Harry Potter & The Runic Affinity
Final Author's foreword: I have decided to move all my ramblings to the very end of each chapter, so this should be the final time you see what I have to say up here, before the chapter begins.
Oh, and another few of my favourite authors have taken a liking to my story: broomstick flyer, MariusDarkwolf – another two authors who have inspired me. Yay, this makes me happy. And even more, Old-Crow reviewed with some interesting questions that I'll have to address… Gah, I'm being blown away here! Thank you so much!
Chapter 7: Of private celebrations and Goblins.
The morning after the two teens shared their first kiss was an interesting one, at least for Remus and Tonks. To them it was blatantly obvious that something had changed the in dynamic before the two and there were several obvious signs pointing to it. Tonks immediately noticed them looking at each other just a bit longer than usual as they had their coffee, blushing slightly as they broke eye contact. Hermione had been beaming when they walked into the kitchen and a constant smile seemed to tug at Harry's lips as he entered behind her. They playfully nudged and swatted at each other, obviously unaware of their obviously increased level of physical interaction and gazes.
To Remus it was more his werewolf nose. He could quite literally smell their attraction to another and their increased levels of colour in their cheeks didn't go unnoticed by the observant Marauder. He turned to his girlfriend and raised an eyebrow and she gave a cheeky grin. She donned a grave expression and he followed her lead, shooting the two teenagers the most serious look he could muster on such short notice.
"Harry, Hermione," Tonks started, her voice grave, "there's something I must ask you."
Harry and Hermione looked up from their breakfasts at the Auror in surprise, her voice in complete contrast to the tone they had heard mere moments ago.
"What is it?"
Tonks broke her eye contact with Harry and shifted it to Hermione who looked back with wide chocolate eyes.
"Did you two use a condom?"
Harry reeled back in surprise and Hermione's mouth opened in shock as the two invented new shades of red with their faces. Neither Remus nor Tonks could maintain their charades and gave into the laughter that had been building from the second Tonks' words had left her mouth.
For the next week, Dumbledore and Mad-Eye seemed insistent on stepping up Harry and Hermione's training. The sessions now included both war veterans together more often than not. It quickly became clear that Harry had a thing for transfiguration as he preferred to use and abuse his surroundings to gain an edge over the opponents. Harry seemed to be proficient at dodging spells and using the environment to his advantage in his defensive manoeuvres. Whether he just enjoyed the adrenaline rush or not, Harry would always emerge with dirt covering his clothes as he dived behind earthy walls that he had transfigured mere moments before a spell hit the space he had occupied mere moments before. Improvisation and instinct seemed to be key to his style of combat.
Hermione on the other hand preferred a slightly different style to her partner. She would gracefully attempt to dodge as many of the incoming assault as she could. Her preferred method of defence was defensive charms when she couldn't dodge. When she found a gap in between the incoming spells she would retaliate viciously with a combination of strong hexes, jinxes, charms and curses. She would fire them at a rapid rate to suppress her opponents and find a way to disable them which often came by the way of Harry, who would use her barrage of spells as cover and flank their mentors.
They quickly became attuned to each other, being able to react to the other's movement instantly as they fought side by side in their training sessions as well as against each other. What Hermione lacked in terms of raw power and impulsive reaction she made up for with creativity and speed. Hermione and Harry's combinations had managed to catch even Moody off-guard more than he'd be willing to admit. Stunning spells and disarming jinxes were quickly replaced with far stronger and far deadlier alternatives, aimed at downing a Death Eater for an extended period of time or disabling them in such a manner that they'd not be able to fight without significant assistance from their allies.
It was the night before Harry's birthday when Harry found himself standing in his bedroom tugging nervously at his suit jacket as he examined himself in the mirror. He had moderately tamed his hair according to the way Hermione had taught him using the muggle product and had put on the outfit she had recommended. He wore a form-fitting black suit, the first one Hermione had picked out for him in the department store. Harry critically examined himself in the reflection of the mirror and sighed resolutely. 'I look about as good as I get, I guess.' He thought to himself, glancing at the black slacks and matte black leather loafers. His shirt was a shiny white with the collar casually undone. This sort of wear was completely unfamiliar to him, having always worn his cousin's old clothing beneath his Hogwarts robes. If he was completely honest with himself, Harry thoroughly enjoyed the comfort and style of the garments and would perhaps seek for more occasions to wear them.
A small smile came to his lips as he thought about Hermione's insistence that she'd take him out for dinner the night before his birthday since they wouldn't have enough time on the actual day since people would be coming over to Grimmauld Place to celebrate. Remus had voiced concerns regarding their security but she had remained stubborn and wouldn't take any arguments, saying she and Harry were being trained by Dumbledore himself to be able to take care of themselves in any situation and that she would not let some Death Eater scum dictate the way she lived her life. Harry had opted for sitting in the background and let her do the talking, not wanting to get caught up in an argument.
The young man gave himself a resolute nod before opening the door of his room and stepping across the floor before coming to a stop outside the door of his dinner partner for the night. He initially thought that this dinner would be with Remus and Tonks too but they apparently had other things to do and Tonks only gave him an oddly stern look when he asked why they weren't coming. Shrugging it off, he accepted the fact that he'd go with only Hermione. The sound of his knuckles knocking against the wooden door leading into Hermione's room broke the silence of the first floor's hallway. A moment later a muffled voice came from inside Hermione's room yelled, "Wait outside for me, I'll be right down!"
"Okay." Harry replied with what Harry thought was a confident tone.
Tonks happened to walk up the stairs as he made his way downstairs. Her eyes roamed over his body critically before she waggled her eyebrows suggestively whilst grinning at him. "Why Mister Potter, who woulda thunk that you clean up like a hunk?"
Harry could feel himself blush from her words before letting out an exaggerated sigh. "Sheesh Tonks, any more and I'd think you were into the whole pureblood incest thing. Anything I should know before thinking of you as my "sister?"" He sniped back, grinning at her momentary surprise.
The Auror smacked him across the head lightly, "And he's got bite, too. Watch your back Potter, one does not simply mess with me." She retorted laughingly. The subject of her teasing shook his head before turning to continue his walk down the stairs.
"Oh, wait a second Harry." She said thoughtfully as he had travelled down two steps. Turning around Harry gave her a questioning look, not quite knowing what to make of the little gleam in her eyes. With a twist of her wand, Tonks conjured a muggle tissue pack that she threw him. Harry caught it lightly before giving her a puzzled look.
"Tissues? For me?"
Tonks grinned at him before looking in the direction of Hermione's room for a second. "Oh yes, you might need them."
"Why on earth would I need tissues?" Harry asked, growing more confused by the second.
"They're not for you, Harry… if you know what I mean." Tonks winked at him before coughing something along the lines of "wet" before stalking back up the stairs.
Harry looked down at the pack of tissues before shrugging. Pocketing them, just in case, he made his way down the stairs and stepped outside the house into the fresh summer evening air. A deep breath filled his lungs with the fresh air as he looked towards the sun which was in its final stage of disappearing behind the horizon. The wizard got lost for a moment in the beauty of seeing the summer sun set as the darkness of night approached before he got shaken out of his thoughts by two slim hands covering his eyes from behind.
"Guess who?" Came the voice from behind him in a playful tone.
"And what if I don't?" Was the playful reply.
"Hmm," Hermione huffed behind him, "I'm sure I can think of some sort of punishment." She let her hands fall away and Harry turned around quickly. She saw him open his mouth to say something but no sound was heard as he took in her appearance.
Hermione was wearing the second dress from the incident inside the changing booth at the department store. It was a pearly white and a tad more formal than the black one which Harry had seen her in as well. It stopped just past the mid of her thigh but was strapless. Against the slight cold of the summer night, Hermione wore a black feminine jacket.
His eyes told her everything she needed to know. The effort she had gone through, including the makeup and hair care had already paid off in double if this was his initial reaction. With a radiant smile she put her hand on Harry's jaw and encouraged him to close his mouth. "Shall we?"
A dumb nod was all Harry managed as his body automatically offered her his arm as they started walking away from Grimmauld Place.
Harry felt completely out of his element in the restaurant. It was a moderately sized Italian restaurant that seemed somewhere on the boundary of upper class if Harry had to judge by the sort of people occupying the tables around them. The women wore dresses, the men suits – to Harry the most casual looking person in the room was the guy playing the piano because he wasn't wearing a suit jacket. Most of the crowd seemed to be made of older couples than Harry and Hermione; the youngest ones seemed to be at least twice their age.
The waitress at the door immediately recognized Hermione and led the pair up the stairs, complimenting on how lovely they looked together. Harry blushed slightly in embarrassment, refusing to make the situation uncomfortable so he thanked her with a lopsided grin. Hermione blushed a bit more noticeably from the waitress' words, not used to the positive attention. Their table was in a secluded corner of the room, right at the window. One of the table's corners was placed so it touched the window, set so that the couple would sit perpendicularly to each other. Hoping to be on his best manners, Harry helped Hermione shed her jacket which he handed to the waitress before taking Hermione's hand to aid her in sitting down.
His reward was worth the effort as she beamed a radiant smiled at him as he took his own seat. Hermione didn't seem to feel out of place so Harry followed her lead as he had done many times before in non-life-or-death situations. The waitress returned and before Harry could even open his mouth to order a glass of water or soda, Hermione ordered a bottle of, and Harry was sure he had to be hallucinating at this point, red wine.
The waitress seemed to give the two an appraising look for a second before shrugging as she made her way back to the floor's bar to collect the wine.
Harry raised a surprised eyebrow at the lovely lady essentially sitting next to him, moving a bit closer so that their knees touched. "Wine?"
Hermione gave him a coy look before gently nudging his knee with hers before replying, "We're almost adults in the wizarding world and we've faced some of the hardest criminals our world has to offer… Think a bit of alcohol is out of your league, Harry?"
The boy in question chuckled at her joke before giving her most arrogant look he could muster given the circumstances. "I shall have you know Hermione, that I've had one of most deadly venoms known to wizard kind circulate through my blood and I survived that, so I believe that a bit of red wine won't be too much of a challenge."
It was Hermione's turn to laugh at Harry's humour. "But seriously, though, I've never had anything stronger than Butterbeer and, well, don't really know what to expect."
A comforting hand covered his as Hermione smiled reassuringly. "Don't worry Harry, it's not too strong, I've had it before with my parents. Besides, isn't this a good time to learn and explore some new things? I mean, after all, if we're already seeing new sides of each other…"
"Then we might as well see new sides of the mundane world, right?" Harry finished for her, resulting in her smiling at him brilliantly. "I hope you're gonna order something nice to eat though, because I have no idea what any of these dishes are so I'm just going to order the same as you and hope for the best."
Hermione laughed at his plan and agreed; she'd pick out something nice to eat that they'd both enjoy.
It was a solid hour later that Harry and Hermione finished the last pieces of their desert. They had also finished their bottle of wine which the two had taken an uncharacteristic liking to. Harry doubted he'd ever drink it on his own but with a nice plate of pasta and desert while in the company of none other than his sort-of-more-than-best-friend he definitely wouldn't say no to a glass… or two, or three.
The restaurant had started to clear out and Harry and Hermione loved the atmosphere. There wasn't much of view out the window, but the lack of lights from the buildings across the road made the stars stand out against the clear black sky. The two were leaning back in their comfortable chairs which had magically moved closer and closer to each other over the course of the dinner so that the sides of their legs were fully touching, rubbing against another gently now and then.
As a waiter cleared their table, Harry leaned forward with his elbows on the table before letting out a content sigh. "Thank you Hermione, for taking me here. I've never really been in a place like this and it means a lot to me that… you, you know, prepared this for me."
Hermione blushed prettily at the praise and thanks but waved it off. "You don't have to thank me Harry, besides I didn't do much. I made a reservation and forced Tonks and Remus to let us go on our own. That's all really."
"Still, thank you. I hope I can do the same for you one day." Harry said, honestly.
She nodded her appreciation before leaning over and gently kissing him on the cheek.
As the two left the restaurant after being complimented by the manager for making a lovely couple and that they should definitely come again should they feel like some good Italian food, the two slowly made their way towards Grimmauld.
The temperature was mild and Harry enjoyed the gentle breeze of the British summer. He looked over the happy looking young woman hanging on his arm. "What time is it, Hermione?"
"About 11pm." Came the reply after a slightly puzzled look.
"You want to go for a bit of a walk? We still have an hour before midnight so I thought maybe we could enjoy the night a bit longer…"
He needed to say nothing more as Hermione tugged on his arm and they started walking past the park they'd walk through later to get to Grimmauld Place.
They walked around the neighbourhood, not encountering a single living soul aside from the occasional cat making a run for it the second it was spotted. Harry's hand had found Hermione's the moment she had taken his arm to lead him away from the park at the start of the walk. They spent a good amount of time in comfortable silence, relishing the feel of the comforting summer night's winds. Harry stole the occasional glance at Hermione, admiring her slightly pink cheeks, and the way her dress magnificently filled out the dress he had bought for her.
Hermione met his gaze on occasion and smiled at him, wanting to lose herself in his green pools as they strolled around the area. They completed a large lap around a few blocks before finding themselves at the park's entrance again. Harry nodded towards it and Hermione replied with a nod, allowing him to lead her along the path through the park. They continued their leisurely walk, walking past the small playground near the pond. With a grin, Hermione suddenly let go of Harry's hand before yelling "First one to the swings wins!" as she took off as fast as she could… well, as fast as her dress permitted her to.
Harry laughed at her as she approached her top speed which equated to nothing more than a casual jog to him as he quickly caught up with her. Pacing his speed to match Hermione's speed, the two reached the playground's swings at the same time, laughing along the way at their silliness.
"I forgot about that," Hermione managed to get out as she laughed, "stupid dress."
Harry just nodded, still giggling at the silly sight of Hermione running across the path to get to the playground.
"While it might stop me from running, I don't think it'll stop me from swinging." Hermione said as she sat down on the swing, "Give me a push?"
Obliging, Harry got behind her and pulled her, along the seat of the swing, back as far as he could before giving her a moderate push, causing her to gently swing back and forth. Utilizing her legs, Hermione maintained the pace. Harry quickly got on the adjacent swing and started swinging too, thoroughly enjoying such a mundane activity.
"Heh," Harry started after a bit of silence, "it may be a few years late but I never thought I'd have someone to actually play with."
Hermione gave him a thoughtful look as they swung side by side before giving him a small, compassionate smile. "Yeah, me neither."
Her compassionate smile quickly turned into sly one. "But now you have me to play with if you ever feel like it." Harry chuckled at her tone.
"Duly noted, ma'am." Another period of comfortable silence settled upon them, the only noise penetrating the late hour being the rustling of leaves from the numerous trees located around them.
"I don't think I ever told you this, but," Hermione started as her swing slowly started to slow down, "I never had many friends when I was younger. In fact, I didn't have any."
Harry looked at her in undisguised surprise before quietly asking, "None?"
Hermione gave him a small smile before shaking her head. "None. Not until you jumped on the back of a troll to save me."
A solemn look of understanding crossed his features as he looked back into the darkness of the night. "I never had any friends either. In fact, I had no one, not until Hagrid took me to Hogwarts where I got to meet you and Ron."
Hermione hummed in agreement before jumping off her swing. Turning to him she gave him a bright smile. "Well now we have each other, don't we? Enough with the depressing talk, let's get back to Grimmauld Place so we can rest – after all, we have a birthday to celebrate tomorrow, don't we?"
Infected by her mood, Harry jumped off of his as well before taking her hand, leading her to the Order's Headquarters.
As they reached the front door, Hermione slowed their pace before taking a glance at her watch. It was a minute to midnight – the evening had gone by far quicker than she had thought. Harry was about to touch the door of the house to open it, but she stopped him with a gentle touch to the forearm as she stood next to him.
"What is it?" He asked.
With a smile, she stepped closer to him and put her arms around his neck, which came with the automatic response of his hands finding their way to her lithe waist.
"Happy Birthday, Harry." Was all the raven haired teen heard before Hermione closed the distance between them and captured his lips with hers. Reacting naturally, Harry pulled her closer by the waist and closed his eyes and responded to her soft, slightly moist, lips upon his with equal passion.
After a very comfortable morning with Harry waking up to Hermione squirming on top of him as she attempted to turn in her sleep, followed by a grand birthday breakfast prepared by Dobby, Harry found himself sitting in the same chair at Ragnok's desk that he had occupied a few weeks prior. To his right Hermione sat once more, to his left sat Tonks and Remus.
All five of them exchanged formalities and pleasantries before getting to business. Ragnok presented two small boxes to Harry and opened both of them for him. He placed them on the table and turned them so the opening faced Harry. The two boxes were a deep red and black respectively, the red one bearing the Potter crest while the black one bore the Black family logo. Harry peered at them curiously before giving Ragnok a questioning look. Ragnok leaned forward and smiled triumphantly, before gesturing to the two boxes which were the size one would get when purchasing an engagement ring.
"These, Mister Potter, are proof that your late godfather's plan has succeeded and both the Potter and Black estates are ready to accept a new head. These two boxes can only be retrieved from their respective sections in the family vaults when all legalities are taken care of and a new head is eligible."
Harry nodded slowly, understanding the goblin's words. "So, what do I do with them?"
Ragnok nodded, but leaned back in his chair. "Before I get to that part, I would like to impart on you the significance of what is about to happen. By going through this procedure, you accept responsibility of two Ancient and Noble families. This means you will be entitled to two seats in the Wizengamot, along with many other old families or influential government official. You will be responsible for all the future charges you accept into either family and will be considered an adult in the wizarding world. You will have full access to both families' fortunes and will have absolute control over any decision regarding your wealth. Do you understand, and accept, these conditions?"
After taking a deep breath, Harry looked to the people that were in attendance with him. Hermione wore and encouraging smile, Tonks seemed a tad awed and Remus grinned. Nodding to with determination, he said, "I do."
Giving the young boy a closed smile, Ragnok continued, "These boxes will grant you with a symbol of lordship over the two houses. You simply place your finger onto the cushions inside and let them work their magic."
"What kind of symbol?" Hermione inquired.
With a mysterious shrug Ragnok explained, "It varies from user to user, depending on what the magic considers appropriate for the current lord. It could be anything from a necklace to a ring to a pin. James Potter wore a ring, Sirius Black wore a bracelet. It is family magic."
Gesturing for Harry to go ahead, everyone leaned a bit forward to see what exactly would happen. Overcoming his hesitation, Harry simultaneously placed both of his index fingers into the boxes – his left one into the Potter box, his right one into the Black box.
Nothing happened for a moment. For a second Harry thought he had done something until he could feel… something.
All eyes were locked onto the boxes with started emitting two lights – the Potter box seemed to radiate a bright red light, the Black box a deep purple one. Hermione, Tonks and Remus reeled back in surprise as the lights were seemingly absorbed into Harry's fingers. Harry himself sat petrified, his eyes watching in amazement as he could feel the magic enter his body, feeling like a hot blob of water under his skin.
The two lights shone through Harry's skin as they slowly gained pace traveling through his fingers into his palm, through his wrist before they shot up to his elbow. The sensation was so foreign to Harry that he could not have explained it even if he had wanted to.
The red Potter light in his left arm seemed to stop at his elbow before moving back down onto the inner side of his forearm where it came to a stop. Similarly, the Black light moved down from his right elbow all the way back to his palm before coming to rest in his right ring finger.
After a momentary pause, the Black light flared bright and after Harry experienced a brief feeling of discomfort. After the light died down, he felt a new sensation around his ring finger. Everyone looked down at his hand and saw a ring adorn Harry's finger. It seemed fairly plain for a distant, but a closer look revealed it to be a ring made from black metal with an elongated part which had the Black Family Crest engraved in fine silver lines. The rest of the ring seemed to be covered in runes which Harry could not identify.
Before anyone could comment, the Potter light in Harry's left arm flared up, this time significantly longer than the first time. Harry hissed in pain as it felt like his left forearm was on fire. Before he could complain about it, the light subsided and faded into nothingness. As Harry had decided to wear a simple T-shirt, everyone could see his arm clearly and what the magic had done to it surprised everyone there. Instead of a piece of jewellery like the one he now wore on his right ring finger, Harry's forearm bore something akin to a muggle tattoo.
In the colours black, red and gold, a crest that Harry assumed was the Potter Family's symbol, adorned his forearm. He could identify a shield and two lions, as well as a Latin phrase on a banner below the shield. He curiously touched the skin the mark was on with his other hand only to find it perfectly healthy, not sore or bloody like he had expected.
Looking at Ragnok, the Goblin leaned back in his plush chair with an almost smug expression on his wrinkled face.
"Most interesting, Lord Potter. May I be the first to offer my congratulations and wish you a joyous birthday on behalf of the Goblin Nation." He said, inclining his head politely.
Harry nodded in thanks before gesturing to his forearm, "Is it normal that it turns into a mark like this?" All four humans in the room looked anxious to hear what Ragnok had to say as they had all expected Harry to get another ring or bracelet of some sort.
"I believe the term 'normal' is not quite applicable to family magic, Lord Potter. It is a very obscure branch of magic which has puzzled even the most stubborn of Goblin researches into submission so far. But by using logic and some sophisticated guesses, I believe we can make sense of the mark, no?" Ragnok spoke.
Hermione looked like she had figured it all out already, but Ragnok beat her to it. "First, the location of the mark. It is on your left forearm. Who else bears a mark on their left forearm?" At the look of realization in Harry's eyes, Ragnok nodded, "Indeed, Voldemort's Death Eaters do. The Potter Family is a family of the light and has been so for all of its recorded generations. Given your seemingly unavoidably frequent run-ins with the Dark Lord, this may be your family's magic recognition of your struggle against his power as well as sign of strength. Perhaps it is also a reminder of where you come from and what your ancestors and your parents have stood for."
Harry gently traced the outlines of his newly acquired mark with his hand as he thoughtfully nodded at Ragnok's words. The Goblin continued, "Also, it is a magical mark. It is permanent, I believe far more permanent than something such as the Dark Mark Voldemort employs. It signifies your eternal bond to the Potter family; it is not something that can just be taken off like a piece of jewellery. It could also imply eternal defiance against your adversary, I am unsure."
Silence reigned the room as the four wizards and witches took in the Goblin's words. A soft smile tugged at Harry's lips as he absentmindedly touched the tattoo. Now he had something to forever remind him of his family and what they stood for.
"Now, how about I show you your vaults, Lord Potter, while we discuss the management of your account."
Harry and his entourage received an exclusive tour of the Black and Potter vaults, both of which were mightily impressive to say the least. Aside from the seemingly endless piles of Galleons, there were many family heirlooms, ranging from clothing to jewellery to weaponry to various artefacts.
Griphook lead them from chamber to chamber, highlighting some features. He also outlined the Potter and Black investments in both the muggle and wizarding worlds. "Since you are still a student at Hogwarts, we could offer to take care of the day to day businesses regarding your wealth for you. Significant investments would still need your approval, but such communication would be easy with an appointed Vault Manager, someone to act as your representative here at Gringotts."
"Would it be possible for me to choose my Vault Manager myself?" Harry asked, relieved that the Goblins were willing to help since he didn't know a single thing about money and investing or businesses. He had spent the better part of his life to now in technical poverty in the muggle world, so he'd need someone to teach him how money actually worked. As Sirius said in his Will, having the Goblins manage his money seemed like a great idea so he wouldn't have to stress with extra work while at Hogwarts.
"Of course. I could provide a list of potential candidates for the position, should that be convenient for you." Ragnok offered.
"Actually, I already had someone in mind. Since I've already met Griphook a few times and know him already, I was wondering if he could take the job. So far he's done a great job at helping me with anything I've requested and he seems nice enough." Harry said.
Ragnok looked almost surprised before chuckling deeply. "Very well, Lord Potter, it shall be done. Teller Griphook will be notified of his new assignment immediately."
Author's Rambling Time: Right, hi everyone. So first of all, once more, thanks for the reviews – what I'm actually more blown away by is the amount of favs and alerts this story has been getting! Much appreciated. I've stumbled across my own story on several fav's lists of authors whose stories I've been reading lately and it's an odd feeling to be listed on the same lists that feature some of the biggest names in the community… Wow.
Also we broke 400 reviews – fuck yeah. I love you all. Sorry for the slow update, you know how life gets. Reason I didn't update was because I moved to the Philippines. I'm studying again, at a University. It's been very hectic and I just got through my first midterm exams, so life is stabilizing for now. I'll be updating again soon, so stay tuned. This is the shortest chapter so far, but I thought I should end it there in order to not take away from the cute little dinner date. Next chapter will be huge once more.