A.N Hey everyone, very long time no hear from me, though a lot of you have reviewed and PM'd about this story. Thank you to all of you for your patience with this. I'm afraid I hit a major block with this story, and the distraction of my others stopped me from being able to write another chapter. However this chapter is dedicated to the lovely AnnaPFOaks, who some how managed to convince my lost muse to come back to me for this story. I hope that you all enjoy this new chapter, and that my muse stays with me. XD
"Henri?" Mikhail's nervous question had Harry looking up from where he was standing on the edge of Leon's patio looking out over the glittering blue sea their home was built onto the top of the cliff underneath. Turning from the site the smile at Mikhail Harry was once again struck by how beautiful he was. If he ever got the chance to court and one day bond with Mikhail he didn't think there would ever be a time that he didn't take his breath away.
He was wearing his blonde hair half tied up, the wavy strands lying down just passed his shoulder blades. He was wearing summer robes in pure white bringing out his the flush in his cheeks and the glow to his skin, his stormy eyes looking even more exotic than they had the day before. Eyes that were peering at Harry nervously. Draco was showing a slightly bemused Neville around his uncle's garden, Harry had been admiring the view after the lunch had gone quite well, though Leon had spent most of it staring at him assessing and watching how he and Mikhail interacted closely where they were sitting beside each other.
"Oui?" Harry smiled at Mikhail turning so that the younger teen knew that he had his attention.
"Would you like to go for a walk wiz me?" he asked softly.
"Of course," Harry smiled wider, though he glanced back to make sure that Leon was accepting of this before he followed Mikhail to the steps at the side of the patio that seemed to lead down to the beached cove below them. Mikhail paused at the top to allow Harry to go ahead of them.
Harry was glad of the Courting and etiquette books that he had bought the day before and spent most of the night before reading deeper into the them both when they got to a patch on the steps that were a little slippy and knew to turn to hold his hand out for Mikhail to take to help him down the steps. The plus of using the excuse to hold Mikhail's hand down the rest of the steps was definitely a bonus. Mikhail's hand felt smaller in his own and was warm as it gripped onto his firmly.
When they reached the beach he waited to see if Mikhail wanted to let go of his hand but the younger teen kept his grip and used it to tug Harry forwards so that they would start walking down the beach. They stayed quiet for a little while as they walked, their conversation at lunch had mostly been polite, keeping it away from discussions that were too personal. Now Harry was very much aware of the fact that he was alone with the teen that he was pretty sure everyone knew he wanted to court.
"Many people 'av shown interest in me. Zough my fazer eez not ze heir we are well off in our own rights. Zey 'owever are mostly interested in ze fame zat will come from ze Malfoy name," Mikhail said softly breaking their silence. Harry looked at him but was only able to see his profile as Mikhail was firmly looking ahead of them.
"I don't have any more need for fame or for money," He finally answered.
"I know," Mikhail frowned down at their joined hands before his grey blue eyes lifted to meet Harry's. "You wish to court me?"
"Yes," Harry answered honestly.
"Why?" Mikhail asked bluntly making Harry blink at him, knowing that their future relationship rested on his answer. The Malfoy's might stick to their traditions and Leon would give the official answer as to whether he could court Mikhail, but it was definitely unofficially completely in Mikhail's court.
"Honestly? I don't really know. As soon as I saw you my magic called to you in a way that I have never felt again, and the longer we spend together, the more I get to know you the stronger it gets. You are stunningly handsome of course, but the more I get to see your personality, your surety in yourself mixed with your shyness, your clear intelligence and kindness, it all pulls me further in," Harry answered as honestly as he could before waiting nervously for Mikhail's response. The blond looked out over the sea thoughtfully.
"Draco…e explained ze 'istory between you and my family. My family are important to me," Mikhail said softly.
"I know. The problems myself and your family have had over the years have been down to misunderstandings and the parts both of us have had to play to the public," Harry responded quickly having known that this was definitely going to have to come up.
"I will not be a secret Henri," Mikhail said quietly but firmly.
"A secret?" Harry frowned a little confused.
"I understand zat you 'ave a part to play to ze wizarding world, but I will not be your secret bonded until you are ready to reveal uz. I cannot do zat, especially knowing zat you are zuch a…how do you…catch. I am a Malfoy, I am proud and possessive,"
"Mikhail, I would never ask you to be a secret. If you…and your father agree to my courting offer then I will proudly announce it. You are not the type of partner that you hide. I will be proud for people to know that you are mines and I am yours," Harry smiled. He stopped when Mikhail did, meeting his gaze when he looked firmly at him, his eyes sharp as they searched his face.
"I want a big family, I did not like being an only child," Mikhail finally said making Harry smile.
"That's something that we can both agree on,"
"I am used to living a certain way," There was a sparkle in Mikhail's eyes that made Harry smile even wider.
"I am Lord Potter and Lord Black, I am sure that I can keep you as you are used to living, and spoil you more,"
"Spoil me? I would like to 'ear more of zat," Mikhail laughed stepping closer to Harry and pressed his hands over his chest.
"Oh, if I am granted the chance to court you and bond you there will be lots of spoiling," Harry chuckled. "I will make sure that you want for nothing, that you have everything you want,"
"Ze things zat I want are not monetary Henri," Mikhail said softly becoming serious again as he worried his lip. "I 'av felt ze same pull towards you, my magic…eet sang when I saw you. I know zat I will love you and give everyzing zat I am to you eef we bond. Mamman and Papa zey loved each ozer, I want zat,"
"I think that I can safely say that I will always love and treasure you. Mikhail you are gift beyond anything else, I know what a gift I am being given if you agree to my courting. I would never betray that or take it for granted. What I want more than anything else is a happy family," Harry couldn't hold himself back any longer from reaching up to cup Mikhail's face, brushing his thumb over his high cheekbones that he would like nothing more than to brush kisses over. "I want a husband to love, at least three children to raise, I want a home and a family,"
Mikhail's eyes were shining as he looked at Harry before taking the dark haired teen by shock he leant upwards and sealed their lips together, their magic sparking and passing between their joined lips sealing the courting promise. Harry stayed still stunned for a second before it registered that his courting had just been accepted and initiated, and that Mikhail was kissing him.
He quickly wrapped his arms around Mikhail's waist and pulled him close as he moved his own lips against Mikhail's, pressing deeper into the kiss. Mikhail groaned into the kiss and reached up to tangle his fingers in Harry's hair, his shyness disappearing as he pressed against Harry's front tightly.
Mikhail felt so perfect and right in his arms, it felt like they fit together as though they were a puzzle. Mikhail's fingers tightened in his hair when Harry thought it was about the time he should pull away not wanting to push it too much. But Mikhail was not at all willing to let go yet, something Harry was most definitely not going to argue with!
"Your Papa is not going to kill me is he?" Harry murmured against Mikhail's lips a few seconds after they parted. Mikhail laughed happily, moving to brush his nose against Harry.
"Non, he said zat eet was my decision but 'e wants to speak to you after I 'ad made my choice. Zough 'e did zay zat I was to wait for you to bring eet up," Mikhail looked completely unrepentant.
"You had better have this now then," Harry chuckled reaching into his pocket and pulling out a silver hair clip. Mikhail gasped and reached out to run his fingers over the diamonds that made up the rose petals of the clip. "Draco mentioned that you like white roses. If you don't like it I can…"
"Non! Its perfect!" Mikhail shook his head, quickly untying his hair and then with nimble fingers that fascinated Harry tied his hair into a side plat. Reaching out he ran his fingers along the clip again before taking it and clipping it onto the end of his hair. "Merci,"
"You're welcome," Harry said happily as Mikhail leant up on his toes to brush their lips together again.
"I will never got used to being allowed to do that," Harry smiled brushing his fingers over Mikhail's cheek.
"Perhaps we should practice a little more," Mikhail smirked reaching up to grip the lapels of Harry's robes to pull him closer.
"That sounds like a very good idea," Harry said seriously before smirking back and bending down to seal their lips together.
When Harry and Mikhail returned up the steps to the patio Harry was very much aware of the fact that both their lips were kiss swollen and that Mikhail had a little bit of stubble rash forming from Harry's five o'clock shadow.
As they stepped up onto the patio hand in hand everyone turned to look at them expectantly making Harry blush a little. Leon stood and motioned to the side making Harry's heart rate picking up even as he straightened his shoulders.
Mikhail grabbed Harry's wrist as he went to walk towards Leon, turning he met Mikhail's kiss, the slender, blonde teen's expression could only be described as possessive as he looked pointedly at Leon, who to Harry's relief was looking amused more than anything else.
Taking a deep breath he turned and went with Leon into the gardens, Neville flashing him a look that said both good luck and well done at the same time. He followed Leon down the gravel pathway that led down to the rose garden before Leon slowed down so that Harry could walk fully beside him. Waiting for Leon to talk Harry tried to fight the urge to squirm despite Mikhail's assurances that it was his choice.
"These gardens where Mikhail's mothers favourites," Leon finally spoke startling Harry a little.
"They're beautiful, your home is beautiful," Harry said quietly.
"Mikhail is all that I have left of her, I am very protective of him I know. But he has chosen you and I will not try and interfere in that at all as you have chosen him as well. But I still have my worries," Leon admitted.
"I can promise you that I am dedicated to Mikhail, and I will try my best to never hurt him. And any worries you have I will do my best to reassure," Harry answered nervously, scanning his brain for what Leon could be worried about.
"Mikhail is a pureblood, but he is a secondary heir, he will not claim a high titles when he comes of age and his dowry will be nothing on the Potter-Black estates," Leon said straight away.
"I have more than enough money and titles with my own inheritance, I don't want a husband who will…give me more. I want a husband to love and who will love me, to raise a family with," Harry answered honestly.
"Your position, I have spoken to Lucius and I am worried that you will want to keep Mikhail a secret. Mikhail isn't the type to be kept secret and hidden in a corner," Leon warned him.
"I wouldn't want to. I am proud to be courting Mikhail, I am not going to hide it. My taking my Lordships and announcing it has put me firmly not on Dumbledore's side and stepping away from his influence," Harry shook his head.
"Your previously relationship with my brother?"
"On my half a need to keep up appearances. And they are Mikhail's family, for his sake alone I would do my very best to get on and try to have a good relationship with them. As it is I respect your brother and nephew, and I don't know Narcissa all that well, but what I do know of her she is an amazing woman,"
"You have the intention of marrying Mikhail?" Leon asked.
"Yes," Harry answered straight away making Leon smile.
"I like you Harry, and Mikhail…he has a good head on his shoulders and is very mature. And he wants you. He is like his mother but when it comes to what he wants he is all Malfoy. I do not believe that even if I was completely against you two I would not stand a chance. Congratulations on your betrothal," Leon said making Harry blink before he smiled brightly at him.
"Thank you, and I promise that I will not let Mikhail or you down,"
"You got those in the right order. We should return to Mikhail before he comes to defend you," Leon chuckled turning to lead Harry back to the others.
Mikhail was squirming nervously in his seat and he jumped up when he caught sight of them reaching the end of the pathway, hurrying to meet them. He grabbed hold of Harry's hand as soon as they were close enough, squeezing it tightly before relaxing when he caught sight of their smiling faces.
"Congratulations, may you have much happiness and blessings in your future," Leon said quietly, his eyes choked with so much emotion that Harry had to avert his eyes to Mikhail's face instead.
"Merci Papa," Mikhail wrapped his arms around his father's neck and hugged him tightly before he pulled back to smile happily at Harry.
"That is beautiful," Leon reached out to touch the clip in Mikhail's hair giving Harry an approving look.
"I'll go to the others," Harry said softly kissing Mikhail's cheek before leaving father and son alone to talk a little as they clearly needed to.
"You look as though you just walked into a lion's den and back out," Neville snickered as Harry sank weakly into his chair.
"I think it is safe to say that I walked into the snake's den," Harry snorted.
"Here you go dear," Narcissa placed a cup of tea, very sweet he found when he tasted it, in front of him.
"Thank you," Harry sighed relaxing into his seat a little.
"So, cousin-in-law to be," Draco smirked as Harry choked on his fifth mouthful of tea and started coughing.
"Draco, don't wind the poor boy up, he has been through enough today!" Narcissa scolded reaching over to pat Harry firmly on the back.
"It went well?" Neville asked softly.
"Very," Harry smiled contently.
"Welcome to the family," Lucius said, smirking when Harry started choking again on air this time. Lucius wheezed as Narcissa hit him in the chest scowling and clearly trying to hide her amusement at the same time.
"What are you doing to Henri!" Mikhail glared at his family as he stopped behind Harry's hair and placed his hands on Harry's shoulders. Harry stuck his tongue out at Draco when he snickered at the smile that crossed Harry's lips at Mikhail's appearance. Draco blinked at him shocked before he started laughing amused.
"I think they are trying to kill me off via choking," Harry said seriously.
"Ah non, they will be sneaker zan zat," Mikhail smiled kissing Harry's cheek before he slipped into the seat beside him.
"Yes we will," Leon said, a hint of warning in his tone that Harry completely understood. Nodding as Mikhail glared at his father and slipped his hand into Harry's he received a nod back.
"I take it Hogwarts is going to be interesting this year?" Draco asked as Leon poured them all a fresh glass of white wine that had been served with their lunch.
"Oh, this year is going to be very interesting," Neville snickered.
"It's a good job that I am going to be there to get to see it then," Narcissa smirked.
"Sorry?" Harry asked curiously.
"Severus has been given the Defence Against the Dark Arts position and he has asked the I take the Potions position for this year as they have found someone but they can't start till next year," Narcissa explained.
"You have a Potions Mastery?" Neville asked.
"Yes, I tried with Severus," Narcissa nodded. "So Hogwarts this year?"
"Well, Hermione and Ron are still under the impression that we are the best of friends, and Dumbledore that I am his loyal followers. We thought we would allow them the summer holidays before telling them the truth," Harry smirked.
"Of course adding on the fact that Harry and Mikhail are now courting, that is going to make this year even more interesting," Neville laughed.
"If you are at 'ogwarts…will I get to see you?" Mikhail frowned.
"I am allowed to leave Hogwarts grounds whenever I want, even during lessons as long as it doesn't interfere with studies as a Lord running my houses myself with no appointed regent," Harry assured him. "I will come over as often as I can, and to stay weekends, holidays,"
"And we can take trips over to Britain, your school understands and recognises courting and the importance of it, you will be able to take time off as long as you maintain your grades," Leon added.
"Good," Mikhail relaxed a little into his seat.
"Mikhail," Harry said softly turning in his seat to face Mikhail, the others all turned aside to give them a little privacy as Harry reached up to grip Mikhail's chin. "I don't want to have to spend a day away from you, especially not when we have just become betrothed, I'm going to be coming back and seeing you as much as I can,"
"Zank you, I'm sorry, its just…"
"I know," Harry said softly.
"Would you like to 'ave breakfast togezer, tomorrow?" Mikhail asked as Harry and Neville got ready to leave.
"That sounds brilliant," Harry nodded.
"I know a lovely place in Paris, shall I meet you at your 'otel?" Mikhail asked slipping his hand into Harry's and stepped closer.
"Eight o'clock," Harry said.
"I am looking forward to eet," Mikhail said before looking to his father.
"You may be un-chaperoned," Leon said looking amused. "I trust you not to do something silly, and I trust Harry cares about you enough not to risk damaging your honour or to disrespect you so,,"
"Well played," Harry said amused.
"Thank you," Leon responded cheerfully.
"I shall see you tomorrow," Harry kissed Mikhail but made sure to keep it chaste considering Leon was watching them.
"That went well," Neville said as they stepped into their hotel suit, Harry stripping off his outer robes and throwing it over the back of the sofa before flopping onto it.
"I would say it went very well," Harry agreed.
"Get you Mr confident," Neville raised an eyebrow as he sat at the other end of the sofa.
"I wasn't talking about me," Harry smirked.
"What are you talking about?" Neville frowned a little.
"I'm talking about you, Mr you've gone for a difficult one," Harry drawled.
"I have no idea what you are talking about," Neville sniffed.
"Neville you are my best friend, did you honestly think that I would miss the looks you were giving Draco?"
"It doesn't matter anyway," Neville shook his head before yelping when Harry kicked his thigh sharply.
"You are thinking like Longbottom. Not Lord Neville Longbottom, heir and soon to be Lord of the House of Longbottom, highest ever achiever in Herbology, creator of the Ignis flower, friend and brother of the Houses of Potter and Black. And for your information Mr Doom and Gloom, he was very much looking back!" Harry said firmly.
"Alright enough with the Mr's….was he really?" Neville asked, some of his lingering shyness showing back up.
"Yes, he was," Harry nodded.
"He's the heir and to be Lord of the House of Malfoy," Neville groaned dropping his head back onto the back of the sofa.
"And you have a hell of a lot to offer him, you are a Lord to be yourself, he is interested in you," Harry answered. He stayed quite as he watched Neville thinking it over, the other teen's face clearly going through about several dozen arguments with himself. Neville's confidence had gotten a hell of a lot better over the last year, slowly getting better, but he still had his doubts, his bloody grandmother's words echoing around in his head, the sly comments and disregard most people in his life had treated him to, not seeing the loyal, strong, steady, courageous, intelligent man that Neville was becoming.
It made Harry furious that so many people who were supposed to support and encourage Neville dismissed him so easily and so quickly, always looking for him to be someone else other than the amazing man he was. And he reckoned that Draco would be good for Neville, they both understood what it was to be seen as someone that they weren't. But Harry was fairly sure that if Draco was as honestly interested in Neville as he thought he was then there would be no one better to defend Neville when he needed it and encourage and nurture Neville's growing but still fledgling self-confidence.
"If I say anything I will make a fool out of myself," Neville sighed.
"With the history between us and now mine and Mikhail's relationship Draco isn't going to approach you first. Neville, he likes you," Harry insisted.
"And if you're mistaken?"
"Do you trust me?"
"Of course I do!" Neville answered immediately.
"Then trust me in this, Draco likes you," Harry smiled.
"I'll think about it," Neville sighed. "Come on, we have a meeting with the bank in twenty minutes, we need to change,"
"Just think, as soon as we get the Longbottom Lordship passed to you now you'll have immediate access to the Longbottom courting and marriage rings," Harry chirped before running through the door to his bedroom laughing as Neville hexed several items to throw themselves at him.