Disclaimer: All portions of the HP universe/worlds/characters are the property of JKR, the WB, and respective publishing companies. All portions of the Animal Ark universe/worlds/characters are the property of Ben M. Baglio, associated authors, and respective publishing companies. This story is nothing more than a simple FanFiction that I have written for my own enjoyment. I have made no money from this or any of the other stories I have posted on this or other sites.

AN: Please note that this story is self-beta'd; so there may be occasional grammatical or spelling errors that crop up every now and then and for those I apologize in advance.

Hero in a Handfasting

Harry slumped back in bed and sighed as Mandy vanished through the door. The stupid nurse hadn't even given them time to talk about the kiss they'd just shared before the evil bint had kicked her out of the room. Bringing his left hand up to his mouth, Harry let his fingers trace over his lips where he still felt an echo of the kiss they had shared. It wasn't exactly the first kiss they had shared; he'd often kissed her on the cheek when he'd been trapped in his parrot form and she'd often kissed him back on the beak. The differences between those innocent and friendly pecks and the kiss he and Mandy had just shared was like comparing glass to a diamond; they were in completely different leagues.

The twenty-five year old wizard had long known he was falling in love with the perky little blonde that had saved his life. She'd captured both his heart and his attention from the moment he'd first laid eyes on her. The problem was that he had no idea how she felt about him or if she'd even consider allowing their strange friendship to deepen into something more. It made his heart ache to think she'd forever be standing just out of reach simply because she only saw him as a friend. He'd never push her for something more if it wasn't what she wanted though; he loved her too much to make her miserable by trying to cage her.

Maybe it would have been better if I had stayed a parrot, Harry thought to himself as he continued to ignoring the sadistic nurse puttering about his bed checking on the stitches they'd inserted into the numerous cuts that had littered his body. At least when I was in my animagus form it hurt less to think of my cutie pie falling in love with someone else.

Once Harry was alone again, he called for Kreacher and asked the house elf to bring him a couple of healing potions in order speed his internal healing up so he could talk the doctor into releasing him sooner. He couldn't risk healing his cuts and external bruising because it would send up far too many red flags; normal humans didn't heal in under twenty-four hours immediately upon regaining consciousness after all. Just taking care of his bruised and broken ribs made life a whole hell of a lot easier for Harry; being able to breathe without every breath sending pain through his chest was something Harry could greatly appreciate.

Harry slept for a couple of hours after that until Dobby popped into the room and warned him that the Ministry had finally learned about the attack and that they planned to send a team of obliviators to Welford in the morning to wipe the memories of the muggles involved. Harry's fury, which had gone back to sleep after he'd dealt with the three witches, woke up instantly at the implied threat to his cutie pie. Harry immediately called Kreacher and ordered him to watch over Mandy to make certain the wizards didn't harm her or mess with her mind while he ordered Dobby to contact the goblins to purchase enough ward stones to protect the entire city from the Ministry and the warders to install them.

The next thing Harry did was to send a patronus message to Kingsley Shacklebolt, the new Minister of Magic, and advise him to keep his employees out of Welford or there would be hell to pay. He also told him that if the trio of witches that had attacked him disappeared from their cells, Harry would see to it that the man was kicked out of office. Kingsley sent a reply back threatening to have Harry labeled as a rising dark lord for attacking two pureblood witches and exposing their world to the muggles.

Harry, in return, accused Kingsley of aiding and abetting a pair of lowly purebloods and a muggleborn that had attacked the noble head of an ancient house with ties to the British royalty and if Kingsley wanted to play dirty than Harry was more than game and see to it that the matter was brought to the attention of a higher authority; the Crown. When two aurors and an obliviator turned up at the crack of dawn in his hospital room, Harry was more than ready for them; having just signed his release forms and dressing in clothes that were befitting his station.

"Mr. Potter…" John Dawlish began only for Harry to cut him off.

"Lord Potter."

"I beg your pardon?"

"I am the Head of Houses Potter, Black, and Peverell. My name is Lord Harry James Potter and as such you shall address me as Lord Potter or I will destroy House Dawlish for the slur against my person," Harry imperiously stated as his magic flared in irritation.

"Very well, Lord Potter, you are hereby under arrest for attacking two pureblood witches," Gawain Robards, Dawlish's partner, declared as he pulled his wand out of his pocket in preparation of binding Harry.

"If you draw your wand I will defend myself, Auror Robards," Harry curtly informed the man.

"Please don't make this any more difficult than it needs to be, Harry," Robards wearily ordered only to jump when Harry's voice cut through the room like a gunshot.

"You do not have leave to address me by my first name, Mr. Robards, nor do you have the authority to arrest me on false charges. If you so much as raise your wand against me I am well within my legal rights to kill you where you stand. I am Lord Potter of House Peverell and you would do well to remember that! Any attack or attempted attack upon my person or any persons under my protection is a direct attack upon the Crown and will see the attacker branded as a traitor to the Crown; an offense punishable by death. Your very presence here in this room is already pushing it as the entire township of Welford is under my protection and if a single resident of this town has had a single spell cast upon them; heads will roll and it will not be mine!"

All three older wizards in the room paled as the full significance of Harry being the Head of House Peverell finally sank in. The three men vanished a second later in a trio of loud cracks as they fled in fear for both their lives and their magic. The moment they were gone, Harry let out a growl and dropped back onto the bed and dropped his head into his hands as a spike of pain cut through his head due to drawing upon so much magic when his core still hadn't recovered from his recent fight.

"Bunch of bloody sheep," Harry rasped in irritation over the fact that Kingsley had forced his hand.

"You're related to the Queen…?"

Harry lifted his head just enough to see a white faced Mandy standing in the door. Sighing in resignation, Harry wearily rubbed his face and shook his head before answering, "No; wrong Crown, cutie pie. The Potters are the direct descendants of the third son of House Peverell and the Peverells are the direct descendants of the second son of House Pendragon. In other words, I'm the only living heir to King Arthur's throne but because Camelot was destroyed I have no throne to claim though I do have his crown in my vault."

"You are the many times great-grandson of King Arthur? As in you are actually related to the King Arthur of legend?" Mandy inquired as she leaned heavily against the door and stared at him in disbelief.

"I had a hard time believing it when I first stumbled across the information as well," Harry offered with a pained smile before he glanced away. "What troubled orphan doesn't dream of finding out that their absent family was some long lost prince or princess and pray that some day they will be found and whisked off to their happily ever after?"

"Why didn't you say anything sooner? I mean, we talked about everything else through the years, why not your relationship to one of the most romanticized kings in British history; no, world history? I mean, your status as King Arthur's heir is obviously a big deal based upon the reactions of those wizards."

"If Shacklebolt hadn't of forced my hand, I never would have said anything," Harry quietly confessed. "The Potter's heritage has been one of the best kept secrets for well over thirteen hundred years. Revealing my status as heir to the Crown of Pendragon was the only way to force the Ministry to back down without being forced through an endless sea of red tape and legal maneuvers that would have lasted for years though. It doesn't really change who I am; at least I hope it doesn't."

"It's weird; I was certain that you would be able to claim yourself as a descendant of Merlin… not King Arthur," Mandy mused as she pushed away from the door and fully entered the room.

"Ah, actually I'm only distantly related to Merlin through my paternal grandmother's family," Harry countered in all seriousness as he suppressed a mischievous grin. "The Black Family married into the family that married into another family that married into Merlin's at some point. That makes me something like a fifth cousin a hundred times removed or something like that even with my godfather, who himself was a Black from the main branch of the family, adopting me just before he died. The Blacks were related to more than half of the wizarding world though; so claiming to be a descendant of Merlin is nothing special."

He was rewarded with a soft laugh and grin for his crack about being related to Merlin as being nothing special in a society filled with hundreds of men and women that could use magic and had a matching claim. He let an answering grin slide across his face as he gingerly pushed himself to his feet and patted down his pockets to make certain he had all of his things.

"What are you doing out of bed, anyway?"

"The warden released me earlier this morning since there's nothing really wrong me that a week or so of rest won't cure. I just have to come back to have the stitches removed at the end of the week. So, what do you say? Shall we ditch this depressing prison and go find us a little out of the way café where we can grab a bite to eat?"

"Actually, Mr. Potter, I'm going to need you to come with me down to the station so I can take your statement in regards to the attack at the clinic four days ago," an older man with a salt and pepper mustache wearing a policeman's uniform stated as he stepped into the room.

"Is there any way I can convince you to let me treat my cutie pie to breakfast and a cup of coffee before meeting you down at the station in two hours, officer?" Harry requested politely with just a hint of desperation coating his voice. "I am under a doctor's orders to not skip any meals due to my recent blood loss."

It took the promise of a box of assorted breakfast danishes and four cups of black coffee (paid for by the officer) to convince the man to allow him to take Mandy out to breakfast and that was only after the man confirmed that Mandy had been going to accept Harry's invitation. Harry enjoyed the hour and a half long first date; marveling over the novelty of spending time with Mandy as himself instead of as a parrot. He was also surprised and more than a little pleased to find that there was none of the expected awkwardness that might have reared its ugly head because of their shared past while he was trapped in his animagus form.

After their meal, Harry escorted Mandy to the clinic before he headed down to the police station to deliver the requested danishes and coffee and give his statement to the officer in charge of the investigation. The rest of his morning was spent relaying how Harry had met Mandy (giving the cover story that she'd rescued his escaped parrot five years earlier), how he'd come to be in the clinic that night (he'd arrived to spend time with Mandy and check up on the parrot he'd allowed Mandy to keep), and how he'd known the assailants (he'd been attacked by them and other members of their cult before). They finally let him go around lunch time with a request to let them know how long he was staying in town and how they could get in contact with him if they had more questions.

He took the time to pick up several orders of fish and chips before he made his way back to Animal Ark. When he reached the clinic, Harry hesitated just outside of the door as he felt the first flash of awkwardness since regaining his human form. He had no idea how James and Simon would react to his presence now that he was no longer a bird; both men were highly protective of Mandy. After a full minute of dithering, Harry gathered his Gryffindor courage, squared his shoulders, and pushed his way into the clinic.

Fives years later...

Harry let himself get trapped in Mandy's sapphire eyes as she slipped her hand into his upon joining him in the center of the rune circle that had been drawn in the backyard of Mandy's Welford cottage. He barely heard the blessings that the druid priestess was intoning as the ancient old crone bound their wrists with circle of woven gold and red acromantula silk. Memories of the past three years washed over him as he drowned in the endless depths of Mandy's blue eyes.

After dealing with the fall out of the attack by Mrs. Weasley, Miss Weasley, and Miss Granger in the muggle world, Harry had been forced to deal with the corruption of the wizarding world. The Ministry had fallen quickly upon the public release of Harry's status as the Head of House Peverell and as the only living heir of Arthur Pendragon. The goblins had backed him up every step of the way and there had been more than a little bloodshed involved as Harry gave no quarter to any one that was guilty of spreading the pureblood superiority propaganda or suppressing those who were not of pureblood or human descent.

In place of the Ministry, Harry had established a ruling council that was reminiscent of the Knights of the Round Table; all twelve members of the council being appointed by Harry and approved by his advisors for a term of ten years. The political and ancestral backgrounds of the entire council were well balanced; there were four members each from known 'light', 'dark', and 'gray' families, four each from pureblood, halfblood, and muggleborn lines, and evenly split gender wise with six wizards and six witches. The advisory committee that was charged with keeping the council in line was, on the other hand, made up of an assortment of sentient beings and partial humans such as goblins, centaurs, mermaids, vampires, and werewolves; just to name a few.

Harry had then given the council five years to clean up the British Wizarding Society, revise the educational system, and prepare the wizarding public for integrating itself back into muggle society. He wasn't going to reveal the magical world to the general public but he believed that all witches and wizards should be able to blend in better so as to reduce the risk of their society being discovered. It would also give the magicals a better understanding of the world they shared and force them to stop treating the muggles as beneath their notice.

After he entrusted the council with cleaning up the messes of the previous generations, Harry returned to Welford in order to woo his blonde haired cutie pie. He started by hunting down a magically raised juvenile hyacinth macaw to fill his former place as Animal Ark's mascot. He'd considered getting another African gray but there was a part of him that feared if he did the bird would take his place in her life. So instead, he'd taken the cobalt blue macaw male with yellow eye rings, deep brown eyes, and a friendly disposition. Mandy had fallen in love with the parrot the moment Harry had presented him to her and promptly named him Brewster before talking Harry into helping her train him.

Next, he began inviting her out to dinner once a week; taking her to her favorite restaurant one week and then introducing her to a magical café and restaurant the next. He would also take her out to the movies, to the theater, or out dancing every other weekend when she didn't have to work. When he wasn't taking her out on dates he was spending time helping her run the clinic; feeding and watering the long term patients, cleaning out cages, and keeping track of the clinic's supplies. His efforts were rewarded when Mandy first agreed to be his girlfriend and then later accepted his marriage proposal.

On a more personal front, Harry had obtained an apprenticeship with an old animal healer in order to obtain his magical veterinary license so that he could do more to help out around the clinic. Everything he'd learned through the five and a half years he'd lived with Mandy as a bird gave him an advantage when it came to the magical treatment of animals as he already knew far more about bird, mammal, reptile, and fish anatomy than the healer that was training him. In addition to his healing license, Harry was required to pick up masteries in Care of Magical Creatures, Herbology, and Potions; which he easily obtained thanks to the three years he'd spent training in Grimmauld Place prior to breaking the link Dumbledore had forged between him and Voldemort.

It had taken him two years to finish his education and obtain his animal healer's license. Mandy had been stunned when he'd finally told her what he'd been up to in his spare time; especially when she learned that Simon and James had both been helping him on the sly. That had been the same night that Harry had proposed to his long time girlfriend (they'd officially been together for a year and a half at that point and had known each other for seven years). She'd accepted his proposal without any hesitation and then promptly invited Harry to move back into the cottage (the wizard having moved out about the same time he'd regained his human form so as not to set tongues to wagging about the small town).

They'd then spent the next twelve months setting up the magical side of the clinic; which included installing a potions lab, a greenhouse, and a second kennel where magical patients could be housed separately. Clients had begun coming forward within hours of Harry announcing the opening of a magical animal clinic in Welford and business immediately doubled for Animal Ark. Within two months, Harry had needed to hire a magical intern, a second secretary, and a journeyman potioneer to brew the healing potions he needed to treat his patients. Their schedules were hectic but both Mandy and Harry loved their jobs and the fact that they could share the work load during emergencies; much as Mandy's parents had when they were alive.

Once they'd grown accustomed to the madness that was their lives, the happy couple had set the date for their wedding. Because of their mixed heritage, they'd made arrangements to be married at the local church in the morning so that the town could bear witness to their nuptials and at the same time made plans to be handfasted later in the afternoon that same day in the magical tradition followed by a single reception. Both events would be attended by James, Simon, and a small handful of magicals that Harry still kept in touch with; namely Luna Lovegood, Neville Longbottom, the Patil twins, and the Weasley twins (both of whom had been appalled by their mother's and sister's vicious attack on Harry after everything the last Potter had done for the Weasley family).

The wedding had been both beautiful and large as Harry had spared no expense to give his bride to be the wedding of her dreams. Mandy had looked beyond gorgeous in her white gown; a real life princess. Harry had needed to pinch himself several times throughout the ceremony just to make certain he wasn't dreaming. After the wedding, the pair of them had rushed home to get changed into their ceremonial robes for the handfasting and check to make certain that the elves were having no problems preparing the feast and the cake for the reception.

Harry's attention was brought back to the present at that point as the priestess lifted Harry and Mandy's bound hands and presented the couple to their guests as Lord and Lady Potter. As they bowed to their friends (who were in truth more like their family) Harry glanced sideways at his wife and felt a wave of wonder and warmth wash through him. When she turned to catch his eye and flashed him a radiant smile, Harry felt his heart skip a beat and he unhesitatingly returned her smile with one of his own.

The reception passed by in one big blur for Harry, the only thing that stood out in his mind was the vision of beauty that was his wife. He knew they'd eaten a magnificent feast, shared a delectable cake, mingled with their guests, had their pictures taken, and danced the night away in each other's arms but he couldn't provide the details of anything outside of how beautiful Mandy looked in both her dress and her robes. He wasn't too bothered though; because in his mind everything had been perfect.

As the clock struck midnight and the two of them began taking their leave so that they could change their clothes a second time, grab their suitcases, and catch a lift to the airport, Harry couldn't resist leaning closer to ask, "Please take me with you, cutie pie?"

"Oh you silly wizard, I couldn't possibly leave you behind; whatever would I do without you by my side?"

Harry laughed as he swept her up into his arms and stole a couple of kisses as he carried her across the threshold for the second time that day. Thirty minutes later, the two of them were on their way to the airport where they'd be catching a flight to the Caribbean; they'd be spending their honeymoon on a two week long cruise that would take them around to the various islands.

* * * THE END * * *

AN: And that's a wrap. I know the end seems rather rushed and there wasn't as much detail throughout the story as there usually is in my stories but this story was written purely for the enjoyment of my youngest. I also spent less than a full week over the course of a month to actually write the story once I came up with the idea.

I'd originally intended on getting this posted sooner as well but I had other issues to deal with during the second half of last week and have been making a ton of phone calls trying to get a few things taken care of. I'll post the next chapter on Haunted either tomorrow or Saturday as I'm not finished spot editing for spelling mistakes and will need to upload it and fix the formatting before I can post.

Anywho... I hope everyone who reads this story enjoys it as much as I enjoyed writing it and that makes a few of you laugh as loud as it made my daughter laugh each time she'd read through it. I'd also like to thank everyone for all of the wonderful reviews and compliments! If I didn't answer your review, it was nothing personal; I just have a hard time keeping track of which reviews I've replied to because doesn't leave me any indicators as to which ones I've replied to and I dislike digging through my sent PMs just to try and figure it out because there's so many. Anyway, thank you again everyone! ~ Jenn