Re-edited: January 27, 2022

Daphne Potter nee Greengrass could have been the perfect wife.

She was beautiful, nay, beyond beautiful. Mesmerising, stunning, enthralling, really. Wavy black hair flowed in tresses down her head and down to the small of her back. Bright blue eyes, the colour of the sky, sat above high cheekbones in a perfectly symmetrical face. Her pale skin looked rich and healthy, with natural colouring giving her definition without needing to debase herself with the products others used. Make up, after all, was for plebeians not born after hundreds of years of selective breeding.

She was smart, too. Not like the Granger girl who seemed to just know things, Daphne was smart in a different way. She could deduce, extrapolate, generalise from incomplete data. She could apply what she had learned and make predictions about phenomena she was unfamiliar with. She couldn't tell you the Principal Exceptions to Gamp's Law, or how to brew Polyjuice, but she could talk for days on the latent theory behind even the simplest of charms.

And she had been raised in the ways of a traditional pureblood. She knew the etiquette, she was capable of running a household, she was fiscally trained to ensure the survival of the Greengrass family even with no male heirs. As the elder daughter, it fell upon her to continue her family name, and so it was doubly important that she get a good match. Because of that her father took no chances with her education and guaranteed her to be the perfect wife.

But just like the plant with which she shared a name, she had a poison running through her. Daphne was a loner, plain and simple. Had always been a loner. During her school years she was known as the Ice Queen, but it was not the case that Daphne was a hateful person. All she wanted was to be left alone to study the higher mysteries of magic. Since she was a child, Daphne had planned to build a tower in some out of the way forest where she could conduct her research in peace with no distractions or society telling her what was or was not acceptable for a lady.

And so when the world pulled one last trick on her in the form of a marriage contract to the Potter scion, there was little Daphne could do but mourn for her shattered dreams. She did not have anything particularly against the Vanquisher of Voldemort, she was actually rather grateful for that particular act as the Dark Lord was not conducive to her plans to disregard traditions, but there was no way she would be able to fade out of memory married to the biggest celebrity in Magical Britain.

The ceremony occurred, Potter went to work as an Auror, and Daphne stayed at home in the mansion her father had given the couple as a wedding present—under the condition that one of their children be a Greengrass. Potter had easily accepted, but it was not like he had to carry the nasty things for nine months inside of himself and then give birth to them.

So while Potter cleaned the streets, Daphne put her Slytherin nature to work, plotting and scheming ways to get back her freedom. And in what world could she have failed? She was beautiful and smart, and he already relied on her for all of what he called "pureblood nonsense" so she had his trust. How hard could killing one noble Gryffindor really be?

Normally dinner at the Potter household would be prepared by the elves, but for the first time Daphne appreciated her husband's insistence that the elves got a day off each month as it gave her the opportunity to make their meal herself. And this let her include a special surprise for her darling. Basilisk venom, bought for a small fortune from a source in Greece under a false name a couple of months ago as a safety precaution so nobody would be able to show it was her. Not that it would come to that, but no one had ever claimed Daphne didn't know the meaning of discretion.

Basilisks were rightly considered XXXXX creatures due to the combination of their instantaneous death gaze and potent venom. Strong enough to kill a grown man in under five minutes with just a drop and having only one known antidote, phoenix tears. A liquid so precious and rare there were rumours it did not actually exist, as it took an extraordinary person to convince a phoenix to shed just one tear. And while Harry Potter was certainly quite extraordinary, Daphne knew her husband had no phoenix. He was no Albus Dumbledore.

But Daphne was not completely heartless, no matter what Astoria would say. Sure, Harry Potter would die by her hand, but she would at least make his last meal enjoyable. She had prepared all his favourites, just the way she knew he liked them after nearly a year of marriage. French onion soup that smelled heavenly, beef roasted to perfection, a black berry sorbet she had made from scratch, and of course, treacle tart. Truly, Daphne had outdone herself. It was almost a shame that she wouldn't be able to have any of it due to the venom.

And perhaps she had done too good of a job because when Potter walked into the dining room after work and saw the spread he instantly knew something was up.

"What's all this now, honey? You trying to butter me up for something? You know you don't need to, I'd support you in whatever. Merlin knows how I would have managed without you, anyways."

"Oh, no, no, no, nothing like that," Daphne laughed lightly, hoping that he wasn't catching onto her nervousness, "It's just been a year today since we met, so I figured we could have a little celebration."

Potter smiled at her, that dopey smile that always makes her heart skip a beat, before taking a seat at the table and beginning to pile food onto his plate, "Wow, really? It's already been a year? Ha, time sure flies. Sorry I didn't remember, honey. Been really stressed with work, but I know that's no excuse. I'll make it up to you. And wow! Treacle tart, too! I love you so much, Daphne. Hmm, this is delicious!"

Daphne just sat there, placidly smiling at him. In truth, she did npt know if it had been a year either, that was just a hurriedly made excuse she hoped he wouldn't see through. She wished he would just die already. Every time he said he loved her, her heart broke a little bit at the deception. Then again, it also hardened every time she heard him say that the contract was the best thing that ever happened to him, despite his initial doubts. Keeping in mind that he was benefitting from her misfortune did wonders.

Five minutes quickly passed, and Potter was still eating, seemingly no worse for wear even though he had likely by this point consumed enough Basilisk venom to put down a whole herd of hippogryphs. Eventually, he noticed that she was just playing with her food and shoving what was on her plate round in circles.

"Daphne, what's wrong, honey? If you don't like this stuff you didn't have to make it. I'm touched, really, but I would rather we be happy together than you make yourself miserable to make me happy. Would you like me to make you something?" Harry said, starting to get up.

"No!" the memory of leaving the flask of Basilisk venom out on the kitchen counter flashed through her mind. If he entered the kitchen and saw that she would be outed no doubt, "I mean, no, you don't have to do that. Please, sit down, eat, enjoy. I just had a lot on my mind."

Potter's face spread into another wide smile, "Yes, how is your research going? I'd love to hear about it. Have you solved that relation that was giving you problems? I know I'm not exactly an expert at this stuff, but I'm pretty sure there was this infinite arithmetic series that you couldn't figure out if it was converging or not?"

Daphne speared a piece of roast beef on her fork and lifted it in front of her face. The venom must have been a fake. She'd have to have some words with her contacts. The black market was based on trust, and selling duds was a good way to find yourself with a wand at your throat. Oh well, no point in letting perfectly good food go to waste, and she wouldn't mind talking about her work a little.

"Well," she started, after taking a bite, "it's actually a sum of an infinite amount of coupled differential equations. I set up a runic scheme that would manually run through the sum, but it was taking too long, so I've been looking into ways to simplify the equations through approximations." She took another bite, and there was a brief lull in the conversation as the two enjoyed her cooking. She had gotten better since getting married, mostly under his guidance. Why he was so good in the kitchen was one of those things about him she told herself she did not care about. "The muggles have a lot of interesting techniques," she continued, "and I think I'm close to developing some analogs that work with magic."

"If anyone can do it, then it'll be you, Daphne. I don't know of anyone else so intuitive and determined." The two had a few more bites in silence, "So what's the next step for you, do you think? And how close are you to publishing your work? I know Hermione for one would be fascinated in what you are doing."

Daphne opened her mouth to answer, but then the room started to spin. Shaking her head, she tried to focus on the concerned visage of her husband, but she couldn't tell which of the four she could see was the real one. There was the sound of metal hitting the floor, and Daphne only realized it was from her dropping her fork after she had already joined it.

"Daphne!" Potter jumped out his chair and carefully lifted her into his arms, "Daphne! What's wrong! No, no, no! This can't be happening! Daphne!"

It took all of her mental facilities to realize that the venom was not a dud after all. She had poisoned herself with the most deadly toxin known to wizardkind. How embarrassing. And so ends the great saga of Daphne Greengrass, cut down by her own foolishness, lying in the lap of the man she had tried to kill. Perhaps her story would be immortalized in the form of a children's story like the Tales of Beedle the Bard as a warning. Her father would never agree to it, but once he died Astoria would run her name through such embarrassment in a heartbeat.


The air above them exploded into a ball of fire and a bird floated down onto Harry's shoulder. Daphne could just make out red and golden plumage, and could distantly hear an uplifting trill that gave her strength even as her body faded by the second. It was sort of like what she had always imagined a phoenix to sound like. In her near death delirium, Daphne saw scenes of her childhood flash before her eyes. The Headmaster had a phoenix called Fawkes he would sometimes fire-travel with. Wait. . .


"Fawkes," she could hear Potter say, "She's been poisoned. I think it was intended for me. Please, I, I can't lose her. Would you help me again, for old times sake?"

The phoenix, Fawkes, gave another trill before hoping down to stand over Daphne's blank face. She slowly came to, only to be engulfed in a crushing hug by a weeping Harry Potter. Over his shoulder, she met the eyes of the phoenix and something about the way it was looking at her made her feel like it was laughing at her.

Potter thanked the phoenix a few more times and promised it a juicy peach next time they met before the bird flashed out in another fireball and the Hero of Hogwarts turned his wand to the food. He cast a diagnostic charm on the roast beef before hissing, "Basilisk venom."

Daphne went very still. If he discovered her plot, death would be the kindest fate she could expect. If the world found out that she had attempted to assassinate their savior she would be lynched.

"They must have infused it into the beef. Probably found out which elves are ours and contaminated the food when they saw our elves buying it. I'll have to let Ninny and Nimmy know to be alert and careful when they go out."

Daphne held in a sigh of relief at his conclusions before slowly approaching and leaning into him. He immediately wrapped an arm around her and gently stirred her to the bedroom, "But that can wait. We've just had quite the scare and for now I would like to just hold you for a while."

Daphne nodded slowly, not trusting herself to say anything.

About half an hour later, the two were snuggled tight in bed, Potter wrapped protectively around Daphne who had never felt so small and weak in her life. She had almost died, and stupidly at that. But she did have one question niggling the back of her mind.


"Hmm, yes, dear?"

"You had just as much of the food as I did. How come you were fine?"

"Oh, well, I am actually completely immune to Basilisk venom. It's cause I got bitten by one back in second year and Fawkes healed me up with his tears like he did you."

Daphne tried to turn her head up to look at him, but Potter just tightened his grip and pulled her against his hard chest. "Later," he said, anticipating her questions, "that's not a tale for a time like this."

Him saying that somehow made the experience all the more real and it finally sunk in just how close she was to death. Intellectually, Daphne knew that nothing had actually changed, it was just the shock wearing off, but that didn't help her stem the flow of tears or stop the sobs that wracked her whole body.

It continued late into the night, her husband rubbing her back and whispering comforting words in her ear until exhaustion finally overcame her. She didn't remember closing her eyes, but she remembered how safe she felt, secure in Potter's strong arms.

The next morning, Daphne tried to pretend that last night never happened, and beyond saying that he had filed it with the Auror office and that there was an investigation in progress, Potter was happy to leave it at that. The two did their best to move on with their lives, but it was not something either of them were likely to forget anytime soon.

After the. . . well, complete and utter failure did not even begin to describe the travesty that was her first scheme, Daphne returned to the drawing board. No more deadly toxins, too risky. If Potter was immune to Basilisk venom, who knew what else he had resistance to. And boy was she unhappy when she finally got the full story behind that. Diving in the fabled Chamber of Secrets? Fighting the shade of the Dark Lord? Getting bit by a Basilisk? And all to save the Weaselette? Potter had slept on the couch for a week for that. It would have been longer, but the bed was simply too big for one person and without his body there beside her she would unfailingly get cold.

In hindsight, it was no surprise that Daphne's first plot failed. It was overly complicated. A hundred things could have gone wrong at each step. She was lucky that the worst thing to have happened was her getting poisoned for a little bit. At the very worst, the purchase of Basilisk venom could have been tied to her, and there was no way she'd have been able to explain it as necessary for her research after their food had been coated in it. She could have also just been murdered when she was buying the damn thing. At least now she had an immunity to Basilisk venom, at least according to Potter, and that might come in handy in the future. Hopefully not, though, as the magical researcher had quite enough of Basilisks to last her a lifetime.

Daphne's new plan was better in every way. Potter had a day off today, so she would suggest they go out flying together. There was no way he would resist, the air-headed simpleton loved flying. And he'd have no reason to suspect her as they had gone flying together before, something she had most assuredly done to lull him into a false sense of security. So when she cast a time delayed curse of her own invention on Potter's broom, she knew that by the time he realised anything was wrong it would be too late. And then she would finally be free. His death would be counted as an accident, and she would be allowed to withdraw from society as a grieving and distraught widow.

At about ten in the morning, an hour after they broke their fast, the most talked about couple in Wizarding Britain hopped on their brooms and went for a nice morning fly around the Welsh countryside. The gentle hills and green pastures rolled beneath them, and Daphne couldn't help but sigh.

"Something on your mind?" her husband asked her, sidling up so that they're brooms were closer.

She considered how much she should tell him. Even after a year of marriage, Daphne and Potter didn't really know that much about each other. They never spoke about the war, or about their past from before. She knew he was a popular Auror—of course he was popular, that was the issue—and that while he did not exactly love his job he considered it his duty to make the world safer. Commendable, certainly, and if Daphne had the capacity to care at all about anyone then maybe she would have even loved this aspect of her husband.

In turn, Potter did not know about her true dreams, only that she researched the core of magic. Early in their marriage he had asked her why she didn't join the Department of Mysteries instead of working on her own. Her response was that she didn't want anyone telling her what to study. That got him mumbling something about others dictating your path and breaking chains, but Daphne couldn't really follow. He had been in a strange mood for the rest of the day.

Seeing no harm in sharing a bit more of her private thoughts considering that he would soon be dead anyways, Daphne spoke, "Just appreciating the landscape. I'm glad that we live out here."

Potter nodded, and there was something in his eyes that the once Greengrass couldn't exactly place, "You know, your father offered a few different locations for the new Potter Manor. They were all in magical communities or even in London itself. Except for one that was in a distant part of Wales. I wanted a place that was more private, I get accosted enough working at the Ministry. Something told me you would appreciate it, too. I'm glad I was right. You don't often share your feelings with me, so I never knew if you resented not living closer to wizarding society."

"NO!" Daphne shouted, startling the two of them. She blushed scarlet, but quickly got herself back under control using her pureblood training. "No, I definitely prefer living out here than somewhere like Hogsmead or, Merlin forbid, London," feeling a bit nervous for some reason, Daphne shared something about herself she had never told anyone, "I'm actually not very comfortable in crowds and the like."

"I had guessed, to be honest." Upon seeing her questioning expression, Potter elucidated, "Well, you always seemed really shy at Hogwarts, and I don't remember you hanging out with anyone except Tracey."

It was always weird to hear Potter refer to her best, and only friend, by her first name. Sure, Tracey had told him to call her that at their wedding, but still. Those two got on so well, Daphne always felt like they should have gotten married instead. Tracey would have been a much better Mrs. Potter, at least. She was far more social. Something about that thought made Daphne feel uneasy, so she quickly changed the subject.

"The options for intelligent conversation in Slytherin were slim, unfortunately. And the pickings weren't much better outside of the snake pit, definitely not good enough to make it worth painting a target on my back for fraternising with 'the enemy'."

"Well, look at you now, married to the enemy. Hope that keeps my brother-in-law up at night." Daphne immediately knew he was referring to Malfoy, her little sister's husband. Perhaps she should be more thankful for marrying Potter, certainly dodged a spell there. On the other hand, the simpering little ferret would probably be way easier to kill and get away with it.

"I'm sorry that you felt so lonely and isolated at Hogwarts," her husband's voice knocked her out of her musings. Lonely? Isolated? Where had he gotten those impressions? "I hope you no longer feel that way. After all, now you've got me in your corner, and I know Hermione is a big fan of your work. Even Ron's come around." Potter's red cheeks made Daphne suspect that her looks had something to do with Weasley's acceptance of her. And however much Granger was interested in her research, the muggleborn was far too smart for her own good and always shot Daphne suspicious glances.

Having lost her desire to conversate, Daphne fell silent, and Potter quickly followed suit. One of the things she appreciated about him was that he knew when to be quiet and seemed to appreciate silence in her company. She didn't know how he acted when she wasn't around, obviously. She had learned not to trust any of the rumours she had heard about him while at school. For a few miles, the two flew without saying a word, just enjoying the fresh air together. They travelled further from their house than they had before, the surrounding environment changing slightly to be more mountainous.

And then Daphne remembered the entire point of the flight. It had been nearly an hour now, the curse should have gone off ages ago. How was Potter still flying perfectly? She had spent days creating a spell that would invert the effect of any command given to the targeted broom. During her testing, when she pulled up the broom would go down, when she leaned right the broom would go left. Even forwards and backwards got switched. It must be that the spell itself had failed. It would be impossible for Potter to not even experience a slight disturbance had the curse worked. She'd have to revisit the arithmancy.

Mentally going through the various equations, the black haired beauty almost didn't notice when her husband pulled up right beside her. She raised an eyebrow, and Potter leaned in close to her ear.

"Don't look behind you," he whispered, "but there is a dragon tailing us."

Immediately, Daphne's head whipped around to look, but before she could fully turn Potter caught her chin with one of his hands.

"Right now it's just stalking. It doesn't know that we know it's there. If you look at it, it will undoubtedly charge. Whatever you do, don't turn around, got it?" Daphne tried to speak, but between the fear at the situation and the strange feeling that having Potter's face so close to her own aroused within her, no words came out. Seeing this, her husband said, "Nod if you understand."

She nodded.

"Okay, good. Here's the plan. I'm going to peel off and make it chase me. You try to land and then apperate back to the house. Once you're clear, I'll do the same. Nod if you understand."

She nodded, a bead of sweat trickling down her brow.

"My brave Slytherin. I'll see you soon."

With that, Potter took off to the side, shooting some spells at the dragon to draw its attention. The beast, a Common Welsh Green, was unfazed by the magic hurled at it. Against the dragon's scales, Potter may as well have thrown some colourful sparks. That was expected. What was unexpected, however, was for the dragon to completely ignore the wizard harassing it and instead chase down the retreating figure of what it considered the weaker target. That being Daphne herself.

She had been coming in for a landing, but when she saw the dragon bearing down on her, Daphne did the only thing she could do which was take to the sky and try to flee. Unfortunately for her, while the top speed of her broom, some new Nimbus model, was much higher than the recorded speed of the Welsh Green, she was nowhere near a good enough flyer to be able to push her broom that far.

The dragon was gaining on her, great plumes of smoke spewing from its nostrils with each huff, bursts of flame edging closer and closer to her bristles. What were the chances, to survive the venom of a class XXXXX beast only to be torched by a different XXXXX beast mere weeks later. With a great roar, the usually docile—for a dragon—beast released a truly staggering bout of fire, and as it raced towards her, the sheer heat making her eyes hurt, Daphne saw her life flash before her eyes.

But then she felt herself grabbed, and when her bleary eyes refocused, it was to the grinning face of a slightly sooty Potter. "Sorry about that, seems the dragon wasn't very interested in me."

Daphne couldn't help it. His sheer confidence and nonchalance in the face of such a terrifying moment made her burst into tears out of relief.

Potter held her steady with one arm and gently rubbed her shoulder with the other, controlling his broom with just his legs yet still doing a better job than Daphne ever could, "Woah, hey now, don't worry. I've got you. You're safe now."

As if to spite his words, the dragon gave a loud roar at noticing it had been cheated of its prey. It dove right after them, and with her vantage point in her husband's lap, her head buried in the crook of his neck, Daphne could see it steadily gaining on them. She clutched at Potter's robes, the fabric bunching up in her grasp.

"Hold on tight now, we'll show this dragon why I became the youngest seeker in a century."

Without using his hands, Potter pulled the broom up perfectly vertical so that the couple were heading straight into the sky. Not being as nimble, the dragon rose after them in a wide circular path. The death defying man hung in the air for a moment, waiting for the dragon to get close before pulling into a steep drop aimed right at the ground. Daphne's stomach rose in her chest and she shoved her face into Potter's neck so she wouldn't see the dripping maw of the Welsh Green snap at their back.

Daphne knew what her husband was planning. This was a classic Wronski Feint, a trick he practised often with his friend Victor Krum, always giving her a heart attack when they dove at the ground only to pull up at the very last moment. But there is a serious difference between a dragon, who was born to be ruler of the skies, and a wizard on a broom. A dragon's brain was able to instinctually make calculations that would take a human far longer. There was no way it would fall for the seeker manoeuvre, it would be able to correct its path the moment it saw Potter pull up.

The feeling of her husband's arms tightening their hold on her made Daphne look up, and she saw the dragon's eyes widen comically. The reason was soon made evident to her as Potter, the lunatic, jumped off his broom with her in hand. She turned and saw a huge grin plastered all over his face that caused her heart to beat faster. He rolled mid air so when he landed he landed on his back, and she was on top of him. A large thud sounded out behind them where the Welsh Green lay unconscious after its head first collision with the ground.

Potter began to laugh, not at all hysterically or in relief, just genuine laughter, starting from his gut and rumbling outwards. The deep sound felt like it penetrated into the shaking woman's body and caressed her fluttering heart into calming down. He pulled the two of them to their feet, still laughing, before saying, "I still got it." and flexing a bicep.

The prone form of the dragon was quite the sight, but after everything that had just happened, Daphne was in no frame of mind to appreciate it. "Dragons sure do bring back memories. Did I ever tell you the time I rode a Ukrainian Ironbelly out of Gringotts? Or how about the time I—" Potter rambled on about his various adventures.

Still in shock, Daphne could only think about the most inconsequential of things. "Our brooms. . ." she mumbled.

"which made him—Huh? Oh, don't worry about that. We can just buy some new ones next time we're at Diagon." Potter did his best to reassure her, arm wrapped around her in preparation to side-along. "Frankly, we probably needed an upgrade anyways," he continued, "I think the enchantments on mine were wearing out. Did this weird inversion thing and was really hard to control throughout the flight. They just don't make brooms the way they used to, you know?"

Daphne's last thought before they vanished with a pop was that it was not that her curse failed, it was that Potter was just that good. She'd have to step up her game.

Her research wasn't going well, she had hit a brick wall. And it didn't help that she couldn't focus. She kept getting distracted by the memory of Har—Potter's smile, his gleaming green eyes, his strong arms wrapped around her, his gentle touch. He was making it really hard for her to kill him. She was starting to think she might even miss him, which was crazy. She wouldn't even miss Tracey, her best and only friend, or Astoria, her own sister. Perhaps the latter was a poor example, all things considered.

Potter had to be dealt with, and soon. Between her frustration at her lack of progress and the growing uneasiness at the idea of a life without her husband, Daphne's newest plan lacked any of the finesse and subtlety she was known for. Clearly those methods weren't going to work anyways. So it was time to go with tried and true methods, the best of which was a simple blasting curse to the head. She'd skip straight past the green Unforgivable, its track record against Potter being quite poor.

Really, if she was in a more stable mental state perhaps she would have planned it out better, but one day Daphne decided to just go, fuck it, turn her wand on her husband and let out an expulso at max power. The blue spell cast the living room of Potter Manor into a stark light, and the lord of the house, who had just gotten up from the reading on the couch to head to his office, turned at the sight of it.

In Daphne's perspective, everything happened in slow motion. The spell inched closer and closer to her husband's head, which was still turning to face it, his eyes widening in shock. Then, in an inhuman feat of acrobatics, Potter twisted his body so that the spell just barely missed him, sparks almost hitting his neck as he watched it go past. Daphne had failed.

Internally, she was beating herself up. Of course, what was she thinking? An up and coming young Auror like Potter would never get caught by a spell like that or he'd already be dead. And now, because she lost her patience, the jig was up. Potter would arrest her, and Granger would testify that she had always suspected Daphne was up to something. She'd be shipped off to Azkaban and the only person who would care would be Tracey. Astoria always told her that's where she'd end up. She should have listened to the brat.

Daphne despaired as she saw Potter's wand fall into his hand from his wrist holster, her spell still in the air. His reaction time being so good he had his wand raised and pointed before her spell had even hit the wall. Except. . . his wand wasn't pointed at her.

"Accio invisibility cloaks!"

Eight pieces of fabric flying towards Potter, a great boom and a shower of blood made the room explode into action. Daphne felt herself get grabbed and pulled behind the couch. Potter waved his wand in intricate patterns, a solid gold shield forming around them. Just in time, too, as spell fire began to splash harmlessly against it, the shield glowing briefly each time it was hit.

"What's going on?" she shouted in fear.

"You saved my life," the expression on Potter's face was not one she had seen before. It was serious in a way he hadn't been even when facing down dragons, but with a hint of something that she couldn't name. It resembled the way her father would sometimes look at her sister, though not quite.

Curses, both magical and vocal, shattered the moment. "I'm scared," Daphne said, "what are we going to do?"

Potter put his left hand on her shoulder and squeezed, "You're going to stay right here under this shield." As he spoke, Daphne could see a fire growing in his eyes. What were usually beautiful emeralds now smouldered with rage, leaving Daphne frightened and yet oddly excited. For some reason, she liked this new side of her husband. "As for me," he continued, the tip of his wand glowing with a readied spell, "I'm going to teach them why even Voldemort was scared of me by the end of the war."

With that, he vaulted over the couch, the golden shield opening seamlessly to let him pass and then closing once more just before a spell could slip in. Daphne could hear various spells being cast, none in a voice she recognized, along with screams of agony and commands to "circle around him!" and to "keep fucking casting!"

The frequency of light flashes began to decrease, and those screams of agony rapidly became pleas for mercy which, if the proceeding snaps of bones breaking were anything to go by, were not accepted. Throughout it all, Daphne dared not look over the back of the coach. Each time she heard a crack followed by one of the unfamiliar voices going quiet, she flinched. She might psychologically lack the capability of caring for others, but she was not made for a battlefield. There was a reason she avoided the Battle of Hogwarts, even though she opposed the Dark Lord. Fights, especially magical ones, were a good way to lose your head. It was not in Daphne's plan to die anytime soon.

When the noises finally all died out and Potter called out that it was safe, Daphne shakily got to her feet. The room was a mess, paintings torn from the walls, furniture trashed, cushions torn open, burn marks scattered around. In the centre of the chaos, standing like the god of the storm, robes still sizzling, was Potter. He gingerly walked over to her, stepping over a body. Still breathing, Daphne noted.

"Sorry about that," he said, wrapping her up in a hug, "probably a group of assassins or something come to kill me. They were better trained than the last few."

Daphne couldn't ignore that, "The last few? You mean this is a common occurrence!"

"Well, I wouldn't say common, but it's definitely not the first time and probably won't be the last. Typically they set up an ambush for me, make a false call to the office then jump me when I show up. Moody would kick my arse for not being vigilant, even at home," his brows scrunched up in thought, "though I wonder how they got inside the manor in the first place. Perhaps there is some connection between them and the Basilisk venom case."

That shut Daphne up right quick. The less she talked about that topic the less chance there was for her to mess up and give something away. Something about her body language must have tipped Potter off that he had strayed onto uncomfortable territory, but thankfully he got the wrong idea.

"Don't worry, honey, we've got the best people investigating. And with these new friends of ours to interrogate, I'm sure they'll figure it out soon. You're safe, I can guarantee it. At the very least, after it gets out what happened to this group, no one will dare attack us in our home."

"You took them all alive, then?" she asked, "For interrogation? You think they might lead you to the person who tried to poison yo—us?" She knew perfectly well they wouldn't.

"Not quite all of them."

"You killed some?" she asked in shock.

"No, but. . ."

"Then how—" Daphne pushed past her husband to look at the now prone intruders. They all seemed worse for wear, but still alive. Some had obviously broken legs or arms. A larger pool of blood by one of the walls drew her attention. The body there seemed fine, no broken bones or anything, at least until she reached its neck. Where there should have been a head, there was nothing but brain pulp and a shattered skull.

"You probably shouldn't be looking at that," she distantly heard Potter's voice even though he was right beside her.

"Is that because of my. . ."

"Yeah. Your expulso that let me know something was wrong. You're a hero, Daphne."

Her sky blue eyes rolled up into her skull and she fainted dead.

Potter was getting paid leave from the Aurors while they investigated the assassination attempts against him. For Daphne, this was the perfect opportunity to take a little vacation to Africa. Specifically to Wizarding Ethiopia, where a Nundu had recently been spotted in the wilds. Her husband might be able to outfly a dragon, but not even the Chosen One could take on the most dangerous animal on the planet by himself. It took a hundred powerful wizards working in concert to bring down a Nundu. Daphne just needed to run into it, have Potter come save her, and then leave him to die using the emergency portkey he had gotten her after the dragon incident. Flawless.

Except after having spent a week out in the sweltering savannah with not even a whisper from the locals about a Nundu, Daphne was beginning to think that the rumour she had heard had been in error. Everyday, she asked Potter to go out on a safari with her, and while the wildlife they saw was majestic, the biggest thing they saw was an elephant, half the size of her real target.

Still, the trip wasn't a complete failure. Being out in the wilderness, just the two of them, was actually quite relaxing. They lived out of a tent—heavily enchanted of course—and only made trips back to the local wizarding community to restock on supplies. Most of their day was spent trekking across the land, observing the simple and uncorrupted natural world. It really reminded Daphne of just why she hated people so much, with their high society and complicated drama. When they lay out together under the stars on the flying carpet Potter had surreptitiously purchased, all her worries just melted away.

She could see that her husband also appreciated it. The lines on his face smoothened out some, and the tension in his shoulders dissipated much faster under her touch then usual. Daphne knew that at first Potter wasn't so enthused about going so far away, wanting to be close to the office in case of an emergency even though he was being kicked out because he was tied too closely to the case. She also suspected that part of his apprehension was caused by him having never before taken a trip out of Europe before. A week on the veldt was doing him a world of good.

Unfortunately, it couldn't last forever. They had lives to get back to, Potter to his job, and Daphne to her research. This vacation was a good break, and she would look back fondly at their time here once she finally killed him. And she will kill him. So what if nobody had succeeded so far, that was just because only megalomaniacal dark wizards had tried so far. Some jobs were more suited to a witch's touch.

Wanting to get one last breath of fresh air before they had to go back to civilization, Daphne stood at the edge of their camp, staring out at the endless plains. Behind her, she could hear her husband pack. He wasn't too happy to return either, but Potter had a lot more tying him down to Britain than she did. Daphne honestly believed that with a few more years and Granger's help, Potter could make some serious change for the better. It was unfortunate that a contract from decades ago that he had no say in was going to cost him those years.

Savannah grass being crushed beside her alerted the beauty that she was being approached. "Are you done packing, dear?" she asked, not turning to face him, "Maybe we can stop by Addis Ababa one last time to visit that restaurant you loved. The one with the green roof, hmm?" The only response was heavy breathing, confusing Daphne. He only got like that in the bedroom, and there was no way she would be willing to do a literal role in the hay. "Are you okay?" she looked over her shoulder.

But it was not her husband's viridian eyes that she met. Slit pupils peering out of gleaming orange eyes stared down at her from a head the size of her whole body. A nose as large as her head twitched, and the mouth below it began to open, revealing gleaming fangs as long as her arms. It was a Nundu. The rumours weren't lies after all. Only, Daphne was now beginning to reconsider the wisdom of her scheme. Face to face with the apex predator—those who argued humans were the top of the food chain had clearly never met a Nundu—Daphne realised that perhaps she was in over her head.

The deadliest beast in the world opened its great maw, whether it intended to swallow her whole or kill her with its toxic breath mattered little. The Greengrass surrounded by yellow grasses closed her eyes for what she knew to be the last time. Every book about magical creatures had the same thing to say about the Nundu. If you saw it, you were already dead. You and your whole village.

Daphne felt a rush of wind and knew it was pouncing on her. Then CRACK, a fleshy smack, a pained yelp, and her husband's voice calling out, "Bad kitty!"


Was this the afterlife? Random sounds? Would she be haunted by the charming voice of the man she tried to kill as recompense?

A growl, followed by another schwap, and Potter saying, "No. Bad kitty. Sit."

If this was the afterlife, it was maddening. It almost sounded like Potter was trying to. . . tame the Nundu?

Daphne's eyes slowly opened, staring in shocked confusion at the scene before her. Harry Potter, the Man-Who-Conquered, was holding a rolled up Daily Prophet that he was waving right in front of the face of the Nundu that just moments before was surely going to kill her. The large cat's eyes tracked the end of the really quite poor newspaper, and every few seconds it raised a paw or opened its mouth.

The instant Potter spotted movement, which he was quite good at doing after all his seeker training, he would smack the Nundu on the nose with his improvised weapon. Honestly, the Nundu seemed more confused than Daphne felt. Just as she had never been in this situation, the unlucky animal had never been faced with something that didn't just immediately fall down dead. Each time it tried to do something, it would be rewarded with a smack to the face, causing it to yowl in displeasure.

"Sit." Commanded Potter again.

And through some incredible feat of timing, the Nundu sat down to weigh its options. As though completely ignorant of this and fully believing that the cat had obeyed his words, Potter grinned and pet the bemused creature on its massive head. "Good kitty," he said, reaching into a pocket with his open hand, "You're such a good girl. Good girls get treats. Would you like a treat? Yes you would, yes you would."

Daphne goggled at the sheer audacity of the man when he pulled an entire cow leg out of his pocket—why was he just carrying around most of a cattle carcass in the first place?—and held it out for the Nundu to take. The class XXXXX beast may not have understood much of what was going on, but the strange two legged creature was giving it some fresh meat and that was easy to comprehend. It grabbed the haunch with its might paws and began to feed, Potter scratching its head as it did so.

Without even turning to look at his wife, he asked, "Can we keep her?" oblivious to her incredulous stare. With how large it was, it had devoured the cow leg within seconds, and was now purring and rubbing its head against Potter's hand. "She's such a sweetheart. I think I'll name her Minny. All scary on the outside but gooey in the centre, like the Headmistress."

It was clear that Daphne had miscalculated. There was no way she would be able to kill this freak of nature. Watching him rub the belly of a Nundu as it wiggled around happily, still licking blood off of its snout, Daphne began to accept that of the two of them, her husband would probably out live her, even with his occupation and predilection for danger.

Still, she thought as she cautiously approached the new family pet, that wouldn't stop her from plotting his demise. She'd just have to get clever about it, like a true Slytherin.

It turns out, Nundu fur was really soft but shed like crazy. The elves would be spending hours just cleaning after Minny, much to their delight.