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.



24. Chapter 24 Wings and Memories

%%%%% May 31st 1995 %%%%%

Harry had just left lunch and was walking toward the North Tower for his Monday afternoon double Divinations class. The day was perfect outside as bright sunlight poured through the castle windows and as Harry looked out through them the blue sky lifted his spirits. The smile he had in his heart and his face even Trelawney and her overly perfumed classroom would have a hard time removing. He had almost reached the ladder when he felt it; fear and anger; sudden deep fear and anger. Harry at first looked around for the danger but after a couple of seconds he realized it was coming from Gabrielle.

"What is it Gabrielle," Harry asked but when she didn't immediately answer, he grabbed her thoughts to find out what was happening. He found himself/her, surrounded by Draco Malfoy and his oversized thugs. They were behind an isolated greenhouse that was on a path from the Beauxbatons carriage to the greenhouses where Gabrielle had been going for Herbology. Harry knew the path was out of sight of the castle and most everyone else. It was not a coincidence that Draco was there at that time.

"Well if it isn't Potter's little whore with no one to protect her," Harry heard Draco say in a voice filled with mirth. "What should we do with her guys?" He asked his companions.

"I'm coming love," Harry said and without a second thought he had dropped his book bag and raced down the hallway. Though he called to Hermione and Fleur, he already knew they were headed to the Chamber and wouldn't get to Gabrielle any faster than he would. Harry pirouetted around two first year students to dodge them and leapt over a railing as he raced to protect his Angel. He couldn't run and keep concentrating enough to find out what was happening to Gabrielle. He just hoped she could delay them enough for him to get there. Just as he exited the door to the outside he felt something else. A shift of some sort happened in the bond with Gabrielle. Something had happened and a hollow pit developed in Harry's stomach. Then over his bond with her, Harry felt an extreme rush of both hot anger and cold fear sweep over him. The emotions were more like a force than anything else.

"Gabrielle!" He shouted in his mind but no reply came. Fearing the worst he gripped his wand firmly in his hand and ran around the last corner with a words to the stunning spell already on his lips and… he stopped. He stopped dead in his track as he tried to comprehend what he was seeing. Crabbe and Goyle were racing toward him but looking back at something. Draco Malfoy was on the ground curled in a fetal position and standing over him was Gabrielle. Harry now knew what he had felt in the bond. Gabrielle had transformed. From her shoulders was a pair of white scaly wings and her head was elongated into bird head with a beak and in a hand or talon raised over her head was a ball of flame ready to be thrown.

"NO!" Harry shouted. "Gabrielle DON'T!"

Gabrielle turned her head in a very birdlike manner and looked at Harry.

At the distraction Draco scrambled to his feet and ran. As Malfoy ran past him, Harry noticed a large wet spot on his robes and a distinct smell of urine. As much as Harry wanted to pursue Malfoy, he knew he needed to be with Gabrielle. As he turned back to his youngest bond mate he could feel her emotions settling down, but then he felt a wave of sadness and anguish from her. As he started toward her, she bolted away between two of the greenhouses.

Harry's shouts had brought Professor Sprout and several students racing out of the classroom. Ignoring Professor's Sprouts summons, Harry sped off in pursuit of his bondmate. It wasn't long before he found her. She was sitting on the ground under a tree with her knees clasped in her arms and tears pouring down her cheeks. Her body had already started transforming back. Her head was back to normal except for a few feathers but she still had wings which were slowly folding in upon themselves.

"Angel? Are you alright?"

"Go away," Gabrielle said through her tears. "I know you don't want to be 'ere."

"Why would you say that Angel?"

"Don't call me zat. You know you don't mean eet," Gabrielle cried as she held her knees in her arms even tighter. "I'm ugly and 'orrible."

Harry sat down beside her. He gently reached over caressed one of her wings and surprisingly found it to be very soft. "No you're not ugly nor are you horrible, you are beautiful. Angels have wings and you're still my angel and a lady I love," Harry moved his hand to her face and gently turned it to face him. "Do you think I love you because of your hair or your lips? I love you Gabrielle because of your heart and your mind," He leaned in and kissed gently on the lips. "And nothing will ever stop me from loving you," Harry knew Hermione and Fleur were behind them now and listening but not interrupting. "Gabrielle what just happened is part of you. I knew it could happen. I saw the Veela at the World Cup but it doesn't matter to me, I'm just glad Malfoy wasn't able to hurt you," He realized then that he didn't know what Draco had done to her. "He didn't hurt you did he?" He asked.

"Non. 'E tried to touch my breast but zat is when I…" She didn't finish but looked down at the ground before continuing. " 'E called me a…a whore and said zats all I would be good for when I grew up."

Harry heard the gasp from Fleur behind him but kept his concentration entirely on Gabrielle. He gently lifted her face to look at his, then he used his thumb to wipe away her tears. Pulling her closer to him, he wrapped his arms around her. "I love you Gabrielle Delacour and whether you have wings and feathers or skin and a smile, I will always love you," Gabrielle's arms reached around Harry and held him.

"You do still love me?" She asked almost in a whisper her voice still quavering.

"Yes, you can feel it in our bond, but I will tell you over and over if that's what you need," Harry lifted her chin and his lips found hers again, gently, caring. He noted that her wings were entirely gone now. "Don't be afraid to be who you are, and don't ever think I would stop loving you. If it does happen again, I'll be there to hold you and calm you and still I will love you," He felt her relax under his arms.

Hermione and Fleur joined them then, each sitting on the ground across from Harry and Gabrielle. Fleur looked at Harry with tears in her own eyes but she was smiling. As much as she hated that her sister had gone through what she did, Fleur knew that Harry accepted them for all that they were and loved them still. It was a fear she had kept buried, concern that when faced with the negative part of her heritage Harry might reject them but now she knew it she could let it go.

Shortly afterwards Professor Sprout came over and asked what had happened. Harry left Gabrielle to the comforts of her bond sisters and explained to the Herbology Professor about the attack. After being assured that Gabrielle didn't need to go to Madam Pomfrey but would miss the rest of class, she left them promising that she would give the assignments to Ginny and Luna and discuss the affair with the Professors concerned.

Hermione eventually had to leave to go to Arithmancy and Fleur had her government class. As Harry thought how much he wanted to hurt Malfoy, he also realized that Draco would surely tell his father or Snape and Dumbledore needed to know before either of them made it to him.

"We need to go talk to the Headmaster, Gabrielle," Harry said softly. "He'll need to know what happened. I'm sure it won't be long before Malfoy's father is here complaining about how you attacked his son."

"But 'e…" Gabrielle started.

"I know he was the one who attacked you, but the truth is something that rarely passes over the tongue of Malfoy or his father," Harry said still in a soft voice.

A few minutes later and they were ascending the staircase behind the Gargoyle. Gabrielle remembered the password from the last time they had come when Harry was still under the potion's effect. As they reached the top of the staircase the door to Dumbledore's office opened and Dumbledore, Minister Fudge and Professor Moody came out. All five of them stopped as they encountered each other. Cornelius Fudge was the first to break the standoff.

"Harry," He asked jovially. "How are you?"

"Fine sir," Harry replied and then ignoring Fudge he turned to Dumbledore. "Sir, something just happened that we need to tell you about."

Professor Dumbledore studied the two of them for a second before nodding. "Can you two wait in my office? We were just going to inspect the area where the events with Mr. Crouch happened. It shouldn't take long."

"Do you need me to come along sir?"

"That won't be necessary, but thank you. Just wait here and I'll return shortly."

"Yes sir."

Harry and Gabrielle entered Dumbledore's office as they heard the clunking of Professor's Moody's wooden leg growing fainter in the corridor below.

Harry saw the Scarlet and gold phoenix on its stand beside Professor Dumbledore's desk. "Hello Fawkes, this is Gabrielle. Gabrielle this is Fawkes."

"Ello Fawkes," Gabrielle said to the magnificent bird. Though she'd seen the Phoenix at the time of the bonding, she'd never been introduced. "Thank you for saving my bondmate's life."

The bird swished its tail and warbled several notes of a song that instantly left Harry and Gabrielle feeling peaceful.

As Gabrielle sat in a chair in front of Dumbledore's desk, Harry wandered around the office looking at the various little gadgets that whirled and puffed. As he continued to look, he noticed a silver white glowing coming from a cabinet door and he couldn't help but open it. He saw the same basin that was used earlier to look at his memories before the bonding.

"Had Dumbledore been showing Fudge my memories?" Harry wondered. He looked more closely at the silvery stuff in the bowl. As he focused on a one of the silver strands he saw something he couldn't make out, in an attempt to see better he pulled out his wand and nudged it. The stuff in the bowl became crystal clear and he found himself looking into an enormous room, a room into which he seemed to be looking through a circular window in the ceiling.

The room was dimly lit; he thought it might even be underground, for there were no windows, merely torches in brackets such as the ones that illuminated the walls of Hogwarts. Lowering his face so that his nose was a mere inch away from the glassy substance, Harry saw that rows and rows of witches and wizards were seated around every wall on what seemed to be benches rising in levels. An empty chair stood in the very center of the room. There was something about the chair that gave Harry an ominous feeling. Chains encircled the arms of it, as though its occupants were usually tied to it.

"Harry," Gabrielle called. "What are you looking at?"

"I...I'm not sure. It's some kind of large room with a chair with chains," He replied as he continued to try to get a better look.

His face got closer and closer as he tried to make out the tiny witches and wizards occupying the seats until his nose touched the liquid. He felt a great lurch and heard Gabrielle yell "HARRY!" as he felt himself falling into the basin as he had seen Hermione and Fleur do all of those months ago.

Harry found himself sitting on a bench in the room that he had just saw in the basin. "I'm in a memory then," He thought. "But whose and when?"

As he looked around he saw at least two hundred witches and wizards in the various seats and as he turned to the seat next to him he let out a small cry. Sitting next to him was Albus Dumbledore. "Sir...I'm sorry I didn't…" but he stopped. Professor Dumbledore hadn't turned toward him but kept his attention toward what was happening in the room. It was then he realized he was in one of Dumbledore's memories.

Harry turned his attention to what was happening. It must be important if Dumbledore had been busy reviewing it. He started studying the witches and wizards around him. It wasn't long before a door in the corner of the room opened and a man entered, flanked by two dementors.

Harry felt cold as the tall hooded creatures glided slowly toward the chair in the center of the room, each holding a wrist of the man between them. The man looked like he would faint at any moment and Harry couldn't blame him having felt the dementors up close himself. The man was placed in the chair and the dementors glided back out of the door they came through. When Harry looked back at the man they had escorted he recognized him. It was Karkaroff. As Harry watched, the chains glowed gold and snaked their way up Karkaroff's arms binding him to the chair.

Harry felt a movement to his side and looked over and found Gabrielle sitting beside him. "What's going on 'Arry?"

"I don't know. Why are you here?"

"When you fell in ze pensieve and didn't come back out after a minute, I came in looking for you."

"Thank you," Harry said and smiled as he took her hand, it felt solid in the memory and they both watched what happened next.

"Igor Karkaroff," said a curt voice to their left. Harry looked around and saw Mr. Crouch standing up in the middle of the bench beside him. Crouch's hair was dark, his face was much less lined, he looked fit and alert. "You have been brought from Azkaban to present evidence to the Ministry of Magic. You have given us to understand that you have important information for us."

Harry pointed his finger at Crouch, "That's Mr. Crouch," He said to Gabrielle "I don't think you ever saw him."

"Not in person, but ze paper 'ad ze judges pictures, though I doubt I would 'ave recognized 'im."

Karkaroff straightened himself as best he could being tightly bound to the chair. "I have sir," he said, and although his voice was very scared, Harry could still hear the familiar unctuous note in it. "I wish to be of use to the Ministry. I wish to help. I - I know that the Ministry is trying to - to round up the last of the Dark Lords supporters. I am eager to assist in any way I can..."

All around them Harry and Gabrielle heard the witches and wizard's murmuring. From the other side of Dumbledore Harry clearly heard a growling voice he recognized. "Filth."

Harry leaned forward so that he could see past Dumbledore. Mad-Eye Moody was sitting there - except that there was a very noticeable difference in his appearance. He did not have his magical eye, but two normal ones. Both were looking down upon Karkaroff, and both were narrowed in intense dislike.

"Crouch is going to let him out," Moody breathed quietly to Dumbledore. "He's done a deal with him. Took me six months to track him down, and Crouch is going to let him go if he's got enough new names. Let's hear his information, I say, and throw him straight back to the dementors."

Dumbledore made a small noise of dissent through his long, crooked nose.

"Ah, I was forgetting . . . you don't like the dementors, do you, Albus?" said Moody with a sardonic smile.

"No," said Dumbledore calmly, "I'm afraid I don't. I have long felt the Ministry is wrong to ally itself with such creatures."

"But for filth like this . . ." Moody said softly.

Harry's attention left Moody as Crouch had continued his questioning of Karkaroff. As he named various names only to find they had already been apprehended or captured Karkaroff appeared desperate.

"There was Travers - he helped murder the McKinnons! Mulciber - he specialized in the Imperius Curse, forced countless people to do horrific things! Rookwood, who was a spy, and passed He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named useful information from inside the Ministry itself!"

Harry could tell that, this time, Karkaroff had struck gold. The watching crowd was all murmuring together.

"Rookwood?" said Mr. Crouch, nodding to a witch sitting in front of him, who began scribbling upon her piece of parchment. "Augustus Rookwood of the Department of Mysteries?"

"The very same," said Karkaroff eagerly. "I believe he used a network of well-placed wizards, both inside the Ministry and out, to collect information -"

"But Travers and Mulciber we have," said Mr. Crouch. "Very well, Karkaroff, if that is all, you will be returned to Azkaban while we decide -"

"Not yet!" cried Karkaroff, looking quite desperate. "Wait, I have more!"

Harry could see him sweating in the torchlight, his white skin contrasting strongly with the black of his hair and beard.

"Snape!" he shouted. "Severus Snape!"

Harry felt his blood go cold at that name and Gabrielle felt her bond mate tense.

"Snape has been cleared by this council," said Crouch disdainfully. "He has been vouched for by Albus Dumbledore."

"No!" shouted Karkaroff, straining at the chains that bound him to the chair. "I assure you! Severus Snape is a Death Eater!"

Dumbledore had gotten to his feet. "I have given evidence already on this matter," he said calmly. "Severus Snape was indeed a Death Eater. However, he rejoined our side before Lord Voldemort's downfall and turned spy for us, at great personal risk. He is now no more a Death Eater than I am."

Harry sat numbly, though he had heard Professor Dumbledore's argument for Professor Snape, he still heard the words, "Severus Snape was a Death Eater." He didn't notice the dungeon dissolving around him as he thought "My mother's best friend became a Death Eater?"

When Harry's attention returned to what was around him he found himself in the same courtroom but in a different spot with Gabrielle still beside him clutching his hand. As he looked around the courtroom he realized it must be a different trial on a different day. As he looked around he saw a much younger Rita Skeeter in Magenta Robes sucking the end of an acid green quill.

Harry watched the trial of Ludo Bagman until it too dissolved into nothingness and was replaced by a third scene. This time there was a witch sitting next to a much greyer and wearier Mr. Crouch sobbing into a handkerchief.

"Bring them in," Crouch said as his voice echoed through a very silent dungeon.

The door in the corner opened yet again. Six dementors entered this time, flanking a group of four people. Harry saw the people in the crowd turn to look up at Mr. Crouch. A few of them whispered to one another.

The dementors placed each of the four people in the four chairs with chained arms that now stood on the dungeon floor. There was a thickset man who stared blankly up at Crouch; a thinner and more nervous-looking man, whose eyes were darting around the crowd; a woman with thick, shining dark hair and heavily hooded eyes, who was sitting in the chained chair as though it were a throne; and a boy in his late teens, who looked nothing short of petrified. He was shivering, his straw colored hair all over his face, his freckled skin milk-white. The witch beside Crouch began to rock backward and forward in her seat, whimpering into her handkerchief.

Crouch stood up. He looked down upon the four in front of him, and there was pure hatred in his face.

"You have been brought here before the Council of Magical Law," he said clearly, "so that we may pass judgment on you, for a crime so heinous -"

"Father," said the boy with the straw-colored hair. "Father...please...

"- that we have rarely heard the like of it within this court," said Crouch, speaking more loudly, drowning out his son's voice.

"We have heard the evidence against you. The four of you stand accused of capturing an Auror - Frank Longbottom - and subjecting him to the Cruciatus Curse, believing him to have knowledge of the present whereabouts of your exiled master, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named -"

"Father, I didn't!" shrieked the boy in chains below. "I didn't, I swear it. Father, don't send me back to the dementors -"

"You are further accused," bellowed Mr. Crouch, "of using the Cruciatus Curse on Frank Longbottom's wife, when he would not give you information. You planned to restore He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named to power, and to resume the lives of violence you presumably led while he was strong. I now ask the jury -"

"Mother!" screamed the boy below, and the wispy little witch beside Crouch began to sob, rocking backward and forward. "Mother, stop him. Mother, I didn't do it, it wasn't me!"

"I now ask the jury," shouted Mr. Crouch, "to raise their hands if they believe, as I do, that these crimes deserve a life sentence in Azkaban!"

In unison, the witches and wizards along the right-hand side of the dungeon raised their hands proclaiming their guilt. The boy began to scream.

"No! Mother, no! I didn't do it, I didn't do it, I didn't know! Don't send me there, don't let him!"

The dementors were gliding back into the room. The boys' three companions rose quietly from their seats; the woman with the heavy-lidded eyes looked up at Crouch and called, "The Dark Lord will rise again Crouch! Throw us into Azkaban; we will wait! He will rise again and will come for us. He will reward us beyond any of his other supporters! We alone were faithful! We alone tried to find him!"

But the boy was trying to fight off the dementors, even though Harry could see their cold, draining power starting to affect him. The crowd was jeering, some of them on their feet, as the woman swept out of the dungeon, and the boy continued to struggle.

"I'm your son!" he screamed up at Crouch. "I'm your son!"

"You are no son of mine!" bellowed Mr. Crouch, his eyes bulging suddenly. "I have no son!"

The wispy witch beside him gave a great gasp and slumped in her seat. She had fainted. Crouch appeared not to have noticed.

"Take them away!" Crouch roared at the dementors, spit flying from his mouth. "Take them away, and may they rot there!"

"Father! Father, I wasn't involved! No! No! Father, please!"

"I think it is time to return to my office," said a voice from beside Gabrielle. When they turned to look, another Dumbledore was sitting there looking directly at them.

"Come," the new Dumbledore said and putting a hand on both of their shoulders, they were pulled up and out of the memory.

As he landed back in Dumbledore's office, Harry grabbed Gabrielle before she stumbled and then turned to Dumbledore. "I'm sorry sir. I saw the thing and wondered if it was my memories…and then I saw.."

"I quite understand Harry," The Headmaster replied. "Curiosity is very strong in the young, but you should exercise caution with your curiosity. Remember that excellent muggle saying…it goes something like curiosity killed the cat. Now I do believe there was something you want to speak to me about before becoming lost in my thoughts."

"Uh…yes sir," Harry replied and looked at Gabrielle who suddenly looked pale as she remembered what had happened. "Draco Malfoy attempted to attack Gabrielle as she was going to Herbology."

"Attacked? In what manner Miss Delacour?"

"E grabbed me and tried to grope…'e tried to touch my breast sir and called me…" She had started crying again.

"He called her a whore sir. And later said it was all she would be good for."

"I see," Dumbledore said studying the two of them with his piercing gaze. "There must be something else as well or you would have taken this to Professor McGonagall I'm sure."

"Yes sir," Harry replied. "Gabrielle defended herself by transforming sir."

"Ah…yes that will have Lucius here shortly I am sure," Dumbledore said then softly to Gabrielle. "I must ask Miss Delacour, did you hurt him? Burn him? Scratch him?"

"No sir," She replied as she sniffled. Dumbledore conjured a handkerchief and handed it to her. "Merci. When I…well ze two others…."


"Crabbe and Goyle sir."

"Yes of course, please continue."

"The others ran away and…and Malfoy fell down."

"Sir I think that was when I got there. Malfoy was on the ground and Gabrielle was standing over him with those flames the Veela have in her hand but she never threw it. I yelled and that distracted her. Malfoy ran away at that time," Harry hesitated before saying the last part. "I think he had wet himself sir."

"That is also very understandable," Dumbledore replied with a twinkle appearing in his eyes. "I appreciate you bringing this to my attention. I am sure Lucius will arrive within the next few days."

"What will he do sir?"

"Eventually? Nothing of any consequence legally, but you can probably guess there will be an article in the Prophet soon about the attack and it will not be factual by any means. He will also try to push legislation requiring Veela to register with the Department for Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures."

"Like an animal, like Buckbeak?" Harry asked as his eyes narrowed.

"More like werewolves, but as I said he will try but fail. The ICW has fully recognized Veela as having full rights and after the World Cup, Cornelius cannot deal with another problem with the ICW especially since I am the Supreme Mugwump and," Dumbledore looked over his half-moon glasses at Gabrielle, "also as to whom your father is."


"You're welcome Miss Delacour. I am sorry this happened and I will speak to Professor Snape about an appropriate punishment. Now if there isn't anything else?" The question hung for a second before Harry asked something he had been thinking of.

"Sir in the memory, the Longbottoms, were they…they Neville's parents?"

Dumbledore gave Harry a very sharp look. "Has Neville never told you why he has been brought up by his grandmother?" he said.

Harry shook his head, wondering, as he did so, how he could have failed to ask Neville this, in almost four years of knowing him.

"Yes, they were talking about Neville's parents," said Dumbledore. "His father, Frank, was an Auror just like Professor Moody. He and his wife were tortured for information about Voldemort's whereabouts after he lost his powers, as you heard."

"So they're dead?" asked Harry quietly.

"No," said Dumbledore, his voice full of bitterness Harry had never heard there before. "They are insane. They are both in St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries. I believe Neville visits them, with his grandmother, during the holidays. They do not recognize him."

Harry looked at Gabrielle as a wave of sorrow and horror overcame him. He'd lived in the same dorm with Neville for almost four years and never bothered to find out.

Another issue came to his mind and he had to ask. "Sir, Professor Snape. He was a Death Eater?"

"In a different time he was Harry."

"Why do you think he has stopped supporting Voldemort sir?"

Dumbledore's blue eyes locked on Harry's eyes for several seconds before he answered. "That is a matter between Professor Snape and myself Harry," With those words Harry knew the interview was over. He took Gabrielle's hand and they walked toward the door. As he touched the knob Dumbledore made one final request. "Please do not speak of Neville's parents to anybody else. I know Miss Granger and Miss Delacour's sister will find out, but no one else. He has the right to let people know when he's ready."

"Yes sir."

"And Harry."

"Yes sir?"

"Good luck on the third task."

Draco's punishment had indeed been severe as the rumors flew around the Great Hall at dinner. The giant hourglass of emeralds which counted the Slytherin's house points was down one hundred and fifty jewels. One hundred for Malfoy and twenty-five each for Crabbe and Goyle. The rumors also proclaimed Malfoy had been assigned four weeks of detentions, one week each with Professor's Sprout, Flitwick, McGonagall and Hagrid.

"Haven't seen that in a while," George said.

"Worst way to get extended detentions," Fred agreed.

"Why?" Harry asked. "What does it matter he has the detentions spread over four professors?"

"No Professor has that much bad stuff they can make a student do," George explained.

"If you get extended detentions with a single Professor, after about week, the really bad stuff is over."

"And the rest of the time is spent doing annoying but minor stuff."

"But by having the detention spread over four different professors; Malfoy will not get off easy."

"Especially with it ending with Hagrid; I expect that will be the worst week of the lot."

Hermione had pulled out her planner and was looking at the month to come. "I think it was planned that way to be exceptionally interesting for Malfoy," She said.

"Why?" Harry asked again.

"That's the week of the third task, Harry."

"You don't think Malfoy is going to put the creatures in the Maze do you?"

"No, most likely not," Hermione replied. "But you are going to have a maze with various creatures wandering around in it for quite some time," She paused for a seconds to let the implications sink in. "Someone's going to have to clean it up once it's over," She said finally with a smirk. "I doubt if Hagrid will let him use a wand, in fact knowing Hagrid, he might not even let him use a shovel."

Everyone around chuckled at those thoughts.

"Harry," Ginny glanced up from her plate as she asked a question that had puzzled her since she had heard what had happened. "How did you know Gabrielle was in trouble? I mean, if I'm not mistaken you're in Divination at the same time we're in Herbology."

Harry looked up at her and then at his three bond mates. No explanation crossed his mind. He was just about to say he had skipped Divinations when she took that excuse away.

"Ron found your book bag at the bottom of the ladder when he came down," Ginny said. "He's the one who put it in your dorm."

"Oh…uh," Harry found himself looking down the table at his former best friend who was chatting with Seamus about something. "Guess I should thank him."

"Arry, I don't want to lie to 'er," Gabrielle thoughts came through. "She's been a very good friend and I don't want to lie to a friend."

Harry looked at Gabrielle who had a pleading look in her eyes. "Of course we can tell her if you want," Harry queried both Fleur and Hermione without looking at them and they both agreed that it should be Gabrielle's choice as long as she believed Ginny would keep the secret.

In those several seconds as Gabrielle and Harry looked at each other, Ginny started wondering if Luna had been right all along. Visions of Harry being tied to a stake while Gabrielle danced around him started going through her mind.

"Ginny," Gabrielle started. "If you can keep a secret, we can tell you 'ow 'e knew."

"Pretty soon it's not going to be much of a secret," Harry muttered.

Ginny's eye went wide. "Luna was right? You're…" She said quite loudly and only the look from Harry, Gabrielle, Fleur and Hermione stopped her from continuing. In a much quieter voice she said "Oh…sorry. If you can trust me with your secret, I promise not to tell anyone."

At the Ravenclaw table a petite blonde smiled to herself as she heard Ginny's exclamation. She really hoped Gabrielle's lunar charts were accurate. She really liked Harry's hair.

Harry looked around to make sure no one was listening and especially that no beetles were in sight. "Ginny, this might be hard for you, but the only place we feel is safe enough to discuss what is going on is in the Chamber. Do you feel up to going back down there?"

Ginny paled but after a few seconds her Gryffindor courage came through and she nodded.

"Okay, then right after dinner we'll head down," Harry said quietly. "Hermione can you go ahead and warn Sirius?"

"Yes, it's Gabrielle and my time to grab food from the kitchens for Sirius anyway," Hermione looked at Gabrielle and without a word, both of them got up and left the table with Ginny looking confused.

"We'll explain, we promise," Harry said to her. "Finish eating and we'll go down there shortly. Fleur and I'll be with you the whole time."

"Thanks Harry," Ginny replied with a warm but nervous smile.

Hermione and Gabrielle made their way to the kitchen. As the house-elves busied themselves getting the food put in containers with freshness charms, Hermione looked over at the fireplace and saw Winky sitting on the same stool as before. A row of empty butterbeer bottles beside her. As Hermione watched her the little elf gave a hiccup and swayed on her stool. A wave of guilt and sadness washed over her. It had been a long time since she thought of the little elf. She had been so happy with having Fleur to spend time with and with her bond with Harry that her concern of house-elves in general and this one in particular had disappeared.

Harry was still at the table when he felt the sadness of Hermione wash over the bond. "What is it love?" He immediately queried.

"It's Winky," Hermione replied. "She's miserable and I can't do anything for her."

Harry couldn't think of anything to suggest but then looked over at Fleur, "What about asking Fleur, she might have some advice since she's lived with house elves her whole life."


"Yes 'Ermione."

"You remember me telling you about Winky, the house elf we argued about earlier?"


"She's still very sad and staying drunk. Do you know of anything I can do to cheer her up?"

"What does she want?"

"What do you mean?" Hermione asked.

"What does she want to cheer her up?" Fleur asked.

"She wants her family back, but they probably won't take her back. In fact it's Mr. Crouch who might be dead."

"What else besides that would she want?"

"I don't know," Hermione replied.

"Ask 'er."

Hermione looked at the hiccupping elf again. "I'll try," She walked over to the fireplace and knelt down next to diminutive elf.

"Hi Winky, it's me."

"You be the one who –hic- said bad things –hic- about my Master."

"I'm sorry Winky. But Mr. Crouch is no longer your Master."

"Mas –hic-ter needs his Winky," The house-elf said looking up with bleary eyes.

Gabrielle had joined Hermione now and said, "Winky, I'm Gabrielle."

Winky closed one eye and then opened it as she closed the other trying to find one that was less blurred. "Do you –hic- know my Master?"

"I'm sorry Winky, I don't, but I thought 'e released you?"

"Master needs – hic – his Winky. He has secrets that need keepen," Winky said.

"Winky, if your old Master doesn't take you back," Hermione said tenderly, but at the words Winky started crying, "if he doesn't take you back, is there anything else that you would like to do? Maybe I can help you get a job you like."

"Winky don't want –hic- job, Winky wants a family," The elf said glaring at Hermione as she tried to keep her eyes open but ended up looking like she was winking.

Hermione remembered the discussion with Fleur and understood what the elf wanted. "Fleur do you know of a family who needs an elf?"

"Winky, would you like a family that might be very large someday?" Gabrielle asked.

Hermione looked at her bond sister as Fleur responded "Non, but I can ask father."

Winky looked at Gabrielle, "What family would –hic- want a disgraced elf?"

Gabrielle looked at Hermione before turning back to Winky, "Eet's not a real family yet, but it will be someday. Zere will be a wizard and Zree witches and ze possibility of lots of children."

"Children?" Hermione asked as what Gabrielle was suggesting to Winky clicked.

"There will be –hic- children?" Winky asked as her eyes finally became focused. "Winky likes taking care –hic- of children."

"Gabrielle, we can't," Hermione cried out mentally.

"Why not 'Ermione?"

"It's not right. I can't have a slave."

"Ermione we've already discussed zis," Fleur said.

"Yes but.."

"What is ze primary reason for freedom?" Fleur asked.

"There are lots of reasons to be free, but the whole underlying purpose is the ability to choose," Hermione replied.

"Exactly and isn't zat exactly what you are denying Winky? Ze ability to choose what she wants?" Fleur replied.

"But if she becomes our servant, she loses that right to choose in the future," Hermione argued.

"We already discussed ze 'ouse-elf bond and zat it's not real slavery, but if you are concerned about zeir choice in ze future, give it to zem," Fleur said.

"What do you mean?"

"Once you 'ave bonded with an elf, zey must follow your orders right?"

"Exactly why I don't…"

"Then give 'er ze order to immediately tell you if she ever wants to be free or not do something zat you or we tell 'er to do."

"But…" Hermione's argument died at that point but she wanted to ask the one person who was the center person in their family. "Harry?"

"Yes love?"

"Have you been listening?"

"Sort of."

"What do you think?"

"I just want you, Fleur and Gabrielle to be happy," Harry replied. "I'm not sure what we would have a house elf do until sometime in the future but if you can figure all that out, I will support you whatever you decide."

"Thanks Harry. I love you."

"I love you Hermione."

Hermione looked at Gabrielle and nodded.

"Winky, we need you to sober up," Gabrielle said. "When ze zird task is over, come find 'Ermione or me and we will tell you about ze family we 'ave in mind. Eet's a little strange and it will be a few years before it's a real family wiz a 'ouse, but we 'ope you will accept it."

The little elf looked at Gabrielle, "No house –hic-"

"Not yet, but someday zere will be a 'ouse and lots of children."

"Lots?" Harry asked nervously.

"Arry we know you want a family," Gabrielle said. "And I want to 'ave your children when we are older."

Two other witches agreed with her sentiments.

Ginny had no idea why Harry's face had drained of color and Fleur was giggling behind her hand.

"Lots -hic- of children?" Winky asked.

Gabrielle put her arms gently around the little elf and said quietly. "Lots."

A short time later Harry and Fleur were guiding Ginny into Moaning Myrtle bathroom. They had to pause as she started trembling. Memories of two years prior rushing back to her. Harry gave her a friendly hug. "It'll be alright. We go down there several times a week."

"You do?" Ginny asked. "So that's where you disappear to?"


Ginny looked around. "I don't remember, but it still looks so familiar."

Harry walked over to the wall and hissed the door open. Slowly the three of them made their way down the steps. Ginny continually looked around all the time as if expecting something to happen. Finally they made it to the bottom of the steps and started down the tunnel. The huge snakeskin was now gone and the path was cleared from the many times they had traversed the tunnel. Finally they reached the doors to the Chamber and Harry could see the color drain from Ginny's face.

"It really is alright. Hermione and Gabrielle are already in there."

"H..how?" Ginny asked nervously. "I…I thought you had…had to be a Parselmouth."

"We'll explain," Harry promised and nodded at Fleur who hissed and the doors opened.

When they had entered Lupin greeted them warmly.

"Professor?" Ginny asked "What are you doing down here?"

"I've been taking care of that overgrown garden snake that was down here."

That's when Ginny noticed where they had left the Basilisk two years prior was now empty. Her eyes turned to Harry. "What happened to it?"

"We'll explain shortly," Harry replied. "Ginny, we aren't going to tease you like we've teased Moony and your brothers."

"Brothers?" Ginny asked and then the answer came to her. "Fred and George?"

"Yes. They know our secret," Harry replied. "They also helped me in another fashion, but that's for later. Now I'm just going to come out and tell you. Understand we wanted to keep this as much a secret as possible but had to tell people on occasion. So please do not repeat what we are going to say to you. Not to anyone."

"Of course Harry."

Gabrielle took that time to speak up. "Ginny, Luna was somewhat correct. Ze Veela 'ave a love bond. And 'Arry and I are bonded," At the look on Ginny's face, "But I promise zere were no chains or dancing," That caused Fleur and Harry to look at her strangely.


"Before I ever met you," Gabrielle replied. "Zat was ze reason we were not seen after ze second task. I'm sorry for misleading you, but I hope you understand. We are trying to keep zis a secret until zis summer."

"Oh," Was all Ginny could say.

"Zere's more," Gabrielle continued. "My sister and I both claimed 'Arry as I our bondmate," When she said that Fleur came over to Harry. "She and I both are bonded with 'Arry."

Ginny sat down as her eyes lost focus.

"Ginny," Hermione said. "There is one other thing and this might shock you. There was problem with my bo…with Fleur and Gabrielle bonding with Harry and they needed someone Harry would trust to help them. I was that person. While I was helping them bond, I…I was given the opportunity to join them," Hermione's eyes caught Ginny's.

"You bonded too?" Ginny asked. "But I thought…you always said."

"That Harry was my best friend?" Hermione finished. "I did say that and it's still true, but I also realized that he meant more to me than just friends. I realized I loved him," Hermione looked at her bond mate and smiled and then she looked back at Ginny. "When I was helping them bond, I found out Harry loved me too. My bond sisters decided to ask me to join them and I took the opportunity and yes I am also love bonded to Harry."

Ginny looked at the three witches who had moved habitually toward their bondmate, a boy, no a man she had a crush on, and knew she still did. "I guess there's not room for a fourth?" She asked only half-jokingly.

Harry grimaced but then smiled at the redhead. "I'm sorry Ginny. I know you had a crush on me and maybe even have true feelings, but to me you're my sister. A beautiful young lady I want to see grow up and be happy," Harry looked at his three bond mates. "Even if there were different feelings, the bond is closed and it can't be changed."

"I understand Harry," Ginny said after swallowing hard. "Thank you for telling me."

"Gabrielle refused to lie to you about it," Harry said. "You've been a very good friend to her, so it's the least we could. But please do not let anyone, especially Ron or your mother know about this."

"I won't," Ginny replied but still looking a little dazed.

"Now there is one more thing," Harry said. "The way I knew Gabrielle was in trouble. She and I share our thoughts and emotions. As soon as Malfoy was near her, I felt her fear. I knew what was happening. That's why I dropped my bag and ran to her. Not that she needed my help."

"Non, I desperately needed you 'Arry," Gabrielle said. "I needed you to do what you did."

"What did he do?" Ginny asked.

Gabrielle looked down at the ground, then back at her friend. "He showed me that he really loves me. It might seem silly since I can feel his love in our bond, but even when he saw my…my other part he proved it didn't matter to him."

Harry wrapped his arms around her, "Angel, I will always be there for you and I will always love you because of this," He placed his hand over her heart.

"So you can share emotions and hear thoughts?" Ginny asked.


Ginny thought for a few seconds then with a wry smile, "After years of wanting privacy from six older siblings, I doubt I would have been a good fit anyway. I get tired of sharing."

"Speaking of sharing," Harry said turning back to Ginny "There is one last thing, the basilisk. Professor Dumbledore gave me the rights to it…."

"Of course he did, you killed it," Ginny exclaimed.

"He still didn't need to, but he did. Moony rendered it down and we've been selling it for a very large sum of galleons," Harry said. "And I plan on giving you and Ron some of that money."

"Harry, no, I don't deserve it," Ginny exclaimed. "If it hadn't been for my stupidity with that diary, you would never have had to risk your life."

"Ginny, you suffered enough because of it and I…we want you to have some of the gold. I need to talk to your father first, but I'm planning on giving you and Ron ten thousand galleons each."

"I can't…you can't...that's too much," Ginny looked down at her second hand robes and fervently wanted to both win this argument and lose it.

"I can and I will. I want to see my little sister in new robes next year," Harry smiled at her. "And when Quidditch starts back up, I expect to see you trying out for the team on your new broom."

"New broom?" Ginny's voice betrayed the desire she had for something new but her eyes were still trying to say no.

"Yes," Harry replied. "I've seen you fly and you'll be great next year."

After a few more discussions with Ginny, Gabrielle escorted her back into the castle while the rest of the people started discussing what had been learned that day.

"So Professor Snape was a former Death Eater?" Hermione asked.

"Yeah, supposedly he turned spy for Dumbledore." Harry replied still not convinced that it was possible that Snape was a good guy even if he had been his mother's friend.

"Dumbledore is right in expecting Lucius will try legal actions to classify Veela as a subhuman group," Lupin said. "He might not succeed the first time, but eventually it might. What comes out in the Prophet will go a long way in swaying future opinions."

"Skeeter," Hermione said quickly. "As soon as she gets word of this, she'll be buzzing around the castle getting Malfoy's and those other Slytherin's statements. We need that map and we need it quickly. We have got to get to her before she can write her story."

"We'll talk to Moody first thing in the morning and we'll get that map."

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