This is my take on the idea of a two person soul bond. I know this has been done a lot, but every story I've found were not quite right. Some were good, but each had issues, so I decided to write my own :-)
Chapter 1 – Soul Bond
The cemetery…Wormtail…Voldemort…being forced to give his blood…Death Eaters…the duel…seeing his parents…Cedric asking for his body to be taken to his parents…returning to the maze…dropping the cup…Dumbledore questioning…Hermione screaming…Moody, but not Moody...Moody in the trunk…confessions…
It all ran through Harry's head as he slowly came to consciousness. He shivered as he opened his eyes. Everything was fuzzy. Then a familiar face was there, fuzzy but perfect, and the voice. Hermione was talking to him. At first it sounded like she was distant, but gradually he came to and the voice was stronger.
"Harry! You're awake! You're shivering, are you cold? Here, I can get another blanket. How do you feel? Oh god, I'm so glad you're okay."
Then she was crying and Harry leaned over to put his hand on her shoulder.
"Hermione, I'm alright. Not cold. It's okay. Well, maybe not okay, but I'm here. Where am I anyway? I can't see."
Hermione sniffled and reached over to a small table and handed Harry his glasses. He put them on and the room came into focus. The hospital wing. Again. The sun seemed bright. It must be morning. Then he looked at the witch by his bed. She was wiping her face and staring at him. The sun hit her cloud of hair and looked like a halo. Then she gave him a small smile and Harry thought that for a minute everything would be alright. Then she exploded.
"Harry James Potter! Don't you ever scare me like that again! Too many damn times! Thought I'd lost you!"
She threw herself at him as Harry propped up on the edge of the bed. He put his hands up defensively as she smacked him on the side of the head. What the hell? Did Hermione just curse? She must really be angry.
"Mione I'm sorry. I didn't know it was a portkey. Obviously. I really don't like almost dying, despite the fact I seem to be good at it."
She calmed for a minute and just stared at him, shaking her head and looking like she was going to cry again. Harry reached out to hug her and took her in his arms. She melted into him and suddenly the world seemed to stop. He held her for a long minute and then pulled back slightly to look at her. Her eyes were puffy and her face was red. She looked like she hadn't slept much. She must have spent the night at his bedside. She was beautiful and she was his best friend. She was always there when he needed her, even when he didn't know he did. Suddenly it hit him what she meant to him. Knowing this may not be the best time, but unable to hold himself back, he let the words slip out.
"Mione, I love you. Thank you for being here. I love you so much and I'm sorry I scared you."
She looked shocked for a minute before her face lit up again and then she leaned in closer, giving him an invitation he couldn't refuse. Harry pulled her to him again and kissed her deeply. The kiss was amazing, like everything light and good was being poured into him. She opened her lips slightly and he began to caress her with his tongue as the kiss continued. Then something strange happened. Suddenly the room seemed to be bathed in a brilliant blue-white light and a chiming could be heard, growing gradually louder. As they pulled back from the kiss, the light flashed and the chime crescendoed and died. The two were left staring at each other, unable to explain how, but knowing something truly special had just happened, even if they didn't understand.
"I love you too Harry."
"Oh my, I think I need to get the headmaster."
The two teens were startled, not realizing anyone else was nearby. Turning, they saw Madam Pomfrey standing a short distance away with a shocked expression. She turned before they could say anything and bustled out of the room. Shrugging her shoulders, Hermione decided that she wanted to kiss Harry again. So she did. This time wasn't as spectacular, but it was still wonderful. As they kissed and she leaned in, she found herself with her knees on the bed. Laughing, Harry pulled her over onto the bed and she settled into his side, happy to snuggle with him and just enjoy a few brief moments together. Hermione wondered what had happened, but she didn't get much time to ponder as the Headmaster, Professor McGonagall and Madam Pomfrey came running into the hospital wing. They paused at Harry's bed and the look that Dumbledore gave them was most peculiar.
"Good morning Harry. I'm glad to see you're awake. Poppy told me about what happened a few minutes ago. I was wondering if you could explain what you remember?"
Harry looked at Hermione and grinned. Then he blushed and tried to find his voice.
"Um, well headmaster, I woke up and Hermione was here and she got kind of angry at me for almost dying again and then I hugged her because she was upset and all of a sudden I realized how I felt about her. I guess I fell in love with her in the past couple years, but I was confused about our friendship. I couldn't help myself, so I told her how I felt. Then I kissed her and she kissed me back and there was some kind of lights and music. At least I think there were, maybe my head is still addled, but I don't think so. When we kissed it was amazing, like when I cast my patronus and I can feel my magic rising. Except there was also this feeling as if everything good was being poured into me. Like the opposite of what I feel near the dementors. It was quite a kiss."
Harry looked at Hermione and she grinned at him. He gave her a brief peck and she giggled and looked over at the three adults. Madam Pomfrey was smiling. Professor McGonagall seemed surprised and Dumbledore was stroking his beard. He took a moment and then smiled and looked at Hermione.
"Hermione, what is your viewpoint of what happened?"
"Well, it was like Harry said. He told me he loved me. And that was amazing, because I realized last year that I'd fallen in love with him, but I was afraid to tell him and I thought it was maybe just hormones and would pass, but it hasn't. Then he told me he loved me and it was amazing and then he kissed me and it was just perfect."
Dumbledore smiled even more.
"Ah, well then, it seems that it is much like Poppy said. And I think I know what has happened. Quite surprising at your age, but not unheard of. Do you have any idea?"
When neither Harry or Hermione responded, he continued.
"It would seem that the two of you have soul bonded. And I can see by the look on Hermione's face that the pieces are starting to fall into place for her. I'm sure she had read about soul bonds. They are most rare and extremely special. The fact that the two of you found each other so early in life is a unique blessing. Of course, it comes with a number of ramifications. Before we discuss those though, perhaps it would be best to get you out of the hospital wing and we can proceed to my office. Poppy, I believe you said he was due to be discharged?"
"Yes Albus. Right away. I just have one more potion to finish the treatment for the cruciatus. Then he may get dressed and go."
Hermione separated herself from Harry reluctantly and he took the dreadful potion and quickly donned the clean clothes that the house elves had delivered. With Madam Pomfrey's final good wishes, he took Hermione's hand and followed Dumbledore and McGonagall to the headmaster's office. Once they entered, they took two chairs that he offered, but kept their hands linked. Dumbledore was about to speak when a noise at the window stopped him. Looking up, he waved his hand and opened the window to allow two screech owls and a tawny owl to fly in. The owls settled in front of Harry and Hermione, depositing their parchments before accepting brief scratches and flying back through the window. Dumbledore closed the window as Harry reached for the two parchments in front of him and Hermione reached for the one in front of her. Before they could unroll them, Dumbledore spoke.
"Now, before you open those, I think we need to talk. I have an idea where those came from and I think you should be prepared for what they contain. First, Hermione, what do you remember from your readings on soul bonds?"
"Soul bonds are a unique bond between two magical beings. Usually a witch and wizard, although there have been noted cases of two witches, two wizards, two dragons and, on rare occasions, two different magical beings that have soul bonded. As far as documented cases, it happens maybe a couple times in a century. Soul bonding is acknowledged by the magical authorities as a complete legal bonding. Also, those involved in a soul bonding usually find their magic increases afterward, although often it helps if their bound partner is nearby."
"Very correct as far as the known texts have detailed. Of course, each recorded bond has been quite different and they are still rare enough that they are not fully understood. You mentioned that the bonding is regarded the same as a legal bonding. Here is where things get a bit sticky shall we say. This may come as a bit of a shock, but I am fairly certain that two of those owls are from Ministry congratulating you on your bonding. As of today, you are essentially married. You may have noticed that I addressed you as Hermione instead of Miss Granger. That is because you are now Mrs. Potter. I would also guess that the second owl that Harry received is from Gringotts. Upon his bonding, it also makes him legally emancipated and able to take on his title of Lord Potter, including control of the family vault. Also, with Harry being emancipated and the two of you being bonded, it means that Hermione is emancipated. Perhaps you should check your letters and see if I'm correct."
Harry and Hermione sat in a bit of shock, then turned to each other. Their hands were still linked as they tried to grasp what had happened. Finally they came out of their daze and separated long enough to unroll the parchments. Each had near identical letters of congratulations from the Ministry. Harry also had a letter from Gringotts congratulating him and requesting his attendance to speak with his account manager, Silverstaff, at his earliest convenience. It was all a bit much to take in, but Harry worried first about Hermione. They were married now. He loved her of course and the idea didn't really bother him. It was a bit early, but he had entertained dreams of having her as his wife someday. Of course those had been very private thoughts that he had chided himself over. Even though this didn't bother him, how would she feel being stuck with him?
"Mione, how are you? I know this is a lot to take in. I love you, and I feel lucky to call you mine, even if it is sudden. I worry though, how are you feeling?"
He squeezed her hand and she returned the squeeze, smiling at him.
"Honestly Harry, I'm still a bit stunned. Although, after nearly losing you yesterday, I'd take where we are now a million times over that. I don't think I would have been able to go on if I lost you. So, I guess that means I'm okay with this. It will take a bit to adjust to."
Harry leaned over and kissed her soundly before pulling back to smile at her. As they sat, staring and grinning at each other, Dumbledore cleared his throat.
"Well, you are taking the news well. I think it is helpful that the two of you have been friends for so long and these feelings have been building for some time. Now, we must discuss next steps. First, you need to visit Gringotts. Next, I suppose we need to make an announcement to the school. I'll let you decide how much you wish to tell, but so that you know, the light that accompanied your bonding was seen on the lawn. Minerva was actually on her way to the hospital wing to check on you when Poppy bumped into her on the way to retrieve me. Finally, there is the issue of Hermione's parents. If you wish, myself or Minerva can accompany you to explain this."
Harry took a moment to think and then turned to lean into Hermione as they discussed the options quietly between them. After a couple minutes, they pulled back and Hermione spoke.
"Headmaster, Harry and I think we will have to tell the school. If the Ministry knows, then it won't remain a secret for long. As for my parents, we will go together, but without assistance. If we are emancipated, then we need to do this on our own as adults. It won't be easy, but I believe my parents will grow to understand."
"Alright, very well. First things first, are you ready to visit Gringotts? This office is the one place in Hogwarts that you can apparate from. I know neither of you have trained yet, so perhaps Minerva can escort you? Given the events of yesterday, I would prefer if you do not go unguarded. Also, when you go home, I will have to insist that you have an Auror guard."
Harry and Hermione agreed and Professor McGonagall promptly apparated them to the Leaky Cauldron. They then made their way to Diagon Alley and Gringotts. Prior to entering, she pulled them to one side to talk.
"Mister Potter. I know you've had a lot happen recently and are probably still in a bit of shock, but now is not the time to show it. A bit of advice. When dealing with goblins, you must exude confidence as much as possible. You are no longer Mister Potter, but Lord Potter of an ancient and noble house. You must show that you understand this and be confident and demanding when dealing with the goblins. Do you understand? The same goes for you, Lady Potter. You are now the mistress of an ancient and noble house."
Harry and Hermione both nodded and McGonagall turned as they proceeded on into the bank. Harry approached the front desk and addressed the goblin.
"Good morning sir. Lord and Lady Potter are here to speak with their account manager."
Hermione squeezed his hand in appreciation at his including her. The goblin looked down on them, nodded and shuffled off. A minute later, he reappeared. Not saying anything, he gestured them to follow.
"Lord Potter, I will wait here in the lobby while you and your lady attend to your business. I do not anticipate any threats from within these halls."
Harry nodded at Professor McGonagall, trying not to appear startled by her tone of deference to himself. Turning, he moved to follow the goblin. They made their way through the massive marble lobby and into a hallway lined in polished oak with thick blood red carpet muffling their footsteps. The hallway seemed to go on forever, but at the fourth door the goblin stopped and pointed as the door with a simple silver nameplate that read 'Silverstaff' slowly opened. Stepping forward boldly, Harry led them in, still holding Hermione's hand. The inside of the office was paneled in darker wood than the hallway, but sconces on every wall lit the room well. The carpet was similar, but included a faint pattern outlined in black against the red. The walls were adorned with a number of odd medals and the center of the room was taken up by a massive desk that appeared to be carved from a solid block of mahogany. Behind the desk on the wall hung a well-polished silver staff. Behind the desk sat an old goblin who was quite large for his race, being only a half head shorter than Harry. He regarded the new lord carefully as he entered.
"Welcome Lord Potter. Congratulations on your bonding and your ascendancy to your position. Welcome to Gringotts. I am Silverstaff, the Potter account manager for the past seventy two years."
"Good day honorable Silverstaff. I hope the day finds your house well and your coffers full. My thanks for your seeing me on such short notice."
Harry felt a sense of approval come from Hermione. Or at least he thought it was her. She was standing quite close to him. He had come up with the greeting quickly, remembering a few lines from his History of Magic texts. Silverstaff seemed a bit surprised and offered them seats. Harry thought that he must have done well. He pulled out Hermione's seat and then sat himself. He wasn't sure how to proceed, but in the brief moment of pause, Silverstaff spoke for him.
"Now Lord Potter, I would assume with your recent bonding that you are quite busy so we will get down to the tasks at hand. First, now that you have reached adulthood, you are assuming the role of your head of house since the previous head of house deceased while you were a minor. When that happens, the house ring automatically returns to Gringotts since the rings of the ancient and noble houses are all goblin crafted. We also hold the will of your parents, although it is fairly straightforward. You are the sole heir of everything they leave. We will detail this shortly, but it includes their vault, which will be transferring ownership to you today. There is also the matter of your lady. Although you are bonded, you may choose to accept her as wife or instead take her as concubine, leaving the position of wife open for you to take another in the future. Of course, if you choose to take her as wife, you may still take concubines in the future as well. First, your ring."
Harry was a bit stunned by everything that was being presented, but was careful to school his emotions. This was something that he was well practiced with from growing up with the Dursleys. He could never show when something pleased him or else they would take it away or end it immediately. In addition, he learned how to magnify his apparent pain and emotions to end punishments quicker. As he faced the goblin, he made his expression passive as a small wooden box with an intricate inlay of gold was pushed toward him. The inlay was a crest showing a shield with a rose wrapped around a lion alongside a mountain with a stream. Harry opened the box and inside was a ring made with a rounded gold band on top of which was a ring of embossed gold holding a carved ruby that bore the same image as was displayed on top of the box. Harry reached and took the ring, placing it on his right pinkie finger. As he did, a brilliant gold light flashed in the room and the large ring shrunk until it fit his finger perfectly. Silverstaff looked at him with a bit of a strange expression. Once the light was gone, Harry saw a second ring that had been below his ring. This one was smaller with a band that appeared to be a vine, topped with a smaller ruby with much finer detail worked into it. It was obviously a lady's ring and he took it out to offer it to Hermione. Before he could, Silverstaff spoke.
"A moment my Lord. Before you offer your lady the ring of your house, you must know that this will designate her as your wife. A concubine does not wear a house ring."
"Thank you Silverstaff. It is my intention that Hermione be my wife. I have no desire for a concubine."
Turning to Hermione, Harry looked at her and smiled.
"I guess this is a bit after the fact since we already bonded, but I feel that this is only right. Hermione Jean, I love you with all of my heart. You are my best friend. Will you consent to take the role of my wife and wear the ring of my house?"
"Yes my lord. I love you and could want nothing more."
Hermione eyes twinkled as she smirked at him. Harry grinned and placed the ring on her right pinkie finger. A similar golden light encompassed them both as both their rings flashed and a beam joined the two. Once the light finished, Harry leaned forward, gave Hermione a chaste kiss and whispered quietly.
"Once we get a chance, I will do things right and get a ring for your other hand."
Silverstaff watched them and, as Harry turned back to him, he thought he saw what might pass for a goblin smile.
"Hmm, very interesting. The house magic has accepted you well. We don't get the flash often. I think you may bear watching young Lord Potter. Now, do you realize the significance of your family crest?"
"No, unfortunately I do not. Can you please assist my knowledge honorable Silverstaff?"
"The crest of the Potters is one that has developed over time and tells a good deal about the history of your family. The Potter name is not one that goes back to the earliest history of wizardkind, although it does go far. The Potter line also includes the last remaining blood of two other ancient and historical families whose name has become extinct. First, the rose is the symbol of Peverell family. Another symbol has come to be associated with the last three of that line, but that is a story for another time. Next, the lion is one that you should be familiar with, as it the symbol of Gryffindor. Finally, the mountain and stream is for the Potter line. Your family chose to associate themselves most closely with the land from whence they came, but also to include a link to two of the greatest wizarding families that contributed their blood to your own."
Silverstaff paused and Harry took a moment to absorb what he was learning. He was heir to Godric Gryffindor? How could the sorting hat have ever thought to put him in Slytherin? Well, that was something to ponder for another time. Now Silverstaff was pulling out another box, although he did not immediately offer it to Harry.
"Now Lord Potter, there is another ring that is due to you. This one carries an unusual history. This is the ring for a house that also went extinct, but who was never absorbed into another family. The last of this house was a woman who never married to pass on the blood. Thus, this ring is to be passed on to the last known blood tie to the family. The ring is that of the family Ravenclaw. It was the ring that Rowena Ravenclaw wore upon her marriage into the family. That marriage produced only one child, a daughter, before her husband's untimely death. When that daughter produced no progeny, the male ring was destroyed. Because Helena died before her mother, Rowena passed her ring by preference to her eldest niece. Since that time the ring has always gone to the eldest daughter of the family. In the ensuing centuries as families intermarried, the Ravenclaw ring was passed to a young girl named Beatrice. She in turn married a man name Linfred. That man became the founder of the Potter line. While this ring has traditionally been handed down to the eldest daughter, in the case of no female heirs, a son may choose to gift it to his bride. I explain this now so that you may make the decision on whether you wish to gift the ring to your wife. If not, we will hold it until you produce a female for the family line."
"Thank you Silverstaff. It seems there is much I need to learn of my family history. I wish Hermione to have the Ravenclaw ring, but I must ask, what does it bring with it?"
"Unfortunately, no artifacts are left from Rowena Ravenclaw. There are rumors, but those are tales from history. The ring itself is one of the last items we have left from her. Of course, the woman who wears the Ravenclaw ring has rights to vote over Hogwarts. Also, since you wear the ring of the last blood of Gryffindor, you hold the right to vote over Hogwarts as well."
"Vote over Hogwarts? What do you mean?"
This time it was Hermione who spoke up.
"Harry, it's something I read about in Hogwarts: A History, although the privilege hasn't been exercised in hundreds of years. Each of the four founders had one vote on all decisions related to the school. If they tied, then nothing was done. Anyone could also abstain and not vote. The votes of the founders override any appointees such as a headmaster. If this reasoning is correct, the two of us with our two votes could override Professor Dumbledore if we chose. Unless the descendants of the other two founders voted against us."
"Indeed Lady Potter, you are well versed in the history. As for the other descendants, the only one that remains of Slytherin's line is the one that you fight. As for Hufflepuff, there are no descendants and the Hufflepuff rings have been destroyed. So, yes, if you chose, the two of you have a controlling vote in regards to the school. Now, do you wish to take your ring?"
Silverstaff pushed the box toward Hermione and Harry gave her a nudge. She reached and opened it to reveal a lighter gold simple band with an intrically carved sapphire depicting an eagle wrapped in vines. She took the ring and placed it on her pinky finger. A brief glow emitted and the ring wrapped itself around her other, merging and placing the smaller blue stone below the larger red ruby.
"Now then, on to the next order of business. The will of James Henry Potter and Lily Evans Potter. I will let you look it over, but it quite simply bequeaths everything to their only surviving son, Harry James Potter. They also make provisions within to allow their account manager at Gringotts to oversee all business dealings if they should be deceased prior to their son reaching an age of majority, with a profit taking of 20% for agreed upon services. The will was modified and filed on October 3rd, 1981, shortly before they went into hiding. Once you look over and accept the will, I will detail what all the holdings entail."
Harry took the will and leaned over so Hermione could see it as well. He scanned the main paragraphs, skipping over the long listing of properties, businesses and holdings. It seemed to be much as Silverstaff explained, although he was curious about the overseeing of the businesses. Wanting to move on with the explanations, he conferred with Hermione and she agreed that overall it looked straightforward. Returning the scroll to the desk, Harry looked at his account manager.
"Everything looks to be in order. I will accept the will, although I will appreciate having the details explained first."
"Indeed. Let us proceed with that order of business, then we will finalize your acceptance. First, there is the Potter vault at Gringotts. Per the last quarterly assessment, the vault contains 27,340,211 galleons. Current exchange rate to the British pound is 31.2 to the galleon, bringing the total value of gold in the vault to 853,014,583 pounds, rounded down. The vault also contains 112 paintings, 92 furnishings and rugs, 140 items of jewelry, 427 books and 319 additional artifacts."
Silverstaff paused and looked at the young lord and lady. Harry had turned to Hermione and they were both stunned by the wealth that was Harry's. Hermione's hand trembled in his. Silverstaff restrained himself, enjoying their shock. The young lord had done well keeping himself composed, but he was still quite young. Once they seemed to have collected themselves, he decided to continue.
"In addition to contents of the vault, your family also holds a number of patents. Patents have different durations, but currently there are 11 spell patents for which the Ministry pays a set amount for the use of spells developed by your ancestors. You also hold 33 potion patents, of which 29 are commercially available. Anyone who markets any of those potions pays a percentage to your family. You also hold another six miscellaneous patents, of which the most lucrative comes from your grandfather Fleamont who developed the modern sneakoscope. All patents are magically binding and any monies that are due to a patent holder are automatically rescinded to the family vault. In addition to patents, there are three family businesses that are still running. First, a modest apothecary import and export business that brings many rare specimens into Britain that are desirable for potion making. This business was begun by your great-great grandfather Charles. Second, the sneakoscope business that your grandfather founded. While the patent can be used by others with payment, the original Fleamont sneakoscope is renowned for its quality and craftsmanship. Finally, in conjunction with the apothecary import, you own a separate potion manufacturing company that has been in business for well over three hundred years. Potions are actually what the Potters are most known for. Your three companies employ a total 42 witches and wizards. As mentioned in the will, your parents left the management of the companies to Gringotts for an agreed management fee of 20% of profits. Actually, your father never managed any of the companies and they have been under our management since Fleamont's death. I might add that all the companies have done quite well with none of them garnering you less than 23,000 galleons profit per year. Next after the businesses, the will details all physical properties passing to your possession. This includes the following: 210 Avalon Lane, Godric's Hollow; Druimoor Estate near the village of Cleeveflower in the west country near Exmoor; Dedianos estate on the island of Leros, Greece; 32 hectares near the village of Saint-sur-Gironde in the Bourdeaux region of France. The notes indicate that the first property was your parents residence and the second is the historic Potter estate, where your grandparents resided and where your parents planned to move after the war. Per the will directives, Gringotts has warded all properties and performs a yearly check on each to ensure their maintenance. In addition to residences, there were two house elves bound to Druimoor. The eldest of the elves passed one year after your parents and the last elf was found deceased of old age two years ago. You are due to file for replacements with the Ministry if you wish. Now, that completes the full list of all that has been bequeathed. Do you have any questions?"
Harry took a moment to let everything settle. Looking to Hermione, he could see she was thinking of something. He nodded at her to proceed. Smiling, she turned her attention to Silverstaff.
"Thank you sir for detailing us in full. I have a couple questions. First, in regards to the patents. My understanding is that patents only last for a set time. An owner may apply to extend them beyond that for a total extension of no greater than four hundred years. For the patents that Harry now holds, are any due to expire soon and have any already been extended? Second, in regards to the businesses, how are the employees dealt with? Do Gringotts goblins oversee them? As for the properties, has anything been done to maintain them? Do you know how long it has been since any of the Potters visited the properties in Greece or France?"
"Lady Potter, in regards to your first question, of the fifty patents only two of the potion patents are due to expire in the next five years. As for the number of extensions, most of the potion patents are the oldest. Sixteen will reach the four hundred year mark within the next sixty years. After that time, they will be open for anyone. Only one of the spell patents has been extended and it is only at 119 years. The six miscellaneous patents are all within their first one hundred years. Two will need to be renewed in eight years. As for your second question, the managing of the businesses is handled by myself and three of my staff, as I am your account manager. On a daily basis, the employees are handled by a business manager that is a wizard or witch we appoint. On average, senior officials in each business will see a goblin associate once a quarter. The average working people will never see us. The three Potter businesses have been quite stable and we have been able to manage them from a distance primarily. I sense you are concerned about the employees and I can tell you that none of the management has ever issued layoffs and anyone fired was due to just cause. Issues such as those come to me directly for my oversight. Finally, in regards to the properties, occasional maintenance is needed and is performed as deemed necessary by one of our property specialists. There is a yearly property maintenance fee that covers our keeping track of the properties. We will then hire out contracting services as needed. Per the wishes of the city council in Godric's Hollow, your parents' home has not been repaired since Voldemort's attack, but has been left as a memorial. I can say that Druimoor needed a new roof three years ago and was taken care of appropriately. The property in Greece is quite small and has needed little work. The property in France is land only, but the notes I have indicate it is well situated and quite picturesque if you did wish to build there."
"Thank you Silverstaff. I have a question now. Regarding the vault. You listed gold and a number of items. I have been in the vault once to take money out for school and all I ever saw was a pile of galleons, knuts and sickles. While plentiful, the amount wasn't as much as you listed and I didn't see anything else."
"Yes Lord Potter. When you visited the vault, you were shown the front portion only as you had not yet reached your majority. Your parents authorized that five percent of the funds be made available to you during your schooling. If you choose to visit the vault today, you will see it in its entirety. Now, any more questions?"
Harry looked at Hermione and she shook her head. Turning back, he addressed Silverstaff.
"I think that covers this for now. I may have additional questions in the future."
"Very good. Whenever you do, just send an owl to my attention. Now, we need to finalize the will and agree on the details. First, do you wish Gringotts to continue with your business and property management under the existing agreement?"
"Yes, please continue the agreement until I specify otherwise. Also, can you please see to the two patent extensions and notify me when any others are due?"
"Yes, of course. Alright, here is the paperwork to finalize the will and extend the management agreements."
Harry took the paperwork and surveyed it carefully with Hermione. Everything looked to be in order. It took them nearly twenty minutes, but then he agreed to sign. Once that was done, Silverstaff looked up with his strange almost scary goblin smile.
"Thank you Lord Potter for continuing our business. Now, do you wish to visit your vault? Oh, you may also draft against your account with any participating merchant for a one percent surcharge. It makes larger transactions easier. We also have a Gringotts bag. If you wish to purchase one, they are woven of demiguise hair and will let you store up to 8000 galleons with no weight associated. We blood tie them to the owner as well so that they cannot be stolen. The cost is one hundred forty galleons each."
Silverstaff pulled out a small black bag with a gold string that was a little smaller than Harry's hand. He marveled that it could hold what the goblin claimed and he knew it would be very helpful.
"Yes sir, we would like two bags please. One for each of us."
Silverstaff nodded and pulled out a second bag.
"Alright, we need to bind the bags to you. Please place your hand palm down on the bag."
Harry did as instructed and the goblin moved his hand over Harry's. He felt a bit of heat and then a quick, burning pain. The pain subsided quickly and he raised his hand. There was a small cut that was healing over as he watched. Silverstaff handed him his bag and then proceeded to bind Hermione's bag to her.
"Well, that should conclude what we needed to discuss. Shall I have Griphook escort you to the vault now?"
"Yes, and thank you again Silverstaff. I look forward to years of successful business with you."
Harry and Hermione both shook the goblin's hand, which seemed to unnerve him a bit and then turned and left the office. Waiting outside the door was a goblin that Harry recognized from his first visit with Hagrid. Griphook motioned them to follow and soon they were in the caverns below the bank building. They climbed into the cart and began the perilous ride to the Potter vault. When they disembarked, Hermione was looking green, but tried to smile at Harry.
"I'll be glad if we don't have to do that often Harry."
Griphook led them to the vault door and turned to Harry.
"Now Lord Potter, since you are taking possession of the vault today, a new key is being issued for you. This is standard when new lords gain their majority. Please now take this key and insert it in the lock and it will bind to you. Also, since you are bound to the lady, the key will also work for her."
Harry nodded, took the key and inserted it as indicated. He once again felt a burning pain and knew that his blood was being sampled yet again. The key then turned and Griphook placed his hand on the vault door, allowing it to open. When it did, Harry and Hermione stood in stunned shock. The vault was twenty times bigger then when he had been in it before. To one side stood giant chests that were open to display galleons, sickles and knuts, all carefully divided. On the other side was an array of furniture, rolled up rugs and stacks of pictures. One long table had a number of boxes and items displayed on it. Harry stepped in and began to look around. Hermione seemed hesitant to follow and he turned back to her, taking her hand.
"Come on love, it's all yours too."
Hermione smiled and followed him in, but now she was staring at him rather than the wealth around them. Harry looked at her questioningly.
"You called me love."
"Yes I did. I didn't think about it. It just seems right. I love you."
Harry kissed her and then turned back to look around. He went to an armoire on the side and opened a couple drawers. The entire thing was full of items. A lot of it appeared to be jewelry, but there was also a full silver tea service and several devices that he had no idea what they were for.
"I could take years going through all this. I suppose right now we should get some money and put our bags to use. I think I'll go for galleons and a few sickles. We'll get knuts as we change them out."
Hermione nodded and went to start filling her bag. Harry was about to join her when an unusual item on the table caught his eye. It was a roughly wrapped brown paper package, small enough to fit in his hand. As he looked closer, he noticed familiar handwriting. It looked like Dumbledore's. He looked closer and the words written on the paper made his breath catch: Wedding rings recovered from James and Lily Potter – to be stored for Harry. Carefully he unwrapped the paper and took out a small box. Inside were two rings. One was a simple gold band with a knot design around it. The other was an intricate filigree gold ring with a yellow diamond surrounded by a ring of small rubies. As he held the symbols of his parents' love, Harry felt Hermione's hand on his arm. He turned and looked at her with tears in his eyes. Showing her the rings, he then handed her the paper wrapping. Soon she had tears as well.
"Dumbledore never told me. I guess he was waiting until the whole vault opened for me. I'm glad he saved them. My mum's ring is Gryffindor colors, yellow and red stones."
"Yes, it's quite beautiful. They had good taste."
"Hermione my love, I have a question. Answer me honestly. I want you to have a wedding ring. Or a bonding ring. Something to wear on your left hand. I would love for you to have my mother's ring, unless you want your own. You know now that I can certainly afford to get you anything you want."
Harry felt something strange, a wave of emotion seemed to be coming from Hermione as she caught her breath and began to speak.
"You'd let me wear this Harry?"
"I could think of no one else I'd want to wear it. If you want to."
Hermione responded by kissing him so thoroughly that he had no doubt about her answer. Once she let him breathe, he smiled and took her hand in his, placing the ring on it. It was a bit tight, but they could get it fit later and he still managed to wiggle it on. He kissed her again and then went to fill his bag with gold. With nothing else left to do, they turned to exit the vault. Griphook was waiting, having watched them.
"Lady Potter, if you wish, it is within my ability to size jewelry as needed."
Hermione smiled and held her hand out to the goblin. He waved his hand over hers and the ring adjusted slightly, allowing more blood flow.
"Thank you kind sir. That is much more comfortable."
Griphook just nodded, but Harry thought he saw a slight twitch in the goblin's lips. Soon they were back in the cart for the harrowing ride back to the first floor. Once they reached the main bank building, Griphook showed them back to the teller lobby. Harry and Hermione went to one of the tellers and exchanged some of their galleons for pounds. Then they exited to the outer lobby, where Professor McGonagall sat in a chair, sipping tea.
"Hello professor, our business in concluded. I hope we didn't keep you waiting long."
"Only a couple hours. Not long considering the business you had to attend to. Are you ready to return to school?"
"Yes mam, I believe we need to discuss with the headmaster how best to make our announcement."
Professor McGonagall nodded and then looked at Hermione's hand. She did a double take and Harry saw recognition in her eyes. He pulled Hermione to his side as she held up her hand.
"Yes professor, I have given Hermione my mum's ring. I offered her the choice of her own, but she accepted this. It seems appropriate, Gryffindor colors after all. Also, Silverstaff gave me the choice of what status Hermione should have, wife or concubine. To me there was no choice."
"I see. I hadn't thought about that possibility, but I wouldn't doubt your decision in that regards. I remember when James gave Lily that ring. She was so happy. I know she would be happy now to see it on the hand of your soulmate. Come, we should go."
Harry decided to ignore the tears that the stolid professor wiped away suddenly as she turned to lead them back out of the bank. He took Hermione's hand as they made their way back to school.