Author: Knife Hand
Feedback: Constructive feedback appreciated, flames unappreciated
Spoilers: Nothing Specific, general for first few books.
Disclaimer: I do not own Hermione, or Luna, or Ginny, or Cho, or... I would buy them all but I am broke.
Summary: Angered at his unwilling selection as a TriWizard Champion, Harry and Hermione begin their own research in an attempt to take control of their own lives, with some… interesting consequences AU fic with some, from a certain perspective, extreme OOCness to come.
A/N: As the Wizarding world is still a few centuries behind the rest of the world and are ruled by a male aristocracy with delusions of competence there is no age of consent in the Wizarding world.
Lord and Lady Patil entered the office, where Harry, Hermione and Gwen were waiting, seated around the conference table.
"Harry Potter and Hermione Granger?" Lord Patil said in shock, having heard a lot about the two in front of him from his eldest daughters. "My apologies. Lord Potter, Lady Potter. I had been informed that a new Lord and Lady had inherited but I was not informed that it was yourselves."
"Lord Patil, Lady Patil, May I introduce Gwen Seacourt, House Potter's chief advisor." Harry replied, "We invited Miss Seacourt because, as you can understand, we are new to all this and we both were raised by Muggles and such have a limited understanding of Wizarding culture."
"Of course. A prudent precaution." Lord Patil replied.
"Now, may I ask why you have requested this meeting?" Harry said.
"House Patil has a debt to House Potter. Some fifteen years ago there was a significant agreement between our Houses regarding the import of certain teas and spices from the subcontinent. House Patil failed to uphold its end of the agreement." Lord Patil replied.
"My Lord." Gwen said softly. "The deal was in place for the long term import contract. A few months before your parents' death the quality of the goods diminished and then eventually the shipments were discontinued all together. The previous Lord Potter, your Grandfather, began an investigation and it was discovered that another Indian House was sabotaging the supply lines of House Patil and eventually disrupted them completely. House Potter ended up losing 100,000 Galleons on the deal but your Grandfather deemed that there was no culpability by House Patil and wrote off the debt."
"Lord Patil, I have just been informed of the basics of the situation. As far as I can see there are no grounds for a debt owed by House Patil. It was simply an unfortunate business situation. If you are worried that House Potter will attempt to seek financial recompense then I can give you my assurance that we will not." Harry said, not wanting to offend the older wizard but also trying to make his point.
"While we are grateful for such assurances, House Patil still feels that there is a debt of Honour in relation to this matter." Lord Patil replied. "I have three daughters and two sons. My brother and his wife have two daughters and a son. As Lord of House Patil I offer myself, my Wife, by brother and his wife as payment of this debt."
"I don't understand." Harry said, seeing his own confusion reflected on Hermione's face.
"Please, let our children live." Lady Patil said, pleadingly.
"Lord Patil." Gwen interjected. "May we please have an adjournment to discuss the possible solutions to this offer? As my Lord has already stated, he is both new and unfamiliar with the protocols."
"Of course." Lord Patil replied, some of the tension that had appeared at Harry's last statement fading from his frame.
The three members of House Potter left the conference room and moved into another small meeting room.
"Was he suggesting what I think he was suggesting?" Hermione asked when the small meeting room's door was closed.
"Lord Patil was offering his own life and that of his wife, brother and sister-in-law in the hope that you will accept their deaths as proper repayment of the debt and not kill his children, nieces and nephew." Gwen confirmed.
"What?! Why would I want any of them dead?" Harry exclaimed. "Sure I'm honked off at Parvati for not supporting me when my name came out of the cup, but I don't want her, or any of her family dead."
"My Lord," Gwen began, "In the Wizarding world there are only three ways to settle a large financial or Honour debt between Noble Houses. Financial Recompense, which you indicated you were not interested in and, by Lord Patil's own comments would not have been an option in this case, the total annihilation of the indebted house or the sacrifice of several prominent House members by ritual suicide as payment of the debt in order to save the rest of the House. In these circumstances, if you reject Lord Patil's offer you give them the choice of declaring War on House Potter or killing their entire House."
"Oh come on." Harry pleaded. "There has got to be some other way. Maybe something to do with the Pendragon legacy. Samrock said they were special."
"I'm sorry My Lord but…. Wait, did you say Pendragon?" Gwen replied.
"Yes." Harry said. "Why?"
"The Royal Line." Gwen almost whispered. "Merlin himself swore allegiance for the entire Magical community to King Arthur Pendragon and his true line. After Arthur and Mordred killed each other, the oath went to a younger son and then several hundred years ago the last Heir vanished from the Magical Community. The Royal Heir, and anyone directly related to them, had special powers that were unable to be used by any other House. But no one knows who the current Heir may be or even if there is an Heir."
"You're looking at her." Hermione replied.
"Your Majesty." Gwen said, dropping to her knees.
"Please get up." Hermione replied. "I have enough on my plate being Lady Potter, I have no intention of trying to claim some Magical Throne."
"Do you have the rings?" Gwen asked, suddenly excited.
"Yes." Harry replied, pulling the rings the Goblins had given them out of a small case in one of his pockets.
"Then it's true." Gwen said, seeing the rings. "This means there is another option."
Gwen explained the new option and there was a lengthy discussion relating to it. Eventually the trio returned to the conference room, where Lord and Lady Patil had been offered refreshments.
"Lord Potter, are you willing to accept our proposal?" Lord Patil asked, his face a mask to hid his emotions.
"No." Harry replied, then hastened to add, when he saw the regret in their eyes, "We have a counter proposal. Tell me, do you know much about the British Magical Royal Line?"
"I think we need to re-examine the Potter books to see if there are any other potential debts that we need to be aware of, and act upon." Harry said when they arrived back at the main Potter estate. "Particularly relating to any unusual activity with my school trust account."
"Yes, My Lord." Gwen replied. "I will have the investigation begun today."
"And you should call in the Life Debt owed by Ginny Weasley." Hermione added. "She has always been gushing about how you saved her life and you two are meant to be together. Time she learnt what owing your life to a Potter really means."
"Yes. But we need to finish up the Patil situation first." Harry replied.
Commander Jennifer Potter and General Margarite Delacour entered the room, having come to give Harry and Hermione some lessons, including strategic planning, and supply and logistics.
"Jen. How goes the recruitment?" Hermione asked Jennifer, while Harry and Margarite were talking.
"It goes." Jennifer replied with a smile.
The two Potter women got on well since their first meeting, seeing each other as almost sisters, except when Hermione was cursing the day Jen was born after a gruelling Sword Training session.
"You wouldn't know how to dance, would you?" Hermione asked after a brief silence, earning a sideways glace from the Commander
Professor McGonagall was livid. She could not believe that her 'brave lions' had done what the evidence in front of her indicated that they had done. Miss Granger was right. If a spouse had treated a member the way Mister Potter, and by association Miss Granger, had been treated the aggrieved party would be seeking a divorce.
In her capacity as Deputy Headmistress, McGonagall began an old and rarely used process to officially sperate Mister Potter and Miss Granger from Gryffindor House. There were two processes for separating students from their sorted House. One was for when a student consistently and extremely violated the House's code, making them outcasts within the school. The second process was when a House so wronged individual members that for the sake of the wronged members it was required that they be separated from the House.
Unfortunately for Gryffindor House, it was the second process that was being enacted. In this situation, the offending House was subject to certain sanctions as punishment. Firstly, all House points earned since the start of the year were stripped from the House and for the remainder of that year the House Points could not go above zero, but they could most certainly go below zero. The students who were wronged were placed in their own House, known as House Aggrieved taking with them all personally accumulated points, with the student being able to request a re-sorting should they wish so. Secondly, all members of the offending House were banned from extra-curricular activities, including Quidditch, for the remainder of the school year at the minimum, depending on the seriousness of the breach. And thirdly, all students in the offending House would be confined to their dormitory when not in class or at meals for the same period, including the cancellation of all Hogsmead Weekends.
The last time the second process had been enacted was over four hundred years previously with Ravenclaw House. In that case it had been so serious that Ravenclaw had not been able to field a Quidditch Team for five years (with only students sorted into the House in years after the event eligible) and the First Years when the event happened never saw Hogsmead Village while at Hogwarts.
It pained McGonagall to have to implement such a measure, but the circumstances required it, though it looked like the penalties would not extend beyond the remainder of the year. The Professor paused and wondered if the Gryffindors ever considered just how many points Miss Granger contributed to the House of the Brave. She would not be surprised if by the end of the year, House Aggrieved would be in the running for the House Cup. It was unlikely but with Miss Granger you never knew.