Notes: Another story. Yep, I'm writing another strong Harry-Hermione friendship fic. But, it's different from Granger Danger. For one, they're older and have more of a brother-sister relationship. This story is canon up to the beginning of the fourth book, but it's slightly AU cause I made the world dynamic (as in, it's a Dom/sub universe).
There will be a bit of Ron and Dumbledore bashing as the story progresses, but it's not over the top, hopefully.
The two main pairings are set (being Harry/Draco and Hermione/Viktor) but I'm open to suggestions on side pairings. That being said, there are two main couples in this and that means they will get almost EQUAL story time. AS IN HET AND SLASH! There will probably be somewhat explicit sex scene for BOTH couples. Don't like, don't read.
Harry, Hermione, and Sirius are all a bit OOC. As is Draco Malfoy. Sorry, not sorry. There is and will continue to be several cliche elements, but I'm hoping the overall story is somewhat unique.
With that over with, enjoy my newest HP story. (And for those of you invested in House of Snakes, I will be updating that soon-ish... but don't hold your breath. I've got Ch 10 halfway done but I got inspired by this story and so set it aside.)
Harry stood barefoot on the beach. The constant wind blew at his shoulder length black hair. He absentmindedly tied a leather cord around it, pulling it into a messy ponytail at the nape of his neck. He wore no glasses; having gotten his vision corrected nearly two months before. His sight was crisp and clear as he looked over the moonlit sea.
The sound of footsteps alerted him to another presence. Harry flicked his wrist so that his familiar holly wand fell from its holster into his palm. Quickly, though, he recognized the magical signature as that of his godfather. Harry slipped his wand back up into its holster and relaxed as Sirius clapped a friendly hand on his shoulder.
They stood side-by-side watching the sea. The waves quietly lapped at the sand in front of them. Harry glanced to the left, observing his godfather's face briefly. Sirius looked much healthier after a full summer of healing. His cheeks had filled out from their previous gauntness and his eyes had lost most of their shadows. He would never be the same laughing man Harry saw in the pictures of his parents' wedding, but Sirius no longer held himself like a deranged Azkaban escapee.
Harry turned his attention down the beach as three figures came into view. Hermione and Fleur Delacour walked close together, talking in low whispers. Fleur's little sister, Gabrielle, ran ahead. Harry stepped forward and held out his arms to accept the girl's hug. She smelled like spring, like innocence and happiness. Harry tightened his grip around the eight-year-old briefly before letting her go.
"Tu vas me manquer," Gabrielle said.
"Moi aussi," Harry agreed. He would miss her too. "We'll see each other again."
Gabrielle pouted. "When?"
Harry chuckled. "At the very least, next summer. Oui, m'ange?"
Gabrielle blushed. "Oui, mon chevalier."
Hermione and Fleur had come close enough to hear and Fleur laughed. "You spoil 'er, 'arry," she said. "Il est un soumis, Gabrielle."
Harry flushed. "Fleur!"
"Je sais." Gabrielle pouted.
Hermione giggled. "It's true, though. There's no point in you looking to marry Harry. He's as submissive as I am."
"That being not very," Sirius said, joining them. "All four of you have that fighting spirit true lords and ladies should always look for in a consort."
Gabrielle grew shy at Sirius' presence and retreated to her sister's side. Fleur had been bashful of the man at the beginning of the summer, but several months later she barely blinked at his presence. Harry and Hermione had been confused at first when Fleur's mother, the lady of the house and dominant to Fleur's father, had taken Sirius aside and questioned him as to his intentions both with Harry and Hermione as well as her two daughters.
Sirius had explained later that as a well-known lord and dominant in the wizarding world even before his years in Azkaban, it was suspicious of him to live with possible consorts alone. But he'd told Lady Apolline that he was their acting guardian and would continue to be so.
Harry thought back to when Hermione and he had first learned of the difference between lords and consorts. Hermione had initially been disgusted by the idea, calling it sexist and chauvinistic, until Sirius had explained—with a bit of confusion as to what Hermione was insinuating—that there was nothing sexist about it. Being dominant or submissive didn't follow along gender lines in the wizarding world. It was true that there were statistically more male dominants and female submissives, but no one blinked at the opposite.
"It's late," Sirius said. "Let me walk you two back to your house," he told the Delacours.
"I guess it's time for last goodbyes," Hermione murmured. They had eaten an official goodbye dinner earlier with the full Delacour family, but that didn't make it easier to say farewell to the friends they'd made and might not see again for an entire year.
Fleur leaned forward and kissed both her cheeks. "Chin up, 'ermione," she said. "You are most beautiful when you smile."
Hermione smiled brightly and returned Fleur's kisses. She turned to Gabrielle and tugged the girl into a hug as Fleur and Harry exchanged their own set of kisses. Harry gave Gabrielle one last hug and then they headed as a group back up the beach and toward their summer homes.
Harry and Hermione stopped in front of the cottage that they'd lived in with Sirius for the past several months. Sirius continued to walk Fleur and Gabrielle down to the door of the neighboring house. Apolline opened the door and stepped out. Harry was too far away to hear what was said, but he saw Sirius and Apolline clasp hands briefly, before all three Delacours disappeared inside the house and Sirius made his way back.
Harry turned to Hermione. "What were you and Fleur talking about?"
"She was just reminding me about the hair charms she's been using for me this summer," Hermione said, patting her neatly braided hair.
Two days after they'd met the Delacours, Fleur had drawn Hermione aside and cast a charm on her hair that worked wonders at straightening it out just enough for them to be able to braid it and have it stay neatly bound. Hermione had declared her approval, saying especially that it helped keep her hair out of her face on the beach while she read from the many books that graced their cottage library.
Harry nodded and turned back briefly to the sea. Hermione followed his gaze and sighed. "I'll miss it too," she said. "But we'll be back."
Harry smiled. "For once, I'm looking forward to the next summer."
Hermione brushed a hand across his arm comfortingly. They turned back to the cottage and walked inside just as Sirius reached them. He closed the door behind them.
Harry walked over to the now bare living room. They'd already had Dobby take all their trunks to the house they'd been staying in for the last few weeks before the Hogwarts term started. All that was left now was the international portkey set to go off at midnight. Midnight, Sirius had said, because the portkey observation office would be least observant in the middle of the night and maybe they could put off The Dailey Prophet reporting their return to Britain for a little longer.
"Ready?" Sirius asked. He held out his hand and the handkerchief in it.
Harry grabbed one end of the handkerchief, Hermione another.
"It feels like it's been years, not months," Harry murmured as they waited for the exact minute to hit.
"We've learned so much," Hermione said agreeably. "I… Sirius, thank you again. I know you could have done this just with Harry."
"Harry may be my official godson, but I signed the paperwork to become your magical guardian already, didn't I? It was a pleasure to have you here with us, Hermione," Sirius reassured her. "Though it remains to be seen if the British ministry will acknowledge what the French ministry, and the IWC, do."
Harry frowned down at the portkey. "Are you sure you should come with us? We can live on our own for the next few weeks. I don't want you to get arrested even if the International Wizarding Community agreed to your innocence. Britain hasn't released an official statement on it."
"The Daily Prophet only reported on it at all because we threatened them," Hermione muttered angrily.
"I'm not leaving you two to live alone, even though I know you're both capable," Sirius stated. "I'm both your magical guardian, and your lord guardian to boot. It would be irresponsible for me to be in another country even and especially while you two are at Hogwarts."
Harry shared a look with Hermione. They'd agreed early on that the mental healing the French mindwizards had done on Sirius was a mixed blessing. Sure, he was much more stable now, but with that stability came a level of protectiveness than neither of them was used to from their muggle guardians. While Hermione's parents weren't nearly as neglectful as the Dursleys, they certainly weren't as mindful of Hermione as parents should be. Then again, for all Harry and Hermione mock complained about it, both of them had thrived under Sirius' guardianship that summer.
The portkey activated. It pulled at Harry from the gut in a nauseating whirl and twirl. What seemed like far too long later, he landed and immediately stumbled. Strong arms caught and steadied him.
Harry looked up, smiling at Sirius. Sirius let him go and ruffled his hair cheerily. Harry looked left to where Hermione was swaying unsteadily on her feet. He straightened and took note of their surroundings.
They stood in the front garden of a modest-sized home out in the English countryside. It was known as Hallows Hold, a beautiful stone house that had been in the Potter family for as long as Harry's invisibility cloak. Sirius had explained that the Potters were descendants of Ignotus Peverell, the original owner of the invisibility cloak. Of course, Hermione doubted that Harry's invisibility cloak was actually the one in the Deathly Hallows' legend, but Harry wasn't so sure.
Regardless, when Harry had gone to the Paris branch of Gringotts that summer and received his account statement from the goblins, he'd discovered Hallows Hold. It was unplottable and hadn't been lived in for hundreds of years, which made it the perfect place for them to live in while they were back in Britain. The Ministry wouldn't be able to find Sirius here and neither would Dumbledore be able to find Harry to force him back with the Dursleys.
They'd gone to Hallows Hold earlier that summer briefly to check it out and so they could accurately describe to Dobby how they wanted it set up, but it had been a full month since. Harry opened the front door and walked inside with Sirius and Hermione trailing behind him.
The front door opened to a warm entrance hallway that led to an open parlor. A fire was already roaring in the fireplace. The furniture was made of maple wood and the armchairs were colored crème and maroon. There was a kitchen and off from it the house elf quarters, which were big enough for up to six elves to live comfortably. A full dining room with real silverware sat formally to the left.
Up the stairs were the library and guest rooms. Up from that on the third floor was the main set of bedrooms. Sirius had argued against being given the master suite since it was technically Harry's house, but both Harry and Hermione had managed to convince him that since he was their guardian, it was only proper. Harry and Hermione's rooms were both large and spacious enough as it was and though they shared a single bathroom between them, neither of them thought they'd mind.
Harry stepped into his personal bedroom. His trunk was set up at the foot of his bed, which was a large queen-sized four-poster with soft green sheets. Hedwig's perch was already set up by the window and from it, Hedwig hooted at him. He'd had her fly back earlier that week since it would have taken her a while to make it here.
"Hey, girl," Harry said. He stroked her feathers as he looked out the window. It was certainly a change of scenery to be back in England after a summer in the south of France. Still, the wide fields that surround Hallows Hold were beautiful in their own way.
There were letters waiting on his desk. Harry looked them over. One was from Ron and the other had the Hogwarts crest. He and Hermione had already gotten their book lists, so the letter from Hogwarts had to be another letter from Dumbledore trying to convince him to give up his location.
Harry scowled. Dumbledore had broken all the trust Harry had had in the man that summer. When Sirius and Hermione had rescued Harry from the Dursleys at the beginning of the summer, Harry hadn't given much thought to the blood wards around Privet Drive. After all, the wards didn't protect him for Vernon and his fists.
Sirius had been horrified and had immediately decided that living on the run and leaving Harry to the Dursleys was not the way to do things. Harry supposed that was why Hermione had contacted the man in the first place and though he'd been angry about it at first, he'd quickly retracted said anger and instead thanked Hermione for her actions. Hermione had convinced her parents to let her live in France with them and Sirius had done quick work of getting the IWC, the International Wizarding Community, to give him a full and proper trial.
It had taken a month and half but, at the bottom of a long stack of paperwork, Sirius had been declared Harry and Hermione's legal magical guardian in the eyes of the IWC. And through it all, Dumbledore had sent more and more guilt-tripping letters trying to convince Harry to come back. Harry had almost been more upset with the fact that there'd only been one similar letter written to Hermione. He knew he was special but the blood wards weren't any better than the anonymity of living in France and the goblin-set wards around their cottage house.
Harry headed through the bathroom that connected his room to Hermione's. She had her second trunk, her library trunk as she called it, open. It had been an early birthday present from Sirius. It was larger on the inside, with full bookshelves and automatic organizing charms in place.
Harry had been given a new trunk as well, one with an automatic featherweight charm and multiple drawers and expanded bars and hangers for the new wardrobe Sirius had bought him. A full set of new muggle clothes had been the first thing Sirius had purchased for him, but he'd also taken Harry and Hermione shopping in wizarding Paris for some proper casual and formal wizarding wear later in the summer after they'd been taught enough to understand why it was important to wear such things.
Harry would have thought Hermione would have rejected being indoctrinated into the wizarding world, but with Sirius and the Delacours teaching them, that hadn't happened. Hermione had remarked to him only a few weeks ago that there should be a class at Hogwarts teaching muggle-raised students about the culture of the wizarding world, because it was really so important and fascinating and how were they expected to fit into the world if they weren't even taught what they'd been doing wrong?
"Dobby did a great job," Harry said as he looked around Hermione's room. Hers was done in baby blue coloring and oak furniture. There was a reading nook in one corner, even, which was just so perfectly Hermione that Harry grinned.
"He did," Hermione agreed. She pulled away from her trunk and glanced over at him. "What's that?"
Harry held up the Hogwarts letter. "Not sure, but probably Dumbledore. I'm going to give it to Sirius in the morning."
Hermione nodded, wrinkling her nose. She'd had the hardest time with Dumbledore's disrespect. Harry always internally expected authority figures to disappoint him, however much he'd hoped not when he'd come to Hogwarts—but Hermione had found solace in her childhood in her teachers when her parents had never really paid attention to her intelligence and hard work. That their esteemed headmaster wasn't perfect and in fact had been continuously awful about the whole thing had really upset her.
"You doing okay?" Harry asked Hermione. He'd grown to really like and care for the Delacours, but Hermione had been the closest to Fleur. Apparently Fleur had been the first female friend she'd made who was both intelligent enough to match Hermione's arguments and conscious enough to be careful in her comments about Hermione's looks. Fleur had never put Hermione down for being plain and instead had highlighted Hermione's inherent beauty and taught her to be more confident in herself. She done that with Harry too, but Harry hadn't needed it in quite the same way as Hermione.
Then again, Harry mused as he thought of the long conversation he, Hermione, and Fleur had engaged in about the nature of magical submissives, Fleur had helped him too. After all, he'd had an identity crisis halfway through the summer about not being inherently dominant and it had taken him several weeks of Fleur demonstrating to him that submissives and consorts weren't weak for him to finally feel comfortable enough to tell Sirius. Of course, Sirius had said he already knew—after all, Harry took after his mother more than his father and Lily had been quite the spirited consort.
"We'll see them again," Hermione stated. "And we'll write." She walked over to her bed where Crookshanks was sleeping on one of the plush pillows. "Maybe I should get an owl."
"We should invest in an enchanted mirror or something instead of forcing Hedwig or any other owl to fly all the way to France," Harry said. "I could make it a birthday present for you."
Hermione smiled. "Would you, Harry? That would be so great!"
Harry nodded and pulled Hermione into a casual hug. He'd gotten used to the physical comforts that submissives were expected to give each other and, after years of being neglected positive touch at the Dursleys, he wasn't ready to stop. Luckily, Hermione wasn't either, for she hugged him back easily.
"Goodnight, see you in the morning."
Harry headed back to his room. He had a hard time falling asleep—having gotten used to the sound of the sea lulling him into dreams—but once he finally did succumb to Morpheus, he slept deeply.
Sirius frowned at the letter. "Well, he's learning."
"Because it's a Hogwarts letter?" Hermione asked.
Sirius nodded. "He's writing as the Headmaster of Hogwarts, which is perfectly within his rights. He expressed concern over Harry's guardianship. I think he's worried about the letter I sent that informed him that I was still in charge of Harry even when he was at Hogwarts."
"Because Dumbledore used to be my magical guardian," Harry said. "And Hermione's, and for every other muggleborn student."
"It's a bad system," Sirius said. "I remember Lily being upset over it. She ended up asking Alice's parents to take on the position because she didn't want Dumbledore to have any say over who she dated or married, or what she did with her money."
Harry scowled. Dumbledore had siphoned away not a small percentage of the Potter fortune to fund various things. Most had been used for Hogwarts' betterment, but still it felt like stealing. Except, it had been his right as Harry's magical guardian.
What upset Harry the most was that Dumbledore had actually taken Harry's invisibility cloak out of the main Potter vault solely for the purpose of gifting it to Harry for Christmas that first year. Luckily, most of the other Potter artifacts had rejected him so he hadn't been able to steal much of anything except for money.
"Oh, huh, he's also demanding I pay Hermione's tuition in full." Sirius shook his head. "You're still supposed to exist under the muggleborn fund, but it's not like I mind sending the extra galleons. It's just petty."
Hermione huffed and stirred more sugar into her morning tea.
"You say you got another letter?" Sirius asked.
"From Ron." Harry picked it up. "Did you want to read it?" He knew that, since Ron was probably a dominant, it was within Sirius' rights to read any correspondence between Harry and Hermione and Ron. Then again, Sirius wasn't the kind of guardian to demand such traditionalism and he shook his head.
"Honestly," Hermione said. "Ron needs to change his tone." She'd gotten her own letter. They'd both written back and forth with Ron over the summer, but it had been slow and brief because of how little Ron usually wrote and how long the owl travel took. This last letter, though, had been a bit rude. Ron had demanded to know when they'd be back in England so they could come stay in the Burrow and all go to Diagon Alley and King's Cross together. The request itself wasn't bad, except it had been worded like they had no choice and that had pissed Hermione off.
"We already told him that we got all our school things in Paris," Harry said. "And you'll probably floo or apparate us onto the station, so there's no reason to stay at the Burrow."
"It would put you under Dumbledore's thumb earlier, too," Sirius muttered.
Harry sighed. He didn't want to be so mad at Dumbledore, but the man was making it hard to forgive him. They had learned that, as Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot, Dumbledore could have pushed for a trial for Sirius, and everyone else Crouch Sr. had put in Azkaban without proper jury. He hadn't. That upset all three of them immensely.
Staying in wizarding France had really opened Harry and Hermione's eyes to the different types of magical communities. France was a strong part of the IWC, as was Bulgaria, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Spain, and countless other European countries. And then there was Russia, China, Japan, Vietnam, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan... not to mention Australia, Singapore, and then in the Americas of course there was Brazil and Peru and Mexico and the United States and Canada. On top of that, Harry had learned that African witches and wizards were renowned for their powerful magic and culture that persisted in the wizarding community outside the influence of Western colonization on the continent.
The most amazing thing was that all these countries had representatives in the IWC and, with the ease of wizarding travel, were globally connected in a way the muggle world hadn't found until recent years. And yet Britain still held onto their almost isolationist culture.
In comparison to the IWC, the British wizarding world was so behind on the times it was depressing.
Dobby popped in, wearing his usual black tea towel complete with the Potter family crest. He looked much healthier than he had at the beginning of the summer, before Harry and Hermione had learned that a house elf without a master was a house elf starving to death. Harry had rectified his mistake immediately and called Dobby to him to be bound to the Potter family. Dobby would perhaps always be strange, but he was less insane now that he had magic sustenance flowing through him on a regular basis. And besides, Harry loved him for his little oddities, the mismatched socks on his feet just one of them.
"Hello, Dobby," Hermione said as Harry smiled at the house elf and Sirius gave him a nod.
"Hellos Masters and Mistress," Dobby said. "Dobby is wondering if you is wanting more breakfast?"
"I think we're good, thank you, Dobby," Harry said. "And thanks again for all the hard work you did on this place. It's really beautiful."
Dobby grinned. "Dobby is happy Master Harry likes it. Dobby is so happy to work for a proper family again, Dobby is." His ears wilted for a moment, before he ran a hand over the crest on his tea towel and visibly cheered himself. He popped away to the parlor and began whistling to himself as he clean out the fireplace and relit the fire.
"It's just awful, what Lucius Malfoy did," Hermione whispered. "I keep forgetting, but when he says something like that…."
Harry nodded. He'd learned that giving a house elf clothes didn't actually free them, not unless they were already on probation with the family. Lucius Malfoy had apparently never liked Dobby and had constantly hung the threat of being freed over his head. When Dobby had been given that sock, he'd been so happy even though Harry now knew he'd basically just accepted that he'd starve to death.
"Lord Malfoy has always been the worst kind of man," Sirius muttered. "I never forgave my uncle for arranging his marriage to Cissy."
"What?" Harry looked from Hermione to his godfather.
Sirius blinked and looked up. "Oh, do you not know? Narcissa is my cousin. She was my favorite cousin. A Ravenclaw in school, like Andy."
Andy and Dora—or Andromeda and Nymphadora Tonks—had come to visit them in France over the summer after the IWC trial had happened. Harry liked both of them and had even managed to convince Dora to let them call her Dora instead of Tonks—otherwise, he'd argued, it would get too confusing because Andy and Ted were both Tonks as well.
"Did you ever reinstate Andy and Dora into the Black family?" Hermione asked.
Sirius shook his head. "I'm going to head over to the old house on Grimmauld Street once you both are back at Hogwarts and see what I can do. There's a lot of political mumbo-jumbo I need to sort through." He sighed. "I never wanted to be head of the Black family."
"Anyway, Narcissa?" Harry pressed.
"Right, yes Cissy. She and I were the only ones who still talked to Andy after she married Ted. But then my dear uncle forced Cissy to marry Lucius and he forbid her from contacting Andy. Or me. Or anyone in the family except Bellatrix."
"That's your insane cousin, right?" Hermione asked. "The one in Azkaban?"
"Yeah." Sirius sighed. "To be fair, Bella and Cissy do love each other. I never understood it. Bella has never been mentally stable but Cissy has always been able to calm her. Though I don't imagine thirteen years in Azkaban has done her well." He shuddered briefly, like he always did when Azkaban was brought up.
"I just wish there was something we could do," Hermione said. "About Lord Malfoy. He should be in Azkaban, if not for his house elf abuse then for his time as a Death Eater."
Sirius snorted. "Don't I know it? But Fudge is his lackey through and through. Thing is, if Malfoy Sr. was incarcerated, then Malfoy Jr. could legally become the head of the family, provided he's a dominant and the family ring accepts him. It'd get Cissy out from that man's hold. I worry about her in that house."
"I'm not sure Draco would be much better than his father," Hermione muttered. "He's a git."
Harry nodded. "But he probably wouldn't beat his mum. Or worse."
Hermione paled. "Yeah."
Sirius waved his hand. "This is depressing breakfast conversation. Let's cheer things up. I have a surprise for you two." He paused. "Well, more for Harry… but it might be an interesting experience for you, Hermione."
Harry accepted the slender folder Sirius handed him and opened it up. He gaped. "Quidditch World Cup tickets! Sirius!"
Sirius laughed as Harry hugged him over the table. "I'm excited too."
"It will be a good time to test your legal innocence," Hermione stated. "After all, Fudge wouldn't dare arrest you with so many other country's dignitaries around, even if it is on British soil, right?"
"We can only hope so."
Pig flew through the window and buzzed excitedly around the den. Harry and Sirius were playing chess together at the side table while Hermione read from a large tome entitled Christmas or Yule? The Muggle-Influence on Traditional Holidays.
"I'm almost regretting letting Ron keep that owl," Sirius muttered as Harry stood to grab the letter from Pig.
"He never even got tired flying all the way to France and back to the Burrow," Harry agreed. "Quite an excitable thing, aren't you, Pig?"
Pigwidgeon let out a tiny squeak. Harry opened the letter.
"It's addressed to both of us, Hermione," he said. "I guess Ron got tired of writing two separate letters."
"He's so lazy," Hermione said with a great sigh. She closed her book and came to stand next to Harry. "Let's see what he has to say."
"Oh!" Harry said as they read the letter. "The Weasleys got tickets to the World Cup too! Guess Mr. Weasley has connections with the Department of Magical Games and Sports. Good tickets too, they're set to arrive the day of the game, in the early morning."
"Well, so are we," Sirius said. "Does it say what site they're camping at?"
"No, but probably not ours. We're going to be in the French sector, right?" Hermione said. "It will be nice to drop by and visit them, though. We've never even met Bill, have we?"
"You're right, huh. We should do that. Ron talks about him all the time."
Harry and Hermione sat down and drafted out a reply to Ron. Harry would say that, after this past summer, Hermione had become truly the best friend he'd ever had—but Ron was still one of his first friends. He might be a lazy git sometimes, but he might always hold a bit of a special place in Harry's life.
"You know, Harry," Hermione said as they finished the letter. "I'm glad you started paying attention to your studies more this summer. Ron said he hasn't even finished his Potions essay yet! And school starts in less than two weeks."
"We did our Potions essays in June." He and Hermione had done all their essays at the beginning of the summer and had then spent the rest of the summer studying the practical work of every subject because they'd been allowed to use their magic in France. Harry stroked his wand holster and frowned. "Hey, Sirius, can we use magic here? Or is the Trace back on?"
"We're back in England," Sirius said. "I wouldn't risk it. If you were able to claim your inheritance as Lord of the House of Potter, it wouldn't be a problem, but you're not dominant."
"I know." Harry sighed. Though he'd come to accept himself and the fact he'd be a consort to some witch or wizard… he was upset that, by being so, whomever he married would be the head of his family, not him. He wouldn't ever be allowed to wear the Lord Potter ring his father had—though he would wear the Potter consort ring that his mum had.
"We can still do some Potions work," Hermione said. "I want to try brewing Wolfsbane."
"Good idea! It can't be any harder than the Moonlight Burst potion we figured out the day before my birthday."
"Let's hope not," Sirius said. "I'm tired of having to repair the potions' room after you two explode it again." He tapped his chin. "Speaking of Potions, I wanted to talk to you two about that."
"What about it?"
"Look, Snivellus— I mean Snape and I don't like each other. We never have and, to be honest, I was a right git to him in school. However, his animosity toward you, Harry, and even you, Hermione, borders on abusive. From what you've told me, he's breaking the Hogwarts Code of Conduct." Sirius folded his hands in front of him and met their eyes steadily. "If he ever does anything unfair to you, I want you to report him to the Board of Governors and let me know. You're my wards now and I won't stand for you failing Potions when I know you both have talent in it."
"You can report professors to the Board of Governors?" Hermione asked.
Sirius nodded. "It's one of their jobs. The reason they were founded was to regulate the professors and the headmaster. I know Malfoy is on the Board, but the rest of them aren't that bad."
"We'll keep that in mind," Harry said. He wished he'd known that earlier. Maybe then he wouldn't have gotten detention for breathing too loudly. "I don't know how he's going to keep up believing I'm some copy of my dad. I mean, even you say I'm more like my mum."
"You really are," Sirius stated. "You've got more than just Lily's eyes. Snape fancied himself in love with her, you know. That's one of the reasons he hated James. Because he's the one that Lily accepted the courtship of, not Snape."
"I never knew." Harry exchanged a glance with Hermione. "Snape really liked her?"
"Don't ask me why. They used to be friends, but she stopped talking to him after he screwed up and called her a mudblood." Sirius shook his head.
"That's awful," Hermione murmured.
Sirius stood. "It's in the past. Now, I'm hoping Dobby has dinner ready, because I'm starved."
Harry and Hermione followed behind their guardian out the den and down the hall toward the dining room. All the while, Harry thought about his Potions professor and his mum. He shuddered. He couldn't imagine his mum and Snape in a relationship… but maybe Snape had been different in Hogwarts.
Or, maybe not, Harry thought. He'd never know for sure. It wasn't like he had a pensieve full of his mum's memories.
Sirius apparated with Harry and Hermione around midday on Monday, as per their given time. They arrived at the field near where the stadium was set up and were immediately greeted by a wizard with a long list.
"Let's see, Lord Black," the wizard said. "And two guests. I've got you checked off. Head down there and the muggle will take the money for your campsite."
"Thanks," Harry said for them as Sirius walked down to the ticket office for the campground.
The muggle was obviously confused, muttering to himself about strange people, but he seemed to relax and Harry, Hermione, and Sirius' normal muggle clothes and Hermione's easy handling of the money. "Let's see, you're in Site Three, Mr. Black. Here's your map and have a good day."
They walked through the campground, observing the crazy tent set-ups. Site Three was the French sector, but they walked through the Irish sector on the way and ran into Seamus Finnigan and his whole clan.
"Harry, Hermione!" Seamus yelled excitedly, waving his arm around.
Harry grinned and walked over to his fellow Gryffindor. "Hey, Seamus. I see you're supporting Ireland." He looked over the brightly decorated campsite, green shamrocks proudly displayed everywhere.
"Of course," Seamus scoffed. He looked behind Harry and paled a bit. "Oh, and that's you're godfather… uh, Lord Black."
Sirius bared his teeth in a mock grin and held out his hand. "Seamus Finnigan, isn't it?"
"Yes sir," Seamus said, his voice raising several octaves. He accepted Sirius' hand and then winced as Sirius shook it roughly. "Nice to meet you, sir."
"I'm sure." Sirius looked up as Seamus' father approached them. "Ah, Lord Finnigan. It's been years."
"Lord Black!" Lord Finnigan said. "Read all about your innocence in The Shamrock I did. Much more in depth than The Prophet it was. Glad to be back in Britain, are you?"
"Well enough," Sirius said. "Least 'til Fudge tries to get me arrested."
Lord Finnigan scowled. "Wish to say he wouldn't dare, but the British Ministry has really gone downhill since our school days, hasn't it? Quite the disgrace. It's why I moved my family back to our ancestral home in Ireland, but you know the Irish magical school just can't compete with Hogwarts, even with it's recent troubles."
Sirius nodded understandingly. "I considered transferring Harry and Hermione here to Beauxbatons, but they wanted to stay at Hogwarts and I can't say no to that. Not when it was my Alma Mater too."
"Ah, yes, young Harry Potter." Lord Finnigan peered at Harry disconcertingly. "Are you planning on claiming your Potter lordship soon, Mr. Potter?"
Harry frowned and stepped back closer to Sirius. "No, sir. I won't be claiming lordship. That is, I can't."
"Oh!" Lord Finnigan glanced up at Sirius, who placed a protective arm around Harry's shoulder. Hermione's hand found it's way to Harry's. He squeezed it. "I see."
"You'll keep your son in check then," Sirius said softly, with just the hint of warning. Seamus looked between Harry and Hermione, and then to his dad. "I know he's living in Harry's dorm. I don't want to worry about my ward's virtue over the next few years."
"I understand, Lord Black," Lord Finnigan said just as seriously. "I've been meaning to have that talk with Seamus soon anyway. I'll make sure he's aware of his boundaries before he returns to Hogwarts."
Sirius nodded and soon enough they all said goodbye and continued on their way.
"I was just thinking," Hermione whispered to Harry as they go their tent set up. "Things are going to change at Hogwarts, aren't they? I mean, we're all fourteen now."
"You're almost fifteen," Harry pointed out.
"Exactly! Everyone's going to be thinking of romance and stuff, you know?" Hermione frowned as she hammered in a peg. "It's a bit nerve-wracking. Being submissive. I mean, I can imagine so many people will want to court you, Harry, but I'm just a muggleborn. I don't have a title or dowry or anything."
"You're also the smartest witch in Hogwarts right now." Harry squeezed her shoulder. "Don't worry, Hermione. There are plenty of people who'll be interested in you."
"But I wouldn't be a good housewife. I don't want to be one! I want a job after Hogwarts. At the Ministry maybe, or teaching, I don't know. I don't want some lord who wants me to stay at home and have babies." Hermione shuddered.
Harry nodded sympathetically. He thought to himself that such a life wouldn't be so bad. Just focusing on his family… he figured he would like that. But Hermione was different. She needed to find a lord who appreciated her ambition and intellect. Harry was sure she would.
They got the tent set up and headed inside. Sirius had gone to talk to Ludo Bagman, the Head of the Department of Magical Sports and Games, about their seats, so Harry and Hermione had been charged with getting the campsite all ready.
They'd slept in a magical tent like this one for a brief vacation in the middle of the summer, but Harry was still amazed by it. Sirius had bought the tent new. It had three separate bedrooms and even a bathroom and full kitchen.
Sirius got back soon after and they ate dinner at a campfire outside, before heading over to where salesmen were selling paraphernalia for both teams. Sirius bought them all omniculars and got himself a little Irish flag. Harry and Hermione had both decided to be neutral, as they weren't particularly familiar with either team. Harry spent a minute staring over the miniature Krum figurine.
"He's supposed to be quite a seeker," Sirius said.
"He scowls a lot," Hermione stated, staring at the figuring as well. She blushed as the little figurine turned toward her and bowed low. "Well… I suppose he's not so bad."
Harry laughed to himself and bought the figurine behind Hermione's back. He figured he could give it to her for a birthday present, just to be funny.
They ran into Ron as they neared the other end of the sales area. He grinned at them both and then ducked his head shyly at Sirius. They talked excitedly for a few minutes, until Ron walked them back to where the rest of the Weasleys were.
Mrs. Weasley immediately drew Harry into a hug and commented on how nice Hermione's hair looked all braided up like it was. Mr. Weasley drew Sirius aside and they began to talk in low murmurs. Harry supposed Mr. Weasley was apologizing for not believing Sirius was innocent.
"Harry, Hermione," Charlie said. "It's been years."
"Hi, Charlie!" Harry said. "How's Norbert?"
"Doing well," Charlie told him. "You haven't met Bill yet, have you?" He gestured the eldest Weasley child closer.
Harry stared a bit as Bill approached and then, inexplicably, blushed. Bill wore his hair long and had a fang earing sticking out of his left ear. His clothes were fashionable, including what Harry recognized as dragonhide boots. He held himself confidently, like someone who embraced his own dominance and knew where he stood as the next head of the Weasley family.
"A pleasure to meet you finally, Harry, Hermione," Bill said. He took Harry's hand and lightly kissed the air over it, and then did the same for Hermione.
"Likewise," Harry said, smiling and trying to will his cheeks back to a normal color. He noticed Hermione wasn't doing much better. Bill was nothing like either of them had expected when comparing him to Ron or the twins.
"Why'd you do that, Bill?" Ron asked, scowling. Harry noticed they'd attracted the attention of the entire Weasley family. Percy was blinking hard and Ginny was staring with her mouth hanging slightly open. The twins were exchanging glances with much eyebrow wiggling.
"Do what?" Bill asked. "It's the proper way to greet a pair of lovely submissives."
"Harry's not submissive!" Ron stated hotly. "Tell him, Harry!"
Harry's cheeks stayed red, though this time for a different reason. "Actually, Ron… I am. I realized it this summer." He frowned. "How come you never mentioned the difference between submissives and dominants before, anyhow? Me and Hermione only learned a couple months ago."
"And now Lord Black is your lord guardian," Charlie stated. "A wise choice. Better than having it be the headmaster."
"But… you can't be submissive," Ron stated. "You're… you're Harry Potter!"
"I'm aware." Harry frowned.
"But you defeated You-Know-Who as a baby. You have to be dominant."
Harry scowled. "I don't have to be anything, Ron! And you know I don't like people mentioning that. I was one! What could I have done against Voldemort? I don't know why his curse backfired, but it's not anything I did."
"Besides, Ron," Hermione added. "That has nothing to do with Harry's level of dominance. And I don't see why it should matter. You never treated me any different, and you seem to have known I was submissive."
"I— well you're a girl, Hermione, of course you're submissive," Ron said. "But Harry, you're not a poof, are you? You know most dominants are lords not ladies, right?"
"I don't care about gender, Ron," Harry muttered. "I thought wizards didn't."
"We don't," Bill said, glaring at his little brother. "It sounds to me like Ron's got some very strange ideas running around his head." He huffed. "Don't worry, you two, Charlie and I will get him straightened out before Hogwarts. I know you three are friends, but if you've declared submissive then he should know. He can't be acting the same way around you two as he did when you were kids. It's just not proper."
"Honestly," Hermione said. "Nothing has to change. Really, Ron, it's not like you're looking to court either of us."
Ron turned bright red then and muttered something negative under his breath. Harry and Hermione exchanged an amused glance. Their red-haired friend really had some maturing left to do.
Harry felt a tug on his arm and turned to smile at Ginny. She was frowning. "You really are submissive, Harry?" she asked softly. "Like me?"
"Yeah," Harry said. "I am."
"Oh." Ginny looked oddly disappointed. "I hadn't known."
"Apparently no one but Bill had," Harry stated. "How'd you know, anyway? Sirius was trying to keep it out of the news, so it hasn't really been announced officially yet."
"Well, it will be soon, I can guarantee that," Bill stated.
"You carry it around you, Harry," Charlie said. "It was obvious as soon as Bill greeted you that way. You too, Hermione. Us dominants, we can just tell. It's not a bad thing, it's just the historical truth. A magical attunement, if you will."
"An evolutionary thing," Hermione said. "It makes sense. I wonder if it has to do with pheromones?"
"I'm sure you can look it up later, Hermione," Harry said. "Anyway, don't you suppose we should get going? The game will start soon."
Just then, Mrs. Weasley came up and started ushering them toward the direction of the crowd. Harry and Hermione fell back in step with Sirius, who held out each arm for them. Harry noticed Mr. Weasley had his arm held out for Ginny in the same way. Fred and George were arm-in-arm as well, but he didn't suppose that was the same thing.
Then again… Harry stared at George a little harder. "Hey, Hermione?" he said softly across Sirius' chest. "Do you suppose George is submissive?"
Hermione blinked and looked at the twins. "Now that you mention it… I do get that vibe from him. But Fred's definitely dominant."
"That's not uncommon in twins," Sirius stated.
"Huh." Harry shrugged and turned his attention to the huge Quidditch stadium.