Summary: Sebastian Lestrange welcomes new additions to the Lestrange clan.
AN: A few weeks after the end of the last chapter.
Warnings: graphic sexual intimacy.
~ooO Carpe Diem II (3) New Beginnings Ooo~
Sebastian Lestrange made the appropriately polite noises as he was shown around Hogwarts, the premiere institution for magical schooling in Europe. He had sincere doubts it was best in the world. The Japanese had a longer magical tradition and the Americans were always open to pushing the borders and experimentation.
He ignored the interested looks from the portraits as the Headmistress led him down a particular corridor. He took note of the barren walls only lit by torches and glowing orbs.
"Now that we are away from the gossipers I can take you to whom you would be more interested in meeting," Minerva McGonagall said briskly.
"My great-nephew?" he asked casually.
"He rarely spends any time off the castle grounds," she admitted. "It's not very healthy but understandable."
Sebastian frowned faintly but hid his confusion. He hadn't heard from Rabastan other than a brief note requesting Sebastian to handle the pre-scheduled meetings Rabastan could not attend due to other commitments. What those commitments were had not been specified. He wasn't quite sure what kind of commitments would require Rabastan to drop everything and move into Hogwarts.
He followed the Headmistress down the corridor and stopped behind her before a particular floor to ceiling painting depicting a trellis archway heavily laced with pink, white, and red climbing roses. A painted shepherd boy stepped into the painting and smiled at the living beings.
"Revolving doors," the Headmistress said.
An odd password. The painting moved to reveal an archway into a private suite. Sebastian followed the Headmistress in and was not surprised to see his grand-nephew rise from a chair to greet him.
"Great-Uncle Sebastian," he said respectfully.
"Rabastan," Sebastian murmured cordially. "I hope you have not received troubling news that I am not aware of." Translation: would you care to explain why you're acting so oddly.
He was pleasantly surprised by Rabastan's broad grin. "Actually great-uncle, everything is just fine. Well, they could be better but it's a definite improvement to a year ago." His expression softened imperceptibly. "I'd like you to meet someone special." He turned half-way and held out a hand.
Sebastian watched as a second occupant made herself known, rising from the chaise. A very pregnant lady and about ready to deliver given her girth. Manners forced his gaze to rise to her face, to meet her eyes. And he froze seeing the mane of streaky brown curls framing the pale oval face, the imperfect but pretty features animated by pale brown eyes and a warm genuine smile.
He knew her. Potter's friend. Hermione Granger.
He bowed shallowly. "Miss Granger," he murmured.
The pair exchanged looks before Rabastan spoke. "Not entirely so Great-Uncle. I first knew her as Hermia Grangston."
Cloudy blue eyes widened in shock before narrowing. "Time turner?" he asked shrewdly.
"Accident. Bad spell interaction side-effect," Hermione Granger corrected. "I don't know how I landed in the past or how I got back."
"And just when did you get back?" Sebastian inquired delicately. "You have been missing for about five years now."
"About seven months," she admitted.
Sebastian lowered his eyes to her bump. There were charms that could mask or reduce the size of a pregnant woman's waist but he doubted she was using any of them. "The child…?" he asked trailing off questioningly.
"Is mine," Rabastan answered firmly. "Conceived in the past."
Sebastian rocked back on his heels and nodded slowly. After several tense seconds he smiled at the tense and waiting couple.
"Congratulations m'dear," he said to Hermione. "I always regretted never having the chance to meet you. Especially after your death – well, disappearance."
"Sir?" she asked hesitantly.
Sebastian smiled gently at her. "Back then it would have taken a truly remarkable witch to have influenced Rabastan. He was a rather arrogant intellectual and theorist." He looked to his great-nephew. "You made a good choice. This one was worth waiting for."
Both of them sagged slightly in relief. Sebastian wasn't sure why. It wasn't like he could interfere even if he wanted to. Both were most definitely adults, strong-willed, independently wealthy and experienced. He brought his hands together in a clap, lacing the fingers together.
"So, when are you going to get married?"
And was particularly displeased by the answer.
"We aren't. Not right now," Rabastan glanced at the pregnant witch standing beside him. "We want to get to know each other again before taking that final step." Dark blue eyes were faintly haunted. "I have changed a great deal over the years and Hermione needs time to adjust to those changes."
Sebastian frowned. "But you are expecting to marry, correct?"
They glanced at each other in unison. The ear-mark of a true couple.
"Yes," Hermione Granger was the one to respond.
"But you do not plan on doing so before your child is born." The statement had a questioning element to it that the witch felt the need to defend against.
"I feel it would do more harm to rush into a union and later regret it," she said quietly. "Rabastan and I, we are friends. I don't want to damage that. I just want time to get to know him again," she concluded with an earnest expression.
And the truth was Sebastian agreed with her reasoning. And if it wasn't for her condition he would have strongly supported her choice. But there was a child involved…
"You must understand, you are affecting your unborn child by choosing to not marry," he pointed out. "Familial legacies and inheritances are affected by legal legitimacy, which requires a registered union. However," a thoughtful expression lit his face. "It does not require the union to be marriage."
"What do you mean?" Rabastan asked.
Sebastian glanced at the couple seeing their calm but questioning looks. "A hand fasting is recognized by Magical law as a legitimate union. And a hand fasting can be set with a time limit, such as a year-and-a-day. Your child will be recognized as legitimate by law and magical society."
An eager expression spread across his great-nephew's face. "Hermione?" he asked softly as he reached out to take his witch's hand. "Would you agree to a hand fasting? A year will give us enough time to decide if we want to marry or not. There will be no whispers about our relationship or our child, especially when he or she is older."
The young witch chewed her lower lip for some time, considering her options before nodding slowly. "A hand fasting sounds like a good idea."
Sebastian smiled brightly. "Good. Then there is no reason why it cannot be done right now."
"What?" Hermione Granger looked shocked and off-balance by Sebastian's proclamation. "But what about licenses? Witnesses? Isn't there some kind of ritual that needs to be cast?"
Minerva McGonagall chose to intercede at that point.
"Actually Hermione, magical hand fastening doesn't require anything of that sort, just an unrelated bonder and the couple. If you wish I can act as bonder."
The younger witch looked reluctant. It relieved Sebastian when she spoke, explaining why.
"I don't know Minerva, would the hand fasting be registered somewhere in the Ministry? I don't want anyone to know I'm alive. I don't want to try and explain and defend my actions to anyone until I'm good and ready."
The Headmistress smiled. "You don't have to worry about that Hermione. It will be logged in Hogwarts Book of Records and no one but myself and my deputy Pomona have access to it."
The curly-haired brunette did not hesitate.
"All right. Can you give me a little time to get ready? And ask Poppy to come?"
Minerva McGonagall nodded and looked directly at Rabastan. "We need natural, not transfigured, spelled, or conjured items, to represent the primary elements. The House Elves will be able to help."
Rabastan nodded, and turned to walk towards a set of interior doors while Hermione made her way to a different set of doors.
Sebastian took note of it. They were keeping separate rooms. Interesting. A sign they were truly serious about getting to know each other, for a real relationship. The elder wizard was pleased. He had not expected this, but he was more than content with the outcome. His favourite great-nephew was getting bonded to a witch he had loved and believed lost, a witch who was pregnant with his child. True, it was not a marriage bond but given the looks they were sneaking at each other he was pretty certain it would become a permanent bond.
It did not take long for the hand fasting ceremony to be carried out. The dinner that followed was cheerful and filled with intellectual debates and discussions. It was late when Minerva, Poppy, and Sebastian Lestrange took their leaves and excused themselves. The Lestrange Patriarch had accepted Minerva's invitation to stay in Hogwarts for a few days, to get to know Hermione.
Hermione had already finished her usual nightly routine: a quick shower, brushing her teeth, slathering her body with lotion and her belly with a special salve to prevent stretch marks. She was dressed in a sea-foam green satin nightgown edged with chocolate brown lace and satin piping and tugged on the matching robe. She was too big to tie the robe closed around her waist but the higher empire-waist, full pleats, and a little magic, modified the gown to accommodate her bump. She sat down on the stool in front of her non-magical dresser mirror and massaged her face with cream before brushing and braiding her hair.
Absently her mind drifted back to the meeting with Sebastian Lestrange. She had not expected such a cordial positive interaction with a Pureblood Patriarch. She had steeled herself for scorn and snide comments despite Rabastan's reassurances that Great-Uncle Sebastian was not a snob.
Being so warmly welcomed by the Head of the Family bolstered her secret hopes that she would be welcomed, accepted and loved in her new family. At one time she had hoped that family would be the Weasleys, but after her break-up with Ron that dream had shattered. Molly Weasley ruled that household with an iron fist and would not tolerate anyone slighting her 'baby boy' even when the bastard had cheated on Hermione; not once, but twice.
"So what do you think?"
Hermione lifted her eyes to meet the smouldering cobalt blue ones of her lover, her partner, her hand fasted spouse, in the mirror. And she smiled. He was dressed in a forest green quilted silk robe, the lapels parting to bare smooth hard flesh. Rabastan had confessed he hated having body hair and had made it a part of his routine to use depilatory charms until his hormones had settled enough to use the longer lasting potions in his late twenties.
"You were right," she admitted as she watched him in the mirror.
She watched him walk up to stand behind her, to rest his hands on her silk covered shoulders, push the sea-foam green silk off her shoulders so they fell down her arms. She inhaled sharply as he brushed callused fingertips over her shoulders, under the narrow spaghetti straps of her matching empire-waist nightgown. Her breasts were so swollen she didn't need a bra for cleavage, they were almost spilling out of her gown.
Rabastan must have felt the same because his fingers lightly danced over the top swells over the edge of the nightgown, dipping lightly into the valley between them. Her breath came faster.
"This is our wedding night," she murmured.
"Yes. But I don't expect you to do anything." The words 'You're too pregnant' hovered between them. But he never stopped caressing her skin, exploring her flesh, arousing her senses.
Her free hand moved unexpectedly fast to grab his right wrist, pressing her hand over his, guiding his fingers deeper into her bodice, to cup one full curve.
"On the contrary, Rab I have very high expectations of you. I expect you to meet," her lips parted breathily, "and exceed each," the pink tip swiped over her lower lip, "and every one of them."
Her eyes were dilated and languorous. "I've waked up too many nights aching and yearning for you, too afraid to reach out, to push…" her voice trailed off as she arched her spine, thrusting her breast into his hand.
Almost without his conscious intent his left hand began mimicking the actions of his right, sliding into her bodice, gently massaging the swollen curves, brushing fingers across the sensitive hard tips pressed against the thin slippery material.
"I don't want to hurt you. Or our child."
She smiled wickedly at him in the mirror and rose from the stool, slowly enough for his hands to stay on her though she did shrug enough to allow the robe to slide off and onto the floor.
"Just follow my lead," she murmured stepping back, pressing her backside against his thighs. She could feel his hardening erection against the small of her back.
As she moved towards her four-poster bed she used a small wandless charm to pull the curtains aside and hold them back. She shifted so Rabastan, who had followed her, was between her and the edge of the bed, idly playing with her very swollen and aching nipples. She turned enough to get a good angle and pushed him back onto the mattress, with enough forcefulness to bounce on the padded springy surface. Then she was pushing his lapels apart, tugging at the belt to unveil his fully aroused cock. Wandlessly she summoned a padded footrest and sat on it. This put her more or less at eye level with his waist.
He choked when she leaned forward and wrapped her lips around the mushroom-like head, slowly but surely taking in more of his length within her mouth. He barely restrained the urge to thrust forward, to allow her to take the lead and give him a very thorough blowjob, using tongue and the bare edge of her teeth to increase his arousal to uncontrollable levels. She used her hands and nails to squeeze and massage what she did not take in her mouth. He twisted his hands in the cotton sheets to keep himself from grabbing her head and forcing his cock down her throat. And when she began manipulating his balls he completely lost it.
He came hard, spilling himself first in her mouth then coating her lips, throat and breasts with his fluids. He stared at her flushed and awed. He had heard enough from eavesdropping to know most women were not fond of engaging in sex so close to the delivery date.
He watched her rise from her near squat, crawl onto the bed, straddling his lap, knees beside his hips. He could not decide what drew his attention more: the prominent bump that sheltered his child, the very enticing twin curves above said bump smeared with his cum, her full moist lips that had just been licked clean by an agile pink tongue, or smouldering pale brown eyes. Her face was level with his and he could see the gold flecks in the irises, tiny striations around light brown pupils.
She placed her hands on his shoulders and pushed back, until he had to support himself on his elbows to keep from falling flat on the bed. She had moved closer, close enough to press her belly against him. He could feel their child nudging, shifting, through the stretched taunt flesh.
"Poppy said no sexual intercourse but there are other ways to share pleasure," he murmured just before shifting out from under her, unbalancing her enough to sprawl on the bed on her side.
She did not protest as he rolled her onto her back, tugging the nightgown straps low enough to slide off her shoulders, to expose her chest. She gasped as he latched onto the exposed nipple even as his hands pushed the skirt up to expose her wet aching core. He released the nipple long enough to shift lower between her parted legs. And she sobbed as he pleasured her with his hands, tongue, teeth, and lips. She screamed his name as she came, musky fluids spilling from her. She was very conscious of his agile tongue swiping along her slit and into her opening, seeking out every drop of her secretions.
Her muscles were quivering from the intensity of her orgasm. She could not muster the energy to move from the edge of the bed. And then he was kissing her. She tasted herself on his lips but she did not mind. She only wished Poppy had cleared her for vaginal intercourse. She ached to feel his cock between her legs, thrusting into her, stretching her flesh and testing her endurance in the most pleasurable of ways.
He was moving her, resting her head against the pillow, lying next to her, his hard and much larger frame pressed against her back, his softened cock nestled against her backside.
"Thank you," he murmured.
It was the first time they had been sexually intimate since their reunion.
Hermione chuckled throatily. "You can thank me by thoroughly shagging me once Poppy clears me."
He laughed and kissed the side of her neck, just under her ear.
"You can definitely count on that Mia."
Hermione smiled as she fell asleep in his arms. Agreeing to a hand fasting was definitely the best decision she had made since she had come to Hogwarts. Other than sending the letter and runic puzzle to Rab.
Harry Potter smiled faintly as he sipped his tea and worked his way through his plate of scrambled eggs and bacon rashers. He was very pleased Winky had decided to attach herself to him, to the Potter family. He did agree with Hermione's views about slavery but it was hard to set free a race that did not want to be freed.
"Harry, have you heard? Rabastan Lestrange has returned to Britain with a wife and heir."
The Senior Auror Captain frowned faintly and looked at his fiancée who was scanning the just delivered copy of the Daily Prophet. It had not really improved its record in reporting accurate truthful facts in all the years since Voldemort's Second and Final Fall.
He had read the news about Rabastan Lestrange's true identity two years ago. He had not believed it at first, that the Rabastan Lestrange who tortured Neville's parents was not the real Rabastan Lestrange, but an impostor. That the real Rabastan Lestrange was not a Death Eater or Pureblood fanatic, but a strong supporter of equality. Had not believed it until Kingsley had confirmed the news. Back then Harry had thought about it and set it aside. The one they believed was Rabastan had been killed in the Final Battle. His death had provided closer to many fighters on the Light Side. The appearance of this new Rabastan Lestrange was disconcerting but in the end ignorable, since he hadn't made any waves indicating he could be a threat. And Kingsley had put his foot down firmly about persecuting him.
He finished his breakfast and stood up, bending down to brush a kiss against Ginny's cheek.
"Whatever you say Ginny. I'm off to work now."
Harry hurried out of the kitchen, grabbing his cloak on the coat stand, swinging it on. He stepped into the small foyer of the Tudor-style manor house and Apparated.
Less than a second later he appeared in one of the many secure Apparation Points in London. Ten minutes later he was inside the Ministry of Magic and making his way to his office.
"Harry, the Minister wants to speak to you!"
"Sure thing Terry."
Terry Boot was not a field Auror but a researcher affiliated with the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, the magical version of a Crime Scene Investigator.
Harry changed directions and made his way to the lower secure levels containing the Minister of Magic's offices.
The secretary at the front smiled at him. "Go right in Auror Potter. The Minister is expecting you."
And he was.
Kingsley put aside the files he had been reading and gestured at the chair on the other side of the table.
"Have a seat Harry," he said holding out a plate of sandwiches. Harry accepted one and sat down before taking a bite. Cucumber and cress.
"What is it Kingsley?" he asked bluntly.
The ebony skinned wizard eyed the younger one shrewdly. "Have you read today's Daily Prophet?"
Harry shook his head. "No. Their news articles aren't the most accurate or factual."
"Well they have one that is in today's edition." Kingsley reached across and tossed a paper at Harry who caught it and glanced at the front page.
New Heir for Lestrange Clan.
Lestrange Heir married.
Quickly he scanned the article. It basically boiled down to Patriarch of the Lestrange clan selecting Rabastan Lestrange as his heir, the next Patriarch and Head of the extended Lestrange clan. It was an expected move as Rabastan Lestrange had been acting as Sebastian Lestrange's hands and voice for the past two decades. The new heir had recently married and had confirmed he and his wife would be making Britain as their primary residence. There were some speculations that the wife was an English witch who wanted to live in her birth country.
"How true is this?" he asked Kingsley.
"Pretty accurate. Don't know about the wife though. No one in the French Ministry is talking about her identity."
"I doubt she's a British witch. I haven't seen or heard anything about any Pureblood families with daughters acting extra smug. Trust me, Ginny would have heard from Lavender and Parvati; their gossip instincts are much more accurate and quicker than any of our informants."
"She might be a Half-Blood. Or from a less influential family," Kingsley pointed out.
Harry snorted. "I doubt it. Lestrange is a Pureblood. He might talk about equality and work with Muggleborns and Half-Bloods, but to actually marry one? I don't think so. His kind doesn't change."
Harry didn't know but he would eventually be forced to eat those words with a side order of crow.
Less than a week later Harry stared at the letter in his hand that had just been delivered by a generic post-owl. He broke the ingenious wax seal spelled to recognize him and unfolded the letter. It was an invitation from Minerva, to a naming ceremony being held in Hogwarts for an alumna.
Harry re-read the invitation more closely. Usually naming ceremonies were held in ancestral or birth lands. He tried to think of anyone from his school days who might have just had a baby. He couldn't. Why didn't Minerva include the parents names in the invitation? Or at least a sex for the kid? Guests would be expected to bring a gift, something.
"Do you know of anyone who's pregnant? Or might have just had a baby?"
The red-head stuck her head into his home office. "Not off hand. Why?"
He held up the invitation. "Minerva sent us an invitation for a naming ceremony in Hogwarts. But she didn't write the parents names."
"Couldn't you Floo, or write and ask?" Then she made a face. "Why do you care anyway? It can't be anyone we know, or anyone important if she didn't include a name. Just write back saying we're too busy to attend."
Harry was taken aback by the casual dismissal. "But Ginny, Minerva wouldn't have invited us without a good reason."
Ginny laughed. "Oh Harry, you're reading too much into it. It's probably one of her friends grandchildren who gave birth and asked for Harry Potter to be there at the naming ceremony. Not one of us."
Harry found himself vaguely offended by her off-hand manner though he held his tongue. He never won any fights with Ginny and always ended up sleeping alone if he angered her badly enough. These were times when he wondered if he really wanted to marry her. But she was one of the handful of witches who actually saw him as Harry, not the Wizard-Who-Won. And he did not want to damage his relationship with the Weasley family.
"Maybe," he responded in a non-committal tone. "But Minerva isn't the sort to ask without a good reason." He glanced at the date and time. "It's this Saturday morning at ten. We can just stop by for half-an-hour and then leave," he offered.
"I'm sorry Harry, I'm meeting Lavender and Parvati for a spa day." She did not look sorry at all.
Harry watched her leave and tucked the letter into his robe pocket. Ginny might be busy Saturday but it didn't mean he couldn't go and pay his respects to his old teacher. It would be nice to see the rebuilt Hogwarts again.
Saturday morning Harry appeared just outside the closed gates of Hogwarts. The smaller side-entrance swung open at a touch of his wand. He began walking up the path to the castle. It was amazing how quickly and thoroughly the land had recovered from that awful battle. There were almost no traces of the blasted debris and damage from the Final Battle.
He entered the Great Hall where there was an unexpected crowd including familiar faces. Kingsley Shacklebolt, Luna Lovegood, Padma and Terry Boot, Daphne and Blaise Zabini, were among them. The Hogwarts staff members were present as well. So were Andromeda Tonks and Narcissa Malfoy. The unfamiliar faces looked to be members of one family with wavy dark brown, almost black hair, dark blue eyes, and the refined attractive features that characterized many of the ancient wealthy magical families.
He approached Padma and Terry who were chatting with Luna. After greeting them he voiced the question in his mind.
"My invitation did not name the parents. Do you know who they are?"
Padma shook her head. "It wasn't specified in our invite either. But I think they must be Purebloods or Half-Bloods to follow the old ways."
That confused Harry. "Old ways?"
Padma tilted her head. "Oh, you wouldn't know." Harry bit his tongue to not take offence as Padma shifted into a familiar lecturing stance, taking a deep breath in preparation. It reminded him so much of Hermione he did not hear the first part of her explanation.
"…To protect the firstborn, usually the heir."
He mentally shook himself. "I'm sorry Padma, could you repeat that?"
She gave him an impatient look before doing so. "It's an old magical tradition for a couple from a wealthy influential clan to go into seclusion, especially if the baby was in direct line to be the next heir. To protect the mother and unborn child from potential assassins, threats, and the stress of interacting with the higher levels of magical society. It's no longer followed, but a few purists still follow some of the ways.
"The mother and father go into seclusion the closer she is to her delivery date. The father is always the second one to hold the newborn, to acknowledge the child and cast the spell to link the baby into the Familial Magical Legacy. The name and gender is kept as secret as possible, the name especially until the formal Naming Ceremony, even in the invites." Her expression turned curious. "They try to arrange to give birth and hold the Naming Ceremony on the same land the baby was conceived, if possible, to create a stronger link to the land. It's one reason why many old families have such strong ties to their estates and certain unique talents."
Harry was baffled. "Then why Hogwarts? It's not a family estate and it's definitely not a hospital."
"I don't know," Padma admitted.
Harry glanced over at Blaise and Daphne who were still holding themselves aloof from their old year-mates, only briefly interacting with the strangers.
"Why are they here?"
"It's tradition to invite witches and wizards from all factions and social classes, to not spite anyone," Luna murmured. "The story about Sleeping Beauty's parents offending an evil fairy began from true magical history. Only it was a dark witch who was offended at not being invited to a Naming Ceremony. Old families invite a variety of witnesses – light, dark, and neutral; rich and poor; Pureblood, Half-Blood and Muggleborn; wealthy nobles, bureaucrats, Healers, Aurors, teachers – to not offend anyone, so the baby has bonds who could help when he or she is older."
"Nowadays everyone 'knows' who a Naming is being held for, so they can bring appropriate gifts and know if they wish to accept the potential bond. This Naming is being done the Old Way, in true secrecy."
"So why would a Slytherin accept when there is no benefit?" Harry wanted to know.
"But you don't know that Harry," Padma explained. "Neither do they. Besides, everyone knows only someone of influence can request to hold a ceremony in Hogwarts. The Headmistress is strict, not the type to allow it without a very good reason." She arched a brow. "Have you seen her?"
Harry shook his head. "I didn't have time," he admitted. "I was really busy I couldn't even get a proper gift, just gift certificates for Magical Babes and a teething ring."
That took the trio aback. "Didn't Ginny go shopping for a gift? Where is Ginny anyway?"
"She didn't want to come," Harry confessed. "But I didn't want to let Minerva down."
Padma shook her head disapprovingly. "McGonagall does not make requests lightly. It's one reason why Terry and I are here."
"Same here," Harry said.
Luna turned away. "It's happening."
A few seconds later everyone in the Great Hall also felt it. A subtle shift in the magical flows, an exuberant bubbling feeling that filled them, an inexplicable sense of anticipation.
Minerva McGonagall stepped through a side door at the front of the Great Hall. She was dressed in rich burgundy robes silk embroidered with gold thread at the cuffs, collar, and down the front. Her hair was dressed in a more elaborate twist secured with glittering hair picks. Her face was relaxed, almost glowing with pleasure, as she looked around the Great Hall, motioning for them to approach. When the small crowd had formed a semi circle around her she looked around and smiled.
"Thank you for being here, on this very special day," she said. "We're here to acknowledge the child of an old friend and ally, a new heir to an ancient family." She turned towards the entrance she had used.
Harry was a little surprised to see Rabastan 'Frost' Lestrange step through dressed in heavy robes made of dark blue velvet and embroidered with silver thread. His dark brown, white-streaked hair was restrained in a queue, with shorter strands framing his face. His face was the most relaxed and pleasant Harry had ever seen it, a faint smile curving his lips. Underneath the robes he wore leather pants and a pale grey silk tunic embroidered with black silk thread at the collar and down the front. His pants and boots were made of black Norwegian Ridgeback dragon hide.
At his side was a shorter female, a witch with curly nut brown hair streaked with various shades of brown; a pretty face and bright pale brown, almost gold eyes; a bright warm light in her eyes as she looked at the wizard beside her. She too was dressed in dark blue velvet robes more richly embroidered with silver thread and lace at the cuffs, across the shoulders, down the front. Underneath she wore a pale grey dress whose skirts swirled underneath the hem or the robes. In her arms she carried a small bundle wrapped in a pale powder blue blanket embroidered at the edges with dark blue silk thread.
Harry recognized this witch.
She smiled at him but didn't respond to his outburst. Harry winced and responded to Luna's firm grip on his arm, her nails digging warningly into his forearm through his robe sleeve. He remained silent, vowing to find out exactly what was going on the first chance he got.
The couple came to stand beside Minerva, shifting to face each other in-between Minerva and the semi circle of wizards and witches.
Hermione looked up at Rabastan Lestrange before speaking in an oddly formal tone.
"I wish to state before all that I am here of my own free-will, without coercion or threat, be it physical, emotional, or magical. What I speak and say are my own words and thoughts, nothing forced upon me by others."
He bowed acknowledging her words before turning to Minerva who was smiling proudly and coughed softly before speaking.
"We are gathered here to name a new member of our community, a scion of the Clan Lestrange. To call a thing by its name is to give it power, so today we shall give this child that gift. We shall welcome him into our hearts and lives and give him a name of his own."
"To be a parent is to love and nurture, to show a child how to be a good person, to guide them, to teach them and learn from them," Hermione spoke clearly.
"To rein them in and give them wings to soar, to support them in ups and downs, to one day know they will walk their own path in the fullness of time," Rabastan continued.
Hermione shifted the blanket folds aside, to reveal a small round face with dark blue eyes and small wisps of dark brown curls covering the head.
"Husband," Harry inhaled sharply but Luna's restraining hand stilled his reflexive reaction. Hermione ignored everyone's reactions or non-reactions and held out the bundle towards the wizard. "Our child, our firstborn, our son. Flesh of my flesh, blood of my blood, born of my body, our love, our union. Will you name him, Rabastan 'Frost' Lestrange?"
"Wife," Rabastan's soft voice was clearly heard by all as he carefully accepted the baby cradling him close to his chest before touching the small face with his fingers, tracing out some unknown design.
Harry heard several sharp inhalations when the baby chortled and flailed, gold and white sparks bursting from the tiny clenched fists making fireworks bloom and fade repeatedly on his father's formerly subdued dark blue robes.
"Accidental Magic," Padma murmured. "It's a sign of true power for a child to display magic so young and when he is happy and not frustrated."
Rabastan turned to face the audience. "My child, my eldest, my son. Flesh of my flesh, blood of my blood, my legacy, my heir. Marius Harold Lestrange, son of Rabastan and Hermione. Does anyone dispute me?"
One dark brow rose inquiringly. There was no challenge though Harry was sorely tempted.
Minerva coughed softly. "Do you wish to name any god-parents?" she asked.
Rabastan shook his head. "Not at this time."
Minerva nodded and reached out to touch the baby's face.
"You are known to us and all, Marius Harold Lestrange. This is your name and legacy. Bear it with honour, wisdom and restraint."
The distinctive ring of a heavy bell rang deep and loudly. The magic in the room built and exploded in a small shower of sparks and dust over the four at the front, mostly over the father and the baby.
The baby, the newly named Marius Lestrange, began fussing. Hermione stepped forward to take him and cradle him close, rocking him against her breast as she wandlessly conjured something resembling a snitch to hover in his line of sight.
Hesitantly Harry stepped forward. "Hermione? Is it really you?"
She turned to look at him and smiled warmly. "Yes Harry it's really me."
Harry took three quick steps to stand before her. He could see the baby's face. The kid was really cute, flailing with enthusiastic uncoordinated fists, trying to grab the snitch. Circumspectly he cast a wandless Dark Magic detection spell and found nothing. Deciding to be prudent and not assume anything he asked the question on all of their minds.
"Hermione, where've you been? Why didn't you contact anyone? We thought you were dead! We had a memorial ceremony and everything!"
She laughed. "Oh Harry, that's a long story, one best told on a full stomach."
"Quite correct Hermione," Minerva added briskly. "I believe the House Elves have prepared a nice brunch for us. Including those cucumber and cress sandwiches you are so fond of Hermione."
Hermione smiled at Minerva. "Let's go and eat Harry. I'll tell you everything after."
"What's there to tell?" Luna asked airily. "Hermione was thrown into the past where she met and fell in love with Mr. Lestrange. When she came back she was more worried about getting back with him than anything else."
The couple stared at the airy Ravenclaw with wide eyes. "Luna?" Hermione squeaked. "How did you know?"
"I guessed," Luna admitted. "I also have some of my mother's photo albums from when she was a student. There are quite a few of her DADA teacher Hermia Grangston with a visiting scholar in her fourth year, a wizard with two Masteries in Arithmancy and Ancient Runes, a Rabastan Lestrange."
Hermione choked. "You knew?"
"I thought she was a relative of yours," Luna countered. "The time travel bit only came to me when you vanished. You looked just like Hermia Grangston in the photos."
Harry goggled at his oldest friend. "You travelled into the past? You met my parents? You taught them?" he asked eagerly.
"Yes, I did, to all three. I did try to change the past but I don't know how effective I was. I know Rabastan took my words to heart, but the others…?" she shrugged.
"How did you get back?" Padma asked.
"Another accident," Hermione said.
"She was duelling Riddle. There was a bad interaction of spell energies. I thought she had died." Rabastan added bluntly. "It was a shock to find she had somehow been thrown back into her real time, the future."
Harry shook his head bemusedly. "Why do I get a feeling there is a lot more not said?" he asked rhetorically.
"Because you're using your brain and thinking," Rabastan responded lightly. "What happened happened. Hermione is here to stay."
There were questions in Harry's mind. What exactly had Hermione been doing in the past? Had she told Dumbledore or anyone else anything? If so why had his parents chosen Pettigrew as the Secret Keeper? And what about Sirius? When exactly did she leave the past and return to the future? A year or so if she re-met Rabastan and gotten together and had the baby. Why hadn't she contacted Harry? Or the Weasleys? Did she contact anyone other than Rabastan and Minerva? All of his questions were racing together in his mind but Harry firmly put them aside. There would be plenty of time to answer them. For now he wanted to concentrate on catching up with his friend.
AN: Leaving it open to a sequel and outtakes, but nothing is planned.
AN: Please note this is B7 EWE, Harry and Ginny are engaged and living together but not married. Ginny is more interested in her career and having fun than settling down.
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