DISCLAIMER: We all know how these work. I do not own the characters and settings of Harry Potter, blah, blah, blah they're the property of J K Rowling, Scholastic Books, and Warner Brothers films blah, blah, blah, I only own this stupid plot bunny that wouldn't leave me alone...
A/N: I'm serious about a rabid plot bunny, or is it I'm Sirius...Anyway this started as a bit of a parody of the old turn Harry into a girl and force her to marry...But then Ike popped out of the woodwork and the story started writing itself in another direction...I hate it when stories do that... Anyway this most definitely a Romance and completely disregards JKR's pathetic attempt to tie up loose ends.
Harry Potter , Witch
Harry looked around the crowded room really wishing he had the gumption to tell the magical world it could take its Order of Merlin and go hang itself. He didn't defeat Voldemort for a bloody award. He defeated him so he could live; if one could call his present existence of being hounded by the press living. At least he wasn't up here alone. Ron, Hermione, and Neville were up here too. Kingsley picked up Neville's Order of Merlin second class and hung it around Neville's neck. Harry clapped and whistled for his friend. Then the little ceremony was repeated for Ron and Hermione with their Orders of Merlin First Class. Finally it was being repeated for him, Harry wasn't sure if he really wanted the responsibility that came with getting the award, there was a Wizengamot seat attached to getting it. He already had the one he had inherited from his godfather.
Harry's plans at the moment were pretty simple: help rebuild Hogwarts until term started, go back finish his final year, then make decisions about what to do with his life. He'd planned to be an auror, but the months of the horcrux hunt had him debating the whole chasing down dark wizards for the rest of his life thing. He looked forward to being back at Hogwarts with Ginny and hopefully having a normal school experience now that Tom was gone. He had discussed with both McGonagall and Andromeda Tonks what the plan was regarding Teddy. Harry was being given alternate quarters where there were three bedrooms one for Andromeda, one for Teddy, and one for himself instead of staying in the Gryffindor dorms. Harry just hoped Ginny was fine with that plan too, because he didn't want her angry over the fact he planned to do his duty by his godson. When it came down to it Harry knew he would chose Teddy over Ginny because Teddy needed him more.
Harry straightened from where he had leaned slightly forward for Kingsley to hang the medallion from his neck on its ribbon. He tried to ignore the cheers the crowd was giving, wishing more than anything that he was somewhere else. He was looking forward even less to the press conference that would take place in an hour out in the atrium. He shuffled himself to the side of the large ballroom on level twenty of the Ministry where he was joined by the Weasleys and Hermione.
"I'm so proud of all of you." Molly said wiping tears from her eyes.
Ginny looked hopefully at Harry. "Could we dance?"
Harry didn't really want to but after everything that had happened over the last year he also didn't feel like he could refuse her. "Sure." He guided her onto the dance floor trying to stay aware of where his feet were so he wouldn't step on her toes. He started to notice a strange tingle on his neck where the ribbon holding his medallion was rubbing. A few seconds later he noticed a strange buzzing in his ears and he suddenly felt too hot despite the cooling charm on his dress robes. "Do you hear that, Ginny?" He paused in their dancing, then it suddenly felt as if the world was yanked sideways and the room around him went dark.
The first thing Harry noticed was the smell. It was a smell he associated with the Hogwarts infirmary. He blearily opened his eyes. Not the Hogwarts infirmary apparently, which meant it was probably St. Mungo's. There was a strange weight on his chest and he felt incredibly odd. It took him a minute but he gathered his strength and pushed himself into a seated position.
A startled "OH my goodness!" came from the attendant.
Harry's arms felt like limp spaghetti. "Where are my glasses?"
Harry stuck a finger in his ear he must be hearing things. He thought the attendant called him miss.
The attendant handed him his glasses. "I'll get the healer in charge in here."
"Great. Thanks." He looked around he'd been in this ward before. He was near the doors, but three of the occupants of this ward he recognized, Frank and Alice Longbottom and heaven help him Gilderoy Lockhart. He wondered how long he'd been in the hospital that he was in this ward and he wondered what the hell had happened. He looked down to take stock and vowed in that second to throttle George. Pranking a hospital patient was just uncalled for.
Half an hour later he wasn't smiling. Harry was moved from the long term care ward to a private room. His apparent sex change was not a prank by George as he had thought. Rather it was the result of an almost unexplainable reaction to an assassination attempt. The assassin had successfully killed both of his best friends and the Minister of Magic Kingsley Shacklebolt. Apparently the ribbons on the Order of Merlin first classes had been soaked in a contact poison that had killed his friends and made him into a woman. Thankfully Neville had been spared, as only those who were given an Order of Merlin first class and the Minister had been poisoned. The killer had turned out to be the daughter of a death eater who had successfully fooled the auror in charge of security at the ministry into thinking she didn't follow Tom when in reality she did.
The healer in charge of his case had done a comprehensive health history via spell when he had been brought in and had had QUESTIONS, and not just for Harry.
Apparently Poppy Pomfrey had faced a board of inquiry from her peers. To determine if she had just been completely incompetent by not getting a medical history all those times she treated him in the Hogwarts infirmary or just breaking the law at the aegis of Dumbledore She'd had to answer questions as to why she hadn't reported him as a suspected case of child abuse his first year and every subsequent year thereafter. . Not to mention how could she treat him as often as she did and not report Albus to the authorities for endangering students. In the end she had gotten a two year suspension and she was no longer be allowed to work unsupervised, due to her laxity of judgement in the matter.
The questions for Harry centered mostly around the malnutrition resulting from the Dursleys neglect, the basilisk poisoning and subsequent introduction of Phoenix tears to his body back in second year and the hormone imbalances brought on first by the stresses of being Tom's horcrux and the sudden removal of said horcrux, not to mention the sheer number of times he had exhausted his magical core, and not mentioning the two AKs he'd taken in his life.
After a grueling two hours of answering uncomfortable questions, Harry managed to get the healer to state that Harry's transformation into a woman was most likely permanent. The process had taken most of five months and they hadn't even realized until the second month that it was happening. The healer speculated Harry's change stemmed from a one of a kind and completely unpredictable interaction between the poison the assassin used, his own abnormal body chemistry brought on by all he'd been through, and his absurdly strong magic attempting to save him, judging from how depleted his core was. The healer knew of no magic that would change him back, and he also expressed his doubts that Harry would ever have a strong core ever again, just because of the sheer amount of magic that had been involved. The healer finally left and Molly and Ginny were allowed in for ten minutes.
Molly fussed for several minutes and Harry found himself watching Ginny. She apparently already knew that Harry was unlikely to change back to a man and her expression implied that she had already moved on. From them he found out that it had been almost six months since the poisoning. Amos Diggory was the Minister of Magic and Arthur had been promoted. They were very grateful that Harry survived and Molly had made noises that when Harry was released that she should come back to the Burrow and become a second daughter. Harry loved the Weasleys and loved the Burrow but something about the way Molly phrased it gave him the willies. Not to mention, he wondered would the Burrow feel like home without Ron and Hermione there? After another battery of tests by Healers the now exhausted Harry was finally allowed to sleep.
When he next awoke Andromeda and Teddy were there. Harry had been astounded by how much Teddy had grown . Instead of the baby who had just started to sit up. Teddy was crawling and getting into everything in sight. Andromeda asked the question running through Harry's own mind. "So what happens now?"
"I've got no clue, as far as I'm concerned nothing has to change. I'll still look after Teddy and you're still welcome to live with me."
Harry felt sorry for Andromeda. She had once been a beautiful woman. The bones for her beauty were still there. The strength she must have had as a girl to stand up to the rest of the Blacks and marry Ted Tonks was considerable. But events of recent years had aged her beyond what would be normal for a witch, although she was only sixty she could have passed for a hundred.
"What about Hogwarts? It's already almost Christmas and the healers aren't willing to release you until the first of January."
"I don't know. I'll send a message to McGonagall, she'll let us know."
"The goblins have been agitating to see you since the Prophet printed that against all expectations you woke up. I've been contemplating suing the hospital on your behalf because the press have managed to get a hold of some details that should've stayed private."
Harry cringed. He wasn't surprised the goblins wanted to see him, not after the break in. But that didn't mean, he was looking forward to it. He had successfully avoided them by staying at Hogwarts following the final battle until that night at the ministry, and he'd always hated dealing with the press. But now he was basically cornered and wasn't going anywhere. "I guess I should just get it over with. Find out when I can have visitors next week and schedule a meeting with the goblins."
"Harry, why are the goblins so keen on talking to you?"
"Well, I kinda had to break into a Gringotts vault and, well, I had to steal something from Bellatrix's vault."
"You broke into Gringotts and stole something."
Andromeda blinked at him owlishly.
"And we- I kinda caused a lot of damage as I escaped."
Fortunately Teddy at that moment decided he was hungry so Andromeda left before much else was said. After her visit Harry finally managed to get his first look at his new body. He was relieved to see his lighting bolt scar had mostly faded leaving only a faint white line He looked at his face the once sharp lines had softened making him look a bit like the American actress Marisa Tomei with slightly stronger cheek and jaw bones, darker hair and green eyes. His scars from the Basilisk, and Tom's revival hadn't faded but they wouldn't show under clothes. His hated scar from Umbridge was as vivid as ever; he covered it with a glamour.
Harry turned brilliant red as he did what he regarded as the next phase. He stripped then looked in the mirror at his new body. It wasn't a bad body, slender, enough up top to balance the bottom. At the moment it lacked a little muscle tone but he'd been unconscious for almost six months. Objectively speaking his body as a girl was pretty enough that he didn't think he would ever feel quite as hideous he'd sometimes felt as a small scrawny male. But since he'd never been the kind of guy that ogled girls looking at himself in the mirror had him blushing darker than Ron at his most embarrassed. That thought had him stepping into the shower hurriedly so the tears he couldn't repress wouldn't be quite so noticeable. He couldn't believe that he would never see Ron or Hermione ever again.
He felt even more embarrassed when thirty minutes later the Healer came in and gave him a calming draught and steered him back to bed.
Over the next week Harry became aware that there was a problem between Molly and Andromeda, but had no clue what it was.
Andromeda had subtly given Harry an inventory of life skills, as well as quizzing her on her knowledge of both the wizarding world and the muggle world. What she found out appalled her. It rapidly became apparent to Andromeda that save a few housekeeping skills drilled into her by her aunt, little to no effort had been made to teach Harry anything to prepare her for life after school, or how to deal with her fame or fortune.
Had Albus Dumbledore still been alive she would not have rested until the man was in Azkaban. She had thought Skeeter's expose on the man was bad, but Skeeter obviously had only scratched the surface. If anything it seemed as if Harry had been deliberately kept in the dark. As it was, Andromeda wanted to sneak into Hogwarts over the summer and pee on the old bastard's tomb for the way he'd treated Harry.
Andromeda grew up a Black and in that family money management was taught from the cradle the idea that someone of Harry's wealth was so ignorant of it was nearly inconceivable. When she'd said as much to Harry she'd gotten this response.
Harry had grimaced, "Yeah, well it wouldn't do for Dumbledore's puppet to be too educated. It might give him dangerous ideas like that maybe his life was his own."
That comment had set off a ton of warning bells. Those were not the only ones. Harry had the reluctance to sleep that was common in coma victims, but when she did sleep it was punctuated by nightmares. She had frequent crying jags that she tried to hide by taking showers. Gentle questioning by Andromeda revealed mental and emotional trauma enough to put a person in therapy for years, but mental care in the wizarding world was iffy at best. The magical worlds idea of mental health care being drink a potion, cast a cheering charm or obliviate the memory, heaven forbid actually dealing with the problem. The closest the magical world came was occlumency training and even that didn't really deal with the problem. Andromeda found herself in the position of acting as a psychologist for Harry. Thankfully she had some idea of what she was doing.
Ted's mum, Beatrice, had been a psychologist and she had seen how messed up Andromeda had been because of her family when she and Ted had first gotten married. Beatrice had counseled Andromeda for a couple of years. It had sparked a life long interest in psychology for Andromeda. It wasn't, however, something that she could practice in the magical world. Instead she used it to read people and figure out their motives. It was one of the things that had made Andromeda a very successful wizarding solicitor.
What Andromeda couldn't understand, and the reason she distrusted Molly Weasely, was the woman must have had her head fairly far up the Headmaster's arse not to realize what was being done or more specifically not done with Harry. Which really made Andromeda question the Weasley's motives. Had they been after his money and social position to revive their families position?
Unbeknownst to Harry, Andromeda had paid a call to the Weasley's.
"Andromeda, I haven't had the chance to pass on my condolences for Nymphadora and Remus, and Ted. I would have done it sooner by we always seemed to miss each other at St. Mungo's while checking on Harry. "
"Thank you, Molly. I likewise would like to express my sadness for you regarding your boys. Has George recovered at all from the loss of his twin? "
"Some. He has started dating his old girlfriend again. Angelina is good for him."
"That's good. I'm actually here about Harry."
"I figured as much. How is she adjusting?"
"She's overwhelmed and grieving. I appreciate that you've taken the time to visit her."
"Yes, well, she's almost like one of our own. We tried to get Albus Dumbledore to let us take him. Especially after Ginny's first year, but he always refused. I didn't like those muggle relatives of his."
"Yet you did nothing?"
"Well, we couldn't. The Headmaster made sure we got scholarships so all the children could go to Hogwarts, and Arthur got his position at the Ministry with Albus Dumbledore's help. We owed that man so much, you see. Arthur and I both could have been expelled despite his being Headboy because I got pregnant with Bill while still at school. Albus kept it quiet and referred Arthur to the Ministry and Arthur got in between being Headboy and Albus' recommendation."
"How's your daughter doing?"
"She's doing well enough. She was so disappointed by what happened with Harry."
"Harry misses her."
"Yes, well, it's not exactly like things can be the same between them now is it? Ginny has moved on and sadly Harry will just have to do the same. I'm hoping that Harry will choose to come here when they release her. It will be such fun to have another daughter , I'll get to teacher her all the things she needs to know to make a house a home."
"But what about what Harry wants?"
"It's not like Harry can continue House of Potter now. Bill heard at the bank that Harry's going to be banned. For her children to be allowed into Gringotts they can't be Potters. Besides what wizard worth his salt would take the name of his wife?"
Andromeda couldn't say much to that, because it was mostly true. Overall the wizarding world was very misogynistic when it came to the Family name. It wasn't true of all families but enough were that the Potter name lost a lot when its heir became an heiress, and if Molly was right about the goblins banning Harry at Gringotts it was going to get worse. Andromeda sternly told herself that she would protect Harry and see to it that Harry's choices weren't taken away just because of the changes.
"I want Harry to stay with Teddy and I. I think it would be better for her."
Molly looked affronted at the suggestion. "We'll just let her decide for herself."
It was Saturday a week and a half later when the goblins came. Harry decided to take it as an honor that Ragnok himself came. He was however less than pleased to see Ragnok was followed by Draco Malfoy.
Part of him felt pity for Malfoy but the guy was still a prejudiced git that aroused feelings of hatred and suspicion in Harry so he wasn't pleased. The goblins brought with them two chests. Harry nervous, as most of the goblins were looking at him with hatred and suspicion, swallowed hard.
"Harry Potter, former Lord of the House of Black, it is the decision of the Goblin Nation that you have forfeited the right to the protections of the goblins. You and the Potters for eight generations are forbidden from darkening the doors of Gringotts."
"Face it, scarhead, you aren't the darling boy of the whole wizarding world, in fact with the goblins you're persona non grata. Heh-heh you're not even a boy anymore! Hold on you'll love what is coming next." Malfoy chortled.
Ragnok shot a scowl at Malfoy.
Harry thought 'ungrateful git I keep him and his mum out of Azkaban and he gloats, typical arsehole'.
"Harry Potter you are no longer the Lord of the House of Black, by the family strictures the House must be ruled by a male of Black Lineage. Your godfather was able to name you his heir because of your grandmother was a Black, but with the recent events that shifted you from male to female, and given you are without male issue, you are no longer Lord Black. It reverts to the next male of Black blood which would be Mr. Malfoy here. A suitable dowery has been added to the Potter coffers to reflect who you were, but the rest reverts to Lord Black."
Malfoy burst out laughing.
The goblins ignored his levity and pulled out some parchments that they had Malfoy sign. He grinned ear to ear and chuckled intermittently as he did so without reading them. That was until Ragnok dropped his next bombshell on Malfoy.
"Lord Black the smaller of the two chests is now yours. It is the sum of the Black monetary wealth."
It was Harry's turn to laugh as Malfoy got a very indignant look on his face.
"But the Blacks are the wealthiest family!"
"That was the case fifty years ago, but the Black wealth has been depleted by the previous Lords. Lady Walburga Black and her son Regulus donated heavily to the Dark Lord Voldemort's coffers depleting the majority of the non-entailed wealth. Alphard Black left his money, which was the bulk of the Black's reputed fortune to his nephew Sirius rather than the family. Most of that wealth was spent by Sirius Black funding Dumbledore's Order of the Phoenix, he also made sizable bequests to Remus Lupin, Andromeda Tonks, Nymphadora Tonks and gifts to his godson, Harry Potter. The remainder of that wealth was taken from Harry Potter, then Lord Black, because of his theft from Gringotts and has paid the reparations owed the Goblin Nation for those actions." If a goblin could be said to be smirking Ragnok clearly was. "Enjoy your 21,596 Galleons, 15 sickles and 25 Knuts. Take comfort in the entailed Black properties, perhaps if you work hard enough they will provide you with profit."
Draco's mouth opened and closed like a fish a few times then he turned and screamed at Harry. "This is all your fault, Potter!"
"Stop being such a drama queen. In truth I think most of the blame can be laid at the feet of Voldemort, after all if your family hadn't followed him you would still have your family wealth. If Bellatrix wouldn't have stored the cup in her vault for him I wouldn't have had to break into Gringotts to steal it and the goblins wouldn't have demanded reparations. This way you have enough to pay for an Potions apprenticeship at least. Was that all?" Harry asked the goblins.
"That concerns Lord Black." Ragnok said to the goblins that had come with him. "I wish to speak to this hargash alone."
After the others had left chivying Malfoy out with them, Harry addressed Ragnok. "Would it make any difference if I said I'm sorry, but it was necessary?"
"To the Goblin Nation, no. To me, yes. I'd already read the account you had given the ministry and I understand the why you did what you did, necessities of war. But goblins were killed, a dragon was lost and extensive damage was done to the bank. Had it been anyone else the Goblin nation would have demanded and probably gotten the head of the thief. I asked my people to accept the minimum penalty possible set out by our laws and the treaties we have with the wizards, because you are a hero to more than just wizards. I know what it was you stole and I know to whom it belonged. He was a blight on us all, by ridding us of him you provided a service for us all. Unfortunately not all my brethren see this, and justice must be served. I knew when the change of your sex was announced in the Daily Prophet the title would pass to that miserable, weak, pathetic excuse for a wizard and to reduce the damage he could do I took the funds from the Black coffers rather than the Potter and dated them back to the time just after the Dark Lord's fall.
"The second chest has been magically expanded several times. Your old trust vault key will open it. In it is the total of your wealth and the stored goods that escaped the looting of your family home after Riddle's first defeat. I took the liberty of converting three quarters of the money to muggle currency at the going rate it is one third actual cash two thirds cashiers check. In the chest are also six other small trunks the smallest of which contains a standard set of Black dowery jewelry as is provided to every Black daughter, diamonds, didicawl pearls, oyster pearls in four shades, gold, platinum, silver, three additional precious gemstones and seven semiprecious stones in a locked jewelry casket. I chose the stones for you: your birthstone, rubies, emeralds for your eyes, and sapphires. The semiprecious are amber, amethyst, hematite, lapis lazuli, moonstone, onyx, and rose quartz, a stone reputed for mental and emotional healing. There is also a chest which holds household goods dishes, crystal, silver etcetera. The value of the jewelry and dowery goods plus the twenty thousand galleons of actual dower money is roughly quadruple that of the chest Lord Black got, but then he didn't bother to read the contract about that did he?" Ragnok was smirking again. "The remaining chests hold the goods from the Potter family vaults."
Then his eyes grew serious once more. "I need you to sign a contract stating that you understand all of this."
Harry nodded, and he made a point to carefully read the contract Ragnok presented him with. The contract itself was simple and straightforward. He was forbidden from entering the bank, and he could not contract for their services as warders or financial managers. From the time he signed it would be as if he and the Potter descendants didn't exist for the goblin nation for eight generations. If he needed money converted from muggle to magical or vice versa he would have to go through an intermediary like Bill Weasley. Ragnok stopped him when he was about to sign it and pulled a thick packet of parchments out from his own pouch. It was an exhausting four hours that followed but Ragnok taught him a lot about his financial matters and about the Potter family in that time.
He found out that the Potter's had enjoyed Ancient family status and as he'd surmised they were descendants of the third Peverell brother, but they were not noble, nor did they have a Wizengamot seat. They had been extremely canny with money and were historically one of only ten families that did not rely on the goblins. When he learned the total amount of what he'd inherited from his parents he'd been stunned because it matched what he knew of the old Malfoy fortune. He learned that in addition to what his parents had left him many people had left him things after the first time he had vanquished Tom. Dumbledore had taken control after his parents died and aside from a reasonable stipend he'd supplied to the Dursley's he hadn't wanted to be bothered managing Harry's wealth so he'd ordered the goblins to sell all properties, stocks, and goods that couldn't be stored in the vaults and deposited the proceeds to the Potter main vault. This annoyed Harry because he would have liked to seen the properties and possibly kept shares in the various businesses. All this left Harry very wealthy in terms of gold but did little to have his money work for him. It also had eliminated heirlooms and other things that would have helped him to feel connected to his family.
Ragnok informed him of how Andromeda had gone to them and after confirming he would be banned had worked with them to insure the sudden shift of Potter wealth from the magical to the muggle world wouldn't cause problems. All required taxes had been paid.
Harry was reeling with exhaustion and his healers were practically having cows when Ragnok finally allowed him to sign the document that concluded the last bit of business he would ever do with the goblins.
The remainder of his time in St. Mungo's proved to mostly focus on helping him to make the mental adjustment of thinking of himself as a her instead of a him, testing and figuring out what changes in his body occurred, reading the documentation of how the changes occurred, and understanding why his magical core had been so depleted.
Harry absorbed on the surface their explanations but was dismayed by their projection that it might well be several years before her core was fully recovered if it ever did. She got incredibly frustrated when hospital workers hovered over her as if she was incapable of the smallest task. That most of her visitors were not her friends, and seemed to share that viewpoint only frustrated her even more. Finally the first of January came around despite what the healer said Harry actually felt mostly fine as long she didn't concentrate on the whole being a girl thing. Harry had gotten the names of several books about the anatomy and physiological processes of witches. She borrowed a page from Hermione's book and actually was studying.
Another thing Harry found annoying was the way the male attendants looked her. What was scary was that they struck her as looking at her the way rabid fan girls had looked at him/her during Hogwarts. Harry just wanted to go home. Then it occurred to him the day he was to leave the hospital, he didn't really have a home any longer. Even without Voldie hanging over his/her head it occurred to Harry that Grimauld place now belonged to Draco as did Kreature. Harry didn't dare get a room at the Leaky Cauldron. The press had been awful since he/she woke up. She was about to have a crying fit when Andromeda showed up.
"Andromeda, I-I don't have a home. I- my clothes don't fit except my Weasley sweaters and I-" Harry gave a massive gulp as tears burst from her eyes despite every effort hold them back.
Andromeda took in the slender young woman in front of her, she knew from all her previous interaction that Harry, even a female Harry, was not normally this emotional. She looked at the healer "When was Harry's last period?"
The healer went pale, and Harry collapsed completely into tears.
"She hasn't before..."
Andromeda sighed, her menarche of all the times to release Harry from the hospital. She gathered the young witch up, "Come on, luv, let's get you home."
Harry wailed, "But I don't have one!"
"Shh, shh, it'll be alright. You'll be coming home with Teddy and I to our flat and we'll be looking after you until things are better."
During Harry's recovery at St. Mungo's and the first week home, Andromeda had quietly made long lists of things she thought Harry needed. Needed to buy, needed to know, needed to do. With Ragnok's help before the agreement was signed she had gotten Harry's government documents in order and a bank account and accounts at an investment firm so that his money was safe and growing. She filled out lawsuit paperwork to make demands on the Ministry of Magic for all the things they had done to Harry in terms of taking property, failing to see that he had been treated decently as a child, and failing to protect him during the ceremony at the ministry. She also filled suits towards Cornelius Fudge and on the Prophet based on libel, defamation of character, and the casual disregard Harry's privacy. She even filed one against 's because someone there had leaked Harry's confidential medical information. The wizarding world was aware that the healers thought Harry's core wouldn't make a full recovery, in addition to the fact he was now a she.
Andromeda's previous law practice had been operated out of her home. When the Death Eater's had come for Ted, they had torched her home and all of her books of history, a law, and psychology which she had bought with her dower jewels were gone along with her soulmate.. Now days she had to go to the Ministry for long hours to use their law books. She wasn't sure what she'd missed more when she'd moved in with Nymphaora and Remus her husband or her books. Andromeda hadn't liked Remus much. It wasn't that he was a werewolf, it was more that he was weak. He didn't accept himself both good and bad, and he preferred to run away rather than confront his emotional problems. The fact that he used his lycanthropy as an excuse and had tried to desert a pregnant Nymphadora instead of facing his own emotions was pathetic. But Nymphadora had loved him and she now had an adorable grandson thanks to them. Furthermore Remus had done well in naming Harry godfather and guardian in the event of their deaths. Harry had been very hands on and involved prior to the attack that had hospitalized her and had asked about Teddy within hours of waking up.
Teddy was serving as a beacon of light and hope for both Andromeda and Harry. Despite having his father's golden eyes and being very strong Teddy showed no other signs of being affected by Remus' lycanthropy. He gave both women a reason not to lose themselves in grief, regret, or confusion and gave them something else to focus on when the problems they were dealing with threatened to overwhelm them.
Harry's first week out of the hospital was stressful. Molly visited, keeping watch over the young witch and Teddy while Andie reviewed law books at the Ministry's law library. Andie also visited the muggle world libraries to reference psychology texts so she could find out how to help Harry with the depression, PSTD, grief and the self esteem issues that Andie had been able to identify while Harry had still been in 's. Molly had taken Harry's decision to live with Andromeda, or Andie as she preferred, and Teddy poorly. Harry disliked the passive aggressive behavior she experienced from Molly but accepted it without changing her mind mostly because Andie didn't try to smother Harry in mothering, but displayed a caring concern tempered with a respect for Harry's accomplishments that Harry knew he wouldn't get from Molly.
Not that things went smoothly between the two older women at first. During Molly's second visit Harry was dressed in the only clothes from Tonk's closet that mostly fit. Unfortunately the clothes were the set of clothes that Tonks kept for when she was going for what she called the bombshell look. Molly took one look and practically screeched, "How can you possibly let her wear something like that?"
Andie shrugged. "It was what we had that fits."
"I hope you don't intend to teach Harry to be the same sort of girl as Tonks."
"Just what is that supposed to mean?" Andie almost hissed.
Molly responded. "Well, it's not like you raised Tonks to be a proper sort of witch. Are you just replacing her with Harry or is she your second chance to try and do it right?"
Andromeda stiffened as if someone had jabbed her with a poker. "AT least my daughter and I weren't ruled by maternal instinct. We contributed more to the wizarding world than just our progeny. I half think you wanted Harry to come to you to replace what you lost."
Harry lifted Teddy up and said, "This will cease now. I know that you both care what happens to me but what made my decision was Teddy. If this argument ever takes place again I will take Teddy and leave. I have come to love and care for you both but this hurts me and I've already been hurt enough. Teddy and I are going for a walk when I come back I expect this to have been settled is that clear?"
Both of the older women felt ashamed, and resolved not to fight again. Choosing to instead to decide how they would handle the next few months with Harry. They half apologized to each other and then settled on what the next month would look like. One of the first things they agreed on was shopping.
When the first week home from the hospital had passed Andromeda decided it was time for Harry to face the world. Harry desperately needed clothes. Andromeda had chose the muggle world for the first shopping trip for three reasons. First clothing for witches was usually either very conservative and constrictive or very revealing. Harry was body shy enough right now without going through the measuring and fitting that a witch's robe required. In the muggle world except for lingerie, getting pre-made clothes would not involve much embarrassment, making picking things easier. Second Harry didn't know it yet, but the agreement with the goblins would probably translate to problems buying things from the more reputable merchants in Diagon Alley. Andromeda wasn't sure if that would be the case for Harry but she wasn't willing to run the risk for Harry's first shopping trip. Finally by shopping in the muggle world they bypassed the whole issue of Harry's fame; there wouldn't be photographers trying to snap a picture for the Prophet and no fans trying to get autographs or say 'I touched Harry Potter'.
Harry was never more embarrassed than when they were shopping for lingerie and the saleswoman told him/her "You have such a lovely figure my dear, an almost perfect hourglass. You'd be slightly short for a model but with those eyes and those dark curls of yours not to mention your perfect measurements. Have you ever considered growing your hair out, getting contacts and becoming a model? I'm sure you would do very well."
Harry shuddered. She was still trying to get used to the whole thinking she not he and her not him and hers not his and this woman thought he should become a model. A job that frequently included very few clothes and posing in front of a camera. Harry still had trouble facing herself in the mirror every morning without feeling like a pervert for washing her own body. "Never in a million trillion years." She answered.
Harry reluctantly picked up the bras she'd tried on and found acceptable in terms of comfort that Andromeda and the sales woman had told her she needed, and the underwear that she'd picked and went to pay. Praying he never had to having a such an undignified experience ever again now that he knew his bra size was a 36 B, and not really understanding why he couldn't just wear the sports bras Andromeda had bought him all the time.
Andromeda kept Teddy occupied while Harry tried on lingerie. It was the first of many stops today. Andromeda had a long list of what she thought Harry needed for clothes, and other necessities. She had been appalled that Harry had absolutely no clothes except some sweaters that were even close to decent. At 5'8'' as a male Harry had been a little short and definitely borderline scrawny with compact lean muscles. As a woman despite her scars Harry was in a word stunning or rather she would be once she was comfortable in her own skin. But Harry had a long way to go before that would happen.
Six months later Harry was doing much better. She had accepted that she was now a woman. She had grown her hair out from collar length to just below her shoulder blades. She had magical contacts, and pierced ears. She could, when the situation called for it, wear both makeup and heels. She usually spent an hour a day while Teddy was napping with Andie doing therapy and the majority of her time studying for her NEWTs. The time with Andie sparked her own interest in psychology. It had her learning not just how to cope with her own traumas but also gave her the skills to make healthy choices for herself and the tools to deal with her issues that came from her less than stellar childhood. Her relationship with Molly had slowly morphed from her seeing Molly as a mother to one of seeing her as a loving if slightly overbearing aunt.
Harry was healthier financially too. She had taken half her money and invested it, some companies were magical but the majority were muggle. Another third of her money was invested in property the largest and most valuable of which was her farm in Somerset. The remainder of her money was placed in banks in the muggle world, most in Britain but also some in Switzerland and in the Grand Caymans.
Two months out of the hospital Harry had purchased one hundred and four acre farm. The farm when Harry bought it was being sold because the owner didn't want to invest enough into it to make it profitable again. It hadn't been a working farm for more than fifty years so the buildings on it had either collapsed from neglect or were about to. The income the owner got from it came from renting it as pasture. Harry razed the buildings on it to start fresh. She'd started looking into construction companies when she heard from Dean that Seamus had joined his father in the construction business after the war. She contacted her old roommate. "Seamus, what is this I hear about you and your father doing construction?"
"Harry, mate, oh Merlin, the rumors are true. You're a woman now?"
"Yeah," then Harry recognized the gleam in his old roommates eye. "The package may now be female, but the mind is still male. Hit on me at your own peril."
Seamus got an irreverent grin, "Wouldn't dream of it mate. You forget, I've heard you snore. As to construction, yeah, me and my Da are building stuff. He's got the know how and I've been improving on old construction charms. Lots of people in the magical world have been wanting to rebuild after the war it's kinda slowing down now though."
"I bought a farm down in Somerset it's a wreck. I razed what was there and want to rebuild from scratch."
"Are you serious?"
"I'll get Da and meet you at the Leaky Cauldron we can get a room and discuss it."
Sean Finnegan turned out to be a robust and energetic man who had a robust sense of humor and a strong desire to create lasting things. When he found out what Harry wanted he had his own ideas as well. "So you're wantin' a place that seems muggle for the most part?"
"I have a preference for that."
"How green do you want it to be?"
"As environmentally conscious as we can make it." Harry said liking that idea.
"No clue. I can go pretty big though."
"Well any idea on style or what all you need? Are you going to make it a working farm?
"Style no." Harry thought about the idea of a working farm and sort of liked it. "Working farm? Possibly I'll have to do a bit of research."
"Go to the London Library and get an idea of architecture you like or find a base house plan you like. You could also find out about farming there. I'll get in touch with a friend of mine who's an architect we should meet next week If you could bring land surveys that'd be grand."
That meeting got pushed back a couple weeks because Teddy's one year checkup showed a problem after a couple tests Teddy's healer concluded that due to something in his blood stream he needed more protein than he'd been getting and recommended to Harry and Andromeda that he get two to three servings of high protein food with every meal. She also reminded them that it needed to be from magical or organic muggle sources or his magic could create an issue and he could develop allergies.
When Harry heard that she decided that she was going to have a working farm not just a country estate. She made appointments with people who were considered leaders in sustainable agriculture, and visited an organic farm trying to get ideas for how she would do it. At the end of two weeks she had a farm plan a list of suggested equipment and a list of buildings that the animals would need. And she had purchased a copy of the house plans that she had found that came the closest to what she wanted in a house. She came to the meeting with the architect and the Finnegans prepared. She had also done enough research that when various terms like anaerobic digestion came up she understood what was being said, and approved it. The property itself had two springs on of which was a hot spring they decided to place the house where they would be able to take geothermal advantage of the hot spring. In the end the house would be heated and hot water supplied by a combination of geothermal and solar energy. Harry opted to place three big wind turbines on the property along with a couple other solar arrays. She opted to get a sewage treatment package that included a grey water reclamation system, an advanced black water processor and a large rainwater collection system . The architect was excited beyond belief because projects like this one are the kind that got written up in architectural journals.
Harry also researched a spell list of what spells she needed to learn and be able to do so that she could get the most from her farm. It was difficult for her to wait the three months while everything was being built. But once building started on the farm Harry busied herself learning everything she could about wards which lead her to studying runes and arithmancy and had her kicking herself for studying divination at Hogwarts. She missed Hermione the most right now because if the other witch had been there Harry would have been able to read just what she needed instead of needing to read and understand al of it.
When the million pound price tag for the house and outbuildings came back Harry shrugged. The house would have a zero energy cost it actually had an energy credit towards the tax debt on the land thanks to the solar arrays and the wind turbines. He had built it with an eye to potentially selling it to muggles one day so the stove was fed by the methane produced by the anaerobic digestion chamber, and the house had been wired except the last bit of hooking the wire to the switch. Instead the switches were a magical activation point but any muggles visiting the house would be none the wiser. The study was attached to the floo network but that was the only room with an active floo. Harry put a small potions lab in the basement along with a sizable storage room with stasis and pest repellant charms so food the farm produced could be stored and stay fresh. He used an old muggle deep freeze to help with the illusion. The kitchen was a gourmet cook's dream seemingly with commercial grade appliances and there was one room in the house that Harry has shielded from magic where she placed a magnetic motor generator to provide electricity and an assortment of muggle devices including a TV, DVD player, a stereo, a telephone and a computer. In addition to the almost . home with six bedrooms and the anaerobic digester, Finnegan Construction built a large greenhouse, a machine shed that housed the farm implements, and a large barn. The barn had a tackroom, a mews, and a bathroom at one end of the hayloft, and it housed a granary room and a small dairy, in addition to having ten good sized stalls, two loose boxes, two large sheep folds and a small pigsty, a kennel big enough for five dogs, and a large area with pens enough for up to thirty rabbits. A small ways from the barn were poultry houses for ducks, geese, chickens and turkeys and three silos.
Harry planned that her farm would eventually supply all of the protein their family needed, which meant raising animals for meat, milk and eggs. She also planned that the farm should be mostly self sustaining and planned for crops of hay, corn, oats and although, she knew she'd have to use magic to get a good crop, soya because it would be a good source of protein fodder for the animals. She planned a variety of other crops but those would be the big three.
She examined the old orchard and winced most of the trees were dead or dying she cleared it and then planted new trees choosing half grown specimens that she pushed with magic a bit so that they would grow faster. She would do this periodically and in two years they would be mature trees.
As she used so much magic helping to get her new home ready she scoffed inwardly, just goes to show Healers don't know everything. Harry came to the conclusion her core didn't follow the rules that most magicals' cores did. She was doing more magic than the healers had said she'd be capable of and it didn't exhaust her as long as she only did one spell at a time. She figured in another year she would be capable of anything she'd done in the past.
Harry enjoyed the construction phase of her farm, she learned a fair bit about muggle civil engineering, as well as agriculture. She was chagrinned to realize that she had overlooked the fact she needed to learn to drive. Sean Finnegan had laughed uproariously when she had realized this while eyeing the tractor in the machine shed. Harry laughed along then enrolled in a driving school. Sean Finnegan had become as much a friend as his son, and the Finnegans walked away from the experience not only wealthier but also with a silent partner.
After the house was finished Bill had come by and helped Harry set up the wards. The wards Harry planned were quite strong to Bill's surprise. Harry had visited the Longbottom estate to examine their wards and Neville had loaned him a book on wards written by one of the previous Lord Longbottoms that had specialized in wards. Harry also had spoken extensively with Narcissa Black on the subject of wards. Initially it was because he wanted to examine the wards on Grimauld Place Narcissa had not only allowed her to, but had also supplied a family reference on wards. Harry had read both books and then applied them well to the ward stones that Harry and the Weasleys would be placing on the property. One aspect of the wards that surprised Bill was the lack of muggle repelling wards. When he asked Harry told him, "Bill, I want as little to do with the magical world as possible. But I have no desire to be completely alone. When Seamus, his Da, and I designed this place we were very, very careful. The public rooms have magic carefully concealed in ways similar to the muggle world. A lumos and nox spell activated by a switch plate at the door to the room and other light supplied by candles and the like. In the kitchen, cold spells and preservation spells are placed on an sub zero refrigerator we got from a restaurant. There's nothing to indicate to anyone that this is a magical house. As long as Andie and I are reasonably careful not to do magic immediately in front of a muggle no one will be the wiser. If we get guests of the muggle variety, we'll just shut the floo until they're gone."
As that year came to a close Harry quite liked the quiet life she had adopted. She was studying for her NEWTs independently. Between Andromeda and everything Harry had learned of potion making in sixth year from Snapes's old textbook Harry even felt mostly confident taking her Potion NEWT. Finally test days came Harry went through and took her transfiguration, charms, potions, DADA, herbology, and care of magical creatures NEWTS. She also took the OWL tests for arithmancy and ancient runes. When her results came back with nothing lower than an E and four O's they had a big party with all her friends to celebrate.
Two months later Harry was bored. The farm was going well. Aside from some chickens she was waiting until the land was producing before buying livestock and she and Andie maintained it easily with just a couple hours of spell casting a day. So Harry decided to get her Defense Mastery.
She searched carefully for a Master. Many of the masters she met with before settling either wanted to put that young upstart who got rid of Voldemort in her place because for all her accomplishments and the fact she had done something they had been unable to, and others merely wanted to be able to brag and say Harry Potter came to me to get her defense mastery. Many of the former struck Harry as being dark and holding a grudge and the later she just couldn't stand. Finally when she was about to give up she found Master Donatello DiFiori in Italy.
They had coffee together at a little shop in Milan while they held a mutual interview.
"So, Singorina Potter you have many accomplishments in the field of Defense no?"
"Yes, Master DiFiori."
"Why then do you wish to get a Mastery?"
"My accomplishments... I learned and did what I had to to survive but I feel as if I lack the knowledge and probably many of the skills necessary to call myself a master of defense."
"I see. Have you ever taken what you know and taught it to others?"
"Yes, my fifth year at Hogwarts. Many of those same people that I taught, fought with me during the final battle against Voldemort."
"When you were in battle did you fight fire with fire or did you only use light spells."
Here Harry felt very uncomfortable. "When I had the option I fought with light spells but in battle when you're fighting people who are trying to kill you sometimes fighting fire with fire is all you can do."
"Si, I would agree. Two last last questions Signorina Potter. How would you describe your fighting style? Is it, how did my old friend put it, deliberate and studied and practiced to perfection or is it fly by the seat of your pants?"
Harry snorted. "The later, definitely the later."
His eyes took on a gleam that Harry could only describe as delighted. " What will you do when you gain your mastery?"
"I don't know, maybe teach, maybe nothing."
""If you are agreed, I will take you on as an apprentice."
"I have a question for you. Why do you want to take me on as a student?"
"There are two kinds of Defense Masters, those who are studied and deliberate which make up ninety eight percent of Defense Masters. Then there is the very rare instinctive Master of Defense. I am such a master for the last century I have taught many masters but none was an instinctive Master. I am an old man I would like just once to have such a prodigy for a student before I die."
Harry looked at him judiciously. "I think Master DiFiori, that you will get your wish. There are a few details to work out my godson and his grandmother live with me. And I will have to make some arrangements so that my farm in England will be maintained."
" I can house you and your family in my guest house. Will a month be enough time for you to make arrangements?"
"I think so. Last question how much for my apprenticeship?"
"So that you appreciate the value of what you learn one thousand galleons for each month you are my pupil, if I am correct that you are an instinctive Master you will probably be ready for your Mastery trial in a year or two. That is assuming you got better than passing grades on your NEWTs."
Harry passed the page showing her scores on her NEWTs and her OWLs to him.
"Si, you did very well Signorina Potter. I expected no less."
Thus after finding a young muggle couple who would stay in the small flat above the garage and see to the farm, Harry started her apprenticeship. Master DiFiori started by giving her several tests to determine what she knew. Harry was surprised when he requested to test her occlumency."What? Why?"
"To be a true master of defense to know of dark magic is not enough, one must have knowledge of protecting something when not present and how to fix or cure at least some injuries. One must be able to defend oneself not just magically, but also physically, and mentally. "
Harry thought of her disastrous occlumency lessons with Snape fifth year. Then she thought of how she had shut Voldemort out after Dobby died. "I'm not sure I ever properly learned."
"What have you learned?"
So Harry explained when she finished, her Master wore a disgusted look. "Your headmaster powerful though he was is lucky he is already dead or he would be on the receiving end of a horrible hex that sends the crimes of a person back at them in their dreams." He observed a look of protest on Harry's face. "Regardless of his position or reasons for doing what he did, let me assure you young Harry,what that man did to you was a crime. You will need to learn occlumency it is required for defense masters as it is for aurors, solicitors and healers."
"Go ahead and test then." Moments later she could feel his mind brush hers. It was unlike Snape's attacks Harry tried to push the sensation away. But found herself remembering went she'd found out the prophecy fifth year.
Master DiFiori pulled away, Harry had only the slightest hints at shields. This was an area where they would need to do much work, but first he needed to build trust with his pupil, trying to teach occlumency without trust between teacher and pupil was like trying to build a wall of bricks with a muggle wrecking ball. "Alright what do you know of physical defense?"
"Again not much."
"Have you ever held a weapon other than your wand?"
"A sword, but I didn't know what I was doing."
"I will arrange lessons with a friend of mine, there are spells we can use to speed the process up. A master must know at least one form of physical defense the sword by preference."
Harry's first six months in Italy were challenging. Master DiFiori used a spell to teach her Italian, then her learning really began. Three days a week she spent three hours with Signore Marcello the fencing Master her mentor knew. The off nights of her lessons a spell ensured she dreamed of her lessons making it seem as if she had lessons far more hours each week than she did. Signore Marcello was very pleased at her progress. She spent large portions of her time reading about dark spells and dark creatures. To her surprise her training included some first aid and quite a bit about warding. Her master taught her to meditate. Then he taught her how to clear her mind. A process that struck her as being rather like psychotherapy his instructions being to take each memory and sort it after examining it. Harry took it an extra step and not only examined each memory but also examined how she felt about each one. It proved to be a grueling process and Harry was in the beginning of her second year before she was ready for the next step.
Then came the day when Master DiFiori felt she was ready. "Alright, Harry, today I will teach you to be a true occlumens. First I want you to create in your mind the place you are happiest and the most relaxed."
For Harry that was easy she pictured flying through the air on her broom.
"Are you there?"
"Keeping your mind there I want you to open your eyes so I may join you." He smiled as Harry opened her eyes without fear and without hesitation. Her memories of lessons with Snape had drawn this process out by at least a few months. "Legiliemens" It was disconcerting for him to find himself midair if he were not a very practiced master this alone would have him scrambling to exit Harry's mind. As it was he had half expected it, he had seen her fly and knew almost all her memories of flying were good. "Now Harry think of a way you can take a memory and hide it in this mind scape. Do this ten times" Moments later the blue sky was dotted with puffy white clouds. "Very good can you tell me what memory is hidden in that cloud."
"The first hug I ever remember getting."
"Very good. I want you to continue to put memories into your mind scape. Add them, a dozen or so, every time you get thirsty for the next two weeks then I'll check you again. I'm very pleased with your progress."
"Master, one question, why is it so different learning occlumency with you?"
"Well, a few things come immediately to mind. Your Professor Snape didn't like you, in fact he hated you. I'm sure that was part of it, and didn't you tell me Dumbledore said he was a natural occlumens?" After receiving a nod he continued, "Such a thing is rare and such wizards are, whether they realize it or not, actually experiencing a form of a mental dysfunction in the sense they seldom are in touch with their feelings. They seldom connect emotionally with anyone and they have great difficulty putting themselves in the shoes of another. As result they tend to completely lack any sort of empathy. Their methodology of occlumency is different and despite his mastery of occlumency, it is quite possible he had no idea of how to teach it."
"That explains Snape, but what about Dumbledore?"
"Have you ever considered the possibility that he too, was a natural occlumens?"
The next month Harry finally got what she'd expected from her mastery training she started dueling again she was surprised as it seemed effortless to duel now when it was one opponent. Her master recognized this and called on his contacts in the Italian ministry to get her more sparing partners in the form of aurors, hit wizards, and unspeakables.
Two months after that he tested her occlumency again the sky was crowded with clouds and snitches. He asked and Harry explained that unimportant thoughts and memories were clouds but important ones were the snitches. He then taught her how to plant false memories and thoughts. Finally he taught her how to actively defend her mind and the sky became dotted with bludgers. A month later he had a friend test her occlumency which she passed with flying colors. He checked with Signore Marcello and was told Harry was now proficient with the rapier despite it was a heavy weapon for a woman. He thought about how magically Harry was beating three and sometimes four opponents at a time. It was time for Harry to take her mastery, as he'd suspected she was a natural master of defense. She was ready for her mastery trial.
Harry took her trial at the Italian Ministry and passed with flying colors. As a parting gift Master DiFiori gave her a finely wrought rapier of goblin manufacture. She had learned much of swords from Signore Marcello and was amazed at the flexible blade . "Is this Damascus steel?"
"No goblin, I paid the commission on it so that it will belong to your family for perpetuity."
"Master, I- this is too much. A sword like this far exceeds what I paid you for my mastery training and-"
"Harry, training you has been a pleasure and an honor for me. I have never had a finer pupil. This sword is a gift. Think of it as a gift from a father to his child. Your apprentice fees were merely my way of satisfying the guild requirements and to assure me you were serious about your training. The wizarding world owes you a debt for ridding us of Voldemort, he would not have stopped with less than the destruction of the entire world. This sword is but a token of what wizards the world round owe you."
She, Andromeda and Teddy arrived back in time to celebrate Christmas with the Weasleys. Harry didn't quite know what to do with herself when she returned to England. She got more animals for her farm and finally unpacked the trunks she had gotten from the goblins. She cried when she opened a trunk that held the wedding portraits of Potters for the last nine generations. She was thrilled to meet her grandparents in their portrait but was saddened to realize that her parents had never sat for a portrait due to the war. One of the other trunks held the Potter family jewels and the family silver. While not as nice as the jewelry she had got as a Black it was still quite nice. Smaller and not quite as ostentatious it allowed her more choices in what she wore day to day. Over the last eighteen months Harry learned there were some perks to being a girl. After all the years of crappy clothing from the Dursleys, Harry knew that a person could get by with clothes that were ill fitting stained and of poor quality and still be a good person. She had never thought about clothing much. But the months after her first shopping trip with Andie had taught her that good fitting clothing of nice materials that were clean, not only meant comfort, it meant good reactions from others. As result she had developed a fondness for good clothes. A year and a half in Milan had turned like into love. She mostly coasted, meeting and making friends with her neighbors from the village four miles down the road. She worked a couple days a week for George in the back room, and alternated weekends hosting Sunday dinner with the Weasleys.
After a few months of letting her coast Minerva McGonagall and Andie decided Harry needed a bit more of a challenge, and Minerva came to tea.
"Harry, dear how are you?"
"I'm good, Professor, and yourself?"
"Busy. Hogwarts takes much of my time."
"Harry, is there any way I could persuade you to come and teach Defense this year? We've had retired aurors the last few years but there's been little continuity from one year to the next. The year you took your owls was the year we had the third highest defense scores on OWLs and NEWTs in the last twenty years. Only in the years that Remus and the impostor Moody taught were they higher."
Harry chewed her lower lip for a moment. "But what about Teddy? And the farm? I- I don't know if I could stand going back to the magical world to be stared at."
"If you would like I could make it so you could floo to work each day instead of staying at the castle. You would have to have office hours immediately following classes but you could assign detentions during that time or with Margarite Hammond the new caretaker. And you would only need to attend the sorting and the end of year feasts. Hogsmeade weekends we could schedule you for hours when either Teddy was napping or if you preferred while he was awake you could bring him with you."
"I'll think about it."
In the end Harry agreed. Minerva helped her by finding a squib Thomas Campbell who would help Andromeda run the farm. However, teaching at Hogwarts wound up being more in the public eye than Harry liked.
Halfway through the year Harry had what she considered a brilliant idea. She arranged an appointment with Minerva.
"The biggest problem with defense is the lack of continuity from one year to the next right?"
"I would say so."
"What if instead of letting the teachers choose what to teach, you gave them a set course to teach? That way instead of dealing with a miss mash of information, you could have a steady development in the students."
"That would be marvelous, but how could we do it?"
"I don't know. I'll think about it some more."
Over the next two months Harry read almost every defense book on the market and in the end decided that she would write a defense textbook series designed to teach defense in step by step phases.
She finished her year of teaching with relief and pride. Relief to once again step back from the public eye and pride because her students had tied the highest scores on defense.
Andromeda was happy with their quiet life, she could feel herself aging almost daily and wondered if she was only hanging on until Harry found a niche in life. She like Harry worked part time taking on a few cases each month. She kept a close eye on the Ministry. A year after the assassinations the reform process that had been spearheaded by Kingsley Shacklebolt and Hermione Granger had slowly ground to a halt. The borders of Magical Britain had closed completely six months following Harry's return from her mastery. Things were starting to get worse again, but not due to the old pureblood dogmas. Hermione's proofs of genetic degradation due to a lack of diversity put together in the two months following the war; that had been published immediately following the assassination had frightened the pureblood's into deciding that halfbloods and muggleborns would make acceptable spouses. But fear of muggles and those with creature blood was again climbing. The Wizengamot was starting to examine some of the older laws with an eye to bringing them back. Unfortunately those laws had the potential to cause a lot of problems for Teddy and Harry. It was also unfortunate Andie didn't have any means of stopping the Wizengamot and the stupidity which it seemed to want to pursue.
After her year of teaching Harry went back to working part time at WWW and expanded her farm's collection of animals from a few sheep, rabbits, and poultry, to include goats, a couple milk cows and beef cattle, pigs and alpacas. She taught herself to spin the wool and hair she collected from her animals. Teddy started nursery school and in the mornings. Harry got around Teddy's metamorphic talents by giving him a charmed glamour stone that assured her that people looking at him always saw the same hair, eyes, and skin when they looked at him. While he was at school she worked on the defense books.
Harry learned that she found more satisfaction living muggle style than she did in the magical world. She made friends with the mothers of Teddy's classmates, joining them for dance classes in the village for exercise. Eventually she was invited to her friend Julie's birthday at a club in Bath. She went but insisted she would be the designated driver .
The night of the party Harry was having a good time listening to the music and dancing. She got thirsty so she moved to the bar."Bartender, another virgin daiquiri." Harry said preparing to pay.
"Let me get that for you." A man said behind her.
Harry turned the man half reminded her of Ron except he was blond not redheaded. "Thanks."
"Mickey. And you sugar are about the sweetest thing I've seen in a month."
Mentally Harry went eew. "But no thanks." She fished the two pounds from her pocket and paid the bartender.
"Sweet thing don't take on that way."
"Let me put it to you bluntly. NOT Interested."
Harry went back to her friends. They stayed for another hour then Harry went for the car that was parked two blocks away so they could head home. She was halfway to the car when Mickey came out of seemingly nowhere and pinned her against a building.
"There you are sweet thing, you and me is going to have a real good time."And his hand moved to the snap of Harry's jeans.
Harry squirmed hard and tried to knee Mickey in the jewels. The result of that was both good and bad. It was bad because Mickey definitely had no compunctions about hitting a woman, the man's strike knocked Harry to the ground. It was good because he let go of Harry's hands and she went for her wand. A stupefy and an obliviate later Harry had control of the situation she used the hex Master DiFiori had wanted to use on Albus that she'd learned about when preparing for her mastery. Mickey would be facing nightmares where he was the powerless one being attacked until he modified his view on women and Harry hoped it would take a good long time. About then a bobbie showed up and Harry reported Mickey's attempted assault; she then told a lie about how she fought him off. The bobbie requested she make a statement. Harry asked if she could do it in the morning because right now her friends were waiting on her at the club to take them home and most of them had babysitters waiting. The bobbie called in another officer to escort Harry's friends home safely instead, and Harry went to the station to make her statement.
The whole experience was somewhat traumatizing. Harry had only in the last six months consciously stopped looking at women and started noticing men. Being attacked had scared her. She had thought been a defense master would prevent that kind of thing but apparently not when you didn't have a wand or sword in hand. Since Italy she had spent hours with Andie discussing sexuality and how she felt. Her romantic experiences as a guy having been extremely limited and mostly awkward. She had still been a virgin when she changed from a boy to a girl. With biology being what it was she wanted children, but there was the matter of begetting those children. Growing up she had thought she would need a female mate but now she would need a male, a confusion that she was still trying to sort out. Now the experience outside the club made her want to withdraw from even considering relationships. Patricia, another friend from the village, suggested that she might recover from the assault more quickly if she took a self defense course. Harry did.
Harry's life for most of the next year was pretty simple. She had her friends in the village that she saw at exercise class, or when dropping Teddy at school, and on market days. Three nights a week she and Teddy went to aikido classes. She spent half her mornings writing, and the other half seeing to her property and the animals on it. Harry actually enjoyed her property the most because with the animals she had chosen Potter's Haven was largely self supportive. Two thirds of the food they ate came from the property. On market days in the village Harry could be found selling some of the herbs, produce, eggs, cheese, milk, soap, and yarn that she produced off the back of a farm wagon. Harry continued to spent three afternoons a week at WWW filling owl orders, producing pranks and giving George someone to bounce ideas off of. Sunday mornings were spent at the local church, and Sunday afternoons were spent with the Weasleys. Harry's life was full if a little quiet.
Harry's twenty third birthday came and at Andromeda's request she spent a couple hours a day learning the laws of the wizarding world. Andromeda had her focus on the laws that were determined more by magic than by wizards themselves to start. Stating that she would need the knowledge when she started sitting her Wizengamot seat in two years.
Then one day out of the blue Harry got a summons from the Ministry of Magic. After dressing in her favorite Ann Taylor pantsuit and an open over robe as a nod towards wizarding fashion, she went and was met by a clearly distraught Mr. Weasley. "Harry, I only found out this morning and I have to say I'm appalled, simply appalled, that this would happen."
"What is it?Is everyone alright? Is Molly okay?"
"They're fine. Ginny just told us she and Dean Thomas will be marrying next summer."
"Really? Well, since you'll see her before I will, pass along my congratulations."
"Spit it out Arthur. The minister has summoned me to level 12 and I'm supposed to be there in five minutes." Harry started walking to the elevators, she didn't want to keep Minister Diggory waiting, She had never quite gotten over feeling guilty that she had played a part in getting Cedric killed.
"Last night the Wizengamot high council signed into law that any witch or wizard that is twenty one or over must marry, and produce children with in two years."
"WHAT?" Harry stopped dead in her tracks.
"Amos Diggory was persuaded to hold a vote in the Wizengamot high council, on the issue to reinstate the marriage law of 1679. Which states that any unmarried witch or wizard over age twenty one will be summarily matched by the Ministry with another witch or wizard who is also unmatched. They are allowing those that are already betrothed to go ahead with their plans but I'm afraid..."
"You're telling me those, those …..Are you telling me some ARSEHOLE who doesn't know me is going to tell me have have to marry some … Some PRICK! SOMEONE WHO PROBABLY, GIVEN THAT THEY AREN'T ALREADY OFF THE MARKET, IS PROBABLY NOT WORTH EVEN HAVING!" Harry didn't feel too bad about making that last statement considering the Wizarding World's tendency towards early marriage. She had noticed that most her classmates had paired up within a year or two of graduation from Hogwarts. She absently noticed that Arthur had turned white and there seemed to be an odd breeze in the atrium. Then she realized that her magic which had been mostly quiet the last couple years was flaring more brightly than either Dumbledore's or Voldemort's did when they were dueling in this spot seven years earlier.
Harry deliberately took a couple deep breaths and drew her magic inwards. "Arthur, I want you to do me a favor. Call Andie, tell her get a sitter for Teddy suggest Hannah Williamson, and then tell her to notify every wizarding publication and every last member of the the Wizengamot. I want them here in half an hour. I don't care if she has to promise interviews to all of the publications just have her get them here. And Arthur, let me know when they're all here."
He left her side and she spent the next five minutes mentally planning how she was going to handle this. Thank God Andromeda had been teaching her wizarding law. She ducked down to the law library on level eleven so she was sure of what the facts about the law were. If anyone thought for even one moment that she, Harry Potter, was going to roll over and give up the rest of her life to the demands of the wizarding world they were about to find out otherwise, because Harry had a few markers on the wizarding world as a whole that she wouldn't hesitate to call in. She might besmirch Albus' name a bit in the process but she figured he would forgive her. She still had a dream of finding someone who would love her, not her fortune and not her fame. She didn't know and frankly didn't care if that person was male or female, but there was no way in hell she was going to roll over on the Ministry's command and allow them to dictate her private life, not after the way they had fucked up her childhood.
Then Harry decided she would stick her nose into the Department of Magical Law Enforcement and see if Susan Bones or Ernie MacMillan were in. They had joined the DMLE after graduation. She wanted witnesses lots of them.
It turned out they were both working and when she explained they both promised that law or no law they had her back. This new law wouldn't affect them because Susan had formed a triad with Hannah Abbott and Neville Longbottom four years ago and formalized it last year. Ernie had married Lisa Turpin a year after graduation. Neither of them would stand by while a good friend was railroaded. Harry waited in the MLE office until twenty-five minutes had passed. Then allies in tow, which to her delight included Luna Lovegood wearing a press pass and Andie, she went to level twelve.
"Ah, Miss Potter, you're late." Amos Diggory looked decidedly nervous. He and about forty others half filled the office. Many people, many of whom Harry recognized and disliked, were waiting. The minister got even more nervous as Harry's allies filed into the somewhat mid-sized Wizarding Office of Family Affairs and Records behind Harry.
"I'm sorry, Minister. What is this about?" Harry said coolly.
"Um, well," He visibly tried to gather himself, "it has come to the attention of the Ministry that the magical peoples of Great Britain are almost an endangered species. Therefore, it was decided in closed session of the Wizengamot high council that the marriage law of 1679 should be re-enacted into law. As such we order that you, as one of our leading citizens, pick a husband from this list and marry immediately."
"Congratulations Amos, despite turning green you actually had the balls to say it. Congratulations on your descent into being a procurer. And here my answer: HELL NO!"
"Miss Potter!" Came the shocked voices of the Wizengamot high council.
One of the more imposing members marched up to Harry. Reginald Barrows had fifty years, nine inches and easily ninety pounds on Harry. "How dare you?"
Harry looked up at him, and arched an eyebrow. "Really? I think that question would be better applied to yourselves."
"You stupid girl! We're fighting for the survival of the magical species. Here choose one." Another old fart handed her a piece of paper. On it was a list of names. she only knew about a third of them but most of the ones she recognized had death eater ties or in the case of Zacharias Smith were people she otherwise wished she didn't know. Then it sunk in that they were the ones here in the office.
"Oh My God, You have got to be kidding me. Like I would ever consider..." then as she reached the bottom of the list she realized that even Reginald Barrows was on the list. "I categorically and without hesitation declare I will never willingly or otherwise marry anyone on this list . Death first and by preference not mine."
Montague, who Harry remembered from quidditch at Hogwarts stepped forward."Potter you're looking at this all the wrong way." He ran his hand down Harry's back and made to squeeze one cheek of her behind. "A beauty like you-"
Harry didn't think, didn't pause. She kneed him in the family jewels then pulled his head to her knee and broke his nose. She followed it it up by clubbing him across the back of the neck with both hands locked together. Montague was out and down but somehow Harry suspected that she still needed to make her point with the other men in the office. Their expressions were shocked not afraid. Harry wanted them afraid, very, very afraid. She kicked Montague hard enough in the side that a faint crunch was heard and the young man's limp body flipped from face down to face up. Planting her boot shod foot firmly on the young man's privates Harry leaned forward to cut the sleeve from Montague's left arm. Grinding her foot down as she did so. A faint trace of Voldemort's mark could still be seen. "A former Death Eater and you have the nerve to suggest I marry it. I BLOODY WELL HELL DON'T THINK SO!"
The men in the room were white. Zacharias Smith grabbed Susan Bones' arm "Did you see that? Potter just assaulted him like it was nothing! Don't you think you should arrest her?"
Ernie looked at Sue, "Did you see an assault?"
"I didn't see an assault, oh, wait, yes I did. Montague ran his hand down her back and groped her. Then Harry defended herself. I suppose we should take him away to be questioned, after a small side trip to St. Mungo's."
Most of the men who had gathered hoping to snag Potter as a wife found themselves dreading what might happen if the Wizengamot high council tried to force Harry to marry. Her words "death first and preferably not mine" ringing in their ears together with the visual evidence that female or not, rumored depleted core or not, Potter was still formidable, had most of them wishing the weren't on the list.
The old man who had originally handed Harry the list, tried to take it back. Harry held it out of reach. "No, I think I'll hang onto this evidence you know." At that moment Arthur came in. Harry saw him and nodded. "I think that maybe this should go upstairs to level ten. Somehow I very much doubt the legality of this marriage law."
Two hours later Wizengamot members now knew why an emergency session had been called and now the debate was raging. Harry could see about half the older members were leaning toward supporting the high council's decision. So she got to feet. "Esteemed members of the Wizengamot may I address you."
The Chief Warlock acknowledged her with a grimace of unhappiness, but only after many of the quarreling members of the Wizengamot had insisted. "Speak, Miss Potter."
"Five years ago, the magical world was self destructing at the hands of Voldemort. He was a petty dictator and a psychopathic killer. Many of you were living in hiding fearful of your very lives. Others of you were forced into behaving in deplorable ways just to try and stay safe. Freedom was not there for any of us. I spent a years living a horrible life and had to do some horrible things to get rid of Voldemort but I fought him and nearly died just so the magical world could be free.
"A man named Charles Beams said, "Freedom is something you have to fight for, rather than something you're given. Being free means being prepared to carry that burden."
"Up until six years ago I carried that burden for the magical world. I, through the sacrifice of my family, bought the world ten years of peace what did I receive in return? This body stole the property of my family in Godric's Hollow and turned it into a national monument. The ministry and by extension this body failed to secure my property against looters and souvenir seekers, threw my innocent godfather into Azkaban without a trial, allowed Albus Dumbledore who wasn't even mentioned in my parents will to place me into an abusive home never checking on me, and ignoring your own laws to do so.
"My first year of Hogwarts I faced a wraith of Voldemort again. He was after the Philosopher stone I defeated him again. My repayment? Being sent back to my abusive relatives. Second year faced him and a bloody huge basilisk. Spent that year being suspected of being evil just because I could talk to snakes. Defeated him again, damn near died because of it, got both basilisk venom and phoenix tears absorbed into my body because of it. And I was once again sent to be with my bloody relatives. Then in third year I nearly died when the Ministry lost control of the dementors at Hogwarts during a quidditch game. I found out my godfather whom I should have grown up with was innocent. But rather than take a chance on believing a couple of kids and giving a pureblood citizen the trial he's entitled to by law, Fudge decides to have him Kissed on capture. I nearly got Kissed again when my innocent godfather and I were attacked by over a hundred of the foulest creatures know to man. I proudly say I helped him escape despite almost being kissed myself for my trouble. What did I get that year? Lied to by the Chief Warlock Albus Dumbledore, and sent back to my awful relatives. Fourth year I got forced to participate in a stupid tournament that was supposed to be for of age students only. I got called crazy by the magical press for the first time, I got to watch Voldemort murder a friend, your son Minister, just because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I fought him again only this time he's back, I tell the then Minister Fudge. He calls me a liar and proceeds to use the press to vilify my name just because he's to much of a coward to admit the possibility. If that weren't bad enough, that summer I defended myself in a life threatening situation when dementors attacked myself and my cousin. Instead of a simple hearing in the Improper Use of Magic Office that anyone else would have gotten I got a full trial in front of this body. Fifth year was bad. Not content to slander me in the press Fudge sends Umbitch, oh excuse me, Undersecretary Umbridge to Hogwarts. She trying to get me to recant the TRUTH by using a class five restricted item, a Blood Quill on me, making me write I must not tell lies." Harry allowed the glamour she usually wore over her hand to fall. "Oh, and she was rubbish as a defense teacher too; and at the end of the year she tried to use an Unforgivable on me and confessed to being the one to have set Dementors on me the previous summer. To my knowledge she was never punished despite that by your own laws she should have been. If she weren't bad enough, Dumbledore tried to have me taught occlumency by a man who hated my guts never mind that, the antipathy was entirely mutual. I can't say I'm surprised it was a total flop. I've since found out that trust and respect is required for such instruction. I swear Dumbledore must have been starting to lose it by then, but not one of the so called responsible members of our society noticed and called him on it or otherwise tried to do something constructive about it. Of course what year would be complete with out a visit from You Know Who and his flock of merry men. Oh excuse me, I meant to say flock of psychopathic killers. They tricked me into coming here to the Ministry and I lost the closest thing I'd had to a loving parent that night. Sixth year ...well, suddenly I was once again the magical world's darling boy again. Did I get apologies from the Ministry or the press? No. At the end of the year Dumbledore died, I hope if he'd have had it to do over he'd have done things differently, but with Albus it's hard to tell. My seventh year Voldemort had overrun the Ministry. Would he have been able to do it if Fudge hadn't had his head so far up his arse, I'm not sure. All I know is the world lost a lot of good witches and wizards because of pride, fear, stupidity, and an unwillingness on the part of this body to face reality, or even to follow it's own laws. Then came the award ceremony and because of laxity on the Ministry's part three more good people, good friends of mine, died and I was transformed.
"I have done my part and then some for the magical world. I didn't have much of a life growing up but I have one now. I'm still trying to figure who I am out and what I want after the change... " Harry deliberately made her voice get softer as she spoke these words. Voice still soft she continued, "But I will DAMNED OR DEAD before I let any of you sheeple dictate the rest of my life." She let her magic flare strongly through the large room.
"The high council of the Wizengamot in its vast stupidity has re-enacted the marriage law of 1679. Disregarding our laws that clearly state: the high council can only make unilateral decisions in time of war and only concerning matters of war. What I want to know is will the Wizengamot uphold what the high council has done? I would like to point out the fact that in 1682, a mere three years later, the marriage law was overturned as being counter to the nature of magic itself. I also want to know how on earth the high council can possibly believe that forcing people who don't like each other to marry will result in more children for the magical world? It is more logical to wait and let people find a person they want to be with and allow things to happen naturally than to try to force the issue. Maybe you should try passing tax incentives or offer to help with Hogwarts tuition instead, to encourage people to have more children or something.
"Furthermore I ask you, the members of the Wizengamot, does everything I fought for, the freedom from oppression that I and countless others fought and sacrificed for, count for nothing? Many of you here owe your lives and freedom to me and my friends. Are you going to allow idiots like the ones on the high council to steal yours and my freedom the way you allowed Fudge to steal your safety away seven almost eight years ago? I beg the Wizengamot to do the right and responsible thing and undertake the burden of protecting the freedom of the wizarding world. Overturn this illegal action and please for pity's sake take power away from people who show an inclination to abuse it. Because if Britain's Magical community has really been reduced to the point where it's government pimps it's own citizens then perhaps the magical community would be better off extinct.
"I know if Kingsley Shacklebolt were here, he would be appalled at the way so many of you are allowing fear and lack of vision take us backwards into a past that has lead to Dark Lords, war, destruction and death, instead of taking us forward into a new millennia where peace and understanding reign. I know I have eighteen more months before I can take my place among you, but I beg you have enough vision and trust in the future to overturn this idiotic decision of the high council. Thank you, I will leave you to your deliberations."
Harry exited the Wizengamot chamber.
Susan came over. "Very persuasive Harry. What if they don't overturn it?"
"I go dark. I meant it when I said damned or dead first."
"Okay, can I go on record as your first follower?" She said with a grin.
Harry couldn't help it. She laughed; with Hermione and Ron's deaths Neville, his wives, Luna, George and Angelina were probably her closest friends in the magical world. "Okay, hopefully it doesn't come to that."
An hour later Arthur and Andromeda exited. They had stayed to hear the vote. Andromeda said, "By a twelve percent margin the decision of the high council was overturned. Their now debating the high council appointments. But I wouldn't expect much."
Harry let out a huge sigh of relief and the breath she hadn't been aware she'd been holding. "That is a relief."
Arthur spoke up. "Harry, I know and understand why you've mostly withdrawn from the magical world and I don't blame you, but I think that the wizarding world needs someone with your vision or as we seen today, we back slide. I think you need to start learning to play politics to build your influence back up. To get others to listen to you again."
Harry opened her mouth to protest but closed it again. She had been content to live separate from the magical world, but look what had happened. She had almost lost her freedom. She gave a reluctant nod. She would have to pull out Hermione's journal and study her old friend's notes on what changes she had planned to make as part of Kingsley's cabinet.
"I'll ask Molly to plan some dinner parties at the Burrow and introduce you to some people."
Harry gave another reluctant nod. "Maybe we should alternate and have a few at Potter's Haven." Potter's Haven had been her haven against the wizarding world. Only Seamus, Andromeda, Minnerva, and the Weasleys had actually been there. It was time to change that. "Remind Molly and the rest of the family that Sunday is at my place. We can discuss this then.
"And by the way, Andie, thanks for making me study the laws."
"You put it to good use, luv." the slightly frail older witch said.
"Let's go home. Teddy probably is wondering what happened."
A/N: I've got more but it is pure romance from this point forward. If there's an interest I'll post it . If not I think this is a decent stop point.