Harry Potter and the Price of Being Noble

Harry helps Fleur in the second task of GOF and pays the price. HP/Fleur/Gabrielle/Hermione. A Veela bonding fic based on love. T Rated and it will stay that way. Thirteen year old Almost fourteen Gabrielle to start the story. Good Dumbledore.

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/5403795/1/Harry-Potter-and-the-Price-of-Being-Noble

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23. Chapter 23 Mazes, Crouch, and Love

"Hey Harry, how's your head," Draco sneered again as the left Potions class. After two days, the taunts from the Slytherins were getting old. So far Harry, with the encouragement of his bondmates let the insults go as he silently seethed. That is until Draco decided he hadn't got enough of a reaction from Harry.

"Scarhead, I'm talking to you. Is that whore of...you wouldn't," Draco sneered but his eyes were locked on the wand that seemed to materialize in Potter's hand and was now pointed directly at him.

"Get this straight Ferret, you will not insult Gabrielle. Do it again..."

"POTTER! Put that wand away. Fifteen points and detention for attacking another student," The oily voice of Snape said from behind them.

"What about him," Harry indicated Draco. "What about his insults?"

"I'm sorry, I didn't hear any insults."

Harry turned and looked Snape in the eyes. "You never do, but would you even recognize one if you did hear it? I mean you called your best friend a mudblood."

Snape's hand seemed to flinch toward his robes but it stopped. "Get out of my sight Potter," The Potions Professor snarled. "I don't..." He didn't finish the sentence as he turned and with his cloak billowing he stalked away.

Harry turned to Draco, "Insult me all you want but you will not insult Gabrielle."

Later that evening Harry got a small bottle of clear liquid from the Weasley twins. He gave specific instructions to Dobby who nodded enthusiastically his willingness to do what was asked of him.

That night, Malfoy, Crabbe and Goyle all had very vivid dreams; dreams of crystal clear waterfalls that cascaded down into a flowing river. The next morning the three of them were the laughing stock of the dungeons as Blaise Zabini described the pools of urine in each of their beds.

The next night it happened again. It was sometime before the three of them got a good night sleep as they were all afraid of falling asleep. They were so sleepy several days later they didn't notice the faint white powder on the handle of their silverware the next morning at breakfast. Five minutes after starting breakfast, each came down with the worst cases of diarrhea Madam Pomfrey had ever seen.

"Thanks Dobby," Harry said a short time later. "Did you get the evidence?"

"Spoons and forks are taken and washed Harry Potter sir."

As much as Snape and the Slytherins suspected Potter and his girlfriend, no one could ever prove it. The Slytherins in general started giving the two of them a wide berth.

%%%%%%% May 27th %%%%%%%

Thursday finally arrived. It was Gabrielle's birthday. Harry awoke that morning and immediately sought out his youngest bond mate wondering what she thought of the surprise he had left the night before after she had fallen asleep.

"Good morning Mon Ange," Harry thought.

"ARRY!" Gabrielle's excitement came through in her thoughts. "IT'S BEAUTIFUL!"

Knowing Neville's love of plants, Harry had asked him if there was a special flower he could get from the greenhouses for Gabrielle. He recommended a flower that translated into "golden heart of love." It was a pure white flower similar to a rose with the center petals golden in color. "The Golden petals are a common ingredient in most high end love potions," Neville had said. After Gabrielle had gone to sleep Harry had put the flower in a vase beside her bed.

"Nothing could ever be as beautiful as you Gabrielle," Harry replied. "Happy birthday. My Angel is fourteen."

"Yes and you know what zat means. You owe me fourteen kisses before breakfast."

"Fourteen kisses? Is that a French custom?"

"Non," Gabrielle replied with a mischievous tone in her thoughts. "It is a tradition for me zough."

"And how many times have you been kissed your birthday age before breakfast?"

"After you finish kissing me zis morning?" Gabrielle replied happily. "Once."

"Well I'd hate to break such a long-standing tradition."

During Transfiguration Harry tried to pay attention but the thoughts of the kisses he and Gabrielle had shared were still fresh in his mind. Gabrielle had made sure she got her birthday's worth from all fourteen of them. As he looked over at Hermione she was doing her best to pay attention as well. After the kisses with Gabrielle had ended, Hermione had been the first to interject, though her thoughts seemed to be a little distracted. "I better get sixteen of those in a few months Harry."

"But I get eighteen of zem in zree months," Fleur had chimed in.

"Mr. Potter," Professor McGonagall said during class. "See me immediately after class please."

"Were we distracted again?" Harry asked Hermione.

"Possibly but she's only asking for you, not both of us."

After class Harry approached the Professor's desk. "Yes ma'am, were we dist..."

McGonagall held up her hand. "We're not discussing that Mr. Potter. No, I just need to tell you that tonight at nine o'clock you are to go down to the Quidditch pitch. Mr. Bagman will be there to tell the champions about the third task."

"Fleur have you been told? We find out about the third task tonight at nine."

"Madam Maxime just called for me, probably what she is going to tell me as well. At least we will know tonight what we 'ave ahead of us."

As Harry looked back into the stern face of the Transfiguration teacher, she looked like she was going to say something else, but then "Hm…that will be all Mr. Potter," She had seen the distracted look on Harry and Hermione's faces during the class but ever since the interview with the younger Delacour, she had learned her lesson about asking them about it.

As he was walking out of class he remembered what else was happening at that time. Gabrielle's party was starting at eight. "I'm sorry Angel, Fleur and I will miss some of your party."

"It's alright Mon Amour. I'm sure you'll find some way to make it up to me."

Fleur, Harry and Cedric (who had been invited to the party as well) waited until the last minute, but at eight-forty they had to leave the Gryffindor Common room where the party was being held. Fred and George along with Hermione promised to keep it going until they got back.

As they walked down to the pitch they started chatting about what the third task might be, but as they turned and walked between a gap in the stands Cedric stopped and cried indignantly. "What've they done to it?"

The Quidditch field was no longer smooth and flat. It looked as though somebody had been building long, low walls all over it that twisted and crisscrossed in every direction.

"They're hedges!" said Harry, bending to examine the nearest one. He realized this was what he had seen that night he and Gabrielle were flying on Buckbeak.

"Hello there!" called a cheery voice. Ludo Bagman was standing in the middle of the field with Krum by his side.

"Well, what d'you think?" asked Bagman happily as Harry, Fleur and Cedric climbed over the last hedge. "Growing nicely, aren't they? Give them a month and Hagrid'll have them twenty feet high. Don't worry," he added, grinning, spotting the less than happy expressions on Harry's and Cedric's faces, "you'll have your Quidditch field back to normal once the task is over! Now, I imagine you can guess what we're making here?"

No one spoke for a moment. Then –

"Maze," grunted Krum.

"That's right!" said Bagman. "A maze. The third task's really very straightforward. The Triwizard Cup will be placed in the center of the maze. The first champion to touch it will receive full marks."

"We seemply 'ave to get through ze maze?" asked Fleur.

"There will be obstacles," said Bagman happily, bouncing on the balls of his feet. "Hagrid is providing a number of creatures . . . then there will be spells that must be broken ... all that sort of thing, you know. Now, the champions who are leading on points will get a head start into the maze," Bagman grinned at Harry and Cedric. "Then Miss Delacour will enter . . . then Mr. Krum. But you'll all be in with a fighting chance, depending how well you get past the obstacles. Should be fun, eh?"

Harry, who knew only too well the kind of creatures that Hagrid was likely to provide for an event like this, thought it was unlikely to be any fun at all. He looked over at Fleur "Hagrid likes dangerous animals."

"Yes, Gabrielle 'as mentioned several of zem and others I've seen in your memories," She smiled at her bondmate but Harry could feel her nervousness as she could feel his.

"Very well. . . " Ludo said. "If you haven't got any questions, we'll go back up to the castle, shall we, it's a bit chilly..."

Bagman hurried alongside Harry as they began to wend their way out of the growing maze. Harry had the feeling that Bagman was going to start offering to help him again and moved closer to Fleur and started chatting with her. They had only walked several feet when Krum tapped Harry on the shoulder.

"Could I haff a vord?"

"Uh...it's my...my girlfriend's party right now, can we talk another time?" Harry replied slightly surprised at the request.

"Girlfriend…but…it vill only take a minute."

Harry looked at Fleur who shrugged. "Want me to go with you?" She queried.

"Yeah, all right," replied Harry to Krum and then to Fleur. "No, I'll be alright, go back to the party, I'll be there shortly."

Harry could tell she wanted to stay near him, but also wanted to go to her sister's party. She finally turned and started toward the Castle with a final "Be careful."

"Vill you valk vith me?" Krum asked Harry.

"Okay," replied Harry curiously.

Bagman who was listening and acting like he wanted to talk to Harry looked slightly perturbed.

"I'll wait for you. Harry, shall I?"

"No, it's okay, Mr. Bagman," said Harry, knowing he had guessed correctly about Bagman. "I think I can find the castle on my own, thanks."

Harry and Krum left the stadium together, but Krum did not set a course for the Durmstrang ship. Instead, he walked toward the forest.

"What're we going this way for?" said Harry as they passed Hagrid's cabin and the illuminated Beauxbatons carriage. "Remember I need to get back to the Castle. Gabrielle is waiting for me."

"Don't vant to be overheard," said Krum shortly.

When at last they had reached a quiet stretch of ground a short way from the Beauxbatons horses' paddock, Krum stopped in the shade of the trees and turned to face Harry.

"I vant to know," he said, glowering, "vot there is between you and Hermy-ownninny."

Harry, who from Krum's secretive manner had expected something much more serious than this, stared up at Krum in amazement.

"Uh...well…uh…What do you mean? I mean she's my best friend."

"She spends all of her time vith you and the Beauxbaton Champion. She doesn't come to the library to talk with me as often as she did," Krum said. "I've even seen you flying with her over the lake, but when I mention it to her she says she doesn't want to fly vith me."

"HERMIONE!" Harry let out a mental yell as this was not a conversation he was comfortable with.

"Yes Harry?"

"Krum wants to know what's there is between you and me. He thinks you haven't been spending enough time with him. He likes you Hermione," Harry quickly explained but her mental laughter wasn't helping any.

"Outside of the fact that I'm madly in love with you and never had interest in him outside of friendship?"

"But I can't tell him that yet can I?"

"No," She agreed. "Just tell him that I really like him as a friend but felt he wanted more than I wanted."

Harry couldn't believe he was stuck between his bond mate and the International Quidditch star. Here he was asking Harry about the woman Harry loved and he couldn't tell him so. He turned to the Bulgarian seeker, let out an internal sigh and started. "Uh...Viktor, well I know that Hermione likes you as a friend, but I think she thinks you might have wanted more than she wanted," Harry let out another internal sigh before continuing with a partial truth. "She is...uh...she's actually committed to a long term relationship."

"She didn't mention that to me," Krum replied coolly. "In fact she said she vasn't seeing anyone."

Harry was becoming annoyed. He felt like Krum had just called him a liar. The glare his green eyes leveled on Krum caused the Durmstrang Champion to lose his own glare. "It's simple; she wants to be your friend, but only your friend," Harry said. "If you want more than that, it won't happen. Don't take my word for it, ask her."

"I vill ask her and ve shall see what she says."

"Hermione's is my best friend and a lot more," Harry said with his voice still icily calm. "When you do ask her, do not do anything that might hurt her."

Krum nodded curtly as he stared at Harry for a few more seconds and then he said, "I like you. You say what you think unlike a lot of people," A few seconds of silence fell between the two before Krum continued. "You fly very vell. I vos votching at the first task."

"Thanks," said Harry as he suddenly felt much taller. "I saw you at the Quidditch World Cup. The Wronski Feint, you really -"

But something moved behind Krum in the trees, and Harry, who had some experience of the sort of thing that lurked in the forest, instinctively grabbed Krum's arm and pulled him around.

"Vot is it?"

Harry shook his head, staring at the place where he'd seen movement. He slipped his hand inside his robes, reaching for his wand.

Suddenly a man staggered out from behind a tall oak. For a moment, Harry didn't recognize him . . . then he realized it was Mr. Crouch.

He looked as though he had been traveling for days. The knees of his robes were ripped and bloody, his face scratched; he was unshaven and gray with exhaustion. His neat hair and mustache were both in need of a wash and a trim. His strange appearance, however, was nothing to the way he was behaving. Muttering and gesticulating, Mr. Crouch appeared to be talking to someone that he alone could see. He reminded Harry vividly of an old tramp he had seen once when out shopping with the Dursleys. That man too had been conversing wildly with thin air; Aunt Petunia had seized Dudley's hand and pulled him across the road to avoid him; Uncle Vernon had then treated the family to a long rant about what he would like to do with beggars and vagrants.

"Vosn't he a judge?" said Krum, staring at Mr. Crouch. "Isn't he vith your Ministry?"

Harry nodded, hesitated for a moment, then walked slowly toward Mr. Crouch, who did not look at him, but continued to talk to a nearby tree.

"... and when you've done that, Weatherby, send an owl to Dumbledore confirming the number of Durmstrang students who will be attending the tournament, Karkaroff has just sent word there will be twelve. . . ."

"Mr. Crouch?" said Harry cautiously.

"... and then send another owl to Madame Maxime, because she might want to up the number of students she's bringing, now Karkaroff's made it a round dozen ...do that, Weatherby, will you? Will you? Will..."

Mr. Crouch's eyes were bulging. He stood staring at the tree, muttering soundlessly at it. Then he staggered sideways and fell to his knees.

"Mr. Crouch?" Harry said loudly. "Are you all right?"

Crouch's eyes were rolling in his head. Harry looked around at Krum, who had followed him into the trees, and was looking down at Crouch in alarm.

"Vot is wrong with him?"

"No idea," Harry muttered. "Listen, you'd better go and get someone -"

"Dumbledore!" gasped Mr. Crouch. He reached out and seized a handful of Harry's robes, dragging him closer, though his eyes were staring over Harry's head. "I need... see ... Dumbledore. ..."

"Okay," said Harry, "if you get up, Mr. Crouch, we can go up to the-"

"I've done ...stupid ...thing..." Mr. Crouch breathed. He looked utterly mad. His eyes were rolling and bulging, and a trickle of spittle was sliding down his chin. Every word he spoke seemed to cost him a terrible effort. "Must... tell...Dumbledore..."

"Get up, Mr. Crouch," said Harry loudly and clearly. "Get up; I'll take you to Dumbledore!"

Mr, Crouch's eyes rolled forward onto Harry. "Who...you?" he whispered.

"I'm a student at the school," said Harry, looking around at Krum for some help, but Krum was hanging back, looking extremely nervous.

"You're not... his?" whispered Crouch, his mouth sagging.

"No," said Harry, without the faintest idea what Crouch was talking about.

"Dumbledore's?"

"That's right," said Harry.

Crouch was pulling him closer; Harry tried to loosen Crouch's grip on his robes, but it was too powerful.

"Warn...Dumbledore..."

"I'll get Dumbledore if you let go of me," said Harry. "Just let go, Mr. Crouch, and I'll get him..."

"Thank you, Weatherby, and when you have done that, I would like a cup of tea. My wife and son will be arriving shortly; we are attending a concert tonight with Mr. and Mrs. Fudge."

Crouch was now talking fluently to a tree again, and seemed completely unaware that Harry was there, which surprised Harry so much he didn't notice that Crouch had released him.

"Yes, my son has recently gained twelve O.W.L.S, most satisfactory, yes, thank you, yes, very proud indeed. Now, if you could bring me that memo from the Andorran Minister of Magic, I think I will have time to draft a response. ..."

"You stay here with him!" Harry said to Krum. "I'll get Dumbledore, I'll be quicker since I know where his office is -"

"He's mad," said Krum doubtfully, staring down at Crouch, who was still gabbling to the tree, apparently convinced it was Percy.

"Just stay with him," said Harry, starting to get up, but his movement seemed to trigger another abrupt change in Mr. Crouch, who seized him hard around the knees and pulled Harry back to the ground.

"Don't...leave... me!" he whispered, his eyes bulging again. "I...escaped... must warn...must tell...see Dumbledore...my fault... all my fault...Bertha...dead...all my fault...my son...my fault...tell Dumbledore...Harry Potter...the Dark Lord...stronger...Harry Potter ..."

"I'll get Dumbledore if you let me go, Mr. Crouch!" said Harry. He looked furiously around at Krum. "Help me, will you?"

Looking extremely apprehensive, Krum moved forward and squatted down next to Mr. Crouch.

"Just keep him here," said Harry, pulling himself free of Mr. Crouch. "I'll be back with Dumbledore."

"Hurry, von't you?" Krum called after him as Harry sprinted away from the forest and up through the dark grounds. But he had only run a few hundred meters when he realized there was a much faster way. "FLEUR, HERMIONE!"

"Yes Harry."

"I need one of you to get Dumbledore. Tell him Mr. Crouch just stumbled out of the Forbidden Forest and he's all mad as in crazy mad."

"We'll both go."

Harry turned to go back to where Krum was with Crouch. He hadn't gone too far when he saw a flash of red and shortly afterwards a flash of green. He recognized that particular color of green and he knew someone was probably dead. "Krum?" Then to Hermione and Fleur, "Tell Dumbledore I think someone is dead. I just saw a green flash in the area where I left Krum and Crouch and I am positive it was the killing curse. I'm going to take a look."

"Don't go back Harry," Hermione pleaded. "Wait for Dumbledore."

"What if it's Krum?" Harry thought. "I left him there. If he is dead, it's my fault."

"If 'e is dead, 'e is dead 'Arry. Zere will be nothing you can do now," Fleur said with an emotionally flat thought. "Remember someone is trying to kill you."

Harry wasn't listening. He took off on a run back to where Krum and Crouch were, pulling his wand out at the same time. When he got close he stopped and listened but couldn't hear anything.

"Damn Snape!" Harry heard Hermione scream in her mind. He quickly found that she and Fleur were arguing with Professor Snape who had blocked them from the Gargoyle to the Headmaster's office. Finally Dumbledore showed up and after listened to their plea for help started for where Harry was.

"Harry," He heard in his mind the voice of Hermione. "Dumbledore does not want you going back near where they are. He said to wait for him."

"I'm already pretty close," Harry replied. "But I can't hear anything. I'm going to see if I can see anything."

"WAIT!" He heard Hermione and Fleur both mentally yell but again he didn't listen. "Lumos," He said and the tip of his wand lit up. As he got closer to the spot where he left them he didn't see either Krum or Crouch until the light hit upon a body lying in the grass. He scrambled over to it and found it was Krum. Relief swept through Harry when he saw the older Champion was still breathing. He continued to look but did not see Crouch.

"Tell Dumbledore Krum is unconscious and there is no sign of Crouch."

It wasn't long before Dumbledore, Hermione and Fleur had joined him. Dumbledore immediately looked over Krum and then looked around the clearing. Upon finding nothing else he bent over Krum again, pointed his wand at him, and muttered, "Ennervate."

Krum opened his eyes. He looked dazed. When he saw Dumbledore, he tried to sit up, but Dumbledore put a hand on his shoulder and made him lie still.

"He attacked me!" Krum muttered, putting a hand up to his head. "The old madman attacked me! I vos looking around to see vare Potter had gone and he attacked from behind!"

"Lie still for a moment," Dumbledore said.

The sound of thunderous footfalls reached them, and Hagrid came panting into sight with Fang at his heels. He was carrying his crossbow.

"Professor Dumbledore!" he said, his eyes widening. "Harry - what the - ?"

"Hagrid, I need you to fetch Professor Karkaroff," said Dumbledore. "His student has been attacked. When you've done that, kindly alert Professor Moody -"

"No need, Dumbledore," said a wheezy growl. "I'm here."

Moody was limping toward them, leaning on his staff, his wand lit.

"Damn leg," he said furiously, "couldn't keep up . . . what's happened…I saw you and those two," He nodded toward Hermione and Fleur, "hurrying down here and I decided to follow."

When Hagrid didn't turn and leave immediately, "Karkaroff, please, Hagrid!" said Dumbledore sharply.

"Oh yeah... right y'are, Professor..." said Hagrid, and he turned and disappeared into the dark trees, Fang trotting after him.

Dumbledore looked at Moody, "Alastor, it seems Barty Crouch was here. It is imperative we find him though it's possible he might be dead. Harry thought he saw a green light of a Killing Curse before we got here."

Moody's magical eye swiveled immediately onto Harry and his normal eye followed as he gave him a piercing look. "Did you see who might have cast it?" He asked as he continued the stare as if searching for something.

"No sir," Harry replied. "I was too far away."

"Too bad," Moody growled before he turned back to Dumbledore. "I'll look for him," before he limped off into the forest.

Fleur and Hermione had both moved very close to Harry. Each reached out of put their arms around him. He could feel their love and their relief that he was alive and unhurt but also could feel their frustration and annoyance that he didn't wait for Dumbledore. He could also feel Krum's eyes on him and Hermione. He didn't have to read the Bulgarian seeker's mind to know he wanted Hermione comforting him.

"Can you tell me what Crouch said Harry?" Dumbledore asked.

"He's wasn't acting normal sir," Harry said as he turned to face the Headmaster. "He didn't seem to know where he was. He kept talking like he thought Percy Weasley was here, and then he would change, and say he needed to see you…said he wanted to warn you...said he'd done something terrible...he mentioned his son...and Bertha Jorkins...and - and Voldemort...something about Voldemort getting stronger. .."

"We were just..." Hermione started to say but a look from Professor Dumbledore made her stop instantly. She realized the Krum was still nearby and possibly someone else.

It wasn't long until they heard the unmistakable sounds of Hagrid and Fang returning. Karkaroff was hurrying along behind them. He was wearing his sleek silver furs, and he looked pale and agitated.

"What is this?" he cried when he saw Krum still on the ground and Dumbledore beside him with Harry, the Beauxbatons Champion and the girl his Champion had taken to the Yule Ball all standing together. "What's going on?"

"I vos attacked!" said Krum as he rubbing his head. "Mr. Crouch or votever his name -"

"Crouch attacked you? Crouch attacked you? The Triwizard judge?"

"Igor," Dumbledore began, but Karkaroff had drawn himself up, clutching his furs around him, looking livid.

"Treachery!" he bellowed, pointing at Dumbledore. "It is a plot! You and your Ministry of Magic have lured me here under false pretenses, Dumbledore! This is not an equal competition! First you sneak Potter into the tournament, though he is underage! Now one of your Ministry friends attempts to put my champion out of action! I smell double-dealing and corruption in this whole affair, and you, Dumbledore, you, with your talk of closer international wizarding links, of rebuilding old ties, of forgetting old differences - here's what I think of you!"

Karkaroff spat onto the ground at Dumbledore's feet. In one swift movement, Hagrid seized the front of Karkaroff's furs, lifted him into the air, and slammed him against a nearby tree.

"Apologize!" Hagrid snarled as Karkaroff gasped for breath, Hagrid's massive fist at his throat, his feet dangling in midair.

"Hagrid, no!" Dumbledore shouted, his eyes flashing.

Hagrid removed the hand pinning Karkaroff to the tree, and Karkaroff slid all the way down the trunk and slumped in a huddle at its roots; a few twigs and leaves showered down upon his head.

"Kindly escort Harry and these two ladies back up to the castle, Hagrid," said Dumbledore sharply.

Breathing heavily, Hagrid gave Karkaroff a glowering look.

"Maybe I'd better stay here. Headmaster. . . ."

"You will take them back to school, Hagrid," Dumbledore repeated firmly. "Take all of them right up to Gryffindor Tower. And Harry, Miss Granger - I want you to stay there. Do not go back out tonight. Miss Delacour, I would suggest you collect your sister and have Hagrid escort you back to your carriage tonight."

"But her party…" Harry started but stopped immediately at the intensity of Dumbledore' gaze.

"Harry you think you witnessed a Killing Curse. We have someone who was stunned and someone missing and very well could be dead. Now is not the time to be concerned about a party."

"Yes sir."

The party ended abruptly when the three of them with Hagrid arrived back at the Tower. Harry still gave Gabrielle her gift while Hagrid waited. When she opened it she found a note and a small box. She opened the note and read to herself.

To my Angel,

It seems like so long ago when we went into the room with the trap door and I said we would jump into the unknown together when we bonded. When I saw this I knew it was for you. I give you this to mark our journey into that unknown. A journey I can truly say I look forward to.

Happy Birthday Gabrielle

Harry

She opened the small box and found a silver charm bracelet. The bracelet had two charms already on it. One was an angel with a green emerald where her heart would be and the other was a small Hippogriff. She looked at Harry with tears in her eyes and sprung into his arms. "I love you Mon Amour," She said.

And it happened. Without even realizing what he was doing; the words came as natural as each time he said them to Hermione. As he looked Gabrielle in the eyes he replied, "And I love you Gabrielle," and he kissed her. Though Gabrielle still held out her wrist for Harry to put her bracelet on her and she constantly looked at it the rest of the night before falling to sleep, she knew that in those few words, she had received the best gift she could have imagined.

The words had come so naturally to Harry that it wasn't until a minute after saying them that he realized what he had said and as he looked at the bond, he knew it really was there. He did love Gabrielle, not as much as Hermione yet, but he did love her. He looked at Fleur and noticed the look in her eyes. A look of hope? Of expectation? Of happiness? In the bond he felt all of that. He looked into his bond with her and found the love that he hadn't seen before. He smiled at her and was about to tell her also when she said something first. "So you know? Don't tell me yet. I want to 'ear it from your lips ze first time."

"How long have you known?"

"A while," Fleur replied.

"Why didn't you mention it?"

"Because I wanted you to realize it."

"I'm sorry for not seeing it until now."

"Don't be. Just tell me tomorrow."

"Tomorrow and every day after that."

The happiness that radiated from both Fleur and Gabrielle as they left with Hagrid was almost visible. Hermione, remembering her late night conversation with Fleur also went to bed with happiness dancing in her own heart.

It was at first light that found Harry showered and dressed and on his way to the Beauxbatons carriage. Madam Maxime was already awake when Harry requested entrance.

"Neither young lady is awake yet Mr. Potter," The half giantess said when she let him in.

"I'd like to be there when they wake Madam Maxime if I may."

She looked over the young man and then nodded. Fleur was of age and the young man was her bondmate. "Nothing inappropriate Mr. Potter. Oh and before you go, I understand ze Durmstrang Champion was attacked last night and you were zere. Can you tell me anything about it? 'Agrid only knew zat Monsieur Crouch was missing and Viktor Krum 'ad been attacked."

"Yeah I guess," Harry replied knowing Hagrid would have told what he knew already beside Dumbledore hadn't told them not to tell anyone. "Krum and I were talking over near the paddock for your horses when Mr. Crouch came out of the woods. He was ill. I started to go get Dumbledore but after going a little distance I asked Fleur and Hermione to bring him down. As I turned back to where I had left them I saw a red and a green flash. Krum had been stunned and Crouch was missing."

"And was Mr. Crouch found?"

"I don't know. Professor Moody was looking for him."

"Thank you. I shall ask Dumblydore later about it. Now you go and wait on zose ladies of yours."

He nodded and smiled at the Beauxbatons Headmistress. He slipped into the familiar room his bond mates shared and his eyes came to rest upon them. Even in their sleep they radiated beauty. He remembered the first time he had seen them sleeping when he woke after the second event.

"Three months and a lifetime ago," He thought as he walked over to Fleur's bed and sat down and stared at the young woman. Her covers had been thrown aside during the night and he could see most aspects of her body in her night shirt. From her silver blonde hair splayed over her pillow, to her perfect nose and lips, to the outline of her full breasts that were as perfect as the rest of her. His eyes trailed down her body and a moment's embarrassment overcame him when he saw her black lace knickers. But it quickly passed as he thought of all the times she had encouraged him to look at her. He spent several minutes just gazing at his oldest bond mate. Finally he leaned down and kissed her gently on the lips causing her to stir. Another kiss followed and then another. As her eyes slowly opened he said the words she wanted to hear. "I love you Fleur Delacour, you are the flower of my heart."

She looked through his glasses into those emerald green eyes she loved so much. Not for the first time she wondered how orbs so small could be so deep. She felt the love in the bond, and saw the love in his eyes, tears filled her own eyes as she replied. "And I love you 'Arry Potter," Her arms snaked around his neck and she pulled him into a kiss. A kiss not filled with passion, but one filled with the love and joy she felt in her heart. As the kiss finally ended, they continued to stare into each others eyes. Green into blue, blue into green, happiness and love reflecting in them for each other to see. He brought the back of his hand up and gently caressed her cheek causing her eyes to close as she savored the feeling. As she opened them again she had a slightly mischievous grin and she raised her own hand and after undoing a couple of buttons she slipped it inside his shirt as she had months ago before they bonded. Though like last time, the touch seemed to bring every fiber of his being to that spot, this time as he continued to gaze at his blue eyed flower, he never wanted it to end. Finally she pulled her hand away and then pulled him down beside her. He wrapped his arms around her and buried his nose into her hair. As she laid there in her bond mate's arms she thought of the past year and how she came to be in love with him; from boarding the carriage at Beauxbatons unsure of what awaited her at Hogwarts to this moment when life felt so perfect. She interlaced her fingers with his and pulled them up to her chin as she sighed her contentment. It wasn't much longer before Gabrielle awoke and finding Harry there, she quickly climbed on the other side of him and held him as he was holding Fleur. Soon Harry was lying on his back and two very beautiful witches were in each arm with their heads resting on his chest.

"I love you Gabrielle Delacour," Harry said softly and he felt her arm that was holding him tighten as she replied "I love you 'Arry."

"I love you Fleur," Harry repeated his earlier proclamation. She looked up and into his eyes and he could see hers were now free of tears but filled with happiness. "I could listen to you say zat all day and never tire of eet," She again let out another contented sigh before continuing, "I love you too."

Madam Maxime noted how happy the three of them were when they left the carriage a little later and wondered exactly what had happened in the Delacours' room.

Breakfast was a happy affair. Hermione could see the happiness in both of her bond sister's eyes. She even had to remind Fleur not to stare at Harry a couple of times. Fred and George had noticed the staring and also made it a point to distract her on occasion. The conversation eventually turned to the previous night.

"Do you think Moody found Crouch or whoever attacked them?" Harry wondered.

"To bad we don't have Defense today," Hermione replied. "Or we could ask him."

"Let's go see him during our break after History."

History of Magic was never a fast moving class, and this class was slower than normal. Fortunately for Harry the happiness radiating over his bond with Fleur and Gabrielle made the time bearable since Hermione still refused to let him sleep.

Gabrielle had Herbology at the same time with the Ravenclaws. They were potting Puffapods and as they worked together around one of the benches.

"He told me last night," Gabrielle said to her two friends. "Arry told me 'e loved me."

"That's wonderful," Ginny replied not understanding the importance of what that meant.

"E gave me zis too," Gabrielle said lifting her wrist to show her friends the charm bracelet.

"That's nice," Luna said.

"So I know he calls you his Angel, but why the Hippogriff?"

"Oh..." Gabrielle said trying to come up with an answer. "Arry told me about riding one last year and he said he'd take me to ride one someday."

"I want to ride a Hippogriff," Luna said. "Will Harry take me too?"

"Uh..." Gabrielle hesitated. "Maybe, I guess."

"My father did an article on Veela last year," Luna said. "He said if they mate with their lovers under a full moon it causes their lovers to lose all of their hair. Will you be mating with Harry soon?"

The Puffapod Gabrielle had been working on flew five feet before landing. "Non, we will not be mating soon," She replied quietly after retrieving her wayward plant.

Luna smiled in a dreamy fashion. "When you do mate with him, don't do it under a full moon because I like Harry's hair. I can give you my lunar charts for the next year if it would help."

"Thanks but I really don't think I'll need eet."

"Oh. I guess you would have you own," Luna replied. "Will you bond with Harry before mating with him?"

"Wh…what do you mean?" Gabrielle asked barely holding onto her plant this time as she quickly looked around to see who else might have heard the question.

"Your love bond of course," Luna replied. "But I'm not sure Harry is the type of person to be tied to a stake while you dance naked around him forming the bond."

"Zat's not 'ow a Veela love bond is for…" Gabrielle started before stopping. "We should talk about something else."

'Okay," Luna continued dreamily, "Did you know that the Minister of Magic has an army of….."

As Luna continued talking about articles that had appeared in the Quibbler, Ginny couldn't help but remember how nervous Gabrielle had gotten when Luna mentioned the love bond. She decided she should find out more about it and how it might concern her new friend.

After History class was over, Harry and Hermione hurried to the Dark Arts classroom and found Professor Moody leaving it. He looked extremely tired. The eyelid of his normal eye was drooping, giving his face an even more lopsided appearance than usual.

"Professor Moody?" Harry called as they made their way toward him through the crowd.

"Hello Potter, Granger," growled Moody. His magical eye followed a couple of passing first years, who sped up, looking nervous; it rolled into the back of Moody's head and watched them around the corner before he spoke again.

"Come in here."

He stood back to let them into his empty classroom, limped in after them, and closed the door.

"Did you find him?" Harry asked without preamble. "Mr. Crouch?"

"No," Moody replied. He moved over to his desk and sat down. He then stretched out his wooden leg with a slight groan, and pulled out his hip flask.

"Did you use the map?" Harry asked.

"Of course," said Moody, taking a swig from his flask. "Took a leaf out of your book, Potter. Summoned it from my office into the forest. He wasn't anywhere on there."

"What do you think happened to him professor?"

"I don't know Potter. You said you saw what looked like the killing curse. It's possible he was killed, or someone might have wanted you to think he was killed. But Dumbledore's told me how you like to solve things on your own Potter, but there is nothing you can do in this case. Dumbledore's notified the Ministry and they will be taking over the search for him and whoever else might have been around. You need to keep your mind on the third task."

"What?" asked Harry. "Oh yeah . . ."

"Should be right up your street, this one," said Moody, looking up at Harry and scratching his scarred and stubbly chin. "From what Dumbledore's said, you've managed to get through stuff like this plenty of times. Broke your way through a series of obstacles guarding the Philosopher's Stone in your first year, didn't you?"

Harry looked at Hermione and remembered Ron and her by his side. "I had help sir."

Moody grinned. "I'm sure you did," He looked at Hermione, "And I think if you help him practice for this one, I'll be surprised if he doesn't win, but in the meantime…constant vigilance Potter. Constant vigilance," He pulled out his hip flask and took a long draw and again he looked at Hermione, "You stick close to Potter, all right? I'm keeping an eye on things, but all the same . . . you can never have too many eyes out."

"Yes sir," Hermione replied and then an idea about the map occurred to her. "In fact sir, would it be possible to get Harry's map back? It would definitely help me look out for him?"

"Hermione what are you doing?"

"That map is the key to finding Skeeter and protecting Sirius."

An unidentified look passed through the retired Auror's eyes before he continued. "I wish I could but it's been a seriously useful tool in protecting the school."

"Sir, I think Hermione has a point though," Harry started, "It seems all the trouble seems to happen around me. If we have the map it would be help alert us to trouble that we can then bring to you."

"Between your classes and other times you can't spend as much time looking at it as we can," Hermione argued. "And I'm sure Harry would be glad to loan it to you again if you need it."

"You can always summon it," Harry replied, though where he planned to put it, it would never respond to a summons.

The magically eye whirled back and forth between Harry and Hermione as the old Auror thought about it. "I will need it for the next few days while we sort out last night. We'll talk again later in the week."

"That's fine sir. Thank you sir."

Later that evening in the Chamber of Secrets, Harry and his bond mates told Sirius and Lupin all that happened in the last twenty-four hours. When they got to the point where Harry left with Krum, Sirius became upset.

"Harry, what are you playing at?" Sirius yelled at his godson. "You just admitted a few days ago that someone is planning to kill you and you casually walk away from all protection with someone from Durmstrang? If you hadn't left when you did, that killing curse might have been for you. Did you think of that?"

"I should 'ave stayed with you 'Arry," Fleur said softly as she thought of the danger her bondmate had been in.

"No, I wanted you to go to Gabrielle's party," Harry said to her. He then turned to Sirius. "When I first left with him, it was more to get away from Bagman and I didn't know he was planning on walking all the way to the Forbidden Forest. What was I to when we got that far? Tell him someone is trying to kill me? Tell him I'm afraid to go near the Forest?"

"You've just got to more careful Harry," Sirius said as looked around the Chamber. "Damn I hate being down here and not be able to help you."

"We made some progress on that point. We talked to Moody and it looks like we can get the map back after they finish with the stuff from last night."

"How'd you manage that?" Lupin asked.

"Moody told Hermione to stick close to me and she pointed out she could do a better job of it with the map," Harry replied as he wrapped his arms around Hermione and kissed her on the neck. "She saw an opening and took it."

"When it's in our hands I'll feel better," Lupin said.

"When we do have it, we can try to track down Skeeter," Hermione said. "I walked outside today and I never noticed how many beetles are out and about this time of the year."

They then finished telling Lupin and Sirius about the previous evening. Sirius did pick on a blushing Hermione about Krum's affections.

"The look he gave me when Hermione showed up and put her arms around me instead of him when he was the one who got stunned wasn't great," Harry said.

"Watch yourself around him Harry."

"I plan on it," Harry replied. The last thing he needed was a jealous Viktor Krum.

They spent the majority of the weekend in the Chamber starting to prepare for the third task. Hermione pulled out a quill and parchment and wrote down all the creatures that Hagrid might put in the maze, including Fluffy, skrewts and Acromantulas. Fleur suggested other creatures that might have been included and Lupin threw his own suggestions in with possibilities like Boggarts. They then started working on spells and strategies to counter each creature. Fleur showed Harry a more powerful cutting curse which should take a leg off one of the giant spiders, along with several other spells that might work.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

Vernon Dursley was happy. His life had finally returned to normal. After a complete disaster of a spring which included a complete rewiring of the house's electrical system as well as replacing every appliance in the kitchen and the tele, things were finally settling down. It had been at least two weeks since something major had happened. Today nothing would put Vernon Dursley in a bad mood. He was headed out to his first golf outing of the year. He had invited his biggest customer who was bringing his son who had just graduated from a leading University. Vernon had also asked his most important parts vendor along to round out the foursome. It was a beautiful day; blue sky, no wind, perfect temperature.

"Hello Bob," Vernon said to his customer. "Is this your son? I haven't seen him in five years are so."

"Graduated near the top of his class," Bob replied proudly. "Following me into the business. He knows all about those computers."

"We have a line of computerized drills," Vernon offered eagerly. "Commercial equipment can automate everything."

"Matt mentioned those. Thought we'd look into them."

"Well enough about business, it's too perfect a day to be thinking of such things," Vernon commented jovially. He could already feel the next large order coming his way. The bonus for selling one of those automated commercial drills with a support agreement would go a long way to repairing Vernon's financial issues. Just a few more compliments about the man's son and it would be a perfect outing.

Vernon watched the other three in his foursome tee off, each hitting respectable drives into the fairway. "Outstanding shot there Matt," He said to Bob's son. "Be tough for me to come close to that length. But shouldn't be a problem getting much further than you," Vernon ended his comment in thought as he pulled out his favorite driver; custom-made and illegally weighted.

As Vernon teed his ball up, he started his normal visualization. Not the 'visualize your shot' stuff all the pros talk about, no he'd learned several years ago if he visualized the ball as being the head of the freak, he got at least ten extra yards of distance. He took a practice swing, and then another. Then he lined the ball off of his front foot. He could see the freak's head. Sort of like on a pike just waiting to be clubbed.

Vernon took his backswing away, keeping his eye on the freak's head as it sat on the tee. Just as the club reached its desired position, he started the full swing. He brought it down in a perfect arc that struck the ball in its path propelling it forward. Unfortunately for Vernon Dursley with the club being an inch shorter, it only hit the top part of the ball "topping it". The ball screamed across the ground until it rolled to a stop thirty yards ahead, in the middle of the women's tee box.

After the ball came to rest, Vernon rubbed his nose and said. "Gnat flew up my nose right as I was swinging. Threw me all off. I'll just hit another real quick."

"By the rules," Matt said. "A ball, once struck must be played where it comes to rest."

"Yeah, well this is just a..." Vernon stopped when the rest of the foursome all turned and moved away from the tee box.

By the end of the round Vernon Dursley had snapped three of his graphite shafted clubs, his steel shafted sand wedge had a thirty degree curve in it and his putter was in the bottom of the pond near the eighteenth green. He had shot his worst round ever. His customer refused Vernon's offer for a round afterwards and left very quickly with his son. Vernon never received another order from him. Lost in his anger he didn't watch his speed on the drive back and was pulled over and ticketed. He was thinking of a bottle of scotch when he pulled into the garage. When he opened the door into the house an all familiar site greeted him, Petunia was there waiting. This time there was a stack of magazines in front of her. When her first words were "YOUR SON..." Vernon knew it was going to take more than one bottle.

That morning Petunia had been happy. Her new pots and pans were working fine, her house was once again spotless after all of the carpentry and electrical work had been completed and in a week her son Dudley was due to come home. Even better the freak wouldn't be back for almost another month. She decided to spruce Dudley's room up in preparation for his return. As she started to sweep the floor her foot hit a corner of the raised floorboard. A minute later Petunia was staring at a collection of adult magazines. The top one had a scantily clad harlot staring up at her. Petunia felt dirty and ill as she collected the magazines and headed down the steps to await her husband. "At least I know where the boy got the idea," She fumed.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

The rest of the Slytherins might be avoiding Harry Potter but that was not the case for Draco Malfoy. He knew Harry was behind what had happened to him and was not about to let it go. He knew exactly what he was going to do to get even.

 
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