((A/N: If you didn't figure it out, Albus was shouting "But the Prophecy". In some ways, I do feel badly for his position. Springing "you've got to save the world" on Harry immediately after finding him would not have been a good idea, but of course, how he was handling the situation was not too much better. In this story, I don't see Albus as manipulative (which has a slightly evil connotation to me), but more as overly controlling. Nevertheless, he has never had to deal with a new student like Harry, someone who's mostly grown up and has a clue about how life works (he's not totally grown up and he has more to learn about life, but Harry's not a pliable 11 year-old either.) So while Harry was trying to figure the Wizarding World out, Albus had the bigger problem of trying to control Harry, a young man who didn't care what really happened around him or what damage he wreaked, as Albus had nothing Harry wanted.))
Chapter 6 - Epilogue
Harry was walking down the French version of Diagon Alley in Paris two days after his great escape. He was amused by the fact that while it was in a different country and so had a different "flavor", it was still basically the same as the Wizarding shopping district in London. All the same stuff was being sold, only a different language was being used, and the architecture was different too.
He was in his "older look" again, as he had before all of the funny business with Dumbledore, heading to Gringotts. He not only needed some more Galleons, but French Francs as well. Sirius and Remus had deemed this place safe enough for Harry to go alone, as long as he was in disguise and had his wand, so they were out taking care of other things like trying to find a place to live.
Nearing the bank, he passed a family that had a "strange" feel to them. The dark-haired man seemed normal enough, but his very pretty silvery-blonde wife and daughter had an unusual feel to them, as if they demanded that Harry look at them. He did take a look and then smiled, enjoying the sight of two pretty women, but then he pulled his vision away and continued on.
As he reached the bank steps, Harry heard several Apparation cracks behind him. Fearing Dumbledore had followed him, he whipped out his wand as he turned around. Six men in black robes surrounded the family of three he had just passed. He was impressed that the man already had his wand out and was starting to cast at his attackers; the daughter almost had her wand out too. While Harry had no idea who these people were, no one should be attacked, and the odds were quite unsporting.
Harry started firing Stunning spells at the attackers too. He really only had a limited selection of spells, as Remus had only taught him the basics and he had not had time to pick up more in Hogwarts. Still, a fourth -- and unexpected -- wand helped greatly, especially as he was "behind" the family and was able to protect their back. After taking out two attackers, he rushed forward to help with the attackers on the front when the mother went down. She had been trying to maintain a shield while the father and daughter were taking out the attackers. Harry continued to run forward, only now he was starting the shield spell and cast the strongest one he could imagine right in front of the remaining two victims.
Realizing he had unintentionally cast the shield spell with his left hand, Harry thought a Stunning spell with his wand at the man who had taken out the mother. He smiled in triumph when the man went down, only to be surprised when a large blast hit his shield. It knocked him sideways into the girl knocking them both down. He hit his head on the pavement which caused him to drop the shield. Harry's world went black.
The world slowly returned to Harry, but he was careful to feign sleep while he took stock of his situation, having been in this position in the not too distance past. He really hoped he had not been kidnapped again. Other than a splitting headache, he felt reasonably normal. Expanding his senses, he realized there were two soft voices talking nearby, but there was something very strange about them. After a few seconds, he realized they were talking in French. Grateful that Gina had made him pay attention to the French lessons that were broadcast on the BBC back home, he "tuned" his ear to the new language to gather information. He was not fluent and they were not talking slow, but he was able to catch most of the words. He was much better at understanding French than speaking it.
"I thought you said he should be awake soon." It was a man's voice.
"He should, but with a blow to the head, the time is ---." Harry missed the last word, but suspect the woman meant unknown, or something similar. "How will you handle this?"
"I must find out who he is and if he was connected with those ---."
"Jean-Aimé!" She sounded appalled. "He helped us. You said there were two behind us you never knew about and that he must have ---. And his ---. That protected both of you at the end. You can not believe…"
"I believe nothing," he cut her off with a course whisper. "I must have the facts first. It could be a setup."
"He is but a boy, Fleur's age." Harry assumed she meant the daughter, but he had had a hard time guessing the girl's age in the quick glance he had given her.
"Those --- in England use little boys for evil things," the man argued, his voice growing louder. Harry was not sure what the word meant that he had not understood, but the context and the anger in the man's voice argued for the word to have a bad meaning.
"He saved us," she whispered back just as fiercely and stamped her foot to emphasize her point. "He will be treated well before we return him to Paris."
"Yes, Apolline," the man said with resignation.
Harry almost laughed as he guessed at the glare from the woman. Well, it was time to "wake up". Waiting a few more seconds, he groaned a little and moved his head slightly. A few seconds later, there were light footsteps heading his direction. He slowly opened his eyes and made a production out of blinking. Everything was blurry, as he didn't have his glasses, but he saw what must be a face with silvery-blonde hair around it. It must be the mother. She handed him his glasses.
"Do you understand me?" she asked in French.
"English?" he asked hopefully with a gravelly voice, planning to keep his French secret. It was the mother next to him.
"Yes. How do you feel?" she asked him in fluent English, although there was a slight accent attached to it.
"My head really hurts and I need some water."
"Of course. Let me help you sit up, slowly though." She helped him sit up and move back against the headboard. As she handed him a glass of water, he saw the dark-haired man in the doorway. Now that he could take a long look, Harry noticed that the man was not overly tall and a little on the portly side. He also had a pointed goatee. When eye contact was made, the man walked into the room and stood at the end of the bed.
The man bowed his head slightly in greeting. "I am Jean-Aimé Delacour, and this is my wife Apolline. Whom am I addressing?" His English was flawless, which coupled with the wife's very good English made for an unusual French couple, or so he thought.
Harry took another sip of water. "I'm Harry Porter, recently from England, as I'm sure you can tell by my accent." That was the name on the passport Remus had doctored for him.
The French man nodded. "And are you visiting or what, Mr Porter?"
Harry stuck to the truth for the moment. "I and my guardians left England due to a personal problem. We're considering living here, assuming we can find a place." Something about the man made him seem very official, so just to be safe, Harry asked, "Can you please tell me if we need to contact the Ministry here?" Remus was supposed to be handling that, but information from a second source never hurt.
The man smiled. "Yes, you will need to file an immigration form; I can help you with that, if you can help me with something?" Harry nodded. "Have you ever heard my name before, Mr Porter?"
Harry shook his head. "No, I've been home-schooled and we have not covered French magical history."
"Then may I ask why you defended us?" It was asked in a friendly tone, but the look of his eyes told him the man was deadly serious.
The look and the fact that he had asked if Harry knew his name, led Harry to believe he was someone important. "Because it was the right thing to do. They also did not give you very sporting odds, six against three and trying to catch you by surprise to boot. And that's not mentioning trying to hex you from behind."
Jean-Aimé chuckled and his posture relaxed slightly. "No, it was not very -- sporting -- as you say."
"If I may ask, why am I here?" Harry hoped for a different answer than Dumbledore had given him.
"Do you remember what happened at the end of the fight?" Harry shook his head. "Ah, let me explain then. After your shield stopped several spell, one of the attackers send a Blasting hex at us and, amazingly, your shield held just long enough. You are a very powerful young wizard, Mr Porter."
"Thanks," Harry said quietly.
The man smiled. "While your shield held, I removed the last two attackers and found you unconscious on the ground. I assume you hit your head hard enough to knock you out." Harry nodded. "You were also under my unconscious daughter, so she thanks you for breaking her fall."
Harry's eyes went wide at hearing that. "I didn't mean to… I mean I wasn't trying to… Oh, shit," he finally said and buried his face in his hands. He was surprised and relieved to hear two laughs, one was very pleasing.
Jean-Aimé was grinning at him when Harry looked up. "You have no worries, Mr Porter. I saw what happened and know there were no ill-intentions."
Harry heard a light clearing of the throat from beside him and saw his wife glaring at her husband.
"In fact, as my wife just reminded me, I have been too slow to also give you our thanks for your timely help, Mr Porter. Without you there, it would have gone much worse. The fight was over very quickly, so injuries, and potentially our kidnapping, were avoided. As part of our thanks, we brought you here to recover. When you are ready, I shall help you return to Paris, unless you would like to remain here for a while as our guest."
"Thank you, Mr, uh, Delacour, was it?" The man nodded. "But I really need to get back before my guardian and friend become worried for me."
"I understand, but we can also send a house-elf with a message so they do not become worried. You could return after dinner," the man offered.
"That would be nice, but I wouldn't want to intrude," Harry told them.
"There would be no intrusion from the young man who helped save us," Mrs Delacour replied. "I will inform the cook that we will have a guest," she told him with a smile that warmed his heart. He felt some sort of magical pressure from her, but he could not figure out what it was. "Do you have any food allergies we should be aware of?"
"Then perhaps a sampling of family dishes to welcome you to France. Jean-Aimé, please give him something to write with so he can send a note to his friends."
"Of course, my dear."
Mrs Delacour smiled again at Harry, got up, whispered something surprising to her husband based on his expression. "I shall return soon with a Headache Potion," she said before she left.
"A moment please," the man told him and left as well, leaving Harry with a quandary and a moment to think. What could he tell the man?
A minute later, the man returned with some parchment, a quill, and a bottle of ink. Harry quickly wrote a short message detailing that he had met a French family with a daughter, who had invited him to dinner, and that he would be late getting back. He thought Sirius would like the part about dinner with a girl. He addressed it to Orion Black at the hotel they were staying at.
Handing the letter to the man, Harry decided to go for broke. "Mr Delacour, from what you said, am I correct in guessing that you are an important person here?"
"That depends on who you ask," he said quietly with a smile. "I work at our Ministry of Magic, and I am what you would call the Head of the International Relations Department. Of course, we have a different name of for it, but that is what your English Ministry calls it."
"I see," Harry nodded. "Mr Delacour?" he asked tentatively, "I came here because I was being personally, ah, persecuted you might say. Would there be a problem if I stayed here, in France I mean."
"I believe not, but if you will tell me about your 'persecution', I can better answer the question." The hard look in the eyes was back.
Harry swallowed and looked away from the man to avoid the gaze. "The short version is that I was kidnapped by Albus Dumbledore." He suddenly stopped. "Do you know who he is?"
"Yes, the Supreme Mugwump of the International Confederation of Wizards and holder of many other titles in England. That is quite a charge to bring against a man of his reputation, but please go on." Delacour was very matter-of-fact about it all so far.
"He took me off the street and wouldn't let me go. He even forced me attend his school, Hogwarts. I only escaped two days ago by flying a broom to Ireland to meet my godfather and his friend, both of whom were blackmailed not to help me. From there, we took a Muggle airplane to Paris."
Delacour sat for a moment. "That is quite a tale," he said noncommittally.
"It's all true, and, well, if I have to fill out an immigration form, I should also tell you that my name is not really Harry Porter. We did that so Dumbledore wouldn't find us."
"I see," Delacour calmly went on. "It is always better to be truthful -- Mr Potter."
At the use of his real name, Harry's head whipped around to look at the man, who was smiling ever so slightly.
"Yes, Mr Potter, I knew who you were shortly after we brought you here. You're glamour is very good, but my wife can easily detect them due to an inherited ability. Your sudden reappearance back into the Wizarding world, and your picture with your famous scar, was news all over Europe. Of course," his grin became very pronounced now, "your letter against Dumbledore and his upcoming trial also made the news all over Europe."
Harry considered that. "So your knowing and yet hiding that you knew me was a test."
The man shrugged slightly. "Perhaps only a small one. I would have helped you return to Paris regardless, but now that you have, how do you say it, come clean, I will also offer to help you stay here and speak on your behalf to my government. Your request will be easily approved now."
"Thank you, sir. I know you don't have to do that, but I do thank you," Harry told him with as much honesty as he could muster.
"You are welcome, Mr Potter. What are your real plans?"
"They are a little up in the air, but after we get a place to stay, my guardians will be trying to find work, as will I, and I'll continue my studies with my guardians. I have a lot to learn about magic," Harry said with conviction.
Delacour chuckled. "We all do. Do you know any French? That would be helpful."
Deciding it would help his position, he said in slow halting French. "I know … a little. I will get … better."
"Your effort is admirable," Delacour complimented him, still in English to make it easier. "I dare say that you will do well after six months of living here. In fact, if you have spare time on the weekend, you should ask my daughter for lessons. She does not speak English as well as her mother and has been trying to get better. You could help her with English and she could help you with French," he suggested.
Delacour's expression changed to one of interest, as if trying to solve a puzzle. "Before I go have an elf deliver your letter, would you be so kind to tell me how you ignore the Veela allure my wife gives off?"
Harry was not sure what to say to that. "I don't know, and what is Veela allure?"
Delacour chuckled. "Bad luck on my part and I now owe my wife a trip shopping." At Harry's quizzical look, he continued. "My wife is a Veela, as is my daughter. Did you not study them in school?"
"No sir, I haven't gotten that far yet." Harry wondered why this mattered.
"Yes, well, Veela naturally have a magical allure about them that causes most men to, how shall I put this, not act like their normal selves. However, you acted normally around my wife and she bet me that you had a natural resistance, as I do."
"How else is there to resist it?" Harry asked.
"There are a few magics that will help, but even they have a limited effect. Since you naturally have no problem, I can easily predict that my daughter will be very delighted to spend time with you and help you with your French and any schooling you might need assistance with," he said with an easy smile. "At least you are honorable." At Harry's puzzled look, the man chuckled again and left.
Harry knew there was something important he was missing from that conversation, but he could not figure it out.
Dinner went very well, in Harry's opinion. Fleur did seem very taken with him, talking to him so much her parents barely talked with him at all. She was pretty, but her French accent was captivating, as was her sharp intellect. They talked about numerous subjects, although most of them had to do with how wizards lived in France. Harry found it all very fascinating. He also found out that she had a little sister who had just started going to Beauxbatons, the French magical school.
Despite Harry's obvious fascination with Fleur, her father did not seem upset and surprised him before he left for the evening. He handed Harry three immigration forms, all with his signature on the bottom to help "smooth the way".
He also told Harry that he owned a cottage down the road just outside of the nearest little town, and that he and his guardians could stay there. It was empty and the rent was only one hundred Galleons a month. Harry promised to have his guardians look at it.
Finally, Mr Delacour also offered Harry a part-time job on his estate, saying that one of his workers had recently left. Fleur beamed at that and Harry had to admit that did sound very nice. He promised the man an answer tomorrow, after they looked at the cottage. Jean-Aimé Delacour handed Harry a Portkey and said that it would take him between his front gate and the shopping district in Paris, and that he hoped to see Harry tomorrow. A "thank you" kiss from Fleur on the cheek guaranteed Harry would return.
Minerva McGonagall led three men through her castle towards the Hogwarts hospital wing. The hospital was completely full, and in fact, only the most severely wounded were here. There were many more wounded in many of the classrooms around the castle. St Mungo's had sent most of their staff to help, and many individuals who had basic medical training, or even just wished to volunteer, were helping where they could. She was feeling very lucky to have escaped injury in what people were calling the "Final Battle", but her luck was mostly due to the fact that she had been in charge of defending Hogwarts, causing her to be inside the castle walls.
Voldemort had tried to end the war once and for all, and he had wanted to take Hogwarts as a statement to the world. Fortunately, they had had just enough warning to assemble a defense of the castle and for the current Minister for Magic, Rufus Scrimgeour, to call in an international force to help them defeat the Death Eaters and Dark creatures that Voldemort had assembled.
It had all started nearly four years ago after Dumbledore had become more "barmy" than normal and kidnapped Harry Potter. Potter had fled the country and Dumbledore had barely avoided a trial for the kidnapping by bargaining to give up the Headmaster role, his Chief Warlock position, his Supreme Mugwump position, and by paying some hefty fines. Dumbledore had managed to stay in the forefront of the war only because shortly after his non-trial, Minister Fudge and Amelia Bones had been murdered by Death Eaters, and Scrimgeour had hired Dumbledore to head a Department of War.
She sighed as she went up the last flight of stairs. The next three years had not been good. Despite Dumbledore's personal magical power and knowledge, they had fought a reactionary war and it had not gone well. Thus, in desperation, about a year ago, Scrimgeour finally agreed that Magical Britain could not win on her own and sought help from the international community. A force had finally been put together to respond to Britain's aid should Voldemort ever mass his troops.
Voldemort had massed his troops this morning and it had been horrific. Despite their forces being led by Dumbledore and Scrimgeour on the fields of Hogwarts, and despite the international force Portkeying into the Forbidden Forrest to attack Voldemort's forces from the rear, the injuries and loss of life had been terrible. To make matters worse, the number of deaths was expected to go up.
As much as McGonagall now personally disliked Albus Dumbledore, she still professionally respected his magical knowledge and ability. He would be missed by many all over the world when he "left", and she had been led to believe that his "next great adventure" would be starting soon.
Opening the doors to the hospital wing, she led the men in and over to the bed she had already visited once this day. He looked asleep, so she spoke softly. "Albus?" His eyes snapped open and looked at her. "I have the men you requested."
She stepped to the end of the bed and motioned the three soldiers forward.
"Colonel Joachim Gruene of Germany, Herr Dumbledore," the oldest said.
"Sergeant Manuel Ortiz of Spain, Senor Dumbledore," the next said.
"Sergeant Running Horse from the US, Mr Dumbledore," the last said.
"Gentlemen," Dumbledore weakly said with a gravelly voice, "I asked for the ones who defeated Voldemort. So I understand you were three were there?"
The two younger ones looked to the colonel. "We were the ones who defeated him," the senior man answered.
"Which one of you did it and what happened? I must know," Dumbledore wheezed.
It seemed to take most of Dumbledore's strength to get that little out. McGonagall was very saddened by the pain her former superior must be in after the number of curses You-Know-Who had inflicted upon him.
The colonel continued being the spokesperson. "I'm afraid we don't know exactly who killed that -- monster. We were all moving in his direction as he was one of the last ones fighting, and all three of us cast a spell at the same time, causing a bright flash. When we could see again, this Dark Lord of yours was a burnt shell with his head a meter from his body."
Dumbledore closed his eyes and wheezed, "That can't be."
"What can't be, Albus?" McGonagall asked in a concerned tone. He was so weak after several of the curses Voldemort inflicted upon him, the healers did not expect him to survive the day.
"The prophecy, it doesn't match the prophecy…"
The other four all looked at each other, hoping someone could explain. Suddenly, it all clicked in Minerva's mind.
"Albus, are you saying there was a prophecy about the end of You-Know-Who?"
"Potter, it should have been Potter," Dumbledore got out in a coarse whisper, before a hacking cough came out.
McGonagall walked around to the other side and gave him some water, which he greedily drank.
"My grandmother," Sergeant Running Horse said, "has long maintained that prophecies are worth little. Many times, they are not obvious even when interpreted after the event."
"If you could tell us the prophecy, Albus, we might be able to help you," McGonagall kindly told him.
"Maybe it doesn't matter now," Dumbledore said. He cleared his throat and then recited it.
"The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches…
one who will thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies…
and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not…
and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives."
(mostly quoted from "OotP" by JKR)
"You don't match," Dumbledore weakly said. "It's not over yet." He seemed to lose all life as he went limp and relaxed fully on the bed.
"I do not think it is as bad as you think, Herr Dumbledore," the colonel told him. "I believe I could fit the description. Over the course of the two hour battle, I fought with him three separate times. I was born on the 31st of July. During our first meeting this morning, he hit me with a cutting curse that will leave a scar. And, Herr Dumbledore, I believe I killed him with a specialized fire spell that is only in my family, passed down from father to son. There is the fulfillment of your prophecy."
"But," Dumbledore argued with effort, "you were not born in the right year or the right country."
The colonel shrugged. "If you say that I must be born in the year the prophecy was made, then no. However, I must point out that the prophecy does not specify either the year or the country. By literal interpretation, I must be the one."
Ortiz coughed quietly. "If I may, colonel?" The officer nodded. "I too met the monster three different times in battle today, was born on the 31st of July, received a wound which will scar, and I hit him with a cutting spell that decapitated him which I personally developed and he would have had no knowledge of. It might have been me the prophecy spoke of."
"But…" Dumbledore started to argue and then gave up.
McGonagall could tell that Dumbledore realized the same answers to his argument would apply here.
"Mr Dumbledore?" the American spoke up. "I too meet all of the qualifications, the three times in battle today, and the new scar on my shoulder being the most obvious. I was born on the last day of the seventh lunar month, which I believe would also count. Lastly, I hit your Dark Lord with a spell to remove his soul from his body, a spell from my native Indian magic, which I sincerely doubt he knew, as it is a closely guarded secret among my tribe."
"What are the odds?" McGonagall whispered, but they all heard her.
Sergeant Running Horse smiled. "As my grandmother would say, if Fate has an idea in mind, she will make sure it happens."
Dumbledore choked a little as he tried to cough. "But Potter…"
"Albus, that's why you tried to force Harry Potter to come to school, wasn't it?" She fixed him with a piercing stare. "You thought he was the fulfillment of your prophecy -- a prophecy you never shared or tried to get help on."
He lay there for a moment before he nodded every so slightly. "Minerva, tell Potter," he paused, "tell Harry, I'm sorry. I never wanted to hurt him, I just wanted him to save our world."
McGonagall snorted in a most unladylike fashion. "That should have been his choice, prophecy or no prophecy."
Dumbledore nodded slightly again. "In my house, there is a silver cloak." He seemed to be gasping for breath and straining to breath. "It is his father's…" he whispered before his head limply fell to the side.
McGonagall just shook her head at the loss. He had not been perfect, far from it in fact, but his heart had been in the right place. If only he had done a few things differently.
Looking up with tears in her eyes, she said, "I believe we're done here. Thank you for coming, and please thank your men." They gave their condolences and left. Minerva pulled the sheet up over her former friend and slowly made her way back to her office. She had a letter of apology to write and a cloak to find.
Harry came to the Delacour dining table for breakfast. He smiled and greeted Jean-Aimé and Apolline, who were in conversation with Aimee and Remus over something in the news paper in front of them. He and Remus had moved into the Delacour manor as permanent guests three months ago when Sirius had married a French witch. Their moving allowed Sirius and his wife to have the cottage to themselves. Harry never ceased to be amazed at how easy it had been for Sirius to prove his innocence here, while he was still wanted for crimes in Britain. Fortunately, France would not allow him to be extradited.
Remus looked so much better than he had when they have moved here four years ago. Of course, Harry knew exactly why. After he had revealed to Remus how he could do "wish magic" and Remus picked his surprised jaw off the floor, they had worked on that form of "pure magic" very intensely. While hard and physically demanding, Harry could do almost any magical spell now, as long as he knew what it was supposed to do. That had led him to try his magic on Remus, unbeknownst to his friend.
One night with a full moon, Harry stunned Remus while he was in werewolf form in the little stone shed behind their cottage, and then "laid his hands on him". A very exhausting minute later, Remus started changing. When the transformation was done, Remus had lost the characteristic appearance of a werewolf and now looked like a normal wolf. After some testing, it was determined that Remus was no longer a werewolf, but a wolf Animagus. The next full moon did nothing to him, and there was much rejoicing amongst the three friends.
That was six months ago and now Apolline's sister, Amiee was now "permanently visiting", as Remus had retained his werewolf resiliency to Veela allure. It was looking like the two were becoming serious, much to the delight of everyone in the manor.
Harry was always amused to see Sirius around the Veela. The "old dog" had learned Occlumency to help with the Veela allure, but he was not totally immune to it like Jean-Aimé, Remus, and Harry were. Fortunately, Sirius's new wife was very understanding.
He took a seat at the dining table across from Gabrielle, who was in her last week home before the start of her fifth year at Beauxbatons.
"Good-morning, Harry," she said with a very winning smile. The girl had looked small for her age when he first met her. When her Veela genes kicked in at puberty, she had matured in about two years. At fifteen, the "little" witch looked seventeen -- and as hot as her sister. If he met them both for the first time today, he would have been hard pressed to say who he thought was better looking.
"Good-morning, Gabby. Excited about going back to school?" he asked while dishing up some eggs and then fruit.
"No," she pouted so cutely it should be illegal, he thought. "You will not be there."
"And you can not have Harry, Gabby. How many times have I told you that?" Fleur asked rhetorically before she kissed Harry on the lips and sat down next him, her left hand conspicuously visible with a large diamond on it, which just seemed to make Gabrielle pout more.
The "language lessons" had gone so well for them that they spent almost all of Fleur's free time together. Most of her daytime was spent on her job in the Paris branch of Gringotts. Most of Harry's day was now spent at Delacour manor learning how to run it, as the old estate manager was planning to retire in a few years, and Jean-Aimé had picked Harry to take over the job of running the large estate. Because of Jean-Aimé's trust and how well Harry and his half-Veela girlfriend got along, Harry had asked Fleur to marry him a month ago.
"Don't worry, Gabby," Harry told her as he looked at Fleur and winked, "you'll find someone for yourself one day. A young woman as beautiful as you will have no problem finding someone."
The young Veela beamed, her crush on Harry coming back full force.
"Gabrielle!" He mother called sharply. "What have I told you about controlling your allure? I can feel it all the way down at this end of the table," she said disapprovingly.
"Sorry, mother," Gabby said contritely as her "glow" dimmed.
Harry felt the magical pressure lessen dramatically. He always found it amusing how simple comments could make her react. Fleur said it was a sign that Gabby was not finished maturing, but Harry did not think so. Even though he knew that Gabby knew that he was immune to her allure, he still thought that she was trying to "win him" from her sister. After being in the family for four years, he had come to learn how rare it was for men to be naturally immune to Veela allure. Harry knew that Fleur would not be sharing her husband, despite the Veela custom that allowed it. Gabby was just going to have to find her own husband, and Harry was just fine with that. He strongly suspected, and Jean-Aimé had implied on several occasions, that handling a Veela wife took a lot of hard work. Harry could not imagine trying to deal with two. Also, his English Muggle upbringing just said "no" to having two wives.
He looked at Fleur and asked, "So, what's on the wedding planning schedule this weekend?"
"Robes," Fleur said before daintily eating a strawberry.
Harry managed to suppress a groan. While he now wore wizarding robes when required, he still thought of them as uni-sex dresses and hated them.
"Cheer up, Harry," he heard whispered in his ear. "If you're a good and cooperative wizard, I'll show you what I wear under my robes. I think you'll like my French undergarments."
Harry turned and since her lips were right there, he kissed her. Something to be grabbed whenever possible, he had found. "You have a deal," he told her with a large grin. Yes, he thought, the Wizarding world was not so bad, when you were with the right wizards and witches -- especially the witches.
Jean-Aimé gave a exclamation of surprise before he set the newspaper down and excitedly called, "Harry! Good news, Harry! The war in England is over!"
"Are you serious?" Harry asked incredulously. It had been going on for over four years, starting soon after Harry had left Britain.
"Yes. It says so in the International Section. The English wizard known as Voldemort was killed yesterday when he and his army attacked the magical school Hogwarts." Harry shuddered at the thought of being there. "Apparently the English side was being lead by Dumbledore and Minister Scrimgeour. While they and many Aurors defended the school, an international force attacked Voldemort from the rear. When the two hour battle was finished, Voldemort had been decapitated and incinerated."
"Jean-Aimé! Not at the table," his wife admonished him with a glare.
"My apologies, my dear," he said contritely with a nod before picking the newspaper back up. "Let's see, skimming the rest of the article… Oh, more good news for you, Harry. While the Minister did survive, although with critical injuries, your Mr Dumbledore died several hours afterward from curses received in battle." Jean-Aimé put the paper down and gave Harry a pointed look.
Harry looked back for a few seconds before he asked, "What?"
Fleur tsked. "Harry, he's asking if you plan to return or not."
He gave an incredulous look. "Why? I have everything I need right here. I would like to go visit Gina and Stephanie, as I do see them as sisters. And visiting Susan, Hannah, and Pomona would be good, to see if they are all right." He shrugged. "But I have a family here too and I don't see the need to leave."
Fleur gave him a big smile and leaned over to give him a kiss, which he thoroughly enjoyed, at least until her mother loudly cleared her throat. Fleur pulled back and smiled sweetly at her mother, but Harry noticed that she did not look a bit repentant. "Finish your breakfast, Harry. We have a lot to do and see today," she told him with a coy smile that warmed his heart.
Harry got a little hotter still when he remembered her promise from earlier. Oh yeah, he thought as he looked at his Veela mate-to-be. It can be very good to be a wizard.
((A/N: I hope you enjoyed this fun little story. If it's not obvious, I'll plainly state there will be no sequel for this story. Now I have to finish my more serious work, although other small works will continue to pop out from time to time.
Why was Fleur in France and available? Because Harry was not in the Triwizard Tounament, Bill Weasley did not go view the third task and so he never met her.
I'd like to take this opportunity to again thank my beta Zac. He's been very helpful and deserves his own round of applause.
I also want to thank everyone for their reviews. I appreciated each and every one, even those those who said they didn't like the story. I learn something from those too.
Until next time… Kevin ))