GENERAL DISCLAIMERS:

I do not own the Harry Potter universe nor anything related to the Harry Potter universe. If I did, I do not think that I would be struggling to pay off college now nor would I be working two jobs. Any resemblance to ideas, names, thoughts, theories or situations in another story written on any fanfiction site is purely coincidental.

As this is a work of FANFICTION, I lay no claim to the benefits, fame or monetary compensation owed to Warner Brothers, and JK Rowling.

This is an alternative universe (AU) writing. I understand that the portrayal of characters that I offer up for your reading is not cannon. I humbly ask that you keep that in mind when you are reading my work.

I would also like to state that this is an answer to a challenge put on by the last of the pendragons at FFN.


Chapter 12

Harry Potter and the Lords Lament

Mermaid's Grotto

Keep of Anasirone

Seamus and Hermione walked hand in hand through the maze for twenty minutes before they found the end. They entered a small clearing, a few feet of grass before it tapered into a pool. The back of the pool was a large rock, with a waterfall trickling down into the pool. To the left of the pool was a changing tent and on the right was two lounge chairs and a small table. The table had a bowl of fruit and two glasses of lemonade.

"Hermione, I was wondering…" Seamus started, before he broke off.

"What Seamus?" She relaxed on. "Come sit over here." Hermione patted the lounge chair beside her.

"Hemione, I know that during school I always come off as a bit of a layabout." Seamus paused. "Ok, more than a bit of a layabout."

"What are you trying to say?" Hermione asked, shielding her eyes from the sun, momentarily forgetting that her sunglasses were on top of her head.

"While I feel that you would be stooping to a lower level to even accept, I would like to officially ask you to be my girlfriend." Seamus looked from her eyes toward the ground, his ears turning a pale pink.

"Why would you want to go out with me? I'm just a bushy haired bookworm?"

"Hermione, you don't see yourself properly. You are loyal, hardworking, and scarily bright, you stand up for people even when everyone around you thinks that you are wrong. If it wasn't for you I don't think that Harry would have given any of us a chance."

"Don't tease me Seamus. Since when have you, or anyone else for that matter, looked at me as anything other than homework help."

"I'll admit I was following Ron's lead but, he has shown that he has no brain matter and that if he can't see you for the amazing woman that you are than it is his loss."

"What does your Mother think about you dating a muggleborn?" Hermione asked, knowing that his mother's opinion was of high importance.

"My mother wants me to be happy, she still thinks that Harry is delusional but I am working on that. At least she has rescinded her decision to send me to St. Jerome's in Dublin."

"Rescind is an awfully big word for you Seamus." Hermione teased, trying to calm her blush and divert some of the comments away from herself. "Why would she send you away?"

"Mother is under the impression hat Harry is crazy and Dumbledore has lost his mind. She isn't sure that she wants me to be around when they both go off on the student body." Seamus admitted.

"Harry won't be going off on anyone. He is changing. Dumbledore is a little off in left field. Harry is trying to overcome all of the barriers that Dumbledore has placed in his path." Hermione said before getting lost in thought. "Let's talk about something else. Like what you expect out of this relationship?"

"How familiar are you with Wizarding dating customs?"

"Only a little bit. I know that we have to meet up in large groups if we don't have supervision. I saw Percy bring Penelope over to meet his parents for the first time, and their in depth grilling of her. That is about it." Hermione confessed.

"Supervision is mostly for the nobility in our world. Harry, Kiley, Neville, Daphne, Treacy, Susan, and even Malfoy have a rank that means something. They are under constant scrutiny by the entire wizarding world, like Justin is in the muggle world. People are judging the future of their houses by how they act. If they cannot uphold their family names there will be problems. Did you see how we broke apart to wander?"

"Treacy went with Harry and Daphne, Susan and Neville and Justin and Hannah went together. I didn't see the others break off."

"Tonks went with Kiley and Draco. Fred followed Ernie and Ginny, which is appropriate since she is his younger sister. George followed Justin and Neville toward the greenhouse. There is someone in each group that is supposed to be making sure that nothing untoward happens while the group is split."

"Oh."

"Hermione I am not looking or ready for a courting relationship. I would like to get to know you on a one on one basis and see if we are compatible." Seamus said with a smile, reaching for Hermione's hand.

"I think, that I would like that very much." Hermione gripped Seamus' hand and the two continued their small talk for hours.

Roman Spa

Keep of Anasirone

Alexian guided Harry toward the spa area while Daphne and Treacy slowed down so that they were following him and not getting themselves lost in the maze. The Roman Spa was built with open air pavilions over naturally fed hot springs. The hot spring bubbled up into the highest pool and would trickle down from that pool into each of the smaller pools, loosing some of the warmth along the way.

Harry ushered the girls into the small Ladies' Pavilion to change while he switched into his bathing suit. They climbed into the coldest pool, which bubbled at about twenty-one degrees Celsius. One of the houseelves appeared with a pitcher of lemonade and three glasses as well as a tray of biscuits. Harry struggled to keep his mind off of the tiny emerald green bikini that Daphne was wearing, or the even tinier navy blue and white bikini that Treacy was wearing.

"Harry, what is going to happen when we get back to school. There are expectations already in place for all of us."

"I don't care what they think is appropriate friends for us. I think our little group should continue to meet. I could see you more often." Harry drained his lemonade as he realized what he had just said.

The girls played it off as if he hadn't said anything out of the ordinary. They lounged in the sun in pleasant silence. Harry slipped a pair of dark Oaklies over his eyes so he could stare, unseen, at the girls. They moved into two increasingly warmer pools before Harry led the girls into the last steaming pool. Daphne climbed into his lap and wrapped her arms around his neck.

"Harry, did you really mean that you wanted to see more of me throughout the school year?" She stared into his eyes with an intensity that Harry was unfamiliar with.

"Yes." He whispered, a shy smile on his face. "I would like to get to know you."

"Is that all Harry? You want to get to know me?"

"Umm..."

"Let me help you make up your mind." Daphne leaned in and kissed him. Without conscious effort he wrapped his arms around her and pulled her closer to his body. Harry's hands gripped her hips and teased at the strings of her bikini bottoms.

Harry, I'm not sure that this is a good idea.

Shut up Alexian. Let me be.

You need to be thinking about whats going on. You have obligations that you need to talk to her about if she is going to be it.

Can I think like a teen for now. Please.

You might want to stop kissing her now before you two get yourselves in trouble.

"I didn't know that I was going to be getting a show." Treacy smirked as she relaxed in the steaming waters. Harry and Daphne pulled apart, breathing heavy, faces flushed and rested their foreheads together.

"Shut up T." Daphne 's anger at being interrupted tinted her words.

"I don't think I will. What would daddy say to find out his angel was lip to lip with the-boy-who-lived?"

"Treacy, you wouldn't do that, would you?" Harry said, looking at her over Daphne's shoulder.

"I don't know. That seemed awfully inappropriate to me. Daddy would want to know." Tracy said with a smirk.

"Treacy please don't." Daphne begged, turning in Harry's lap to face her best friend. She saw the Slytherin look in Treacy's eyes that told her this was half joking half serious. "What do you want to not tell? My snake charmer necklace."

"While that necklace has some amazing qualities and I think it would make an excellent addition to my collection, I don't think so."

"So what do you want Treacy?" Harry asked, tiring of her games.

"A kiss. Just as hot as the one you gave Daphne." Treacy and Daphne traded looks, ones that were cultivated in Snakes Den for years and bred into them at birth. Daphne climbed out of Treacy's lap.

"Do it Harry. Or she will tell my father I'm damaged goods."

"But Daph,"

"But nothing. Do it." Harry nodded, still confused as to why the girl he liked was forcing him to kiss her friend.

"Like you mean it Harry." Treacy whispered as she pulled Harry down on top of her. They sank into the water, their faces inches apart. "I don't want you all to myself Harry. I just have wanted to do this for a long time. This is my one big opportunity."

"If you wanted me to kiss you, you could have just asked." Harry pressed his lips to Treacy's while pushing her back against the spa's sides. She moaned into his mouth, her body wriggling against his. He stood up in the steaming water, jumped out of the pool and into the ice cold one that had started in. The girls continued to sit in the hot water, dazed at what had just happened.

You've outdone yourself.

Shut up.

I mean, your father tried that a lot, and got slapped for it every time. I guess it being the girls' idea works better.

Anything helpful to add to the situation.

Not really. This is just too good to pass up. Now you do understand that both girls come from very well established Houses. Are you going to pick one and ditch the other or you gonna keep them both?

I can't keep them both.

Actually you can. You will need a wife for the wizarding world and one that can move in the Motral world. And you always need someone to warm your beds.

Alexian!

It's true. Don't get all uppity with me squirt. You know you have to take a few bedmates from the village. Why are you being contrary to a feisty one like her?

I'm not being uppity. I'm not going to ruin her reputation.

If you do it properly she won't be ruined. Permission, signed papers, you've got your work cut out for it.

Harry jumped out of the chilled pool and went to change. The girls took the hint and changed out of their bathing suits . They wandered their way back to the Keep from the yard in semi-comfortable silence. The group reconvened in the observatory for almost an hour before they all went their separate ways. They knew that there would only be two more of these meetings before school began.

Girl's Quarters, Hermione's room

"So, Kiley, spill." Hermione flopped onto her bed, bouncing Kiley a little in the air.

"There is nothing much to spill." She smiled shyly at the bedspread, unwilling to look her friend in the eye. "Tell me why everyone hates Draco so." Hermione rolled over to look at the ceiling. She began to tell Kiley about all of Harry's run ins with Malfoy, ending with a snippet of her punching him in the nose.

Black Suites, The Keep, Sirius' room

Sirius laid stretched across his bed. There had been many changes in the past few days, none of which were fully thought out and all of which were sure to put a bee in someone's bonnet. The Black Library would be folded into the Potter Archives, they would loose it as a stand alone asset but the access to the Archives was enough to soothe Andromeda's ego. There were a few reasons that they would need to go back to the London house for: any decisions on Narcissa and Bella had to be done within the confines of the house, unless Sirius could find the spot here at the Keep where the first Black blood was spilled. Where the Potter Clan gave the Black Family their titles and name.

There was set to be an Order meeting in two days, Molly and her brood would arrive mere minutes after Dumbledore the day before the meeting to make sure that everything was in order. They would be in for a large surprise, in the form of a very bored hippogriff. Buckbeak would rampage around the house, destroying the fakes that were left before making his way to the Keep. The twins would be there to make sure that Buckbeak performed as told before ensuring his getaway.

A smile graced Sirius' face as he drifted off to sleep, visions of angry white bees buzzed throughout his head. The fact that the bees he was dreaming of wore little black wizard's caps and cloaks is neither here nor there.

Amelia Bones' Office, Ministry of Magic

Sitting in Amelia's office were three people she never thought she would have to call in at the same time. Nym Tonks stood in as the current Guardian of Harry Potter, Andromeda as the legal aide he had sought and Healer Rampart. The Healer had brought in her copy of the spells she had removed from the Blacks a few days prior. As Amelia read through the list she saw some of what her niece had been trying to tell her. Every adult in Harry's life had been duped by layers of memory charms, some of which were applied years ago, their age showing in small bits of decay. While others shone like freshly minted galleons.

This strategy meeting lasted well into the night. At the end, they had come to the conclusion that they would play the next few weeks by ear, but they would begin to build multiple cases against Dumbledore. As long as they didn't file anything until right before his already set trial they would be in the clear, no one would have the time to leak the information.

"Auror Tonks." Amelia called as everyone left her office. "A moment if you please." A request that wasn't really a request.

"Yes Ma'am?" Nym stood near the door.

"How is he settling in? Is he ready for the school year?"

"Hasn't Susan told you?"

"She tells me little of what happens on these chaperoned excursions."

"Ah." She nodded, wondering how secret the other kids had kept from their families. "He is doing well. There is something about the Keep that settles everyone that lives there. Harry is ready to step into his own rights. I feel like I am just a chaperone most days. He is stepping into to all of the roles that I can prepare him for."

"Has there been any problems with certain people?" Amelia alluded to the people that were either in the Order or firmly under Dumbledore's pointy shoes.

"The youngest redhead hasn't been over in a while, they got into a fight before the birthday party. He hasn't allowed the girl to come over either. I think that is helping for the group dynamic to improve."

"That might be a problem when the school year starts." Amelia said.

"These children have grown over the summer. I'm not sure the redhead will be able to cause trouble. They are all very close. You'll see this Wednesday when they are all at your house."

"How many chaperones will I need to have around?"

"We normally have two or three depending on where we are going. On top of that the Weasley twins assist from time to time."

"Great. Then we should be fine. Thank you for taking on this task Tonks. Harry means a lot to a lot of people."

"I know. I do what I can." Tonks said before turning and leaving Amelia's office.