All standard disclaimers apply. I do not own Harry Potter, or any of the other recognizable characters in this tale. I am not making any money from this drabble.
A/N: I have trouble believing the number of you that have marked my tale as a favorite story or me as a favorite author. I am very much a neophyte at this still and your support means a great deal to me.
Harry Potter woke feeling a bit confused, he felt different, and he felt exhausted. He also felt bruised inside and out. Wincing, he cracked his eyes open to see a pair of worried brown eyes watching him. Brown eyes, part of a much loved face, framed by brown hair: Hermione. Last night they had tried to combine their ties, but something had not gone as expected. Harry's last memory was that of the three of them, Hermione, Luna, and himself, falling through a whirlpool of magic, and emotions.
Since speech seemed beyond him at the current time, Harry focused on his thoughts, and managed to bring his hand up to feel and caress Hermione's cheek. Hermione responded by grasping his hand and holding it to her face. Harry felt the tickle of a bit of joy from an unexpected source, his heart. Guessing this was his new tie, he tried to grin and tickled that new feeling right back, watching as Hermione's eyes widened, and then relaxed.
"Harry, you scared Soleil and me near to death. You are even more stubborn than I am, and I'm pretty sure that I'm very stubborn."
Since Hermione didn't use 'Soleil' as much as she once did, and not unless they were away from the prying eyes of others, Harry had to think for a moment about Hermione's use of it. It was then that he recalled that it was the nick or pet name Hermione had for Luna. And that reminded Harry of the object of Hermione's affections, and when he reached out for the lady he called 'dear heart', he found a calm but happy response that indicated that she was on her way up to his room.
"It finally worked?" Harry managed to croak.
"Yes, you pushed through and bound us all together as we hoped. But it seems that I wasn't as prepared as we thought and my magic fought you and Luna." Hermione responded before sitting on the side of his bed and calling out. "Emm."
Instead of a quiet pop to indicate that one of Luna's house elves had appeared, a door opened, and the house elf that had taken over the cooking walked into the room.
"Emm, Harry is awake, and will need some of that wonderful soup you prepared for Luna and me when we awoke. Also, you may tell Ginger and Mike that Harry is awake. I expect he will need the same help Luna and I did."
"Yes Mistress Mionies. I is glads Master Harry is wakes now."
"So are we, Emm." Came Luna's voice from the doorway. "So are we. Also, please ask Ginger to prepare a bath with the powders I gave her. Harry will feel much better after we get him a bit cleaner."
"Yes Mistress Luna, Emm goes nows and tells Ginger and Mike and makes Master Harry his soups."
As Emm walked out, Harry felt Luna behind him, and he allowed her and Hermione to sit him up.
"Don't try too much yet, Harry, as you've been dead to the world for nearly four days." Luna explained. "You would've been taken to St. Mungo's except we needed to remain close to you for two days after the ritual. Even then, Mione has not left your side very often."
Harry tried to grin, although he doubted it looked good and surprised his ladies. And since they were a bit overbalanced by trying to help him sit up, he was able to gather the two of them to him. Hermione's squeak of surprise was silenced by Harry leaning over and giving her a kiss while again tickling the new tie he was now feeling. Hermione started and then relaxed into his kiss. Then Harry turned and he tickled his other tie the same way as he greeted his Luna. Luna, however did not start in surprise, nor did she flinch as she accepted his kiss, and even tickled their tie right back.
"You have no idea how much I have wanted to do this for the last four days, Harry. Even if your breath is not quite as pleasant as I would like!" Luna said, after breaking their shared kiss. " And now that you are awake, I expect Mione and I will be attacking you at all hours, trying to make up for lost time." Luna then leaned over and met Hermione halfway so that the two of them could share a kiss. "Mione, before you start trying to apologize for something you didn't do, we need to try and get our Harry clean. He smells a bit ripe." Luna continued as soon as they parted.
As if on cue, Ginger opened the door from the bathroom and walked over to the bed.
"Master Harry's bath is ready, Mistress Luna. Will you need help getting Master Harry cleans?"
Hermione and Luna shared a glance, and Hermione answered. "No Ginger, I think Luna and I want to do this."
Ginger nodded, and again walked out of the room. Harry tweaked his ties in question. Hermione just got big eyes and glanced between Luna and him while Luna answered.
"Hermione's parents requested the elves not to pop in beside them. It gave them quite a scare the first couple of times it happened. Mike, Emm, and Ginger will now pop into a side room and walk in. For whatever reason, they seem to enjoy this new method of offering service and practice it for everyone."
"I have so much I need to learn." Hermione groused. "How in the world did you ask that question?"
Luna reached up to caress Hermione's face, much like Harry had when he first woke. "Practice, my Mione. Harry and I have been tied and in near constant contact for several months now. During that time we spent away from you, our tie was about the only thing that kept me sane. That first week we were back in England without you, I could hardly stand to be touched. Thankfully, by the time we had started talking about visiting you, we were cuddling most evenings. As a result of the constant use, we have learned to 'talk' a bit through our ties. You'll get there, likely more quickly than we did since you will have both of us using our ties that way with you."
Hermione and Luna slipped out of Harry's embrace, and when Luna joined Hermione on the side of the bed closest to the bath door, the two of them worked and pulled at him to get out of bed. Harry began feeling a bit more normal as his ladies pulled his legs, seeming to wake them up. Likewise, as more of his person was touched, he began to feel more like himself. He was weak, very weak, but still more like a person instead of like a disembodied blob of flesh.
Harry needed to lean heavily on both Luna and Hermione during the short trip to the bathroom, and he began to feel a bit embarrassed when his ladies stripped off his nightshirt. That embarrassment changed to wonder as both of his ladies then took turns stripping off the clothes they were wearing and slipped into the sunken tub, which in truth could hold a quite a few more than three people.
"You…You two are so beautiful." Harry managed to say as Luna and Hermione finished helping him into the bath. "I can't believe how lucky I am."
"Quiet you." Luna answered, although a bit of a blush graced both her cheeks and Hermione's. "I know I, er, we, haven't paraded around for you, but you have seen and felt us before."
Harry frowned and again tickled his ties with a question. Instead of answering, Luna glanced at Hermione and Harry guessed she was prompting her through the new tie they shared.
"I'm a bit out of my depth here, Harry." Hermione started. "I don't know all the ways you and Luna are manipulating your ties, and feeling them the way I do, is pointing out how much I couldn't guess while we were traveling together." Hermione blushed a bit more and continued. "Thank you for thinking I am beautiful. I will get better; I'm still learning how to deal with the raw emotions you two trade back and forth seemingly at will."
"You've been thrust into a stable tie, Hermione." Luna soothed. "And as I have already told you, you will learn, and the family credo comes into play here as well."
At Hermione's questioning look, Harry answered. "We don't give up on each other. Hermione, you are every bit as important to us as you ever were. And you can feel that now." Harry pushed a bit at his ladies, both of them. Based on Hermione's face and the response from Luna's tie, she was doing the same thing.
"How, how do I answer that?" Hermione asked.
Harry and Luna shared a glance, and in one voice the two of them replied. "Love us back."
Hermione pushed and pulled a bit before she got it right and her own emotions, with love in the forefront, began to slip through. As the emotions started to cycle, Luna began helping Hermione understand what they were feeling. While the two of them began soaping and rinsing him, Harry commented on how the ties changed from his viewpoint giving Hermione another perspective.
Once they were all sure Harry was clean, and Hermione was beginning to gain some additional control over her ties, Harry pushed a bit of a different feeling to his loves. Luna responded with a major sigh and instead of starting to help Harry out of the tub, she settled in beside him. Hermione stared at Harry in confusion for a moment before she allowed Harry to pull her towards him.
"I don't think I am up to much just yet, as I am beginning to feel weak as a kitten." Harry started, as Hermione continued to look at him with some confusion, he changed positions slightly and drew Hermione closer to him and slipped a hand to the soft, nipple tipped, mound that was only partially covered with the soapy water. "And I want you both to know that I don't just love you two; I also desire you. Luna has told me that when I have some of my best dreams, that desire will slip through. And since I am tied to both of you now, you will need to know how to recognize that desire."
Hermione's face blushed crimson, even as she leaned into the light caress Harry was giving her breast. "Oh My! Harry!" she gasped before turning to Luna and giving a second gasp. "Luna! Oh!"
"I foresee some major kinds of fun in our future when we can get our Harry recovered from this weakness." Luna teased, before turning serious for a second. "Yes, Hermione, we both desire you. And since I have felt a bit of desire slip through from you, I am sure you have a healthy desire for us as well."
"I think we can safely say we both are glad of that." Harry finished as he slipped an arm around Luna, so he that could gently tease one of her breasts as well. "I really have no idea how I got to be so lucky, to have two such beautiful women love and desire me. That you desire Luna a bit as well counts as bonus points."
It was too much for Hermione, she gave the cute squeal Harry so loved to hear as her body shuddered in release. Luna stiffened in response and then sighed as a twinge of joy slipped through their shared tie. "I think we had best be prepared to spend two or three days away from the world when we consummate our love fully." Luna sighed. "We seem to be able to set each other off just by our ties."
"Yeah." Harry sighed, feeling way better than he had in a very long time as he felt the pleasurable emotions cycle from his ladies. As sense began to filter through, the three of them enjoyed the chance to slip out of the bath, and since Harry was famished, there was no sharing of the drying duties, but some playful showing off managed to get accomplished instead. His ladies then helped Harry dress in some clean clothes, and headed down the hall for a light repast of Emm's now famous soup.
Buildings, Houses and Homes
Mum and Dad Granger joined the trio just as Harry finished eating his soup, and Evan took care of supporting Harry into a more comfortable chair. "We need to catch you up on what's been happening while you slept, you lazy bones." Evan teased Harry. "Robyn and I have agreed to build on that third site you offered us. It is a bit further from this manor house, I know, but between the views and access to that road, it is the better choice for the two of us."
Robyn picked up the thread. "We have also finished our plans, and they are much more modest than your suggestions. We will not need that much of a house for ourselves even if we do expect you three over daily."
"Really, you three, why would a pair of retired dentists need a six bedroom, eight bath, house with a formal dining room?" Evan asked with a bit of exasperation. "Neither Robyn, nor myself would be comfortable in that big of a place by ourselves."
"We wanted you to have the best." Luna started.
"And we hoped you would be able to invite friends over." Hermione continued.
"And then we got carried away with the planning." Harry finished. "Please bring your plans over tomorrow, as I know I'm not up to any kind of serious thought right now. No doubt, we will still want to make it a bit bigger to match the manor house, but we won't push that big of a house at you again."
"If you do, expect us to not live on site." Robyn promised. "But I do think we can make a few changes so the general shape of the house will match this place."
Robyn paused and taking a breath, continued with a new line of thought. "Harry, Luna, Hermione? Now that Harry is awake, can you please tell a pair of very concerned adults what happened?"
"Harry happened." Luna replied, and then continued when Harry winced through their tie. "Yes, Harry love, I know you didn't do anything on purpose, but there was a glitch during the ritual that was to join Hermione's heart to our tie. Hermione started fighting us; it was instinctive on her part. Harry, I owe you an apology. I did some more research afterwards and found another entry in one of the other books."
After reassuring Harry, Luna then began to explain what she'd found. "When joining a third to a stable tie, we should have taken three separate performances of the same ritual. The first time the ritual would have undermined Hermione's defenses; the second performance would have finished with the defenses and started to create the tie; and the third performance would have eased the new person fully into the tie. Instead, both Harry and I believed it would need to be done all at once, and easing Hermione all the way into our tie took all of our magical reserves. And since Harry was supplying the most of the magic to power the spell, he ended up magically exhausted; which is why he did not awake when Hermione and I did. It took time for his core to recharge."
Harry bestowed a smile on his dear-heart and answered her need for an emotional response from him. Then, he remembered Evan and Robyn couldn't feel the ties, and as they were looking on with some kind of expectation, Harry answered. "Apology accepted. As I recall, I told you not to look any further after we found that spell. It took us long enough to find it as it was. I mean really, magical books should have an index!"
"Well I agree with that thought." Hermione exclaimed. "But Harry, I am so sorry, I thought I was ready but when I first felt you and Luna magically during the ritual, I panicked."
"I've told you that that's normal, Mione love." Luna interrupted their brown haired love before she could get started. "You have none of the blame here; that would need to be shared by Harry and me, since we were the ones that 'invaded' your heart. And since Harry has forgiven me for my sloppy research, I expect we should not dwell on it further."
Hermione thought a moment and then nodded.
"Good girl!" Robyn exclaimed, reminding Harry that the others had seen what could have become a major argument. "Evan and I have wondered, more than once, how you three seem to interact so well. Now that we have seen your dynamics at work I feel much better."
Harry felt surprise from both Luna and Hermione, and all three of them turned to the adults.
"It is very rare to see that kind of honesty between young people." Robyn started to explain. "Luna took responsibility for an error; Harry acknowledged and admitted he had a part in the error; and Hermione accepted that and dropped the blame game. Really I should be saying, 'good job' to all three of you."
"It was hard for me and Harry when we were first tied." Luna said after a moment's thought. "We had to get through our first fight, and had to learn to be honest with each other. Hermione was a godsend during that time, someone either one of us could go to for help with the other's emotions and feelings. Joining Hermione to our tie, after Harry and I were stable, leaves Mione love at a bit of a disadvantage, as Harry and I are practiced, but it will give her stable base from which to learn."
"Luna and I have been working daily on how to accept and send emotions since we awoke." Hermione explained. "When Harry woke up." Hermione glanced over at Harry and said "finally", before turning back to her parents. "I started to get a whole new set of lessons on what being tied can mean. It is a good thing I don't have any other schooling right now. This is going to take awhile."
"Welcome home sweet-heart" Harry said. "We've been waiting for you."
Researching and rings
Life had fallen into a very comfortable pattern for Harry and his ladies. Today he was sharing Luna's study with her while going over all the notes left from when Luna's parents had created Melvil. While Luna was in this study, she and Hermione were working together on some project based on the old Lovegood heart magic. As expected, Hermione had picked the larger study as her own, and after being introduced to Melvil, she proclaimed 'him' the next best thing since a library card catalogue. Harry was hoping that if his own research project panned out, he would be getting the same kind of accolade, not that he needed it. The three of them were closer than ever before and still growing closer yet. It was time…
"Dinner is ready, you two. Evan is getting Hermione." Robyn interrupted Harry's thoughts.
Now while Harry was nearly fully recovered, he still was a bit unsteady on his feet, even though it had been two weeks since Hermione had joined their tie, and Luna expected it would be nearly a month yet before Harry was fully back to normal. Therefore, a smiling Luna stretched, and, after standing up, she made her way over to Harry's side to help him onto his feet.
Harry truly didn't mind this extra attention too much; he got to be coddled and pampered a bit. And although neither Luna nor Hermione would pamper him too much, Harry still really did need a bit of extra, not really support, more like a steadying hand at times like this.
As they entered the dinner room, Harry parted from Luna and sat down. The seating for dinner varied from day to day, although tonight, Harry made sure Hermione and Luna were sitting across from him with Evan and Robyn beside him. Once everyone was seated, the elves began the dinner service.
Dinner was generally a more formal type of meal, since it gave the elves a chance to show off their developing abilities. No longer did the food simply appear; each course was delivered and cleared by hand. When Hermione had asked the inevitable question of why the elves would do that extra work, she was dumbfounded when they explained that this new stuff was fun. When she was told that their trio of elves was envied by nearly every other elf in England, Hermione nearly had a nervous breakdown. After much soul searching and several very long discussions, SPEW was consigned to the trash bin. It was just as well that Hermione had found a new project to research.
After the dinner plates were cleared, the group would normally adjourn to a comfortable sitting room to just enjoy being a family, but today would be a bit different.
"Mr. Granger? Mrs. Granger? Are you two ready?" Harry asked.
While Hermione and Luna both questioned what was going on, Evan got up and moved to stand behind Hermione, and Robyn stood and took her position behind Luna.
"I really wanted to be well before we did this, but I can't really put this off any longer." Harry started, and then he too stood. "Miss Hermione Granger, and Miss Luna Lovegood." Harry paused and shook his head. "I am really bad at prepared speeches. I love you both, and I want more than what we have. I have always assumed we would be together for life, and I now want to formalize that assumption."
Hermione was staring at Harry with big disbelieving eyes, while Luna was watching Harry with a yearning, hopeful expression.
"Please say that you both will bond and then marry me." Harry managed to say.
Luna's face became a study of emotions, before a smile broke through and she breathed a quiet, "Oh, yes Harry! Yes please."
In contrast, Hermione's face did not cycle through any emotions, but settled into a big smile. Hermione waited till Luna started to answer before giving her own, "Yes Harry. Thank you very much."
Harry breathed a big sigh in relief. He had been pretty sure they would agree, but still every once in a while, he wondered why the two of them would put up with him.
"But why in the world are you across the table from us, Harry?" Hermione asked. "I would really rather be kissing you right now."
"Mione love." Luna interrupted Hermione. "We haven't finished yet."
Hermione's face registered some surprise, as Luna turned to her and continued. "In order for Harry to marry more than one person in the magical world, the secondary parties, that's us, have to bond legally. Afterwards we become a single entity in the eyes of the Ministry."
Luna paused took a big breath, and let it out slowly, demonstrating how nervous she was. "Hermione, will you bond with me, so we can both marry Harry together?"
"I thought we were already bonded, Luna. But if it takes more than what we have, then yes, I am willing to bond with you." Hermione responded after only a second's thought.
Harry put a long thin box on the table, and opened it. Inside were six simple looking rings.
"Hermione, I am not really happy about the way the laws and this ritual were written. But they are very old, and were written back when women were not much more than property that could be sold. As near as I can tell, the bonding is actually just some words that make you legally the same person, much less than what we three already share. But it allows me to marry both of you. I had to research quite a bit to get this all figured out."
Harry sighed, and then grinned at Luna. "I bet you thought I hadn't been reading up on this. Even after you 'accidently' left that book on my desk."
Harry pushed the box over towards the girls. Evan picked up the ring closest to him and Robyn picked the ring closest to her, and with an ease that showed they had practiced their parts, they spoke in unison. "Bonds may be of the heart or of magic, but no matter from where the bond springs, the bond you will now share makes you one in purpose."
Evan, although he was standing behind Hermione, gave the ring he held to Luna saying. "I, Hermione's father, agree to this bonding. Bond you then to my daughter."
Luna then placed the ring on her own ring finger, saying "I accept this bond, and bond from my heart."
Robyn then gave Hermione the ring she held saying. "I stand for those who have gone on before us. I, who love Luna as if she were my own, agree to this bonding. Bond you then to one I have grown to love."
Having watched Luna, Hermione also placed the ring on her own finger, repeated the phrase she had heard Luna say. "I accept this bond, and bond from my heart."
Harry took the next two rings closest to the end and gave them to Robyn and Evan saying. "Give this token to the bonded to whom I am being pledged."
Evan and Robyn took the rings, and while Hermione watched, Luna turned to Robyn and let Robyn put the ring on her finger while Robyn spoke. "With this ring you, and your bonded are pledged to Harry Potter."
Hermione then turned and facing her father let him put the ring on her own finger and he repeated the phrase.
Harry then took the two remaining rings and holding them together, he placed them on his own ring finger saying. "You, who are bonded, are now pledged to me and mine."
Harry was surprised when a flash of light appeared from his rings and he fell into the whirlpool of mixed emotions powered by another bond forming between the three of them, his last thoughts were 'I guess they were more than just words after all'.
Harry Potter was in pain. He was in a lot of pain. He lifted his tearstained face from the table when the interruption he was both hoping for and dreading came through the door.
"Harry?" Robyn started.
"The girls? Where are they? Are they going through this as well?" Evan interrupted, and caused Harry to focus on something other than how much he hurt.
"My loves are fine, or at least they are not going through this." Harry explained. "Rather they are the cause of my current condition."
"Harry, you look like you have been chewed up and spit out. I can't believe the girls would do this to you. Where are they?"
"They are having their first big fight since we were tied and then they were bonded. Please, don't interrupt them, they need this."
Harry's words stopped Evan in his tracks, and both Evan and his wife turned to Harry in surprise.
"How can you say they need this, Harry? It seems to be killing you."
"It should be a bit better now that I have to focus on keeping you from interrupting them."
"Okay…" Robyn had crossed the distance and sat herself next to him, and wrapping him in a gentle embrace, she continued her thoughts. "You're now going to have to try and convince us that the girls putting you through what appears to be some kind of hell, is really needed."
"Luna is standing toe to toe with Hermione." Harry then paused as a very painful wave of emotions slipped through. "Ugh, that one really hurt. You did not have the chance to see the way Luna has grown since Hermione and I kidnapped her. The Luna we knew at school did not fight, she ignored things. If you disagreed with her, that was fine, she just kept right on, refusing to be drawn into any kind of confrontation. And your daughter can be a force to be reckoned with when she really gets mad."
"So you are happy Luna is standing up for what she feels is right this time?" Evan ventured from the place in front of Harry where he was kneeling.
"Yes, exactly." Harry's response was again cut short as he winced. "When we first started to consider a family of three, I told Hermione I was afraid her forceful personality could consume Luna's completely. If I were not in much pain right now, I would be so proud of Luna for the sense of her own worth she has grown. For what it is worth, Luna is very aware of what I am going through. Hermione's control slipped and then fell almost right away. The real problem is that they are both right this time. They are just not listening to what the other is saying."
"You knew this was going to happen, didn't you, Harry." Robyn ventured.
"Yes, Luna and I went through this, although it seems like a couple of centuries ago. We had Hermione to turn to when it happened, and since she wasn't tied, she could act as the peacemaker. Hermione and I had our big fight before we were tied, and Luna did exactly what I am doing now. She stayed out it. I never realized exactly what kind of pain I must have put her through."
Harry paused and then sighed. "There, the worst is over now."
"Until next time?" Evan asked.
"There shouldn't be a next time. Oh I expect there will be differences of opinions, but as Hermione gains control, her emotions will not bleed through this way again. The thing is, once we get our ties under control it becomes so much easier to see how important something is. Luna and I don't fight any more. Instead we sound each other out and since we can 'talk' a bit over our ties, we can compromise even while in separate rooms. Hermione will get there as well, but it takes time. Luna and I knew this was going to happen, although I expected to be the one Hermione was fighting with, not Luna."
Hermione came running into the room at that point and stopped for a moment to take in Harry's appearance. Luna followed at a quick walk and did not let Hermione turn and run away. Instead, Luna firmly turned Hermione around and the two approached Harry as he disengaged from Robyn and stood. Hermione remained very tentative as Harry wrapped them both in his arms.
"Harry, I…I'm very sorry." Hermione got out before turning and with a sigh she leaned into Luna. "Luna dear, I am sorry. But why did you let me get so upset that it hurt Harry?"
"Harry and I went through this as well right after we became tied, Mione." Luna responded. "You were there for us as I recall. And now that we have had our fight, I don't expect it to happen again."
"What were you two fighting about?" Evan asked, reminding the three that they had witnesses.
"Luna wants to go hunting for Snorkacks." Hermione started.
"But Hermione said there are no such creatures." Luna continued.
"But what Hermione really said was that no one has ever found any Snorkacks, which is quite different from there are no Snorkacks." Harry interrupted before his ladies could get started again. "And I personally would love to take the two of you out to the middle of nowhere with a wizard's tent and spend a part of our honeymoon looking. After all, even if we need to be up early to go hunting for Snorkacks, we would be back to camp by mid-morning and can spend most of our days celebrating our being family."
Both Hermione and Luna blushed and turned very red at Harry's comment. Then both breathed a quiet "Oh yes, please!"
Harry smiled at his loves, took a turn kissing each forehead and then said. "So it is decided, and there really wasn't a need to fight. Which is how it works out most of the time anyway."
Studies and Projects
"Professor, can you look at our notes and tell us what you think?" Hermione asked their magic instructor, thus starting the normal afternoon class study and project session.
Their scheduled morning classes and luncheon with ex-Hogwarts professor Flitwick had just finished. The man had jumped at the chance to instruct the three of them in a home schooling environment. And it was amazing to Harry how much the very short man knew. While he had only been the charms instructor at Hogwarts, he was proving very capable at instructing them on the other subjects as well. Flitwick even understood the Ancient Runes class that Harry had just started to pick up. And the help he was giving Luna and Hermione on the project they were working on surprised all three of them, since that project dealt heavily in the old magic surrounding the heart and how a Heart's Home worked. Harry was still not sure what that project was about.
Harry's own project was coming along nicely as well. Flitwick seemed to be just as excited about how it was developing as he was about the one the girls were working on together. But for a couple of days now, it hadn't been Flitwick who had been helping Harry the most, it had been Evan.
A couple of days earlier, Evan had come across a very frustrated Harry. And when Harry had tried to explain the problem in magical terms, Evan had stopped him and made Harry break the issue down into logical terms. Once the problem had been broken down into logical components, Harry had reapplied the magic needed for each individual area. This was something Harry had never tried to do before, but the results had been a huge step forward in his project. The next day Evan had provided Harry with a book, a strictly non-magical book, which had helped even more.
Flitwick came to Love's Rest (the name three had selected for their new home) every weekday morning early enough to share breakfast with them and then to teach. On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, after scheduled class and lunch, Flitwick would help with Luna and Hermione's project. After their luncheon on Tuesday and Thursday, he would help Harry on his project if needed, or if Harry was doing okay on his own, then he would borrow the basic book from Harry or discuss non-magical things with either Evan or Robyn. He was getting along so well with all of them that the entire extended family was thinking of asking if he would like to build on property and live nearby like the Grangers.
Thinking of the Grangers, it amazed Harry, and based on the signals he was getting from Luna it amazed her as well, how much the Grangers were fitting into their lives. They did not force themselves on the three younger people, but they seemed be there any time a steadying hand was needed. Harry was sure they had stepped in and prevented another argument between Luna and Hermione. The commitment that the Grangers showed to each other was now being spread to Harry and Luna as well…
Harry started and looked up from the book he hadn't been reading to find their diminutive instructor looking at him.
"Um, yes Sir? You caught me thinking." Harry began, only for Flitwick to interrupt him.
"Thinking? Perhaps, you were thinking, but not about your project, or your schoolwork. You haven't turned a page or taken any notes for some time."
While not a tyrant, the man did expect the three of them to commit all of their mornings and half of the afternoons to their studies. Only on the day he tried to undo the years of bad teaching they had received in potions did Flitwick cut them any slack. And this was mostly because Harry, Hermione and Luna nearly always came out of that class time exhausted.
"Sorry Professor, I am a bit stuck getting this rune sequence to work, and it is a day you normally work with Luna and Hermione." Harry explained.
"Ah! Harry I know how I generally divide my time, but if you are stuck, I can be asked for help. It is only if both of your projects are stalled at the same time that I won't be willing to leave your ladies for a moment."
Shrugging, and a bit embarrassed, Harry put down the book he had been using as a cover, and turned to the rune sequence that was giving him his current trouble. After studying the sequence for a few moments and then quietly asking Harry what he was trying to do, Flitwick surprised him by putting aside both the runes and the book of runes they were using, and pulling out a new book.
"There is a charm that will help here, Harry. The work you are doing is about to get very detailed, and before I begin teaching that class of charms to you, I want you to read this book that Mr. Granger was kind enough to provide. Much like that basic book, this one deals some with logic, but more importantly it get down to the swish and flick, err, I think Mr. Granger called it, the nuts and bolts, of what you are actually doing with the logic we are creating."
Looking up, the professor added. "And no, Hermione, you do not need to interrupt your work to see what Harry's project and this new book are about. You two have quite enough to work on. And since you have not been including Harry in your work, I must ask you not interfere with his work. Harry's project is every bit as complicated as yours, and is actually somewhat more groundbreaking than yours. You are trying to recreate something that has been lost, while Harry is trying to do something that, to my knowledge, no-one else ever done."
A chastised Hermione turned back to Luna while Harry felt a rather surprising surge of affection from Luna pointed in his direction. Then, based on the echo Harry received from his ties, Luna focused on her tie to Hermione and re-engaged her attention to the books they had spread out in front of them.
Satisfied, the small man opened the new book to a section about halfway through and pointed to a chapter heading. "Harry you should read this entire book, I think. But for right now, read this chapter, and then go back to the beginning and read the first four chapters and then this one again. What it is telling me is that we have gone as far as these runes will go. Now we need to interface." The professor frowned at the unfamiliar word, but then continued. "Interface with the parchment. To do that we will need a set of runes that is controlling a different class of charms. The rune sequence you started will likely not be of any use at all. Rather, after reading from this book, look at the charms that are found in the advanced and specialized section in this other book of charms."
As Flitwick was leaving Harry to his new studies, he remarked. "I have been very pleased at how well your project has been going, Harry. I am just as pleased with the help Hermione's father has been able to give us. If you are able to put this project together, you may have opened an entirely new field of magical study. It will be a fitting memorial to Luna's parents, since they are the ones that started this work."
Evan and Robyn both entered at that time, which surprised all currently in the study that had been given over to teaching.
"I know it is not quite time, Filius, but we and the kids have all been talking and wanted to know how you were situated since leaving Hogwarts." Evan started.
"And if you would be willing to become a more permanent fixture to this crazy group. The kids need someone that knows the magical world to help, and you are the only one of the magical adults we've met that hasn't looked down on us for not having magic." Robyn continued as she crossed over to sit by Harry.
Harry had seen Flitwick surprised of course; after all he had fallen from books he used to boost his height the first time Harry's name had been called during roll. But, this surprised the man even more.
"Per…permanent?" Filius stuttered.
"Well only if you want to, you know." Luna added, "I know we have taken a lion's share of your time, and we are not paying you at all what you are worth."
"You have, by yourself, taken over teaching us all of our magical studies. Even helping with classes you were not in charge of at Hogwarts." Hermione clarified. "We had expected to need at least three or as many as five instructors paying each of them what we are paying you."
"You have been able to assist with both projects we are researching, and as Mum and Dad Granger have mentioned, you have fit in with our mixed magical/non-magical lifestyle." Harry finished while trying to ignore the slight gasp from Robyn when he called her mum for the first time.
The subject of their 'twin' speak turned to Luna and in a very serious voice asked. "You have forgiven me for the abuse you received under my house?"
Just as seriously, Luna replied. "I don't recall ever blaming you for the things others did, since the perfects were just as guilty and so helped hide what was going on away from your eyes." Luna turned to Harry to continue. "I asked the one person that might have made waves to keep it quiet. It could have gotten worse before you would've been able to stamp it out completely. And the five of us all talked about this, and we all agreed."
"I won't lie; I have to stretch to make ends meet." Their tiny professor spoke slowly. "My Hogwarts' retirement does not amount to much. And I didn't want to overcharge the only people that seemed to want me as an instructor. I would be interested in what you might be offering. I spent so many years living at Hogwarts that I had leased out my home years ago. And the people currently living in it are not likely to give it up till their lease is over, and that won't be for a couple of years."
"I think room and board here at Love's Rest for you, in addition to a raise to the pittance we are already paying you." Harry started the dealing. "If, in a couple of years you decide to continue leasing your property, and we have finished with our regular schooling, we can re-visit the deal. If I thought you would accept it, we would offer to either build, or let you build a place of you own on our property. And before you ask, yes, all five of us agreed on that as well."
"For that matter, there is room in the house we are building as well." Evan added. "These three still managed to make the place bigger than Robyn and I need."
Flitwick smiled and suggested that the group of them discuss their options as they all filed out of the study that served as their classroom, and into a more comfortable part of the manor.
In spite of needing to be up and ready for classes just as early as if they were attending Hogwarts, Harry was quickly learning to really love the early mornings. Nearly every morning, Harry was amazed when he woke to find that during the night, the three of them had cuddled into each other creating a knot of arms, legs, and bodies. And the time spent untangling limbs generally would lead to cries of joy as the three of them enjoyed learning how to touch, caress, kiss and taste each other.
One very memorable morning, they had managed to blow away some of Luna's natural reserve. The young blonde had screamed her release, and pulled him and Hermione into a state of near nirvana via their ties. When Luna finally began thinking again, she shared this new trick with the two of them several times. The three of them had been a bit late to class that morning, and Flitwick had complained that Luna had been distracted for the entire morning.
This morning, however, was a Saturday morning, and since they woke up at the normal time, they could spend more time together. Usually this was spent making sure that each of them was able to float down the stairs without touching even one. But Harry could tell something might a bit different this morning when Hermione left the bed and pulled on the fluffy robe she liked to wear when padding around either before or after they'd shared a shower. She then sat down on the edge of their shared bed.
"Harry." Hermione started hesitantly. "Why am I still a virgin? We've become very comfortable with each other physically, but you never seem to want to carry our physical expressions towards that final step. I know I am ready, and based on how our Little Miss Moon is beginning to really enjoy our mornings, I am sure she is ready as well."
Harry glanced over to Luna, as he felt a calm radiate from his younger love. However, she did not get out of bed as Hermione had. Her speech was sure and without hesitation. "Yes, I believe I am ready, Harry. I never expected to be so well loved by one to ever look forward to such a thing. But thanks to there being two of you, and your nearly infinite patience, I am ready to take that next step and unite our bodies, even as we have combined our souls." Luna paused a moment, and then continued. "But Harry, you should know that I support you in what ever decision you make."
Luna then turned to Hermione. "Mione, my lover, you do not know how hard Harry is working at this. You know I am a bit more experienced with our ties. I have felt it several times, as Harry stopped himself from completing our union. While I know he wants it, very badly, I also know he is both scared and hopeful about waiting."
Luna then placed her very naked and sexy body against Harry's while wrapping him in a hug that did not convey need. Harry could feel Luna actually try to absorb the fears that rose in him at Hermione's speech.
A confused Hermione removed her robe, and slipped back into bed so that she could try and mimic Luna's response. She was learning the ins and outs of her ties much more quickly then Harry had learned them. Of course, Luna also told Harry that, it was to be expected as Hermione had been joined to a stable tie. She could model her responses from the two of them and avoid most of the mistakes Harry and Luna had already made.
"Thank you, Luna. I'm very relieved by your insight." Hermione reached around Harry to brush the back of her hand across Luna's left breast. Then Hermione hugged Harry again, not to convey desire, but rather to provide comfort, just as Luna was doing. "Harry, can you tell us what you are waiting for? And why you might be scared?"
"I…I…" Harry started, only to falter.
Harry's tie to Luna stopped trying to absorb his fears; instead it started pushing love at him. Not the love of his body, although she had come to like his body quite well, but a love for a person that believed in her when she was alone. Hermione quickly caught on, and began pushing her own love towards him as well.
Thus bolstered by that strongest of emotions from both sides, Harry tried again, talking to the sheets. "I, I so want it to be so perfect. Perfect and special for all of us. I want it to be something we share on our wedding night. Something none of us has ever done before. But I am unsure, I've not ever…I mean I know it could hurt, and I don't want you to be hurt. I really don't want to hurt you, either of you. And if I hurt Luna, she might retreat, then Hermione might follow, and I really... I don't know what to do beyond the basics. I want it to be so much more than…"
Harry's confused mixture of wishes and fears were stopped by a finger on his lips. The finger belonged to Hermione. Harry dared a glance at her face and froze. It was not a closed or angry face, it was a face filled with affection. A quick glance at Luna confirmed that she wasn't angry either. As Harry's fear of disappointing his ladies retreated, he could feel their responses in their ties. Luna remained unruffled, steady and caring; with no hint that she might fear the act itself or the people performing it. Hermione, was a bit more complicated, but affection and amusement seemed to top her response to his fears.
"It is likely that it will hurt us the first time Harry." Hermione started and then paused.
"And perfection is something we can only strive for, Harry." Hermione started a new thought. "But it will be special for us, because it will be you that will be making love to us. But it will not be perfect. There will be some pain; there will be some shyness at being so open with each other; there could be some clumsiness. Knowing that this will be our first time, I can almost guarantee there will be some clumsiness. But it will also be a most wonderful night. Not because it will be perfect, but because I will be sharing it with you two."
Luna also added her thoughts. "I also doubt the hurt will prevent us from enjoying the joining we will be performing, my love. Don't tear yourself up about wanting our wedding night to be perfect. I agree with the idea; waiting till then will give us a special event over and above marriage vows. We will get to celebrate the union of our bodies as well." Luna smiled and continued. "And for a change we get to echo these words back towards you. Harry love, we will not give up on you."
"I think you and Daddy need to have a much longer version of 'the talk' than you have yet received." Hermione offered up a suggestion. "He is going to be so pleased that we are planning to wait for the wedding, and he will be more than willing to explain things a bit better. And so you don't feel too picked on, I promise I will ask Mum to do the same for us."
It was becoming quite normal for one or the other of the three to finish or continue thoughts. Luna's attempt did leave all three of the young adults laughing. "I am pretty sure that they won't give us a demonstration, however, not matter how much we ask."
A Trial Run
"Harry?" Professor Flitwick interrupted Harry's train of thought as he worked through his latest rune and charm combination. "Do you think we could try out your project? Luna and Hermione are sure there is an important reference to mental disconnects in this book, but can't find it."
Harry looked up from his work to find he was surrounded, not that he minded being surrounded by his ladies. And the diminutive professor was pretty high on Harry's respect scale, so his presence didn't cause him to start.
"That sounds unique enough, but I haven't gotten the hard copy working; it keeps shifting into gibberish." Harry replied after thinking for a second.
"I am sure Hermione and/or Luna will be willing to write the references down. Shall we try it then?" The professor responded. "That and this will get them off of my back about what you are working on so diligently."
The professor handed Harry the book in question while Hermione walked around the desk to better see Harry's 'project'.
Harry put aside the page he had been working with and picked up the physical part of his project and put it on the desk in front of him. The device had what appeared to be one large cutting board attached to a medium sized block. The block had a raised circle with some runes showing on the end closest to Harry. The back of the block was open and the insides appeared to be a mess of rune stones stuck to the walls of the block in a semi-random pattern.
Harry then positioned the book that was giving the girls a problem face up on the cutting board, and picked up a blank piece of parchment and a quill. Using the quill, he wrote 'Mental Disconnects' at the top of the page using a golden ink, and he then placed the parchment on the top of the block, before picking up his wand from where it was sitting beside him. Finally, Harry carefully traced the letters with his wand, murmuring a quiet spell as he worked. As Harry traced the letters, each one flashed before changing to a brown, the gold of the ink seemingly being absorbed by the block
"So far, so good." Having finished with the tracing, Harry then put his wand on the center of the raised circle and cast his spell by intoning, "Cercare". Harry left his wand in place while a low pitched hum could be heard.
A moment later, the parchment began glowing, and new letters appeared that slowly turned into words: "Page 43 – First Steps; Page 226 – Healing Head Wounds; Page 330 – Fixing Feet; and Page 341 – sl3450jfleh3049843l." Professor Flitwick read off the lines as they formed. "We will need to verify the entry on page 330, to be sure there really is an entry for mental disconnects while healing feet, then on page 341 to see what that is about. It managed to print all but the last one, Harry. Didn't your logic book mention something about a fence post error?"
"There is an entry under the Fixing Feet chapter, Professor." Luna responded quietly. "It is the one I keep finding instead of the one we hope to be on page 226." Luna then looked at Harry with wide eyes. "Harry Love? How in the great green garden of life did you ever get that to work?"
Hermione gently picked up the parchment when the glow stopped, and in a more choked tone asked much the same question. "Oh my, Harry! How did you even think of searching a book for a phrase?"
"Fence post?" Harry murmured to himself, and then he looked at Luna, while grabbing Hermione's closest hand. "Our joining of Hermione to our tie is what cemented what I wanted to do, Luna. You mentioned you found another entry in your book later while I was recovering, and I said there ought to be indexes to magical books. This is a start in that direction. The hard part is getting the letters and words into and out of the search. I was able to use the work your Mum and Dad did while creating Melvil to do the actual search." Harry then blinked and almost shouted. "Fence Post! That is it! Thanks, Professor."
Harry was prevented from taking pen to parchment when Luna nearly climbed over the table to settle herself firmly in Harry's lap. "You did this based on what my Mum and Dad did, Harry?"
Harry stared into Luna's hopeful eyes. "Yes, Miss Moon, this is based on what your folks did. You were very right when you told me your Mum was a special witch. She and your Dad created a very fancy bit of spell work with Melvil. And the notes you gave me to look at from them were very complete."
Hermione hadn't moved, but Harry could feel the smile via their tie as she spoke. "Professor, I know it is a bit early, but Luna is about to get very emotional. And I don't want you to drown in her tears. Do you think we could be excused for the rest of today?"
"A very good first run, Harry." Their professor said, smiling up at the three of them. "I guess we can adjourn a bit early. Swimming was never something I enjoyed doing."
Harry hardly noticed the man as he left the room. He was awash with several emotions radiating from his blond love. Although they did die down for a second as she asked. "Fence post errors? What are they Harry?"
"Suppose you want to put a fence straight across a ditch. The ditch is one hundred feet across, and you plan on having a fence post every ten feet. How many fence posts do you need?" Harry responded with a question.
Luna's answer of "ten" was given at nearly the same time as Hermione's answer of "eleven". At Hermione's answer Luna frowned and then her face cleared as she thought it through. "Yes, eleven is the correct answer."
"That describes a fence post error. Not getting the first or last post that is needed." Harry said as he cuddled into Luna. She responded with the expected wash of emotions.
"Enough about fence posts Harry. I'm going to go meet with Mum and Dad. You need to take care of our Luna." Hermione said as she gave first Luna and then Harry a quick kiss, and then followed Flitwick out the door.
"Harry, my love." Luna said in her quiet voice. "Thank you for this."
"For what, my dear-heart?" Harry asked as he rode the cycle of Luna's emotions.
"For honoring my parents; for letting me have my fight with Hermione; for holding me in the mornings; for oh so many things that you just do because it is the Harry thing to do." Luna responded, and then she looked up at him and finished her thoughts. "For all the times you did not give up on me. Look at me now; I am comfortable in your arms. I am actually looking forward to the time when we make love fully and completely. I have even started our morning fun a couple of times. Thanks to you and Hermione, I am not the girl I was, and I am actually proud to be not just a woman, but your woman. And your woman would really like for us to take our time and feel our emotions crest together."
Luna put her thoughts into action as she pulled one of Harry's arms from around her waist and placed it on her soft breast. And before Harry could speak she pulled his head down to hers and began a very slow, deep kiss. As Harry gave himself up to the emotions coursing through his tie to Luna, he slipped his hand off her breast long enough to work the buttons of her blouse apart, and then he slipped the material off of her shoulder giving him unfettered access to the pert and hard tipped mound of flesh that had been hidden.
Luna really enjoyed it when Harry or Hermione would play, touch, caress, and tease her breasts, although Hermione preferred attention be given to her secret place between her thighs. Thinking of Hermione, she re-entered the room, and joined her emotions to his and Luna's.
"Oh my word, you two." She exclaimed as she began pulling at her own clothes. "I could hardly speak to my parents because of what you two are doing to my ties."
Luna broke her kiss to Harry long enough to turn and watch the now nude Hermione approach. "That is because this is where you belong, our love." Luna then reclaimed Harry's lips while her hand traced up one of Hermione's legs to the junction of her thighs.
That afternoon led into the evening, and while Harry managed not to go too far, it was only because Luna and Hermione both knew he wanted to wait, and would back off if he started to lose control of his actions. Still, Harry had multiple enjoyable times with his ladies. This new and confident Luna he and Hermione had discovered could now take the lead in their bedroom play; a very welcome change and one that led to several unexpected afternoon delights.
One other change with the discovery of a confident and amorous Luna was the time they could now spend not as a trio, but as different couples. Yesterday, Harry and Hermione had found the time to explore each other physically and via their ties. Harry discovered that the reason Hermione was not fond of her breasts being touched had to do with how ticklish Hermione's ribs were. If Harry did not allow the caress to slide from her peaks to the ribs, Hermione could and did enjoy the sensations. Based on the squeal she let out when she shared her release with him, she actually enjoyed those sensations a lot.
Hermione and Luna had disappeared one afternoon as well, and based on the feelings and emotions that leaked through to Harry, they found that afternoon as educational as it was pleasurable.
Harry was very glad that was not the Saturday Evan had cornered Harry into the more detailed and advanced version of the dreaded 'talk'. Evan did not ignore or tease Harry about Harry's embarrassment on the subject, but rather got him to work through the embarrassment and share his feelings. It had taken nearly an entire day, but Harry was feeling a bit better about what was expected of him, and what it would do to his lady loves.
He now also understood Evan a whole lot better. And having a man he could turn to about literally everything had a very positive affect on Harry's general outlook. The Saturday afternoon time they had started to spend together was amazing. And it took Harry quite by surprise one evening when he realized that he had just admitted to all of the abuse handed out by the Dursleys. And Evan hadn't even blinked.
And Robyn also seemed to be making herself just as available to both Hermione and Luna, either together or separately. And true to Hermione's word, one evening Harry heard that they too had received a more detailed version of 'the talk'.
It was not all naked bodies and shared joy of course. Hermione was learning to manipulate her ties in simple questions now, and Luna had discovered that she could see though Harry's eyes via her tie with him. And although Harry was able to get a general set of shapes you could not say he could actually see through Luna's eyes yet. Schoolwork was proceeding with their professor claiming he was very happy with their progress in both their projects and normal course work.
And finally Harry had learned what his ladies were working on. After the third request to search some old tome for some kind of phrase that related to mental states, Harry had actually asked why he was searching for all of this information.
The answer of, "The Longbottoms" left Harry even more confused until Luna took pity on him and explained that they were hoping to heal Frank and Alice Longbottom. This was the project that Luna's mum had been working on when she died, and now that Hermione and Luna had combined forces, the project was coming along nicely. Luna was pretty sure that, with Harry's help, they had gotten further than her mum had.
Harry's project was complete in a rough kind of way. He was starting to re-build it with more attention to making it look more complete.
Currently, Harry was holding Luna as she caught her breath after one of the most intense releases Harry had ever shared via his ties with either Luna or Hermione. Luna shuddered against his side as a pleasurable aftershock cycled though their tie.
"Oh my, Harry!" Cooed his love. "If I didn't love you before, I most certainly do now. I had no idea you could do that to me."
"You get to blame our Hermione, love." Harry answered. "She had me do that to her a couple of days ago. I do not have any idea where she came up with the idea, but it is just as good for me."
Luna gently disengaged herself from him and stood to put on a robe. "I will have to get her to tell me where she came up with that, do you know where…No! No! Hermione No!" A much panicked Luna ran from the room.
Now unsettled and worried, Harry felt with his tie for Hermione and pushing more than he normally would, Harry tried looking through Hermione's eyes. Based on the table shapes and the shadows that seemed to be piled on the table, she was in the potions lab. Harry was getting pretty good at apparition under the tutelage of Professor Flitwick and rather than run across the house and down several flights of stairs, Harry grabbed a robe, along with his wand, and willed himself to the hallway right outside the lab.
Having had to run across the entire length of the house and down several flights of stairs, it was a statement of how worried Luna had become when she entered the same hallway where Harry had just appeared, running all out with Evan and Robyn following.
Holding his wand at the ready, Harry burst into the lab only to be pushed aside by Luna. Running across the room without stopping, she jumped over the table and tackled a very shocked looking Hermione. Just as the two girls hit the floor with a double "Ooof!", the caldron Hermione had been working on sputtered, and, as Harry shielded the caldron from the rest of the room, the caldron blew up.
With his ears ringing from the explosion, Harry carefully made his way to his two ladies only to find a nearly cationic Luna holding onto a shaken and disbelieving Hermione.
"Are you okay Hermione?" Harry asked roughly as Evan and Robyn entered the room, closely followed by Flitwick.
"I…I think so Harry, but in spite of being this close, I can't feel Luna anymore! Is she hurt?"
"You both were shielded from the explosion, so she has suffered no physical hurt. I expect she is currently re-living her mum's death, only this time the person dying is wearing your face." Harry answered as knelt down beside the girls.
Robyn knelt down on the other side of the Hermione/Luna bundle and quietly checked for herself that there were no physical injuries. Finding none, she sighed in relief and let Evan take her place to do his own checking, starting with, to his surprise, Harry.
Filius had his wand out and was able to do the same checking from a distance, although he was also able to give a bit more information. "Other than a bit of ringing ears, you are all fine physically; Luna does seem to be locked within some kind of nightmare. Her breathing is quick and shallow, her heartbeat very fast, and I expect her to start sweating at any moment."
Since Hermione was unable to free herself from Luna's now uncomfortably tight grip, Harry asked the professor to levitate the two ladies, and he then led the way to the chamber they had used to join Hermione to their tie. It had been a ritual chamber in ages past, but now was the antithesis of what a typical ritual chamber would look like. The chamber had been given a warm and inviting appearance with walls of pale yellows and light blues. And instead of a harsh, stark interior, chairs and pillows were stacked against the side wall.
Harry used his wand to arrange three chairs around the room, and, when the house elves also appeared, Harry added some pillows between each chair so the elves could be comfortable. At the center of the chamber, he placed a series of larger cushions where he had Flitwick place his ladies.
"What can we do to help, Harry?" Asked a worried Robyn. "You know we have no magic."
"This is more for your comfort." Harry replied. "I am going to try to do the same kind of spell that I used when Luna and I first became heart tied. And for that all I need is Luna, and, this time, Hermione. Since Hermione joined our tie in this room, it should still hold an echo of those spells, and because Luna was a critical piece of that magic, I hope it will be easier to find and comfort her as a result."
Harry lay down beside the Hermione/Luna unit and murmured quietly to Hermione the spells and ritual he had been taught by the shades of Luna's past. Then he used those on himself, and again experienced the feelings of sinking into Luna's inner self. Once there he waited for Hermione to join him, and then he led her to the only obvious black and bloated sphere within Luna's psyche. But this time instead of trying to separate the pain, he and Hermione joined the memory in the hopes that Luna would herself reject this false dream.
As Harry predicted, their Luna sat watching a much younger Luna living through the memory of her mother's caldron exploding, while leaving the dream Luna only able to watch her mum die painfully. And then the scene repeated only with Hermione being the one so hurt and dying.
"Luna, all of this didn't really happen." Harry mentioned as he sat beside the older Luna. "Your Mum did die, but you saved Hermione; she is actually just sitting on your other side."
"And I really am grateful that you did save me." Hermione spoke from Luna's other side. "I did not know you could run so fast."
"You…you aren't dead?" Luna queried. "You aren't going to die?"
"We all die sometime, Soleil, but I do not expect to die, for say, a hundred years or so." Hermione replied. "And one reason I am still alive is you. But here you are having a nightmare instead of ripping into me for not being careful. I won't even fight back this time since you would be right, and I should have you yelling at me this time."
"But the caldron, I know it exploded. If Hermione is unhurt, why am I not dead or dying myself?" Luna queried.
"My fault, I guess." Harry answered. "I had my wand and was able to shield the caldron away from the rest of the room. It blew straight up, and I didn't stop to check, but I think it made a right mess of the ceiling. The elves will have a time trying to clean that up."
"And now that we are all here? How did you know to come save me, Luna? Harry?" Hermione asked as the three of them watched the nightmare fade. No longer did a dream Hermione take her turn at dying, and the scene of Luna's mum began to loose some of its sharpness and became fuzzy around the edges.
"Luna wanted to find you for something, and then when she did, she ran from the bedroom crying 'No! No! No!'." Harry answered. "I followed our tie and found you in the lab. After grabbing my wand, I apparated to the hallway outside the lab." Harry paused and then continued. "Luna, we left the entire household in a very worried state, do you think we could wake up now?"
Luna watched her younger self once more try to help her dying mother."This, however, really did happen. Didn't it?"
"Yes, our love, it did." Hermione answered. "And it has affected your whole life ever since. But you have Harry and me now. You can let it go. It will always hurt some, but you have seen your parents since then; you have spoken to them. They are on the other side, but they are both fine and still in love with each other and you. You can let it go."
Luna appeared to think for a minute, and Harry sighed in relief when he felt his tie to this lady open back up.
"You're right, Mione love, I have seen them both. I don't need this memory to remind me of my Mum."
Before Harry's eyes the dream memory faded even more, to be replaced with a happier time when a Luna of about six received a new bright yellow party dress as a surprise from her Mum.
"Let's go home, my loves." Luna said a bit more firmly. "I have permission to yell at Mione, but I would really rather feel with my own two arms and our tied hearts that you still live."
"Oops!" Hermione exclaimed as she faded out of sight. "I had hoped you would forget I gave you permission to be mad."
Harry was about to fade back to the waking world when he felt a small hand on his arm.
"Thanks, Harry Love." Luna said. "You did it again."
"Huh?" Harry replied somewhat intelligently. "I did nothing but bring Hermione in with me."
"You and she believed in me enough to let me deal with the pain. You didn't just scrape the pain away. My garden isn't going to be needed as much now. I have grown enough to see and accept the pain life can bring, just like I can accept the joy it can bring. And that is mostly because of you not giving up on me, and convincing Hermione not to give up on me either. But it was more than just helping me with my fears. You stood by me, and believed that I, Luna Lovegood, was worthy. That is a very special gift, Harry. Thanks."
Before Harry could respond, Luna released the hold on his arm, and told him to "Wake up, my Harry".
It turned out that Robyn, rather than Luna, was the most upset. But before tempers could actually be lost, Luna held Robyn and asked her to rejoice that no one was seriously hurt. "My Mum had the same thing happen to her, and she had years of experience." Luna explained.
Hermione was quite timid with all of them while they adjourned to the family room. Luna led Hermione to the couch and sat her between Harry and herself. There Hermione began to recover. And based on what Harry was receiving, Hermione was spending quite a bit of time pushing her love and affection towards them in apology.
Things seemed to fly by after that. Harry spent nearly all of his time helping Hermione and Luna with their research. The potion Hermione was trying to brew when it blew up was determined to be a fake or trap, and not needed at all. When Luna found that out, she disappeared into the bedroom and cried for her lost mother until Hermione slipped into that bedroom. And while Harry never asked, he was pretty sure the two of them were even more bonded to each other than ever before.
It was a cool but sunny day in early May when some unusual building took place in Luna's Garden. Two platforms were built in the center of Luna's garden; two platforms just big enough to hold two people. And a week after that, the magical world was marveling that two people who had been so lost to them had returned. The procedures had worked just like they should have, and while Frank and Alice were more than just weak, they were awake and aware.
Harry managed to stay mostly out of the limelight this time. Then the news that he was planning a late June wedding with both Luna and Hermione sparked several ugly articles in the Daily Prophet. The news that Hermione and Luna had bonded in order allow that wedding sparked even more. But the Ministry finally announced that the laws were valid, if very old.
Which brought Harry to this spot, waiting with Neville and Ron, Harry was finally going to get his family. Evan and Robyn had talked a squib minister into holding the ceremony in a proper church. And within a matter of minutes, the three of them would be walking in to stand in front of the altar to wait for Susan and Hannah, and then for Evan to escort both Luna and Hermione down the aisle.
After the ceremony, the three of them were heading first to the Greek islands for a few days, and then to Sweden to hunt the Snorkacks. Then they would return home again for a summer of intense tutoring so that they could take an entrance exam for a university. Hermione had announced that Harry had the start of a magical computer, and he had better figure out how to finish what he started. Luna was going to learn about business and reporting with the intent of re-starting the Quibbler. And Hermione, of course, expected to take a full course load of her own. But she had also let Harry know that she wanted a baby, hoped he would assist her in that endeavor.
As far as Harry was concerned, this was what his life had been leading to. Not being the Boy-Who-Lived. Not being the killer of Voldemort. Not even being the wizard that started a whole new class of magic with his index search. He was about to become a husband, and that eclipsed all of the other titles and accomplishments. And becoming the husband of Luna and Hermione just made it that much better.
Harry's thoughts were interrupted when Neville whispered that it was time, and Neville opened the door, and walked into church. Ron gave Harry a goofy grin, and looking proud even with an empty sleeve, he also walked into the church. And as for Harry, he took a deep breath, and walked through the doorway that led to the rest of his life.
Done, I had intended to go on a bit more, but when Luna announced that she no longer was going to need her garden, the rest of the story just dried up. In spite of this being from Harry's POV, Luna's character growth was what was driving this story. When she finished becoming the woman she could be, what was left would have been just paper that was wrapped around nothing.
This tale took several turns I did not expect while I was writing it. Evan and Robyn being so supportive was one of them. Harry deciding to not actually go all the way was another. Ron's character was also a surprise, and while he was a very minor character, he came out quite different than I expected him to.
I also find I have to agree with Meteoricshipyards, and most of the things in his profile dated July 2007: commas are the bane of my life (and correcting them is likely the bane of NettieT's life as well); and slogging through to the end is hard work.
I cannot thank NettieT enough for all of the work and help she gave me during the writing of Heart's Home. Thanks Annette.
What's next? I have two ideas, one is actually started, but I may try and get further into it before I start posting.
Thank you for your time and support.
Aealket (Alan Williams)