Chapter 8: Time

A voice spoke to him.

Come, follow me.

It sounded desperate, but he didn't recognize. Who was it?

Harry opened his eyes suddenly and was startled to see two red-orange eyes staring down at him. He blinked at the small black cat that was sitting on his chest."You know, you pop up at the most unexpected of times," he murmured. The tiniest bit of exasperation seemed to shimmer in those fiery depths before it hopped off.

Sitting up, he realized he must have dozed off at some point because the sun was now far closer to the horizon than it had been when he'd last seen it. The soft crunch of grass behind him alerted him of his godfather's presence.

"So this is where you went to hide," Sirius intoned, staring up at the silver maple. "Have to say, this thing's huge!" he exclaimed with a whistle.

Harry frowned at his godfather. "I didn't come here to hide...just to think. Besides, you found me, didn't you?"

"Mhm-hm, yeah," Sirius said absentmindedly as he knocked and patted at the bark of the tree.

"You're not even listening." Harry sighed, standing up. The small, black cat began to meow excessively. It probably hadn't been fed yet.

Sirius grinned, removing his hands from the tree to turn to Harry. "Point in fact, I am not. But, that is only because I knew James and I know you. So, your response is moot."

"How does that even makes sense?"

"Because, knowing both of you, I don't need to listen to know what your response is going to be," Sirius said with a fiery kind of pride that Harry, at that moment, couldn't understand why, but then the moment passed and Sirius' expression turned impish. "And if you are done hiding, we need to go. The wedding is only an hour away, pup."

"For the last time, I was not hiding!" Harry insisted with furrowed brows as Sirius began walking back towards the Manor.

As he began following after his godfather, Harry never noticed a certain cat's glowering look as it began following after him as well.

The hour passed quite quickly even though neither wizard needed much time to get ready, although, with Sirius, that was debatable; the man spent a ridiculously long time fixing his hair. When they finally me downstairs, day was closely approaching night and Andromeda, who had agreed to joining Sirius as his 'date' to the wedding, was already waiting for them by the floo entrance.

"Dear cousin, I do believe this is the first time I've seen you dressed so handsomely," Andromeda remarked as Sirius passed through the doorway of the drawing room. "I like it."

"Well, with the beauty I'll have in my arms, I don't think it'll be much of a difference, truthfully," Sirius said thoughtfully.

Andromeda laughed softly, patting Sirius lightly in the chest. "Always the flatterer, aren't we Sirius?"

"It's only flattery if you don't mean it."

Stepping into the room, Harry personally thought both Sirius and Andromeda spoke the truth. Dressed in finely tailored black robes with smoky gray inlays, he was actually getting a glimpse of the tall, well-built man his godfather had always been praised for in his youth; and Andromeda with her corseted, plum colored evening gown was the picture perfect example of aristocratic genes at work. With the casual elegance that each of them seemed to exude, the patrician beauty common to all Blacks was not lost with them. Together, they would make quite the eye-catching pair at the wedding.

"What? Do I look weird?" he asked when he realized he was being stared at.

The robes he was wearing were part of the new set he'd ordered. Unlike the ones he'd worn at the Yule Ball back in his fourth year, these were more fitted, very similar to Muggle suits, actually. According to Sirius, it was the latest fashion. Who knew his godfather kept up with these things?

Both Sirius and Andromeda chuckled at the oblivious young man. "No, Harry. They actually really suit you," Sirius replied, sharing a smile with Andromeda.

"Oh, thanks," Harry smiled, not too convinced but didn't press into it. They were already running late for the wedding anyway.

#

When they'd finally Apparated to the Burrow, just outside the orchard, Fred and George had to immediately usher them to their assigned seats inside the marquee. There were golden chairs on either side of a long, purple carpet and theirs were on the left side, right beside Remus and Tonks in the second row. Harry caught a glimpse of Hermione sitting beside Viktor Krum on same row as them but on the other side. He found it quite odd it wasn't Ron sitting beside her; he would have thought he'd that seat like his Chudley Cannons poster, which brought to question where his red-haired friend actually was. But he didn't have time to look around long enough. Soon after they'd sat down, the music began playing and the guests quieted.

Ginny and Fleur's little sister, Gabrielle, were the first to appear, walking down the aisle in their golden bridesmaid dresses. They carried a small bouquet of light purple flowers in their hands as they took their place opposite of Charlie, Bill's best man. Escorted by her father, Fleur, escorted by her father, followed behind them in a simple white dress of shimmering silk, looking positively radiant. Bill was standing at the end of the aisle nest to Charlie, and as he caught sight of Fleur, a tender-filled smile broke across his face, the love for his wife-to-be clear for anyone to see.

Harry had never been to a wedding before, but he was sure it was meant to be like this; surrounded by family, people who loved you and were always looking for your happiness; friends who've been with you through everything; and most importantly, beside the person whom you have chosen to spend the rest of your life with.

"Do you, William-Arthur, take Fleur Isabelle…?"

It was a moment that was supposed to be filled with happiness and joy, but Harry couldn't quite help the forlorn state of his mind as he thought about the person who had easily weaved a tight string around his heart.

"…then I declare you bonded for life." The wizard presiding over the ceremony waved his wand over Bill and Fleur's entwined fingers, and the silver bands of magic that had begun swirling around their hands at the start of their vows turned gold. The now golden tendrils began swirling rapidly, grew smaller, and then seeped under the skin of their hands. There was a bright flash of light before everyone was standing in applause as twin gold bands now adorned Bill and Fleur's left ring fingers.

With the vows out of the way, the celebration began. The newlyweds were immediately surrounded by the many well-wishers; the walls of the marquee as well as the chairs were magically removed, opening up room for the dance floor and tables for the guests; and waiters entered with trays of food as the band began to play.

"Harry!"

He turned just in time to catch a bright swirl of red before arms were wounding around his neck in a warm embrace. Chocolate brown curls engulfed his vision as his own hands moved to wrap around his best friend's waist. "Hermione…"

"I was wondering when you and Sirius would get here." Letting go, Hermione smiled at him. "A little late aren't we?"

The barest of smiles appeared on his face. "Lost track of time."

Hermione frowned, her eyes lighting up with concern. "What's wrong, Harry?" She looked around, searching for the person that was also supposed to be here with him. "Where's Daphne?"

Harry's eyes darkened as he somehow got the words out. At the end, Harry could only glare at his own two feet for allowing Daphne's father get the better of him. What kind of a savior was if he couldn't even save the one person that mattered most? "I don't even know where he took her," Harry said resentfully. He hadn't wanted to cause Daphne any pain by reminding her of the home she'd left, but it was only now that he regretted never asking.

Azkaban was nothing after six years of having an evil overlord after your life. Besides, he was the savior of the Wizarding World. The stupid title had to count for something, hadn't it?

Hermione sighed, gently lifting his chin so that he was now looking into warm, chocolate brown eyes. "Harry, I know what you're thinking. But stop and understand; even if you were able to take her back, it would have given Daphne's father the leeway he needed to legitimately accuse you."

"Yes, but—"

"Harry, how do you think Daphne would feel knowing she would forever be responsible for sending you to Azkaban? From what I can guess, you and her have similar ways of thinking. I have no doubts, if the roles were reversed you would done the same thing she did."

Harry couldn't argue with that. But even so, that didn't mean he should waste any time doing nothing. From what Daphne had told Sirius, something was going to happen soon, something he knew he might be too late to stop if he didn't act soon.

"Look Harry," Hermione began softly, "we'll find a way. I promise."

He smiled, not fully, but just enough. "Thanks Hermione. And for the record, you look amazing tonight," he admitted. The red, a-lined dress she had on clung to her petite figure perfectly, and brought out the sharp, vibrant energy she always radiated.

A wide smile blossomed across Hermione's face. "Thank you, Harry. At least one of you knows how to compliment a girl." She then scowled. "The other needs to grow up."

Harry winced. This was going into covered territory. And it never was good to go into already covered territory—it always brought up moments that should never be revisited, especially when it came to his two best friends. However, Viktor Krum sitting with her made a lot more sense now.

He was about to ask, hesitantly, what it was Ron had done this time, but at that moment he noticed the amount of attention the two of them were receiving from Fleur's side of the family. And he knew they were Fleur's because for one, none of them had red hair; and second, all the wizards around them were suddenly very preoccupied with the direction of their gazes, which none of their dates were very happy about, if their glares were anything to go by.

They were about his age or older and very beautiful, but looking at these girls, he couldn't stop the shiver that went up his spine.

Hermione must have noticed the odd look he no doubt had on his face because she turned to look behind her, following his line of sight. But when she turned back towards him, she shot him an apologetic smile.

"Wha"

"I'm really sorry, Harry, but I promised Fleur," she began. "Of course, at that time I didn't think it would be this bad…" she muttered as her eyes seemed to run down his body. "But I do believe some of the blame should be placed on you."

Harry had no time to ask why or what exactly was the promise she had made to Fleur because at that exact moment one of the girls—Fleur's cousin?—had gotten close in enough to latch on to his arm, which apparently gave the rest the go ahead they needed, because before he knew it, he was being dragged away from Hermione by a gaggle of giggling Veela witches.

Who knew girls could be so strong?

#

Harry stumbled out of the dance floor, grabbing a hold of one of the chairs around a nearby table to steady himself. He didn't know how many times he'd been led around the dance floor or the number of times he had to stop a hand from wandering to areas on his body that he knew were not platonic at all, but he was really glad he wasn't the center of attention anymore.

Thank Merlin for Fred and George.

He was pretty sure they would appreciate being surrounded by Veela cousins of the bride.

Fixing his glasses, Harry straightened. Looking around, he saw Hermione on the other side of the tent talking and laughing with Krum, and he sighed when he finally spotted Ron sitting with Luna and Neville, glaring daggers at the Bulgarian wizard from across the ways. Sorry buddy, I don't think I can help you with this one. Harry shook his head, feeling bad for his other best friend. But this was a part of their lives he knew he shouldn't interfere.

Ducking his head, he began making his way through the tables, trying to keep low and not attract any more attention. Hermione had been of no help last time, and he doubted she would be helping him out if it happened a second time. He weaved through a few more crowds of people, and soon, he was out of the tent. Sighing in relief, Harry leaned back against one of the tent poles, letting his head fall back. Daylight seemed to skim the surface now as sunset was upon them, casting shadows among the Weasley family orchards. It was hard to believe such a beautiful scene only twisted the beating organ in his chest even more when he thought of the person who would have surely appreciated the scene even more.

"Come, follow me. I know…"

Jerking his head around, Harry stepped away from the tent. He remembered that voice; he'd heard it back at the Manor. He had thought it had been a dream, yet here it was again.

"Follow me; I know where she is."

Harry twirled around to his left; it was close. But where exactly was it coming from? And what did it…"You know where Daphne is? How"

"No time, just follow."

Couldn't very well follow something he couldn't see, Harry wanted to add. He also really wanted to know who that voice belonged to. There was an authoritative tone to it that reminded him a lot of Professor McGonagall, except for the accent that accompanied it. And even though Harry was sure today was the first time he'd ever her it, there was a familiar sense to it. He didn't how to explain it, but it had a strange, although not bad, feeling bubbling up in his chest.

"Over here, this—"

"Who are you talking to, Harry?"

Harry jerked around, surprised. "Ginny…"

The red head was standing by the opening of the tent smiling, her face a tad bit flushed from all the merry celebration going on inside. She stepping out of the marquee and moved towards him. "I've been looking for you. What are you doing out here?"

"Just thinking," he replied, slowly inching his was closer to where he'd last heard the voice. Ginny was a good friend, but he really didn't feel like explaining how an unknown voice was whispering about knowing where Daphne was. "Ginny, look, I—"

Ginny grabbed a hold of his hand, stopping him from moving any further. "Whatever it is, I'm pretty sure it can wait, can't it? Please, there's something I want to talk to you about, anyway." She gave him this pleading look, and any other time, Harry wouldn't mind speaking with Ginny; but not now.

"I'm sorry, Ginny. But I—"

"It'll only be a few minutes, I promise."

Ginny kept coming closer. And he was really starting to get annoyed. Good friend or not, Harry had no time for this. But just as he thought he would have to face his best friend's wrath for upsetting her sister, something else beat him to it. Somewhere behind his back, something shot out of the shadows of the grass and impacted right with Ginny's chest. She yelped, letting go, thankfully, before she fell back in shock, landing sitting up. She seemed alright considering she was yelling up a storm at the cause of her fall, and Harry was glad she wasn't injured, but his attention immediately zeroed in on the figure that had scared Ginny back.

"What are you doing here?" he muttered curiously at the black cat with odd colored eyes.

"No time, just follow," it hissed impatiently as it turned to face Harry, twin fiery orbs proving his suspicions correct, and before he had any time to process the fact that the cat was the owner of the mysterious voice, it jumped on to him.

It was only thanks to his fine-tuned reflexes that he was able to wrap his hands around its torso before it even had the chance to sink its claws into his chest. But later on he would figure out that had been its goal all along because just as his hands touched the black-furred body, his eyes seem to cross as they Disapparated from the Burrow. They appeared in a dark-walled hallway—one he had no trouble recognizing thanks to the pale-faced portraits that seem to be staring down at him.

Harry turned a wide-eyed stare to the small, black cat in his hands. "How did you—"

"Just follow." Its eyes flashed dangerously before it wiggled out of his grasp, dropping down to the carpeted floor. Fiery eyes then looked up at him. "Follow," it repeated before it went streaking down the hallway, leaving Harry only seconds to respond. All thoughts of how, what and who were placed in the back of his mind because one thing was for certain: Daphne was here, and he wasn't about to let this chance escape him, odd telepathic cat or not.


Daphne kept her face as blank as she could imagine, not willing to call this get-together a wedding considering the only guests technically attending were her sister Astoria, who hadn't even given her glance since she'd flooed in, and Draco, whose ashen face spoke much about his opinion over his father's actions. Her father, being the admiring figure he was, stood off to the side looking positively bored and uninterested.

A real father, really. Daphne could have shaken her head. But she didn't. That man was no father of hers.

The only good thing it seemed was Lucius not too pleased face.

She guessed she would be too if she were a wizard pressed for time.

In front of them was a thin, tuffy-haired wizard, probably no younger than 100 years old, acting as the marriage officiant, a man her father had acquired for today, who at the moment was looking through a large leather satchel he had levitating in front of him, muttering something about his glasses.

"Aha! I found them," the old wizard exclaimed, pulling out a pair of black, rectangular spectacles. He smiled at them as he place his satchel on the ground. "Hello there. My name is Hodapp. I apologize for the delay, but these darn glasses of mine always seem to end up under all my dark-toned robes for some reason. Makes it very hard to distinguish where they are exactly…"

Daphne smiled despite the situation; the man's bubbly personality reminded her so much of Andre, the old proprietor of the jewelry shop she'd visited only weeks ago.

"Let's get this ceremony started, shall we?" Taking out his wand, he flicked it once, turning the tip of his wand gold, indicating the first stages of the ceremony were set to begin.

But a familiar voice interrupted. "Somehow this doesn't surprise me, Lucius; you would be a part of this."

At first, Daphne had a bit of trouble recognizing it—a state of shock maybe? But as soon as his voice registered in her mind, Daphne turned and her hands couldn't fly up to her mouth fast enough.

Harry…

Lucius had twisted sharply around during this time. "Potter," he snapped, "as troublesome as always. I am unsure as to how you were able to get past my wards, but do know your timing is horrendous."

Harry grinned, eyes flashing impertinently. "Actually, I'd say I was just in the nick of time. Whether you see it the same way, though,"—he smirked— "hardly matters."

Lucius' eyes narrowed. "I would ask what it is you are even doing here," Daphne had to grab a hold of Lucius' robes to prevent herself from falling as Lucius pulled her body roughly against his torso, and Harry's eyes turned threatening, "But that hardly requires much consideration." He smirked. "Eh, Potter?"

"Let her go," Harry's voice carried over clearly, and magic that had begun to tingle her skin thickened in the air—a fiery, wild, raw source of energy that was all Harry.

Lucius's eyes flashed wildly, an almost hungry glint to his expression, before it disappeared. "I don't think so. Miss Greengrasss here," he tightened his hold,"as my wife-to-be, is mine to do as I see fit. And if you so dare to lay a single on hand on her, you can expect your face in the front page of the Daily Prophet by this time tomorrow. Tell me, Potter, how do you think your endearing public will react knowing their savior was on a way track to Azkaban? Such a switch in roles, isn't it?"

Harry shrugged. "If I cared, probably. Lord Greengrass," he began, turning his attention to her father, "before, you had said my actions brought a negative impact on your business. What did you mean by that?"

Her father faltered for a moment at the suddenness of the question, but recovered quickly. "I run a textile company, Mr. Potter. The finest of all fabrics are bought and distributed through me. As you can maybe guess, such quality comes with a high price. And although I thank you for ridding us of that barbarian, that day you brought down He-Who-Must-No-Be-Named, also brought down some of my most high paying clients."

"You mean Death Eaters."

Her father shrugged. "Death Eater or not, it did not matter to me. As long as the payment could be made, we had business; business which you had no trouble ruining with the flick or your wand. Therefore, when Mr. Malfoy requested for my daughter's hand, who was I to deny such a thing."

"How would forcing your daughter into into an unhappy marriage help you any?" Harry asked, his eyes blazing.

Daphne took a deep breath. "It's my bride price, Harry," she explained ruefully.

"Bride price? What—"

'Surely, you aren't that ignorant, Potter?" Lucius seemed thoroughly amused. "I'm almost insulted on your behalf."

If it had been possible, Harry's glare would have probably burned through Lucius' head. But before anything else could be said, Hodapp, who had cheerfully stayed in the background during all this, chose this moment to speak up, "If I may speak Mr. Potter, for people like Lord Greengrass here who have daughters to marry off, a bride price is the amount a suitor must bestow upon the chosen bride's father in return for her hand in marriage. It is usually accompanied by a dowry, although I do believe that was left out in this particular agreement."

Silence swept over the area as Harry's expression turned pensive. "I'll triple it," Harry said suddenly. "Whatever Malfoy offered, I'll triple it."

Next to her, she thought she heard Astoria gasp, but her attention was too focused on the reality of what Harry was doing.

"Triple it?" Lucius turned an incredulous stare towards Harry. "Potter, do you even comprehend the amount you are proposing? The Potters might have been well-off, but you are clearly overestimating the wealth lying in those vaults," Lucius sneered, although a flash of uncertainty did pass through his eyes before it was gone and replaced by the ever-present Malfoy confidence as he turned towards her father. "You can't expect his claim to have any merit, Nicholas."

Daphne was about to correct him on that, but Hodapp—bless that old man— beat her to it. "Actually, although this was not set to be revealed until the end of this month, it seems Mr. Potter can spare every knut," Hodapp supplied. He then turned towards Harry. "Or am I correct in saying it is now Lord Potter-Black?"

A flash of confusion passed through his eyes, but then it left as quickly as he smiled at the old man. "Just Harry is fine."

The old man laughed softly. "If that is your wish, I will oblige." He then turned to face her father, an eager light entering surprisingly warm, gray eyes. "What do you say, Lord Greengrass? Do you accept Harry's proposal?"

"Lucius is right, Mr. Potter," Nicholas began after a moment. "What you are offering is a…considerable amount…" Daphne could have rolled her eyes; it was easy to tell how her father was already making all the calculations in his head; the interested look in his eyes was not hard to miss. "Are you sure?"

Intense, green eyes turned towards Daphne, and all she could think of was be amazed at the difference between these two men. "Absolutely." Then his gaze hardened as it turned back towards her father. "But on one condition: with this, you'll stop interfering with Daphne's life."

Daphne held her breath as Nicholas' eyes narrowed, thinking he'd end up refusing. But then with a jerk nod he said, "Very well, Mr. Potter. I will have the papers drawn up tomorrow. Expect them next week. Come along now, Astoria." With that, Nicholas began striding back towards the manor, and Astoria, after a narrowed eyed stare at Daphne, began following along after him.

"Nicholas," Lucius growled, looking slightly panicked, "Remember our agreement!"

Her father turned back briefly towards Lucius. "Ah, yes. Expect the funds to be transferred back to your vault once Mr. Potter gets in touch with the goblins." Nicholas nodded. "Thank you, Lucius, but I am no longer in need of your assistance." He then turned around without a glance.

Lucius let go of Daphne, quickly beginning to follow after Nicholas, his expression now devoid of any form of control with panic completely covering his expression. "I'll…I'll give you four—five times what Potter is—"

"That is enough, father."

Lucius stiffened as he turned to stare at his son. "Draco, what are you…?"

"Face it, father, you lost. The plan would only have worked as long as you were married during sunset before the full moon." Draco looked up at his father from under blond eyelashes. "That time has already passed."

Daphne's brow furrowed, looking up at the sky. Sure enough, the sun, which had been only barely on its way down into the horizon in the beginning, was now on its last rays; only seconds and it will be no more. Draco was right; he was out of time. And shifting her gaze towards Lucius, his eyes were at the now at the setting sun, a most frightened look on his face.

"But Draco…my magic…What about my magic!" Lucius approached his son, grabbing at his shoulders and looking like a man trying to call for water in the desert.

Draco shook his head. "It's gone father; it's no more."

Lucius' blood drained from his face. "No…no, it cannot be. You lie!" He snarled. "Lies! All of it—"

Draco sighed as he let his stunned father fall to the floor. "I'm sorry, Daphne, about my father," he said, looking up at her. "Rest assured he won't be a bother to you anymore."

Daphne smiled softly. Her fellow Slytherin had changed. "Thank you, Draco."

He nodded, and then turned to Harry, the sardonic look she was familiar with at Hogwarts returning. "Potter, you have five minutes, after which I am not to be blamed for any occurrences with the wards." Then, levitating his father, Draco strode back to the manor, sneering at Harry when he passed by, almost making Daphne chuckle. Somethings would never change.

However, all thoughts of her Slytherin classmate were blown out of the water when her eyes locked with Harry's. Slowly, as he approached, the flutter in heart steadily began increasing. She barely even registered Hodapp's words by the time pulled against Harry's achingly warm chest.

"Marvelous! I do so love happy endings!" his soft, happy laughter filling what would have otherwise been an echoing silence as the worry-filled fog of tomorrow dissipated like a dying wave.

#

Apparating back to Black Manor was like the ending of a horrible nightmare; as torturous it was, waking up ended it quickly. Daphne almost felt like she had never left. But her eyes wandered around Harry's room, taking every little detail that could have possibly changed. Not much had changed of course, but she couldn't help but look.

Looking over at Harry's dresser, Daphne saw a rectangular blue box lying on top of the dark-wood finish. The feelings that surfaced from seeing it after all that had happened made everything seem a bit surreal. Grasping it in her hands, she found it a bit humorous to think that even if her father hadn't arrived she would have still ended up being a part of a wedding.

Daphne felt more than heard as Harry's taller form stepped in front of her—cool air heating at the closeness of his person. "Did you know?" he said softly.

"About Lucius? No," she admitted, running a reverent hand over the box's smooth, colored surface. "But I had seen the documents for my father's other considerations on his desk the day I left."

"Why didn't you tell me? I could have—"

Daphne stared straight into troubled, green orbs. "Because it was never your problem to fix, Harry. You have a kind heart, and even though I'm glad I met you that night, from the start, you were never meant to carry this worry over your shoulders, not after all you've been through already." She stepped back and placed the box back on the dresser, wrapping her arms around herself. "If you never want to see me after this, I wouldn't blame you."

There was a moment of silence in which Daphne's heart throbbed heavily in her heart. Harry was so close after she'd almost lost him. But could she even call him hers after she'd let him go so easily? She didn't even know if Harry felt the same way.

Merlin, she was stupid.

"Daphne, look at me."

Arms wound around her body. Harry leaned forwards. And all her mind could focus on were Harry's lips. Automatically, her arms wrapped around Harry's neck.

"I let you go once. I won't make that same mistake again," Harry whispered against her lips as he pulled back. "How about you?"

Daphne chuckled breathlessly. Relief seemed to just pore out of her body. "How can I ever say no to that?"

"You don't," he whispered back, a wicked smile appearing on his face.

Without another word, Harry mouth was over hers. The kiss, although tender, turned demanding, more necessary, quickly. Hands pulled at her waist, pulling her flush against a hard, toned torso. All focus turned to the blistering heat emanating from their mouths, fueling the kiss. The sensation hypnotized her, pulling at her belly as tingles shot straight down her spine, a series of shocks rushing all over her body as she shivered in pleasure.

Daphne's hands slid down from Harry's neck and began pulling at his coat, stripping it from his arms. Harry broke the kiss as the coat fell almost without a sound. His shirt soon followed, and her eyes traced and followed every line of muscle that rippled and stretched as they revealed themselves to her. This was the second time she had ever laid eyes on them, and curiosity got the better of her. Fingertips turned into hands as Daphne ran an almost reverant touch across the expanse of Harry's torso.

Soft chuckles broke Daphne from her admiration. She looked up, startled, to see green eyes shining with mirth. "Enjoying the view?"

Daphne scowled, her hands dropping to her sides, which only seemed to add to his laughter. "You could have stopped me."

Harry smirked. "What do you think I'm doing?"

Daphne seemed confused for a moment before she felt hands sliding across her back, near the zipper of her dress. Understanding dawned in her eyes. Looking up at him somewhat sheepishly, Daphne raised her arms up, giving him all the permission he needed to unzip the gown and let the white fabric slide down her body to pool around her feet. Harry's hands then curved around her waist as she stepped out of the of the dress, pulling her back closely. The exposed skin of their bellies touched, sending shivers running through Daphne's body, just as it had last time. This time, her hands roamed freely across Harry's back as soft lips trailed a searing hot path along her jaw and down the length of her neck, making her breath hitch sharply when they passed the sensitive skin of her pulse point.

Harry's lips then skimmed back to her, and Daphne reciprocated appreciatively as Harry closed over her bottom lip, sucking on it gently. Opening their mouths, the tender skin of their lips clung together as their heads tilted, the smack of lips echoing through the room. The kiss accelerated slowly as Harry curiously ran his tongue against the seam of Daphne's mouth, her lips parting and allowing him inside with only a moment of hesitation. Snaking his tongue into the warm cavern of her mouth, it didn't take long for Daphne follow in his lead, their jaws undulating slowly.

Vaguely was Daphne aware of their movement until her legs found the bed. Her back hit the mattress, and their eyes locked.

Behind rimmed glasses, emerald jewels had become a dark forest filled with animalistic emotion, one she was no stranger to. But pulling away the glasses, she would not fear it this time. Because, this time, she knew it wouldn't hurt her. For this forest held more, something which made her heart ache with happiness.


"Amazing," Harry whispered softly.

Daphne's breath came in little puffs of air, just like his. He could feel it against his mouth and as her chest rose and fell with ever inhale of breath, brushing her breasts against his own naked chest. He could barely remember how they'd reached this point, both of them bare as the day they were born. But he was glad they were because he couldn't remember anything feeling more incredible than the feeling of Daphne's every undeniable curve underneath his fingers.

"That makes two of us," Daphne smiled against his lips.

Running his hand from the top of Daphne's soft, supple breast to the flat planes of her stomach, Harry could hardly believe he was here, about to have sex, for the first time, with Daphne. Something about it seemed so unbelievable. But the feeling at the pit of his stomach couldn't be happier with the fact. And truthfully, he didn't know what the hell he was doing. All he knew was that the feeling was intensifying. The undeniable heat was everywhere now.

Then his hands returned to Daphne's hips and brushed against the only part of Daphne he hadn't yet dared to touch. Next to his ear, Daphne gasped, making him pull back in shock.

"Sorry, I—"

Daphne shook her head. "It's okay," she assured, breathlessly, "Keep going."

With a shaky breath, Harry did just that. His fingers traced back the path they had just taken. Daphne squirmed under his ministrations, though her reassuring glances kept him from pulling back. But along with her reassurance came his curiosity. He prodded his way carefully, for a moment, taking in how pleasurably hot it felt. It almost contradicted with how wet it also was. And that detail didn't escape his body's notice. Spreading his fingers around, he could feel how slick they were already. And then, moving them upwards made Daphne cry out so loudly, Harry almost thought he'd done something wrong again. But he could only catch sight of the quickly running flush of Daphne's chest. Daphne's tightly wrapped arms around his neck kept him from looking up at her face, which he had suspicion was just as flushed.

"I'm fine, really."

Harry almost laughed out loud. Instead, he just settled for a quiet chuckle. There was no doubt: Daphne was embarrassed. How incredibly interesting. He had no trouble identifying why. But just to prove his theory…

"Harry!"

He couldn't help it. He laughed. Prying away the arms around his neck, he leaned back to finally take a look at Daphne.

"You jerk, you did that on purpose," Daphne mumbled behind her hands.

Chuckling, Harry gently pulled away at the hands covering her face. "Daphne, don't be embarrassed."

Stormy blue eyes glared weakly at him. "Yeah, easy for you to say. You weren't the one who just made that…that…"

"That incredibly arousing sound." Leaning down, Harry captured Daphne's lips in a lingering kiss. "Believe me, Daphne. There's nothing to be ashamed of."

And before she had anytime to protest, he slid his hand back down her body and rubbed his fingers over the exact same spot. Daphne cried out again, her hands immediately clenching at the sheets. This time, however, he continued further. He didn't want to hurt Daphne, and considering his own inexperience, Harry started out with just one finger. Slowly, he moved, twisting and crooking inside Daphne, all the while trying to keep a hold of his own control. Because if he had thought just touching it was incredible, the muscles clamping around his digit were on a whole different level.

One then quickly turned to two and three with Daphne's little gasps and groans continuing to echo throughout the room. Fingers kept pressing onto his own back as Daphne had wrapped her arms around his back at some point. A light sheen of sweat had already started to from over Daphne's body, and he could feel the heat within his own body taking its effect.

His entire body was boiling.

But he kept at it, even at the risk of his own release. He wasn't the one that would hurt, so he wanted to be sure Daphne was ready before he did anything. Getting an idea, Harry rubbed a thumb over that one particular spot from before at the same time he continued to push inside with his fingers and that seemed to be the magic combination. Daphne's back arched into his chest, fingers dug into his back, and muscles clamped around his fingers so hard he was afraid of letting go like the teenager he was.

Pulling back, Harry watched as Daphne trembled through the last vestiges of her orgasm. "Daphne…"

Half-lidded eyes looked back at him, surprisingly amused. "You idiot. Of course, I'm sure."

Chuckling, Harry leaned down to press a kiss to Daphne's forehead. "Just promise to tell me if it hurts."

In answer, Daphne simply wrapped her arms around his neck, kissing the soft spot under his ear. Then, lifting her hips, Harry positioned himself and slowly eased into Daphne.

The tight proximity between the two of them made Harry unaware of the glow emitted by a small, green emerald in that instant; its light dying off shortly after and revealing a symbol's darkening.


The two lovers were entwined tightly together. Sweat poured off their bodies as they rocked in a slow cadence, the only sounds in the room coming from their pants and moans. She didn't know how many times or how long they'd been connected together so intimately; she couldn't even think. The only thing she could do was feel. Love, lust, desire—they all flowed continuously threw her in a delirious fever.

Looking down into his eyes, Daphne's heart skipped a beat as she saw the same emotions reflected in those beautiful, deep green orbs. A gasp of pleasure tore out of her as sharp thrust stroked a long sizzling trail inside her, shooting shocks up her spine. Daphne straightened, arching her back as Harry continued thrust strongly into her. The new angle of her body had her bracing herself over the hardness of Harry's stomach. Desire shot straight to her core as her fingers ran reverently over the slight muscle of his abdomen, delighting in the strength there.

Harry shifted slightly, driving a sharp gasp from Daphne as each successive roll of his hips hit deeper into her. Daphne strained as she sank into that hard length again and again, thighs trembling with every lift of her hips, feeling Harry hard length rub hot, burning lines of friction against her walls.

Suddenly, Daphne was on her back, all thoughts shattering in an instant as the force of Harry's thrusts quickened; his sleek and strong body stretching over hers as he used his arms to brace himself. Her gasps and moans of pleasure were silenced as he covered his mouth over hers, feeling herself quiver as Harry threaded his tongue into her mouth, moving slowly, languidly, against her tongue. Just as well, because Harry then tilted his head, pushing his tongue deeper into her mouth as a sharp thrust hit something inside her, releasing the tightly held coil in the pit of her stomach.

Daphne broke the kiss with a shouted cry, her back arching in a smooth curve as every nerve-ending in her body combusted; the feeling overwhelming her as wave after wave of electrifying tingles crashed against her body. Her hands curled desperately into the sheets on either side of her as her face contorted in ecstasy. A horse rasp of her name followed after her as tremors ran through Harry's body, his face pressed against the curve of her neck.

Slowly her body rode out the last of the swells, and hands lifted to wrap around Harry. He wasn't far off either, his hips giving a few more jerks before slowly coming to a halt, both of them lying together in a tangled mess of sweaty limbs and feeling the heaving of their own chests as they panted for breath.

For that one moment, all Daphne was aware of was Harry's warmth, surrounding her from all sides like, filling the deepest part of her. She didn't know when she fell asleep. But the last thing her eyes caught was Harry's warm, tired smile—his eyes blazing like emeralds.

#

Morning came with a bright ray of light. The luminescent shine cast a warm spell over the room; the glow of a new day greeting the slumbering couple with a comforting hand, gently allowing nature to work at their bodies. Light brushes of air wisped at the curtains, breathing in with a soothing sweep of its arms, catching the light fabric that covered their bodies. Daphne was the first to stir, unconsciously snuggling closer into her cocoon of warmth, seeking heat as the cool morning air tingled her skin. The source of the warmth confused her for a moment, but then, as her sleep-fogged mind caught up with her, she smiled.

With a deep, inhaled breath, Daphne's eyes fluttered open. The light of the morning had her blinking a couple of times to adjust to the brightness; however, the sight that welcomed her more than made up for it. My little savior, she thought fondly, shifting to brush a stray lock of hair from Harry's face. The completely relaxed look to his features had Daphne smiling as she realized this was the first time she'd ever seen such an expression on his face.

The little movement seemed to release Harry from the last vestiges of sleep. Arms tightened around her back and waist as bleary green eyes found hers.

"Good morning," she said with a small smile, moving forwards slightly to plant a lingering kiss on Harry's lips.

Harry smiled into the kiss, eyes still a bit drowsy. "Morning," he returned, his voice deep and rough from sleep. "How's your body?"

Daphne furrowed her eyebrows as she didn't know the answer to that question yet. Curious, she pressed her hands against turning them over so her legs were on either side of Harry's waist—and immediately, her muscles groaned in protest. She winced at the unexpectedness, but otherwise it wasn't as bad as she thought it was going to be. Even the light sting between her legs was only slightly uncomfortable as she shifted over Harry—and that pain was more from using muscles down there she'd never used before.

But Harry saw her wince, concern overtaking his features.

"I'm fine, Harry," she implored, silencing her lover before he said anything with a swift press of her lips. "Nothing I can't handle." Daphne then laid her head in his chest, smiling softly at the slight thumps of Harry's heart.

Harry's arms slithered completely around her in an enveloping hug and felt as his lips pressed against her hair. "I missed you."

"I missed you too," she whispered happily. Sitting up, Daphne didn't care that she was giving Harry a full view of her body. He was the only man who would get to see it. Last night had opened a whole new dimension to their unexpected relationship—one she didn't want to stop exploring any time soon. And apparently Harry was in agreement with her as she felt something lightly pressing against her behind.

Smiling, Daphne tilted her head just slightly in question. It didn't take long for Harry to catch on. But she only had time to see Harry's roguish smile before her world spun, and not long after, she was wrapping her arms and legs around Harry so not to fall as he carried her into the bathroom.

"Warning, you blasted Gryffindor!" Daphne smacked, amusedly. Only the echoes of Harry's laughter were heard as the door to the bathroom shut behind them.

Outside on the balcony, a small cat looked on—an almost satisfied smile on its whiskered face.


Author's Note: So? Was it as bad as you all thought? If it was...well, it is what it is.

And for future notice, I don't like angst. So when it pops here, be it slight or hitting depressing, know it isn't for long. Our heroes might think it's the end, but that's just because they don't know any better. I wasn't lying when I said ' light and fluffy for the most part.'

Jesus, trust an author.

To Maki: Thank you. I heard you, and the next one is being worked on.