Chapter 24: Family Matters
Noir's disembodied voice echoed through the room, "Kiss our beloved."
"Hermione!" Harry cried, looking frantically around the room.
Myrtle was startled to see a tiny glowing bead on Harry's lower lip, and understood immediately. "Calm down Harry, Hermione is still here, she just needs a minute or so to um, compose herself."
He was somewhat mollified, "are you sure?"
She looked at the glowing bead, looking for all the world like a brilliant drop of water on his lip, "oh yeah, very sure."
"Well I'll feel better when I can see her."
"Oh don't worry, you will. C'mere you!" she said and drew his lips to her own.
The tiny bead was drawn into Myrtle's body.
You could say that Myrtle became Hermione, or that Hermione got her body back, but the plain truth is that Hermione was and is Myrtle, and vice-versa. All the memories all that was and is Myrtle became Hermione's as well.
Harry sensed the change in his bondmate, if anything the bond grew stronger as he felt both Hermione and Myrtle in the kiss they shared.
"Hermione?" he asked.
"Right here." She said.
"Myrtle?" he asked, tentatively.
"Present and accounted for love."
Harry and his bondmate looked around the bedroom at the fine white mist that persisted in the air.
"Noir?" Harry asked indicating the mist in the room.
"Oh, yes." His lady answered.
"Will she, um, be okay?"
"Oh yes, and she and your daughter will be hungry."
Harry was gob-smacked. "My daughter?" he asked, tentatively.
"Um hum," Mrs. Potter smirked, "when you poured all your love into that kiss Noir experienced the essensential equivalent of an orgasm. It was more than she could contain so she, well, there is no human word for it. Let's just say that there will be two White Wraiths in about a month."
"I was going to ask you to marry me, y'know, officially as soon as possible, will you?"
"Any time you say Mr. Potter!"
"Can we wait until Noir, um, get's herself together again?"
She looked pensive, "four weeks ought to be about right. That's around Christmas time."
Three weeks and three days later two small wraiths formed at the foot of their bed, they were expected because Hermione's memory and knowledge of them gave her some insight as to how they were progressing.
"Noir?" Harry asked.
Both essensentials nodded. The bushy brunette laughed, "oh this is brilliant! Here I am, essentially two girls in one body and here she is one girl split into two!"
Harry asked "are you hungry?"
Both white wraiths nodded eagerly.
"Come on then" he said has he and his bondmate opened their arms to commune with the fledgling essensentials.
When the bright light faded there were two fully formed White Wraiths and two glowing humans in the bed. The corporeal couple was framed by the semi-corporeal siblings. Harry and his mate were reaching past each other to gently caress their wraith companions.
The wraith spooned up against Harry spoke, her harmonic tones very soothing. "My daughter and I shall grow apart. We will need to be named so that our experiences will be our own."
Hermione's soft, warm hand stroked the semi-solid cheek next to Harry's. "Then we will name you Noir, because you are most like the Noir I know so well."
Harry caressed the shoulder of the other essensential. "We name you Blanche." He pronounced the name as the French would, 'blonche', "Because you are so pure."
Blanche shivered and he could swear he heard laughter in her melodic harmonic voice. "Be careful my love, or there will be more of us!"
Harry and his lady (ladies?) were married on the twenty-second of December, the traditional Yule. Ron was best man. He had come a long way in six weeks, functioning at the level of a three year old and getting better every day. Harry had to gently pry the shiny gold ring from Ron's hand but his ginger-haired best mate smiled when Ginny told him what a good boy he was. All the Weasley brothers were groomsmen, along with Neville Longbottom. Hermione was attended by Noir and Blanche and Ginny, along with Luna, Lavender and Lori, who giggled incessantly and adored their bridesmaid's dresses. Amanda Stevens, too old to be the flower girl and too young to be a bridesmaid was the Gift Attendant, a responsibility she accepted with grace and maturity.
The Potters honeymooned on their Caribbean Island and returned three weeks later tanned and toned and more in love than ever.
Then they got to work.
Judge Vance had described his ex-wife as a pit-bull with lip gloss and he wasn't far off the mark. When Zubedia Vance got through with the companies that had been using Harry's name and image illegally they were willing to make Harry a majority stock holder if he would just call her off. As it was Counselor Vance knew exactly how much to squeeze out of each corporation so that they were well and truly punished but not so much that they went out of business. As she once said, broke companies can't pay damages.
The barkers who had turned Godric's Hollow into a tourist trap were a different story. Guilty of willful property damage as well as criminal trespass not only were they left completely knutless each of the four perpetrators spent a year in hotel Azkaban. Harry restored the cottage that had meant so much to his parents and set wards around the gravesites so that visitation was by permission only.
Harry checked with the Department of Mysteries, sure enough there were charms in pace that allowed for the extended use of time turners that allowed the "time skippers" to avoid paradox. He used the time turner to accelerate his training program along with Hermione, Neville and Draco.
Draco had to fight an uphill battle from day one.
"Not physically acceptable." One unctuous mediwitch announced, sniffing. "The applicant is practically blind in one eye."
Harry stepped up, "he lost the use of his left eye while on a mission of vital importance to the side of light, fix the eye or change the regulation. I don't care which."
The healers balked at both suggestions. Harry presented them with Draco's Order of Merlin, Second Class, for conspicuous gallantry under fire. There was good news, better news and bad news. The good news, Draco could be fitted with a magical eye that would give him the required visual acuity, the better news; the new magical eyes were of normal size and color, looking exactly like the eyes they replaced. The bad news, Draco had to voluntarily give up his left eye and the process was excruciatingly painful to endure. The worse news, he couldn't be unconscious for the procedure.
"Do it!" Draco insisted.
When they completed officer training they set about forming the Phoenix Watch. As predicted, Harry's image on the recruiting poster had witches and wizards clamoring to enlist. The best of the best were deployed as the Phoenix Rapid Action Team, average response time fifty seconds. Suddenly everyone wanted to be a PRAT.
Some of the higher-ups objected to the acronym until Mrs. Potter publicly suggested an all female auror team, the Tactical Women's Assault Team. She insisted that Harry was man enough to handle it.
The objections stopped.
The Potter-Black Manor was officially renamed the Ginevra Weasley Center for Education and Rehabilitation. GinCER moved into full operation in the spring of the following year. The Kissed, including the Kissed of Azkaban, were literally given new lives. The average stay for any of the Kissed was between three and five years. Some were given vocational training; others went through more conventional primary and secondary educations at a magically accelerated rate. Ron was pretty much his old self again after three years. Two years later he led a completely recovered Lavender Brown down the aisle.
Ginny received honors and accolades and most importantly financial support from the wizarding world for her work with the Kissed. She was deferred to with reverence as the Angel of Campeltown and developed a following among those who saw her as a spiritual leader. She chose a life of celibacy, confiding to her closest friends that she'd already had enough carnal knowledge to last a lifetime. The Kissed referred to her as Mummy Ginny. Soon her center became the premier treatment facility for all long-term magical maladies. Gilderoy Lockhart became one of her most celebrated success stories. Humble and self effacing Gilderoy was no less the charmer. He sent back his 2004 "Witch Weekly's Most Charming Smile" award with the simple note. "Thanks, but no thanks."
Neville kept a warm and platonic friendship with Amanda, and encouraged her to date boys her own age. She longed to follow him into the Auror Corps so he encouraged her to study hard so that she could apply for the officer program when she graduated.
When she was fourteen her grandmum became very ill. Grudgingly her mum took her in and Amanda got to see first hand the parade of men trooping into and out of their small two-bedroom flat. One of the "boyfriends" tried to corner her in their living room – she managed to get away and lock herself in her room as the drunken lout hammered on her door. She used her signaling mirror to call her guardian angel; Neville apparated directly into their living room. He cast a sobering charm on Amanda's would-be rapist; then calmly and without the use of magic, broke both his arms.
"Why the sobering charm?" Amanda asked.
"I wanted him to feel it." He growled.
He left Amanda's mother with one set of instructions. "Clean up your act, get a real job and be a mother to Amanda or I will put you in Azkaban and Amanda will spend the rest of her childhood in a very nice room at the Potter-Black Estate."
Three years later on the morning of her 17th birthday Amanda apparated to Neville's apartment and dragged him, kicking and screaming to bed. Okay, maybe he wasn't exactly kicking and screaming, but they both made a LOT of noise that day.
Draco became Harry's shadow and fiercest bodyguard. When Harry took to the field his wife was by his side ("just you try to keep me away Mr. Potter!") and Draco had his back.
Narcissa and Sharpclaw parlayed Harry's fortune into an obscene amount of money. Whenever Harry's fortune approached the billion galleon mark he insisted that the goblins find worthy causes to invest half his fortune. Trouble was they were so good at investing that within weeks the ledgers were approaching the nine-zero's mark again. Even fully funding Ginny's hospital didn't put much of a dent in his fortune.
Draco and Ginny never lacked for company, or suitors for that matter, but neither felt the need for company outside of their own circle of family and friends. Narcissa met an investment broker who treated her like the highborn lady she was.
"Milord Potter-Black," she said very formally one afternoon.
"Cissa, it's just Harry." He sighed, leaning back in his comfortable study.
"Not today milord, I have to ask a great favor."
"Anything Cissa, you know that."
"Jeffrey wishes to, I believe the phrase is, get to know me better?"
Harry raised an eyebrow, "and?"
"I am your liege woman, milord. He and I need your permission."
"Have we discussed this before?"
"It's never come up before, milord."
"How do you feel about Mister, um, Jeffrey?" he asked.
"Detleff, milord, Jeffrey Detleff." She clarified.
"Is this what you want Narcissa?"
"It has been a while, Harry."
"And Jeffrey does it for you?" he smirked.
Narcissa had the good graces to blush and nodded.
"If Mr. Jeffrey treats you with love and respect and if you are agreeable then you have my blessing."
"Thank you milord Harry." She said smilingly.
"Is Jeffrey here?"
"In the parlor Harry."
"Bring him in." he said with a predatory smile.
Jeffrey Detleff stood before the most powerful wizard in Britain, possibly the world and was pleased to note that he didn't shake visibly. He knew he could love Narcissa but he was afraid he wasn't good enough for her. He asked to speak with Harry in private.
"Not bloody likely," said Draco.
"We can talk Mr. Detleff, anything we say will be held in confidence."
Jeffrey had the good sense to not try and impress Harry with stories of his successes and business acumen. Rather he spoke of those things closest to his heart, how Narcissa reminded him that it was only good to make money if you were going to do some good with it.
"She's stripped me of my avarice and I am in awe of her Lord Potter-Black. I would like to try to spend the rest of my life trying to be worthy of her."
Harry looked at Draco, who raised his eyebrows and nodded slightly.
"Mr. Detleff, may I call you Jeffrey?" when the man who was old enough to be Harry's father nodded respectfully Harry continued, "I have to admit I called you in here to impress upon you just how dangerous it would be for you to hurt my Cissa in any way."
The man gulped visibly as Harry continued. "But I think your heart's in the right place. You and Narcissa have my blessings. Make sure you always remember how rare and beautiful she is."
The gentleman practically floated out of Harry's study.
"Are you okay with this Draco?"
"I think so milord, time will tell."
Six months later Jeffrey led Narcissa down the aisle, Harry gave away the bride and Draco stood as best man.
Harry had to reinforce the silencing charms around Cissa's rooms, which had been converted into the bridal suite for her wedding night.
"Enthusiastic, aren't they?" Mrs. Potter smirked.
"Ah to be young and so much in love!" Harry placed the back of his hand on his forehead and sighed theatrically.
"C'mere you!" she growled.
Harry barely got the locking and silencing charms up in time as Hermione and Myrtle and a little bit of Noir all decided to make some noise of their own.
My Dearest Husband,
Today marks the fifth anniversary of the day I was reborn and found the love of my lives, or rather the loves of my lives. I love you and I love Hermione with all my heart, you are so easy to love and Hermione is, well, me. If I hadn't died in that bathroom so many years ago we wouldn't be where we are today. I didn't think it was possible to love you more but today I love you more than ever. Everything that I am can be laid at your feet. Because of the man you are I am a reborn spirit, a decorated war hero, a commissioned officer, a wife and in seven and a half months I will be the mother of your beautiful baby.
Of all the awards and titles bestowed upon me the greatest and dearest to my heart is that I can sign my name, with all my love.
Mrs. Myrtle Potter.
Thus endeth the tale. I have to give credit where it's due, I was outlining this story last April when I got an e-mail from Demondeathstone AKA Thomas. He suggested that I have Myrtle take over the body of someone who had been kissed, that one idea germinated and grew into the just completed story, Thanx Thomas. Special thanks to all who have supported my efforts in this tale, especially GreatWriterSarah who has taken time from her busy life to beta more than half these chapters, thank you Sarah, like your first love, you never forget your first Beta. To my most faithful reviewers, SelenePotter and jacee2u, thank you for your kind words of encouragement. To all of you who read fanfiction and most importantly, take the time to write reviews and criticisms, thank you.