Chapter 4 – Dealings of the Heart and Mind
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. All other concepts and ideas from other books or stories belong to their respective authors. No copyright infringement is intended.
AN: Sorry about the late update but my brother got hospitalized last weekend due to having a really strong epileptic attack. Between that and work hours doubling due to Father's Day, I didn't really have time to write. To top things off I'm going to have to work overtime to get enough money to help pay for my brother's operation cause the pills aren't working anymore. So yea... my updates are going to be sporadic.
Anyway, it's not your problem and on with the chapter starting off with the results of the poll!
Male announcer: "Well, this poll truly surprised me. Who knew that the HP girls would get picked over the Marvel ones?"
Female announcer: "True, true. I guess it's true when they say that variety is the spice of life. Now for the winners!"
Male announcer: "Coming in in sixth place and claiming a place as one of Harry's lovers with 167 votes is none other than the woman who created the definition of the Wicked Witch... Morgan le Fay!"
A spotlight turns on revealing a scantily clad Morgan le Fay, winking at the audience. "I'll be sure to thank you for voting for me...thoroughly."
Male announcer: "(gulps at Morgan's words and looks slightly aroused at the implications) Yes, Harry will really have his hands full controlling this woman's impulses."
Female announcer: "Indeed. He'll have to really patient to lead this woman back to the side of good."
Male announcer: "Or just fuck her so often she won't have time to think of evil plans."
Female announcer: "(glares at her colleague) Anyway, the race for 6th place was close between her and Ororo Munroe but Morgan eventually beat the storm goddess. I just hope Harry can handle Morgan. Now for 5th place."
Male announcer: "Yes. In 5th place and claiming yet another spot as Harry's lovers with a large difference from 6th place with a total of 193 votes isssss... Nymphadora Tonks!" (the male announcer ducks under a bright purple spell from a red-haired Tonks).
Tonks: "Don't call me Nymphadora!"
Male announcer: "(clears throat) Yes, sorry about that. Harry is really lucky with this one. He basically gets all the women in one extremely hot package. Though personally, I would have preferred Mystique. Hot and you never really know if she's on your side."
Female announcer: "(looks at him with a slightly insulted, slightly annoyed expression) That... sounds sorta sexist. Shouldn't Harry like Tonks for who she is rather than the fact that she can turn into any other girl?"
Male announcer: "(shrugs) Eh, there's that too, I guess. (ignoring female announcer's outraged sputterings) Now onto 4th place! You want to do the honors?"
Female announcer: (glares at her colleague before sighing) "In 4th place and as another of Harry's lovers with 200 votes, we have the Ice Princess herself, Daaaaphne Greengrass!"
A spotlight shines on the revealed a blond Daphne Greengrass who gives a seductive smile and wink. "Was there ever any doubt?" asked Daphne snobbishly.
Male announcer: (chuckles) "Well, she's certainly confident. Imagine when she meets Emma Frost. They'll either hate each other or become closer than sisters! Either way, it sounds hot!"
Female announcer: "(rolling her eyes) Men."
Male announcer: "Now onto 3rd place! In 3rd place with 203 votes, we have the definition of femme fatale, the reason men everywhere love red-haired spies and the title of Black Widow, Natalia Romanova!"
A spotlight shines on the black spandex wearing Natalia who smiles enigmatically and winks before blowing a kiss at the male announcer while slowly lowering the zipper of her outfit.
Male announcer: "(gulps and pulls on his collar) Is it me or is it getting hot in here? (chuckles) I gotta say, Harry can have no complaints about the women he's gotten so far."
Female announcer: "You know, I want to take this chance to state how very sexist and wrong it is to have so many women with one man. It's for reasons like this that our society is in such a rut. Men and their-"
Male announcer: "Yes, yes. We all understand your feelings. Believe me, I've heard your little speech enough times to know it by heart. (turning away from his colleague as she screams in indignation and continues her feminist speech). Now onto the ones we REALLY want to know. The top 2!"
Female announcer: (huffs childishly) "Fine, you're right. We should wrap this blatant show of misogyny up."
Male announcer: "In 2nd place and taking the recently vacant spot as another of Harry's wives with a surprising 249 votes, we have the Mistress of Chaos, the woman who goes crazy every other day and the woman who became infamous for being the cause of the Decimation... Wanda Maximoff!"
A spotlight shines on a confident looking Wanda who waves confidently at the cheers she's receiving from the crowd.
Female announcer: "This is one I can actually support. I hope Harry can help her get through her problems and I'm glad voters picked her for this reason."
Male announcer: "(looks at his colleague in bemusement) Yes... they chose her because of that. I'm sure it had nothing to do with the fact that she's hotter than sin, has a large bust and wears a corset in public. Yeah, nothing at all."
(The crowd laughs at a reddening female announcer who looks to be two minutes away from exploding).
Male announcer: "Anyway, on to our winner!"
A series of spotlights start moving across the stage, awaiting for the big reveal.
Female announcer: "(after calming down) Now I have to say I was really surprised by this girl being number 1. With all the beautiful Marvel girls in the list of choices, I truly thought the male voters would vote for one of them to be his final wife. However, it seems like this HP girl is by and far a much bigger favorite."
Male announcer: "Indeed. Things were very close between her and Wanda. There was an entire week where they kept switching positions and the only difference between them was ONE vote. However, eventually this woman broke free and won the first place with a whopping 262 votes and I can certainly understand why. In first place and taking the final spot as one of Harry's wives. She's the blonde bombshell of the HP world, the Beauxbatons champion and the one hot piece of ass... Fleeeeuuuur Delacour!"
The spotlight converge over a beautiful Fleur Delacour who throws her blonde hair over her shoulder and coyly blows a kiss at the audience. "Merci!"
Male announcer: "(chuckles) Well, now I'm really jealous of Harry. Getting such beautiful women to share him. Though I'm not too surprised about Fleur winning the poll."
Female announcer: "Why's that? In the books she barely interacts with Harry and I didn't see that much in common between them."
Male announcer: "Easy. It's because she's blonde, comes from a race that revolves around beauty and sex, is hands down the hottest HP girl to date and to top it all off, she's French!"
Female announcer: "That is THE most misogynistic explanation I've EVER heard. Seriously, do all men think with their dicks? (looks confused as male announcer calls for security) What? What are you doing? Hey, get your hands off me! (struggles as security pulls her away) You can't do this to me! I have freedom of speech! Women's rights!"
Malle announcer: (chuckles) "Now that my crazy colleague has been detained, let's summarize the results."
Main (Peverell) wives: Emma Frost, Selene Gallio and Madelyne Pryor
Secondary wives: Elizabeth Braddock, Satana Hellstrom, Wanda Maximoff, and Fleur Delacour
Lovers: Jade Nyugen, Claudine Renko, Tracey Davis, Morgan le Fay, Nymphadora Tonks, Daphne Greengrass, Natalia Romanova and Julia Carpenter
Male announcer: "That's the harem for this story! Thank you for your votes and good night!"
AN2: Lol. Sorry, couldn't help myself. Anyway, that's the harem and there won't be anymore additions. HOWEVER, I might switch one of the chosen lovers for another if you send me a PM giving me a convincing argument. Just to note, saying you hate so and so character and want this one because she's hot isn't a good argument. Especially since I've yet to see an important Marvel girl that's actually ugly.
So from now till July 20th I'm receiving any PM from you, my readers, if you wish to switch one of the lovers chosen for another of your choice. This is only for the lovers and only one that won't be switched is Jade. If your argument is convincing enough, I'll put it up for a poll whether the majority of the readers want to switch or not. I'm doing this because I didn't realize until just two days ago that Rogue wasn't included in the list. That was an oversight on my part so I'm willing to switch one of the lovers for Rogue or any other woman I didn't put on the poll if you give me a convincing argument beyond the fact that she's really hot.
Now on with the chapter!
10:47am; Tuesday, June 3rd, 1993
Flamel estate, Brittany, France
Summer before Harry's 3rd year
Harry was sitting in the living room of the Flamel estate, across from his mentor of almost two years, Nicolas Flamel, playing a game of chess.
Harry had met Nicolas the summer before his first year, while Harry was browsing one of the less reputable book stores in Knockturn Alley for more esoteric magical subjects. They had bumped into each other and, without Harry knowing Nicolas's identity, started speaking about alchemy and its usefulness. Once Nicolas told Harry who he was, Harry and Nicolas started to communicate through owl until Nicolas formally made Harry his apprentice in late October of that year.
Since then, summers were usually spent using a Time Turner to spend one day with his friends and Rose, another studying under Nicolas at his estate and a half day spent catching up on sleep. All in all, his summer months felt more like seven months rather than the three that everyone else had.
Due to Harry's estrangement with his own parents, Nicolas and Perenelle had become like foster parents to Harry and he usually turned to them for advice when he needed it. Today, Nicolas and Harry were having their customary chess game before a lesson that Nicolas always insisted on. As always, Harry was white while Nicolas was black. They were almost done with the game at this point and it looked like Harry was about to lose once more.
Harry moved his queen forward, trying to protect his king before sighing in frustration. "Must we do this every time we meet, master? I really don't get what chess has to do with alchemy."
"It doesn't," said Nicolas simply. "Well... not exactly anyway. Like in chess, every move and alchemic formula you make, will cause a different reaction from your enemy, which in the case of alchemy is the World itself. The World always tries to keep itself in balance so you have to find a way to get the desired outcome while outmaneuvering the World's attempts to keep the balance. If you fail..." Nicolas moved his knight forward, putting Harry's king in checkmate. "... then you might find yourself beaten and lose more than you were willing to."
Harry scowled at Nicolas's smug look before sighing. "Fine, fine. You beat me... again. Does it make you feel good to beat a thirteen year old in chess?"
"Yes," said Nicolas happily, much to Harry's annoyance. "Yes, it does. Now, let's start the lesson."
Harry sighed in relief before following Nicolas to his workroom. Today marked the first day they would actually get down to practical alchemy. All last summer and this summer was spent studying the theory behind both alchemy and transfiguration as well as getting Harry's magical core up to the appropriate level. Since alchemy was done without a wand and required a good grasp of using you magic wandlessly, Harry had first needed to be trained in using his magic wandlessly before they could start on using alchemy practically. Nicolas had deemed him ready last week so today would be their first practical lesson.
"Alchemy is the ancient metaphysical science and mystical art of manipulating and altering matter using magic," Nicolas lectured as he started to pace back and forth in front of Harry. Harry was his first pupil since Albus Dumbledore himself, so Harry was well aware that the knowledge Nicolas was imparting was extremely rare and powerful. For this reason, Harry paid rapt attention. "Unlike Transfiguration, Alchemy is a permanent art. When you Transfigure something, the object only stays in it's transfigured state until the magic you have put into the transfigured object runs out. With Alchemy, any object whose structure you've altered will stay that way until you decide to alter it again. In this way, Alchemy is much more versatile than your standard magics."
Harry made sure to remember everything he said and compare it to his own knowledge. What he said was true, in a sense. While Transfiguration was widely considered one of the most versatile magics, it had the unfortunate drawback of needing constant magic to fuel it. This meant one who used Transfiguration in battle needed a lot of magic to use it effectively. This was just one of the many reasons Dumbledore was held in such high respect and fear, since he was well-known to employ Transfiguration in combat even against powerful wizards like Voldemort.
"There are three sequences that are very important when it comes to understanding how the act of transmutation works." Harry was brought back from his thoughts by Nicolas's words and internally grimaced when he saw Nicolas's slightly amused look.
However, Nicolas said nothing and simply held one finger up near his face. "Comprehension: Understanding the inherent structure and properties of the atomic or molecular makeup of a particular material to be transmuted, including the flow and balance of potential and kinetic energy within." A second finger came up. "Deconstruction: Using magic to break down the physical structure of the identified material into a more malleable state so as to be easily reshaped into a new form." A third finger. "And finally, Reconstruction: Continuing the flow of magic so as to reform the material into a new shape."
Knowing that his apprentice would want a practical example, Nicolas stopped walking and turned to face the Potter heir. He clapped his hands once, then knelt down and pressed both hands against the ground.
A light blue line of arcane energies erupted around Nicolas, surrounding him in a hazy field of light rays that blurred his image. Harry felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end as the magic in the surrounding air became supercharged. It felt almost like he was receiving the indirect feedback from someone else sticking their hands into a wire socket. He had only felt this when around extremely powerful magic and the fact that Nicolas could so easily cause the same feeling said something about Alchemy's power.
Strands of magic arced around the center where Nicolas's hands were placed. Harry watched, his mouth open in shock as he saw the area where his teacher had placed his hands begin to crumble away.
Then, like watching a movie in reverse, the area began to reform into something new.
The stone floor beneath Nicolas's hand was changing, warping itself like sand in a breeze. It's entire structure formed into strange looking particles that were eerily reminiscent of sand. The stone sand was all crawling towards the center beneath Nicolas's hands, where it began forming something. The tip of an object, a sort of hilt.
More and more of the object soon became visible. The hilt slowly came into focus as more and more of the weapon was being created. Suddenly, Harry realized it was a sword of some kind, the hilt becoming more and more ornate as more of it became visible. The hilt was finished and the blade began to form before Nicolas began to pull it up out of the ground even as the blade was being created.
As the sword became more and more ornate, the crater beneath Nicolas continued to grow larger. By the time the transmutation was finished, the crater surrounding the Alchemist was a perfect circle with a radius of exactly four feet. The stone flooring looked like it had been crumbling away and moving inwards towards the center of the crater.
As the sword Nicolas was creating was finished, Harry came to the realization that the sword was no ordinary longsword. The blade's metal was black yet seemed to shine slightly in the light in a way normal dark metal didn't. The length of the blade was also slightly longer than some Harry had seen, making him realize it was a bastard sword or hand-and-a-half blade as it was known by some.
Nicolas grabbed the hilt of the sword in his right hand and entered an elaborate showing of his ability to actually wield the weapon, surprising Harry who thought Nicolas too in love with alchemy to use any other weapon.
"Impressive, isn't it?" Harry could do nothing more than give a dumb nod. "The proper application for this particular craft requires not only a full understanding of chemistry and ancient alchemical theory, but also an innate talent towards recognizing and manipulating the physical objects with magic, which requires uncommon levels of intelligence and aptitude. This is why so few ever learn more than the basic theories behind alchemy, and why there are so few alchemists in the world today."
"Is Dumbledore an alchemist?" asked Harry. It was one of the questions that had plagued Harry all throughout last year as he did the exercises Nicolas gave him to increase his magical capacity.
"Yes and no," Nicolas twirled the sword before setting it down blade first on the stone floor and tapping it a few times as he grew contemplative. "Dumbledore certainly has the brains for it, but he never really had the drive to become a great alchemist. At most, he knows the basics. Enough to get by, but not enough to become great. You should know that I'm gonna teach you swordplay as well as alchemy. It's no use to know how to create weapons if you don't know how to use them and swordplay is my best skill after alchemy."
At Harry's excited nod, Nicolas smiled and continued. "Now then, one of the things you should know about Alchemy is that it's more than just changing one object into another by deconstructing and reconstructing something at it's base components. Alchemy is as much of a science as it is magic. There are certain laws and limitations in which we are subject to, all of which fall under the concept of Equivalent Exchange."
"Humankind cannot gain anything without first giving something in return. To obtain, something of equal value must be lost," Harry recited dutifully. It has been the first thing mentioned in the alchemy book Nicolas gave him last week and he still remembered it.
Nicolas nodded in satisfaction. "Exactly. I'm glad to see you remembered the most basic rule of alchemy," said Nicolas teasingly as Harry glared at the man.
Nicolas chuckled before clearing his throat and continuing. "In standard practice, Equivalent Exchange can be broken down into two laws. The Law of Conservation of Mass, which states that energy and matter can neither be created from nothing nor destroyed to the point of elemental nonexistence. In other words, to create an object weighing one kilogram, at least one kilogram of material is necessary and destroying an object weighing one kilogram would reduce it to a set of parts, the sum of which would weigh one kilogram. And the Law of Natural Providence, which states that an object or material made of a particular substance or element can only be transmuted into another object with the same basic makeup and properties of that initial material. In other words, an object or material made mostly of water can only be transmuted into another object with the attributes of water."
"What happens when someone tries to bypass either of these two laws?" asked Harry. The more he heard about Alchemy the more interested he became in it. This sounded like the perfect mixing of the muggle and magical worlds which, being a half-blood and having a foot in both worlds, sounded perfect for him.
"Since the alchemical forces being manipulated are not human in origin, but of the world as a whole, the consequences for attempting to bypass the Law of Equivalent Exchange in transmutation are not merely failure and cessation. When too much is attempted out of too little, what occurs is called a Rebound, in which the alchemical forces that are thrown out of balance on either side of the equation fluctuate wildly of their own accord in order to stabilize themselves - taking or giving more than was intended in often unpredictable and catastrophic ways such as accidental mutation, serious injury or death."
Harry gulped at Nicolas's words. He had read about that in the book Nicolas sent him two weeks ago but somehow, it didn't sound as bad hearing it from Nicolas himself.
Suddenly, something he read about Nicolas's greatest creation started to make sense and he said it out loud. "The Philosopher's Stone... it breaks the Law of Equivalent Exchange, doesn't it?"
Nicolas gave Harry a sharp look before nodding slowly. "Yes... how did you come to that conclusion may I ask?"
"Because if it didn't, then it wouldn't be able to turn any metal to gold like the books says it does," said Harry. "The chemical composition of gold is very different from any other metal's. It shouldn't be possible... unless the Stone breaks the Law of Equivalent Exchange."
Nicolas nodded sharply. "Yes, and now you know why I protect the Stone so thoroughly. In the wrong hands it could endanger the entire world. That's why part of the protections inscribed on the Stone itself is that only my magical signature can activate it and use it. Anyone else would only get a corrupted Elixir of Life and would be completely unable to use the Stone to bypass the Law of Equivalent Exchange."
Harry nodded his head thoughtfully. "That's a good way to protect it. I just find it hard to believe that something so magically powerful as the Stone is so fragile. I mean, anyone can just shatter the Stone, right? Shouldn't it have a more powerful protection? Most magical artifacts do."
Nicolas's face was carefully blank as he answered. "I always forget that despite your age, you're quite smart. Yes, there is another way. However, this way only works for one person and makes the Elixir inaccessible to anyone but the one person. Since I have no wish for Perenelle to die, you can imagine that I don't wish to use it."
Harry nodded his head in understanding, knowing that Nicolas won't mention this second way. Whatever it was, it seemed more secret than the fact that the Stone bypasses the Law of Equivalent Exchange.
Just then, the door to the workroom opened and Perenelle stepped inside. She looked from Nicolas to the crater on the floor before narrowing her eyes at the former.
Nicolas gulped in fear at his wife's glare. "Now, Perenelle. I'll fix it, don't worry. I promise to leave it just the way it was."
"You better," hissed Perenelle. "Zis floor was 16th century stonemasonry and irreplaceable. I won't 'ave your idiocy break it." Perenelle then turned to Harry and smile at him, causing him to blush. "'ello, Harry. I'm glad to zee you. As soon as you're done with my 'usband, come down to eat. I've cooked lunch."
Nicolas looked happy at Perenelle's words. "You mean you cooked? Your cooking is always the best, Perenelle!"
Perenelle turned her glare at her husband, causing to step back in fear. "You can eat dirt. Letting poor 'Arry go so long without eating. For shame!"
Harry tried to hold back a smile as Perenelle continued to berate Nicolas for letting "poor 'Arry" go so long without food. It was times like this that made Harry wonder if this is what it felt to see ones parents bicker.
Harry's smile became fixed at that thought. Harry had been seeing his parents so little that he had almost forgotten that they bickered like this from time to time. It had been years since he had seen them bicker playfully.
Harry was brought out his thoughts when Perenelle called his name, making him turn in her direction. "Yes, Mrs. Flamel?"
Perenelle frowned. "I 'ave told you zat you don't 'ave to be so formal with me, 'Arry. Just call me Perenelle."
Harry felt himself blush at her smile. While he intellectually knew that Perenelle was just as old as Nicolas, it was hard to remember at times. Perenelle looked younger than even his own mother, looking no older than 21 with a body most supermodels would kill to have. Legs that went on forever, a not too large bust, a nice tight arse and and a body with a perfect hourglass figure. All in all, Perenelle Flamel was every straight man's wet dream and even some not so straight men's.
Harry forced himself to nod at Perenelle. "Okay, Perenelle. I'll go down to eat now."
"After," said Nicolas."we finish this lesson, Perenelle. I promise it won't take more than 10 minutes."
Perenelle sniffed disdainfully and nodded. "Very well. I shall await you downstairs. Zat goes for you too, Nicky."
Harry tried not to laugh at the nickname which got him a dirty look from the man in question as Perenelle walked out.
As soon as Perenelle had left, Nicolas sent a spell at the door to lock it before turning to Harry with a smile that sent shivers down his spine for some reason. "My wife is quite beautiful, isn't she?"
Harry blushed as he realized that Nicolas had seen him check out his wife and looked away in embarrassment. "Um... yes, she is. I'm sorry."
Nicolas just laughed. "I would have been more offended if you hadn't checked her out, Harry. However, this means you've finally entered puberty officially."
Nicolas's smile became wider and Harry started to feel as if something bad was about to happen. "You know, Harry. You're like a son to me and Perenelle. We haven't had this much contact with a child your age in... Dear Lord, in almost three centuries. Considering your own relationship with your parents that makes us almost like your foster parents."
Nicolas suddenly hit Harry with a Full Body Bind before levitating Harry over to a chair and forcing him to sit. Nicolas then undid the spell on his head so Harry could speak and move it but he couldn't speak due to a Silencing charm. "And as your foster father, it is my job to tell you everything you need to know about this trying time... Now, when a man and a woman love each other..."
Harry could only sit in horror with no method of escape as he received the Talk from a six century old man with a LOT of experience.
Harry would never again be able to look at Perenelle the same way.
6:15 pm, Saturday; March 15th, 2003
Flamel estate, Brittany, France
Harry and Jade appeared without a sound in front of an expensive French chateau hidden a distance of half an hour by car from the historical city of Nantes.
The Flamel Mansion was one of splendor and elegance, with it's sweeping hallways containing arched ceilings that were decorated various Renaissance style carvings, the gothic looking columns that lined the walls, and it's double-helix staircase. There were many paintings, both magical and not, decorating the interior of the house that increased the splendor the house gave off.
It was not very big, a three story mansion with a grand total of thirty rooms and a very large basement where Nicolas conducted his alchemy experiments, but it was certainly one of the most beautiful places Harry had ever visited. It managed to blend traditional French Medieval forms with classical Renaissance structures, probably due to the fact that the Flamels lived through both eras and saw it evolve in person.
Harry slowly stepped forward with Jade at his side as he pressed the doorbell. Beside him, Jade looked at him in curiosity. "Why are we here, Harry? I thought we were going to visit Tracey today?"
"We are," confirmed Harry. "But I got a message from Nicolas that they wanted to see me before... well, before they ran out of Elixir. I couldn't just come another day. They didn't tell me how much they had left but I'm guessing it's not much. Maybe for a few more days but not much more. I sent a message to Tracey and told her we'll be a little late. She said she understood."
Jade nodded her head in understanding and stiffened when the door opened seemingly on its own. It was the first time Jade was inside a completely magical house since she was freed from her magical marriage/slavery so it was understandable she would be jumpy. Magic still reminded her of her forced servitude and she only felt comfortable when Harry used it, since he used it to free her from said servitude.
Harry, on the other hand, took it in stride and walked into the chateau without a care in the world. Jade followed behind even as her eyes looked around, checking for threats. Jade had never met the Flamels in person, even during her convalescence. Her rescue by Harry had happened in the same year Albus Dumbledore stole their Philosopher's Stone and things had been hectic then which accounted for her not seeing them despite having recovered in their home.
Now almost two years later, Jade could properly give thanks to those who allowed her into their home, especially so soon after having been betrayed by someone they trusted. In that vein, she could be grateful that she could do it in person rather than to their graves once they passed on.
As they walked down the halls, Jade saw several portraits lining the walls, some of them of what she thought was Nicolas and Perenelle Flamel in various different points in time while a few at the end even had Harry in them. Not all of them were magical. In fact, the majority were normal non-magical paintings. Though a few looked like originals of their time and would probably cost a fortune.
At the end of the hall, there was a large sheer black curtain covering a large portrait. Jade noticed Harry pause slightly in front of it before continuing to the left. Jade was about to follow but the portrait seemed to call to her. Jade moved aside the curtain slightly when Harry called her. Jade quickly followed after Harry, wondering why they were covering a painting of Harry and some violet-haired woman.
Eventually, they reached the living room to find a couple sitting at the table playing a half finished game of chess laying between them.
The man's hair must have been blond at one point though it had whitened due to age, cut in a intermediate style that framed his face. He was obviously French with a french nose set between two smiling brown eyes that spoke of equal parts playfulness and seriousness, along with a strong jawline. He had a strong figure that spoke of an active life while still have the hands of a scholar.
The woman's hair was a long silvery color that once may have been blond as well and curved down her scalp like a gently cascading waterfall. Her face was weathered by age but even Jade could see that she was once a great beauty that few could hope to match. Even at her advanced age and with Jade being beautiful herself, Jade could feel herself be slightly jealous of how easily the woman could look graceful even while sitting down. She had wide, almond shaped blue eyes that were currently narrowed as she tried to figure out her next move. Like her husband, she had a figure that spoke of an active life thought much less than her husband. Her hands looked like they hadn't done a moment of manual labor in her entire life, though that might simply be due to being a witch and having magic.
The man, no doubt Nicolas himself, sensed them enter and looked up from his game before smiling at Harry happily. "Oh, Harry! So glad you could come. I was just playing a game of chess with Perenelle here while we waited. I hope I didn't interrupt anything important?"
Harry just gave Nicolas a small smile and shook his head. "No, master. This was my weekend off actually so you contacted me just in time."
Perenelle's eyebrows furrowed at his words and she glared slightly at him. "You should 'ave told us zat zen. You could 'ave come at a later date if you were relaxing. You work too hard as it iz."
Harry just gave a sad smile, as if having had this conversation before. "Maybe but you no longer have all the time you want anymore remember?"
The two blinked as if just realizing that he was right before both grimaced. "I keep forgetting that," said Nicolas regretfully. "After having all the time in the world for over six centuries, it's hard to get used to the fact that our time is running out. In fact, we only have enough Elixir to last about another week. That brings as to why I invited you today. But first, it's time for our daily drink."
Both Nicolas and Perenelle took out a vial filled with a silvery liquid that glimmered in the light. From where Jade was standing she could swear that the liquid was glowing rather than simply reflecting the light. With a small 'cheers', both elderly people drank the vials' contents.
Before Jade's eyes, the couple started to become younger, the years falling off their face as their hair returned to a youthful blond while the wrinkles and other signs of age disappeared. By the time it was over, Jade was looking at the same couple, not looking a day over 25 at the most.
Jade looked at Perenelle once more and had to revaluate her opinion on the woman. She was not just beautiful, she was drop dead gorgeous! She had large yet firm breasts that even through her clothing, Jade still noticed were larger than her own, and long legs with shapely thighs that made most men drool over. Even looking at her, Jade couldn't help but be slightly envious and promise herself to put more effort into her looks, if for no other reason as to attract Harry's attention more often. No wonder he resisted Jade's advances so easily sometimes. If he was raised around a beauty like Perenelle, most women must look average in comparison!
Perenelle stood up with an annoyed sigh as she shook off the effects of the Elixir changing her back to her youthful form. "Damn zat Albus Dumbledore! I will never forgive him for making me get old!" She turned to Harry with a fierce look in her eye. "I 'ope you do no let 'im die quickly. 'E deserves a slow, painful death for this... atrocite!"
Harry smiled a dangerous smile that Jade hoped was never pointed in her direction. "Oh, don't worry, Perenelle. I have... plans for Albus Dumbledore."
"I 'ope zey succeed," said Perenelle firmly. Perenelle then walked toward Jade and smiled at her. "You must be Jade. Harry told me a lot about you and I must say zat you are as beautiful as he described. Come, let us let ze men talk while I show you a few zings around ze mansion."
Jade looked toward Harry who just nodded before she followed the beautiful French woman out of the room.
Harry and Nicolas were left alone in the living room before Nicolas smiled at Harry and gestured towards Perenelle's empty seat. "Well, want to play a game with me?"
Harry smiled slightly at the familiar question, memories of lessons beginning with similar games in this very room invading his mind. Nicolas had always started their lessons with a game of chess, believing that the mental toll it took to play and win the chess game, sharpened and readied the mind for learning the complex art of alchemy.
"Like in chess, every move and alchemic formula you make, will cause a different reaction from your enemy, which in the case of alchemy is the World itself. The World always tries to keep itself in balance so you have to find a way to get the desired outcome while outmaneuvering the World's attempts to keep the balance. If you fail..." Nicolas moved his knight forward, putting Harry's king in checkmate. "... then you might find yourself beaten and lose more than you were willing to."
Harry smiled at the memory. Even to this day he didn't exactly understand how chess and alchemy were similar but he never questioned it. It was just one of Nicolas's many quirks.
Harry sat down in the offered seat and looked down at the chess board to see that it had been reset and he was white this time around. Smiling slightly, Harry made the first move. "Queen side pawn to d4."
Nicolas smiled and made his move in response. "King side Knight to f4."
The two master alchemists continued in this vain for a few minutes, no words being spoken as they concentrated on the game. Eventually, Harry took one of Nicolas's pawns with one of his own which he responded by using his rook to take said pawn, causing Nicolas to speak.
"You've gotten better, I see," said Nicolas absently. "I used to be able to beat you within 10 moves."
Harry smirked. "Well, that was pretty good for a teenager considering you have centuries of experience in the game. I swear, it felt like you were reading my mind like a telepath sometimes."
Nicolas quirked an eyebrow as he moved his piece. "That's why I taught you Occlumency. To keep nosy people like Albus out of your head. Don't tell me you've lost practice in Occlumency?"
Harry shook his head as he stopped Nicolas's strategy, forcing him to change it. "No, but it doesn't do much against telepaths. I can just barely protect my most secretive thoughts and feelings from them and that's with a lot of conscious effort."
Nicolas blinked and smirked. "You mean you haven't figured it out? But then, you wouldn't. I mean I didn't until I met Selene..."
Harry looked at Nicolas in confusion. "What do you mean? You mean Occlumency can block telepathy?"
Nicolas made a noncommittal grunt. "Yes and no. You see, Occlumency was created to counter Legilimency. The difference between Legilimency and telepathy is how they go about it. Legilimency works by the legilimens sending a 'probe' of their mind into the mind of the other. The reason it isn't exactly 'mind reading' like telepathy is because each person's mind is different and we can never exactly understand the thought processes of another. Occlumency therefore protects the mind from external assault."
"Telepathy, on the other hand," continued Nicolas. "subconsciously works by drawing the thoughts of others in. In other words, rather than sending one's mind into another's the telepath draws the targets thoughts into their head. Even telepathic 'attacks' are really only the telepath forcibly drawing your thoughts out of your mind and into theirs. Since traditional Occlumency does nothing to stop one's thoughts form leaving one's head but rather protects from external assault, it does little to impede a telepath."
Harry nodded his head absently as his mind raced. "So how do I block telepathy?"
Nicolas smiled. "I wondered myself until I ran into a charming woman by the name of Selene Gallio. She's older than me if you believe it and is probably still looking young to this day. No Philosopher's Stone needed. Anyway, I helped her in some small favors and she taught me how to change my Occlumency to stop telepathy."
"Basically, one changes one's Occlumency to add in barriers to stop your thoughts from leaving one's shields. It's hard and requires conscious effort on your part since it's not natural. Only another experienced telepath has natural shields to defend against other telepaths. However, I thought you would learn telepathy from Dr. Strange when you trained under him?"
Harry grimaced. "It required me to open my mind to him so he could help me learn it. That would mean he would see my memories and secrets and well... there are some thing that I want to keep secret." As he said this, his hand went toward his chest, over his heart.
Nicolas saw the gesture and nodded knowingly. "Yes... you would want to keep that under wraps."
A comfortable silence fell between them as they continued to play before Nicolas broke it once more.
"So," said Nicolas softly. "I hear you've joined the Hellfire Club's New York Branch as its White King. King side rook to f3."
Harry didn't even question how his old mentor knew that, simply moving his pawn to take Nicolas's knight. "Pawn to h5. Yeah. I'm hoping to use their vast resources to my advantage. I'll need it if I want to stand a chance against Circe. She's had centuries to amass her resources."
Nicolas gave a noncommittal grunt and moved his queen. "Queen to f8. True. I imagine that she has vast resources. You'll need all the help you can get."
They played for a while longer before Harry finished it by checkmating Nicolas's king. "Checkmate, Nic."
Nicolas smiled at his former student, the only one that had never let him down to date. "King's to you then, Harry."
Harry's smile dimmed as memories came back to him at that saying. Memories of someone he had loved and he thought had loved him. Someone who was now his enemy.
Nicolas noticed and decided to get to the reason he had invited Harry over. "Well, that was invigorating. Now as to the reason you're here."
Harry came back to himself at Nicolas's words and cocked an eyebrow at him even as an amused smile crossed his face. "You mean there was a reason beyond losing to me in chess?"
Nicolas gave Harry a dirty look and grumbled about rude youngsters as Harry snickered. "Yes there was." Nicolas sat back and a serious look came over his face causing Harry to become serious as well. "As you know, I'm going to be dying soon. Albus thought I had very little Elixir stashed away after he stole my Philosopher's Stone. Obviously he thought that I never planned for something like this happening and planning for it. For that reason, I always had enough Elixir stashed away to keep me and Perenelle alive for at least a year, two if used sparingly like we have. The point was to have enough time to create another Stone to replace the one we lost."
"However," here Nicolas looked frustrated, "Albus seemed to have anticipated us creating another Stone to save ourselves and has managed to block any attempt. By making the destruction of our Stone public, he has basically said that we should die. If we survived, it would cast suspicion as to how since we no longer have our Stone. We have often said that we could not create another Stone, so creating one now would cast negative light on our word. We could easily just create another Stone and disappear under another alias but that would be much the same as dying. Albus would still get what he wanted which is to neutralize us as a political power."
"Do you ever wonder why magical France has never fallen under Dumbledore's manipulations just like Germany, Russia and even Spain have?" asked Nicolas quietly.
Harry cocked an eyebrow and shrugged. "I imagined it was because the French are most resistant to any form of control. The French Revolution was one of the most changing overthrows of monarchy in history. While Britain still has its monarchy, even if its power is less than before, and even Spain still has its titles of nobility, France went under a complete political and social reform. I imagine they'd be more resistant to the idea of being under one man's control than anyone."
Nicolas nodded his head in agreement. "Yes, that's true. However, all that resistance would be useless if they didn't provide a united front. Magical France's politics is much the same if not worse than any other country's politics. Here, titles no longer mean anything and anyone can rise to a high position regardless of station at birth. However that means people are much more cunning and ruthless than in Britain. I wouldn't be surprised if every French man were sorted into Slytherin if they attended Hogwarts."
Harry smiled at the truth of that statement, remembering attending many political gatherings here in France. If it hadn't been for Circe's teachings and presence he would have probably have been eaten alive. That thought wiped the smile off his face.
Nicolas continued. "However, despite this we've managed to rebuff any and all of Albus's attempts at control because of a single reason. The reason is because many of those families are under my political faction which represents 90% of the French Wizenmagot."
Harry cocked an eyebrow in confusion. "I don't understand. I thought they would never bend knee to one man yet you say they bend knee to you?"
Nicolas waved him off. "You misunderstand. I don't rule them. I simply manage to get them to work together at times when it comes to resisting Albus's attempts at control. The fact that many of their families' positions are owed to me helps in that."
"This is the reason Albus wants me dead," said Nicolas bluntly. "Once I die without an heir, the faction will shatter and fight amongst themselves as they try to find another representative for the faction. Albus would take advantage of this and either destroy them as a political faction completely or take over as my 'successor'."
Harry's mouth was a grim line at Nicolas's words before he scowled darkly. "I don't understand. I've never understood. Why does Dumbledore do all this?! Why is so insistent on controlling everything?!"
Nicolas sighed and massaged his temples. "I wish I knew. When I first started teaching him he wasn't this way. A little eccentric, yes. But not this... control freak he's become! I don't even know him anymore. World War II changed him. The war against Voldemort only made him worse."
Harry sighed and closed his eyes in thought before speaking. "You know that it won't end until he's dead, right? Knowingly or not, he's playing right into Circe's hands and is furthering her agenda. He's too stubborn to change now. Which leaves only one conclusion."
Nicolas looked sad but nodded his head in understanding. "Sometimes I wonder... why do some people get better with age while others only get worse?"
Harry smiled teasingly at Nicolas. "You would know all about getting old, wouldn't you?" Chuckling at Nicolas's glare, he turned serious. "So when you're dead, Dumbledore will be able to take control of magical France, albeit indirectly."
Nicolas shook his head. "That's why I've called you. After much thought I've finally found a way to continue my legacy. I originally wanted to adopt you post-mortem as mine and Perenelle's son and give everything to you. However, that would include my noble titles in the magical world and that's impossible. You're already a Peer of the Britain and it's impossible to be a Peer of France as well. While it would be possible in the muggle world due to it being nothing more than a title, it isn't in the magical world since being a noble automatically makes you a citizen."
"Anyway..." continued Nicolas. "What I did was this. In my will, I leave you all my magical theories and discoveries I've made during my long life. My money will be divided between you and the inheritor of my noble title, Monsieur Delacour. He is the current magical prime minister and just so happens to be related to me through both our wives' line. His wife is a half-Veela you see, much like Perenelle. The blood connection is enough for me to give him my titles."
"My official heir, however, is you, Harry," explained Nicolas, much to Harry's shock. "Since I'm not making you the Lord of the Ancient and Noble House of Flamel, since the House began and ended with me and Perenelle so it doesn't have the required ten generations of 'pure' blood, that only means you get the name. Everything else short of what I've named for you will go to Monsieur Delacour."
"The reason I'm doing this is to create an alliance between you and Monsieur Delacour." explained Nicolas shortly. "While I could give everything to him, he wouldn't be considered my heir since I never taught him alchemy or even gave him my surname. In magical France, where noble titles are just formalities, the 'heir' is the one who inherits your magic and name, rather than the one who inherits your titles and money. Since it's well-known that you were my apprentice and will inherit my surname, you'll be looked at as symbol of me once I'm gone. By allying yourself with him, it would bring support to his position and gain you a valuable ally. I should tell you that he despises Albus Dumbledore. Doesn't trust the man to piss straight, much less anything else."
A small smile crossed Harry's face at Nicolas's words. "So this... Monsieur Delacour. What kind of man is he?"
Nicolas looked thoughtful before answering. "Well, I've only met him and his wife and children a few times since they married but he seemed like a decent man. He's still a politician so no doubt he'll always try to find a way to come out on top. However, he's not the sort to try underhanded tactics to do it. He'll simply take advantage of every opportunity when they're presented. This is about the best we can hope from politicians, after all."
Harry smirked at his pseudo-father's words before the smile melted off his face as he realized what this meant. While Harry had known for almost two years that this day was coming, it didn't make it any easier.
Nicolas smiled at Harry. "I know, Harry. I felt the same when my father died. I knew weeks beforehand that it was coming yet it didn't make it any easier when it came. But I lived on. So will you."
Harry looked lost at his words. "You're... the only father... I've ever known. My own father..." Harry gave a sarcastic chuckle. "... my own father barely spoke to me. You... you were the one who took his place and became a real father. You taught me and guided me whenever I needed advice. You helped put me back together after Circe's betrayal. What am I supposed to do when you're gone?"
Nicolas seemed to understand what was going through Harry's head because he laid a hand on his shoulder. "Don't be sad, Harry. Perenelle and I have lived for longer than we should have. I think it's better this way, after all." At Harry's questioning gaze, Nicolas smiled sadly. "Perenelle and I have never had children due to one simple fact. No father should have to bury their child. I can't imagine ever having to bury you. It would break us."
Harry smiled sadly before setting up the chess board once more. "How about another game... before I go?"
Nicolas smiled and made the first move.
7:45 pm, Saturday; March 15th, 2003
Davis manor, Britain
The fireplace in the foyer of Davis manor turned green before disgorging none other than Hadrian Peverell who was quickly followed by Jade. Harry quickly cast a spell on the fireplace, locking the floo behind them so no unexpected visitors came calling and found him there. Once done, Harry looked around the foyer of the new Davis manor.
The new Davis manor had been designed by Tracey herself and construction started soon after her late husband's death since she considered the Nott ancestral home too dreary to raise a child in. The old ancestral home of Tracey's mother's family had been destroyed so she had forced her new husband to set aside money build a new one as part of their new marriage. It had been designed after the Elizabethan style mansions since the Greengrasses (her mother's pre-marital family) favored those.
Like many Elizabethan mansions, Davis manor is built in an 'E' shape with large projecting wings with square projections that contain staircases. The house is not truly symmetrical as the hall has two lights and the buttery one. The south front has seven gables supported by octagonal buttresses and decorated with twisted finials with ogee scale-work caps and English Crockets.
Its central entry porch lead to a screen passage with the hall on the left and a service passage leading to the kitchen wing that occupies the right wing. A long gallery stretches across the entire length of the house on the upper floor. A vanity Tracey had put in which she insisted was going to be filled with paintings of the many generations who were going to live in this manor. However, unlike most magical homes not a single painting or portraits in the house was magical. Considering some of the secrets Tracey had, she didn't want such a potential security leak present and forbid magical portraits in the house, especially after finding out that Albus spied on people using them.
The gardens around the manor included a rectangularly raised area or parterre 70 meters (230 ft) by 50 meters (160 ft) near a liner pond or canal which was 12 meters (39 ft) by 110 meters (360 ft). There were a series of walled areas that included a white garden, a rose and iris garden and a lily garden.
The walls of the kitchen garden include two gateways with neoclassical architraves. The gravel paths are laid out in a square with a cross at the centre enhanced by a fountain surrounded by fruit trees, vegetable plots and soft fruits. There were also wrought-iron gates for horseback riding through the country side. The kitchen garden provided the fruits and vegetables for the house-elves to use so the house could be self-sufficient in times that food prices went up.
All in all, the manor was a thing of beauty and Tracey was very happy about it. It had just recently been finished and this would be the first time Harry had stepped in it.
The two reasons why Harry was visiting became apparent when one of them slammed into his midsection like a black-haired missile.
"Uncle Harry, Aunt Jade!" screamed three year old Tobias Nott as he hugged his favorite uncle. Tobias had dark black hair which he inherited from his father and Tracey's amber eyes, only a shade darker than Tracey's own. Unfortunately, he had also inherited his mother's hyperactive excitability, though Tracey hid it beneath the facade of a prim and proper Lady she had been forced to use when she married Nott.
Harry smiled genuinely and picked up Tobias before pretending to bite his stomach. "Rawww! How's my little man? You've been good to your mum?"
"Hardly," came the dry reply from the mother in question. "He's like his father and always gives me headaches."
Harry's smile turned loving as he took in the sight of a nightgown-wearing Tracey sitting on the nearby sofa.
Tracey had a slightly more tan complexion compared to Harry's own caucasian one, with long, straight, russet brown hair, a widow's peak, unique amber eyes that turned darker or lighter depending on her mood and a heart-shaped face with a wide forehead. Her eyes were large and widely spaced which only enhanced the effect her amber eyes had on you. Her nose was thin and her cheekbones are high and aristocratic. The only flaw on her face was that her lips were a bit too full for her slim jawline.
That was just her face and most men didn't even notice that compared to the rest of her body. Tracey Davis had been blessed with an hourglass figure that had made many of the boys in school chase after her and many more girls envious. She had had the largest bust in school, having been an early bloomer, and they only grew bigger after childbirth. Her legs were toned showing an active life unlike most lazy witches who used magic to do everything.
All in all, there was a reason that Tracey was considered the most sought after woman in the magical Britain after her late husband's unfortunate demise three years ago.
"Hey, Tracey," said Harry in a low tone.
Harry and Tracey's eyes met and a familiar feeling passed between them. Harry smiled his crooked smile full of desire at her while a knowing smile came to Tracey's face as Harry looked her over. Tracey discreetly crossed one leg over the other, letting Harry see the entire expanse of her toned leg. Tracey knew how much Harry loved her legs and used it to her advantage in their little games.
Smiling to himself at his lover's antics, Harry turned back to Tobias. "Well, why don't you tell me how you've been? I haven't seen you in almost two months."
With that encouragement, Tobias launched into a long speech about all the cool stuff he'd been doing around the house, which including 'decorating' the gallery walls with his 'art', driving the house-elves half mad with his pranks and trying to steal his mother's wand so he could practice magic.
Harry had sat on the sofa beside Tracey while keeping Tobias in his lap as Tobias continued to explain his days to his favorite 'uncle'. Tracey laid her head on Harry's shoulder as an amused smile crossed her face at her son's exaggerated 'adventures' which somehow always ended in fighting through a horde of bloodthirsty dark creatures, both real and imagined, to get back home for chocolate cake. Jade sat on Harry's other side, while keeping a greater distance between her and Harry than normal out of respect to Tracey's presence, and smiled down at the three year old's tall tales.
Harry continued to listen to his son's stories, partially wondering whether he would ever be able to tell Tobias the truth about his parentage.
Yes, Tobias was his son. Tracey had only married Theodore Nott due to a marriage contract made between her late father and Nott's father during the war against Voldemort. The times had been tense back then and due to Tracey's father, Louis Davis, being a muggleborn and having married Tracey's pureblood mother, Beatriz Greengrass, they had been in danger.
In order to escape being killed in the night by Death Eaters, Louis had arranged a marriage contract between Tracey and Theodore Nott. Despite concrete proof, it had been well-known that the senior Nott was a Death Eater, and Louis had thought that by arranging the contract, he would be able to protect the family. Louis had also put in a clause in the contract that allowed him to cancel it any time Louis found the younger Nott unsuitable for any reason.
It had worked and the family had survived the war until the night Voldemort fell. Unfortunately, Louis and Beatriz had died soon after when they were 'unfortunately' killed in Diagon Alley the night after Voldemort fell. The fact that the senior Nott was caught and sent to Azkaban as a Death Eater a few days later with Louis's wand in his possession was proof of the fact that he had been behind it. Apparently, the idiot had wanted to keep it as a trophy.
Unfortunately, with Louis and Beatriz dead, there was no one capable of breaking the contract. Only the Head of the Davis family could do so and since they had left no sons behind that could become Head of the House at eleven and the contract stated that Tracey had to marry Nott three days before she turned seventeen which was when female heirs became Head of their House, the contract became inescapable. It was a binding magical contract and refusing to marry would have resulted in the deaths of all involved.
After her parents' death, Tracey had been raised by her uncle Nathaniel Greengrass who had a daughter two years younger than Tracey named Daphne as well as another daughter, Astoria who was two years younger than Daphne. Tracey had grown up knowing she would be married to the son of the man who killed her father and had become cold and angry because of it, losing the excitable and happy girl she had been before her parents' death. Tracey hardly made any friends due to this.
Despite this, Harry and Tracey had met and become friends during their second year. This friendship blossomed until they started secretly dating during the end of their third year at Hogwarts. They had to do it secretly since Tracey didn't want Nott to start trouble with the Potters if he knew. On Harry's side, he also didn't tell anyone because he knew his parents wouldn't approve of him dating someone from a 'dark' family such as the Greengrasses regardless of the fact they were dark was only rumors. His parents hatred of all things anti-Dumbledore had always angered him to no end.
The relationship between Harry and Tracey had been very strange compared to normal relationships. Due to its secrecy, they couldn't act friendly in public and had to meet in secret away from everyone, including their closest friends. Only Tracey's cousin, Daphne, and Diane had ever known about it and had been kind enough to cover for them when necessary. Harry had also publicly dated other girls to drive away suspicion of why he wasn't dating.
Technically, he had cheated on all his girlfriends with Tracey but since he was technically with her first and she didn't mind it, he convinced himself it didn't count. Plus, he only ever dated fangirls who he wouldn't have normally dated in a million years. The only reason he did was because they were too stupid to realize he was only using them as a cover.
The relationship continued until three days before Tracey turned seventeen in their sixth year and married Nott. Tracey had told him they couldn't continue their relationship now that she was getting married since it wouldn't be fair to Harry. She wanted him to move on and be happy so she had broken things off with him. They had said their goodbyes and even made love one final time the night before the wedding.
Due to Nott hating the Potters and Harry especially, Tracey and Harry hadn't even kept in contact until over a year later, after Diane died. Tracey had heard about the magical coma Harry entered due to what happened that day and contacted Nicolas, who was watching over Harry. They somehow managed to think up of an appropriate excuse for Tracey's absences and she visited him almost daily.
Nott had barely noticed, since it only took him a month after marrying Tracey to start cheating on her. He had quickly found out that while he was married to her, Tracey would not allow Nott into her bed after their wedding night and she was too strong, magically speaking, to force her. Due to this, Not had quickly started sleeping around with whores down Knockturn Alley. Hating Nott due to his ocassional abusive tendencies and sometimes making mocking comments about her parents' death, Tracey had felt no shame in restarting her sexual relationship with Harry a month after he got out of his coma.
Their affair continued until Nott eventually found out. He found out because Tracey became pregnant with Tobias. Nott knew it wasn't his since he had recently found out he was shooting blanks and was incapable of impregnating a woman. No doubt due to generations of incest. So when he found out Tracey was pregnant, he knew she was having an affair with someone and viciously beat her in his rage.
On a completely unrelated note, Nott was found dead a few days later in Knockturn Alley. It seemed as if he had tried to but illegal product from one Mundungus Fletcher and had tried to pay less than what Mundungus was owed. Mundungus had gotten angry and gotten off a lucky dark exploding curse that blew Nott head right off. The trial had been an open and shut case since Mundungus had confessed to the crime and his wand showed it was him.
No one wondered how Fletcher even knew how to cast such an advanced dark curse, saying he must have learned it during his illegal dealings. If someone had and that same person used muggle forensics, they would have found a second set of fingerprints on Mundungus's wand and wondered why Nott's body was positioned as if he was hit from behind by the curse when Mundungus said they had dueled for a bit before he got the lucky curse of.
Tobias had been born nine months later and some blood from Nott had allowed them to do a ritual that basically had Nott magically adopt Tobais as his son post-mortem. Since family trees use magic to establish who is whose son, the Nott family tree showed Tobias as Nott's son and no one suspected a thing. Only a muggle DNA test would reveal the truth but luckily, wizards were too disdainful of muggles to even contemplate it.
They had done this so that Tracey could inherit the Nott fortune as the mother of the 'last Nott' and leave the senior Nott (since Lady Nott had died two years earlier), if he ever left Azkaban, with nothing. A suitable revenge for killing her own family, she destroyed his in return.
Harry was brought out of his thoughts by the feel of a small kiss on his neck and Harry turned to see Tracey looking up at him with a questioning look in her eyes. Harry just smiled in return and threw an arm over Tracey's shoulders causing her to smile and snuggle into his chest.
The only reason Tracey and him were affectionate now was because they were alone. Publicly, Harry didn't even know Tracey beyond the fact that she attended school with him. This was to further evade suspicion as to Tobias's true parentage since it would look strange for Tracey to so quickly have found another lover so 'soon' after her 'beloved' husband's death. In the wizarding world, a woman who found a new lover before seven years after her first husband's death was a 'scarlet woman'. While Tracey didn't care, the fact she was still in 'mourning' allowed her to fend off the many advances of other wizards who wanted her either for her money or her looks.
Harry smiled to himself as Tobias yawned and snuggled into Harry's lap causing Harry to look at the clock. Harry was surprised when he realized it was 10pm already. He must have been trapped in his thoughts for longer than eh thought. "Hey, Toby. It's late and you should go to sleep. I'm sleeping over so we'll be able to play all day tomorrow. Okay?"
Tobias sleepily smiled at Harry. "Really? You promise?"
Harry nodded. "I promise."
With that, Harry carried Tobias to his room, closely followed by Tracey and Jade. Harry opened the door and walked into the room.
The room was a light blue color with several posters on the wall of various galaxies. Tobias had always loved the stars and after Harry told him about astronauts, he had been determined to be one when he grew up. It made Tracey smile sadly since it had been her dream as well before her parents' death and it reminded her of better times.
Tucking him in to his bed, Harry gave thanks that Tobias was too young to realize it wasn't normal for an 'uncle' to be so affectionate with his nephew. Harry waved his hand and conjured a small image of the night sky above Tobias's bed, knowing how much Tobias loved to watch the stars. After Tracey gave him a kiss goodnight, they left the room and all three adults stood in front of Tobias's door.
Seeing the look on Tracey's face as she looked at Harry, Jade cleared her throat. "Well, it's been a long day and I'd like to get some sleep. Good night, Harry, Tracey. I'll see you in the morning?"
Harry nodded his thanks and smiled. "I'll see you in the morning, Jade,"
With that, Jade walked down the hall toward her regular room whenever they stayed over at Davis manor.
Now alone, Tracey threaded her hand in Harry's larger one and gently led Harry back toward the foyer. Once there, she gently pushed Harry back onto a love chair and snuggled onto his lap with her face against his neck.
The two lovers stayed like that for a while before Harry spoke. "So... how've you been, love?"
Tracey smiled into his neck and breathed in his familiar scent. "Good. It gets a little lonely in this big manor by myself but Daphne visits sometimes as well as Astoria, though the latter less than the former. I usually spend my days when I'm not making contacts for you either riding through the country side or spending the day with that hyperactive son of yours. He totally got that from you."
Harry smiled and looked down at Tracey in bemusement. "Uhuh? I seem to remember a certain someone who bounced off the walls in excitement whenever I managed to sneak you out of the castle for a date."
Tracey blushed and playfully glared at Harry. "I did not bounce off the walls. I was simply... slightly excited to leave the castle. That's all."
"Uhuh. Tell me another," said Harry teasingly. Harry chuckled as Tracey playfully punched his arm in retaliation for his cheek.
Tracey snuggled into his chest once more and Harry rubbed her hair lovingly as they fell silent once more. Eventually, Tracey broke the silence. "How long can you stay this time?"
Harry grimaced and sighed. "I can stay all day tomorrow but then I have to go back. I promised Julia to spend the week with her since I haven't seen her in so long. I would invite you to come along but..."
"I know...," Tracey sighed sadly. "I know. We can't let anyone know about our relationship. People might suspect something about you being Tobias' real father. Dumbledore might also be ready to face you politically if he knew I was making alliances with neutral families so we can support you once you return publicly to join the Wizenmagot. Still sucks though."
Harry chuckled. "If only people could see you now. The prim and proper 'Ice Queen' Davis speaking so vulgarly. For shame."
Tracey only stuck out her tongue at him in response, causing him to laugh.
Harry kissed Tracey's forehead and sighed. "You deserve better than me, Tracey. Tobias deserves better. I'm a terrible father and lover to you. You guys barely see me three times a month and when we do, it has to be in secret."
Tracey looked up at Harry and glared. "And I've told you you're wrong! You're a wonderful father to Tobias. The fact that you're willing to bury your own feelings and stay away shows how much you love us. If people knew that Tobias was really your son, I'd be thrown into Azkaban for line theft and Tobias would be thrown out in the streets. I know you wish you could visit more often and I do too but... the alternative if we were caught is worse."
Harry sighed. "I know... I know. I just.. I love you, Trace. I love Tobias. I want to be like this with you every day. Holding you and loving you and watching Tobias grow up. God, he's getting big. Each time I see him I swear he's grown another inch. I just feel like such a failure because I'm leaving you to raise him alone. Not only that but I have to marry three other woman too, none of them you because fucking Nott forced you to take a traditional magical wedding which means you can't remarry. Fucking asshole!"
Tracey smiled and kissed Harry lovingly. "I know, Harry, but I told you it's okay. As long as you love me and continue to be with me, I'm more than willing to share. I'm already sharing with Jade and Satana after all. How is Satana, by the way?"
Harry winced slightly. "She and I... we're no longer together. She went to train under Doctor Strange and we decided that it would be best if she didn't have any distractions. Well, more like she decided but there you go."
Tracey cocked an eyebrow. "She said no when you asked her to marry you, didn't she?" Harry's wince told Tracey everything. "I'm sure she loves you Harry but marriage is a pretty big thing, especially magical marriage. It's literally till death do us part in our case. You can't blame her for not wanting to say yes to something so big when she was planning on being apart from you for so long."
Harry sighed. "I know. I know. Still... I miss her."
Tracey looked at Harry before a sultry smile came to her face. "Well, why don't I help you forget about her by showing you where you're going to be sleeping tonight?"
Harry looked at Tracey in confusion before realizing what she meant and smiling. Tracey got off Harry's lap and led him back down the hall toward her room. They eventually stopped in front of the door leading to Tracey's master bedroom where she pointed to the door beside her own.
"That's your room, where you'll be taking a bath and change clothes during the day," said Tracey in an even tone with a hint of lust in her voice.
Harry smothered a smile as he knew where this was going. "During the day? And where, pray tell, will I be sleeping at night?"
Tracey gave him a seductive smile before pulling him into her room. "During the night... you'll be in this room, though I can't promise there'll be much sleeping done."
Harry gave Tracey a completely fake innocent look while trying and failing to hide a smile. "And what will I be doing in your room? It's not proper for me to be in your room, after all? After all, we're just friends."
Tracey growled and gave him a scorching kiss that he eagerly reciprocated. "Shut up, Harry. It's been almost two months since I've been with you and I've missed you. Now shut up and fuck me." With that said, Tracey gave him another scorching kiss and pulled him into the master bedroom.
Go to hpfanficarchive for lemon.
Harry smiled down at the sleeping woman in his arms and carried her over to the bed where he gently laid her down. Even asleep, Tracey refused to let go of his arm, causing him to chuckle and and lay down beside her. Tracey instantly molded herself to his body and yawned cutely.
"I love you too, Tracey," whispered Harry before following her into the land of dreams.
AN: Sorry for taking so long to update but things had been hectic at work and at home. I'm gonna be working overtime so updates will be sporadic. Sorry but life is just not giving me a break this year.
As always, Read and Review!