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.



50. Chapter 50

Voldemort looked around what used to be the private study of Lucius Malfoy as he settled into the same chair he'd sat in the first night of his return. It had been a petty reason, Riddle knew, to make this home his hideaway, but it did give him a sense of satisfaction that while someone was away honoring Potter, their very Manor was being stolen from them. "Besides, it does provide the comforts I deserve," Riddle thought. He knew Dumbledore would quickly figure out what had happened, but he also knew it would be to no avail. It had taken some time to modify the Fidelius charm to his needs but he had succeeded. "Since my Dark Marks are soul based magic, I was able to hide the secret directly in that magic. Since I alone control the Dark Marks, I am the controller of the secret as well," It also allowed Voldemort to give the secret to anyone with the Mark without having to actually leave the protection of his new sanctuary to do so.

"Dumbledore will know I am the Secret Keeper," Voldemort continued, "but he will believe in vain that I either must leave the premises to give the secret or provide other means to communicate to those Death Eaters on the outside; means I'm sure he will attempt to intercept." A sense of satisfaction rose in Riddle as he thought of his nemesis. "I am better than you are Dumbledore…" A movement in the corner of the room brought Voldemort's thoughts away from Dumbledore and back to a small flaw in the magic of Fidelius; a small weakness that has so far caused a minor inconvenience to the Dark Lord. That inconvenience now sat nervously in a chair in that corner of the room. An inconvenience that bore the name Draco Malfoy. The flaw is simple enough; the magic of the Fidelius moves outward from the item that is a secret; removing all knowledge of its existence. Outward…so anyone inside the area protected never has the secret removed. Voldemort knew of the weakness but had expected no one to be home. When Severus had informed him of the little ceremony to honor Potter, Voldemort had obtained the list of those who were attending from one of his spies in the Ministry that had escaped detection. Narcissa Malfoy had paid handsomely for two attendees; herself and her son. Malfoy Manor should have been empty, but it had not been.

Voldemort had not even been careless, unless it was in allowing his followers to accomplish a task he had assigned them. Riddle had instructed Goyle and Yaxley to search the house thoroughly before he had cast the charm, but neither of them had given more than a cursory glance at the vast gardens that surrounded the Manor. At the time the modified Fidelius had been cast over the entire estate, Draco Malfoy had been sitting in front of his father's grave. Voldemort had been surprised when the young man entered the study a short time after the house had been protected. At first he considered the possibility that the charm had been cast incorrectly and the boy and his mother had returned early, but a quick probe of young Malfoy's mind assured him that was not the case. Now though, he must decide on what to do with the young man.

**** E E ***

"Now Mr. Potter and Miss Delacour, about those interviews," Rita Skeeter said when she cornered the bonded a short time after the ceremony ended.

Between Narcissa Malfoy and the news concerning Marl and Tonks, Harry had lost any desire to speak with Skeeter. He turned and was about to tell the reporter what she could do with her interviews.

"Non 'Arry...you know we must," Fleur said to her bondmate before he could reply. "Ze news is going to break in two days and we need to keep Skeeter on our side..."

"Another lesser of two evils?" Harry grumbled.

"Oui...but take a few moments and collect yourself first," Fleur urged.

"Talk to Neville and Luna," Hermione suggested with a nod at their friends who were approaching with Luna's father. "Invite them to France...anything to not think about Marl...as you pointed out, we really don't know what happened to him."

Harry sighed as he nodded. "Give us a moment," He said to Rita. "I need to ask Luna and Neville something before we begin."

"Of course...we don't want to be interrupted...maybe I could start by speaking with Miss Delacour?"

Skeeter didn't get an answer, but was left by herself when Harry and the bonded moved away to meet with their friends.

Hey Neville, got anything planned for your birthday?" Harry asked.

Neville shrugged as he looked at Luna. "No, not really. Gran used to take me to Diagon Alley to buy my gift, but…" He ended with a shrug.

"You can come to my house and I'll throw you a party," Luna suggested.

"How about you come to France with us and we can celebrate both of our birthdays together," Harry offered.

"You too Luna," Gabrielle added.

"Why would we celebrate my birthday?" Luna asked as her eyes widened. "It's in November."

"I mean you come 'ome with us," Gabrielle explained. "Zere's plenty of room and we can swim and do lots of things. Zat way you can come to 'Arry and Neville's party."

"Oh," Luna replied. "I can't. Daddy and I are going to Ireland next week. One of the largest known infestations of Gernumbli Gardensi is located there."

"What are those?" Hermione asked, unable to contain her curiosity.

"Misunderstood creatures," Luna replied. "A lot of families just kick them out of their gardens for no reason. But Daddy knows all about their magic and how beneficial it is."

"Yes," Xenophilius said as he overheard his daughter. "I wrote an article two summers back I believe it was, about how they gifted Myron Wagtail with his singing voice when he was but a little boy."


"He's the lead singer of the Weird Sisters...you remember the group that played at the Yule Ball?" Hermione explained. "Though if his voice is something that is gifted...keep me away from whatever those things are. I have no idea why they are so popular."

Harry couldn't remember any of the music that played at the Ball except that first song he had to dance to, but he did remember the hairy guys with ripped robes and shook his head. Then he remembered what Luna had said. "Gardens?" He asked. "They aren't related to the garden gnomes are they? Things that have heads that look like potatoes?"

"YES! Do you know about them?" Luna asked excitedly.

"I know the Weasleys have a lot of them in their garden," Harry replied. "Even had one bite me when I was there."

"One bit you?" Xenophilius asked in excitement. "That's how they pass their magic to others...did you feel any different afterwards? Maybe a desire to sing or play a musical instrument?"

"No...well I did throw him about fifty feet," Harry replied.

"The Weasleys?" Luna asked in astonishment. "They've been hiding Gernumbli Gardensi? You know they live very close to us?

"You live near the Burrow?"

"Yes. Our home is in the hills near there," Luna replied then turned to her father. "Daddy did you hear? The Weasleys have Gernumbli Gadensi residing at the Burrow."

"Yes I did," Xenophilius replied, " and I have to wonder why Arthur's been hiding them."

"He doesn't actually," Harry explained. "The Weasleys keep trying to throw them out, but they keep coming back."

"Well of course they keep coming back," Xeno replied. "It's their home, the source of their magic. Now I must speak to Arthur about them this very moment."

"Daddy, can we see those Gernumbli this week instead of going to Ireland? That way I can go with my friends to France next week."

All eyes turned to the eccentric magazine publisher who smiled. "Luna, my pumpkin, I'm sure you can go with your friends; that is as long as the Gernumbli Gardensi don't whisk us off to some enchanted paradise to teach us their secrets."

"I think it's for the best if you stay anyway," Fleur added. "I think you might 'ave reason to print more copies of your magazine shortly."

"Yes, that is true," Xenophilius agreed. "I know many people who are excited about the Platypus construct. Now where is Arthur…I know I saw him a few minutes ago. Ah there he is with his wife," He turned and strolled toward a group of people on the other side of the room where red hair could be seen in abundance.

"I can ask Gran," Neville added. "If she says I can go, I'd like to come as well."

"Excellent; then it's settled," Harry said. "I think as long as your Gran knows that Dumbledore himself will be escorting us, as well as the Deputy Prime Minister of France she won't mind."

"If you would like, I could assure your grandmother zat you will be safe," Alain added as he entered the conversation. "Is she 'ere?"

"No," Neville replied. "She refused to pay the galleons that the Minister wanted."

"I wished I'd known," Harry said. "I'd have forced the Minister to let her sit wherever she wanted."

"Actually, that's why she didn't come anyway," Neville blushed. "Gran has a tendency to get her way and didn't want to make a commotion on your night."

"Zen if you don't mind, I definitely would like to meet your grandmother," Alain chuckled. "She sounds like a woman I would want on my side."

"Now Mr. Potter, that interview?" Skeeter said again

With a sigh and a glance at Fleur, Harry nodded.

"Excellent, let's go somewhere a bit more private shall we?" Skeeter suggested as she took Harry and Gabrielle by the arm and started to lead them away.

"We will come wiz you," Fleur said as she and Hermione moved to joined them.

"Not too far," Alain cautioned.

"Of course Papa," Fleur replied. They moved a few chairs down and Fleur put up a privacy charm.

"You implied you had important news concerning Veela," Skeeter started. "Something about you and your girlfriend?"

"Before Harry answers that," Hermione interjected. "How do you plan to portray Gabrielle and Veela in general?"

"After Mr. Potter's little surprise tonight along with his and Fleur's speeches?" Skeeter snorted. "I believe a favorable showing of Gabrielle is in my best interest. It would be difficult to do that without an equivalent good portrayal of Veela. Besides, you've provided me with enough surprises that I know where more stories will probably come from."

"Well in zat case," Fleur said, "I think you are in for even more surprises zis evening."

"So it is a bond?" Skeeter asked as her eyes widened. "This love bond thing that was in that chapter?"

"Oui," Gabrielle replied. "Arry is my bondmate."

"Oh…tell me about it," Rita said as she pulled out her quill and parchment. "How did someone so young entice Mr. Potter into a lifelong commitment?"

"Love," Harry replied for Gabrielle. "The enticement was love. She loves me and wanted to share her life with me."

"But zere is something else," Fleur added.

"What?" Rita asked. "Something magical?"

"Well the bond is Veela magic and it's made of love," Hermione replied.

"Actually love is magic all by itself," Harry said. "The something else though is that I'm actually in love with three women and they are in love with me."

"What do you mean three?" Rita asked skeptically. "And how…I mean you're bonded to Miss Delacour?"

"We are all love bonded to 'Arry," Fleur explained. "And before you ask, yes, 'Ermione is part of ze bond, and no she ees not Veela but just accept that because she was in love with 'Arry as well, Gabrielle and I wanted 'er to join ze bond and it 'appened."

"All three of you?" Rita asked incredulously. "You're serious? This isn't some kind of joke to get back at me for the earlier articles?"

"Rita," Fleur said. "You 'ave been fair since we made our bargain, so we 'ave no reason to…to prank you. We are very serious. 'Arry is our bondmate. All of our bondmates…and our fiancé."

Each of their bondmates pulled out their rings and slid them on their left ring fingers and held them out for the reporter to see. "No espièglerie…eh…prank," Fleur continued. "Now you have zree ladies to do stories on and ze story of ze bond as well."

"Of course the story of the bond will be in the French Newspapers in two days...if you want to wait," Hermione added.

For once in her life, Rita Skeeter had no idea what to say but that did not stop her mind from calculating the galleons she could get paid for these stories. Finally she shook her head knowing there was no way she was going to let this story get away. "No...I believe you. All three?" She continued to look from one young woman to the next and then finally at Harry.

"All zree," Gabrielle replied as she took Harry's arm.

"We will answer any reasonable questions," Hermione continued. "And we brought these pictures for you to use," She handed over a package of pictures similar to the one given to Molly Weasley. These not only had Harry and his bondmates, but each of the young women by themselves as well.

Rita slid the photos from the package and thumbed through them. "Oh…oh my…oh these will sell very very well," she mumbled to herself. "This will make an excellent cover photo of Witch Weekly and this one," she indicated one with the three women together, "I know Teen Witch weekly will want," Rita finally looked up with a smile. "Now…let's get to those interviews. It's looks like I've got a lot of writing to do…"

"Just remember zat we want to know what is to be written," Fleur said. "When you 'ave your articles finished, send zem to us by way of ze French embassy. Zey'll get to us. Ze Quibbler article about ze bond itself needs to be written quickly. As we said, ze news will be in the French newspapers in two days."

"I can see the headline now," Rita said "Harry's Harem or maybe Potter's…..Potter's...oh something has to work with Potter.."

"Well Paramour is an archaic form of beloved..." Hermione answered without thinking. "Wait…no not that…and we aren't a Harem."

"But you are my beloved," Harry said. "All of you."

"Yes well it also means an adulterous woman," Hermione explained, "And we definitely don't need anything like that in this story."

"Ow about Ze-Boy-Who-Lived-Twice-Loves-Thrice?" Gabrielle suggested.

"Oh…that is excellent young lady," Skeeter said as she wrote that phrase at the top of her parchment.

"And as I said, please refrain from using the word Harem," Hermione repeated. "We personally find it a bit derogatory since it suggests we are not equal to Harry."

"Fine…besides I like Gabrielle's headline idea and that takes the story in a different direction anyway," Rita replied. "Now…tell me how this all happened? How did Harry capture your hearts?"

A very happy Rita Skeeter left later that night with Xenophilius in tow. He was looking very disgruntled as he wanted to return to the fountain to continue examining the Arumus Cancarus. "We don't have time to…I mean we have to get that magazine of yours printing. "

"So ze interview went well?" Alain asked the teens.

"I think Skeeter is one 'appy woman right now," Fleur replied. "She was just given ze story of ze year."

"An ally in ze press is always a good thing," Alain said, "especially one like Miss Skeeter. Now let's get you back to where you need to be."

"What about the two men who were to be arrested tonight," Harry asked.

"I saw no commotion, but I shall ask Madam Bones tomorrow," Alain replied. "Zere should 'ave been no way for zem to know zey were in danger. 'Opefully ze women zey are 'olding can be rescued."

"Anything else from anyone?" Hermione asked this question clearly wanting to know if more was known about Tonks or Marl.

"Non, but as soon as you are back safely in zat 'ouse, I will be contacting ze Embassy to see if zere 'as been further news. I will let you know as quickly as I can."

"Shouldn't someone be there for Tonks?" Harry asked.

"I spoke wiz 'er mother earlier as well as just a few minutes ago," Alain replied. "Zough we 'ad made arrangements for 'er to return wiz me tonight, she is now going to delay for a day."


"Dumbledore asked 'er too," Alain explained.

"What? Why would he do that?" Hermione asked.

"Mrs. Tonks is in a unique situation," Alain replied, "both in 'er personal life and in...in other possibilities. Zough she 'as a daughter in a 'ospital in Paris, she also 'as a sister who is distraught over 'er son."

"What?" Harry asked in obvious confusion, but then he remembered the tapestry and Sirius' words. "Her mother Andromeda was my favorite cousin," As well as the two people who were on either side of the burned hole where Tonks' mother had been. "Malfoy?"

"Oui," Alain replied. "Mrs. Malfoy is 'er sister."

"But why would Dumbledore want her to stay," Harry asked. "Between Tonks and Malfoy..."

"I thought you believed family was important?" Alain interrupted and then continued before Harry could reply. "Mrs. Tonks...she is not on good terms with Mrs. Malfoy and of course 'er daughter is more important, but still all family is important. Now for why would Dumbledore ask 'er to delay for a day; think about ze possibilities. Not only might a single day of delay and an offer of comfort help erase decades of resentment and anger between sisters...sisters who did love one another when zey were children..."

At those words, Harry swallowed as he remembered his own mother's letter about her sister and her regrets.

"It could also lead someone who 'eld ze very views of Voldemort 'erself, down a different path." Alain continued. "Dumbledore believes, and I agree with 'im, zat Narcissa Malfoy could be a potent ally. She and 'er 'usband were very influential people in ze pureblood society...if 'er opinions change, it just might influence others to do ze same."

"You really think Narcissa Malfoy is going to change her beliefs?" Hermione replied in disbelief.

"Dumbledore considers it is a definite possibility," Alain replied. "And in zis particular case, I agree wiz 'im. She is very distraught and turning 'er away would definitely not 'elp but providing 'er a bit of support and care could go a long way in ze other direction."

"I still think that Tonks is more important," Harry exclaimed. "I mean she risked her life to save people and now she's been hurt and no one is with her."

"Oui, but it is only for a day longer, besides I never said she was alone," Alain replied with a small smile. "Zere is a young man; ze young man who you met in my office, with 'er. She requested 'e be asked to join 'er if possible. Zough I think she was already under ze influence of ze pain potions when she asked. Ze said to tell 'im not to bring any pigs." The last was said in confusion.

"Pigs?" Fleur asked sharing her father's confused look.

"Eet is what she said," Alain replied with a shrug. "As I said, she was probably under ze influence of ze pain potions."

*** E E ***

July 26th

"Well she's doing a good job so far," Hermione replied the next day as she and Fleur read over the article that Skeeter planned to publish in the Quibbler. Rita had sent the scrolls to the French Embassy who had forwarded them to Arthur's office. Spread out in front of them were rolls of parchment. "She kept the story to what we wanted. That it was Gabrielle's idea that we do the bond to prove our love to Harry."

"Oui. Eet was ze only way to explain what she 'eard in ze graveyard," Fleur said. "She 'ad to 'ave overhead me telling 'Arry zat I loved 'im then."

"So what'd she write?" Harry asked.

Fleur pushed the parchment over to him and he read.


By Rita Skeeter

I have teamed with world renowned magazine publisher, Xenophilius Lovegood to break the hearts of all the Harry Potter admirers in Magical Britain and around the world. To all of those admirers I am sorry to say that I have discovered that Harry Potter is no longer an unspoken for man. As my faithful readers know, I have alluded to our Hero's current love interest, a Miss Gabrielle Delacour, former Beauxbatons Academy of Magic student, daughter of the French Deputy Minister of Magic and sister of Fleur Delacour who recently received the Order of Merlin second class for her bravery in the Battle of the Graveyard. I presumed that as with all young love that it would be fleeting and soon our young hero would be back enticing young witches again. Now I have discovered there is much, much more to Harry Potter's love life. In the last few months, as Harry showed his heroism time and time again, Miss Delacour's sister, the lovely Fleur Delacour and Harry's longtime friend Hermione Granger also developed feelings for the Boy-Who-Lived-Twice. Though most people would expect the younger Delacour to express jealousy or possessiveness; that was the last thing Gabrielle decided to do. Upon realizing her own sister and one of her closest friends had fallen deeply in love with her own boyfriend, she decided to share his love with them.

"It was the only thing I could do if they truly loved Harry," Gabrielle explained in our interview. "Otherwise I lose my sister and best friend. Besides Harry has enough love for us all. So...I offered to share his love."

Yes my readers, she said share. And not just share in a few dates, but with approval from Harry Potter who had admittedly fallen for the two other young women as well, she insisted that they prove their love of him by joining her in forming a Veela love bond with our Hero. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Veela love bond, it's an unbreakable bond that can only be formed by the true love of a Veela, or in the case of Hermione Granger, who, of course is not a Veela, her true love and the two other Veelas' aid and magic. The bond is also extremely dangerous to the Veela for she must trust the recipient completely. Once she initiates the bond, she is at the mercy of the person she loves. If that person chooses to not accept the bond, the consequences to the Veela are unimaginable.

Her sister and Hermione Granger accepted the offer and their love proved true as the bond formed between all four of them. Yes my readers, you read correctly, Harry Potter is love bonded to three young and incredibly talented witches. In an effort to prove his own love to the women in his life, Mr. Potter proposed to all three of them just recently (pictures of their matching engagement rings will be revealed in a follow-up story in next week's Witch Weekly as well as an expose on the three ladies in next month's Teen Witch.)

"Witch Weekly and Teen Witch?" Harry asked.

"Let her make her galleons," Hermione shrugged. "At least we're getting a say in what's written. Can you imagine what she'd have written otherwise?"

"Nothing we'd have enjoyed," Harry agreed as he pushed the scrolls back over to Fleur after only quickly perusing the rest of the article.

"We'll use Hedwig to return zem to 'er with our approval," Fleur said. "With a reminder to show us ze other articles before zey are published."

"Send them directly to Luna's house," Hermione suggested. "She said they publish the Quibbler in their home."

As they watched Hedwig launch herself out a window and fly into the evening sun, Harry realized that in just a few hours the whole world would know of the relationship he shared with his bondmates. He smiled as he turned to look at his bondmates. "No more hiding?"

"And no more removing zis," Fleur said as she lifted her left hand and indicated her engagement ring.

Harry took her hand and gently kissed the ring, and then the back of her hand. Slowly he kissed his way up her arm and was about to start on her neck when a sigh could be heard as Ron entered the room.

"Do you really have to kiss them all the time?" Ron asked.

"I only have one pair of lips and three ladies to kiss," Harry replied as he turned to his friend. "I thought we were okay with this?"

"Yeah, I know…it's just…I don't know..." Ron muttered as his face flushed. "Just give me time okay?"

"Maybe we should think of someone that might be interested in Ron," Hermione said. "I'm not sure he's going to stop being jealous until he has at least a girlfriend."

"Maybe; but he's going to have to accept that I love you and that I plan to show you that as often as I can," Harry replied as he pulled Hermione over to him and wrapped his arms around her.

Hermione instinctively tilted her head slightly to allow Harry easier access to kiss the spot below her ear and felt her knees weaken when he did. Her eyes closed as his hot breath and lips moved down her neck.

"Uh…I'm going to order my broom tomorrow," Ron said without looking at his two old friends.

"Going with the Cleansweep?" Harry murmured through Hermione's hair.

"Yeah. I still think it's the best option for a keeper," Ron replied still trying to not notice but the slight murmurs that escaped Hermione's lips let him know exactly what was happening.

"Keeper?" Hermione asked as she finally moved away from Harry.

"Ron's going to try out for the team this year," Harry explained.

"I think you'll do well," Hermione said encouragingly.

"I hope so…I mean I think I can do it but…" Ron started but then changed the subject. "Hey Harry, want to play a game of chess?"

Harry was about to decline when Hermione urged him to play. "Spend some time with him. Fleur and I want to start working on her lesson plans for the remedial defense class and Gabrielle and Ginny are…"

"I know. They are in their room hanging Ginny's Hollyhead Harpies posters," Harry finished. "Sure Ron." Hermione gave him a kiss before she and Fleur walked out of the room.

"Great," Ron replied as he started to set up the Wizard's chess set. As he watched Ron pull out the pieces Harry couldn't help but remember Marl's comments on chess and war. Those thoughts brought about wondering what became of the man. Harry could imagine him running out into the open blasting hexes flying as he sacrificed himself to let the others escape.

"I've got to get better," Harry murmured to himself.

"What?" Ron asked. "Oh…yeah you do have a tendency to leave your queen unguarded."

"No…I mean...yeah I do," Harry replied as he decided not to describe the training he was getting since that would lead to Marl and thoughts he really didn't want to think about. As he studied the chess board he decided this time he'd started imaging the queen as one of his bondmates, and though he lost each time, he felt he was did a better job of looking out for traps.

"You actually almost beat me that time," Ron said after the fourth game. "If you'd used your rook instead of your knight to protect your bishop, you'd have put me in a bad spot. Again?"

"No," Harry replied. "I think I'm going to study some."

"Study? But it's summer?"

"I'm taking Runes next year instead of Divinations," Harry explained. "I'm hoping to be far enough along to get into a fourth year class."

"But Divinations is easy," Ron exclaimed. "You saw the work you have to do for Runes…I mean Hermione was always doing her homework."

"And checking over ours and everything else as well," Harry replied. "Look, I just think I need to do more."

"But…" Ron started but then sighed as he shrugged. "If that's what you want," Ron's freckled face broke out into a small grin. "Maybe having Hermione for a girlfriend wouldn't have been such a good idea anyway. She'd never let me sleep in History of Magic."

"Don't I know it," Harry silently agreed as he remembered how Hermione kept him awake during those classes.

Hedwig returned late that night with a rolled-up copy of the latest Quibbler in her talons. Two-thirds of the front cover was covered by a picture of a duck-billed Platypus while the other third had a picture of Harry surrounded by three question marks with the now-familiar headline of 'Harry Potter, Boy-Who-Lived-Twice-Loves-Thrice (but who?)'

It was with a final sigh of relief that they found the article word for word as they had approved.

%%% E E %%%

"He's made contact," Snape said to Dumbledore. It was understood who 'he' was.

"He's there?"

"I...I've been there before," Snape replied and then gave a grimace as he felt a small amount of pain in his Dark Mark. "I can't say anything more than that."

"I'm sure you'll let me know if you can determine any weaknesses I can use," Dumbledore said as he studied his spy carefully. "This is actually fortuitous because I have something I wish you to pass onto Tom. It concerns Harry Potter."

"What has the brat done now?"

"The information will be published in a magazine article as well as the French newspapers in the next couple of days," Dumbledore explained, "but you should be the first to break the news to Riddle."

Severus only nodded as he waited for the information.

"Are you familiar with Veela at all?"

"So this has to do with that young lady he's tricked into believing she's in love with him?" Severus sneered. "Did she finally come to her senses and dump the self-centered brat?"

"Do you really think I would ask you to relay such a thing to Tom?" Dumbledore asked.

"Then what?" Snape asked. "What's the press-loving fool done this time to get himself written about?"

" Are you familiar with the Veela love bond?"

"She wouldn't have?" Severus replied as he adeptly realized the connections. "Her father has more sense than that or is he enthralled by the great Harry Potter as well? Does he really believe a link to Potter will bring him greater political connections? Or did he screw up the spells and put her with child?"

"No...Miss Delacour is not pregnant but yes they are bonded. Though it's a much bigger story than that," Dumbledore continued. "She and her sister as well as Hermione Granger all are loved bonded to Harry. Of course Miss Granger is not Veela but it appears there are ways for a non-Veela to join a bond with Veela help. On top of that, he is officially engaged to them as well."

Severus studied the Headmaster hoping for some smile that might indicate he'd been attempting a sick joke but when none appeared Snape's entire insides seemed to shrink to nothing. He was suddenly back at Hogwarts watching James Potter woo any woman he wanted. His mental image then moved on to his seventh year as he watched his Lily in the arms of that arrogant idiot. Snape's stomach went from nothing to what felt like hundreds of snakes writhing. It took all of his effort to bring himself back to the present. When he finally replied his voice barely could conceal the hatred he had for the name 'Potter'. "And what did you want me to convey to the Dark Lord? That the arrogant brat…."

"Severus," Dumbledore said sharply to cut off the ranting. "I simply want you to convey that the ladies in question are protected along with Harry. They all will be returning to Hogwarts in the fall. In the meantime, all of the protections Alain Delacour and I can provide are in place."

"So you presume the Dark Lord will make an attempt on them?" Snape asked.

"Don't you?"

"Yes he would," Snape thought and the same thought was still in his mind as he knelt before the Dark Lord later that evening. "It appears young Potter has let his fame go to his head. He's now bonded himself and is engaged to three young women. Those two half-breed daughters of Alain Delacour and a mudblood by the name of Hermione Granger."

"Interesting," Riddle hissed more to himself than anyone around him.

"Dumbledore was also discussing the protections he had in place," Snape continued. "It seems he and Minister Delacour are concerned for the safety of the women and are making sure they have the same protections as Potter does until they return to Hogwarts in the fall."

"What protections?"

"I do not know," Snape replied honestly. "I only know that currently they are staying in a place protected by Fidelius and Dumbledore is the Secret Keeper."

"If you discover their plans, let me know immediately," Voldemort said.

"Yes my Lord," Severus nodded. "I also found out that Potter and those women will be returning to Hogwarts in the fall. There had been some possibility of them staying in France and attending Beauxbatons it seems."

"So...maybe Draco can be of use in that regards," Voldemort thought. "I doubt Dumbledore would have allowed anything else."

"You are correct my Lord," Snape replied.

"What else?"

"Dumbledore knows that you took this place and since he thinks I am his spy against you, he wished me to discover the fate of young Draco. It appears Narcissa beseeched Dumbledore to help find him."

"Draco is alive," Voldemort replied. "He is a pureblood and in that is worthy to live but I am still determining if he has any worth to me."

"Yes my Lord," Snape hesitated and then continued. "Would it be possible for me to see him so I can assure his mother."

"You dare question me?" Riddle's red eyes flared in anger as his wand rose.

"No my Lord...of course not," Snape replied.

"You can tell the old fool that you have discovered that young Malfoy will return to Hogwarts in the fall. That is all that you or he needs to know."

"Of course," Snape replied.

%%% E E %%%

"Draco," Voldemort hissed to the young man who sat beside Goyle at a dinner table later that evening. An attractive muggleborn witch who had been kidnapped and imperiused by a Death Eater moved quietly around the table as she arranged plates. "Your mother is concerned for you. She even went to Dumbledore to help find you."

"I don't care," Draco snapped as he eyed the shapely witch. "I don't even believe she is my mother anymore. She wanted to leave and then tried to insist that I go see Potter and some Veela whore get awarded by the Ministry?"

"Your father taught you well," Riddle said in a tone that had seduced many young men. He could see the young man's chest swell slightly and smiled internally. "Severus brought me news that I wish to discuss with you."

"M…my Lord," Draco stammered as his eyes left the witch and turned toward Voldemort.

"It seems Potter has attached himself to those Veela sisters as well as a mudblood by the name of Hermione Granger. What do you know of this final person?"

"Granger?" Draco sneered. "She's a know-it-all…All the professors love her. All except Professor Snape anyway. She has to prove she knows everything. Always raising her hand and showing off."

"Anything else?"

"She's been Potter's friend since our first year," Draco continued.

"And the Veela?" Voldemort asked. "I believe they were at Hogwarts?"

"The Beauxbatons Champion was and her sister was there ever since the second task," Draco answered after pausing a moment to consider. "She started dating Potter after he rescued her or something like that."

"Informative," Voldemort replied as he studied the young man carefully. He had started developing plans on how to best use the son of his former Death Eater. Riddle knew that once Draco returned to Hogwarts, Dumbledore would find out any secrets he might know. "But Dumbledore would never believe I'd give my actual plans so openly and to a child so he'd dismiss them as a trap. Or I can do the exact opposite and teach young Malfoy Occlumency knowing that Dumbledore would eventually penetrate the defenses. I could then plant false plans in Draco's mind, use him as a decoy and attack Dumbledore from some other angle while he is consumed by trying to bring Draco back to the light." Voldemort could see the young man's eyes had returned to the shapely witch and he smiled to himself. He knew the secret of seduction. Make the person believe you care about them, give him something he wants and also give him someone to hate. "Maybe I will give him that witch in a few weeks and let him practice the Imperius on her...show him what real power is."

After the meal, Voldemort continued to consider how the news of the bonding might help him. "If only I could get my hands on one of those creatures I might be able to use them as a means to discover the prophecy. Surely Dumbledore has told Potter about it and it's possible that Potter has informed them. That's why Dumbledore is protecting them. There must be some way…."

July 27th

"Ze American embassy notified us earlier today zat pictures of Marl's body were sent to zem as a warning," Alain said the next day to the bondmates. The hurt he felt for his old friend was evident in his tone and his eyes as he tried to keep his composure. "I've ask zat zey do zere best to recover ze body, but it is unlikely zat will 'appen."

"Oh Papa," Fleur exclaimed.

"On ze other hand, Tonks is doing much better but she will need another few days in ze 'ospital."

"And the women?" Hermione asked.

"Some are fine and are being reunited with their families, others were injured and are being treated while some 'ave…'ave been brainwashed to believe zey belong to the people who bought zem," Alain explained. "Unfortunately, some of zose are bonded."

"They…they fell in love with…" Hermione couldn't finish the sentence or even finish the thought. She had read about Stockholm Syndrome but just could not believe it could happen after what those women had to have gone through.

"Oui," Mr. Delacour replied. "But zat is not my department. I do know over one hundred more females were rescued over ze last two days and more are being sought. Not all are Veela or even witches. Zere were many muggle women, a few female vampires and even a hag."

"A hag? Who would…no I don't want to know," Harry said.

"Now I am going back to France," Alain said. "I will be back 'ere on Friday at noon to take you back," He looked at Harry. "Your birthday plans are in ze works."

"You don't have to do anything…not with Marl and everything," Harry replied.

Alain put his hand on Harry's shoulder and gave him a sad smile. "Apolline and I want to do eet and I know Marl would 'ave wanted it as well."

Harry nodded.

"I spoke with Ms. Longbottom and Neville will be joining us as well as Miss Lovegood," Alain continued.

"What about Ginny?" Gabrielle asked. "She would like to come."

"I think you need to speak to 'er mozzer about zat," Alain replied. "I do not want 'er to feel…eh...obliged because of 'er earlier missteps."

"If we invite her, we'll have to invite Ron as well," Hermione pointed out.

Harry shrugged, "He can practice flying so he can have a better chance at making the team. Besides, they would only stay until Ginny's birthday."

"That's fine. But none of us are sunbathing topless while Ron is there..."

A pairing of Rita Skeeter and Xenophilius Lovegood would be an outstandingly hilarious story to write, but it's not going to happen in this story for those of you who are wondering. I just can see her leading him around to make sure he meets the deadlines imposed on her to get the story out.

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