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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40. Chapter 40

** July 13 continued **

"Thank you for coming Albus." Amelia Bones said to the Hogwarts Headmaster who sat in a chair in front of her desk. She hadn't been surprised when he'd transfigured it into a more comfortable armchair before sitting down. "I know it's late but I wanted to discuss a few things."

"My pleasure as always Amelia," Replied Dumbledore. "What can I do for you?"

"First thing is Mr. Potter. Is he in France?" Amelia Bones asked.

"Yes, Alain sent word of their safe arrival a couple of hours ago," Dumbledore replied. "It seems they spent some time in Paris before continuing on to their home."

"Why?" Amelia asked. "Shouldn't they have gone directly to the Delacour's home?"

"I would have preferred that, but Alain assured me the teens were under surveillance from the French Aurors the entire time. Remember his daughters are in peril as well so I trust he was as concerned. As to why, it seems they had to do some shopping for engagement rings," Albus explained. "I understand that Mr. Potter is officially engaged."

"So soon? I mean I know about the bonding, but are they really thinking about marriage at their age?"

"I do not know. I have not been privy to that information," Dumbledore admitted with a shrug.

"Well it shall be interesting when news of the bonding comes out," Amelia commented.

"Yes, If I understand correctly they will make the bonding public in a couple of weeks."

"At least he seems to have the Prophet and especially Rita Skeeter on his side, though I have no idea how he accomplished that."

"From his willingness to give interviews to her, it seems they have come to some understanding," Dumbledore opined. "I do believe it was he or one of his girlfriends who gave Rita the idea of writing that article about Voldemort's first victim; Myrtle Henderson who is a ghost at the school."

"It was a very touching story," Amelia agreed. "Especially how she tied it back to Mr. Potter and his battling a Basilisk to avenge her death as well as save his friend. That does bring up another thing I wanted to discuss. Why was the Basilisk never reported to the Ministry? According to records, you only acknowledge it as ancient magic that caused the petrification two years ago."

"I did not want to instill panic with the parents and also it would have brought people wishing to see the Chamber to the school," Dumbledore explained. "There is only one person who can open the Chamber and that is Mr. Potter since it requires being a Parselmouth. Would you have required him to return to the chamber just to satisfy the Ministry's curiosity?"

"I see your point," Amelia replied. "What about now the story has broken, are people wanting to see it?"

"Of course, but again only Mr. Potter can open the Chamber so it isn't something I can accommodate," Dumbledore replied.

"When is he returning then?" Bones asked. "Are they going to wait until September first, or will they be back sooner?"

"I do not know Amelia," Albus replied truthfully. "It is possible that they won't return at all."

That answer took the head of the Magical Law Enforcement by surprise. "Why would you say that? Aren't they coming back to school?"

Dumbledore thought of the discord that had sprouted between him and the teens. Though he felt they had settled most of them, he still thought of the mistakes he had made when it came to the young man. "France and the Delacours have much to offer. Beauxbatons is definitely a possibility," Dumbledore said after he finally suppressed the regrets. "After what has transpired they surely must be thinking of it."

"We'll provide as much protection as possible, if that's his concern," Bones stated.

"I truly don't think he will be concerned for himself, though for his girlfriends it might be a different matter," Dumbledore answered. "No, I do not think that will be the deciding factor in this case, it is more likely some injustices he is thinking of. You have to admit, the young man has suffered much. The Minister ignored him last year about Sirius and again after the tournament. The matter with Umbridge didn't help either."

"I know, but the Minister is bending over backward to appease Mr. Potter now. He knows where public opinion lies at the moment. If Mr. Potter wanted him to stand on his head in the fountain in the lobby he'd probably do it. He's even planning on honoring him with the Order of Merlin second class when he returns."

"I would advise Cornelius to include Fleur Delacour in that award if he really wants Harry to accept it. She risked her life to free him. In my opinion if she is snubbed, he'll refuse it. It would be better to not offer it at all if she isn't included."

Amelia thought on that for a few seconds. "You obviously know him better than I do, so I'll pass that on."

"If I may make another suggestion, if Cornelius were to make the award known earlier than the bonding is announced, we might get a more favorable response to the bonding itself. The two heroes along with the two other people in the group bonding would play better with the populace than just Mr. Potter bonding to two Veelas and a muggleborn witch."

"I'll suggest that to Fudge as well," Amelia made a quick note on a parchment. "Do you think Potter would return for the presentation? And do you think it would influence him in returning to Hogwarts?"

"I do not know if he'll return for any ceremony, though I think an appeal to Minister Delacour might help. He'd understand the importance of the matter. As for influencing their returning to Hogwarts, I think before you and Cornelius become too concerned about Mr. Potter not returning, I should point out that a couple of things have occurred that suggest to me they will be back. I have also made them an offer that I think will be too tempting for them to pass on especially now that they are officially engaged," When he saw Amelia waiting expectantly he explained. "Miss Granger received a very valuable book and desired it to be cared for by the Hogwarts' Librarian. That suggests she still feels a connection to the school. Also Harry has contacted us about taking Ancient Runes next year. Again it might be more of what if, but it does show that they are giving serious consideration to returning."

"Those are promising signs," Bones said as a sigh escaped her lips. "I feel it would be disastrous if they didn't return," She admitted as she thought of the ramifications if they should stay in France. "If word got out that Potter might be gone for good, we'd have a serious problem," Amelia shook her head at the thought before continuing. "We'd have riots and the people would be so demoralized You-Know-Who could just waltz in and take over without a fight."

"That I know," Albus replied. "And it's more serious than that," He continued to himself as he thought of the prophecy. "We can hope they make the right decision."

"Right for whom though?" Bones asked.

"For all concerned."

Amelia took a deep breath and let it out slowly. "Does Potter know what he means to the people?"

"Possibly. I definitely think Minister Delacour does and hopefully will be teaching Harry the political side of things. Though I should warn you that Harry does not care for all the attention and pushing him into such a role might be detrimental."

Amelia nodded. "I understand, but attention he'ill get no matter what. Hopefully Minister Delacour can help him understand that. Now about this offer you made?"

"It was to the eldest Delacour daughter, Fleur but affects them all. As you might know she graduated from Beauxbatons after this past year. I offered her a position at Hogwarts as a semi-official member of the staff to assist the students who desire additional defense tutoring. I have to admit that outside of Remus Lupin, we've had less than stellar instructors in that position recently," Again Amelia nodded and Albus continued. "That would allow them to stay together. Miss Delacour would have private quarters and...well let's say I'd turn a blind eye toward any late night comings and goings as long as they are discreet. I also let it be known that both Mr. Potter and Miss Granger would be selected as prefects. That was not part of any offer as they are the two most deserving students in Gryffindor. There is also the fact that the two of them are entering their OWL year. Miss Granger will most definitely see how changing schools might affect those tests especially when there is a language issue to overcome."

"Hopefully that will be enough," Amelia replied. "When do you think you'll know?"

"If Fudge considers the Order of Merlin for Fleur, it would give me a reason to visit them in France and maybe get an idea. I can also ask them to make a decision more quickly because of the prefect status. If Minerva and I have to offer it to another pair we need some time to consider who it should be."

"I'll approach Fudge tomorrow," Amelia promised. "What if they have decided against returning?"

"Then I will do my best to convince them otherwise," Dumbledore assured her. "If it comes to that, it shall be a lively debate."

"I haven't known you to fail in many of those," Amelia remarked.

"You haven't argued with the four of them before. They are very protective of each other."

"Again you would know better. Now you mentioned your Defense class. Who will be teaching it this year? Mad-Eye?"

"No, after almost a year locked up in that trunk, he's taking the fight very personal," Dumbledore replied with a sigh. "I'm still searching for someone to handle the class but it gets more and more difficult every year."

Amelia stared at the Hogwarts Headmaster for a few seconds before looking down at her desk and finding a piece of parchment. "Speaking of your instructors, I need to ask you about Severus Snape."

The kind grandfatherly look on Dumbledore's face disappeared instantly as his gaze sharpened. It was two seconds before he replied. "Understand Amelia that Severus has my utmost confidence."

"He is a Death Eater who responded to the call of You-Know-Who that night," Amelia said undeterred.

"I am very much aware of that," Dumbledore replied evenly.

"And you still trust him?"

"With my life Amelia. Severus went there on my request."

"Your..." Amelia started as her eyes widened but stopped as she glared at Dumbledore. "You plan on him spying for you again?" She immediately put the pieces together. "That means you have your Order going again doesn't it?"

"Amelia, I know of your opinions of the Order of the Phoenix, but they are clouded by the death of your brother."

A look of sadness crept into the eyes of the head of the Department of Law Enforcement. "Not just Edgar, they killed his wife and kids as well you know. All because of that damn club of yours."

"And what of the numerous people he saved? Amelia, you know the Ministry and even your own department is filled with Voldemort supporters. I have much to offer the fight, but I can not do it through the Ministry."

"You say the Ministry is filled with sympathizers and you have a marked Death Eater?" Amelia asked as her voice rose in volume. "If Snape is on your side then why didn't You-Know-Who kill him when he showed up that night? It's in the records you said he was working for you."

"Severus can be...most convincing," Albus answered. "But that is all I will say."

Amelia bit the inside of her cheek to choke off a retort, finally she said. "I will be watching him closely and I don't mean just because he is a Death Eater. I spoke to my niece about him and it seems he is creating an atmosphere in your castle that is conducive to further Death Eater recruitment."

"I will not discuss my choice of instructors nor their methods Amelia," Dumbledore replied with a stern tone. "That is not under the purview of the Ministry, especially the MLE. If there is something specific you have concerning Severus, I'll be glad to discuss it with you otherwise I bid you drop this inquiry."

"You'll be the second to know WHEN I do have something on the man Albus," Amelia said in a firm voice. "Until I AM satisfied the man is not aiding You-Know-Who I will treat him as any other identified Death Eater. Do I make myself clear?"

The two of them stared at each other for several seconds. Finally Dumbledore said. "Amelia, again I must stress that Severus has my deepest trust in these matters."

"That's your business Albus, not mine. To me he is a Death Eater until it is proven otherwise and as for your Phoenix organization, I know from history you probably have some of my Aurors as members, but if I find they are slacking on their duties to support you I will discipline them, am I understood?"

"Perfectly Amelia."

*** July 14th 1995 ***

"Arry...'Arry?" A soft female voice said gently.

"Mmmmm" murmured Harry Potter from the depths of a wonderful dream.

"Wake up love," The voice said again as soft lips touched lightly on his cheek.

Harry's eyes slowly opened as unfamiliar sounds cascaded into his mind. Strange birds were crying out while the sound of waves gently hitting the shore could be heard. A blurred vision of beauty was in front of him as his eyes finally focused as best they could.

"I want to show you something beautiful," Fleur said softly.

"You already have, you," Harry replied. "Can I go back to sleep now?"

"Non," Fleur said with a soft laugh as she leaned to kiss him again. She then slowly reached past him, her long hair caressing his face as her firm breasts moving over his body as she picked up something from the table next to his bed.

Harry reached his arms around her and pulled her to him.

"Non love," Fleur giggled as she gave him a quick peck on the lips. "Old me as ze sun rises," She handed Harry his glasses and climbed out of bed.

Harry put on his glasses and turned to watch his oldest bondmate. The move of her hips as she walked away was graceful and sexy.

"Sunrise 'Arry, not my rear," Fleur said but smiled to herself. It was different to be admired by a man she knew loved her for more than her physical beauty. As last night and previous nights had shown, Harry's shyness toward her and her bond sisters was disappearing and the confident man that had always hid inside his eyes was emerging.

"You have your idea of beauty, I have mine," Harry replied cheekily as he climbed out of bed and followed Fleur into her windowed circular room. She was already standing in front of one of the windows looking east as the golden light of the newly appearing sun was giving distant clouds a multitude of colors. Harry moved her silky smooth hair aside as he lightly touched his lips to her neck before he settled his chin upon her shoulder and wrapped his arms around her waist.

Without words or even thoughts, they watched the sun inch its way over the horizon. Finally when the orange orb rested on the endless horizon of the sea Fleur turned and wrapped her arms around Harry's neck. "I love you 'Arry Potter."

"And I love you Fleur Delacour...ma Fleur du Matin."

"I remember ze first morning you called me zat," Fleur said quietly as she was caught in the depth of Harry's green eyes. "I actually thought of zis, dreamed of zis, of being 'eld by you as we watched ze sunrise together and you saying zat. I...I only 'oped zen zat you would love me as I loved you."

"I do love you," Harry replied as he leaned forward and kissed her tenderly. Then when the kiss ended he smiled. "I love you enough to wake up early and watch a sunrise with you."

"Definitely true love zen, non?" Fleur asked with her mischievous smile. "Shall you go back to bed now?"

Harry took another look out the window at the sun that was now barely above the horizon and then back at Fleur. "How about a walk instead? I do believe someone mentioned a beach?"

"Oui, I'd like zat, but we should see if Gabrielle and 'Ermione are awake and would like to join us."

"They aren't," Harry answered immediately. "They're still sleeping, but before we go wake them up can you tell me how..." He paused before lowering his voice to almost a whisper, "how do I say flower of my heart?"

Fleur's blue eyes stared into Harry's green for a few seconds more before she whispered demurely. "Eets Fleur de mon coeur."

"That's you then, Fleur de mon coeur, the flower of my heart," Harry said. "You're like a field of flowers bringing sunshine to my heart."

Fleur's smile grew a little larger as silence fell between them for a couple of seconds. "You know your name is from 'Enry? Which actually means 'ome ruler from its German roots?"

"No...really?" Harry answered. "Ruler? As in King?"

"Oui," Fleur replied. "Zat means you must be ze King of my..." then the twinkle showed in her eyes as she continued "pots non? Or at least my dishes? I mean you are my King Potter oui?"

"Fleur?"

"Oui?" Fleur asked with a grin.

"Are you ticklish?"

"Non...Non...Non," Fleur squealed as Harry picked her up and carried her to the bed, where he found out she actually was very ticklish, but then again Fleur found out Harry was also. It was ten minutes later before the squeals of laughter finally died away and the two climbed out of bed to go on their walk.

Neither Hermione nor Gabrielle were ready to be awakened since Hermione didn't leave the library until well after midnight, so Harry and Fleur descended the steps that led down onto a beach alone a short time later. The beach was about a hundred and fifty yards long and twenty yards deep from the bluffs. On either end of the beach were piles of rocks about twenty feet high that stretched from the bluffs to the sea, effectively walling off the beach area.

"It's beautiful," Harry said as he sat upon one of the chairs surrounding a table with a large umbrella over it. "Does anyone else come here?" He asked as he unlaced his trainers.

"Non, zis is our land. Ze beach was actually magically created by my arriere-grand-pere, I mean my great-grandfazzer," Fleur explained as she took Harry's hand and they started walking in the soft wet sands where the cool water lapped at their feet. "It 'as muggle repelling and unviewable wards on eet. Even if a boat were to come within a hundred meters of 'ere, zey could not see ze beach or anyone swimming. Zere are even wards to prevent larger fish from coming within a hundred meters, so you don't have to worry about sharks, zough you still need to watch out for ze méduse."

"What's a méduse?" Harry asked suddenly looking down at the water waiting for something to attack him.

"Ze english call zem jellyfish."

"Jellyfish?" Harry asked. "What are they and are they dangerous?"

"Oui, zere stings can be very painful," Fleur explained. "But don't worry I'll protect you. I'll zrow myself in front of one if eet comes near you."

Harry stopped and looked sharply at Fleur. Their eyes met for a few seconds before Harry asked hesitantly. "Are you okay with that now?"

Fleur's eyes moved from Harry's as she looked out at the sea for a few seconds before she turned back to him and replied, "I'm 'appy we are both alive, but I'll never forget eet," Fleur shrugged. "Zough zose were ze worst seconds of my life, but eet will do no good to pretend zey didn't 'appen."

Harry looked at the older witch, watched her hair blow in the stiffening morning breeze as a silent understanding again passed between them. Finally he took her hand and they started walking again, both deep in contemplation. "So what do these jellyfish look like?" Harry asked finally.

"Blobs of goo with tentacles 'anging down," Fleur replied with a laugh. "Ze most common 'ere are small blue and purple ones," She visualized the ones she had seen floating on the surf and sent it to him.

"They are small," Harry remarked.

"Oui, but do not take zem lightly, zeir stings are painful."

"How often do they come?"

"Not often," Fleur replied. "At least not right now. Every few years a lot of zem will show up, but mostly ze last couple of years zere 'ave been very few of zem."

They continued discussing jellyfish and other fish that come into the waters as they walked along the beach. She showed him memories of her swims underwater and what it was like.

"We'll have to all try the bubblehead charm and swim under the water," Harry suggested.

"Papa can get us Gillyweed if you'd prefer zat," Fleur replied.

"As long as Hermione and Gabrielle aren't tied up underwater, it doesn't matter," Harry replied. "What about you and your magic underwater. Dumbledore mentioned that if you practiced using it underwater if might get better."

"If we 'ave time I might, we'll see when Marl comes."

"Do we know when he'll get here?"

"E wasn't expecting us to be 'ere until ze weekend since we were supposed to be still at your aunt's."

"Harry," Hermione's voice came through thirty minutes later. "Hedwig's back."

"You're awake are you?" Harry smirked.

"Barely, going down to get coffee now," Hermione replied as she yawned. "Professor Berceau would like to come later in the week to personally see us. Think it would be all right? I can dash off a quick note and see if Hedwig wants to take another journey."

"I'll ask Fleur."

"Hermione is awake," Harry said to Fleur. "Professor Berceau wants to come later in the week. Can we invite her?"

"You don't have to ask," Fleur replied. "Zis is your 'ome as well now."

"I couldn't..."

Fleur's face flashed as Harry felt a wave of frustration from her. "YES you can. I will starting ignoring you ze next time you say something like zat," She huffed. "I'm serious. Zis is YOUR 'ome 'Arry, eet is 'Ermione's 'ome. Until you start acting like it, I'm not going to believe you want to share it wiz me and Gabrielle."

Harry held up his hands in protest. "It's just so much so soon love," He replied as he pulled the older French witch into his arms. "We just got here last night and though I appreciate everything your father, you and Gabrielle have given me, I need time to absorb it. I..I've never had a home."

Fleur sighed as tenderness came into her eyes. "I..know and I'm sorry for zat. I do 'ave a temper."

"So I've heard, especially before your morning coffee," Harry grinned. "Hagrid said he was going to get me some dragon hide for my cloak."

Fleur's eyes regained their twinkle of amusement. "And do you think you need eet?"

"I think someday I'll do something really stupid and will wish I had it," Harry laughed.

Fleur returned the laugh as she pushed Harry toward the steps. "I just let 'Ermione know to invite ze Professor. Now let's go get my coffee before I 'ave to really show you my temper."

They found Hermione and Gabrielle sitting at the table with Apolline.

"Good morning you two," Apolline said as she looked up from the newspaper she was reading. "Ave you told 'Arry it is le quatorze juillet? La Fête Nationale?" She asked Fleur.

"Oui Maman. Well Gabrielle told 'im when she explained why we needed ze rings yesterday," Fleur answered as she gave her mother a kiss on the cheek before she saw the confused look on Harry's face. "Ze fourteenth of July is ze National celebration or as Gabrielle said yesterday Bastille Day."

"I am glad you came back early," Apolline said. "Without you two 'ere I wasn't going to have our family celebration dinner, but now we can. I've already told everyone to come tonight and zey all are looking forward to meeting you two." The last was to Harry and Hermione. "Especially ma mère."

"She knows?"

"About your bond?" Apolline asked. "Of course. We contacted 'er when ze bond was...uncertain. Zen of course we 'ad to tell 'er ze outcome. Zis was also before you asked us to keep it quiet, so she also already knows about you 'Ermione," The last was said almost apologetically to Hermione.

"Eets alright," Fleur responded for the group. "We will be announcing it soon anyway. So who else will be 'ere?"

"Aunt Berdine."

"She's the one who bought the..." Harry started.

"Yes who bought your basilisk 'ides," Apolline replied. "She's not really my soeur, but since we were both half-veela growing up, we went through ze 'ard times together, so she is like my sister. Marl might be 'ere by zen."

At that name all the bondmates looked at each other but didn't say anything.

"Sirius said 'e would be 'ere also," Apolline added

"Sirius?" Harry asked.

"Yes zough 'e did say 'e might be a little late. 'E 'ad something 'e wanted to take care of first," Apolline replied.

"What about Moony?" Harry asked.

"Doubtful," This came from Hermione which made Harry look questioningly at her. "It was a full moon last night Harry," She explained further.

"It was?" Harry asked and at the confirmation nod, he sighed. "I should have known."

"I'm sorry, I thought you did. It was the only reason I could see that would have had Mr. Delacour asking him to start work yesterday when Peter had to go through the Veil; especially with today being a holiday."

"What? Why would that matter?"

"The werewolves trust their own," Hermione explained. "By having a transformation with the local werewolves they would start to respect and accept him."

"Don't worry 'Arry," Apolline said. "Alain informed Remus zat 'e was welcome 'ere anytime. I do agree with 'Ermione though, it is unlikely 'e will come tonight."

It was at that moment Kessy appeared then with a cup of coffee for Fleur while Dobby appeared immediately after her with a cup of tea that he put in front of Harry and then looked crossly at the other elf.

"How are you Dobby?" Harry asked.

"Bun joy Harry Potter sir," Dobby replied as he looked at Harry. "Dobby is learning French."

"So what have you learned so far?" Hermione asked.

"Dobby learned to say hello. Bun joy Miss Hermione," Dobby replied enthusiastically. "Dobby also knows how to say good-bye. It's Our River."

Harry glanced at Hermione and the Delacours who all were obviously trying to hold in a laugh. He looked back at the beaming house-elf. "Excellent Dobby, though I think you need to work on the accent."

"Dobby will do that Harry Potter sir. Does Harry Potter sir and the ladies want breakfast now?"

"Yes please," Harry replied. Hermione, Fleur and Gabrielle were also nodding.

Kessy said several words in French and disappeared, followed quickly by Dobby.

"Are they going to be alright?" Hermione asked looking at the spot Dobby disappeared from. Her questioned was answered when the two elves appeared again. They both had a grip of the same plate and were tugging on it.

"Dobby will serve mistress Fleur," Dobby said tugging on the plate. "She's my mistress."

"Non, ma maîtresse," Kessy replied tugging the plate toward her.

"Kessy, Dobby," Fleur said in a kind but authoritative voice. Both elves immediately stopped and looked at her. "Now Dobby, you must understand zat Kessy 'as been taking care of Gabrielle and me since we were babies. 'Ow would you feel if another elf showed up and started taking care of 'Arry?"

Dobby looked at Harry and then looked at the floor. "Dobby wouldn't like it."

"Oui, now I will tell Kessy she 'as to share in ze responsibilities. Maybe Kessy brings our coffee and tea while you bring ze food?" Fleur suggested. "Or maybe you'd prefer to alternate meals? No matter how you work it out, you and Winky must work with our elves 'ere."

With a little back and forth between Dobby and Kessy it was decided that they would alternate serving drinks and meals on differing days. Soon the elves started working together and the rest of breakfast was served.

"Our river," Dobby said as he served the food and left.

"I will need to make sure our elves are teaching 'im correctly," Apolline said as she tried to hold her smile in and failed. Soon everyone was giggling at the table. "So I understand Professor Berceau is coming later in the week?" Apolline asked to change the subject though she still showed signs she was trying to hold her own amusement in. "Is zere a reason? Something zat is a concern about your bond?"

"Yes Maman," Gabrielle answered and looked at Hermione.

"It's for me ma'am," Hermione started but Apolline raised her hand to halt her explanation.

"Ermione please, zough I want you to be comfortable, I 'ope someday I will not be ma'am to you. Eef you're uncomfortable with maman or even mum, zen maybe you can just call me Apolline or even apple?"

"Apple?" Hermione asked incredulously.

"Oui," Apolline replied with a smile. "A nickname from an old English friend. Someone I knew before I met Alain."

Hermione laughed. "Thank you. I'll try Ma...Maman."

Apolline smiled. "Zere zat wasn't difficult? Now what is ze problem?"

"Well...I'm starting to display Veela magic," Hermione replied.

"C'est vrai?" Apolline exclaimed as she looked at the young witch. "Your 'air?"

"Yes," Hermione replied. She concentrated and her hair changed back into the bushy tangles she had for so long before she changed it back to the soft curls she liked. "That started a few months back but recently other things started as well. I had blisters that disappeared and my finger and toenails are..." She didn't finish but put out her hand to show the perfect fingernails.

"And zis concerns you?" Apolline asked. "Do you not like ze magic?"

"No...I mean I love it but I'm just concerned about where it stops?" Hermione replied.

"So you just want the good stuff and not what you would consider bad?" Apolline asked sounding slightly affronted.

Hermione realized how her words must have sounded and quickly found her voice. "No...Ma'am..uh I mean Maman. I apologize if my words were not reflective of my feelings. Though I admit there are some parts of Veela magic that I would prefer not to have, I would gladly accept them for what this bond has given me. Not only the bond, but the people in the bond."

Apolline studied the teen for a few seconds before nodding. "I can understand, zough may I suggest zat when you meet my mother tonight you do not say such things? She is a very proud Veela."

"Of course," Hermione replied.

** E E **

Sounds of dogs barking could be heard coming from the barn on a small farm in Derbyshire England. It was early morning and dew still glistened on the grass of the surrounding gardens. In a small copse of trees twenty yards from the door of the house a large black dog crouched beside a young woman. The dog was staring intently at the door as if waiting for something to happen.

"How much longer is this going to take?" The woman whispered to the dog but the dog kept staring at the door unmoving and didn't answer or even look at her. "Fine," She finally whispered. "Don't talk to me," She shifted a little to find a more comfortable spot as the cushioning charm she'd put on the ground had started to fade.

A creaking of the door of the house brought her attention quickly in that direction. Looking through the knee high shrubs that blocked her from being seen from the house, she could see a large overweight woman with no neck step through the door. In her right hand was a glass of light brown liquid while at her heels followed a bulldog.

"Let's check on the bitches this morning Ripper," Marge Dursley's voice could be heard in the quiet morning as she looked down at the old bulldog beside her. "I think if Daisy has another wimp in her litter this time I'll have the Colonel drown her along with the pup," She raised the glass and took a swallow before starting toward the barn.

The barn was in the opposite direction of the copse of trees so as soon as the woman had her back to him, Padfoot broke out of of the trees and started moving quickly but quietly across the gardens. The young woman got to her knees as she pulled out a strange contraption and looked through a small eye hole on it.

Padfoot was less than ten feet away when Ripper sensed him. The smaller dog stopped and turned to look back. Normally bulldogs are a kind breed of dog, but Ripper had been raised and tempered by Marge Dursley and didn't have a kind bone in his body. He also possessed his mistress' intelligence as he immediately started snarling and growling at the black dog which was many sizes larger than he was.

Marge Dursley stopped and turned when her dog started snarling and came face to face with a very large black dog who now had his own teeth bared and was growling as well. The fat woman had raised too many dogs to be immediately frightened by one, even one as large as the one facing her. She was used to dog traits and knew that you had to show dominance. "GET AWAY YOU MANGY MUTT!" She yelled at the dog in a tone that always got a dog's attention. Unfortunately for Marge Dursley she wasn't actually facing a dog now. When the dog didn't back away she kicked out at it as hard as she could.

Padfoot moved quickly as the foot moved toward him. He dodged to the right and launched himself at the fat woman who had caused harm to his godson. Leaping up he brought his gnashing teeth within an inch of her face before going back down to four legs. Off balance by the kick that missed and by the lurch she'd involuntarily done when the dog had lunged at her, Marge lost her balance and landed flat on her backside.

Ripper took the opportunity to lunge at the much larger dog. Padfoot saw the movement and swung around to face the challenger. Within two seconds he had the heavy squat bulldog pinned to the ground with his teeth around its throat. A deep growl from the black dog caused the bulldog to stop struggling and start whimpering. His paws pulled in showing his submission.

"GET OFF HIM YOU BRUTE! GET AWAY FROM MY DOG!" Marge yelled from the ground, trying once again show her dominance over the dog. She got to her knees and swung an overly large arm intending to beat the dog into submission if she had to.

Padfoot released the bulldog as he ducked the arm. Once the arm had passed, he quickly grabbed the sleeve of Dursley's tweed coat in his teeth. By pulling it sharply, the weight of the woman worked against her and she fell back to the ground, one of her massive legs landing on top of her prized pet bulldog pinning him to the ground. Before she could move again, the black dog had two paws on her chest and was growling down into her face. His hot breath coming from a teeth-bared mouth that was only inches from her own. Saliva dripped from between the snapping teeth and landed on her face.

Padfoot could see the fear develop in the large woman's eyes. He snapped his jaws an inch from her face and watched her flinch. Again he snapped and again she flinched in fear.

"Okay, time for the next part," Padfoot thought to himself. He suddenly stopped growling and sniffed the air as if he smelled something; he took his paws off the woman and looked away. As expected Marge Dursley took the opportunity to rise and try to run away. When she'd lumbered to her feet as quickly as her massive torso would allow, she started to run toward her house screaming the whole time. Padfoot quickly cut her off before she could reach the door. He growled and snapped at her until she turned and raced in a different direction. This time she tried to escape to the barn only to have the large black dog in her way again. Padfoot could now smell the scent of urine coming from the fat woman as again and again he shepherded her where he wanted her to go.

Soon the fat woman had only one way to run and that was into a patch of woods that were clogged with brambles. She didn't even stop as she plunged into the depths and away from the mad black dog. Thorns ripped at her skin and caught in her clothing as she plunged deeper and deeper into the mass, screaming the whole time.

Padfoot slowed as he watched the grossly obese woman disappear into the thorny growths. With a sense of satisfaction he sat and stared for a minute or so as he listened to her screams. Soon he turned and trotted back to the copse of trees where the young woman waited.

"Did you get it?" Sirius asked as he morphed into himself.

"At least forty pictures," Tonks replied as she started packing the camera back up.

"Excellent. I also want to talk to Dumbledore about getting your memory of the event. He has something caused a Pensieve that will allow the memory to be experienced. I think the pictures and the memory will be an excellent birthday present for Harry."

"Someday you're going to have to tell me what that woman did to him that deserved that," Tonks said.

"That's something only Harry can tell you. I only know because I overhead him talking to one of his girlfriends a couple of months ago. It has to do with that bitch and that dog of hers though. I can say that before his third year, she insulted James and Lily enough to cause Harry to have a bad case of accidental magic. He blew her up..I mean literally. She inflated and started floating away. Unfortunately the Ministry obliviated those memories from her so I thought I'd give her a few memories they would have no reason to get rid of," Sirius looked back at the trees Marge Dursley had disappeared into. "She's as bad as those things Harry had to live with."

"Well I don't think she'll forget today."

Sirius and Tonks took care of a few last minute details, including sending the dogs locked in the barn away via portkey before they apparated away. When Sirius left for France, the dogs went with him. Alain had given him an address of an animal rescue farm that specialized in dogs. The bulldogs were left there along with a donation to ensure their care would not be a burden.

Marge Dursley didn't stop running until she was standing on Colonel Fubster's doorstep, half naked, covered with bleeding scratches and screaming her head off. By the time they made it back to her farm the black dog had disappeared, so had every single bulldog that had been in the barn. The only dog left on the farm was Ripper who was hiding under the porch whimpering. It took several hours to coax the terrified dog from his hiding spot. From that day on, Ripper flinched from any dog he saw.

*** E E **

A circular stone table sat near the bluffs on the Delacour estate. Four chairs surrounded the table and that's where Harry and his fiancées were currently sitting. Several books and parchments were piled on the table in front of them.

"I know it's our first day here Harry," Hermione said. "But since we've decided to go back to Hogwarts, we have to get you caught up in Runes. If we're going to be shopping all day tomorrow we have to get started today. We can't even work tonight since we have the dinner."

"I agree," Fleur added. "I also need to get an idea of your defense lessons so I can be ready to do what ze 'Eadmaster wants of me."

"Speaking of that, I wonder who's going to be teaching Defense this year," Harry asked.

"I wish it was Moony again but we know it won't be him," Hermione said.

"Yeah, but it's nice he's got a job where he'll be appreciated," Harry remarked.

"I know, but all we need is another bad defense teacher."

"We're going to have Fleur and can learn most of it on our own if necessary."

"Oui, but it would be nice to 'ave a good instructor," Fleur added.

"What about ze real Moody?" Gabrielle asked. "E was going to teach it last year."

"Possibly, but I doubt it," Harry replied. "Seems to me he's more of an action type of person and with Voldemort back, I can't see him in a classroom."

"True."

"Guess we'll have to wait and see," Hermione said. "Whoever it is, it can't be any worse than Lockhart or Quirrell right?"

"I'm sure they could find someone worse if they really tried," Harry replied as he looked at Hermione. "What if it's Snape? He's been wanting the job."

Hermione wrinkled her nose at Harry. "Don't even think that; Potions is bad enough with him. What would defense be like? I'd be afraid he'd let the Slytherins practice their curses on us and then give us detention if we tried to defend ourselves."

"Yeah, that's about right," Harry agreed. "He'd have to be the worst person for the job."

"No, I could think of worse, what about that toad woman," Hermione said as a joke and then realized what she'd said and quickly glanced at Gabrielle who had turned a shade lighter in color. "I...I'm sorry Gabrielle. I wasn't thinking."

"Eet's all right," Gabrielle replied with a smile that didn't make it to her eyes.

"Don't worry Angel, she's in Azkaban," Harry reached over and took her hand. "And if she ever does get out of there, she'll find that Dementors are nothing compared to me if she ever tries to do anything to you again," Harry's eyes were the darker deep green that all of his bondmates knew meant he truly believed what he was saying.

Gabrielle squeezed his hand. "je sais que...eh..I know."

They returned to work, but a noise from the house interrupted them a few minutes later. They all turned to look at the back door. An older, grey-haired man had exited the house and now was hobbling down the path toward them. He was thin, his clothes were wrinkled and he walked slowly with a cane used to steady his weight. With each slow step he grimaced in pain.

"Is...that isn't Marl is it?" Harry asked.

"Oui..." Fleur answered hesitantly. "But 'e...'e didn't 'ave a cane ze last time I saw 'im and his hair wasn't so grey."

"This is the guy who's going to train us?" Hermione asked quietly.

"Yeah..." Harry stopped when the man almost lost his balance. "Maybe your father didn't know he was this bad off."

"Possibly," Fleur replied. She had a sinking feeling that maybe her father did know and his loyalties to his old friend made him overlook the obvious infirmity Marl had suffered. A wave of disappointment toward her father swept through her. She'd been positive he'd do what was best for Harry.

Harry felt her thoughts and turned to her. "It's alright. We can teach ourselves if necessary, but let's give the guy a chance. I mean you said he's fought a lot of bad guys right?"

Fleur nodded. "Oui."

They waited in silence as the man came nearer and nearer. Finally he hobbled the last few steps and looked at the group of teens. Though his body seemed to be frail, his eyes were still filled with intensity. He took out a handkerchief and wiped his brow. Putting it away, his sharp gaze returned to the four teens. He studied each one long enough to make the person feel nervous. Finally his eyes ended up on the black-haired boy with the lightning-bolt scar on his forehead. "So..." The man said weakly. "You're Harry Potter?"

"Yes sir...you're Mr. Pelletier?" Harry asked and when the man stumbled as he nodded he continued. "Uh.. would you like to sit down sir?"

"Yes, I think I'd better," Marl replied as he grimaced again. He tried to straighten as his hand moved to his back. "Back is killing me."

"Let me help you sir," Hermione offered and she and Gabrielle both move to assist the older gentleman and that's when it happened.

Marl's wand was out in a flash and the last thing Harry saw was an all-to-familiar red light.

Harry's eyes blinked open into the bright southern France sunlight. A headache pounded his head as he looked up into the blue sky trying to figure out what happened and why was he lying on the ground. Just as he started to collect his thoughts a gruff voice spoke out. "Welcome back kid."

Harry spun off the ground and reached for his wand only to find it missing. The old man, Marl, was standing there with all four wands in his hand. He no longer looked frail and his hair had lost most of its grey. He was twirling his cane in his hand as he grinned back at Harry.

Harry quickly looked around and saw his bondmates each blinking their eyes and stirring as well as they started to look around in confusion.

"Lesson number one," Marl said as he tossed the wands back to their owners. "NEVER let your guard down."

"You didn't give us a chance," Harry exclaimed. "You took advantage of the fact that we trusted you."

"And that brings us to lesson number two," Marl said. "Never TRUST anyone. You had no business trusting me. You don't know me."

"I do and Papa..." Fleur started.

"Could very well be dead in your house," Marl finished with a snarl as he pointed his thumb over his shoulder at the house. "Along with your mother and everyone else. I could be polyjuiced or under the Imperious Curse."

"More constant vigilance," Harry muttered. "Told you his letter sounded like the fake."

"Constant Vigilance huh?" Marl asked. "Alastor Moody?"

"You know him?" Hermione asked as she stood up from the ground and took her seat back at the table.

"Met him a few times over the years," Marl replied. "Man's got a good head on his shoulders."

"I'll take your word for it," Harry replied as he glared at the man.

"Still angry at me for stunning you?" Marl asked with a wry grin on his face.

"It wasn't like it was a fair fight," Harry complained. "You tricked us..."

"Of course I did," Marl replied cutting the young man off. "Sit down... all of you," He gestured toward the table. When the teens were once more sitting in their seats he continued. "Look kids, I'm not here to teach you how to duel, I'm here to teach you how to fight and more important, how to stay alive."

 
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