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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25. Chapter 25 The Capture of a Beetle

As Ginny and Gabrielle walked up the magically lit tunnel toward Myrtle's bathroom and the castle, Ginny looked at Gabrielle, "So it's all true then. You three are all love bonded to Harry?"

"Yes it is Ginny."

They walked on in silence for a while and then Ginny finally had to ask. "Can I ask why you and Fleur invited Hermione to join the bond? I know she said she found they loved each other, but if he already lo.." Ginny suddenly stopped as she remembered that Gabrielle had just made a big deal of Harry telling her that he loved her. "If Harry wasn't in love with you, but was in love with Hermione, why did..."

"Why did 'e bond with us?" Gabrielle finished the question. Gabrielle studied her friend for a few seconds and decided on the truth "I'll tell you what 'Arry will never tell you and you are not to repeat to anyone at anytime. My sister and I initiated ze bond without 'is permission. 'E 'ad no idea what we were doing and at ze time we weren't really controlling ourselves either."

"You...you trapped him into this?" Ginny exclaimed as her eyes flew open wide.

"Yes and no Ginny. Yes we started ze bond without 'im knowing it, but 'e could 'ave rejected ze bond. If 'e 'ad, my sister and I would either be dead or worse. It's a little more complicated zan zat but zat is ze...ze...main thing." Gabrielle looked away and then back at Ginny. "Does 'e look un'appy to you? Do you feel we trapped 'im into loving us? Eet took time, but 'e does now love us. But to answer your original question, when 'e agreed to bond with us, 'Arry was giving us our lives, non…more zan our lives back. When we found zat 'ermione loved 'im and 'e loved 'er, we wanted 'arry to be 'appy. It was ze right thing to do and one my sister and I will never regret. 'Ermione is my bond sister now and a wonderful person."

"I'm sorry," Ginny said. "I...I spoke without thinking. I guess I'm jealous ...of you, of Fleur and Hermione."

A realization hit Gabrielle. "You lied didn't you? When you said zat thing about 'aving brothers and not wanting to share?"

Ginny blushed as she realized she had been found out. "Maybe or it was just me wanting to get the last word in about it," She sighed and tried to smile at her friend. "Yes, I lied. I wish...I wish that I could have Harry look at me as he looks at you or Hermione," She tried another attempt at a smile. "But I didn't lie when I said I prefer to be his friend or his sister rather than no one to him," Ginny looked down the tunnel and stared for a few seconds before returning to meet Gabrielle's gaze. "I will also admit that somewhere deep down inside, I always hoped maybe it wouldn't work out between you and Harry," At Gabrielle's slightly raised eyebrow Ginny quickly added. "I would never have done anything to stop it. I hope I proved that in the last few months. It's just you've been very honest with me, and I want to be the same with you," Ginny let out another sigh. "At least now I know it's time I moved on. Maybe find that someone special for myself."

"Zat Ravenclaw, Michael Corner keeps looking at you when we're eating in ze Great 'all." Gabrielle said with a smile. "I think 'e likes you."

"I thought he's been looking at you."

"Non, it's definitely been you 'e is looking at."

Ginny finally managed her smile. "Friends still?"

"Of course. 'Onesty should never hurt a friendship."

** June 1st 1995 **

The next morning, Harry approached Moody with a singular purpose. He wanted the map. They needed to find Rita Skeeter before an article could be written about Gabrielle and Veela in general. Harry had lain awake for hours the previous night thinking of what would happen if that story came out. He didn't want Gabrielle or Fleur to go through what they would face if it did.

"Sir," Started a very determined looking Harry Potter to the gnarled Defense Professor. "I need the map and I need it today."

"Is that so Potter?" Moody asked. His magical eye racing back and forth as his real eye stayed locked on Harry.

"Yes sir," Harry replied and continued on in a very determined but cool voice. "You heard of the attack on Gabrielle yesterday? Obviously the map was doing you no good in preventing it. I will protect her to the best of my ability and part of that ability is that map," Which was true since getting to Skeeter went a long way to protecting Gabrielle.

"Sounds to me like she didn't need any help," Moody replied, but as Harry's green eyes did what very few people could do and stayed locked on Moody's good eye he continued. "But I see you're determined in this," He reached into his pocket and pulled out the parchment in question. He stared at it a few seconds and then passed it over to Harry.

"Thank you sir. If you need to borrow it, let me know. I just need to make sure I protect Gabrielle."

Harry kept the smile off his face until he was well away from Moody, but after two staircases and three corners had passed, he smile and sent out a warm message to his bond mates. "I have it."

Harry was shocked when Hermione suggested that he skive off History of Magic so he could keep an eye on the Map. "We have to stop her Harry," She said. "I'll come up with something to tell Professor Binns and you'll look over my notes later."

"What if I just give it to Sirius or Remus to watch?"

"And how would they let us know in a timely manner if they see her?"

"Good point."

A short time later Harry was in Moaning Myrtle's bathroom keeping an eye on the map. It was only a short time later he had developed a headache as he continually tried to watch all the dots looking for the name Rita Skeeter.

"Harry, what are you doing?" the voice of Myrtle asked.

Harry looked at the silvery ghost who had approached quietly. Harry quickly tried to put the map away but Myrtle had already seen it. "Oh you have your father's map."

"You…you know about it?"

"I was dead long before your father went to school here Harry," Myrtle explained. "I used to watch him as his friends terrorized the castle. He wasn't very nice to me until his last year."

"What happened then?"

"Lily Evans dragged him and all of his friends in here and made them apologize to me."

Harry smiled at the thought of his mother doing that. Then he looked at the ghost. "Then you were here when Rita Skeeter went to school here."

Myrtle suddenly zoomed up and into a stall where Harry heard water splash. As short time later she reappeared. "I'm sorry Harry, but just hearing that...that…bad witch's name makes me mad. She was much worse than Olive Hornby. She'd make up rumors about people and then watched what happened."

"She's still doing exactly that, but now she's getting paid for it," Harry explained. He then nodded at his map. "I am keeping an eye out for her. We think she is sneaking into Hogwarts."

"Can I help?" Myrtle asked as she peered over Harry's shoulder. When her chin accidentally passed into his body he shuddered at the cold. "Sorry," She said in a contrite voice.

"That's fine Myrtle," Harry replied and he moved the map so she could see it as well. "I'm finding it very difficult and tedious trying to watch all the dots at once."

As Harry looked at the map he noticed Moody in his office. He found it strange that he never seemed to move. A short time later Fleur arrived and spelled Harry, but Myrtle's eyes never left the map. The surveillance continued with Hermione and Gabrielle each taking turns. When night came and it was close to curfew Harry was about to close the map when Myrtle made an offer.

"Leave it Harry, I'll keep watching. I don't need sleep and it's better than spending time in my toilet."

Harry thought about the last times he had given up the map, but Myrtle seemed to really want to help. He looked at Fleur who was there with him, but she just shrugged. "Okay, but please make sure it doesn't get wet. No tantrums during the night."

"I wouldn't do that Harry," The ghost replied solemnly, and then she zipped around the bathroom before coming to a rest next to the map she said "Thank you Harry."

** June 2nd 1995 **

The next morning Harry was having a wonderful dream when a sudden coldness ran through his entire body. It was like being hit with a bucket of cold water and he awoke instantly. Looking around wildly and about to yell out he found himself looking at Moaning Myrtle floating next to him. "Myrtle what are you doing here?" Harry whispered.

"She's here," Myrtle replied.

"Wh…" Harry started to whisper then remembered what Myrtle had been doing. "Rita?"

Myrtle's silvery head nodded.

"Thanks Myrtle," Harry said and then on impulse he put his lips on the ethereal spot that was her silvery cheek. The icy cold seared through his lips but he felt it was worth it as he watched her silver hand float up to her quickly darkening cheek as she blushed.

"It...It was nothing Harry."

Harry noticed only a faint light was coming through the windows suggesting it was still very early. "Good, she'll be easier to find with no one around," He thought. "Can you go back and keep an eye on her?" He whispered to the ghost. "We'll be there shortly."

Myrtle still had a blush on her cheek and it was a second before she answered. "Anything for you Harry," And she was gone.

Harry had never tried to wake up his bond mates over their bond but he gently started trying it with Hermione. When he finally succeeded at waking her up he found out she was not happy. But it only took two words to get her to calm down.

"She's here."

"Who...what..." But Hermione suddenly knew who Harry was talking about. "Skeeter?"

"Myrtle just woke me up. She said she saw Rita on the map."

Hermione was fully awake in an instant and before Harry had started trying to wake Fleur and Gabrielle, she already had her clothes on and was out of her dorm. She had a score to settle and she intended on settling it quickly. The other two witches took a little while longer to wake up but within twenty minutes all of them were in Myrtle's bathroom.

When Fleur and Gabrielle walked into the bathroom, Hermione and Harry were already looking at the map. Harry pointed to the dot clearly marked Rita Skeeter. It appeared she was in the hedges near the front door.

"We must 'ave walked right past 'er."

"You did, but we were afraid to say anything or you might have scared her away," Hermione said. "We thought she might try to follow you in."

"What are we going to do to catch 'er?"

"I have this ready," Hermione said holding up a jar. "It has an unbreakable charm on it so she can't get out. So all we have to do is sneak up on her and capture her."

"Even with the cloak we can't sneak up on her if she's in the hedges. There could be a lot of beetles in there." Harry commented.

"Zen we need to get 'er away from ze 'edges."

"Any ideas of how to do that?'

"She's 'ere to get information on me, so let's give some to 'er," Gabrielle suggested. She quickly explained her idea. Five minutes later Harry and Gabrielle walked out the front door arm in arm. Hermione came out at the same time under the invisibility cloak. Fleur stayed in the bathroom to coordinate with the map.

After clearing the door, Harry turned to Gabrielle, "Love, we have to tell someone."

"We can't 'Arry. What if my father finds out?" Gabrielle replied with the made up story. "E would be devastated to.."

"Shh...not here," Harry said as he looked around as if he was making sure no one was listening. "Let's go over there and talk about it," He nodded across the lawn to a small tree. He pulled Gabrielle's hand and started in that direction.

As expected, as soon as Harry and Gabrielle left, Hermione watched an overgrown beetle fly out of the hedges and follow them. Fleur confirmed the beetle was Rita, and when Harry and Gabrielle stopped next to a small tree, the beetle settled down on a branch very near them. The Daily Prophet reporter was too engrossed in the conversation between her subjects that she didn't notice the clear jar descending over her head until it was too late. Before she could react, a lid closed over the jar.

"Hello Rita," A muffled voice came through the glass. Rita instantly recognized it as Hermione Granger. "I'd not try anything. There is an unbreakable charm on this jar."

"She fell for it, did she?"

"Just like we knew she would."

"What should we do with her?" Harry asked.

"Stun her and put her in a spider's web?" Hermione suggested. "She is a beetle."

"Wonder if Trevor the toad likes beetles?" Harry asked.

"Good question. We can ask Neville at breakfast."

"Non, we are going to do much better zan zat," Fleur said. "We are going to make a deal with 'er."

"A WHAT?" Hermione's shout through the bond gave Harry a headache. "You want to deal with this…this.." Hermione was waving the jar around causing Rita to become ill.

"If she were to disappear, someone else would eventually write ze story," Fleur explained, "but if we can control what she writes in regards to 'Arry and us, it would be much better."

"I'd prefer keeping her in the jar for a couple of months," Hermione said. "Then deal with her."

"If we do zat she will lose 'er job and ze power we want to use," Fleur replied. "Zis is similar to politics 'Ermione, sometimes to further your own goals, you 'ave to do something you don't want to do."

"I don't want to do that," Harry said. "I just want a normal life and have her and everyone else leave me alone."

"Love," Fleur's thoughts were softer toward her bondmate. "I know zat is what you want, but 'as ignoring it made it go away? As much as you don't like it, you will always be 'Arry Potter. Unless you want others to always control what is said about you, you must stand up to ze public. Zis is a perfect opportunity. We not only can influence what is written about Gabrielle, but about you for years to come."

"I still hate the idea of working with Skeeter," Harry insisted. "After the story she wrote on Hermione and Hagrid this year and Remus last year, not to mention the one on me last week."

"As I said, sometimes you 'ave to do what you don't want to do," Fleur explained. "We can neutralize ze influence of ze galleons spent at ze Prophet by 'aving some kind of control over zeir most famous writer."

"Going to bed with the enemy?" Hermione replied.

"More like making 'er go to bed with someone else," Fleur replied. "She's going to 'ave to write some stories she really isn't going to like. We'll 'ave to give 'er something, maybe interviews with you 'arry and ze exclusive for us during the summer with ze agreement zat we approve what she writes."

Harry again admired his older bond mate's astuteness. "Hermione, as much as I hate this bug for the story she wrote about you and me, I have to agree with Fleur. Besides, I think one of the first articles she will need to write is an apology to you."

"Do you really think she'll do it?" Hermione asked. "Apologize, I mean."

"If she doesn't, there is always the jar for two months."

Hermione put the jar into her robe pocket and they started back to the castle.

"Chamber?" Gabrielle asked.

"No. I don't want her down there and if she turns back into a beetle and escapes there are way too many places to hide," Harry replied.

"Where?" Hermione asked. "Almost every room in the castle has a window or a crevice."

"I guess Myrtle's bathroom," Harry replied but then had another thought. "Maybe Dobby or Winky knows a better place."

"I don't think Winky has left the kitchens much, but Dobby might."

"You go ahead so she doesn't hear what I say to Dobby."

When Hermione was safely out of range, Harry called "Dobby."

"What can Dobby do for Harry Potter sir?" The elf replied as he popped into sight next to Harry.

"Good morning Dobby. I wanted to know if you know of a room in the castle where not even a bug could hide or fly away. It would also have to be a place no one would interrupt."

Dobby's ears started waggling in happiness as he clapped his hands together. "Dobby knows the perfect place, sir!" he said cheerfully. "Dobby heard tell of it from the other house‐elves when he came to Hogwarts, sir. It is known by us as the Come and Go Room, sir, or else as the Room of Requirement!"

"Why?" asked Harry curiously.

"Because it is a room that a person can only enter," said Dobby seriously, "when they have real need of it. Sometimes it is there, and sometimes it is not, but when it appears, it is always equipped for the seeker's needs. Dobby has used it, sir," said the elf, dropping his voice and looking guilty, "when Winky has been very drunk; he has hidden her in the Room of Requirement and he has found antidotes to Butterbeer there, and a nice elf‐sized bed to settle her on while she sleeps it off, sir… and Dobby knows Mr Filch has found extra cleaning materials there when he has run short, sir, and ‐"

"And if you really needed a bathroom," said Harry, suddenly remembering something Dumbledore had said at the Yule Ball, "would it fill itself with chamber pots?"

"Dobby expects so sir," said Dobby, nodding earnestly. "It is a most amazing room, sir."

"Sounds like exactly what we need. Can you show it to me?" Harry asked.

"Dobby can do that sir. We's need to go to the seventh floor wheres the tapestry that has the trolls being taught ballet."

A few minutes later Harry was pacing in front of the wall opposite from the tapestry thinking hard. "I need a place where we can talk to Skeeter and she can't get away," He turned and paced back the other way continuing his request. "A place where a beetle can't escape," As he finished the third walk past the wall a door appeared. Harry looked at it questioning and then over at Dobby who was standing nervously in front of the tapestry. Harry turned back to the door and pulled it open and walked inside. He found himself in a small room that was completely white. There wasn't a nook or crevice to be found. There were even five chairs that seemed to be made in one piece and attached to the floor.

"Come up here and bring the jar. This room is amazing," Harry called to his bond mates. He had already told them what Dobby had said the room would do, but told them to wait until he checked it out before dragging Skeeter through the castle. He turned to Dobby. "Thank you Dobby. If there is anything I can do for you, let me know."

Dobby looked at the floor and then back at Harry. "Harry Potter sir, I was talking to Winky and she says that your bondmate is going to find her a family with a wizard and three witches and children." He looked down again." Dobby didn't tell your secrets but is it Harry Potter's family that she is asking Winky to bond with?"

"Yes Dobby. Hermione is sad to see Winky so miserable and she and Gabrielle are offering to bond with her if she can become sober."

"Winky is doing much better, Harry Potter sir. Winky's eating regularly now and is weaning off the butterbeer slowly," Dobby said. "Winky keeps saying she is going to be able to take care of children."

"I'm only fourteen and I've got three witches and a house-elf already counting my future children,' Harry muttered as he ran his hand through his hair. "I'm glad Winky is doing better Dobby."

"Harry Potter just asked if there was anything he could do for Dobby?" Dobby asked looking nervously at the floor.

"Anything Dobby. You've been a very good friend. You saved me with the Gillyweed and from Malfoy."

"Dobby wanted to ask if…if Harry Potter would consider asking Dobby to be Harry Potter's family elf as well."

That was the last thing Harry expected to hear Dobby ask for. "But Dobby I thought you...you liked being free."

"Dobby does sir…Dobby does indeed, but Dobby would prefer to being Harry Potter's elf than being free," Dobby replied as he continued to look nervous. "Dobby thinks he would like children too, though Dobby can't say he enjoyed young Mr. Malfoy."

"I can imagine," Harry replied thinking what a brat Draco probably had been. "I'll need to discuss it with my bond mates since it will affect them as well, but I will not object with you becoming a member of my family."

"Thank you Harry Potter sir, Thank you."

"You're welcome Dobby, but now I need you to leave so Rita Skeeter doesn't see you."

A couple of minutes later the three bondmates made it to the room. They were amazed at what the room had created. It was perfect for what they wanted to do. The jar was uncovered and placed on one of the chairs and everyone had their wands out. A spell from Hermione undid the lid and the large beetle flew out and started zooming around the room looking for a place to escape or hide.

"Rita, there is no escape from this room," Harry said to the buzzing insect. It was another minute of zooming around before the beetle finally agreed. It finally came to rest and morphed into the heavy jawed woman Harry remembered from the weighing of the wands.

"HOW DARE YOU?" Rita screamed at them. "HOW DARE YOU KIDNAP ME?"

A cold look descended in Harry's eyes as he faced the woman who had caused Hermione pain and was here just to cause trouble for Gabrielle and possible Fleur. "Maybe because I'm disturbed and dangerous?" He replied in a cold voice. "Isn't that what you wrote?" Harry eyes focused even more on the woman in front of them. "And to make sure I don't have a NEED to plea for attention, I better do this. Expeliarmus!" and Rita's wand flew out of her Magenta colored robes.

Rita backed away from Harry with a look of pure terror in her eyes. She kept backing until she found herself with her back to a wall.

Harry looked over at Hermione and with a gesture, she picked up the conversation. "I wanted to feed you to a spider or a toad," Hermione said and smiled at the additional look of panic crossing the reporters face. "We know why you are here today. You were going to get quotes to make an article that puts Gabrielle Delacour and possibly Veela in general in a bad light after the supposed attack on Draco Malfoy."

Rita was first surprised that they knew the exact reason she was here, and then was scared of what that meant. Though she realized that if they really wanted her dead, she would probably have already been fed to the toad. "I have it on very good authority that the 'Veela' did attack young Malfoy causing him a great deal of harm and only the quick actions of his friends saved his life."

Harry couldn't help but laugh. "I witnessed the confrontation and either you know the truth and are ignoring it for a bigger story or you believe the lies you've been told. The only injury Malfoy suffered was to his pride when he pissed in his pants and the only quick action his friends took was running away and leaving him lying on the ground where he was frozen with fear," Harry's green eyes were now very dark. "Tell me Rita, were you told that Malfoy was trying to grope Gabrielle and possibly more?"

The look on Rita's face told them she couldn't care less for the truth.

"Someone might 'ave tried to rape my sister and you want to write an article making 'er look bad?" Fleur spat.

"Sister?" Rita's eyes immediately found the other young lady in the room. "So you're the creature that attacked Mr. Malfoy's son."

Harry's wand was under her chin in less than a second. "If you EVER call her that again, I will not be responsible for what I do. Remember I am disturbed!" The wand poked her a little harder. "I agree with Hermione, we should have fed her to a spider."

"Non," Fleur replied. "She is not going to write zat article and she is going to work with us."

"Really my dear and why would I do that?"

"Besides you being an illegal animagus?" Fleur asked.

"That's nothing. I'd have to pay a fine if that. I have friends in many places in the Ministry."

"But it would be more zan zat wouldn't it? Trespassing, stealing of secrets by illegal means?" Fleur continued. "Besides once your animagus form is revealed, you'll never be able to enter a premise undetected again. In fact I would imagine zere would be a wide use of insect killing spells used to insure privacy in ze future by people who want zeir secrets kept. If you're not killed, your value as a reporter would be next to nothing."

Rita paled. She started to realize that she was in a corner and someone else held the flyswatter. "You…you mentioned working with you," Rita asked as she swallowed hard.

"We want to make you a deal," Fleur said. "You get to keep your job, your secret and your life and all you 'ave to do is write a few articles ze way we want zem written and not write anything about us or our friends without our approval."

"You're asking for a lot," Skeeter said. "If I lose my reputation, it would be just as bad for me."

"You can write anything you want about ze Ministry or ze Wizengamot," Fleur replied. She looked at Harry and made a quick query. She then turned back to Rita. "After you 'ave proven you are keeping up with your end of the bargain, we are prepared to let you interview 'Arry so you can write a real article and not ze stuff that comes out of zat quill of yours and…" Fleur allowed the last couple of things dangle for a few seconds, "We might be able to arrange for you to have an exclusive interview with Sirius Black in ze future."

"And how would you do that. The man is trying to kill Mr. Potter."

"Non, 'e isn't. We know ze truth and if you want it, deal with us," Fleur's eyes brightened. "'Ow would it look if Rita Skeeter wrote a story zat would cause ripples in the entire justice system of zis country."

"You'd be surprised about other information you might be able to get from us," Harry added. "I'll even give you a freebie. Did you know Ludo Bagman was running a betting pool at the World Cup and paid winners with Leprechaun gold?"

Rita's eyes flashed as she immediately recognized a possible story of a senior ministry official cheating people. She also realized that if they were telling the truth about Sirius Black, she could wring several front page stories out of that alone. She looked at the four young people in front of her and considered her options. She couldn't charge them with blackmail without having what they were blackmailing her over get out. The stories they were offering to start with were better than the story she was here to write about, especially the one about Sirius Black.

"Looks like I don't have a choice," Skeeter replied. "What do you want me to write?"

"All we ask is that you write the truth," Harry replied. "Starting with what happened between Malfoy and Gabrielle and then you can work on an apology to Hermione, one for Hagrid and recanting your article about me would be nice as well."

"Do all that and still keep my reputation?" Rita scoffed. "And do you have a way for me to do that?"

"Actually I do. Each of those articles has something in common. Someone you quoted."

"Young Malfoy?"

"Exactly," Fleur said. "Tear 'im down as a witness and zen admit you 'ave to question your earlier columns because of it. It will take time and we know zat, but you can start with zis article on Gabrielle and Veela. We'll tell you ze truth and zen you go question Draco."

"Lucius Malfoy isn't a man to cross."

"I've faced down Mr. Malfoy before when I was only twelve," Harry said coolly. "Ask him someday where his house-elf is," That gave Harry an idea. "I know his former house-elf and he might be able to provide you with information that would keep Mr. Malfoy from retaliating against you."

"If you can do that, we have a deal," Rita Skeeter replied quickly. The possibility of getting Lucius Malfoy's secrets was too tempting of an offer.

"Zen I want to clarify exactly what we are agreeing to," Fleur said. "We promise not to tell anyone zat you're an animagus and we will 'ave Mr. Malfoy's former 'ouse-elf speak with you. We also will give you an interview with 'Arry and give you a story on Sirius Black with ze possibility of an interview with 'im. You will write ze truth of ze attack on my sister and start working toward apologies to 'ermione, 'arry and ze others. In ze future you will only print ze truth about any of us, including our friends and family."

"What if the truth doesn't reflect well for you or your families?"

"We would prefer if you ask us first to clarify, but if it is a verified truth and not taken out of context, we won't stop you from printing it," Hermione replied.

"And how do we confirm this deal? Do we take an Oath?" Rita asked.

"We both know zat magical oaths are both dangerous and can be ineffectual depending on ze interpretation of ze oath. We each 'ave something ze other wants, so we can leave it at zat."

"I think I can agree to that," Rita agreed and had to admire the young French witch. Rita reached into her handbag and pulled out a roll of parchment and a quill. Harry noticed it was not her Quick-Quotes one. She looked at Gabrielle. "Now young lady, tell me what happened…"

An hour and a half later, with breakfast entirely missed, Rita had her story including the fact it is impossible for a part Veela to transform unless very angry or scared, neither of which would have happened if she had been the one to initiate the attack. Harry promised to have Dobby meet with her at the same tree they had captured her earlier and because they didn't want her to know where they were, they returned her wand and requested she turn back into a beetle. She was put back in the jar and covered and a short time later she was flying away in search of Draco Malfoy to listen to what he would tell her.

Later that evening Rita was sitting at her desk. She thought about the four youngsters that had captured her. She considered the deal they had agreed upon and Rita knew that it was generous indeed. She looked over at the rolls of parchment of the notes she had taken from her conversation with the crazy house-elf. It definitely was enough to protect her from Lucius Malfoy. She looked back at her parchment in preparation to write her article. "If I'm going to do it, I'm going to do it well," She thought.

** June 3rd 1995 **

The next morning Harry and his bondmates were all at the table eagerly waiting for the newspaper. They were still worried that Skeeter might decide to renege on their deal. As they ate their breakfast, Malfoy and his two bodyguards strolled over shortly after he arrived in the hall. Harry and his bond mates all pulled out their wands.

"Well Potter you might want to say good bye to your…uh.." A sneer broke across his face, "girlfriend. I'm sure once word gets out about her attack on me, she'll be forced to leave the country. We don't like things like that around here."

"We both know who attacked who Ferret. Tell me, did you get the urine stains out of your robes, or did you have to buy new ones?" Harry asked and could feel the anger Malfoy had for him. At that moment owls came pouring into the Great Hall and another sneer broke out over Draco's face.

"Enjoy the news Potter. I know I will," He laughed as he turned and walked back to the Slytherin table.

The Prophet delivery owl landed in front of Harry and he quickly took his copy of the Daily Prophet. Similar owls were giving copies to Hermione and the Delacours. Nervously he unfurled the paper and breathed a sigh of relief when he read headline.

Beauxbatons Student attacked at Hogwarts

By Rita Skeeter

It was brought to this reporter's attention that an attack had happened at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the afternoon of May thirty-first. As I set off to investigate the event, I was under the impression it had been a Beauxbatons student who had attacked a Hogwarts student. I am saddened to say I was mistaken. Based on my full investigation of the accounts of that day, it is my belief, and based on the punishment meted out to the Hogwarts student in question, the belief of the Headmaster, Albus Dumbledore that it was in fact Draco Malfoy, only son of Lucius Malfoy, who instigated the attack upon Gabrielle Delacour. Miss Delacour is a student of Beauxbatons, daughter of Alain Delacour the Deputy Minister of Magic of France, sister of the Beauxbatons Triwizard Champion Fleur Delacour and last but not least, the love interest of our own Harry Potter.

In my interview with young Draco Malfoy, his renditions of the events were implausible at best and closer to impossible to have occurred. He asserted that while he and his friends, Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle, were taking a stroll near the greenhouses, Miss Delacour, who is quarter Veela, transformed and attacked them without cause. I found the explanation wanting. Though he claimed that he suffered serious injuries including being hit by Veela flame, there was no record of him reporting to the school nurse. Also my own investigation indicates a less than full Veela cannot shift without feelings of intense anger or fear, neither of which would have happened if the events happened as described. I spoke to the young French student and found her version of the events more likely. She told me she was attempting to attend an afternoon Herbology class when young Malfoy and his two friends confronted her in an isolated area. After making disparaging remarks about her, Draco Malfoy attempted to at least grasp the young witch in a sexual manner and possibly was attempting a full sexual assault.

It is this reporter's opinion that the attack was by Mr. Malfoy upon Miss Delacour and only the fear she felt of being alone and under attack by three older students caused her to protect herself the only way she could. Even then she did not attack. An eyewitness to the events confirmed this. The eyewitness who doesn't wish to be identified had this to say. "Draco only fell down in fear as he urinated on himself while his friends were running away as fast as they could."

Though the punishment given to young Malfoy was a start, I call upon the Headmaster of Hogwarts to take steps to ensure the protection of those who are visitors to our country and I call upon the Ministry to consider if actual charges should be filed.

Finally to my loyal readers; as I was writing this article about Draco Malfoy, I realized he had provided me with several quotes in previous articles. In light of his current reprehensible actions I feel I must return to those columns in the near future and determine his credibility in those as well.

"Wow," Harry said. "She can write a good story. I didn't think she had it in her," He first glanced at Hermione who was scrutinizing every word of the article. He then looked over at Fleur and could feel her relief. If Rita hadn't kept her end of the deal, Harry knew Fleur would have felt guilty.

He glanced up at the head table next and noticed a certain pair of twinkling eyes looking in his direction. A slight nod followed. Harry gazed shifted over to the Slytherin table where voices could be heard from across the Great Hall. For an instant Draco's eyes looked up and met his and a look of pure hatred poured out of them. Harry half expected him to pull out his wand and try to hex him from across the Hall. As Harry continued to glance around the Great Hall, he could see more and more people glaring at Malfoy. It wasn't long before the blond Slytherin stormed out of the Hall.

"Probably going to write his father," Harry thought as his eyes followed the git.

The article in the Daily Prophet did something extremely rare. It surprised Albus Dumbledore. After he finished reading it, he looked over at the Gryffindor Table and noticed Harry and his bonded reading the article with not a bit of surprise. Their body language indicated they had expected it. Albus knew somehow they were responsible for the content but had no idea how they made it happen. When Harry's gaze met his own, he gave the young man the slightest of nods. He then turned his attention to the Slytherin table and could see the commotion going on there. Dumbledore could imagine what was being said. He also knew he would have to once again rein in Severus. He looked over at the Potions Master who was also glaring at the Gryffindor table.

Lucius Malfoy was seething. The Daily Prophet was laid out in front of him. When he first read the article, he immediately started making plans to deal with Rita Skeeter but an owl that had appeared shortly afterwards stopped those plans. The letter was from Skeeter and it contained various secrets of his that she threatened to make public if anything were to happen to her. She had names, places and very accurate description of events, as well as who and how much he'd paid to various people.

"Damn that woman," Lucius thought as he paced the floor. He thought about having Skeeter killed but she'd let him know that if she ended up dead, her notes would find their way into various people's hands, many of them who held grudges against Malfoy. Several times over the next hour that he paced his study he cursed Skeeter's name but in the end, he knew she had the upper hand at the moment. Lucius did not know how Skeeter knew what she knew, but he could not allow the information to be made public. He composed a letter to his son ordering him to keep his head down for the rest of the school year and to stay away from Potter and his friends.

The previous day, Sirius had been more than a little angered about the possible interview with Skeeter, but when he saw the article she had written about the attack he changed his mind. He hadn't believed Rita would live up to her end of the bargain, but the proof was there in front of him. He also decided with the Aurors still investigating Crouch's disappearance and now possibly Malfoy, it would be best if he remained in the Chamber for the near future. He was enjoying the time he got to spend with Lupin and his godson while not having to worry about Dementors and the Ministry.

Owl delivery for the next week brought numerous letters for Gabrielle. Though there were a few that were from people obviously against Veela, the majority were supportive of her.

The bonded were surprised but relieved when no further actions came from Malfoy. He avoided them as much as possible, but each time he did look at them there was pure hatred in his eyes.

With the major hurdle of Skeeter resolved, they finally turned their full attention to preparing for the third task. One afternoon as Fleur and Harry were going over a healing charm Fleur knew, Hermione was studying the map when she said. "That's odd."

"What is?" Remus asked.

"Well Gabrielle and Ginny are in Defense right now, which means Moody should be in the class. See there's Gabrielle," She pointed at the dot sitting next to Ginny Weasley. "But according to the map Moody is in his office. He's been in that same spot every time I've looked at the map."

"Hmmm, let me see the map," Remus took the parchment and started casting a few spells on it. Finally he looked up. "It's got some kind of Confundus Charm on it," He handed it back to Hermione. "Moody probably didn't like the idea of someone spying on him and made the map only see him in his office. When I get a chance, I'll see if I can break his charm."

Hermione turned back to the map and was about to put it away, when she realized something. "Harry, Fleur come look at this," When they joined her at the table, she pointed to a spot on the map. "The map shows the Quidditch field," She waited and Fleur got it right away.

"Zen we can use it for ze third task."

"How? It doesn't show the maze," Harry asked.

"No but presuming the cup is going to be in the center of the maze, I can tell you two which direction you need to be going."

"But that would be cheating," Harry exclaimed.

"Non, it wouldn't. An advantage yes, but not cheating," Fleur replied. "For ze first task you used your broom which is a magical device and you used Gillyweed in the second task."

"But I didn't make the map," Harry argued.

"No but you didn't make your broom either," Hermione replied.

"What about Hermione helping us."

"Myrtle helped us in ze lake, did it feel like cheating?" Fleur replied.

"This is different. Myrtle is a friend..."

"And 'ermione is your bondmate. Do you think she is going to not be concerned about you? Worry about you? She still isn't going to be able to tell you about monsters or even if it's a dead end. She's only going to be able to tell you in what general direction you need to go."

Harry looked between Fleur and Hermione and realized he wasn't going to win the argument. "Okay, fine," He finally agreed.

As the number of days until the final task shrunk, Harry's confidence of being able to do the task rose. The work he and Fleur had put in together learning various spells was paying off. Hermione was busy helping them and preparing for her own end of year exams. Fleur was studying more as well. She'd be taking the French equivalent of the NEWTs shortly after the school year was over.

** June 17th 1995 **

A week before the third task Harry and his bond mates found another interesting article by Rita Skeeter in the Daily Prophet. Under two large pictures of Ludo Bagman, one of him in his playing days and one as he appears now was this article.

Senior Ministry Official Implicated in Gambling Scandal

By Rita Skeeter

Working from a tip from a reliable source, I have uncovered a scandal that will rock the Wizarding World. Our own popular Ludo Bagman, former beater for the Wimbourne Wasps and current Head of Magical Games and Sports cheated many people from their gambling winnings at the World Cup. Mr. Bagman himself, in a serious conflict of interest due to his Ministry position, ran a gambling pool at the World Cup and then he paid the winners in Leprechaun Gold which as my readers know, disappears after a few hours. The very integrity of the Ministry is now in question to the entire world. In my investigation I have discovered that Mr. Bagman has in fact tallied a substantial gambling debt to the Goblins.

I call upon the Minister of Magic and the Department of Magical Law Enforcement to conduct a thorough investigation into this matter. Mr. Bagman should be immediately removed from his position until the investigation is completed. I call upon my readers to show their support of this investigation by owling the Minister and the head of Magical Law enforcement Amelia Bones. Finally the Daily Prophet is very interested in speaking to those people who were defrauded by Mr. Bagman. We understand the embarrassment such a situation might cause, so in return for your story to be quoted only as a defrauded individual and a magical binding statement, we offer to provide those individuals with the services of the Daily Prophet's solicitor to file a complaint against Mr. Bagman in hopes of recovering your winnings.

Story continued on page 3
Speculations on how much Bagman owes the Goblins page 4
Was the World Cup fixed? page 6

Harry looked down the table to where the Twins were reading the Prophet. Their eyes turned to his and a smile broke out on their faces. Harry saw them get up quickly and he knew they were headed for the Owlry to send a note to the Prophet. Harry quickly left his own seat and quickly caught up with them.

"If you address it to Rita directly and tell her I said to mention you're my friends, I think you'll find it will get a quicker response," Harry said to them.

Fred and George looked at each other and then at Harry. "You did this?" they asked simultaneously.

"I didn't mention your names of course, but gave her a tip to explore," Harry said. "I found that I have a little influence with her at the moment."

"Influence Rita Skeeter?" Fred replied.

"That's almost as impressive as your other news," George chimed in.

"We appreciate you doing this Harry."

"I needed to give a story to her, and that was one I could let her run with," Harry said. "I hope you can collect your winnings now."

"We have a better shot now," George said.

"Though we still expect that announcement around your birthday."

"We'll see," Harry replied.

** June 19th 1995 **

Two days later the Prophet had another picture of Ludo Bagman. This time it was of him leaving his office with his head down. The Headline blared.

Ludo Bagman dismissed from the Ministry

by Rita Skeeter

In a not so surprising move after my earlier explosive story, the Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge, announced that Ludo Bagman was dismissed from his position as Head of Magical Games and Sports. Fudge, who's office was inundated by owls from my readers concerned about Bagman's conduct, was quoted as saying. "I had no choice. Though Mr. Bagman was a popular player, his actions brought the integrity of the entire Ministry into question." Fudge was also quick to assure magical sports fan that he'd be naming Bagman's replacement very shortly.

According to the Minister there will be no disruption of any ongoing events involving the department though. The National Quidditch League will continue as scheduled as well as the third task of the Triwizard Tournament to be held next week. It was determine that due to the nature of the third task no replacement judge would be required.

Story continued on page 2.
Will Amos Diggory be the next Head of Magical Games and Sports? Page 3
Ministry to reopen the disappearance of Bertha Jorkins. Page 5

** June 24th 1995 **

The morning of the third task finally arrived. Though confident, Harry and Fleur both felt nervous. As they finished their breakfast, Harry and Hermione were about to go to History of Magic when Professor McGonagall appeared.

"Potter, Miss Delacour, the Champions will be congregating in the chamber off the Hall after breakfast," she said.

"But the task's not until tonight!" said Harry.

"I'm aware of that Potter," she replied with a stern look. "The champions' families are invited to watch the final task, you know. This is simply a chance for you to greet them."

"But I don't have a family to come see me," Harry said to no one as his head of house walked away.

"Yes you do, you'll come see my family which is yours as well now," Fleur thought. "Papa and Maman can't wait to see you again."

Harry smiled at her, then said goodbye to Hermione as she left to get to Professor Binns class and then a small kiss for Gabrielle as she left for Potions. A class she had grown to abhor as much as Harry did. She was at least fortunate enough not to have it with Slytherins.

As soon as they finished their breakfast, Fleur and Harry got up from the table and started toward the room. Harry looked over at his bond mate and wanted nothing more than to hold her hand. She was his family and he couldn't wait for the day the world found out. Picking up his thoughts Fleur smiled at him. "I love you 'Arry."

"I love you my flower. Let's go see our family."

An even larger smile appeared on Fleur's face and they entered the room. They found the Delacours almost immediately and were almost to them when Harry heard. "Harry, Harry. Over here."

Harry looked around to see who was calling out to him and found himself looking at Bill and Molly Weasley. Fleur also turned and looked at who was calling his bond mate's name. She was about to ask Harry who they were when she saw Bill. "E's 'andsome," Harry heard her thoughts through the bond.

"Handsome?" Harry asked.

"Yes 'Arry I find 'im 'andsome, just as you still find Cho Chang attractive."

"But she isn't anywhere close to you, Gabrielle or Hermione."

"As zat man is nowhere near you love. I can't 'elp being attracted, but 'e could never 'ave my 'eart. Zat belongs to you."

Harry wanted nothing more than to put his arms around her and hold her. To yell out to the room that he was in love with this woman beside him.

"I think you want 'im to be jealous of you," Fleur said.

"Maybe a little," Harry admitted. "I always thought Bill was the coolest person in the world. He's a curse breaker for Gringotts. Want me to introduce you?"

"Is 'e a friend of yours?"

"He's Ginny's and the twins' brother."

"Maybe later zen."

Harry gave a little nod to the Delacours and made his way to the Weasleys.

"Surprise," Mrs. Weasley said excitedly as he drew near. "Thought we'd come and watch you Harry!" She bent down to kiss him on the cheek, which he deftly sidestepped.

"Mrs. Weasley, why are you here?" Harry asked.

"As I said, we came to watch. You need your family here and you know I think of you as a son."

"Yet you still refuse to apologize for insulting a young lady I'm in love with, her sister and my best friend," Harry asked.

"Oh don't be silly Harry," Mrs. Weasley replied as she tried to reach over and straighten Harry's cloak. Again Harry sidestepped the attempt.

"Mrs. Weasley, I appreciate you taking time to come see me compete, but until you can offer a proper apology to Gabrielle, I have nothing further to say to you. She's part of my life and if you can't apologize and accept her…" Harry left the thought hanging and then continued after a few seconds. "As I told Ron, if you force me to choose between Gabrielle and you, you will not like the answer," He turned to Bill who was standing there with his mouth agape at the exchange. "Bill, I'm not sure if you know, but your mother insulted my girlfriend who happens to be part Veela. She sent a Howler that was heard in the Great Hall."

"Harry Potter," Mrs. Weasley exclaimed. "How dare you talk to me like that? When you come to the Burrow this summer we need to have a serious talk about your attitude young man."

"Mrs. Weasley, I will not be coming to the Burrow this summer. Do you see that family?" Harry nodded toward the Delacours. "That is my girlfriend's family. They have invited Hermione and me to stay with them for the summer," He turned to rejoin the Delacours but then turned back. "I meant what I said in my letter at Easter Mrs. Weasley. I have been very thankful for what you and your family have done for me in the last three years, but I cannot and will not accept your attitude toward Gabrielle."

"HARRY!" Mrs. Weasley spoke in a voice that had everyone in the room looking at them. Bill finally stepped in and stopped his mother.

"Mum, no," He said. Bill then turned to Harry and taking him by the shoulder he led him away from his mother. "Harry, what's going on?"

"Bill what have you heard about this year?"

"Bits here and there. What's been written in the Prophet. Charlie said you were magnificent against the dragon. He wanted to come for this event, but couldn't get time off."

"In the second task, I rescued Fleur and Gabrielle. I ended up magically exhausted, but got to spend time with Gabrielle. Afterwards we started seeing each other," Harry was picking and choosing his words to be truthful but not tell the whole story. "Ron seemed to have a similar opinion of Veela as your mother does, and he sent a note to her. I ended up with a Howler in the middle of the Great Hall calling my girlfriend a Veela Hussy. Your mother also sent a letter blaming Hermione for causing me to have Gabrielle as a love interest."

Bill sighed. "As much as I would love to not believe it Harry, I can imagine it's true. If it does any good I'm sorry it happened."

"Your mother and father have treated me well in the last few years and I appreciate all they have done. But I can't let this go Bill. All she needs to do is apologize and accept Gabrielle and Fleur since she is someone special to me also."

Bill looked over at the Delacours then back to Harry. "I understand Harry. I'll talk with dad and let him know what's going on, though I'm sure he'll hear about it from mum tonight," He smiled and nodded over at Fleur. "The lady over there is Fleur right?"

Harry glanced over at his bond mate. "Yes."

"She's very attractive. Is she staring at you or me?"

"Are you staring at us love?"

"Of course. I can feel your anger."

"Bill thinks you're attractive."

"Most men do 'Arry, but zere is only one person who I care 'ow zey think of me."

"You know I think you are beautiful and not just your body."

"Yes but you still think about my black knickers a lot. You know I 'ave zem on right now."

Bill had glanced over at Fleur again and missed the expression that came over Harry's face. He looked back at Harry finally and asked "Do you know if Fleur is seeing anyone?"

Harry really wanted to roll his eyes. He could hear Fleur's mental laugh. "Krum and Hermione, and now Bill wanting to know about you. Why is everyone asking me about my bondmates?"

"Maybe because you are one lucky man?" Fleur asked innocently.

"Yes I definitely am," Harry replied as he looked back at Bill. "Uh...yeah she is. She'll be announcing something over the summer."

Bill grinned at Harry, "It was worth the question. Well whoever it is, he's one lucky guy."

"Very lucky," Harry agreed. "I can introduce you to her if you'd like."

"That's alright Harry. You go spend time with them and I'll walk around with Mum, maybe see Ginny and my brothers."

"Thanks Bill," Harry replied and the two of them shook hands. Harry watched as Bill escorted a red-faced Molly Weasley out of the room before he joined the Delacours.

Fleur could feel Harry's anger, his frustration and his sadness. She wanted to reach out to him and hold him but couldn't so she did what she could. She sent her love. As he felt it over the bond, his eyes met hers and the sadness diminished.

"Thank you. I love you," Harry said and then turned to her parents. "Good morning Sir, Ma'am."

Mrs. Delacour gave Harry a hug. "Eet's good to see you again 'Arry. 'Ow are you doing?"

Harry eyes flickered to Fleur and he smiled. "I've never been better."

Alain Delacour looked around the room, and then back at 'Arry. "Maybe we should take a walk, so we can talk a little more privately."

A/N: They have Rita on their side (sort of). I never liked the way JKR had Hermione deal with Skeeter and think this is much better. Hermione waited a whole year to utilize her power, and by then Rita had lost most of her influence. They have the map, but Crouch has it confunded to not show him. Bill and Fleur still had the gaze across the room.

 
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