DISCLAIMER THE FIRST: It is by JKR's writing alone I set my mind in motion. It is by the grace of coffee that thoughts acquire speed, the back acquires strains, the strains become a warning. The warning is that I make no money from this. It is by JKR's writing alone I set my mind in motion.

PITHY STATEMENT RELATING TO THIS CHAPTER: "The art of pleasing is the art of deception." – Luc de Clapiers – French writer and moralist – 1715-1747

LAST UPDATED: 11-01-2013


"MAJOR" STORY CHANGE: I will be going back and making adjustments to all pervious chapters, but for now, I'm am altering canon regarding First Year. I had previously got some incorrect info about UK school systems where their "middle school" started at 12 not eleven but apparently that is not correct. However I'm going to keep the change anyway.

Why? Well as much as I wish I could change Hogwarts to be a nine year school with the first three years being really basic stuff, the next three years being OWLs and the optional last 3 years being NEWTs (making a nice symbolic number combo, three 3's along with 9 years of schooling mimicking 9 months before birth) I can't really.

However, I think pushing the age up a bit helps with the idea that magic is an internal power and must be managed as puberty starts to strike. So while a lot of lesser magicks could be taught (and probably are to some degree in many homes) a lot of the schooling is also to get all the little potential magical time-bombs off to a place where they can be watched. I mean we all went through puberty and all the associated drama. Adding magic to that? Hoo boy! Watch Out!

So for now, while all the dates will remain the same, everyone from Bill Weasley down will have their birthdays backed up one year to account for the extra time. So going into this year, most of the characters will be turning 14 with Hermione turning 15. Also, a reminder about Luna. Her birthday is on September 10th so like Hermione, she's almost a full year older than most of her cohort. (Luna is only 41 days younger than Harry)

This action clears up a issue in canon and in the movies:

* The book and movie imply a very young age. Indeed the whole concept of 'baby in a basket' implies a few weeks old at most. Yet at 15 months, they'd need a pretty big basket. Also the movie shots of Harry in the crib before the Big AK show very much a small child.

* At 15 months, Harry was supposedly baby enough to be put into a basket and dropped off at the Dursleys in Book 1 but old enough to fly on a toy broom as shown in Book 7?! Obviously Harry at 27 months might conceivably be able to ride a broom while at 15 he'd be lucky if he could walk without an adult holding his hand.

* Of course this would also imply a bit more than just dropping Harry off in a basket. So what did happen back in Year One between Dumbledore and the Dursleys?

Obviously I will be going back and changing my previous chapters to reflect this. However nothing really major is being changed. Just changing the ages.





The summer of '93 found many daughters (and quite a few sons) being sat down to have an interesting chat about their futures. All of these conversations revolved around the perennial Game of Houses where the great Houses worked to maintain the status quo while jockeying for even more power and influence. This while the lesser Houses looked for ways to get a leg-up in society. Towards these ends all eyes turned toward Harry Potter.

In many houses, the Heirs were asked of their status with the Boy-Who-Lived and depending on the house how they wanted their Heir to interact with Heir Potter. This led to a very pivotal discussion in House Malfoy given Harry's status as Heir Black given how many had expected Draco to take over as Lord Black when Sirius finally died in Azkaban.

However most of the really important discussions were far more private…and manipulative. For Harry Potter represented a chance akin to winning a lottery for the witch able to catch his eye. Whether as a wife, consort or even concubine would bring an immense shift in fortune for the witch's House. These chats began right after term even before the shocking revelations which came out of the Wizengamot.

Harry was presented formally at opening session of the Wizengamot after the Summer Solstice. Not only was he introduced as Heir Potter but surprisingly as Heir Peverell and Pryce. As David Greengrass and Martin Creswell had predicted, this create a firestorm in the halls of the Wizengamot. Harry now represented his own potent voting block and one not necessarily in lockstep with the Chief Warlock. For Houses with daughters close to Harry's age, it also meant opportunity.

On top of his own houses, Sirius Black's questionable condition given his stay in Azkaban meant that for the foreseeable future, Harry was Heir Black or at the very least would become the Regent to the House. Harry Potter thus represented considerable political power, significant wealth along with House magicks of four Houses. Any witch who was able to catch Harry's fancy would be able to help her own House's fortune by a considerable degree.

For my part, my mother sat me down and explained how our family was beholden to House Black and a marker against House Li was still open. My becoming a concubine to Harry (or even Sirius!) would pay that debt. My mother doubted this marker would be called in given how Harry needed four wives to cover his House obligations. However the revelations about Harry did mean it might be in House Li's interest for me to become Harry's concubine.

So I was told to prepare myself for the possibility of becoming a concubine with the unsaid threat that head of our House might order me to actively pursue Harry's interest. After my mother left, I remember sitting in my room, slowly sipping my tea and going over in my mind what I knew about Harry Potter.

Other than seeing him have sex with Luna Lovegood during the infamous Beltane ritual, I really had little in the way of knowledge about the Boy-Who-Lived other than the typical rumors and gossip of the halls of Hogwarts. We rarely had interacted in the few classes Gryffindor and Ravenclaw shared. Now I faced being given to him to resolve old debts or be asked to pursue a boy I knew little about.

What was worse was the empathic trait so common in my family's line had begun to manifest more strongly in me and quite frankly being around Harry back then was actually a bit depressing and sometimes painful. While others managed to ignore the signs of his mistreatment, Harry's aura made it quite clear of the suffering the boy had endured. So even when we shared classes together, I tended to steer quite clear of him for my own presence of mind.

With little other choice, I began to plan how to surreptitiously learn more about Harry given how my mother had warned me others would be doing the same. None of these plans were devious; my first thought was to simply ask Luna Lovegood. She had never fit in well with her year-mates and after Katie Bell had challenged her to open up a bit had ended up hanging around with myself and Padma Patil.

Both of us had to deal with the odd racial prejudice which dominated Ravenclaw at the time so we both understood what she was going through in regards to being made an outcast for the simple 'crime' of being different. As odd as Luna seemed to people, her aura was perky and pleasant while Padma was cool and calming for me so the three of us began spending a lot more time together. True most of it was in typical quiet study but for Ravenclaws this was just what we did. In fact Luna was at the infamous Beltane ritual mostly because Padma and I had gone.

At the time I figured my friendship with Luna would allow me to at least meet Harry without being obvious about it. From there I could see how things went. Not much of a plot but then no matter how serious my mother had said things could potentially be, I didn't really think too much about it. I'd see about meeting Harry, talk with him, see if I could be his friend and for the time being (given we were all so young) that was enough for me.

Little did I know then how serious some other Houses were in working to entice their daughters into Harry's future marriage bed.



Cho rubbed her cheek and wished she could use magic to help with the pain and swelling. While like most pureblood households House Chang's ward kept the Ministry trace from catching underage magic, the young witch knew her father would give her another beating if she tried to heal herself up.

For all his going on about tradition, Cho was thankful that her father rarely hit her. Her older brother Kai often told her stories of her maternal grandfather who thought nothing of smacking around any of the witches in his family to show his displeasure. Luckily he had died during the last big Dragonpox epidemic.

However tonight had been bad given how her father had found out somehow that she was on Ravenclaw's quidditch team. For over an hour he had ranted, swore about the shame she had brought to the house. He had punctuated this with the occasional slap after his initial round of beating her with his belt.

Cho doubted she'd be lying on her back or sitting down easily for the next day or two.

The face staring back at her in her vanity mirror certainly looked like a stranger. The whole right side of her face was swollen and she could barely see out of right eye. Her lip was split and her hair was a mess. So different from the normal perfect face she showed the world.

To her irritation, Cho heard her bedroom door open. Only her brother would come in unannounced.

"Couldn't just wait to come in and gloat, could you?" Cho said nastily as she gingerly tried to stop her lip from bleeding.

"Perhaps your father was not thorough enough in showing his displeasure if you can still be so disrespectful," said a female voice said in Chinese.

Cho whirled around to see her mother watching her with a pinched look, "Mother! I...I sincerely apologize! I thought..."

"You thought to berate your older brother who is in his rights to come and chastise you for your failing to heed your father's wishes and thus bring shame up him as well," her mother interrupted coldly.

Cho tried to compose herself. She knew her mother Min Chang despised weakness. She also knew her mother did not want her daughter to be compliant in all things. "As heir, yes he is within his rights. Yet his words are less for the family's benefit and more to help him feel superior given his grades and contacts are inferior to mine."

Her mother pursed her lips before gesturing towards her bed, "A fair point. Come and sit. We have much to discuss." To Cho's amazement, her mother sat herself upon her bed. Even that she immediately began to smooth out the folds in her fine silk robe, the intimacy of her choice of where to talk made Cho wary.

Cho carefully sat down yet still had to grit her teeth to keep from wincing. While not a large man, Wei Chang was certainly not weak in the arms.

For a long spell there was silence between the two witches before Min folded her hands in her lap and sighed, "Your father is understandably upset that you defied him. He has worked long and hard to keep our family tied to our heritage and to never let China be far from our hearts. His efforts are laudable but in this case your father's wanting to keep with tradition would keep House Change from a golden opportunity."

Cho blinked at this. It was very rare to hear her mother say anything against her father even though she knew very well her mother was very much a silent partner in the English branch of House Chang. In her own way, she was a contemporary of Narcissa Malfoy who plotted from behind her husband.

However Cho couldn't for the life of her see where her mother was coming from, "I confess, honored mother, that I do not understand."

A small smile quirked at Min Chang's face, "I do not doubt it. Unlike your father, I do not for a minute believe you joined your house quidditch team to indulge in licentious behavior. I am well aware how many witches see quidditch as a way to gain status. Given how you are a seeker is more proof of that. It is though quidditch that House Chang may come into great power and wealth."

"I apologize again, honored mother. I still do not understand. Father was quite clear I was to quit the team. How will this bring our house good fortune?" Cho asked.

Min Chang scowled briefly as she made a slight dismissive gesture, "You leave your honored father to me. I shall explain the particulars. He just saw the potential scandal and not the golden opportunity before us."

"And that would be, honored mother?" Cho asked.

"Why snatching up Harry Potter, of course, you stupid girl," her mother said with a sharp tone. It was obvious she was disappointed that Cho hadn't seen it.

"Harry Potter? But mother! Harry Potter?" Cho asked incredulously as she lapsed into English.

"Of course! He is the head of three houses with the wealth that comes with it. Given time he may add House Black to his holdings. Yet he is a babe in the woods even if Andromeda Tonks will strive to tutor him up quickly. He is ignorant of most magical customs and so is ripe for the plucking. You are young and beautiful and the English have always had craving to taste the Orient's fairest fruits," her mother said, surprisingly not chiding Cho for her linguistic lapse.

Cho nodded, "Yes I understand, honored mother. Yet but won't I just be one witch out of all who will pursue him? I know he is close to the muggleborn Granger and the squibborn Bell. Then there is the fact he has already gotten Heir Lovegood with child."

Again her mother made a dismissive gesture, "There will be forces in play, your Headmaster to say the least, who would be against another Potter marrying anything but a pureblood. As for Heir Lovegood, she will be easy to push to the sidelines. Besides, a Beltane baby for the English is a special case. If a son, House Lovegood might petition the Potter boy to allow him to inherit House Lovegood. Since Potter is young, he has plenty of time to father sons for House Potter."

"But what of the other houses, honored mother? Will not witches like Susan Bones or Morag MacDoughal also be told to pursue Harry Potter?" Cho asked.

Min Chang shrugged, "I do not doubt they will. Yet, my daughter, we are back at quidditch. While your father was trying to beat some obedience into you, I was looking at your school teams." To Cho's surprise, her mother continued on in English, "Slytherin has no witches on their team and the only pureblood on Hufflepuff's is Tasmin Applebee. Comely for a bai gui (*) but from an upstart family barely tied to House Abbot by marriage. In Gryffindor there is probably your stiffest competition in Angelina Johnson."

Cho nodded, "Yes she is a fox spirit(*) alright. Yet rumor is that she and her partner Alicia pair up with the Weasley twins leaving the mixed seed(*) Bell to look after Potter."

"The very nature of quidditch which drove your father into rage is the in you have over the other witches who will try to primp their way into Potter's marriage bed. You can use this sporting connection as a way to connect without seeming so. Given Potter's naiveté and youth, he will undoubtedly welcome help from you to keep such witches at arm's length," Min Chang said knowingly.

Cho nodded. Her mother was certainly right about how she'd have access to Harry few witches had. However it did bring up an important question, "Honored mother, how…far should I go to land Harry Potter? Regardless of what father thinks, I do play with the sanctity shield so no matter if I am under the Rush, I remain pure."

Min Chang nodded back, "I never doubted you would not do so, child of my mind. As I said, unlike your honored father, I saw this more as a move for status. You would not be so stupid as to lose your purity. In answer to your question, I shall take it up with your father. If success hinges upon it, I believe he may well allow it. Besides, he has Kai as his heir; your purpose is to marry well as you well know."

Cho practically bit her tongue not to grimace at this unfortunate fact of her life.

To her surprise, her mother smiled broadly, "It is not like this Harry Potter will know much in the ways of the bed. We of the East have always known there are many ways to bring about pleasure without the need for all the rude fumbling the white ghosts are so known for. You will be an elegant flower which will enchant and ensnare him. I shall provide some literature to help you with this. I expect you to study diligently as I will be discreetly finding someone for you to practice on."

Cho blinked in surprise at this, "Mother!"

"Bah! You shame your honored father! We are House Chang! Training a daughter in the arts of bed-sport is routine! Remember the lesson of Wu Zetian. She rose from being a concubine to being Empress! Bring this Harry Potter into your marriage bed and you may well rise to great heights here in this wretched land of cold and fog!" Min Chang said as she rose up from Cho's bed.

"I will go speak to your honored father. Prepare yourself well for the days ahead or you will find yourself longing for the punishments of your father," the older witch as she left the room with practiced grace.

Cho stated at the door to her bedroom for a long while before going back to her vanity to attempt to restore some semblance of order to her face and hair. It was now more important than effort that she looked her best.

She thought of what her mother said and began to dream of the power she would wield as Lady Potter. Even if Harry took on three other wives for his other houses, she would be number one wife with all the seniority and power that came with it.

While it hurt, Cho's reflection broke out into a satisfied smile.



Draco scowled as the screaming house elf failed to clear the hedge. The fact that he could usually punt one over it and sometimes into the duck pond beyond it didn't help his foul mood.

He turned away, ignoring the bowing and scrapping the elf was doing to try to apologize for whatever perceived wrong the elf felt she had done. Not that the elf had done anything other than intruding on his brooding with a message from his mother.

As Draco stomped his way up the lane, past immaculate lawns filled with rare ibis and flamingos, he wondered what his mother wanted to talk to him about. Knowing her it was probably another round of lessons! From almost the minute Draco got back home from school each year, his mother wanted him to be learning this or that. Luckily his father understood how Draco needed some off time during the summer and would never allow her as much time as she wanted.

Of course this never kept her from trying to thrown in extra lessons especially if Lucius was away on business as he was today.

Draco's scowl deepened further. His father had been always on the go since Draco had gotten back from Hogwarts. Normally his father would be talking him with him, showing him the sights, introducing him to people as well as showing him how a Malfoy should live. Seeing his father traveling around like a common tradesman like a Zabini or an Applebee grated on him.

Draco ducked into the loo off the main corridor. He knew better than to show up in any way unkempt to his mother. In her own way she was more of a stickler for keeping up appearance than even his fastidious father who was well known for the care he took with his looks.

Finally Draco made his way to his mother's study. It was her room and one she jealously guarded. He knew only her personal elf was allowed in it and the only paintings were those gifted to her from her side of the family. Draco knew even his father rarely went into the room and only when his mother was there.

As Draco knocked on the door, he wondered why the room always felt oppressive to him. The rest of the manor always felt magically positive yet his mother's study always disquieted him and not just because it was here he normally got his mother's brand of tutoring.


Draco opened the ornate door which even managed to creak in an ominous way. Draco managed not to frown but steeled his face into the expressionless mask his mother had been teaching him since he was old enough to start being seen at various public events or parties.

As he expected, Draco found his mother sitting behind her desk, her hands steepled in front of her. He knew this was a Black trick of showing one's hands to be empty of a wand. The truth was it actually put one's hand into a position where just a quick movement (and a wand holster) meant getting the drop on someone.

"Sit down Draco; we have much to discuss," his mother said with a slight tilt of her head to indicate which of the two chairs in front of her desk she wished him to sit in.

As Draco sat, he noticed none of the portraits were filled. Again Draco had to keep his face free of expression as this worried him for some reason.

Something was wrong.


Narcissa watched Draco sit down and was slightly pleased to see he had managed to mostly keep his thoughts off his face. Of course she could easily read out his discomfort as well as his previous anger. For all she tried to teach her son, he was still an open book to one trained in the arts of House Black.

Narcissa herself almost sighed in disappointment in seeing her biggest failure staring back at her. The fact Draco looked almost identical to his father when he was of school age helped. It would have been more difficult if Draco had inherited more of the Black looks. She could see more of House Black in Harry Potter though the last Black in his line was his great-grandmother Dorea! Of course being a Malfoy was part of Draco's problem. A problem she now had to address.

"Do you know why I've called you here today, Draco?" Narcissa asked. It was important to know if her son had any inkling of the danger he was in.

"I am assuming it is for more lessons, Mother." Draco said with an air of indifference.

Again Narcissa could see that if her son thought that he could get away with it, he'd have probably sneered and rolled his eyes while commenting. It was oblivious Draco felt he was in for another round of her trying to impart more lesson she herself had learned at a young age. Unfortunately for Draco, it seemed he had no idea how his world was about to change forever.

Narcissa found herself almost smirking at this. Getting herself back under control, she shook her head, "No Draco, today we will speak of things, important things. Things which could save your life."

A look of interested popped into Draco's pale eyes, "What sort of things? Will you be teaching me more dark spells?"

"Not at all, Draco. Today we shall discuss the realities brought upon by history, politics and how you will need to keep from making a possibly fatal mistake when it comes to Harry Potter," Narcissa said evenly. She was watching her son closely. What Draco did next would be crucial.

As a mother, Narcissa's heart sank as her son's carefully crafted mask of indifference fell away and he sneered, "Potter? Mother please! I can certainly handle Scarhead. He's overrated and only gets away with things by being Dumbledore's pet!"

Inwardly Narcissa sighed. Just like his father. It was time to see if a brutal does of honesty might reach her son before it was too late.

"Really? Then explain to me again how you ended up smelling of thestral dung at the end of term regardless of your cleaning spells? Or how even with the brooms your father acquired for Slytherin you and the rest of your team cannot out-fly Harry Potter and the rest of the Gryffindors? Not only does he best you at Quidditch but he gets better grades than you as well!"

Draco's mouth almost fell open. It was obvious he hadn't expected anything like this!

"You, a boy from a pureblood house whom I've been teaching since you were small while he grew up in the Muggle world with no knowledge of his heritage or magic. So tell me Draco, is this ineptitude some clever plot on your part? If so please enlighten me with the details of this clever plan for I cannot seem to divine it," she said with a sarcastic edge in her voice.

Draco blinked in surprise as his face quickly flushed red although Narcissa wasn't sure whether in anger or shame or both. "Mother I…"

Narcissa cut him off, "I do not want to hear any of your pathetic excuses Draco. Excuses are for people who will not take responsibility for their own actions."

"But mother! Dumbledore…" Draco tried again but once again she cut him off.

"Dumbledore nothing! Harry Potter reentered our world a small, underfed boy with nothing! Yet in his two years in school he has managed to defeat the Dark Lord again, destroy one of the Dark Lord's most precious items, which I might add was because of your father's bungling, discovered the lost Chamber of Secrets and then killed a basilisk with the rediscovered Sword of Gryffindor. Not a few months later he chosen as the spring-time host for the Green Man! What noteworthy deeds have you done?" Narcissa asked scathingly.

Draco swelled up in a way which reminded Narcissa of Dolores Umbridge of all people, "I am practically running Slytherin mother! The Dark Lord will find us ready when he returns!"

Narcissa almost rolled her eyes, "Is that so? Draco how can you be so blind? I have constantly told you, as has your father, that we work from the shadows. I know exactly what you've been doing at school and you have been far from subtle. You may as well have had your idiot sidekicks trumpeting your every move! You are loud, brash and anything but cunning!"

"Mother, I…" once again Draco sought to interrupt but Narcissa would have none of it. Her wand shot out from her wrist holster and she silenced her son.

"Draco, I was speaking and when I'm speaking it means you are not. How can you even begin to convince me you are in 'practically running Slytherin' when you cannot even hold your tongue to your own mother! Or do you think because we are family that I am not worthy of your respect? Is that what you think, Dray-co?" Narcissa enunciated the last with obvious menace.

Draco's eyes were wide as the threat in his mother's tone seemed to cause the disquiet he felt in the room to turn to overt menace. He quickly shook his head.

Narcissa glared at her son for a moment before a flick of her wand canceled the spell, "Now let's not have any more interruptions, shall we? Now where was I? Oh yes, Slytherin. You only think you are running things because the older Slytherins like Marcus Flint are too stupid to do it or the smart ones like Kai Chang or even Agatha Rookwood run things quietly without making waves."

Draco stared at her sullenly as if he couldn't believe what he was hearing.

Narcissa saw this and chuckled, "I would wager you have barely have spoken more than a few words to Agatha and yet as a Fourth Year she already has most of the witches of Slytherin in her pocket. No wonder Severus is planning to make her a Prefect next year. She obviously knows how to get things done silently while you strut around the common room like a one of the peacocks on the grounds here!"

To Draco's amazement, his mother shot to her feet and angrily slammed a fist into her desk. It was obvious how truly angry she was given how the desk groaned with the magic Narcissa's anger channeled into it.

"I will not stand for it, Draco! I am a daughter of House Black and you, you are a disgrace to my bloodline! I have sought to teach you but you do not learn. I have tried to speak to you of things you will need to prosper but you do not listen! I have tried to show you how to act and you do not see!" Narcissa hissed in an angry voice.

Suddenly years of bottled up anger could not be contained and she stalked around the desk and slapped Draco hard. Only here in her study could she safely strike her son. That she had hit him almost knocked Draco out of the seat from sheer astonishment.

"Perhaps if I had been able to properly raise you, you wouldn't be the useless dandy you have grown up to be! You are almost like your father! At least Lucius was trainable!"

"My father is a great man and when he finds out what you've done…" Draco said as he frantically rubbed his cheek where she had struck him.

"You will find your father will do…nothing!" Narcissa said as she fought to push back her anger into the vault inside her where it needed to be. With a deep breath, she calmed herself and turned and sat back down in her chair, glaring at her son who returned it with hateful eyes.

"You father at least understands the danger we are in. The danger you seem obvious too. All of this danger relates back to Harry Potter or more importantly, Lord. Harry. Potter," Narcissa said with careful emphasis.

The anger in Draco's eyes seemed to intensify as the boy's face flushed once again to almost match where she had struck him.

"Yes Draco, Harry Potter is the heir to three houses but it is his connection to House Black which is why we are in danger. While you've been brooding, moping and kicking house elves into the pond, your father has been working on damage control. I have been researching and thus I know exactly how much danger House Malfoy is in."

Draco started to say something but bit it back. Narcissa made a small gesture for him to continue. "But mother, what can House Black do to us? The house is practically in ruins, the influence is gone and Sirius Black must be addled in the head after so many years in Azkaban. What could he possibly do to us?"

Narcissa sighed and closed her eyes. Again her failure welled up in her. How could any son of hers be so truly dense? She would wager her wand that if she asked Susan Bones, Neville Longbottom or even Pansy Parkinson that they would see what Draco was missing.

After a moment she opened her eyes, "Draco, I need you to listen to me. Really listen to me since it is obvious how you must have disregarded most of my teachings throughout the years. The reason House Black is such a danger to us is about power and money. Before the last war, House Black was one of the most prosperous, influential and connected families. We are also one of the oldest while House Malfoy has another 127 years before it can be considered ancient. House Black was ancient before the Malfoys came over from France and Noble for the last 600 years."

Narcissa smiled cruelly at Draco's scowl at this.

"Yes son, House Malfoy is not ancient nor is it noble. Yet now Harry Potter is not only head of the Ancient and Most Noble House of Potter but that of the Ancient House of Pryce and Noble House of Peverell. A house I might add would be ancient if it hadn't been extinct for the last 400 or so years," Narcissa explained.

"Noble or not, House Malfoy might as well be running England," Draco said with boastful pride.

Narcissa nodded, "Yes we do and it is because of me and the dowry money I brought with me from House Black. Since you were a baby, you do not remember how it was after the war. How much of Malfoy money needed to go into bribes to keep your father and his allies out of Azkaban. None of it could come from my dowry money because while House Black might agree with many of the Dark Lord's ideals, House Black bows to no one."

She tapper a finger on her left arm, "Your father is very lucky that Arcturus did not invalidate the wedding contract between House Black and Malfoy when Lucius took the Dark Mark. By taking such a magically binding mark of servitude, your father put the Dark Lord over his own house and by inference, me and you with him. While a Malfoy, you are of the Black blood and thus a possible contender to become Lord Black. Arcturus' failing health is the only explanation I have why he did not do so given his past actions. He would never allow one with a possible magical bond on him to become head of House Black."

Draco said nothing but seemed as if he wanted to squirm uncomfortably in his seat.

"So Draco, after things quieted down, House Malfoy was rather cash poor except for my dowry money. Money which I had a plans for. Plans which I convinced your father to be party to. Plans which brings us to today when House Malfoy has its fingers in ever pie and hooks into every niche of government. All of it due of this influence due to House Black cunning and galleons." Narcissa said with a satisfied smile.

Draco frowned, "Are you saying father was nothing but your puppet? I don't believe that for a minute!"

Narcissa laughed, "Lucius is many things but yes he is no one's puppet…except for the Dark Lord ever since he stupidly took the Dark Mark. No your father is brilliant when it comes to schmoozing and wooing allies. I've yet to meet a man who can lie so charmingly and convince people to our way of thinking even when they know he's probably lying. However Lucius isn't the brightest when it comes to planning. If your father had told me of the Dark Lord's orders to give up the diary after a decade, I would have had him plant it on Luna Lovegood. As addled and picked on as the girl was before Potter took an interest in her, she would have been easy prey for the Dark Lord to say nothing of any odd behavior not being noticed."

Draco scowled again. It was obvious to Narcissa that her son was beginning to realize how much his mother knew everything that went on in school along with many things he himself had tried to cover up.

"But no, your father had to take his mission from the Dark Lord and turn it into a petty revenge scheme against Arthur Weasley. A man who is so deep in Dumbledore's pockets I am surprised he doesn't smell of lemon drops. And his target is a girl who has crushed on Potter since here early years! So she would be in close proximity to Potter who, as you say, is the pet project of the Headmaster. If I had known about your father's pathetic excuse for a plot, I would have halted it myself the minute it became known Potter was a Parselmouth!"

Seeing the rebellious look in her son's eye, Narcissa decided to twist the knife a bit further. "Dobby! Oh Dobby! Where are you Dobby? Why won't you respond?" she called out in a falsetto tone. With a smirk, Narcissa switched to a more even tone, "Oh I forgot, your father managed to lose one of our elves. An elf who betrayed us because you and your father seem to find so much sport in hurting those who serve us!"

Draco's eyes made a furtive glance towards the door.

"Yes Draco, I wonder if Tilby is even now plotting to warn Harry Potter of some other plot against him after all the times you kicked her into the hedge or the pond. So sure of your superiority you never thought that even the lowest house elf has a breaking point which leads to rebellion," Narcissa said disapprovingly.

Before her son could respond, Narcissa pressed on, "But we've drifted off point. Sirius is Lord Black and Harry Potter is his designated heir for the moment. It is within Sirius' power to do what Arcturus didn't. If Sirius nullifies my marriage contract with your father, House Malfoy will be forced to not only return the original amount of my dowry but the two decades worth of interest on that money. Do you have any idea how much of House Malfoy's wealth would disappear into Sirius' hands if he were to do so?"

Draco paled and shook his head.

"I did not think so," Narcissa said. "In addition there are so many reasons, good reasons from his point of view, for Sirius to do so. It hurts a family who obviously is still siding with the Dark Lord to say nothing of your animosity to Sirius' godson. Some of the money could be used as blood money to repay House Longbottom for what my sister did no matter that she was a LeStrange when she tortured the Longbottoms into St. Mungo's. It would also cut you out from ever being considered for the position of Lord Black. With but a few strokes of a quill, your father would be left with more bills than the galleons to pay for them. He wouldn't have my advice or plans to fall back on and since it was my works which brought House Malfoy to its current position, well I am not sure your father could adapt."

"My father is a great man, he would persevere and conquer!" Draco said loyally.

"We may well see, now won't we my son?" Narcissa scoffed. "To be brutally frank, I have been awaiting an owl from Sirius for days. I believe it is only due to his long incarceration that he has not taken up any political matters. But you can take it to Gringotts that my sister Andromeda certainly has come to the same conclusions I have. That she has yet to be reinstated as a Black serves as the goal post. I expect the same days she is reinstated as a daughter of House Black, I will find myself Narcissa Black again…if I'm not cast out of the House like I am sure your aunt Bellatrix will be."

Draco face fell as it started to hit him that his mother might soon be a disinherited nobody.

Narcissa stood, "Ah the light begins to dawn. I think I have challenged your brain enough for today, my son. But let me leave you with this. Even if for some reason Sirius decides to keep me tied to your father, you must guard your temper around Harry Potter. For as long as I am married to your father, you are tied to House Black and tied as you are, this means overtly attacking Harry Potter could have grave consequences."

"But mother, I would think Harry Potter is the one person I could always attack due…"

Narcissa cut her son's comments off with a irritated wave, "Yes Draco I am well aware of why you would think this. Yes the vendetta between House Potter and House Malfoy would normally allow you a lot of leeway but in this we are speaking of succession. All houses have their way to prevent anyone from trying to influence succession through intrigue or outright combat. While you have a better claim on House Black than Potter does by lineage, he is the designated heir and that counts for a lot. Remember lineage is not the end all, be all when it comes to house magic and their acceptance of an heir."

Narcissa tapped her right index finger onto the desk to emphasize her point, "Thus if you cast even a stunner on him, it may set in motion a backlash similar to what happened to my niece when she cast on Sirius. She had to be kept in a magical coma till Sirius was lucid enough to lift the curse House Black's magic inflicted on her for casting on her Lord given her father is a houseless nobody compared to House Black. Now House Malfoy's magic might protect you but I wouldn't bet my life on it."

Narcissa stared into her son's eyes until he finally looked away. Smiling to herself, she hoped he finally might see how much his life had changed.

"Now here is how the rest of the summer is going to unfold. You need to take a long look at your life and stop lying to yourself. Things have changed and everything hinges on a man who has fought against everything your father stands for and what he will do. Tomorrow you could wake up without a mother and a House dealt a crippling blow. I wonder how many of those in school you seem to think you have control over will act when Lucius is scrambling to save what he can?"

Draco all but gulped at this image.

Narcissa waved her hand dismissively, "Go and think on what I've said. If the worst happens, it will at least give you a chance to truly show your mettle. Your father managed to rule Slytherin when he was your age and he did it without resorting name-dropping. Perhaps you can rise up out of your mediocrity and do the same. I would use your summer time wisely for I have my own issues to deal with. So Draco, I suggest you weigh your next moves carefully. Lucius and I may not be able to afford you much protection and with the Chamber of Secrets debacle…well I am not sure if the Dark Lord does manage to return he will be happy with your father. Now go and think on what I've said."

Narcissa watched as her son, still pale and drawn, nodded and quickly left. Once the door shut, she sighed long and loudly. Would he listen or would even this dire warning fall again on deaf ears?

With another small sigh she shrugged her shoulders and sat down, pulling out the documents she had been working on prior to seeing her son. She fully expected to be shot of Lucius before the end of the month and needed to prepare especially if Sirius turned her out of House Black.

Yet she didn't get to where she was by being passive. She already had many contingencies in motion and one was an overture to her sister Andromeda. No matter what pressure she had from Walpurga, Lucius or even the Dark Lord, she had never turned her back on Andromeda. She had covertly aided her during the War, warning her of this danger or that. While it was expected that one of House Black to never turn on their own blood, she now was very glad she resisted all of the many pressures to do so.

Andromeda was probably her best protection from Sirius. If he did indeed cast her out of House Black, she would be practically penniless with little but some books and clothes as her worldly possessions. Yet she knew Andrey well enough to reasonably hope that she would convince Sirius that she was of more use as a Black under his authority then a pauper. She still knew too many secrets not to be considered an asset to be used or a threat to be contained.

At least this is what Narcissa kept telling herself at night when her fears kept her awake.



I know I was not the only one to get the "Harry Potter Talk" after the revelations of the opening Wizengamot session. Yet my auntie had more to talk to me about then how important Harry Potter had become with one Gringotts inheritance test. If anything, Harry's case highlighted why the Ministry (working on under-the-table orders from the Wizengamot) restricted inheritance tests as much as they legally could. With one test, Harry became a political bloc all to himself.

It was for the same political reasons that my auntie had to school me on. While House Bones had been decimated by War, I did have two male cousins in Jason Denbright and Garth Radford along with my female cousin Alison Denbright. In fact if security concerns had not been so important, I would have grown up with my Aunt Rowena given how she was my father's sister. Yet between Auntie Amelia's job and my being Heir Bones, I grew up in a manner surprisingly similar to Neville Longbottom in that I had to learn to act like an adult at an early age.

However while Neville and I may have both been expected to grow up faster than our contemporaries, Neville, courtesy of his gender, didn't have to worry about his House other than marrying well and hoping for a son. As a Lord of a respected and well-to-do House, Neville had options, options that custom, law and magic conspired against witches in my position.

Even today with numerous changes in effect, the power of family magicks work to make it difficult to turn away from a patrilinear inheritance system. So despite the best efforts of many in the recent years, there are witches today who are finding themselves in the same position I was in.

I'm sure they are just as shocked as I was when explained the facts of life of a female Heir of which I had only incomplete whisperings of previously.



Susan gaped at the phallic object her auntie had placed in front of her. "Are you serious?" Her question echoed quite loudly in the small study she favored during the summer given how cool and cozy it was.

Her auntie merely sighed, "I know it's a lot to take in Susan but trust me when I say that I know what I'm talking about. You do not know how much I have come to despise the factors which conspire to keep me regent of House Bones. It would be so much better for me if you Aunt Rowena could take it up given she is an actual Bones by blood instead of by marriage like me."

"But you have the more mature magic," Susan pointed out.

"Which is why I am regent. Bones by blood or not, I've been associated with the Bones family for longer than Rowena has been alive. So just as Augusta may have been born a Croaker, she has been part of the Longbottom family for over a century and so would be regent even if say Alice had escaped the LeStrange attack."

Susan looked again at the object on the table, "So let me get this straight…if that is the right term considering what you've said."

Amelia broke in with a frown, "Susan! This is no time to be snarky. Listen! You seem to think you are going to turn into a lesbian. That is not the case…not exactly. It is just that when you assume House Bones after your OWLs and the family magicks accept you, you will be filled up with the magic of your ancestors. However since this magic has always been sent down from father to son, you will be filled with masculine energy. This will affect you…as it affects me."

Susan opened her mouth to speak but something in her auntie's eyes stopped her. "Wait are you saying you fancy women?"

Amelia shrugged, "Fancy is probably the correct term. As I said, the family magic will not make you a lesbian but your normal urges get all confused. Thus you will look more at women than men. Your fantasies will be of them. For the most part the only man who you'll see normally will be your consort. Why do you think that after my husband's death I've never dated? In my position, even though everyone in the know realizes it, I simply cannot even have the hint of scandal."

"Why not?" Susan asked. "I know lots of witches continue to get together after school."

Amelia shook her head, "That is mostly because their husbands are off whoring or with their younger mistresses. So it is less of a relationship and more mutual masturbation with extras. I used to do it, even when married to Daniel after a real harrowing mission. Aurors often get the Rush and it was better to have a girl-sex partner than to add any tension by doing it with another man who could possibly be seen as a threat to one's marriage."

Susan frowned.

Amelia smiled faintly, "Yes I know. It is all a bunch of contradictions and fine lines. However the truth of the matter is as you get older and your magic matures, you will become more and more affected by the Bones magic. So while you and Hannah are not doing anything all the other girls at school are doing, for you it will take on a different dimension."

"What do you mean?" Susan asked.

Amelia gestured to the wizarding photo of a waving Susan and Hannah on the mantle of the unused fireplace. "While I'm sure you haven't done much, given your age, I am willing to bet a lot of it is practice kissing and pretending you're someone the other fancies, yes?" Amelia's face broke into a twisted grin, "I'm wondering how soon it will be before Hannah wants you to use a glamour to turn your hair black, your eyes green and maybe give you some glasses."

Susan's frown deepened. Hannah had hinted about something rather similar right before end of term.

Amelia laughed at her great-grand-niece. "I thought as much. What I'm saying is while you two will end up doing what teens do soon enough, you are merely stand-ins for what you really want. In your case, however, it will be different. While you might not fall in love with Hannah like you might if you were a lesbian, you will certainly lust after her. So while she imagines you are Harry Potter, you will be quite content with her as any wizard would."

Susan shook her head back and forth, "This…this…this isn't fair!"

Amelia huffed in amused resignation, "Of course it's not fair but it is the price we pay to have access to one of the oldest family magicks in Britain. There is a reason House Bones was targeted so heavily during the war. Just like the Potters or the Blacks, our house magic gave the Bones an edge few could match. So yes for you personally it is not fair but you and I both know if life was fair I wouldn't be raising you alone, would I?"

Susan took a deep breath and swallowed hard. The bitter edge in her auntie's voice reminded her once again all of the true horrors the elderly witch had seen throughout her long life. Indeed the monocle was a reminder that magic couldn't fix everything. Her auntie's friend Alastair Moody was a good example of that!

Amelia reached out and laid a comforting hand upon Susan's shoulder and gave a squeeze, "I know this is hard Susan. More than hard, it is also calculating in that political way. For while I would have told you all of this anyway, things have changed and we need to adapt."

Susan looked up and saw her auntie's face had the deadly look she got when being completely serious. When she couldn't let her personal feelings get in the way like when sending her aurors off on dangerous missions. Suddenly a thought popped into her head, "Wait…this is about Harry Potter isn't it."

Amelia nodded slightly, "Just so. Very good Susan; I'm glad you are catching on so quickly."

"I don't really like Harry and you , what…you want me to pursue him? Try to get him to become my consort? Why on earth would he do it? Merlin doesn't he have to get like three wives already? Four if he ends up head of House Black!" Susan asked exasperatedly.

Amelia shook her head even as she was proud how quickly Susan was picking up on things. "It is not for his benefit that I want you to pursue it. It is for your own. As I said, you will fancy witches as you take up your status as the head of House Bones. Since you are a powerful witch in your own right, you will also be filled up with the powerful family magic. Because there are so few Bones left, much of that power will be banked in you."

Susan's eyes widened, "Will I be able to hold it all in?"

Amelia shook her head, "Yes and no. In many ways till you have children, hopefully plenty of them, your situation will be similar to where you are today. Your magical core and your body will be out of synch and you will have to purge yourself. You might want to look into a hobby which requires a lot of magic."

Susan made a face, "Or I'm going to be having lots of sex, right?"

Amelia smirked, "Which is why you need to think about Harry as your best option as a consort. He may very well end up with three wives. Plus who knows? It is possible Heir Lovegood may end up a consort to Harry as well. That means four other women and only one wizard to please them."

"Ahh," Susan drawled as comprehension dawned on her. "You're saying that Harry might like some help keeping his witches satisfied so it is in his own interest to have a consort."

"Exactly. This is up and beyond the fact that the Bones and Potters have been allies off and on for centuries. There is a lot of old Potter blood in you just as there is quite a lot of old Bones blood in him," Amelia pointed out.

"Okay so I can see where you're coming from but won't there be a lot of other witches all trying to do the same? Just in our year I could see having to compete with Daphne and Morag and Pansy as well if she wasn't beholden to the Malfoys already."

"Ah yes, Parkinson…well there's a story," Amelia said with a sigh.

"What do you mean? There is no way in a million years Harry or Pansy would ever date!" Susan said with an incredulous laugh.

"Oh there would be no dating. You have to understand what has been kept quiet for a long time by threats and simple courtesy. You see going back to 1066, House Potter and House Malfoy have had a magical vendetta going. Due to the importance of either house to their allies, neither has managed to completely wipe the other out. Yet now with the Malfoys and the Potters almost extinct, things might change and that might bring up old laws into effect," Amelia explained.

"I don't understand; what laws?" Susan asked.

"If Harry were to kill Draco, something which I think we both know could happen, then because of this recognized magical vendetta, Pansy's betrothal contract would cause her to become a bound concubine to House Potter. So while Harry may have to marry three wives, he could easily end up with a concubine. More if he was so inclined," Amelia said with another sigh.

"Concubines? How?" Susan asked. Her head was spinning. Her auntie was just dumping too much stuff on her at once!

"Come now Susan! You know very well how most witches become concubines in England. Don't tell me no one has thought about how Miss Granger and Miss Weasley owe Harry life-debts," Amelia said with an exasperated tone.

"Oh!" Susan almost squeaked. She made a face as she thought on things, "Actually auntie, I think with all the weirdness going on this year, people haven't really thought about it."

Amelia frowned, "Oh I'm sure it'll come up this year. However while concubines interest you in the sense it gives Harry more reason to need help, I want to bring up something which I think you're not going to like."

"I don't think I like any of this, auntie," Susan said with a huff.

Amelia chuckled, "I know, honey; I know. However, as I said earlier, things have changed and the balance of power in the Wizengamot is up for grabs. We now have the opportunity to reverse a lot of the grounds lost in the last few decades to the darker Houses. Yet it does require a bit of sacrifice on all of our parts. In your case, not only will you have to pursue a wizard you do not like at the moment but to encourage a friend to do the same."

Susan stared at her auntie for a moment before it hit her what she was implying, "What! You want me to help Hannah bag Harry? Auntie! You've got to be kidding me! Hannah is…she's…oh Merlin please tell me you're joking!"

Amelia patted Susan on the shoulder again, "I know. Her mother has shown me her room while you two were out swimming. I think saying she has a crush is a bit too limiting."

"A crush? Auntie she bloody well has a shrine to Potter in her closet! I'm surprised she hasn't got a lightning bolt tattoo already! She drives me bonkers with all her nattering on about Harry!" Susan said angrily.

"Be that as it may, Susan, we owe House Abbot a debt from the last war. They gave us much needed sanctuary without which I don't believe you and I would be here to have this discussion. It would be an enormous benefit to House Abbot if Hannah were to wed Harry even if not to House Potter. Besides, if the house magicks make you fancy witches, why not one you already have a history with?" Amelia asked.

Susan just stared at her auntie for a moment, "Okay I guess I can see that but what about that?" She gestured to the 'witch's helper' as her auntie had called it. "I'm still a bit fuzzy on why you're giving me a dildo of all things."

Amelia laughed, "Oh it isn't a dildo. It is something far better." Amelia picked it up, "This has been in the Bones family for generations given how you are not the first witch who has had to shoulder the family legacy. I would bet my good eye all the other great Houses have their own."

"What makes it so special?" Susan asked. It certainly didn't look special even though it appeared to be crafted to look especially life-like. Not that Susan had a chance yet to see the real thing up close.

"The secret is it is keyed to you by blood. Once you've done this, you just press it against your clit and it attaches and stays on until you tap it with your wand," Amelia explained.

"So?" Susan said unimpressed.

"Wait for it, honey," Amelia said with a smirk. "What makes it special is once attached, it connects to you and acts just like a male's penis would. So it will get soft, get hard, feel like a real penis to the touch and when touched will feel to you like it is part of you. So if say Hannah wanted to practice on what to do for Harry, you'll be feeling it so you can coach her."

Susan's eyes flew open, "Oh my! But what about when I…uhm well you know."

Amelia shook her head, "No there is no discharge but you will feel an orgasm as normal. There is a special spell which allows you to spurt but you can't use it now nor would you need this to do it."

Susan opened her mouth but Amelia raised her hand to stop her, "No I'm not going to tell you the spell and even if you learn it, if I find you are using it before you take up the house magic, you're going to be in for some real trouble. It drains your magic so afterwards it will work well for you. Now, however, it is dangerous to one with an immature magical core."

Susan sighed. She had heard rumors of the spell and had to admit her curiosity had been piqued.

"Don't look so down, Susan. There is an advantage to using the witch's helper. While it may act like a penis, it is driven by your body. Given how we witches are not as limited by our biology as men, it will keep working as long as you still have desire."

"Wait, so if I'm still horny…" Susan asked.

"…then it will keep getting hard. So while a lot of wizards roll over and go to sleep after one go, you can keep going till you're sated. So you could be a big help to Harry in keeping all his witches pleasantly satisfied in bed," Amelia said with a knowing look.

This look turned to a thoughtful frown, "However I will warn you to be careful using this. It is easy to get rather addicted to it and just keep going on and on with it. I don't want to have to kick you out of bed or have you push old Shelby to distraction changing the sheets every day."

"Auntie!" Susan said with a shocked tone even as her face reddened to match her hair as she blushed.

Amelia laughed, "Oh you can look shocked but I'm betting I'm going to have to lecture you at some point in the future. Just you wait! However right now I do want you to get comfortable with it because I want you to use it on Hannah over the summer."

"Auntie!" Susan squeaked again. She couldn't believe what she was hearing today!

"Don't auntie me! You need to work on Hannah and get her to tone down her fan-girl tendencies. Harry isn't going to fall for it but he does seem to appreciate loyalty and steadfastness and who better than a Hufflepuff for that? You both need to work together because as you said there are going to be a lot of witches going after Harry. You and Hannah need to get there first. The better Hannah is at pleasing a man, the better chance she'll have."

Susan's mouth dropped open. She just couldn't believe her ears! Her auntie was telling her that not only was she expected to shag her best friend but she wanted said friend to learn how to suck and fuck with her being the test subject!

Amelia seemed to read her mind, "I know this sounds cold but again life isn't fair. Would you rather Harry end up with someone like Tyra Rowle ? Plus you have to break from your Hogwarts mode of thinking. While in school it seems everyone keeps to their year, outside of Hogwarts, all bets are off. You'll be competing with witches older, their bodies more mature, and their bed-sport more polished. So you need to work on Harry now while everyone tends to stick to their own year. Bad enough you are competing against some quidditch girls like those on Harry's team."

Susan just stared at her auntie but couldn't think of anything to say.

After a quiet moment between the two witches, Amelia finally stood up and gestured to the witch's helper on the table, "Just prick your finger and smear it on the head and then tap your wand and say, "Ponamte meum" and it will be keyed to you. Again just press it against your clit and it will self-attach. A simple tap of your wand will release it. Dinner is in a few hours so why don't you give it a spin?"

Susan's face again matched her hair as she blushed madly. This only made her auntie laugh as she breezed out of the room.

Susan just stared at the phallic toy for a long time, her auntie's words rolling around her head. As much as it pained her to admit it, she knew her auntie was right. For all her complaints, Susan had always know that there was a price for the wealth, power and influence that came with being an Heir. She didn't have the luxury of self-pity to moan about her duties. Sure she sometimes wished she could be normal and live a normal life like Megan Jones or Lisa Turpin or maybe even a Muggleborn like Lilith Moon. But then again she wouldn't end up in a dreary job as a shop-keeper in Diagon Alley either.

With a sigh Susan scooped up her new toy and went to her room. After a small pin-prick, her blood caused the object to glow for a moment and then went warm in her hand. It sort of creeped Susan out given how it now felt like real warm flesh.

Creeped out or not, Susan felt she should just get it over with. So she doffed her summer robe she favored when she didn't plan on leaving the mansion for the day and laid on the bed. She tried to think of boys she fancied but was having trouble thinking of any other than Cedric. Yet even his handsome face didn't seem to give her the thrill it did her first year.

Susan sighed. It was obvious her auntie was right as usual. Now that she thought of it, she could easily call up witches like Daphne or Tyra in Slytherin or think of Morag's pert behind or Lavender, the only other witch in her year with a bust to rival hers. Then there was Hannah and the heavy petting they had already done together.

Thinking of this finally caused her to get slightly aroused so she stuck her toy against her clit and with a gasp at the tingle, it attached. To her amazement it went mostly flaccid in an instant. Susan frowned at this but then remembered what her auntie said. The device mimicked her mood and right now she wasn't that turned on.

Tentatively at first, she began to explore 'her' penis. She was surprised to find out how good it felt as she touched herself. Quickly she hardened and the feeling got even better. So much so that she was soon experimenting with various strokes while her sex grew wet and her nipples hardened to match what was in her hand.

Susan was already quite good at pleasuring herself. She was a strong witch but she wasn't a study hound like Granger so she already had more magic than she used during class. Now at home without much to drain her magic, she'd already jilled off quite frequently since returning from school. So she was very aware of what it felt like to orgasm.

Yet the intense pressure followed by glorious release with her new toy was nothing like she'd ever felt. In a burst of frantic stroking, she found herself jerking around on the bed, her hips bucking back and forth as she came.

As she lay panting in the afterglow of her release, Susan quickly noticed that unlike stories she'd heard from the older Puffs regarding boys, her faux cock was still rather hard. After getting her breathing under control she found that after a few strokes she was hard again.

Susan marveled at the feeling she was getting. No wonder the boys were horny all the time if this is how it felt for them!



"Hmm?" Amelia said as she looked up from the crossword puzzle in the mornings Daily Prophet. The only original Bones elf to survive the War was looking up at her and fidgeting nervously handling the trim on her tunic affixed with the Bones house emblem. "Yes Shelby, what is it?"

"I'z bez sorry to interrupt Mistress but it bez dinner time but Missy bez not coming down," the elf said in a contrite tone.

"Oh really? Did you knock on her door, Shelby?" Amelia asked even though she guessed the answer already.

"I bez doing so Mistress but the Missy…well she bez…uhm…busy and Shelby not bez wanting to interrupt," the elf said nervously.

Amelia laughed, "It's okay Shelby. Yes she is busy…even though I did warn her. Ah well, better it happen right at the beginning. Merlin knows I certainly did the same thing my first day."

"Mistress?" the house elf asked obviously confused.

Amelia laughed again while shaking her head, "Sorry Shelby; just thinking out loud. I want you to get a pail of cold water and pop into her room. All you need to do is toss it upon her and yell, 'dinner!' loudly and leave."

"Mistress!' Shelby said as her eyes grew almost impossibly wide in shock.

"Don't worry Shelby; it's best for 'missy' this way. Now go!" Amelia said with a firm tone.

She broke out in hearty laughter as the scandalized elf popped off to complete her mission. There had been times she wished she could have dumped cold water on her late husband. He'd always seemed to become amorous right when she had important paperwork which had to be done after a mission!

Her pleasant (if somewhat painful) memories were interrupted by an awful shriek from upstairs. Amelia grinned to herself. She doubted Susan would let herself get enraptured with her new toy again anytime soon.

She looked down at the various sections of the Prophet laying on the table and a picture of Harry in front of the Wizengamot caught her eye. Even after a week, it seemed every edition used it in one story or another.

Yes. Susan had more important things to be doing with her new 'toy' than just pleasuring herself. It was odd how much was riding on the old sex toy!

Amelia sighed. She wondered if things worked out what the history books would say about that!


Chapter 24 Preview: Okay maybe now we'll find out what's up with Harry and his 'summer shenanigans' in this chapter.


A/N: As mentioned at the beginning of this chapter, I've had to go back and do a lot of work in fixing previous chapters. I've got at least half done as most of the chapters which have references to age were early on. Sadly the reviews have really dropped off. I can see why some authors are practically begging for reviews later in their fic.

Game of Houses: Just a reminder, this is a take-off of the Great Game between Tsarist Russia and Great Britain and not in any way related to Game of Thrones which, surprisingly, I have not read nor seen. How did I happen up this beyond my love of history? Well one of the areas in contention was Afghanistan and given I sent October 2003 till June 2006 working on the deployment and then spent a year there…well you get the picture.

Chinese Slang: Obviously since Cho and Min Chang are mostly speaking in Chinese, I wrote out the literal translations of certain slang terms.

Bai gui means white ghost and is a Chinese ethnic slur against whites especially Americans.

Húli jīng means fox spirit and is one term for a bitch who is also overly seductive.

Zázhǒng means mixed seed or half-caste which is how squibborn might be seen as.

Bishopstrow College: I'd like to thank this establishment for generously being my site of Malfoy Manor.

The Ossuary: Not quite sure which fic I first read this in. I use it to represent the 'ancestral' Bones home. It seems to me in canon that Amelia must have been killed in her London 'home' which probably had lesser security. This in keeping with the idea the big houses generally had their manors somewhere else and places like Grimmauld Place was mostly for when they were in town for Wizengamot sessions and the like. In my fic Ginny's In India, the Ossuary is either destroyed or Susan decided to move and thus named the new Bones home, The Crypt.

House Black Issues: The fact that Arcturus Black was head of House Black till his death in 1991 also shows why Grimmauld Place is so dilapidated given how Orion died in 1979 (probably from the same Dragonpox outbreak which killed Charlus & Dorea Potter) and Walpurga in 1985. Arcturus probably just closed the house up and left Kreacher to care for it. I see Arcturus dying suddenly before being able to make better arrangements for House Black. Given intermarrying, there would have to be someone (perhaps of Phineus the Younger get) who could take over. That House Black went from powerhouse to almost nothing never sat well with me unless a lot of families were all happy House Black was brought low and were all doing a lot of in-fighting to be the one to take over behind the scenes without triggering any House magic reprisals.

Auntie Amelia: As previously explained, Auntie is a term I see being used for witch relatives who are related but not a aunt or grandparent. So if Samantha Potter were still alive, Daphne and Astoria would refer to her as Auntie Samantha given how she would be there grand aunt. Likewise older wizards like Algernon Croaker are referred to simply as Uncle by the likes of Neville whose "gran" is actually his great-great-grandmother.

Ponam te meum = I make you mine