two silent pipers moving to the groom’s side, one newly silent piper moving to the bride’s side, and Homer, beaming proudly as he played, piping the bride into the church.

Harry didn’t remember much of the details after that point. The bridal party assembled, Homer’s pipe wheezed into silence and the pipers moved to the back of the church. Father Backer began the service. He spoke briefly about Harry and Daphne and about the purpose of marriage, and then vows were exchanged and rings were given and received. Harry heard it all, but processed very little of it until the time came that a beaming Daphne was standing before him, holding both of his hands. He bent his head, kissed her ringed hand, and then kissed his wife.

Homer began to play again and the pipers led the newly married Harry and Daphne Potter to the pub.

Harry decided to never mention the fact that the only thing he could clearly remember from the whole wedding was the feeling of a single drop of sweat slowly rolling down his back.

#@#

The pub was larger than Harry remembered from the times he’d been there previously. If anyone else noticed that it had tripled in size, they failed to mention it. The bar was open and the Baron was picking up the tab.

The pipers played several tunes, leading the crowd in dancing and a few songs while Harry and Daphne worked the crowd, moving from group to group, shaking hands, receiving congratulations and blessings, and kissing far more strangers than Harry ever thought possible.

They’d decided against a receiving line, opting for this more mobile approach instead. When people began to queue up, forming an impromptu line, polite young men in black suits and black kilts moved them back into the crowd without anyone ever noticing this most subtle of crowd controls.

Harry danced a slow waltz with his new bride, a round of toasts were made, and he then made sure that he had at least one dance each with Astoria, Hermione, Grace and Andi before returning to working the floor. Neville kept handing him bits of food and drink, which he consumed before moving to the next person waiting for his attention.

Daphne came up to him as another waltz played. By now Astoria was playing on an upright piano next to the bar and doing a commendable job being heard above the din of the crowd.

“I would like one more dance with my husband, and then we need to get out of here, Harry, before I go mad and start cursing everyone in sight,” Daphne said sweetly into his ear.

Harry took her hand and began to dance on the somewhat crowded dance floor. “Feeling eager?” he teased, whispering in her ear.

“Feeling claustrophobic,” Daphne replied. “The eager will come later when I’m not being smothered by all these people.”

“They all seem happy to see you,” Harry said.

“If I wasn’t the Baron’s daughter, I suspect they’d be a little more reserved,” Daphne said.

“Such is the price of fame,” Harry said sagely. “Most of the people here haven’t a clue who I am apart from the lucky bloke who’s marrying you.”

“Yes, you are a lucky man,” Daphne said with a smirk.

The finished the waltz and then made their way off the dance floor, Daphne pausing to change shoes before leaving the pub.

“Are you sober?” she asked Harry.

“I haven’t had anything all night, Neville’s made sure of it,” Harry replied.

Daphne wrapped her arms around Harry, nuzzling into his neck. “Take me home, husband, and make me yours.”

The couple faded from sight as the party carried on without them.

Astoria looked up from the piano and noticed that Daphne was gone. She then noticed that Daphne’s valise was still by the door. She got up from the piano and made her way to Grace.

“Mum, Daphne and Harry are gone, but she left her valise,” she said with some concern.

Grace looked around and smiled. “I don’t think that will be a problem, dear.”

“But that’s where her pretty stuff is, Mum,” Astoria objected.

Grace laughed. “Astoria, believe me, she really doesn’t need it, not tonight.”

#@#

They Apparated to the garden behind Grimmauld Place from the shadows and then entered the house through the kitchen door.

“I loved the music and the dancing, and really, some of my favorite people in the world were there, but being the center of attention for hours is not what I crave,” Daphne said, taking off her veil. “Hold me, my husband.”

They embraced and then walked into the parlor where Daphne collapsed onto a couch and took off her shoes. “Ohh, that’s nice,” she moaned.

“Weren’t you supposed to bring a bag?” Harry asked.

“Hang the bag, I’m not going back,” Daphne said. “You got a spare toothbrush?”

“I think I can manage that,” Harry said. “Do you want me to just throw a blanket over you and let you snooze here? You look cream-crackered.”

“You’re not going to get out of your marital duties that easily, Potter!” Daphne exclaimed. “I’ll catch my breath soon. Not only am I intrinsically interested in going to bed with you, but I can’t wait to get this thing out of my head.”

“You’d said something about a ritual?” Harry asked.

“Yeah, oh blast, all my stuff’s in the valise! Harry, I’ll need a felt-tip pen and a scribe – it can be anything, really, preferably steel,” Daphne said.

“That’s different,” Harry said, going to his office to retrieve a felt-tip pen and the scribe he used for communication mirrors.

While Harry was in the office, Daphne ascended the stairs. “Come join me in the master’s bedroom,” she called from the stairwell.

Harry returned in a moment with the pen and scribe. Daphne had turned down the sheets and was sitting on the edge of the bed.

“Come here, I need your shirt off,” Daphne said.

“Aren’t you supposed to buy me a drink first?” Harry quipped.

“Very funny, but Father already paid for an open bar, if you didn’t take advantage of it, it’s hardly my fault,” Daphne retorted.

Harry shucked his jacket, setting it on the back of a chair, and then began unbuttoning his shirt. Daphne watched with rapt interest.

“Enjoying this?”

“Immensely,” she replied. “You’ll get your turn, this dress has about a hundred buttons going down the back, and I can’t reach most of them.”

Harry laid his shirt down on top of his jacket, and then removed his undershirt.

Daphne made a throaty noise as she ran her palm across his abdomen.

Taking a deep breath, she uncapped the felt tip pen and began drawing three lines of rune above his navel.

“What do they say?” Harry asked, trying to decipher the runes which from his vantage were upside down.

“It’s not terribly important, I could write ‘I belong to Daphne’ in English and it would probably work, but this is the ritual that’s in that book,” Daphne said. “The pen is just to tell me where to make the scratches.”

“What scratches?” Harry asked.

“The ones I’m going to draw on top of the runes,” Daphne said, laying down the felt tip pen and picking up the scribe. Harry winced at the first scratch, but Daphne’s touch was lighter after that. “Done.”

“Okay,” Harry said. “Uh, Daphne, why is there powder on the sheets?”

“Ask me tomorrow,” Daphne said, hoping her tone communicated her meaning. “Right now, I need help getting out of this dress.”

As it turned out, the dress had ninety-nine buttons, starting at the neckline and traveling down the back of the dress to the waist.

“This is better than Christmas,” Harry exclaimed.

“Well, I’m glad you think so,” Daphne said, shivering as Harry kissed her back as he undid the buttons. “Unhook me.”

“Uh, sure, I’m not really good at that,” Harry said.

“Somehow, that’s comforting to hear,” Daphne said.

He unclipped the bra strap and peeled the dress forward, leaving her in knickers and stockings.

Daphne turned to face Harry. “Finish unwrapping the present, husband, I’m yours.”

#@#

Daphne awoke at first light, stretching in bed and then leaving quietly as to not wake Harry. Padding naked to the wardrobe she pulled out an antique nightgown she presumed had once belonged to Dorea Black before she became a Potter. As she put the nightgown on, she smiled at the thought, and then put on a dressing gown. She made her way down the stairs to the kitchen.

Kreacher appeared, bobbed and said in a croaking voice “Does Mistress desire tea or breakfast?”

“Thank you, Kreacher, but no, I just wanted to sit in the garden for a moment before I go back to bed,” Daphne said quietly, hoping that the sound wouldn’t travel.

She felt a thrum of magic as she opened the door; the garden was humming with energy. The Rosa Mundi bush was now three feet high and full of leaves and buds that were opening before her eyes. As she touched a waxy leaf she could hear magic in the plant, it was singing a thin, faint tune. Listening carefully she picked out elements in the music, including a strong bass note that – that felt like Harry!

She sat down on the ground, startled that she could hear magic in the grass too. She began to laugh until she started coughing.

“I’ve won, I’ve won it all,” she said, tears streaming down her face.

#@#

An hour after daybreak, Daphne was finishing a cup of tea and contemplating going back to bed; goodness knows she needed some more sleep. Her head turned as she heard a key in the door, which then pushed open.

“Hello,” Grace called softly.

“I’m in here, Mum,” Daphne replied.

“What are you doing here?” Grace asked.

“This is my home, Mum, I am the mistress of this house,” Daphne said.

“I know that, what I was wondering was why you were in the kitchen, and not in bed,” Grace said.

“I needed to see the garden,” Daphne said. “It’s a lot greener than it was yesterday. I can hear the magic in the plants and in the dirt.”

Grace put her hands in front of her mouth. “Oh, my!” she exclaimed softly.

“I can hear Harry’s magic in the plants,” Daphne said.

“Harry’s magic?”

“He loves me, Mum, he really loves me,” Daphne said.

Grace came along side Daphne and hugged her, kneeling beside her chair.

“So, why are you here, Mum?” Daphne asked.

“I came to make some cinnamon rolls,” Grace said with a broad smile. “How was last night?”

“I owe Andi,” Daphne said. “The first time was clumsy, but very nice. The times after that were a lot better. I’m sore, I didn’t get much sleep, but as much as I’d like to learn how you make those rolls, I think I’m going back to bed.”

“Good night, dear, I’ll let myself out after the rolls are done,” Grace said.

“Thanks, Mum.”

#@#

Daphne slipped into the room and dug under the covers, spooning up against her husband. She let out a contented sigh and let the soft noise of his breathing lull her to sleep.

When she next awoke she had reversed positions and Harry was spooned against her backside. She felt a hand slide up her thigh, which she intercepted with her own hand.

“Playground’s very temporarily closed for routine maintenance, my husband,” she said, grinning as she spoke.

She received a garbled reply.

She rolled over and gave her husband a kiss.

“You awake?” she asked.

“I am now,” Harry replied.

“Mum’s downstairs, I think we have cinnamon rolls waiting for us,” Daphne said.

#@#

Grace was pulling the last pan of rolls from the oven as they entered the kitchen.

“What am I supposed to call you now?” Harry asked.

Grace pondered that. “What do you want to call me?”

“Can I call you ‘Mum’?” Harry asked.

“If you like, it’ll make me feel old, but I think I’m ready for that,” Grace said. “I suggest you let them cool for ten minutes before eating them.”

“Can you stay?” Daphne asked.

Grace looked to Harry.

“I’m fine with having an honored guest our first morning of married life,” Harry said.

He went to the cool pantry and pulled a basket of eggs.

“Bacon and eggs okay?” Harry asked.

“If there’s coffee,” Grace replied.

Harry pointed to a brass urn on a side table.

“Kreacher has made great strides in producing drinkable coffee,” Harry said, moving to pull saucers and cups from the cupboard.

Grace and Daphne poured coffee for themselves and then Daphne prepared a cup for Harry as he worked the stove, scrambling eggs and frying bacon, while a six pieces of bread toasted themselves under the grill. Once he’d turned the bacon and bread, he picked up the cup, took a sip and made an appreciative groan.

“Best cup of the day,” he said.

When he’d finished with the eggs and bacon, he loaded the now buttered toast on a plate each, added some bacon and the topped with the scrambled eggs.

“Dig in, ladies,” Harry said as he took the seat opposite his new wife.

When they have finished, Daphne narrowly beat Harry in grabbing a cinnamon roll “Grace, I want to learn how to make these,” Harry said.

“Your wife already has a request in for a tutorial,” Grace said.

“This isn’t witch magic that can’t be divulged to mere wizards?” Harry said playfully.

“No,” Grace replied.

“It should be,” Daphne said.

“Speaking of which,” Grace said, “I think it’s time for me to tell you a story.”

Harry looked to Daphne, who nodded.

“Legally, Daphne is now a Potter,” Grace began “but magically, you, Harry are now a Greengrass.

“When the founders established Hogwarts quite some time ago, they really revolutionized the study and teaching of magic. Rather than sending your children to apprentice with this witch or that wizard and get in depth tuition in a narrow field of magic, a broad education was provided in the basic fields that could be taught.

“Before the school was established, family magic was recorded in grimoires, many of which contained endless variations on spells every wizard and witch now learns in the first four years at Hogwarts. Beyond quirky little spells and charms, a few of the grimoires dealt with hereditary magic.”

“Isn’t all magic hereditary?” Harry asked. “I’m magical because my parents were magical.”

“In a certain sense, yes,” Grace replied. “But some things are passed on only in family lines. Parseltongue, for one, can’t be taught, it has to be inherited.

“There is a whole body of magic pertaining to life, known categorically as earth magic, practiced by earth witches,” Grace said.

“Not earth wizards?” Harry asked.

“A few,” Grace replied. “They were quite rare.”

“A folk custom almost worldwide is for farmers to make love to their wives in their fields, hoping to improve the fertility of the earth, or in some instances, the fertility of the couple. The basis for this custom is a variety of earth magic, in which earth witches would bless the fields, imbuing them with magic.” Grace explained.

Harry looked at Daphne. She nodded in reply.

“You put dirt in our bed?” Harry asked.

Daphne nodded, smiling broadly. “I sterilized it in the oven first, but yes, it was topsoil from the back garden.”

“So now we have happy plants?” Harry asked.

“We’ll get to that,” Daphne said.

“Family names – they can be place names, or son-of names, or occupational names like Potter, Smith, Brewer, Baker, Chandler,” Grace said. “What do you think Greengrass means?”

“Someone who has really green grass?” Harry said with a grin. “Malcolm said something about the fields being ‘magically green.’ Are you an earth witch?” Harry asked Grace.

“No, Malcolm’s first wife was an earth witch,” Grace said.

“But she wasn’t a Greengrass,” Harry quibbled.

“Not by birth, but by magic, just like you’re a Greengrass now,” Grace said.

“It’s a very odd gift – it occurs primarily among the women in the bloodline, but the wizards can bring wives into the bloodline, and if the witch is powerful enough, they make thumping good earth witches. There’s a catch, though, the wizards can only do that once, with their first wife.”

“So you can’t be an earth witch?” Harry asked.

“Not unless it was a gift in my family’s blood line,” Grace said.

“Fiona Greengrass was the last earth witch in Great Britain. Daphne’s sister emigrated to Canada years ago. When Daphne was born, it was hoped that she’d be an earth witch too, if she was married to a sufficiently powerful wizard,” Grace explained.

“You played Riddle,” Harry said. “You were hoping that Daphne would become an earth witch.”

“We were hoping many things, Harry, but yes, that was one of the considerations,” Grace said.

“It takes marriage to a powerful wizard to get the gift to manifest,” Grace continued. “But if the wizard loves the witch, and the witch loves the wizard in return, a bit of his magic is infused in hers, and subsequently in the earth magic.”

“And now comes the part that I have to explain,” Daphne said. “Please join me outside, husband.” She extended her hand to Harry.

Harry took the hand and they walked out into the back garden.

“When I touch the plant, you should sense what I sense from the plant,” Daphne explained, gesturing to the Rosa Mundi bushes.

“Wow,” Harry exclaimed. “Those plants were sticks yesterday.”

The Rosa Mundi bush shivered and produced seven blossoms that opened simultaneously.

“That’s not normal,” Harry said.

“No, it’s quite magical. Every time we came together last night, magic was infused into the soil,” Daphne explained. She then placed her hand around a bud.

“Music,” Harry said in wonder.

“That’s how I hear it too. The top notes, the reedy ones, that’s the native magic in the plant itself. The middle notes, the ones that have the busy melody, that’s my magic,” Daphne said.

“And the ‘boom-boom-boom’ at the bottom?” Harry said.

“That, my loving husband is my husband’s magic,” Daphne said. “Which is why I am the happiest witch in all Britain this morning.”

“I told you to trust me,” Harry said.

“And I did,” Daphne said, letting go of the plant to cradle Harry’s face with her hand.

“I played Riddle, but I won you,” she said before giving him a tender kiss.

Grace went back into the kitchen and quietly closed the door.

She figured she’d leave through the front door after she covered up the cinnamon rolls with a clean towel.

#@#

Epilogue

Weeks later, Harry and Daphne traveled to the standing stones, intending to visit the rocking stone.

Harry and Daphne placed their hands on the stone. They both felt a surge of magic that hit their hands and then receded.

The promise is kept, why are you here?

“We’re here to talk to you, spirit. Have you a name?” Harry asked.

I have no name, but I am the binder of promises.

“Do you wish to be released from the stone?” Daphne asked.

I have been here a long time.

Harry and Daphne stood silent. Elementals, as all spirits, had a different sense of time than mortals.

I wish to return to the earth.

Daphne smiled at Harry. He’d hypothesized that the spirit was an elemental, conscripted into service by wizards unknown in a prior age.

Daphne poured heat into the stone, which began to glow after some time. At the proper time, Harry pulsed power into the stone. The stone glowed brighter, and then dissolved to dust.

Thanksgiving.

Harry and Daphne exchanged glances. In a way, this brought closure to the whole nightmare of being betrothed to Riddle and then being possessed by an ancient spirit as promise binder.

Bless me now, earth witch.

Harry gave Daphne a quizzical look.

“Hey, it’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it,” Daphne said with a smirk.

“Oh, the sacrifices I make for Scotland,” Harry said, bringing his hand to cup Daphne’s cheek.

He kissed her tenderly; she kissed him back.

#@#

Postscript

Thus ends the tale By Right of Conquest.

I’d originally envisioned this as a six or seven chapter story, of approximately 60,000 words. It grew to a seven chapter story of 81,896 words; so much for my abilities as an estimator.

All stories start with a plot device, or a character, or a concept that proves to be sufficiently entertaining that a story gets written. My hook began with a contemplation of just what all would convey through Right of Conquest. (By training, I’m a lawyer, I think about weird things.)

For those who will quibble with the notion that oaths of fealty would transfer to the conqueror, I would point out that the Grand Armée of Napoleon was largely made up of conscripts (officers and enlisted) from nations conquered by Napoleon’s France including 300,000 Frenchmen, Rhineland Germans, and Dutchmen, 95,000 Poles, 35,000 Austrians, 30,000 Italians, 24,000 Bavarians, 20,000 Saxons, 20,000 Prussians, 17,000 Westphalians, 15,000 Swiss, 4,000 Portuguese and 3,500 Croats.

The world of By Right of Conquest builds upon JKR’s greatest construction, the world of Magical Britain, which has served as such a great playground for thousands of fanfic writers, including this one. I introduce a few new characters, flesh out one of the ciphers in canon (Daphne) and break almost all of the fanon conventions about the Slytherin Ice Queen. I also play a bit with magic, as is my privilege as a fanfic author.

The Deathly Hallows epilogue is quite unsatisfactory on many levels, but for me the chief complaint is that really nothing changes in Wizarding Britain.

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

In fleshing out this story, I borrowed the notion of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission from real life and spliced it into my subleased universe.

So, what happens afterwards?

Daphne and Harry move to Aberdeen. After private study, they both end up enrolling at the Uni, graduating several years later, Harry with a degree in Finance, Daphne with a degree in soil science. In Daphne’s last year at Aberdeen, she gave birth to their first child, Granuaile Hermione Potter, and two years after that, gave birth to twin boys. She has an active practice as an earth witch, and has helped a large number of farmers with the quality of their soil. Granuaile is certain to be an earth witch, so Harry and Daphne are keeping their eyes peeled for a suitable match in the future.

Harry works as a venture capitalist, seeding the formation of a number of mundane and magical businesses, some of which succeed, including a school where Hogwarts graduates can master enough Muggle subjects that they can subsequently enroll in a mundane University and go on for further study.

Hermione ends up in a long term relationship with Neville, but as of the time I stopped thinking about the story arc, they were not yet married. Frank and Alice start a second family, and Neville plays uncle to two young Longbottoms at Longbottom Hall.

When not playing the piano at the wedding reception, Astoria spent a good deal of time dancing with Mr. Rufus and kept in contact over the years. Upon graduating from Hogwarts, she began apprenticing as an operative in the Red Cap division of Gringotts, the first human to be so employed. She earns a degree in languages at Aberdeen and eventually ends up working for MI-5. As of the time I’m writing this postscript, she’s not yet married.

Ron spends about a decade in Macau, and returns to England with a sizable fortune and a part ownership in a casino in Macau. He wrote two popular books on Poker, and is a notorious participant in the international Poker Tournament circuit.

Lucius Malfoy, alone among the surviving Death Eaters, manages to evade a stretch in Azkaban, largely because he was so ineffective as an operative for Riddle during the second rising of the pretender. He is now an operative for Harry Potter, influencing people in Wizarding business and politics. Draco Malfoy tried working as porn star but discovered the only way he was ever going to make money was against his morals (the few that he had) before emigrating to America, where he disappeared somewhere in Los Angeles.

Grace and Malcolm continue to work for the betterment of Marr, and enjoy at long last the pleasure of playing with grandchildren.

I am an American. At one time I anglicized all my spellings for Fan Fiction, as that was the convention on the Sugarquill, one of the first places I was ever archived. I don’t do that anymore.

I’m not a Scot, so if I’ve mangled something in setting this story in Scotland, please forgive me. I am somewhat entitled to wear the Gordon tartan, as on my mother’s side we’re one of the minor families that are included in that clan, which is as close as you’ll ever see me injecting myself into a story.

If you have a question you’d like to ask one of the characters in this story, ask it in a review. They may well answer you.

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Author Notes:

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed it.