((A/N: Here's the last chapter to pick up the last of the loose ends and finish this story off. I'm really amazed at the number of people who have asked for the last 8 or so chapters about a little thing that I "let disappear", purposely letting it wait until a scene in this chapter. So for all of you, your answer has finally come.))
Chapter 33 - Epilogue, Part 2
Because they could, the Potters had traveled to the Delacours for the 10th of October. The whole family was there to celebrate Gabrielle's fifteenth birthday, including Bill Weasley who had recently asked Fleur to marry him.
They enjoyed an afternoon, dinner, and evening together as family. Harry truly appreciated his French in-laws; they were easy to get along with. At the end, the Potters returned to their cottage at the Flamels.
As usual, the two girls who were not staying with him gave him a kiss before sending him to bed and going to their bedrooms. Ginny also whispered, "Have fun," as she walked away with a smirk. Although it was normally her night, Gabrielle had switched with Ginny so Gabrielle could share her birthday night with Harry.
Since it was her fifteenth birthday, Harry really should not have been surprised by what happened next, yet he was.
Gabrielle came into his bedroom in her gown, as the girls usually did, and closed the door. With a sultry look on the girl that now looked seventeen, she undid the tie and let her gown drop to the floor, revealing all of her except for what her black thong covered. "It's finally my fifteenth birthday!" she exclaimed as she practically prowled over to him like a predator, her bare breasts lightly bouncing with each step.
Harry could not help his gulp as he took in her form and beauty. She was not perfect looking, but he thought every guy would say she was attractive - very attractive. Because of her boldness in going after what she wanted, he was sure she would have been sorted into Gryffindor had she attended Hogwarts. He was also wondering if he should put a sticking charm on his boxers and her thong as she came into his arms and kissed him passionately before pulling him into bed.
— — —
The last Saturday in October, Harry got dressed after his morning workout and shower. He was very pleased with how everything was going. Their work with the Flamels was progressing nicely, slowly but nicely. The slowness was due to the magnitude of the project and how much there was to do.
He and Hermione were doing well in studying for their A-levels so they could attend a normal university someday. Gabrielle was doing well at Beauxbatons and Ginny was enjoying her Quidditch career.
In fact, they were to go back to Britain today to visit with Mr Simmons to check on his progress and to see a Harpies game. It was the third of the season and against the Cannons. Because the Harpies expected to win with ease, Ginny was supposed to start her first game - she was the leading reserve Chaser in her first season. Harry had also purchased two extra tickets so Ron and Neville could join him.
The first stop was Potter Manor, where Gabrielle would wait while he and Hermione had a short meeting with Croaker. He had given them a couple of old tomes in Nordic Runes to translate into English and then come up with interesting ways to use the spells and wards in the books. That had been slow work, but Croaker seemed pleased with their results.
Hermione and Harry then went to see Mr Simmons. The man seemed to be very happy working on the magical generator project. He gave Harry a bill for some equipment he had purchased and a good sized flywheel for Harry to take with him and make it spin with magic. He planned to attach it to a large alternator, and if successful, it would power his whole house. Simmons had changed his mind about selling to power companies and was considering that their focus should be on the masses of smaller houses and such, assuming his prototype worked well.
Lunch was back at the house, where Ron and Neville joined them to travel to the game.
In the small box Harry had purchased seats, they all made themselves comfortable.
"So, what have you been up to, Ron?" Harry asked his friend that he did not hear from much.
Ron shifted a little uncomfortably as teams made themselves ready for the game. "Not too much, mostly working for Fred and George while I try to work on my Quidditch skills. The Cannons," he gestured towards the team, "said they didn't need a new Keeper this year, but they might next year."
Harry thought he detected some jealousy towards his sister since she had become a professional Quidditch player, but it was hard to tell. "I think that would be great," Harry told him with a smile and watched Ron light up too. "Just imagine, you could Keep while you played against Ginny."
Ron's smile fell a little. "I guess that would be amusing to you."
"It would be," Neville agreed, "but it would be cool to know two profession players too."
"Yes it would," Harry said and watched Ron perk back up. "Are you enjoying working for that professional greenhouse, Neville?"
"I am most of the time. Unfortunately, some of the most common things we have to grow are fairly boring to work with, but they also let us have one personal project to see what we can do with it and if we can find something new and useful. I really like that part. What about you? Do you still like being an apprentice?"
"Yeah, and you've never said who with," Ron said.
All three of the Potters chuckled, but it was Hermione that answered. "That because we're not supposed to say who with. The man likes his privacy, but we are learning a lot. He and Harry may have Muggle electronics working under heavy magic in a year or two as well as other exciting things."
"Why?" Ron asked, looking as if Harry did not know what he was doing.
"Because I believe a mixed world is the best world, and one that we'll all eventually face. One day, Ron," Harry told his friends, "the secret of magic will get out and we'll all have to learn to live together. I want to be ready for that time."
"I don't think it'll ever happen," Ron disagreed, "magic is too good at hiding things."
"Time will tell," Harry said neutrally, but looked over at Hermione to see her shaking her head because Ron had just dismissed the idea without really thinking about it.
"They're about to start," Gabrielle said, pointing to Ginny as her team rose into the air to be introduced.
A few minutes later, the game started and the Harpies took control of the Quaffle. The Harpies flew towards the goals defended by the Cannons' Keeper in an Arrowhead formation. At the last moment, the lead Chaser tossed the Quaffle to the right. Ginny caught it and threw hard at the under protected right goal, hitting the ring with a light glancing blow and sailing through for the first score of the game.
Ron sighed in disappointment. "It had to be Ginny who scored first on the Cannons, didn't it?" No one answered the rhetorical question, but everyone else in the box clapped and screamed for Ginny's goal.
"I think it's going to be a long game for you, Ron," Neville teased with a grin. He chuckled when Ron glared at him.
A little over two hours later, the Harpies Seeker caught the Golden Snitch and they won by 440 to100. Ginny had scored 100 points, making Harry believe she had played extra hard to prove herself. Harry thought he would enjoy coming to all of her games. He also decided that he would try to make tonight a little extra special for her tonight, since it was her night to sleep with him.
Gabrielle was going to her Charms class, her favorite, and was hoping the professor would give them more hints today about what would be on their OWLs this year.
As she and Jolien walked together and neared the classroom, Gabrielle suddenly felt what she could only vaguely describe as a wave of fever within her like she had never felt before. Groaning and clutching at her stomach, she fell to her knees as a wave of magic so intense swept through her, she almost transformed into her full Veela form, hanging on by the slimmest of margins.
«Gabrielle, what is it?» Jolien asked in panic, grabbing her taller friend's arm and sinking with her. «Do I need to get a teacher?»
Gabrielle blew out the breath she had been holding for a few seconds and gasped, «No, Harry. I need Harry.» This could only be one thing, she knew, and mentally cursed that it had to happen while she was at school instead of at home. Through the haze of magic, pain, and desire, she finally remembered her special necklace given to her by the Headmistress. Forcing herself, she grabbed the golden necklace and ground out, "Veela Emergency," in English, created that way to protect it a little more.
She and Jolien, who was holding onto her friend tightly, were whisked away from the growing crowd in the corridor. A second later, they landed in the entry hall by the main bank of Flooes. Now, she just had to make Jolien let go of her, so she could use her bracelet to go to Harry. But Jolien would not let go and Gabrielle was afraid to try and make her lest she lose control and transform right there. She was so close to changing it was all she could do to mentally hold it in.
Jolien was scared for her friend. It was obvious to her that Gabrielle was in great pain. Try as she might, she could not seem to get her friend to stand so she could guide her to the school healer. Jolien had never realized how strong her friend was. Then she had been whisked via an inter-school Portkey, frightening her more. Worse, she could see no teacher here in the entry hall, only a few students. She screamed at them to get help, but they all seemed frozen to their places as the normally pretty girl curled in on herself and moaned pitifully on the floor.
Out of nowhere it seemed, a jet of red magic flew very close to her and hit Gabrielle. Turning and getting ready to fight for her friend, she saw Harry Potter striding hurriedly towards them and casting another spell on Gabrielle.
He grabbed a golden necklace around his neck and jerked it off, snapping the chain. When he reached them, he pulled the necklace from Gabrielle's hand and handed the matching necklaces to Jolien. «Give these to the Headmistress. They prove our identities. Tell her we will return as soon as we can, probably in four or five days.» Scooping his mate up, he stood and grabbed a silver necklace that he wore.
«Wait!» Jolien called and stood as well. «What's going on with her? Will she be all right?»
Gabrielle groaned and stirred slightly.
«I don't have time to explain, but this is a Veela matter and I must get her to a safe place before she fully wakes or people will get hurt. Pass the message to the Headmistress.» Harry then said a phrase no one around him understood, but they all saw him disappear with Gabrielle.
As Jolien stared in wonder at the place the two had just left from, loud footsteps ran up to her. Looking over, she saw the Headmistress. Not sure what else to do, she held out her hand with the two golden necklaces. «Gabrielle fell in pain and Portkeyed us here. Then Harry came and took her away, for four or five days he said.»
The Headmistress gently took the necklaces and touched her wand to each of them. Relieved by what she saw, she relaxed since first feeling the warning from the school wards of two Portkeys in the school proper. «Yes, that really was Harry. Do not worry, Mlle Duval, Gabrielle will be fine. However, please do not question her too much when she returns. She may consider it a sensitive matter.»
«Yes, Headmistress.» However, Jolien was still worried about her best friend.
— — —
Harry landed in the entrance parlor of Potter Manor and started walking as fast as he could, thankful for the Featherweight Charm he had cast on Gabi.
Dobby popped in before he could get to the double doors of the house and opened them quickly. "Master Harry, do I need to get a healer for the Mistress?"
"No, Dobby, only I can help her. Run with me so we can talk. First, go to Paris and meet Hermione there in an hour. She'll call you to her and have some potions to give you that she's brewing now. Bring them back here. Second, in two hours, put a tray of food for two hungry people outside our bedroom door and put the box of potions with the food. Make it food that can stay fresh if we don't eat it for an hour or so later. Can you do that?"
Dobby was jogging beside Harry, keeping up quite well despite his much shorter legs. "Yes, Master Harry, I can do that."
Gabi started to stir, causing Harry to hurry up the stairs even faster. "And Dobby, lock the house and the Floo. Tell Remus before you go that the house is off limits until I say otherwise. If I have a need I'll call you. Please open the bedroom door and then close it after us. No matter what you hear in there, do not come in for any reason; you'll only get hurt."
"Yes, Master Harry," the elf said in wonder before he waved his hand and the doors to the master bedroom shot open.
Harry rushed into the bedroom and practically threw Gabrielle onto the bed before pulling a shrunken box of potions from a pocket and his wand to expand them to normal size. He also took Gabi's wand as the girl woke up; hers and his went on the nightstand along with the potions.
There was no mistaking the look of lust in Gabrielle's eyes and Harry wondered if she was even in control of herself anymore. When she ripped off her school uniform and threw away the shredded remains, he thought she was not and was acting on instinct alone.
Hastily, he drank one of the potions and then started removing his clothes. He had just removed his pants when the potion took affect and almost doubled him over. The fire that shot through his body was both agonizing and thrilling. Looking at his hands and arms, he saw small feathers sprout as he felt energy and vitality course through him. Ripping his shirt off and making a sound he did not recognize, he now fully understood Jean-Aimé's warning. He would be having sex now with anyone who was here - his bond-mate or not, and if they could not handle him with is new found energy, strength, and sexual prowess, then they would suffer.
That was the last thought he was able to control before the fiery lust took over and he and Gabi sprung at each other in a speed Harry would not normally be able to accomplish.
— — —
Harry awoke with a warm, unconscious, and completely naked girl laying on him. Looking around, he saw three empty potion bottles on the floor. Searching through his memory, he decided that he did remember most of three or so hours of sex, even if they were a little hazy in a few places. The sight of a half destroyed bedroom helped him to remember a little more.
Looking over Gabrielle, he could not help the soft sigh that escaped him. He had hoped her puberty would not hit her until next fall, but Veela nature did not care about Harry's preferences - at least she looked as old as Ginny which helped his conscious greatly.
While he never ever verbally compared his mates on things they had no control over and minimized any other comparisons for the sake of preventing fights, in the quiet places of his mind, he did sometimes compare them.
There was no denying that Gabrielle was the most beautiful mate in an overall way, and that was without any influence of her Veela allure. Her lean and slightly tanned body was very pleasing to look at, not perfect, but very pleasing.
Interestingly to him, despite what he had heard about Veela, the sex was not all that great. It was frenzied and rough, not something the normal man was capable of surviving and he knew the Veela did not give out that potion he took, which left him wondering for a moment how sex was supposed to normally work and why it was supposed to be so wonderful.
It took a moment, but he finally remembered Gabrielle telling him that her mother said that would change over time as Gabrielle learned to control herself, much like Gabrielle had had to learn how to control her Veela allure. Remembering more of that conversation, he mentally winced at the thought of the control taking a year or two to happen. It gave him a small appreciation of what Remus Lupin had to go through. Harry knew that he and Gabrielle would have to find a "safe place" to have sex for a while - unless…
With soft strokes down her back, Harry woke Gabrielle. She slowly looked around and finally looked at him, a pleased expression appearing. "Hi," he said softly.
"Hi," she returned before kissing him gently.
"I don't know about you, but I'm hungry. How about we take a very quick shower and then see what Dobby left for us?" he suggested. When she softly kissed him again, he added, "And I need to go."
She giggled and rolled off of him. "That's not very romantic."
"No, but it's the truth." He crawled out of bed and headed to the bathroom.
After taking care of his first need, he joined Gabrielle in the shower. She almost never took baths, like she did not like to swim in the pool, but the shower and the hot tub were enjoyed. He was not sure why a bath was bad and the hot tub was good, but he suspected who was with her influenced that decision.
Harry retrieved the tray of food along with a small box that contained a dozen potions. He really hoped he did not need that many because if so, he wondered if he would survive.
Conjuring a table and two chairs, they sat down to eat wearing nothing. Harry was all too aware of how Gabrielle was watching him and thought that he would be needing another potion soon; therefore, he needed to broach a subject right now.
"Gabi, I think we need to try something different, something to help you learn control faster."
She picked up a croissant, buttered it, and began to nibble on it while looking at him with desire the entire time. "What did you have in mind?"
"I believe I know of a way to help you concentrate. It'll be hard, but I think it can lessen your desire enough for you to learn to control it," he proposed. "We can try it and you don't like it, we can stop; but I think it will help."
Delicately and almost seductively, she poked the last of the bread into her mouth with one finger, her eyes never leaving him. With a deep breath that drew his eyes to her bare breasts for a moment, she finally said, "All right, we can try it once and see if it works."
Guessing he did not have long until her desire took control over her and he would have to take a potion to defend himself, he told her, "Get your wand and repair the bed and as many other things as you can while I get ready."
Slowly, Gabrielle did as he directed, but she also worked to keep him in her vision, watching him when he bent over to search his trouser pockets for something. Hiding a small box in his hand, he turned around to see that she had at least repaired the bed; the rest of the room still needed a lot of help.
"Put your wand down, lay on the bed, and close your eyes," he commanded her. As she did, he approached the bed. He could practically see her body twitch as it was nearing the point of automatically transforming again.
Quickly, he opened the box and pulled a small stone on a chain out. Dropping the box, he looped the necklace around his neck, causing the aqua stone to activate and Gabrielle's eyes to fly open as she gasped.
"Don't panic!" he commanded her firmly. "Take slow deep breaths and control yourself."
She looked at him with wide-eyes and fear. "No, take it off," she pleaded. "I need to transform! I need you!"
"Shush," he told her gently as he grabbed her hand. "Close your eyes and control the fire. You must win control, Gabrielle. You, not the Veela in you," he urged her. "Fight it," he ordered her. He struggled to now watch her chest as she took deep breaths, but watch her face as she fought her inner Veela. "Fight it," he said again as it looked like she was starting to win the battle.
"So - hard," she forced out.
"But you can do it," he encouraged her. Slowly he climbed on the bed and lay next to her. "We can have sex later without the stone sometimes, but we'll use the stone until you learn control. It worked for your allure."
"Hard - to - control. Make love - to me," she ground out.
Harry understood; she needed something to take her mind off the struggle. Rolling on top of her, he slowly made love to her and found out why sex with a Veela was so great.
— — —
As Harry finished repairing the bedroom for the last time and Gabrielle dressed to return, not in her destroyed school uniform but in clothes that had been left here, Harry had to smile and give a mental "Thank you" to Draco Malfoy for perhaps the one thing the little creep had ever done that was helpful. He still had no idea how Malfoy had obtained a Veela Control Stone, but Harry was glad he had found it and kept it. Gabrielle still was not in perfect control of herself during sex, but she could control herself most of the time now. So the use of the Stone was a success in both of their minds. He supposed he needed to give it to Apolline soon to be returned to the Veela colony.
Picking up the box of potions, Harry noted that there were still five left. He had no doubt they would use them in the coming months.
"Dobby?!" he called.
The elf popped in, although his eyes were closed as if afraid of what might be waiting there. "Yes, Master Harry?"
Harry chuckled and guessed the little guy had not appreciated all the noise he and Gabrielle had made. "We are leaving."
Dobby opened his eyes carefully and looked relieved when he saw Harry dressed normally.
"You may unlock the house and continue on as usual. All of us will return next weekend for our usual monthly visit."
"Thank you, sir, I'll be ready." Dobby sounded relieved also.
Guiding Gabrielle to the entry parlor, Harry activated his Portkey and they returned to France where his other two bond-mates greeted them, especially him, enthusiastically.
"Is everything all right?" Hermione asked. "You were gone two days beyond what you had planned. If Dobby hadn't sent me a note, we would have been worried."
"Yes, we're fine. It just took a little longer than anticipated to help Gabrielle learn to control herself. She mostly succeeded too," he praised her with a big smile, causing a light blush to the youngest. "How is everything here?"
"We're good," Ginny told him, "even if we have missed you - a lot."
He fully understood her message, given her coy look and a wiggled eyebrow. "I think that I need to take tonight off," Hermione and Ginny looked disappointed, "but then one of you can stay with me tomorrow and the other the night after. Then we can start our regular rotation again." Fortunately, the two accepted that.
"Harry? I do have an idea," Hermione told him, hesitantly.
"I like it as well," Ginny chimed in quickly.
"Let's hear it then," Harry said as he guided them into the living room. He took a seat in the chair near the fireplace, causing some disappointment from all the girls, but that was also why he had done it - to avoid favoritism at the moment.
"I've created some tokens," Hermione started as she pulled out a bag and dumped the contents on the low table in front of all the seats. She moved some of the white and red ones aside to pick up a brown one. "This would be for me," she said as she handed it to him.
Taking it, he noticed that it was wooden and about the size of a Galleon and had a small picture of Hermione on it. "I assume the red ones are for Ginny and the white ones are for Gabrielle?" At her nod, he pointed and asked, "What are the few black ones for?"
"Those are yours," she said.
"OK." Putting the token back on the table, he asked, "What are they for?"
"My idea was that you would hand them out at the beginning of the month. While we can keep our normal schedule for sleeping with you, these token also allow the three of us to trade nights and make sure it comes our fairly in the end.
"For example, if Ginny would like one of my nights, she comes to me, and if I agree to the trade, then she gives me one of her tokens and I give her one of mine. That way when she comes to you, you know that I've agreed with the trade because she has one of my tokens. Later in the month, I can take one of Ginny's nights by using the token she gave me."
Hermione paused and looked at Gabrielle for a moment. "We might want to make a few extra tokens for each of us to hold in reserve for special occasions. An example of that might be that because of Gabrielle's situation during the spring and fall, she might want to give up some of her nights before those periods to have some extra time when her cycle comes. That way it works our fairly in the long run."
"I see," Harry said thoughtfully, and he did understand the need for fairness. Their scheduling worked fine most of the time, but spontaneity suffered and he supposed this was one way to try to fix that - not that he had any better idea. This idea was so Hermione too, he mused. "How do the black ones work for me?"
"They are equivalent to your Sunday nights. I thought you could use that to indicate your choice for the night, like you do now. I suppose they don't mean much on Sundays, but it would be a way for you to override the schedule if you think it's needed."
"Another way to help spontaneity," he said, nodding. "I like it. I'm willing to try it. Gabrielle?"
She shrugged. "I'm willing to try but I don't know how well it will work for me. When I have needs, like this last week, there are limits to how much I can put it off. Mother said my control will get better, but there are still limits."
"We understand," Ginny told her and Hermione agreed. "I think this is an easy way for us to keep track to try to make it fair for all of us. I know we'd each like Harry to ourselves, but that's not possible. Besides," she said with a grin as she looked at the other girls, "there are periods that I'd willingly give up a few nights with Harry and gain them back later."
The other girls chuckled and Harry did his best to get that picture out of his head. Hermione had educated him more than he ever wanted to know about girls' monthly cycles.
"So," Harry jumped in quickly to change the topic, "are these all the tokens?"
"Yes," Hermione told him. "There are five extra for each of us that you can keep or hand out if you like the idea of a few extra."
"I do." Harry counted out five and twenty-eight for each girl as well as taking the four black ones for himself. "We can start with this on Monday for the next four weeks." With a grin, he said, "Hermione, since you came up with this, tomorrow night is yours and Ginny you get Sunday. But tonight, I need sleep as Gabi wore me out like she was on a honeymoon or something."
All the girls laughed at him as he had hoped they would. There were times he wished he had only one or two of them, but there was no way he could pick. He truly did love them all.
Since Gabrielle did not get a trip for their "first time" as Hermione and Ginny did, Harry had arranged a few days during her Christmas break. Gabrielle had chosen Milan, so Harry made the arrangements and they spent their time there in the Muggle areas.
They were in a particularly upscale boutique and Gabrielle was having fun trying on dresses. They had a short runway and Harry sat in a chair at the end and gave his opinion on the choices. It was a lot of fun, but he was also glad his bank account could handle this.
Gabrielle came out in yet another dress, this time with a narrow fur around her neck to dress it up. She laughed as she sauntered down the foot high runway from the back area. There were a couple of others in the shop, but neither Harry nor Gabrielle worried about them.
Harry laughed at her attempt to walk the runway. "If you are going to do it, really try," he called to her. Not only did they not care about the other potential customers, they did not worry about the manager. The small stack of expensive dresses on the "to buy rack" guaranteed there were no arguments.
«Very well,» Gabrielle said, using French because she thought it fit better here. She grabbed a hat off the rack and walked to the back to find a mirror. A moment later, she came out with the hat stylishly tilted and wearing pair of three inch heels strutting to the best of her ability, just like models she had seen in another store the previous day. She stopped at the end in front of Harry and twirled a few times, giving him a look.
He gave her an appreciative look and a soft clap. "Much better," he told her with a soft chuckle. "I like it, but I think that if you want that outfit that you'll need to put one of the others back."
She purposefully gave him a pout as she slowly twirled again and did a few poses. «But I like this one too.»
"If I said yes, then where would you stop?" he asked playfully.
Gabrielle harrumphed and turned, strutting to the back and moving her hips as much as possible.
"Damn she's good," he murmured to himself. He looked up to find the manager but saw one of the other customers with a professional looking camera taking pictures of Gabrielle. "Hey!" he called out as he jumped up. "What do you think you are doing?"
The middle-aged man pulled the camera down and stepped back quickly at Harry's angry look.
"Please, I am not trying to hurt either of you!» he said hastily.
The raised voices brought the manager over very quickly. "Monsieurs, please!"
"I demand the film!» Harry knew they were in a public place, but he still felt their privacy had been violated.
«Please, Monsieur, I can explain and it will be to your benefit.» When Harry did not stop him, the man hurriedly continued in rapid French. «My name is Claude Dumont and I am a photographer for several fashion agencies. I was here to look at a new line I was to photograph soon when I saw the Mademoiselle and I said to myself that she could be a model. So I took a few pictures to show to my agency. I had planned to tell you and get your permission before either of us left, but you did not give me a chance.» At Harry's still less than trusting look, he added, «I promise.»
Harry looked over his shoulder and saw Gabrielle standing at the curtain and looking at them. She did not look like she knew if she trusted him, but she also looked very interested. He turned to the manager. "Can you vouch for him?"
"Yes, Monsieur Potter. Monsieur Dumont is who and what he says he is. He is to perform a shoot for us next week."
Harry considered that she was trying to calm them both, but he could also tell that she was very concerned. If the man was about to try to promote their business, she needed him. Yet, Harry was about to make a large purchase also. He gave a small wave to Gabrielle so she would come over. "Madame, thank you for your verification. Perhaps you could start to ring up the four purchases?"
Gabrielle looked very pleased to hear him say that, as did the store manager.
Turning to the man, he did his best to present an apologetic look. «My apologies, M Dumont, I'm afraid you surprised me greatly and I overreacted. Please forgive me for acting rudely.»
«I will, if you will forgive me also,» the photographer said with a small nod. «I'm afraid that I forgot I was not shooting a model and was photographing someone without permission.»
«Yes, of course,» Harry said with as much conciliation as the other man had. «I am Harry Potter and this is Gabrielle Delacour.» They shook hands.
Dumont looked at Gabrielle. «Mademoiselle, even though you are not a professional, you modeled very well and you have a look about you that screams model to me. Have you considered being one?»
Harry was amazed that Gabrielle managed to control her allure as her smile practically lit the room.
«Yes, M Dumont, I have. I enjoy fashion and thought the girls looked so sophisticated on the runway,» she gushed.
Dumont chuckled. «There is more to modeling than walking a runway, Mademoiselle. If you would care to spend a few minutes with me,» he turned to Harry, «and if Monsieur would permit, I will take a few more photographs of you and submit them to my best agency. Perhaps they will give you a call for an interview.»
«May I?» she asked Harry enthusiastically.
There was no way he could deny her this based on how happy she looked. She really had talked about modeling in the past. Turning, he saw the store manager at his elbow again. "Madame, may we borrow your runway a little longer?"
The manager looked very pleased. "Of course! Perhaps we can provide you with some refreshments while you watch? Maybe something else will strike your fancy as she is photographed."
Harry smiled, fully aware of what she was hoping for. Still, he did appreciate what she was doing. Then again, with what he was about to spend there, she should be very pleasant to them. "Thank you."
Ordering a drink, Harry took a seat to watch an impromptu fashion show. Dumont selected several outfits and gave them to Gabrielle, who modeling them while he took pictures. After the show, Harry purchased only the four outfits while Gabrielle exchanged contact information with Dumont. Harry also made arrangements to meet the man later for a copy of the photos.
Two weeks later, Gabrielle had a job as a part-time model due to her still being in school and Harry had what he considered to be some very "hot" photos of Gabrielle.
Dobby handed Harry two envelopes after they returned to Potter Manor. Harry noticed one with his name on it and one with Hermione's. Based on the return address, the same on both, he had a good idea what these were. Quietly, he handed the other to his first wife. Gabrielle was at school and Ginny at Quidditch practice.
Hermione was almost holding her breath as she stared at the envelope in her trembling hands.
"Go ahead and open it," he told her, almost laughing as she had been this very same way after OWLs and NEWTs and their A-Levels. He quickly ripped his open and scanned it, careful to keep a neutral expression.
After a long moment of just staring at it, she opened the envelope and quickly read the letter. She gave a happy scream and launched herself at Harry, kissing him soundly, something he was happy to deal with.
"I knew you would do it!" he told her and laughed at her sudden bashfulness.
"Well, it's not like I got accepted to Oxford or Ecole Normale Supérieure," she reminded him. "It's only a preparatory university." She noticed the opened letter in his hands. "Wait, you've opened yours already and you haven't said anything. Harry?!"
He chuckled and said, "Yes, I was accepted too."
She kissed him again. "I'm glad we both made it. I think I'm still a little surprised you want to come to a university with me."
"As I've pointed out, how else am I to learn real engineering? Besides, you know how much I enjoy spending time with you."
Hermione moved into his lap and held him tightly. "It will be fun and we can take all of the core courses together. I don't expect you to have as many chemistry classes as I will have."
"No," he replied with a grin, "just as I don't expect you to have as many engineering classes as I will have. I still don't know that I'll finish the full degree, but I want at least two or three years so I have a good foundation for when I want to apply that to magical construction."
"Harry," she said with a hint of exasperation, "if you're going to take three years of courses, you might as well take the fourth and finish it all."
"I probably will, but we'll see." He kissed her quickly and then helped her up. "Let's go tell Nick and Nelle. I know Nick will want to coordinate what I take with our project. Simmons says the house-sized generators are working and selling well to the Squibs. Between he, Nick, and me, I think we'll be able to shield electronics to work around magic very soon, probably before the end of summer."
"I can hardly wait," she told him. "I think Nick's idea of putting all his books on a computer to make research faster will really help us to learn more quickly as it will be far easier and faster to find information."
"I know," he agreed. "How's your Alchemy lessons going? I don't think you've told me lately."
"They are a little frustrating at times, but I think I'm starting to get a good grip on it. The approach is just so different from Potions at times."
Harry smiled at her. "But I know you'll get that too and I'm looking forward to seeing how you combine Potions, Alchemy, and Chemistry."
At the end of August, several major changes happened to the Potters.
To Madame Maxime's disappointment, Gabrielle decided not to return to Beauxbatons for her last year. While Gabrielle had completed several modeling jobs during the spring term last school year, the summer had been very good for kicking her career into high gear. She was now starting to be in such high demand as "a new talent", that she decided not to return to school, but to study on her own so she could work. She still planned to take her NEWTs next June though.
Ginny was doing very well with the Holyhead Harpies. Her time traveling, when she could not come home in the evenings, gave her the opportunity to study advanced charms with Nelle's instructions and be able to take the tests for being a Medi-witch, as Madam Pomfrey was. Ginny had no plans to do such a job, she merely wanted the knowledge to understand the human body better. She also started reading various Muggle medical texts. Ginny would not attend a Muggle university, but she understood that Muggle medical information could be useful to her. She did want to become the magical equivalent of a Muggle physical therapist one day, preferably to Quidditch teams.
Just before Hermione and Harry were to start university in Paris, where they were Apparate to every day before returning to stay with the Flamel's in the evening, Nick called the four together.
"I thought you might like to see Hermione's project, sort of her final exam in Alchemy," Nick said with a smile.
Hermione looked very surprised at that.
"This will take about an hour, but I think you'll like the end result. Conjure a comfortable chair if you like. Hermione, please retrieve all the projects that we've put on your shelf." Nick grabbed a small caldron from a shelf and put it on a stand over a fire. The caldron was of the style that did not have a lip at the top.
While the others watched, Nelle joined them too and brought drinks. Nick directed Hermione on how to combine her other projects together. Along the way, he had Harry and Gabrielle each add seven drops of blood into the small caldron that was being used.
When the last of the work was done and the mixture was heating, covered with a lid, Nick turned to his student. "Do you understand what is happening, Hermione?"
Harry was surprised to see her worrying her lower lip as she said almost fearfully, "I think so." Hermione looked between Nick and Nelle. "Are you sure?" The other three bond-mates tried to work out the puzzle and failed.
Nick conjured a chair for Hermione and himself so they could all sit. He looked at all four of them very seriously. "While I have told you that you may stay here for the next several years as you like, your major time of learning has come to an end. We'll always do our best to answer questions and help you, and we may even work on other projects together in the future." He looked at Harry with a smile as their project of magic and electronics was indeed at place where there were many exciting possibilities before them.
"But you have each accomplished your initial goal that you came here with, except perhaps for Gabrielle who did not really have one. Still, even she is ready to take two of her NEWTs a year early." Nick and Nelle smiled fondly at the younger Veela who blushed slightly at the praise.
"And I hope you will think of me as a close aunt," Nelle told her. Gabrielle nodded vigorously.
Nick glanced at the hourglass timer. "During this time, we have observed you, not only for magic and intellect, but for moral character. Hermione's final project is our gift to you and the Wizarding World as a thank you for being the good people you are. We have never done this before and will probably never do it again." With a smile he added, "The circumstances will probably never happen again."
"I don't understand," Harry said, looking at both of his mentors.
"Hermione?" Nick beckoned to her.
With more uncertainty than Harry had ever seen in her before, she meekly said, "I believe he's trying to say that he's allowed me to make a Philosopher's Stone."
Harry just blinked for a moment in shock. Slowly he looked around and saw that Ginny and Gabrielle seemed to be just as shocked. Nick and Nelle were smiling and Nick was also nodding.
"It's true," Nick told them. "We have judged you worthy of receiving this. When the time comes, use it to extend your life, do good and help others to do good, and push the boundaries of knowledge to help mankind, magical and non-magical."
"But, why us?" Harry asked. "Surely there are other good people who deserve this more."
Nick chuckled as he looked at Nelle. "Surprisingly, I doubt there are many that are more deserving of this than you and your family, Harry. Your modesty is one of your better qualities, in my opinion."
"There is also the fact," Nelle took over, "that your family is probably the only ones alive today that could make this Stone. We required you to pass a morality test over time by living with us to ensure you wouldn't abuse the power, or at least that you wouldn't be likely to as no one can truly predict the future. However, there is also a magical requirement for creating the Stone." When no one said anything, she looked at Hermione.
"It takes a Veela and a man with the Rescue Bond, doesn't it? That's what we have in common." Hermione looked to Nick.
"You are correct."
"But what about Ginny and Hermione?" Harry asked quickly, an edge of fear in his voice.
Nick looked at all of them kindly. "Have no fear, Harry. The creation process requires Veela blood that is in the bond, however, the magic of the Stone is tied to your magic. Therefore, it will work for all of your young ladies too."
The four practically sagged with relief, none of them desiring to go insane if one or two of them should die early.
"So gold and long life?" Harry asked. "I don't really need the gold, but I can see how being richer could allow me to do more good."
Nelle let out a full laugh while Nick looked chagrinned. None of the bond-mates could understand the humor.
"No, Harry," Nick finally said a little sheepishly, "you only get the Elixir of Life from it. The tale of it being able to turn lead into gold is false and one that I made up one night shortly after I had created it and become drunk. I wasn't quite in my right mind and made that up because it sounded more impressive and was the 'Holy Grail' of Alchemy. Unfortunately, that claim stuck. If you want to know the secret of my wealth, the answer is compound interest," he ended with a smile.
"A reasonable nest egg with a good interest rate can accomplish a lot in a hundred years - and longer," Nelle said with a wide smile.
"Hermione, if you would, please put cold water in one of the larger caldrons. When your timer goes off in a minute or two, stop the flame and drop the small caldron into the bigger caldron to cool it rapidly." While she did that, Nick looked back at Harry.
"There are a few things you must know and promise." When Harry nodded, Nick continued. "First, don't share how to make one of these with anyone." He looked at Hermione who agreed after she put the small caldron in the cold water. "There's no need to tempt anyone. If my statement wasn't clear before, the Stone will only work for you as it's tuned to the magic of the bond.
"Second, you have many years before you have to do this, but start thinking about how you plan to span the centuries and avoid detection. We do it by having at least four properties that are in different countries with different identities, plus a private island where we can be totally alone. We normally live until we are in our eighties, move to the private island to de-age, then move to and live in the next property. We always return to the island for a few months to de-age so no one can see that process. That's also a good plan because it makes us very cranky during that short time. Be sure to give yourself plenty of space and make sure one of Gabrielle's cycles won't be during that time."
"Please believe me that you don't want that," Nelle added - very seriously.
"Third, please understand the Stone doesn't make your immortal. You can still be killed just like everyone else. It can heal you from near-fatal wounds as well as de-age you, but if you're walking down the street and a large vehicle runs over you, you're dead and the Stone won't bring you back.
"Lastly, you must not take the Elixir of Life before you are absolutely sure you have finished having children. The longevity of life does not come for free; its cost is your ability to have children. However, since you probably have no need to de-age for at least fifty years, which is past normal child-bearing years, then you should not have a problem. You should also be aware that any Elixir that is brewed has a shelf life of only one year; after that it becomes highly poisonous."
"However," Nelle took over again, "if you have a major injury and think you need the Elixir of Life to stay alive and you're still young, keep this in mind. Being sterile and alive is better than being dead if you still want to be together. Also, the Veela have a spell to break a bond. Learn it so that you can remove someone who is ready to move on or who is about to die and you can't save them. It is better for the removal to be controlled than for that person to be torn out."
"We are aware of that spell," Harry admitted. "We'll all learn it just in case it's needed because of an accident."
Satisfied, Nick turned to Hermione. "I believe it's cool enough now. Pull the small caldron out and turn it over onto the workbench. When she did, they heard a thunk and a sound like glass breaking. Hermione looked at her mentor in alarm. He chuckled at her. "Yes, I thought I had ruined it the first time as well. Slide the caldron up."
They all saw red stuff like broken glass fall out, but sticking up through the top of the pile was the end of a large dark red crystal. Hermione carefully pulled it out and they looked at it in wonder.
"Store it in a safe place that only you know about," Nick advised. "Boil it in one cup of water for seven minutes and you'll have the Elixir. If you do the same work but Harry and Gabrielle only add three drops of blood instead of seven, you'll have a Stone that is the best fake possible as it'll register as magical but it won't work."
"We won't let you down," Harry told them as he went over to hug both of his mentors. Each of the girls repeated the promise and hugged the Flamels. They would keep in contact over the years.
For the third time, Harry stood in front of the same set of people with Madam Maxime at his right. Philip was at his left as best man again; Neville completed his side.
Hermione came up the aisle as matron of honor. Each girl had now been bride and best maid/matron once.
Gabrielle walked through the door, escorted by her father, and looked radiant - literally. In fact, Harry noticed many of the male guests struggling as she approached him. Fortunately, her father noticed it too and whispered to her. The men all relaxed a great deal after that.
After the wedding, he and Gabrielle would travel to his godfather's private island for a week. Harry had completely forgotten about it when the man had mentioned it some time back, but Gabrielle had not. He assumed she desired that location so they could be unrestrained in their Veela forms, or potion-induced form for him.
Gabrielle was very beautiful, Harry thought yet again as she joined him and the Headmistress started the joining.
Harry, Hermione, and Gabrielle were sitting in the Potter box watching Ginny help lead the Harpies against the Vultures. The Vultures were being their usual nasty self, reminding Harry of playing the Slytherins when he was at Hogwarts.
Ginny had the second most experience of the starting Chasers and vied for being the leading scorer on the team. She was doing a very good job, having made two more goals than the lead Chaser tonight. It was her fifth season and she was a popular player.
Harry thought she cut a good figure as she flew, energetic and yet still very attractive. He enjoyed watching her play as well as the time to relax and talk with the other two women in his life. Tonight, it was just the three of them, no extra friends. Knowing how pumped up Ginny would be after the game, he was really looking forward to taking her home afterwards. Assuming it was not an extra-long game that tired her out, it was usually the time for the most enjoyable sex between them.
The game had been going for nearly an hour when Harry suddenly saw a formation that concerned him greatly. While it was legal, most teams did not do it for the sport of the game, but the opponent was the Vultures who had no real scruples.
"Shit!" he exclaimed as he saw one of the Vulture Beater draw his bat back while one of his team mates flew in front of him as they drew near the Harpies' leading scorer for the night - Ginny. His exclamation and hasty pulling his wand out had the other two doing the same as the Beater took a point-blank shot at Ginny as the Vulture team mate flying in front veered away. The only purpose of this play, and why most teams did not do this, was to take a player out of the game by injury. There was no break-up of a play or defensive attempted; this was to purposefully injury someone and usually very badly. There had even been deaths in the past from this play.
Being the professional she was, Ginny realized what was happening at the crack of the bat and attempted to twist and dive despite the close distance to the Beater and Bludger. Instead of hitting her square in the small of the back, the Bludger hit her hard on the left shoulder blade - the same place she was accidentally hit in her fifth year at Beauxbatons.
Knowing there were supposed to be two people assigned to watch the game from the ground and catch any players knocked off their brooms to prevent serious injury, yet unwilling to trust they were paying close attentin, Harry cast a spell that slowed Ginny down, Hermione and Gabrielle each cast another spell at their sister-wife, and then Harry cast once more just before she hit the ground and bounced to a halt.
Without waiting, Harry put his wand away and raced from his box and towards the team rooms where he knew Ginny would be taken. Hermione and Gabrielle were right behind him as he took the stairs two at a time from his box near the top of the stadium. Because he still kept up his physical exercises, Harry arrived at the locker room not breathing hard.
"Stop, you can't go any farther," a security guard at the main door to the locker rooms told him.
"My name is Harry Potter and they just brought Ginny Potter in here. She's my wife and I need to see her now." He could feel her direction was right in front of him as well as the fact that she had been in pain.
"I'm sorry, but no one who is not on the team is allowed in," the guard told him.
"I don't think you understand," the anger in Harry's voice becoming more noticeable. "My wife is injured and in there and I'm going in. Step aside!"
The security guard moved to pull his wand out but Harry was faster and dropped him with a Stunning spell before the man's wand was clear of his holster. A couple of unlocking charms caused the door to open and Harry strode through wand still in hand.
A moment later, Harry hurried into the main examination room. He stopped so quickly that Gabrielle almost ran into him. Putting his wand away, he hurried over to Ginny who was lying face down on a table, the back of her uniform cut away with the remains hanging over the side. A healer was on each side of the table working on her.
"Ginny!" he called and hurried over.
"Harry?" she returned, although not in her usual energetic and playful manner.
The healers looked over at him and the shorter one addressed him. "Mr Potter, please don't interrupt us as we're trying to help her. You can sit on the floor and talk to her if you want, but don't interfere if you want her healed correctly. This is very delicate."
"Of course," he instantly agreed as he came to her head. He saw the healers very carefully doing spells to her back and the something under her skin moving around. Not wanting to see more, he dropped down and sat cross-legged on the floor and looked up into her face, or what little he could see of it through the hole in the support that held her head. Her arms also hung over the side as if she was meant to hug the table.
"How are you?" He instantly closed his eyes and grunted. "Sorry, stupid question."
Hermione and Gabrielle chuckled at him as they created seats behind him as they waited too.
Ginny actually smiled at him. "I'm not too bad now as I can't feel a thing in my back. It hurt like hell a few minutes ago."
"Do you know what's wrong and how long you'll be here?"
Before she could answer, one of the healers did. "Her left shoulder blade is shattered and there are a few ribs that are broken. We've already Vanished the shoulder blade and are working on the ribs. We're having to go slowly so we don't puncture any internal organs. We should be done with that in an hour or so and then we'll give her Skel-Gro for the shoulder blade. She'll be here overnight and can go home in the morning. You're welcome to conjure a cot and stay with her if you'd like, although the other ladies really should return home."
"How did you get in here anyway?" the other healer asked. "I thought there was normally a security person outside."
"I object to his stopping me from coming in," Harry explained, a little embarrassed now that he was calming down a little. "I'm sure he'll wake up soon."
"I did lock the door after us," Hermione added.
Both healers chuckled and resumed working.
"Do you know why I didn't crash into the ground? That was the strangest fall I've ever had, and I've had several. I didn't hit nearly as hard as I expected to and I'd swear I bounced."
"I, uh, I might have helped with that," he admitted sheepishly.
"You see, I saw what was about to happen before it did, so I had time to pull out my wand and had cast Arresto Momentum right as you were falling off your broom," he explained.
Hermione spoke up. "I cast a Cushioning Charm on you, so no matter which way you landed you'd have padding."
"I cast a Cushioning Charm on the ground," Gabrielle said.
"And I cast yet another Cushing Charm on top of her charm," Harry finished up.
"Uh, wow, thanks," Ginny said in awe.
"Good work," the first healer said. "If you hadn't broken her fall like that, she would be in very bad shape right now. The best one was the Arresto Momentum before she started building up speed from her fall."
"I'll find a nice thank you for that when we get home," Ginny promised him, adding a mimed kissed.
"I'm sorry, Mrs Potter," the second healer said, "but you'll have to wait a couple of days for anything other than resting, Tuesday night at the earliest. After that, protect this shoulder at all costs for the next two months. No Bludgers or major falls. That means you're out for the rest of the season. You should start light exercise after one week and build slowly. If you experience any pain, stop whatever you're doing immediately and see a healer."
Ginny sighed, "Fine, I understand."
"Mrs Potter, if you follow my directions, your shoulder will be as good as new in two months. But if you re-injure it, there is a good chance you will lose functionality in this shoulder - permanently. Of course, it's your choice."
"She will take it easy as you've suggested," Harry told the healers. They chuckled when Ginny did not protest.
A few minutes later, Ginny broke the silence of the bond-mates (the healers where still working quietly). "Hermione?"
"It's been five years since we've finished school. This is the second time I've been injured badly with a Bludger and I don't think I want to wait for a third time. According to our agreement, you'd be first in all major events - if possible."
Harry was surprised at that revelation as he had not heard of it before. It made sense to him that they might have an arrangement like that, but he was still surprised to hear it.
"I've giving you notice. If you want to be the first to have a baby, you have one year to get pregnant. I'll stop taking my potion a year from now if you're not pregnant, or the month after you give birth to your baby. I don't think I'm going to play anymore and I'm ready to have children."
It was all Harry could do to breath after Ginny's announcement. He wanted children, badly at times, but the reality of it left him somewhat breathless.
Hermione's chair creaked slightly, the only sound in the room. Even the healers had stopped working for a moment when they heard Ginny. It was not a secret in Britain that Harry Potter had three wives and who they were, but no one really knew how they made that work and the healers were the first to see a glimpse of that.
"Very well," Hermione said quietly, her chair creaking again as she shifted; the healers resumed working too. "I had hoped to finish my degree before having a child, but perhaps with a little extra effort, I can finish a semester early. Are you sure?" she asked Ginny.
"Yes. I think I'll pursue being a physical therapist, or maybe a personal trainer. Maybe I'll use this time to try both to see what I want later, but I'm sure I'm ready to start being a mum."
"Ginny? I believe you're forgetting something very important," Hermione said.
"Wha- Oh, crap, you're right. Harry, I'm sorry for trying to do this without talking to you first. I really messed up. Are you all right with becoming a father in the next year?" Ginny asked with hope.
Harry swallowed as he continued to think through the idea.
"Harry?" Ginny asked again, a little worriedly this time, when he did not say anything.
"Uh, yeah, I think I am ready," he said slowly. "I mean I know I want children, with all of you, but it's suddenly becoming very real."
"We can talk about it more later when we get home. I'd like to have some soon, but I'll wait until you're ready, Harry," Ginny promised, deferring to him.
"I think it's a wonderful idea, Ginny," he assured her. "I just need a little time to get used to it."
A little while later, the Harpies captain and coach came in to check on Ginny. They were not happy to hear that Ginny was out for the rest of the season, but since they had seen the fall she had taken, they were not surprised. They were surprised by her resignation from the team after this season. Ginny promised to help in any way she could when the healers allowed her too. She thought this seemed like a good time to work with the team to get some experience as a trainer.
Harry finished buttoning his shirt as he walked out of his bedroom at Potter Manor. It was almost time to leave and go to The Burrow for the Weasley summer family reunion, which had been delayed until early September this year. The Potters did not go over very often and never stayed overnight, but Harry had forgiven Molly (although he was still a little wary of her) and he knew Arthur enjoyed seeing everyone. He thought Ginny had forgiven her mother and knew she was definitely wary of her mother.
Hearing a sound that was almost like a sob from Hermione's room made him stop to check on her. She had been a little moody the last few weeks.
"Hermione?" he called as he poked his head through the doorway. He saw her dab a handkerchief at an eye before she looked up quickly, plastering an obviously forced smile on her face.
"I'll be ready to go in a few minutes," she told him, not quite sounding like her normal self.
Suppressing a sigh, Harry walked over and sat down next to her on the bed. "What's wrong?"
"Nothing important," she replied hurriedly and shook her head, trying to end it there.
"I've been concerned about you lately," he said, hoping that would start her talking; it did not. While he contemplated what to do next, Ginny stuck her head in the door.
"I've got everything together. Are you ready?"
"I don't think so," Harry said slowly as he looked at Hermione in concern. "Please see that everyone else makes it there when you're able and we'll join you in a little while. If they ask, tell them that I needed to take care of something for the ranch before I came and Hermione is helping me. We shouldn't be long."
Hermione gave him an inquisitive look while Ginny said told him, "Sure", along with a knowing smirk before she walked away.
"Shush, you know Ginny will take care of everything just fine. Now that it's just the two of us," Harry pinned Hermione with a stern look, "what's the problem? Have I done something stupid again, or have I not been paying enough attention to you?"
"No, Harry," she hastily told him as she looked down at her hands. "It's not you. You've been great, honestly."
"Then what?" he asked again, as gently as he could.
She took a deep breath as she picked at a nail for a moment. Finally, she said, "I'm just unhappy and I don't know why. I mean, everything feels wrong. I can't concentrate like I want. My hair refuses to cooperate. I cry when I don't want to. And, and I'm so fat I can't fit into any of my clothes…" She lost her composure and pulled into herself, a tear starting to leak.
Harry pulled her to him and did his best to comfort her, letting her cry on his shoulder for a few minutes. He did his best to use that time to determine what to tell her. As she started to settle down, he rubbed her back some more and played with her hair with his other hand.
"Hermione, my Mia. I know things aren't perfect for you and we knew life wouldn't always be perfect, but there's so much that's right and wonderful too."
She sniffled and said, "I know, she's so wonderful, but the rest…"
"Mia, you have to look at everything. You're in the prime of your life. You've got a degree from a good university and from Hogwarts. You're so knowledgeable about so many things it makes my head hurt when I think about it." He heard a snort of a chuckle from her and took that as a good sign.
"You're a wonder person and wife; someone I truly love being with." He stroked her hair again. "I do love what you've done to your hair. This longer style helps it and I like how you've made it a darker brown. As for being fat, I don't think so. So you're a dress size bigger…"
"A dress size?!" she refuted firmly and with exasperation, "Try three dress sizes!"
"I don't think so, but I also know you won't stay this way because I know you've already started working with Ginny as your personal trainer to help that."
Hermione gasped. "She told you?!"
"No," Harry told her gently, also putting two fingers over her lips so she would not argue, something he had learned to do after many arguments so he could make his full point. "She has not told me nor would I expect her to break your confidence. You forget this is Potter Manor and as the head of house I know many things here. I wouldn't have told you if I didn't think it would help. I don't share secrets between you three, you know that."
Chastised, Hermione nodded. "I know, but I just wanted to fix this."
"And you will," he assured her. "But you should also know that I love you just as you are."
"With me being this fat?" Hermione harrumphed. "Maybe if I had Ginny's derrière or looked like Gabrielle."
Harry snorted at the idea and shook his head in disbelieve. Surely Hermione was not comparing herself to them again, was she?
He would be the first to admit that Ginny had won life's lottery for great legs and a practically perfect derrière. In fact, one time he could not accompany Gabrielle on one of her photo shoots for clothes and Ginny had, and it happened to be a shoot for jeans, the photographer would not believe that Ginny was not one of the models until someone showed him a list of the models and Ginny's name was not on it. That had made Ginny week.
Gabrielle was a Veela and had the genes to make her very nice looking in an overall way. While he thought Ginny had a better derrière than Gabrielle, Gabrielle was perfectly proportioned. Also at five-ten, Gabrielle had the tall frame required to become a top model. Between her looks, height, and a great presence in front of the camera, she was a highly desired model.
"Hermione," he said softly, then lifted her chin to look at him when she did not respond. "You are a great person and very pretty in some ways that the others are not."
"I have a great mind," she snapped and tried to look away, but Harry held her face in place.
"You do. You've also very caring about other, especially those that are less fortunate. However, you also have the best breasts and have a face that every man loves." At her surprised look, he smiled. "You have the classic 'girl next door' look, someone who's innocent and carefree and wholesomely wonderful. If we used my cousin Nymphadora to build the perfect girl, she'd have to wear your face."
He studied her for a moment. "You still don't believe me that I find you desirable, do you?"
"I want to, but not completely."
An idea came to him and he could not think of a better way to get his point across quicker. To his good fortune, she was wearing a skirt. "Stand up then and let me show you."
She gave him a questioning and doubtful look, but stood anyway way. Since he was still sitting, it was easy for him to reach up under her skirt and grab her knickers, pulling them down swiftly. "Harry!" she shrieked, starting to fight him to pull them back up.
When her knickers were around her ankles, Harry pulled her back to the bed and started to tickle her, causing her to shriek even more. Somehow, he managed to loosen his trousers, do a couple of quick Banishing spells to remove a few more articles of clothing, and a few minutes later Hermione was groaning in pleasure and calling "Harry" encouragingly.
Less than five minutes later, both were on their back breathing heavily - neither had anything on below the waist.
Rolling to one elbow, he leaned over her and kissed her gently. "If I didn't think you were wonderful, would I do that and feel so good now?" His dared her to answer anything other than "no".
She threaded a hand into his hair and caressed his head for a moment. "I've never doubted your love, Harry."
"Then do not doubt that I love you as you are, including right now."
After a moment, she nodded. "All right. It's hard sometimes, but I won't doubt you like that again."
He kissed her gently again. "You'll do what you need to do. I don't think you've ever failed on anything you really put your mind to." He almost did not tell her, but decided that he probably needed to. "This may sound like I'm making fun of you, but have patience; a century or two may change things greatly."
"What?" she asked with a furrowed brow.
"You can't tell anyone this and I probably won't tell Ginny for at least fifty years, but some of our difficulties may go away in a century or two." He moved a few hairs away from her eyes. "There's a good possibility that Gabrielle will never take the Elixir of Life or might not more than once."
Hermione shot up to a sitting position. "But why not? It would make her youthful again."
"It would, but Nelle told me, and you can't tell anyone this either, but age does things to Veela. If you remember Apolline told us that Veela were vain. That even extends to never wanting to look or feel old. The Elixir fixes that, but Veela as a whole tend not to want to use it for some reason. It's like it goes against how they think or view the world. Nelle said she almost did not take it and Nick had to force her the first time. She said she's asked a lot of Veela about it over the years and most say they'd rather just die. In fact, she told me to watch Gabrielle very carefully as she became older, because many Veela commit suicide to avoid becoming too old looking."
"That's…" Hermione could not finish the horrible thought.
"Shocking and worse," Harry finished for her. "I know, but it's what Nelle said. She also said it would take a very unusual Veela to want to live for centuries."
"But Nelle has," Hermione reminded him.
"She has, but she also told me that most Veela would consider her strange." Harry shrugged. "It might not happen, but eventually we'll need to practice the Bond Removal spell just in case Gabrielle decides she doesn't want to live anymore."
"It doesn't have to be that way, we can help her," Hermione rushed to get out, as if determined to go find a way right now.
"We will try to help her," Harry assured Hermione, "but if she, or anyone of you, want out badly enough, I'm going to have to let go. It's your life. I am your husband, not a slave master." He watched her work through that thought, just as he had to originally.
"I don't like it," she said finally, "but I see your point." She looked up and smiled slightly. "It would be easier with only two of us."
"Yes it would, but as I've said before, now that each of you are with me, who could I possible tell to go away or that I don't love you anymore? It's difficult with three wives, but you're each special and I'm glad you're with me, so there's no way I'd voluntarily give any of you up."
Hermione nodded. "I know." She looked over and saw their clothes strewn on the flow and smiled. "We should get dressed again and go before they start to wonder why we're so late."
Harry chuckled. "I'm sure they've already wondered, but stick to the story; they don't need any details."
After getting ready again, they Apparated into the back garden of The Burrow. Hermione immediately walked over to the group of girls who were crowded around Ginny. The redhead gave the little brunette bundle over to her mother. The girls each told Hermione what a cute baby Rose was as they gave Hermione a hug in greeting. Even Victoria, Bill and Fleur's only daughter so far, seemed happy to see the baby.
Pleased at the loving sight, Harry walked over to see Bill, Ron, and Fleur, who were talking together not far away.
"Hey, Harry!" Ron called out.
Harry greeted them all.
"Rose is so cute," Fleur told him. "She is … seven weeks old?"
"Eight," he corrected, "and thanks, we all think she's cute too."
The group of girls - one for every Weasley boy except Fleur, three for Harry, and Molly - suddenly let out a scream and they all seemed to attack Ginny with hugs.
Bill looked at Harry. "Let me guess, Ginny's pregnant?"
"She is, almost a month along. We found out yesterday that it's a boy," Harry said grinning that magical smile that most new fathers had.
"Congratulations!" Fleur said as she gave him a hug, then left quickly to go join the group of girls.
"Better you than me," Ron said, shaking his head.
Bill and Harry laughed, although Harry had the faster quip. "Ron, you are engaged and most married couples have at least one child eventually, so this will happen to you too."
"I know," Ron said and waved the idea away, "but not anytime soon."
"What does Lavender say about that?" Bill asked, looking at the young witch that was happily talking to Gabrielle.
"She's doing well in her modeling career. Not as well as Gabrielle," he added hastily, "but she's doing well enough."
"Are you sure you're going to get married in a few months?" Harry asked him, seriously.
"I am," Ron replied, just as seriously. "I'm not always sure why she likes me, but we do get along quite well."
"How's your job?" Harry asked him.
Ron brightened and looked like he had more energy. "Great. I think the Cannons have a good shot this year."
"Uh huh," Harry said unconvinced as he looked at Bill, who had the same doubtful look. "Is it still as fun to be the 'Voice of the Cannons' as when you first started?"
"Yeah, I still enjoy calling the games, Ron said, still with a big grin. "I had one of the managers at the main Wireless station come by and talk to me the other day about doing a sports spot on their news show. I think I'll do that to earn some extra money. It would be good to have our own little house, you know?"
Bill and Harry agreed just as Gabrielle walked over and put an icy bottle of Butterbeer in Harry's hand. "I thought you could use this." She turned and walked back towards the group of girls, except that she used what Harry thought of as her runway walk, putting hips into a motion that should be illegal. Just as she reached her destination, Gabrielle turned slightly to look over her shoulder and wink.
Bill laughed at him. "Harry, I don't know how you keep up with three of them. Gabrielle seems just as dangerous as Fleur and I can barely keep up with her."
"It is difficult at times, but it can also be very rewarding." Harry wiggled his eyebrows in a knowing way, causing Bill to laugh again.
"So, what's it like at home with a Veela?" Ron asked in a hushed voice, looking for secrets.
Knowing exactly what Ron was fishing for, Harry told him, "It's amazing, Ron." Seeing his friend lean forward a little for the juicy details, Harry went for the kill. "Let's start with Ginny. She likes these little skirts that are so short and worn so low they're more like a wide belt. The tops she likes to wear are so small, and without a bra, that they-"
"Stop!" Ron cried out as he clapped his hands over his ears. "I don't need to hear about my sister."
"Perhaps you should see to your fiancée then," Harry suggested with an easy grin after his joke. "She looks fairly angry at you."
Ron turned a little, trying to see out of the corner of his eye, and groaned. "What did I do now?"
"I'd guess it's the way you ogled Gabrielle, but that's just my opinion," Bill said lightly with a teasing look of his own.
"Definitely," Harry agreed.
"But did you see the way she walked?" Ron protested.
"Yes, I did and I also saw Lavender's reaction and I saw Ginny about bust a gut watching both of you," Harry pointed out, still having fun with his friend.
"What? No way. How?"
Harry laughed at him. "Ron, I have years, literally years of watching Gabrielle do things like that and learning to keep aware of my surroundings." To avoid being pranked by your sister, he thought but would not say. "So yes, I did notice all of that. I would suggest you go grovel a bit, promise a nice dinner too. You can also tell her that I'll answer her questions about why I have three wives later this evening. I'll offer that to help you out since you got caught in Gabrielle teasing me."
"You'll tell her your secrets?"
"Yes. Now, hurry over. I don't think you want her to get any more upset." Harry watched Ron practically run to his fiancée after a hurried "thanks".
Bill chuckled at his younger brother. "He's as amusing as Fred and George in his own way. So, Harry, is three it for you or are more wives on the way?"
Harry knew Bill was teasing him, thankfully. "Three is definitely enough and the girls are determined to not allow any more. I'm happy as things are, although I'm sure children will add a new level of chaos."
Bill started laughing again, but Harry did not mind. He really was happy with live and his growing family.
(Beta's note: hey, XRaiderV1 here, would like to apologize for the epilogue taking so long, I got blitzed around Christmas, after a few weeks taken to get some time to get used to the new laptop, my apologies for this one being late.)
((A/N: Here we are at the end of my longest story yet (~415K words). I don't think I'll do one this long again, if I can help it. As mentioned before but as a reminder, this story was about relationships not about fighting Voldemort or Dumbledore. The conflict (with both of them) was merely the way to bring the four bond-mates together.
I want to thank Marshall (XRaiderV1) for sticking with me to the end as a beta. My other betas had real life smack them around and had to give up helping me while they dealt with family emergencies. I continue to hope everything works out well for them.
I also want to thank everyone who has read to the end, and even more thanks for those who reviewed. As I post the last chapter (Jan 2013), the stats for the first 32 chapters of this story are approximately 1.66M hits, 3200 reviews, 3500 favs, 330 C2s. It really blows me away as to how popular this story has been. I've enjoyed writing it and wished I could have had more time to write it faster. I can't believe it's taken me 3 years to complete this, but it feels good to do so.
Sorry, but you'll probably have to wait a few months before anything new pops out, unless it falls under "Odds & Ends". - Kevin))