I promised I'd update this story.
First of all, this chapter is HALF-DONE. That is, it contains about half the content it's supposed to have. I thought I'd lost this back in April. I've kept you all waiting two years. I will write the rest of it, but for now, I figured you all deserved something for your patience.
If you'd like an explanation as to why I'm late, please go see the AN to Frigid Flames.
"You scream any louder mate and the twins might want to throw your bachelor party."
To say Harry Potter was having a bad day was a sore understatement. His encounter with Setsuna had scared him so much that he quickly beat a path back to Negi's room. It wasn't long before his pint-sized teacher had explained, in detail, just what the headmaster had signed himself up for.
Needless to say, Harry was a bit nervous.
"Marriage, here and now? Not even going into what's been going on back home, just think of what it's going to mean for us. I mean, do I move here, does she move back to Wales with me? What about kids?" Harry froze, the blood draining from his face. "Ron, I am too young to have kids."
His red-haired best friend was currently locked in a three-way poker duel with Kaede and Kotarou. He turned up from his hand to reply. "Harry, in some places, you'd still be considered a kid yourself." Kaede asked Ron a question as she dealt Kotarou three cards. Ron replied in Japanese, leaving Harry alone to stew in his own juices.
He didn't marinate for long. The door to the room was kicked open as Asuna, Negi, Nodoka and Hermione all filed in, the former three laden down with reading material.
"Really Harry, I don't know how this keeps happening to you."
"Hermione, if I knew, do you think I'd let it keep happening? First it was the Philosopher's Stone, then the Chamber of Secrets, then that whole thing with the dementors, THEN the ruddy tournament last year." Sighing to himself, Harry threw himself down on Asuna's futon. "It's like my life's some sort of bad book. It just keeps happening."
"I'm with you mate," Ron agreed. "I mean, who just gets offered a marriage like that? Sounds like something Ginny would write."
Harry sat up so fast he clonked his head on the underside of the bunk bed. "What was that?"
"Nothing, nothing. I shouldn't have told you that."
Hermione took that as her cue to distract Harry with her findings. She opened up her bag and pulled out numerous books on Japanese culture. She sat Harry down at a desk and placed a book in front of him. "Right, so this thing the headmaster talked about is not as much of an official proposal of marriage as I originally thought," Hermione told him, flipping through several books at the same time. "An Omiai is more like a first date where two people meet with their families. Though they're meeting to discuss the possibility of marriage, but it isn't official yet."
"Hermione please, just tell Harry if I'm gonna have to arrange a bachelor party anytime soon." Ron announced as he folded his poker hand.
"Ron, please. Anyway, you would have to undergo several dates before you all meet again to discuss the prospect of marriage."
Nodoka chimed in with something, but neither Harry nor Hermione understood her. "Ah, Nodoka-san said that this first meeting is more about the two families of the bride and groom meeting each other than any actual marriage decision. You don't have anything to worry about."
"Well that's helpful." Harry muttered sarcastically.
"Jeeze mate, just relax. This isn't the end of the world. Look on the bright side. If you do get married to her, you won't have to go back to the Dursleys."
"Something tells me that Setsuna would make my life even worse than the Dursleys ever did."
Hermione looked at Harry nervously. "Harry, what did sempai tell you?" Flashes of Setsuna barreling down on him, the hardened glint in her eye, the sword at her hip; Harry shuttered.
"I think its best you don't know Hermione."
The British students paused in their discussion as Asuna's phone rang. After a quick conversation, she told Negi something. "Oh, it looks like the headmaster told Konoka-san about the meeting tomorrow. She asked Asuna-san if she could have the room to herself to get ready."
"Well, looks like we're moving this party." Ron announced as Kaede and Kotarou both silently vanished; leaving their cards on the table.
"That's unnerving." Harry muttered.
Ron began collecting the abandoned cards on the table. "Bloody hell, she was bluffing!" Ron shouted as he turned over Kaede's hand.
Asuna quickly ushered everyone out of the room, apparently saying that she was used to helping Konoka get dressed for these occasions. The Hogwarts trio plus Negi and Nodoka regrouped in Nodoka's room.
"Really I don't see what you're all so hung up about this." Ron told them again.
"Can you please be more sympathetic Ronald," Hermione shouted. "This could be a big step for Harry, one that wasn't even made for him."
"Hermione, we're friends, right?" Ron asked.
Hermione turned away from him and blushed. "You, what, why would you say something like that?"
"Because I'd like to talk to Harry without you saying something every five seconds." Hermione opened her mouth for a moment, then sat in a chair.
"So as I was saying, Harry you're getting a bit worked up over nothing."
"Why's that?" Harry asked; saving his retort until after his friend finished speaking.
"Look, I know you and Hermione grew up with Muggles, but among pureblood families, arranged marriages are a lot more common than you think. Marriages for politics, power, money; there's a lot less love among the old pureblood houses than you might think. Hell, some marriages are arranged even before the bride and groom know how to speak."
"But how does that make this any different?"
"Because Konoka has these Omiai things about five times a year. And she's never met with the same person more than once. I don't really think this is gonna be more than a friendly meeting."
"How did you know that?" Hermione asked.
"Kaede told me. I figured you already knew."
Harry didn't know what to say. On one hand he was nervous, possibly even scared. Voldemort would stop at nothing to get to him, and he didn't want anyone around him to get hurt. Not only that, the idea of marrying someone he'd only known for three months was not something he was looking forward to. But on the other hand, if Ron was right, it might end up being nothing serious. And it helped that Konoka was a spectacular girl. Even though she didn't speak much English, she was quick to help Harry and his friends with anything they needed. She always had a spare lunch box made for him and Hermione every day and she always was there for him after his workouts with Ku Fei. If he was going to get married to a girl, he could have done FAR worse.
The next day dawned far too early for Harry. Sundays weren't normally this nerve-wracking for him; but he didn't normally have a marriage interview on most Sundays. Makie and Ako had left early for their club activities by the time Negi came over to help Harry with his suit. Living with the Dursleys, there had never been an occasion where he'd need to wear even a button down shirt, let alone a three-piece suit. Thankfully the ten-year-old was proficient in trying ties, and Harry thought he looked rather dashing in the grey, pinstriped suit Takahata had loaned him.
Negi assured him he wouldn't need to bring anything to the Omiai, so after a quick breakfast of toast and cereal, Harry was on his way to his interview. He swallowed several times to keep his stomach from churning, this whole marriage interview seemed less stressful when he was talking about it with Ron yesterday. Waiting at the station for the train to take him up to the main building was taking its toll on him. He began having flashbacks to his abysmal time at the Yule Ball last year. His mouth began drying out as he waited for the train to pull into the station.
Harry plonked himself down in a plastic seat next to a man reading a newspaper. His hands began shaking as the train pulled away. Why did his life have to be difficult like this? Why the hell did Tom Riddle single him out and make him suffer like this? All the nice logical arguments Ron made yesterday had flown out the window in favor of sheer panic.
"Well you seem to be having fun."
Harry's head snapped to one side. The man next to him lowered his paper; revealing Harry's former Defense professor and former marauder, Remus Lupin.
"Professor, what are you doing in Japan?"
Lupin laughed as he folded his paper. "Well, apparently the headmaster here has been planning this little marriage proposal for quite some time now. He asked if there was anyone willing to represent your family, so Sirius asked me to go."
"How has he been?" Harry asked.
"He's been a bit moody ever since you left. Dumbledore isn't letting him write, either by Muggle or owl post. And he can't have a Muggle telephone installed either, so he's been driving himself up the wall."
Harry looked away from his old professor. "Oh. I'm sorry."
"Don't fret yourself Harry, he's just being a big baby. Besides, he asked me to bring you something that'll help. I'll give it to you after this meeting."
The train continued along for a few more stops until Harry asked the niggling question. "Did the headmaster tell Professor Dumbledore about this marriage interview?"
"If you're asking me if Albus is trying to play matchmaker with you, I think you give him a bit too much credit. The Order received word about this proposal last week when Konoemon sent us his usual update on you three. Let me tell you, Molly wasn't too happy when she heard you and Ron were being asked to fight giant monsters. It took Arthur and I over an hour to calm her down."
"So you came because you agreed to the wedding interview?"
Lupin outright laughed. "Harry, I'm not here to decide your future. Konoemon asked the Order if they could send someone to Japan who could speak on behalf of your family. I'm here to talk about your father and you as my student. Whether this turns into anything more is entirely up to you."
The train pulled into the station as Harry and Lupin left the car. The two began the walk up the hill toward the school building. "You know James would be quite jealous of you Harry. Your mother wouldn't even talk to him until seventh year. He'd kill to have an opportunity like this. For being born into a pureblood house, he had a fairly nasty reputation with women. I'd blame it more on Sirius myself; he wasn't the best influence on anyone."
"Wait, but what happened?" Harry asked. Never before had anyone mentioned his father to him like that.
"That's a bit of a long story, but it was one that the Sirius talked about for the longest time. In fact I'd like to see the Marauder's Map sometime soon. There's something Sirius and I have decided needs to be done."
Harry nodded, remembering the ancient parchment still in his luggage back in the dorm. The thought suddenly made Harry ask something he never did before. "Could you tell me more about my dad? I mean later."
Lupin drew level with Harry and smiled. "I think that's an excellent idea Harry."
It was strange that the idea of learning more about his parents made the march up the stairs to the administration building easier. Harry's mind began firing off questions that he planned to ask Lupin later. How did his parents meet, how did his father meet everyone? It helped him cope with the situation, until Harry realized that he was standing outside the headmaster's office door. Takahata was there waiting for them.
"Yo Potter-kun. That suit looks good on you."
"Thank you sir."
"Are you Harry's teacher?" Lupin stepped forward and offered his hand.
"One of them. I teach history." Takahata reached out and firmly shook Lupin's hand.
"Well this makes everyone. I need to go pick someone up at the airport. I'll talk to you later Potter-kun." With that, he left.
The headmaster's desk had been removed from his office when Harry walked in. In its place were about a dozen cushions placed in a semi-circle around a low-slung table. Two larger cushions were seated across from them, and upon one was seated Konoka. Harry thumped a hand to his chest when he caught sight of her. The girls at the Yule Ball paled in comparison to the teenager who sat before him now. Her long hair had been tied back into a tight bun held with what looked like ornate chopsticks. She wore an kimono died a cerulean blue with white swirls tracing their way across the cloth. When she turned to look at him, her face had only the slightest touch of makeup. Her skin looked as white as milk, and her lips had been adorned with bright red lipstick. Harry could feel his face warm up as he sat down next to her. He shifted his legs to match Konoka's posture, praying that his feet wouldn't fall asleep on him.
"Now that Potter-san has arrived, we may now begin."
TO BE CONTINUED