Heirs of the Founders
Thank you all, I'm glad so many of you enjoyed my previous two chapters and I appreciate the reviews. I'm also quite happy that my concept for goblin families was so well received and that many of you liked how I presented she-goblins (at least I've given an explanation for how Professor Flitwick came to be). I don't intend to explore such family dynamics in any great detail either now or later but at least cluster-broods are not too far of a stretch for us to accept. (Unlike the pixie family dynamics I did for A Rainyday Tale—yeah, yeah; I know another shameless plug—which were definitely different than what we are used to when it comes to ideas surrounding conception.) I think most of us can imagine the benefits cluster-broods might confer, whether any of us could live in such a family is another thing entirely but then again; humans are humans and—well—goblins are goblins.
I also noticed a few readers were somewhat puzzled by the wimped out Harry at the end of chapter twelve. I wrote it that way because while Harry can be Lord Potter at school or in the general magical public; he'd present as unbearably arrogant dealing that way with Hermione's parents or in other similarly social environments: the Dursleys maybe but not the Grangers and definitely not in the home of someone he likes.
A few reader's caught me with my pants about the ankles as well, this time around: yep, I forgot all about William Weasley and Filius Flitwick but once they served their function to these chapters they became secondary and I forgot about them. I still should've made a least a passing reference to them during lunch, though—my bad. (Personally, I blame the dwarven ale but I doubt anyone will believe me.)
On a final note, aside from a couple of postscripts, this chapter comes garnished with a slice—but only a slice—of lemon but I trust I put enough in to fuel some fertile imaginations.
PS . . . I know I'm anachronistic in this chapter but it I couldn't let such a humorous apposition go.
PPS . . . I'm surprised I wasn't called on my sappy romanticism at the end of the last chapter, though a few jumped on giving Narcissa the middle name Maleficent. (I found the movie entertaining and was very surprised to see that subtext in a Disney movie; my family might disagree with me but no matter how I look at it, I saw classic 'yuri' or 'wasei-eigo' elements.) Oh well, sappy romanticism notwithstanding how could I not call Dan and Narcissa's 'love child' anything but something that would always remind Lady Granger-Black of her feelings for something she felt she could never have. And I still think Narcissa Maleficent Malfoy sounds pretty cool, too—so there!
Obligatory blah blah blah:
I do not now, nor have I ever and only will if I'm the last person on Earth (at which point the whole concept of rights, royalties and responsibility, etc. . . becomes moot, to say the least) own Harry Potter or the characters therein, they belong to J. K. Rowling; I'm just playing with them.
Daniel Granger's almost scream drew the three others in the House. Emma first, from the nearby kitchen, followed within seconds by Hermione and Harry from the second floor. As each arrived, they took note of the new arrivals; Narcissa they knew but the girl at her side—undoubtedly—had to be the older witch's daughter because they shared the same shades of blue eyes and blonde hair. That the girl looked very much like Hermione—but for her hair and eyes—gave away her remaining paternity. Clad in robes similar to Narcissa's and bearing her mother's heraldry at her breast along with the larger Potter's—in the place of dominance—and the smaller Granger and Gringotts' emblems on her right sleeve; the girl, a year or so younger than Hermione, stood with a cultured dignity that she shared with her mother.
Looking from the Grangers to the green-eyed boy standing beside the girl, who had to be her half-sister, she stepped forward, genuflected before Harry and Hermione, and said, "Lord Potter, Lady Matriarch Granger; I am Danielle Aphrodite Granger-Black nee Malfoy and will be in your care, hence forth. My father, as I learned only today, is the Lord Regent (Emeritus) Granger."
"Um . . . please rise, Danielle," Hermione said, her tone adopting a noble's manner, "I'll not see my sister humbled or kneeling before me and openly welcome you to our family; please call me Hermione and I'm not opposed to 'sister' either."
Not moving, Danielle glanced at Lord Potter; his word the final arbiter in matters when he was present and waited, Harry said, "Rise Danielle Aphrodite Granger-Black, like your sister I'll not see you kneel before me. I would think this is very hard for you but don't exasperate matters between us by adopting pointless protocols where I'm concerned; I'd rather be your friend than your Lord. In what will likely be the only order I ever issue to you, Danielle; you are to call me Harry or stupid or barmy or whatever else you might wish but never ever Lord Potter." The young wizard said with a chuckle, "I'd say, at most, I'm but a few months older than you; to call me anything else would be wrong."
"Thank you Lord Potter, I will remember that," she said as she rose; Harry accepting what he hoped would be the last honorific from Hermione's previously unknown sister. She turned, faced her mother and the Grangers—specifically Emma—curtsied and said, "Mr. and Mrs. Granger, I am Danielle Aphrodite Mal . . . Granger-Black; my mother and I have come into your care, I hope we will get along. I'd understand if you feel uncomfortable with me, Mrs. Granger; I am the embodied proof of Mr. Granger's carnal involvement with another woman but hope you will accept me in time."
"What nonsense is this, Danielle, my husband's 'carnal involvement' indeed," scoffed Emma, "and while I don't know what your mum has told you about our relationship; I assure you that I had as much 'carnal involvement' with your mum—who we knew as Nancy—as Dan did, the day you were conceived. As Hermione is with Narcissa, I hope you will be with me, given time; you are a daughter of this family—like Hermione—and while I know things may be awkward for the next little while, I'll be very honored on the day you can call me mum or Emma-mum."
Danielle was confused, to put it mildly; this morning she had woken up as Danielle Malfoy and tonight she'd go to bed as Danielle Granger-Black and—for the first time—under the same roof as her father and a sister she hadn't known she had. She looked at Hermione who flanked Lord Potter—Harry, she reminded herself—in the same way her mum and Mrs. Granger flanked her dad and wondered where she would fit in this new, albeit strange, family. Of those arrayed about her, she figured Hermione might better understand and explain the ins and outs of the household but one look at her sister told her that Hermione was as much part of things as her dad, Mrs. Granger and her mum were; she looked oblivious to the oddness that Danielle saw. This is gonna take a long time to get used to, Danielle thought and looked at Hermione, my sister kinda 'weirds' me out, though—is this 'normal' to her?
"I feel really bad that I never told you about Danielle, Dan; Emma," Narcissa said and did something her daughter had never seen before, her mum wiping tears from her eyes—childlike, with the backs of her hands no less—and sniff deeply before continuing, "I hope you don't resent me for this."
Emma acted first and scooped Narcissa into a loving embrace—that Danielle found peculiar, especially the way Mrs. Granger's hands seemed to roam permissively on her mother. Mrs. Granger followed the embrace with quick kiss on her mum's lips that—surprisingly—her mother not only permitted but reciprocated as well. To see her mum so openly affectionate made things even more surreal and the only one present who looked at least slightly surprised and uncomfortable was . . . well, Harry Potter. Perhaps I need to talk to him, she thought, he's the only one who seems at least kinda normal but he's Harry Potter, why would he want to talk to me? Her thoughts betraying the common infatuation many witches her age share and the target of her prepubescent ardor was holding hands with her sister; like it was an everyday thing. Perhaps, she thought, looking briefly at her mum, dad and Mrs. Granger but quickly stifled those errant notions. That's way too weird too. I'd have to . . . with my sister . . . how much am I . . . am I like my mum? I've never—never ever—had those kinds of thoughts, why now? Mum looks so happy . . . but scared too.
The intimate eternal moment, in Danielle's perception, passed quickly as Mrs. Granger released Narcissa from an embrace more lover's than friend's. Emma, resting her hands on her consort's shoulders, took a step back and looked in her mistress's tear stained eyes and said, "What we resent are the circumstances that prevented us from experiencing our daughter's milestones like you did with Hermione, Nan . . . Narcissa, and while we understand—more so today than we would've yesterday—why things were as they were, we hope we can make up for the time we lost with Danielle. I'm sure that Dan and I, with you, our wife's help can make our home, Danielle's and the place she knows she belongs; a new home from which she'll blossom into a woman like her mother."
Our daughter? Our wife? Our home? Were the loudest thoughts in Danielle's mind as she looked from her mum, to the Grangers, and from there to Hermione and Harry, she smiled shyly.
"Let's take this into the study, shall we," Daniel Granger—having somewhat recovered from shock—said.
The Grangers and Narcissa turned and began walking across the foyer and Hermione, letting Harry's hand go, stepped to her sister's side and took her hand, she said, "C'mon Danielle, I'll take you to the study; you coming Harry?"
Virtually tugging on the younger girl's hand, Hermione led her sister to the study; Harry followed, observing his witch's behavior. Looks like Mione's happy with the idea of being a big sister, feel kinda sorry for Danielle though—it's gonna be weird for her; her new family sees and lives things very differently from most people. That's a lot to adapt to, he thought, I hope she has an open mind, she'll need it. Bringing up the rear, Harry followed the new sisters through a door and stepped into the Grangers' study; a room truly befitting his images of the Grangers, from what he knew of their daughter and from where her love of books arose: their study had it all, including the shelves stuffed with volumes of all kinds. Seeing Danielle join her mother on a love seat behind a coffee table and Hermione joining her parents on the opposite sofa, Harry opted for the lone chair at the end of the table.
With everyone sitting and exchanging silent looks, the study's air grew heavy and almost viscous with tension they could virtually taste; the Grangers and Harry almost wished they were in the car again and reliving the drive from the Leaky Cauldron: at least the scenery changed. Each soundlessly invited the others to speak, first, as they were in turn being invited by the others to speak but the hush grew only deeper. At last, Daniel Granger slapped his hands on his lap—startling all—and broke the deafening silence.
"This is just stupid," he said, his calm voice sounding overly loud in the quiet study. "We all had a lot of things happen to us today and that is something this family—yes, you're part of this too Danielle and you too Harry—will need to face as a family. Now, Danielle, I feel kinda bad about suddenly replacing the father you've had your whole life; I'm very sorry my dear and hope you'll forgive and accept me in time."
"You're wrong Mr. Granger," Danielle said, in a tone so very reminiscent of Hermione's, "I only met my father this evening and I've known—actually, never not known, it seems—that Lucius wasn't my dad. Mum, whenever she did mention him always called him Lucius, my husband or sometimes—when he did something to upset her—that wizard or worse depending on the reason, while in my presence. The only time the word father or dad ever passed mum's lips was when I did really well at something and she'd sometimes mutter 'her dad would be so proud'. I also knew—perhaps not as long as I did about Lucius—that mum still spent time with my dad because she'd leave regularly, for many days sometimes."
"I'm so sorry, honey," Narcissa apologized to her daughter, put her arms around her and hugged her very tightly, "that was so wrong of me; I must've intentionally blinded myself to the affect and loneliness that must've caused, especially in that place."
"No, you're wrong too mum," Danielle soothed, her tone proving beyond a doubt who her sister was, "maybe it bothered me when I was littler but I always looked forward to your return because you were always happier and a lot more affectionate when you got back. I wished I could go too, because any place that could make my mum so happy had to be a really good place. Unfortunately, the cold atmosphere of the Manor would soon chill your heart, mood and affection. I even began to subtly hint you should visit that place more often and while I might miss you when you were gone; I think I missed who you were when you got back even more, mum. Thank you Mr. and Mrs. Granger; the affection my mum needed came from you and I think I was the one who benefited the most from it, in the end."
"Th . . . thank you, honey," said Emma Granger, "your mum is very important to Dan and me and to Hermione too. Our house, family and bed never feel quite complete when our wife isn't home."
"Th . . . that's something I really d . . . don't understand m . . . mum, da . . . dad, Em . . . Emma-m . . . mum," Danielle stammered out but it felt too forced and uncomfortable; she was rewarded with very warm smiles though.
"How does it make you feel, Danielle?" Hermione asked, softly, sensing her sister's justifiable confusion; "Does it bother you?"
"I . . . I can't answer that sis . . . sister," that felt awkward too, but it earned her another round of smiles, "it kinda—I don't know—strange but whom am I to say? The only relationship example I've seen is between Lucius and mum and if you saw them together, as in even the same room . . . well, it's a wonder I have a brother at all—well, half-brother. It's not like that with you, Hermione, I can see why I have a sister; I'm kinda envious to be honest and never have I felt as welcome as I do here: it's rather surprising."
"I know what you mean, Danielle," Harry said, feeling kinship with the girl. "I've not had the best relationship examples in my life either but thanks to your sister, I was at least a little prepared for her two mums and a dad family but I'm on the outside looking in; you're on the inside looking out: I can't imagine how that might feel, Danielle. And while I have an intellectual understanding of your parents' union—I guess you'd call it—I've no emotional connection to it other than my connection to Hermione: tenuous at best, sure, but if you need to talk; I've got ears."
"Th . . . thanks H . . . Harry," said Danielle.
"Now then," Daniel Granger began, "we should get our daughter settled into her room before continuing—it'll give us a chance to reflect a little too—um, neither of you arrived with luggage, not that Narcissa needed any but what about Danielle?"
"I can lend her some clothes, dad—I've got lots and don't need much at Hogwarts, anyways; so they're just sitting in my closet and drawers—she can have the room beside me too, if she wants." Hermione said and snickered evilly, "Besides, if she's in the room beside Harry, he might sneak in on her; I'm a big sis now, it's my job to protect my cute li'l sis."
"Mione!" Harry exclaimed and turned bright red and while it might've been uncomfortable to him it served as a great tension breaker for the Granger and Granger-Black families; Harry wasn't laughing but he didn't mind bearing the brunt of his witch's teasing, this time and for this: it was a good thing.
"What about your books honey," Narcissa asked; Danielle looked at her mum and was puzzled. Books? She thought then noticed her mum looking at Hermione. That'll take a while to get used to too, she realized as her mum said, "you've used your adjoining room as a library for years."
"Well, before we knew I'd be going to Hogwarts," Hermione replied, "we were thinking about turning that unused room in the basement—you know, the one with the big windows and walkout into that deep window-well big enough for a small table and a couple of chairs—into another study. That plan became pretty well unnecessary with me at a boarding school now: could we do that now dad? I'd love to have my sister in the room beside me and since we're both girls; sharing a bathroom won't be a problem."
"I guess we can do that, if it's alright with Narcissa and Danielle," Daniel Granger said.
"I think that will work, Dan," agreed Narcissa in a tone Danielle had never heard her mum use with Lucius: it was warm.
"Um . . . mum, where will you sleep?" Danielle's question was innocent; her mother's response was not.
"Emma and I always sleep with mast . . . Dan, dear," Narcissa answered in a very non-Slytherin manner; that is without thought, too quick and revealing too much too soon. Stunned, Danielle looked at her mother and saw something—besides the collar that matched Mrs. Granger's—that she'd never seen before; her mum's usually composed—almost cold, sometimes—facade shattered and in its place was a woman with a bright red face and flustered aplomb.
"Um . . . well . . . yes," Dan began, trying to prevent the return of the earlier tension, "Hermione, why don't you show Danielle to her room and the bathroom you'll share and . . . um—I can't believe I'm saying this, too—take Harry with you."
"Dan!" Narcissa exclaimed playfully; another first for Danielle's ears, "did you just send our daughters . . . to a bedroom . . . with a boy?"
"I'm mortified, Dan, what are you thinking?" Emma joined the spirited banter.
"Fine, fine, I get it," Dan conceded before redirecting the teasing, he said firmly. "Harry."
"Sir?" Harry's response bringing a scowl to Mr. Granger's face but he didn't look truly angry.
"Don't do anything I wouldn't do when I'm alone with pretty girls someplace private, lad," he said and started to laugh; Narcissa and Emma joined him at the expense of three children with rapidly reddening faces.
"Is there anything you wouldn't do, Dan?" Emma and Narcissa asked in harmony and while Hermione was used to it—she'd even witnessed her three parents do it from time to time—it was another first for Danielle.
"Mums; dad!" Hermione exclaimed, as she was the first to recover from the playful parental innuendo that came with living in a very uninhibited house regarding such things. Poor Danielle, she thought, studying her sister, of all the things she'll have to get used to; the frank and open relationship they live and share will likely be the biggest hurdle to conquer and accept; aside from our parents' proclivities and preferences. Bloody hell, she silent 'tsked' herself for her language, even if it was only in thought, how do I tell my sister that her mum's a sub and then explain to her what that means? Being a big sis is gonna be tough.
"We're sorry Danielle; Harry," Emma said repentantly, "Hermione is used to this and it rarely fazes her these days but we should've remembered that you and our daughter are not used to it."
"This is your home, Mrs. Granger, and I am your guest; I've no right to judge or impose my ideals on those who offer me hospitality," Harry said in what Hermione was beginning to think of as his 'Lord Potter' voice.
"True," Daniel Granger countered, "but as your hosts we should still respect your feelings on such things and not impose our ideals on you, either."
"We are at the noble impasse; one that is frequent amongst new associates and friends," Harry commented astutely and beyond his years, "through mutual respect may we be truly accepting of one another in time."
"You are very wise and noble for your age, Lord Potter," Narcissa observed, "but it seems so unnaturally natural that it's rather unsettling."
"What do you mean 'unnaturally natural', Lady Matriarch?" Harry asked formally.
"You bear your nobility, naturally, as if it's second nature to you, Lord Potter, and better than many who've had years of practice; what is unnatural is your age and the short time since your return to our world," Narcissa replied.
"That is a tale for another time, Lady Granger-Black; suffice to say I received very good tutorage from The Nation and The People this past August," he replied as the formal dance of protocol stayed in cadence with an accomplished dance partner.
"Yes your relationship with the goblins is another enigma but to see it extended to my family, only recently introduced to magical society, is unfathomable to me and has me questioning many of things I've been taught or thought I knew," she candidly observed.
"Unfathomable to you Narcissa?" Dan exclaimed but with bemusement, "Emma and I have been in a maelstrom of the unfathomable since early Monday afternoon when William arrived and told us he was here to install things called 'wards' because our daughter had become a vassal to some guy . . . sorry . . . Lord named Harry James of the Noble and Most Ancient House of Potter. Before we could even begin to digest that, we're visited by a goblin—who pops into our foyer out of thin air, I might add—genuflects, hands Emma an ornate missive tube—like something from days of yore—that contains a scroll, which proclaims Hermione's elevation to Peer of the Realm. It's been quite educational from then on out; then today we find out you're a witch of noble birth and family and that your husband . . . sorry, ex-husband is an ass but at least you're all ours now Narcissa and have brought our daughter home."
"We've all held far too many secrets for too long, Narcissa," Emma added, "let's acknowledge our pasts and move on; our futures are too important for us to be wallowing in yesterday. Your home; Danielle's home, we have a family to build without needing to resort to guile or deceit over who and what we are, anymore."
"You're right, love," Narcissa agreed, tears in her eyes once more, "both you and mast . . . Dan. It'll be nice to allow myself to be me from now on and let our daughter know the person her mother could never be at that man's house," she spat out 'that man' with venom, "the person her mother has always been throughout her daughter's life."
"Kids," Emma said softly, "why don't you three head up to Danielle's bedroom and get her settled and show her and Harry around the house a bit, too. Perhaps we can watch a vid in the family room later, okay?"
"Okay mum," Hermione said and stood, "Let's go sis; Harry."
Hearing Hermione openly call Danielle 'sis' brought to Narcissa memories of a better and simpler time. A time of intimacy shared between sisters that, while not rare in magical families, was generally not spoken of openly and frowned upon in non-wizarding society. But then again, she thought, humorously and yet bitterly; muggle society isn't suffering from a dearth of virile males to keep their females satisfied. As best she could, Narcissa had tried to impart a sense of understanding and acceptance of such things in Danielle and now wondered how it would color a relationship with a sister she hadn't known she had until today.
"Dan; Emma may I use the phone?" Narcissa asked as the children stepped from the room. If ever there was a time to beg forgiveness for my stupid, arrogant, rift causing attitude: it is now; she thought, firmly, as another piece of her second chance fell into place.
"You're actually going to call someone?" Emma asked, more than a little surprised; she'd never seen her wife call anyone on the phone.
"You don't need to ask, pet," Dan said, smiling, "this is your home and your phone too."
"Th . . . Thanks," said the older witch, she stood, walked to the desk and looked at the telephone; she hesitated. How long have I had this number memorized but have been too afraid and ashamed to use it? She silently asked herself.
"What's wrong Narcissa?" Emma asked with concern.
"I'm sorta worried," she replied but summoned her courage and picked up the phone; she dialed, waited and soon said, "Hello. May I speak to Andromeda Tonks, please? A . . . Andi? It's Cissy. Y . . . Yes, I can use a phone. Yes, it's good to hear your voice too. Yes, it has been a long time. No, I'm okay. No, no, Lucius expelled me. No, not a Malfoy anymore. Y . . . You knew about Danielle? No, with me. No, Draco will be staying with Lucius. N . . . No, I don't think he'd understand; he's too much like his dad. No thank you, Danielle and I have a place to stay. Obviously, in the muggle world; I . . . I'm using a telephone after all. Yes, we should. I don't know, tomorrow might be a bit dodgy. Here or at your place? Let me check, one sec." Narcissa glanced towards the Grangers, the phone staying by her ear, "Dan I know it's short notice and a lot of things are happening but is it possible to have my sister and brother-in-law for tea tomorrow; I'd like them to meet their nieces? Yes, you heard me right, Andi, nieces." Narcissa said into the phone, "it's . . . it's kinda . . . complicated. Yes, Dan is part of the reason Lucius expelled me. Yes, he's a muggle; like I said it's complicated. Give me a sec again, Andi; will that okay Dan?"
"Sure, I'm fine with it; Emma?" He replied; Emma shrugged her shoulders.
"I'm good; this has been the strangest week of my life—so far—what's the worry in a little more oddness?" She said with a smile; it was good to see Narcissa truly happy and now understood why her wife always seemed a little sad, although she had hid it well.
"Yes, it is a rather nice area, Andi," Narcissa said having given the address to her sister when her spouses were briefly distracted, "No, casual. Two then, fine. Goodbye Andi; I'm looking forward to seeing you too. Bye."
Lady Granger-Black hung up the telephone after making her first ever call to someone other than the Grangers.
"I take it she's a witch too," Emma stated.
"Yes, and my eldest sister," she replied.
"You have others?" said Dan.
"Yes, one other . . ." Narcissa became very uncomfortable and began fidgeting nervously, "I . . . I know I said Danielle was my last secret; I guess I have one more: I've not thought of her in years; selective amnesia I guess you might say. I'd rather not talk about that right now if you don't mind, darlings."
"You'll tell us right?" asked Emma.
"It's a rather d . . . dark bit of Black family history that I . . . I don't want to speak of when Lord Potter is in the house," she replied.
"Harry?" Dan said.
Narcissa nodded and said, "yes and it has a lot of bearing on what occurred today and how it could even happen in the first place. Of all the people in our house right now it affects him the most and he has suffered the greatest loss from it."
"By the way, I never asked and I know better than to assume but Danielle, is she—you know—a witch?" asked Dan.
"She is and very powerful too," she replied, "and—while I'd not say this where either Lucius or my son might hear—her brother, Draco would be a bug to her if she ever got really mad at him; even Lucius would likely fare poorly against Danielle and I admit, I'm wary too. What about Hermione?"
"We've been told she's very powerful almost as powerful as Harry is; was how Griphook described it." Emma answered, "But what we saw this afternoon, though; well, that hit home what that had really meant: your ex . . . ex-husband was tossed around like a feather by a boy who was angry—well very angry—it was honestly quite frightening to me. We've never seen Hermione do anything like that."
"Nor I with either of my children," the older witch said, "The closest would've been Draco having one of his common temper tantrums; a few things might get tossed around until he calmed down or was appeased—usually by Lucius. Danielle has always had an even temper, far more so than her brother; her bouts of accidental or unintentional magic tended to be quieter, much like Hermione's were."
"Why didn't you ever say anything then?" Dan asked.
"About Hermione? Honestly, I'm surprised I didn't see it because when I think back, now, I remember quite a few incidents of accidental or unintentional magic used by her." Narcissa said, "It proves what they say: you see what you expect to see and since such magic from children is common to begin with I never thought to question how books and toys, which would've been out of her reach, would suddenly be in her hands. Actually, when I think about it, she and Danielle had a surprising level of control over their magic when they were little, they instinctively knew how to summon what they wanted without making a fuss; focused magic like that is very rare amongst children."
"I guess for me and Dan it all sorta clicked into place when Minerva McGonagall showed up and told us Hermione was a witch," Emma said, "it explained a lot to us but sure generated a lot more questions afterwards."
"I can't imagine what that must've felt like," said the blonde witch. "I went to school with a lot of muggle-born witches and wizards but I'd never thought what it might be like for their parents: the arrogant blindness of aristocracy I guess you could say; I tended to only think about those I considered my peers and, conversely, sneered at or ignored the others. To be truthful, I was a supremely bossy bitch at Hogwarts and for some years afterward."
"A supremely bossy bitch witch, I like it," Emma snickered and then asked, "You're not a bitch now, Cissy—wasn't it?" Narcissa nodded and grinned; her wife continued having noted the smile, "what changed?"
"I just woke up one day and it was like I suddenly saw my family for the first time; I didn't like what I saw," she sighed. "Suddenly I understood why Andromeda would want to elope with a muggle-born—something up until then was unthinkable for a daughter of Black descent; quite the scandal, too, I might add—and leave us behind and why my cousin, Sirius, all but adopted the Potters as his family. Those two were the smart Blacks; the truly Slytherin Blacks."
"Truly Slytherin?" Dan asked.
"Hogwarts is divided into four houses," Narcissa explained. "The desired traits for a Slytherin is cunning and ambition; an ability to move with the flow and take advantage of things and use them to your benefit when the timing is right; traits that are profoundly lacking in most Slytherins these days. They'd rather see their noble house remain a bastion of pure-blooded supremacy and ideology: it's rather dumb, if you ask me now. I need only look at our daughter, Danielle, to see the fallacy in the pureblooded creed and you tell me that Hermione—a muggle born—is almost as strong as Lord Potter—a half-blood—who is easily the most powerful wizard I've ever met: he, Hermione and Danielle makes the whole idea of blood-superiority a very bad and self-serving joke."
"How could you know that, Cissy?" Dan asked, having seen her smile when Emma used the name.
"About Lord Potter?" Narcissa Maleficent Granger-Black turned crimson as she asked.
"Did I say something wrong?" Daniel said in confusion.
She shook her head and took a deep breath before answering, "Magical creatures—witches and wizards included—instinctually respond to the most magically potent; at an embarrassingly primal level, too."
"So?" Emma said.
Narcissa couldn't meet Emma or Dan's eyes and with mortified and rushed words she said, "Hemademewet."
"Sorry," the Grangers said.
"I said," she continued after a few deep breaths and nibbling on her lower lip, "Lord Harry James Potter, a first year student at Hogwarts made me—a witch old enough to be his mother—wet . . . and yes I mean 'that way'."
"Um . . . yeah . . . well . . . aah, rather humbling I'd say," Dan's not helpful observation stating the obvious but Emma remembered the weird tug she'd felt earlier; she understood it now. Oh my, she suddenly panicked a little too late, we sent the three of them . . . alone . . . to a bedroom . . . together and Hermione and Danielle are witches. I'd better ask about birth control when Cissy and me are alone. Harry may be polite but he's still a hormonal preteen just hitting puberty, just as Hermione is and, if not yet, Danielle will be soon.
Hermione guided Danielle and Harry from the study, up the stairs and to the upper floor that overlooked the entry and when earlier the young witch and wizard went right, this time they went left. They followed their young hostess to the last door, which Hermione pushed open; she turned on the light and led them inside. The first thing Harry and Danielle noticed was the proliferation of stuffed bookcases lining the walls.
"I've kinda b'n usen this room as my library," Hermione said rather self-consciously.
"We can see that, Mione," Harry said playfully.
"I'm sorry Danielle," she apologized.
"Why? Perusing my sister's library will tell me more about her than anything our parents or you might say, sis." Danielle said and this time, 'sis' didn't feel so forced.
"I suppose," Hermione replied and blushed; she knew exactly what Danielle was saying; she felt very exposed. Recovering quickly, she led them to another door, "this is your closet, Danielle—oh, by the way, I know I'm lending you some stuff tonight but will you and Nan . . . Narcissa-mum be able to get things you left behind?"
"I'm not sure, Hermione," she replied a little worried sounding, she hadn't thought about that, "Let me check."
"How?" Hermione asked.
"Dobby," Danielle said.
'What's a Dobby?' Hermione mouthed; Harry shrugged in response having heard without hearing. The question was answered when a house-elf popped into the room.
"Missa Dani," the house-elf said, "Dobby's b'n worrying after what bad-master did. Isa you and mistress mother b'ing okay?"
"That's . . . that's a house elf," Hermione said.
"Yes," Danielle said, "he's also my best friend and helped mum tutor me since I was little: his name is Dobby."
"Who's be missa's friends, missa Dani?" Dobby asked as he folded his ears down and looked at Harry and Hermione, suspiciously.
"Dobby, this is Hermione Granger," she said in introduction, "she is my half-sister by my father."
"Missa Hermininee," Dobby said with a bow, "Dobby be Dobby and I's being missa Dani's house-elf."
"Dobby," Hermione said firmly, "please use proper diction: I know about house-elf history."
Confused, Danielle was looking at Hermione; Hermione was looking at Dobby and Dobby was looking at Danielle as if requesting permission to speak freely. He asked hesitantly, "Is that b'ing alright with yous missa Dani?"
Perplexed, Danielle just nodded.
"Dobby is sorry Miss Granger," the house-elf said without a hint of his former 'pidgin' articulation although the third person self-reference remained, "Dobby is Dobby the Mistress' house-elf; Dobby was not aware Mistress Danielle had a half-sister: neither she nor Mistress Narcissa ever told Dobby."
"It is something we—Danielle and I—only learned today, Dobby," Hermione replied, "That my sister has a house-elf is not as surprising or as offensive as it might've been before yesterday; after Tipzee explained the house-elf and witch relationship."
"That is a part of house-elf history that few magicals know; thank you for understanding, Miss Granger but may Dobby ask: are you of muggle descent?"
"I am and we are in a muggle home; my home," Hermione said and firmly added. "Please speak to my parents in the manner I expect you to speak to me and I'd prefer if you'd speak to Narcissa-mum and Danielle the same way; your broken speech and diction are offensive to me and history, notwithstanding, I don't expect such demeaning behavior from anyone: you're intelligence is not a threat to me."
Again, Dobby looked to Danielle for permission; she looked shell-shocked but only nodded.
"And you sir, Dobby doesn't know you," the elf said to Harry.
"I'm Harry, Harry Potter; Dobby," the green-eyed wizard said.
"The Harry Potter? The Harry Potter who defeated He-who-is-not-named? Dobby is honored, very honored, that he's meeting The Great Harry Potter, sir."
"I guess, but substitute the 'The' with an 'a' and I'd be grateful, Dobby and I'd rather not hear the capitals, if you don't mind," Harry said both lightly and gravely, "and drop that great part: what made me 'great' was my parents being murdered; how is that great in any way, shape or form?"
"As the great Harry Potter asks; Dobby will do with missa . . . sorry, Miss Malfoy's permission." The house-elf said; Harry scowled at 'the great' honorific—hoping it was the last—and let it go.
"It's Granger-Black now, Dobby, both me and mum," Danielle said, "and it's a name I intend to be proud of; unlike the Malfoy name I was forced to bear due to circumstance. As for Lord Potter wishing for you to call him Harry, who am I to say otherwise and Dobby, please call me Danielle like you did when neither Draco nor his father were around."
"Dobby will remember, Mistress," the house-elf replied with a little bow and unfolded his ears, "How may Dobby help, Danielle?"
"Does Lucius still think you are a Malfoy house-elf?"
"Dobby thinks so; he always believed Dobby was part of your mother's dowry but Dobby was told to never correct him; then your mother bonded Dobby to you," said the skittish elf. "Dobby is pretty certain he sees Dobby as just another Malfoy elf who serves you and your mother mostly."
"That's good Dobby," Danielle said with relief, "so you shouldn't have any trouble moving mine and mum's stuff."
"It shouldn't be a problem and it's not like Lord Malfoy was in the 'woman's wing' of the manor very often; Dobby doubts he'll spend much time there now," the odd tea-cloth clad creature replied. "So, should Dobby be starting moving your things, Danielle?"
"Not tonight and maybe not for a few days, Dobby," she told him, "first I need to introduce you to my father and Emma-mum . . ."
". . . Emma-mum Mistress?"
"Hermione calls my mum Narcissa-mum . . ."
". . . Actually, to avoid confusion, I called her Nancy-mum or Aunt Nancy in public, Dobby, but that was before," said the smiling bushy-haired witch, "she's Narcissa-mum now but I'm still getting used to that."
"Dobby understands Mistress Hermione . . ."
"Actually Dobby, she is the Lady Matriarch Hermione Granger," Danielle told him; Hermione grimaced.
"Dobby is very sorry, Lady Matriarch; Dobby didn't know and Dobby was speaking familiarly to you too," apologized the house-elf.
"Dobby, could you please use at least a few personal pronouns?" Asked Hermione before she added, "Using your name to constantly refer to yourself is making me dizzy."
"Me too," Harry agreed.
"Dob . . . I will try to remember," assured the house-elf. "Does Danielle need anything else?"
"No, I fine Dobby but please be careful," Danielle said warmly, "and if Lucius tries to mistreat you come to me immediately."
"Yes Mistress," he said and was gone.
"I wonder how mum and dad are going to take having a house-elf in the—well—house?" Hermione commented absently, "I guess that'll take some explaining."
"I don't understand," Danielle said.
"Most muggles don't have servants let alone servants as devoted as house-elves," Hermione replied, "we usually do all those sundry things for ourselves."
"But I've read lots of muggle books and I thought only the destitute didn't have servants as they were servants themselves," Danielle protested.
"They're just stories," Hermione replied, "but now that I think of it, I've seen very few examples of wizarding prose; I guess that explains a lot in itself."
"What is prose?" the young blonde witch asked.
Hermione and Harry could only stare, dumbfounded, by Danielle's question.
"Every day and in every way it seems," Hermione said, "I find another example of how magical society is disconnected from reality—I really don't understand how it survived doing nothing more than contemplating belly-button lint."
"That's pretty harsh; Mione," Harry said.
"But it's true, Professor Flitwick was right, magicals have never been taught to question things; they just accept," Hermione observed in frustration, "I'm sorry Danielle, I'm ranting in frustration; my experience with the magical world has been kinda negative and your brother . . ."
". . . half-brother, sis . . ." Danielle reminded; not even noticing she had used the familiar address.
". . . Sorry . . . Has not contributed anything positive to my feelings on the long-term viability of magical society or its culture," said the hazel-eyed witch in frustration and more than a little anger.
"Draco is an ass and so is Lucius, trust me Mione, I know," said Danielle; neither she nor Hermione noticing the intuitive use of the nickname used only by Harry.
"I guess you should know, Dani," said Hermione unconsciously as a casual spirit slipped into the developing relationship between new siblings. "I don't ever want to even imagine what living with Draco is like and after our introduction to Lord Malfoy, well . . . left me wondering how a man—that thick as a brick—came to be. He didn't clue into his circumstance and hung onto his vitriol while spitting the same 'the Wizengamot will hear of this' nonsense over and over again. At least I know where Draco's 'my father will hear of this' comes from."
"Lucius has had at least ten years where no one would challenge him because they were either owned by him or afraid of him," Danielle replied.
"Mione's mum sure wasn't afraid of him today," Harry observed with a little chuckle.
"What happened?" asked the younger witch, eagerly, "mum hasn't told me what went on at Gringotts today; she came home, told me to dress casually muggle and then apparated us from Malfoy Manor. We arrived just outside the gate here because we were bounced there by some wards mum didn't know about."
"Wards? Oh yeah," whispered Hermione but neither Danielle nor Harry noticed.
"I didn't see it happen but Mione's mum broke his wand before the meeting even got started," said the wizard with the laughing green eyes.
"What!" exclaimed Daniel, "How?"
"Lucius has bad reaction time," Hermione simply said, "and mum is even faster than dad—he's stronger though—when it comes to a fight. I don't think Lord Malfoy had ever considered someone would attack him physically: magically maybe but never physically; he didn't know what hit him."
Stunned, Danielle stared at Hermione and Harry.
"I'd say it was Mrs. Granger's knee in the small of his back," Harry said with a smile, "but when I got to there, Lucius was already face down—very red faced I might add—on the floor with Mrs. Granger kneeling on him and twisting his arm all the way to the back of his perfectly coiffed head. We were quite surprised by the sight and if Mione's mum wasn't with your mum and dad I think Ragnok would've asked her to marry him right then and there."
"Rag . . . Ragnok as in The Ragnok the goblin king? M . . . marry?" Danielle said with disbelief.
"I think The Overlord would prefer Ragnok over 'The Ragnok' in everyday conversation, much like I prefer Harry over 'The Harry'," said the young wizard, "and yes, I'm certain he'd have asked Mione's mum to join his cluster-brood in a heartbeat had she been single. Bloody hell . . ."
"Harry!" Hermione exclaimed.
"Sorry Mione," he replied, chastised for his choice of language but he still chuckled, "Actually, I'd not be surprised to see Cluster-brood Ragnok approach Cluster-Brood Granger/Granger-Black, in the near future, with a seed-transaction proposal: two for two."
"Harry!" Hermione exclaimed again, understanding Harry's insinuation quite plainly; she was nibbling on her bottom lip.
"What's a cluster-brood or a seed-transaction?" Danielle asked in confusion.
"Goblin families are called cluster-broods and it's not a simple male/female pairing—goblins must be bisexually polyamorous, I guess—but a bonding of a group who share mutual affections I guess you could say," Hermione explained. "Seed-transactions occur between cluster-broods when they feel it might confer benefits to The Nation and The People—that's what they prefer to be call themselves, Dani—and it means to have a child by seed outside of one's cluster-brood. That's what Sapphirella said when she was speaking to mums and dad." Hermione finished matter-of-factly.
Danielle interrupted, "That's . . . that's . . ."
". . . different?" Hermione said.
"I was going to say wrong," said the blonde witch.
"We shouldn't impose our ethos on another's culture, Dani," Hermione intercepted, "but Harry; you can't mean . . ."
"You had to have noticed Emeraldella and Sapphirella openly courting your mums and dad, Mione," Harry pointed out.
"Um . . . well I suppose," was the hesitant reply from the hazel-eyed witch, still nibbling on her lower lip.
"Do you not think Ragnok would not consider the possibility of having strong children by both your mum and Danielle's, Mione?" Harry suggested to the two young witch's discomfort. "They both have traits goblins find highly alluring: Mrs. Granger is strong and highly intelligent; Miss Granger-Black is magically—I can feel it—and politically powerful. To add to that, your dad oozes confidence, Mione; Dani and has a room dominating air of competence and strength: he has established himself—SAS I think you said Mione—as both a warrior and leader. You two have three incredible parents, Dani; Mione, of course Ragnok will recognize that and want to bring those traits to The Nation and The People."
"But Harry . . ." said Hermione and, surprisingly, Danielle in concert.
"But Harry nothing," he said, "that is how goblins see things; that's who they are and in a few years or sooner—if you two spend any real time with The People—you'll find yourselves the targets of goblin amore I don't doubt. I know Mione is magical powerful and I'm certain you, Danielle, are as powerful as your sister; I can feel it like I feel Hermione's magic." He then added facetiously, "At least goblins treat their mates honorably and lovingly; they just aren't obsessive or possessive about it and—according to Silkenrobe—they tend to be well endowed too and someone told me recently 'size does matter' and that 'any witch can tell you that'."
"Harry!" the two witches nearly shouted, although Hermione had also turned beet-red.
"What?" he replied emphatically, "I'm already fighting off one she-goblin, who wants me between her legs and her bosses Goldenfang and Ragnok kept throwing us together; even though my plumbing has yet to mature. I'm thankful, I kept mostly to myself during my Gringotts tutoring or there'd be more I'm sure; if I'm as powerful as they say I am. Besides, why shouldn't you two have to fight off the he-goblin horde the same way I fight off she-goblins?"
Hermione and Danielle—Danielle even brighter; she was a little paler after all—glowed red.
"Bloody hell . . ."
"Harry!" Hermione exclaimed, her tone reprimanding his choice of language.
"I'm serious, Mione," Harry said, "Silkenrobe told me she was wearing nothing under her robes today and that she was in estrus; thankfully she didn't have time to pursue that—though I did noticed her subtly hitting on you at lunch, Mione. Silkenrobe is twenty by the way, my little witchling, and is pretty attractive with a pretty nice body as she-goblins go, just need to be careful with those teeth I suppose."
Aghast, Hermione screeched through the glow of being called her wizard's 'little witchling', "Harry!"
"Hermione!" he playfully mimicked, "I saw you checking out Silkenrobe; it was surprising really, you really are a precocious witch Mione, but you learned it from the best; your dad is really lucky and your mums are pretty hot too but your dad scares me."
Hermione turned an even deeper red, somehow, and suddenly found the hardwood floor fascinating. Even Danielle was feeling uncomfortable; Harry was talking about her mother too and he was saying he thought her mother and Emma-mum were 'hot'—in that way—and not being even a little used to the idea of her mum as a sexual creature made things all the harder for the blue-eyed witch.
A deep silence filled the air.
"I still don't know how that's possible, Harry; you know, between goblins and humans," Hermione finally said—the bookworm having returned to offer her psyche some much needed equilibrium.
"Nor do I but it obviously works, somehow, Mione," the young wizard countered, "We only have to look at Professor Flitwick to see that."
"I guess," replied the bushy-haired witch as the straight-haired blonde witch looked on with confusion. "Regardless, this is a discussion for another time, Harry; anyways, through here is the washroom we'll share, Danielle."
The older witch said and led them through the walk-in closet and into the bathroom. Hermione's—and Danielle's, Harry silently added—bathroom was the mirror image of the one he had on the other side of the house
"This is very nice, Hermione," Danielle commented, "I like the big tub too, nothing beats a good soak; mum and I always enjoy our baths together, it's a special time to just be together."
"Hah! Told you Harry," Hermione teased the messy-haired wizard, "and my sister understands too, bathing with family helps maintain that special family bond, which is only achieved through openness and honesty. The physical openness of the bath encourages a metaphysical openness of the heart. I used to bathe with mum and dad regularly; those times were made even more special when Nancy . . . I mean Narcissa-mum was here."
"You'd understand my hesitation if you saw my 'family'; trust me on that Mione," he half-teased in reply.
"You've bathed—you know, in the nude—with mum and dad and mum," Danielle said with a mixture of surprise and envy; without realizing she had referred to two mums and her father but Harry noticed. Granger girls are different from other girls, he thought in acquiescence, already, I can see echoes of Hermione in Danielle and Danielle only had her mum to take example from; now that their parents are together I'm sure Danielle will soon be as precocious as Mione: I wonder if they'll share proclivities? Danielle is already pretty, like Hermione is, and both of their mothers look pretty good too. Aaugh! What am I thinking? Besides, Mr. Granger still makes me nervous and after seeing what Mrs. Granger did to Lord Malfoy; I'm worried what Mr. Granger could do to me if he caught me messing around with his daughters!
"What's wrong, Harry?" Hermione asked, "you're all nervous and fidgety suddenly."
"You honestly want to know?" he asked.
Hermione and Danielle nodded.
"I'm in a bathroom—with a large tub that is, to be honest, unchastely inviting—with two pretty girls who are openly taking about being nude and bathing," Harry replied, "and knowing that just downstairs is their father who could well bend me into a pretzel for just thinking about bathtubs and naked daughters in the same sentence. Of course I'm nervous."
Danielle turned crimson: never had a cute boy called her pretty or ever suggested seeing her naked. She turned to her older sister for support that wasn't forthcoming when Hermione playfully said, to Danielle's utter surprise, "Harry, I'm surprised with you; not only have you told me you'd like to see me au natural but now you're hinting you'd like to see my pretty baby sister that way too. I'm glad she's bunking over here with me; that way she'll be protected from you lecherous advances."
Harry blushed but quickly retorted as playfully, "And what about your lecherous advances, Mione? I just heard you call Danielle pretty and earlier you called her cute and in both cases while claiming you wanted to protect her from me; I'd almost think that you want to keep your sister all to yourself: is there something you're not telling Danielle, Hermione?"
"Harry," Hermione squealed and stamped her foot; with hands on her hips, she stuck the tip of her tongue between pouted lips, aimed at the green-eyed wizard.
Danielle was baffled, how long has Hermione known Harry, she asked herself; they're so open with each other and was he just teasing her? Is my sister . . . like that; mum said it was common amongst witches, partly because there are more of them than wizards but Hermione is muggle born, is it common amongst muggles too? Still, maybe she's just used to it. Still, I can't imagine mum even kissing Lucius; let alone like she kissed Mrs. Granger today and I think mum would've cut off Lucius' hands if he ever tried to touch her like Emma-mum did and sis didn't even bat an eye. How often has Hermione seen that; is it just her normal? And what was that about she-goblins? I've never seen a female goblin but why would he tease her about checking one out? Eew, I mean they're goblins, are male and female goblins different from each other? How could Harry say that this she-goblin—Silkenrobe I think he called her—was pretty attractive as in attractively pretty for a she-goblin; or was it a joke at the she-goblin's offense? But Lord Potter doesn't come across as a wizard who'd make fun of another, cruelly, like my brother—half-brother. Aaugh, I'm so confused!
"Are you okay, Danielle?" Hermione and Harry asked as one.
"I . . . I think the day is just catching up with me," Danielle replied as the pressures of revelation continued to grow, "it's going to take a very long time to sort out this evening; like it must've taken you a very long time to read all of your books I saw in the other room."
". . . probably didn't take her that long," Harry muttered facetiously, louder than he intended.
"What are you implying mast . . . Lord Potter?" Hermione questioned as glibly but was quietly concerned with her almost slip that suggested a greater comfort with her sister than she thought she had: Harry missed it; Danielle was now looking at her oddly.
What was that, what did she almost say; did she actually almost call him . . . master? Is that so common that it doesn't even faze him? Danielle's mind began to spin and from her turbulent thoughts arose a question she had to ask. She took a deep breath and said, "Hermione, what is the meaning behind the . . . collars—is the only way to describe them—that mum and Emma-mum wear?"
Great, already here, why couldn't you ask Narcissa-mum, sis? What does Danielle already know about relationships; especially that type? Hermione thought and intently studied her sister. From how things sound, the relationship between her mum and Mr. Malfoy was—at best—more neighbor than familial with little more than passing pleasantries between virtual strangers seeing each other every now and then. I don't want to just tell her to go talk to Narcissa-mum and dad; that wouldn't be right either, but . . ."
Danielle could almost feel the storm behind her sister's eyes and began to wonder if this was a good time for her question but it felt too important to let go of; she said with concern, "What's wrong Hermione; was that inappropriate?"
"No . . . no, it's just really, really complicated," the bushy-haired witch replied, "And is about how some people relate to others in matters of . . . of sex. The easiest way I can explain mums' collars is by saying they both enjoy things that others might find extreme or demeaning and that they process the sensations of pleasure and pain differently from the 'norm' when involved . . . intimately. It's about actually experiencing your limits of absolute release, which most cannot reach due to fear or other limiting emotions stopping them from just letting 'go'. It's about trusting your partner explicitly and the giving of yourself totally; about reveling in sometimes risky play and knowing you are safe, regardless of what is being done to you. It's about being utterly and at times painfully open to one's self and one's partner, of being totally honest and accepting of yourself and your desires and communicating with your partner."
"Mum's a masochist!" Danielle exclaimed, "Is . . . is that what you're saying?"
"That's . . . that's far too simplistic, Danielle," Hermione said. "Yes, our mums have penchants of that leaning and they turn to dad to satisfy them but that can only happen because our mums love and trust dad unequivocally and dad knows that our mums are giving of themselves totally and utterly freely; he knows he must fulfill their needs first and by fulfilling theirs he fulfills his own. Such dynamics can't really be explained, they must be experienced but before that you need to be honest with yourself."
Danielle hesitantly mumbled, "What do you mean about being honest to yourself?"
Hermione looked at her younger sister and saw a girl still uncertain of herself and other things and Danielle looked so lost. It was heart-rending to Hermione so she did the only thing she could think of; she gathered her new sister into her arms and pulled her into a tight embrace that, after an initial wave of discomfort, Danielle returned as her own arms drifted around Hermione. The younger witch had to admit to herself that it felt good as did the waft of her big sister's warm breath on ear when Hermione whispered, "One of the first steps to being honest with yourself is to allow your fantasies to drift where they will and play to their unadulterated ends. To not allow your or another's inhibitions to color the experience as your inner-self reveals itself to your outer-self. Accept what you see as part of who you are and then begin to explore where that might lead: you might find it surprising, Danielle; I know I did."
"Explore, as in physically?" Danielle whispered in question.
"Only you can decide that, Danielle," was Hermione's murmured reply.
"Does that mean you and Harry are—you know—together . . . like that," Danielle said out loud and suddenly Harry's intense emerald eyes turned to the embracing sisters inquisitively as the hue in his cheeks became rather pinker than earlier.
"Of course not, silly," Hermione said clearly, without sounding insulting; she released Danielle, stepped from her sister's embrace and smiled at the younger witch, "we just met on the Hogwarts Express last Sunday. Besides, we're still young and just getting to know each other; still, compared to our year-mates we understand ourselves and each other in ways others might think as uncomfortably precocious but what others think is their own lookout, not mine; not Harry's . . . I'm sorry, I shouldn't have spoken for you like that Harry."
The change in Hermione was startling to Danielle as her elder sister became suddenly deferential and quiet while intently studying the floor tiles. Is mum like this sometimes? She asked herself in light of Hermione's earlier explanation regarding her mum's collar.
"Mione, it's fine; your right: why should I care what they think," Harry said soothingly—and possessively if Danielle heard him right—and then another astonishing change took Hermione; her sister became serene, with a contented mien—a thought that brought Danielle a silent titter; her sister was a Gryffindor after all—about her.
"My room is through here," Hermione, having recovered from her lapse, led Danielle and Harry through her closet and the door beyond.
Harry suddenly felt nervous and squirmy; this was his witch's bedroom, her private place. Suddenly decadent images, inspired by poorly timed memories—especially now—of Hermione exploded in his mind. She had admitted to experimenting on herself and that had likely been in this room and on that mattress. Needing to look anywhere but at the bed, Harry's emerald eyes scoured the room for a distraction; he found it in a poster mounted on Hermione's wall. Harry erupted in laughter.
"What!" Hermione exclaimed and then noticed what was making him laugh so hard; she turned crimson. The proof of her guilty pleasure hung clearly on her bedroom wall and in the depiction of five girls perhaps two or three years older than she. Each had very long legs, sported very short skirts and wore sailor type shirts with large bow ties; each also held a fanciful looking wand and bore a jeweled headband on their foreheads.
"S . . . Sailor Moon, Mione!" he said fighting his laughter, "that is just so funny; to think a real live magical girl would be a fan of a Magical Girl show. Do you have cool transformation stage that ends with you in a revealing costume and a patented pose?"
"No . . ." she replied crossly to Harry's teasing and then thought a little more about what her wizard had said; Hermione began giggling. ". . . Fine, fine it is kinda funny when I think about it that way; but if you expect to see me dressed like that at Hogwarts, forget it: I don't even want to think how my feet would feel after a day trudging around school and up and down all the stairs, wearing stiletto heeled shoes or boots."
"But Mione," Harry playfully whined, "you'd look good dressed like that; you know . . . sexy."
"Harry!" Hermione exclaimed, feeling both embarrassed and delighted that her green-eyed wizard thought of her that way.
"Danielle would need a matching costume, she'd look sex . . ." Harry clamped his hands over his mouth and became as red as the bushy-haired witch had been earlier. Great, I can stick my foot in my mouth with as much expertise around Danielle as I can her sister, he thought in mortified near panic, still, they would look sex . . . no, no, no Harry you've only met Danielle and have known Hermione for less than week—oh no, Mione is glaring at me now.
"What is going through your mind Lord Potter?" Hermione challenged, "Need I remind you that Danielle—my pretty little sis—is fueling your fantasies about girls in skimpy costumes; even if I think she'd look sexy . . ."
Hermione blanched as she joined Harry's foot in mouth club. What am I saying? My own adorable baby sister is gonna think I'm bent or something, she thought.
What is going on? Danielle asked herself. I don't really understand. Sailor Moon? Magical girls? Skimpy outfits? My sister and her friend are weird. Besides, she thought, why would I ever want to dress like that but I guess it feels kinda good that they seem interested in me. Aaugh, what is with this crazy feeling; I feel funny too, not bad funny, just funny and kinda squirmy inside.
Harry noticed Danielle looking very confused and uncomfortable; he said with concern, "Are you alright Danielle?"
"I . . . I'm just feeling really jumbled," she replied, "I don't really understand muggle things very well but what is this Sailor Moon thing that has you two in . . . in knots?"
"Sailor Moon," Hermione replied, having overcome her foot in mouth moment, "is a cartoon on the tely. It's from Japan and it's about five girls who use magic to defend the Earth against aliens from a place called the Dark Kingdom. For some reason—I understand it now—I was just drawn to it and even imagined I was one of the Sailor Scouts, from time to time: Sailor Mercury usually, I identified with her the best."
"I still don't really get it," Danielle said, "perhaps I'd understand better if I had watched this 'Sailor Moon' but Malfoy Manor didn't have a tely and the only time I did see the tely was when me and mum holidayed together. Mum always stayed in muggle places with me; saying I needed to understand we share a world with them and that muggles were nothing like how witches and wizards say they are. She also told me to never assume that a person who can't do magic isn't dangerous."
"Wow, was your mum ever right about that," Harry snickered.
"Hey kids, are you coming down?" Emma Granger's voice rose from downstairs, "how long does it take to show someone to their bedroom? We're in the family room and I'm making popcorn."
"Coming mum," Hermione called in reply and then said to Danielle and Harry, "Let's go before they think we're doing something we shouldn't be and I don't want our mums and dad to think Harry might push his advantage as a powerful wizard."
"I don't think they need to worry," Harry said. "I saw what your Emma-mum did to Lord Malfoy and you said your father is even stronger, Mione, and I know your Narcissa-mum is a witch of Black descent, no telling what she might be able to do to me if she thought I was getting frisky with her daughters."
Danielle felt her face warm, again; had a cute wizard just mentioned getting 'frisky' with her and was Harry really as strong as she was beginning to feel? I really need to talk with mum, she thought, he's starting to make me feel peculiar and so is sis; I don't get it.
"Are you okay, Dani," Hermione observed with concern, "you look sorta flushed."
"I . . . I'm fine, just a little off; you two make me feel—I don't know?—kinda warm and queer . . ." Danielle said, joining Hermione and Harry in the 'foot in mouth' club when she realized how they might hear her words.
"Ah . . . well . . . I see," Hermione commented, hesitantly; seemingly taking her sister's words in the connotation that Danielle had most feared.
"The Granger sisters are weird but it's good weird," Harry said smiling at the sisters who looked so alike but for their hair and eyes; he felt a tug but not just towards Hermione but Danielle . . . as well. That's new, where did that come from. Damn, could this get complicated or what? He thought, feeling both apprehension and anticipation. Maybe I'm just imagining things? I wish there was someone I could talk to but all I have is Uncle Vernon—yeah right!—Griphook, my Vaultlords or Ragnok but they're goblins and see things in goblin ways. Mr. Granger? No, I've only met him and it's his daughters making me feel—I don't know—possessive and antsy. How could I go to him and say, 'Mr. Granger, I don't really know you but—well—I'm drawn to your daughters hormonally, I think; can you help me?' Yep, if I'm lucky I might get to choose between a clean death or a messy death.
"So, are you saying we're weird, Lord Potter?" Danielle said, surprising even herself but she'd never forget the smiles she earned from her big sister or the green-eyed wizard who seemed to belong at her sister's side, which to her felt enticingly inviting. He's right, I am weird but I feel more at home now than I ever did at Malfoy Manor. It's like I thought: this is a good place for mum, she is already happier than she ever was at the manor; will it be a good place for me and what will it mean to be part of this, my family?
"Of course, Granger girls are supposed to be weird and I like them like that," said Harry, with a big grin.
"Prat," said Hermione as she impishly slapped his shoulder, "let's go."
From Hermione's bedroom, Danielle and Harry followed the bushy-haired witch down the stairs and then to the rear of the house. Passing through the kitchen—the lingering and stomach growling inducing odor of fresh popcorn still hanging in the air—the trio reached the family room.
Entering the family room, the first thing Harry noticed was that the Granger's television was not just a television but was one of those very expensive projection types. Ha! Harry thought almost maliciously. The Dursleys thought that thirty-two inch model of theirs was something special and gave them bragging rights. Setting his television awe aside, he looked around the family saw that the sofa was occupied by three adults; not that there wasn't room considering the Grangers were sandwiching Narcissa so tightly they'd left at least a third of the sofa vacant. Still, the idea of sitting with his witch's parents wasn't particularly inviting—especially the way they were cuddling—so he joined Hermione and Danielle on the loveseat and, like her mother was with the Grangers, Danielle became sandwiched between Harry and Hermione.
"What vid are we going to watch," Hermione asked as she scooped a handful of popcorn from a bowl then passed it Danielle.
"Um, what's this?" she asked, looking at small fluffy cloud-like shapes in the bowl.
"It's popcorn," replied Hermione, "can't have a vid without the popcorn, it's a traditional prerequisite."
Unsure what to make of this muggle snack, Danielle plucked a piece from the bowl and put it her mouth and chewed; she exclaimed, "Wow, this is really good."
Danielle followed her sister's lead, took a handful and passed the bowl to Harry. He gratefully accepted and suddenly thought. This is the first time I've ever seen a vid like this; with family—well, a family; I like it. It's sorta weird seeing adults snuggling like that too, especially when it's three of them; the Dursley's would feel scandalized by being in the same neighborhood as Hermione and Danielle's mums and dads—the three of them. I wonder what Danielle is feeling? How would I feel? Bloody hell, Harry thought and mentally heard Hermione's disapproving 'tsk tsk' over his language, I don't know what it's like to have a 'regular' family and while this is normal for goblins, seeing it between humans is like nothing I've mentally prepared for. Funny though, this feels more 'normal' than anything I've ever felt from my oh so 'normal' relatives in their oh so 'normal' lives in their oh so 'normal' house. I wonder what Dudley would think—not that I particularly care—if he saw me sitting with two really cute sisters?
As Harry sat ruminating over his unforeseeable—a week ago—circumstance the video began and once the previews rolled to completion the main attraction began, garnering shouts from three of the present females.
"The Witches!" Hermione, Danielle and—to everyone's surprise—Narcissa exclaimed in feigned outrage; the adult witch silently thanking Merlin for allowing her to be her real self and hoped her daughter would come to love this family as her own.
"What?" Danielle Granger responded casually and dimmed the lights before saying, "it'll be educational for me and Emma."
The adults began laughing as the children looked on.
As the final credits rolled across the near one hundred inch screen, Dan brightened the lights and checked on the children sitting together. Of the three, Hermione was still mostly awake—valiantly fighting Morpheus—but Danielle and Harry seemed to have reached their limits. Emma, Narcissa and Dan smiled parentally, rose from the sofa without speaking and looked at the three youngsters. Danielle was fast asleep with her head resting on Hermione's shoulder and Harry looked asleep but as soon as the adults moved, his eyes snapped open. With the obvious look of someone who'd waken in an unfamiliar place, his eyes widened to the sight of three adults looking at him and the realization his head was resting on Danielle's shoulder and that his one hand had somehow landed in a less than appropriate place in Hermione's sister's lap. He quickly moved his hand and leapt to his feet.
"S . . . sorry; I . . . I did . . . didn't do that on pur . . . purpose, M . . . Mr. Granger," stuttered the green-eyed wizard, once more sounding like the boy he should be.
"I know, Harry," replied Mr. Granger in the warmest tone he'd yet used for the boy who, while having managed to completely up end his family, had brought them together as they should be.
"Should I wake Danielle?" Narcissa asked; she was looking at her peacefully sleeping daughter with a contented smile and thought, I should have said good-bye to Lucius the day after Danielle was born and brought her here where she belongs: with her father and sister. I should have said to hell with the magical community and the Statute of Secrecy and done what was right for Danielle and Dan, Emma and Hermione.
"No . . . no, I've got this," Dan said as he picked up his sleeping daughter the same way he had Hermione countless times in the past. He held her like a princess and Danielle instinctually snuggled into him while her lips formed a little peaceful smile.
"You and Harry need to get to bed too, Hermione," Emma said as she watched Dan carefully cradling hers and Narcissa's youngest daughter, "It's been a big day for us all and I'd like to spend some time with you and Harry before you rush back to school."
Hermione and then Harry yawned, confirming Emma's suggestion. Her older daughter rose from the loveseat and extended her hand to the young wizard who unconsciously took it. Too tired to truly worry about Hermione's parents, they left the family room with hands linked. With his younger daughter held firmly in his arms and focusing on her, he didn't notice Hermione and Harry were holding hands but Narcissa and Emma—also holding hands—did and both smiled with relief and pride.
My little girl, Emma thought, as precocious you've been in other things, you are in this; to have already found your 'needed' and what a 'needed' he is. I wonder if Dan was like this at eleven? I doubt it; at eleven he was allowed to be a child, I don't feel Harry was ever allowed that luxury. Still, it leaves me to wonder; I now know three magical children and each seem surprisingly mature; I wonder if that's normal? I'll talk to Nan . . . Narcissa later.
My princess, Narcissa thought, to see you in your father's loving arms was something I thought I'd never see and while I know things will be confusing and unsettling for the next little while; I think you could do no better than to have a dad like Dan, a second mum like Emma and a sister like Hermione. I feel so much better about your future now and already your sister seems to have found her 'needed' but Lord Potter is strong and seems to understand what few others do. I so hope, that in time, you can join your sister with one so worthy as this young wizard. I wish Andi, Trixie and I had been so lucky; it would've been nice to be with the same wizard and together as sisters should be. I wish I had met Dan and Emma sooner; I'm sure the three of us couldn't soothed Trixie's restless heart too and we could've left the Malfoy and Lestrange families denied the daughters Black. To hell with our parents and our aunt; Wulburga might've blasted us from the family tapestry—like she did with Andi—but the reward would've been worthwhile. Sirius and Andromeda were the smart Blacks, this generation, and Trixie and I were too blinded by arrogance to see it.
Deeply in thought, Narcissa, Emma and Dan—cradling Danielle—followed Harry and Hermione from the family room and up the stairs. Reaching the top landing, Hermione leaned towards Harry and gave him a peck on the cheek, which he returned; much to Dan's consternation but he didn't want to wake his daughter with a protective father's rant. Like most women, Emma and Narcissa thought it cute and, unlike their uncertain husband, thought Harry was good for their daughters and of this Narcissa was even more certain than Emma because she could feel the pull of the boy's magic: unfortunately, Narcissa was also beginning to feel the tugs of Hermione's, too, and that was most certainly uncomfortable. I'm a witch and a Black, she thought, accepting her nature for what it was. Power is an aphrodisiac to us, which can be overwhelming Comfortable or not, the adult witch was thankful that she got her daughter away from Malfoy Manor before Lucius and Draco began sensing Danielle's magic, which—if Hermione was an indication—could be as soon as this Yule. I'd rather have her in bed with Hermione and Harry than with Draco or Lucius or their friends; I hope Dan will learn to understand why I'd think that about our daughters, Emma looks like she'll understand.
"G'night, Mione," Harry said before yawning.
"Goodnight Harry," she said.
"G'night Mr. and Mrs. Granger; Mrs. Granger-Black," he added, more asleep than awake.
"Goodnight Harry dear," Emma replied with a smile, "sleep well."
"Than . . ." Harry yawned again, "sorry . . . thank you; you too Mrs. Granger."
Leaving the Grangers, Harry turned right and headed to his room; too tired to really think about anything other than sleep. As he padded down the corridor, Hermione, her two mums and her dad—holding the family's youngest daughter—went the other way.
"Goodnight, mums; dad," Hermione said and turned to her room but before she went inside she turned and, with an innuendo filled smile that most eleven year-olds didn't need or could master, said, "Please try to keep it down, mums; dad, we have a guest tonight and my sister might find such sounds confusing."
"Hermione!" Narcissa and Emma exclaimed quietly to their, at times, too precocious daughter.
"Well, if you're not going to be quiet, then have Nan . . . Narcissa-mum cast some silencing charms at least," their eldest daughter said before retiring to her room.
"What are we going to do with her?" Dan asked rhetorically in almost a whisper.
"She's fine, dear," Narcissa said with a wink, "and I do know some good silencing charms, if we want them."
"You and Emma will be the death of me but I wouldn't have it any other way," he said quietly, as carefully pushed open the door to the room that was now his other daughter's, "I'm glad things happened like they did; we can be a proper family now."
He carried Danielle to the bed as Emma folded back the sheets, and laid his daughter on the bed; he gave her a quick kiss on her hair covered forehead and stepped back as Emma tucked their youngest daughter in. She kissed her on the cheek and for her efforts; she received a happy little sigh from the sleeping girl. With Emma, having performed the motherly duty of tucking Danielle in, Narcissa knelt by the bed and brushed the hair from her daughter's forehead.
"I should have done the right thing for you, honey, and brought you here a lot sooner, I'm sorry," Narcissa whispered, "I was a fool and a coward and allowed your heart to be chilled by the cold atmosphere of Malfoy Manor. I hope I can make it up to you and at last give you the family you've always deserved. I love you."
With a kiss on Danielle's forehead, Narcissa rose and, wiping a tear from her eye, joined her husband and wife. Stepping softly from the room, the Grangers left the bedroom as Narcissa took a final reassuring look at her sleeping daughter, turned off the light and closed the door behind her.
"Thank you Dan," Narcissa said quietly.
"For what pet?" He replied.
"For taking me into your heart, secrets and all," she told him, "for Danielle and Hermione and for a life I could never have just because of whom I am. I'm thanking you for seeing beyond the male fantasy of having two women who do things as readily to each other as they do to you and going out of your way to treat me like a person and not a toy—not that I mind being your or Emma's toy."
"You've always been a joy in our lives and if I could've I would've happily married you both," said Dan sincerely, "but instead you had to settle for being Emma's Matron of Honor; still, when I was saying 'I do' I was saying it to both of you."
"Maybe we should move to Gringotts," Emma teased playfully, "even though I'm not a hundred percent on those two cute she-goblins yet."
"Just what are you implying, Emma?" Dan asked, softly, in mock fury.
"A woman needs to broaden her horizons and tastes," she taunted and then asked with a too innocent tone, "right Narcissa-love?"
"I've not had much experience with foreign flavors, Emma-darling," Narcissa teased back; surprised when she realized she was only half-joking. Take that, Lucius—you and your sanctimonious sycophants, she thought with bitter humor, not only am I shacking up with two muggles but I'm seriously wondering what she-goblin tastes like.
"I hope Hermione remembered to brush and floss before going to bed," Dan said as they passed their eldest daughter's door.
"I can't imagine she'd forget Dr. Dan Brush-and-floss-or-face-the-loss," Emma replied naughtily burlesquing her husband's favorite adage.
"Emma . . . you should be spanked for that," he said, quietly, in a tenor that was not even close to anger or even slight displeasure. Narcissa giggled, which drew Dan's attention; he said with a smile that, had it been Lucius it would've terrified her but from Dan it hinted only promise. ". . . and you, what will I do to you pet; hiding our daughter all these years. I've a good mind to hang you by your ankles and find out how long your two favorite toys will last with fresh batteries installed and vibrating full blast."
"You wouldn't dare . . . master," Narcissa challenged, breathlessly, in keeping with the game as Emma looked on eagerly.
"Aren't you the feisty slave tonight . . . toy," he growled in dominance to his wives pleasure and increasing arousal, which flushed them from head to toe. From Narissa he looked to Emma, grinned nefariously and snarled, "Come to think of it, minx, you were far too willful today for my liking; perhaps a simple spanking is too tame a punishment for you tonight, you've earned more."
"Master," Emma sighed keenly, "I was willful; I need to be retaught my place."
"Indeed," Dan said with enticing menace, "perhaps when I'm done with pet, I'll let her flog you as hard as you both like while you ride me to climax and then my pet witch can lick you clean. Would you like that, witch?"
"Y . . . yes master," Narcissa panted as they reached their bedroom.
In the haze of freedom she could now embrace, she vanished their clothes, leaving Emma and her wearing naught but their collars and matching leather shackles at wrists and ankles before the door had even closed. Their Adonis, resplendently naked, closed and locked the door as his playmates enfolded together and began plundering kisses from one another. Dan's eyes blazed with hunger as his wives hands roamed and explored each other without restraint. He stepped to them and, taking a hand full hair from each, pulled them from each other's lips. They hissed in pain as he tugged, one and then the other, to his lips giving each a scathing kiss before pushing them further into the room. Stumbling before him, Emma and Narcissa reveled in their master's dominating aura as he strode with towards them in passionate fury.
"I wish I knew ahead of time that I'd have you both tonight, I could have readied our playthings in advance," he growled, "set up time can so ruin the mood."
"Master," Narcissa said; head bowed and on her knees before him, "you've forgotten your pet is a witch, tell me what you want and it will be prepared how you like it."
"How convenient," he said with an alluring drawl, "I did say I'd hang you by your ankles, set your favorite toys to high and find out how long the batteries last; can you set it up, pet?"
"Of course Master," Narcissa said in a way that might've had even Lucius—had he been truly worthy of a sister Black—take interest in her; her wand was suddenly in her hand.
"How . . ." Dan asked.
"A smart witch is a prepared witch," she replied, "and—even if they can do it with nothing else—learns to summon her wand both silently and wandlessly . . . just in case. A smart witch is also always versed and skilled in at least one castration type curse—I know six; the sixth is permanent and replaces what makes a man a man with a fully functioning vagina, minus the breeding bits. The Blacks may be traditional but the girls know how to protect themselves; after all, we can't risk our value being soiled by some low-blooded, snot nosed wizard who oversteps his place in society."
"I'm offended that your society sees you as just a commodity, pet," Dan said dangerously, "you will teach these . . . curses you said? . . . to our daughters as soon as you can. I've been told our home is warded from the unwelcome attention of your Ministry and I'd not like to see Lord Potter's money go to waste, he's been generous to us—though I don't think he knows just how generous, yet. He is our family's patron—as Griphook explained it—and has given our family the teeth to face a society that is, for the most part, against us."
"As he has with House Granger-Black, master," Narcissa said, "had Lord Potter phrased things a few words differently, I'd still be nameless; as would our daughter. If that had happened, I'd likely have had to give myself and Danielle to a family as slaves so we'd have a roof over our head and food to eat; especially if Master wouldn't take us in."
"This is your home pet—as much is it's mine and minx's—and always has been," he said, "and now it's Danielle's and perhaps, Lord Potter's too; it's not like it isn't big enough for us all."
"Dan?" Emma asked, dropping the game for a moment. "Are you seriously thinking about what I think you are?"
"The more I think about that Lucius Malfoy guy—sorry Narcissa . . ."
". . . trust me Dan, I understand," said their witch, "I'd rather Danielle and Hermione screaming Harry's name in unadulterated ardor—even at their young age—than hear them either whimper in frustration or fear. In my youth, I looked down upon Harry's father and his mudblood Lady but I think that was jealousy masquerading as superiority. Yes, without a doubt; I was envious of Lillian Evans—who, like Hermione; and Danielle most likely—had far more power than I did and I'm by no means weak; then, to add insult to injury you might say, she snagged one of the two most eligible wizards of that time in both wealth and power. As I think about the Potters; if anyone is truly worthy of our daughters, then I feel Harry Potter is and since he is young, he can be properly educated and for all I'd prefer things otherwise, I suspect a coven will form about him. Please understand, Dan; Emma my loves, it's highly unlikely that only our daughters will have Lord Potter all to themselves but perhaps we'll have a chance to shape him so he understands and respects the responsibility he must have for his witches."
"Did I hear that right Nan . . . Narcissa," Dan asked, "you're prepared to give both of our daughters to a boy, who we've only just met, and to see them as mere members of Lord Potter's little harem?"
"Better that than with someone like Lucius but it'll not be a harem, Dan; it'll be a coven," she replied.
"I can't wrap my head around the difference at the moment, please enlighten me, pet," he asked with nonjudgmental curiosity.
"Let me ask you a question, Dan," Narcissa asked; he nodded, "for all Emma and I call you master and you call us some rather unpleasant things when we're playing do you honest believe you are better than us? Do you see Emma and me wholly submissive to you in all things? Are we just playthings for your amusement that can be disposed of when you grow bored with us?"
"No, of course not," replied Daniel, "you two are lovely, witty and intelligent women, I think of you as part of me; not belonging to me. I feel like we're connected at a level so deep that words can't truly describe it."
Stunned by his candid answer, Emma and Narcissa could only stare at the man they both loved. For Emma it was the look of reaffirmation of love but Narcissa had taken a far more calculating poise.
"What we have is what a coven should be, Dan, but . . ."
"What is it pet?" he asked, noticing Narcissa's pensive gaze.
"I'd like to try something, Dan; Emma, if you don't mind," she said with a slight nervous tremor in her voice.
"What?" her wife and husband asked in one voice.
"A little diagnostic spell, that's all," she told them.
"What does it do?" Emma asked.
"At the moment? It'll satisfy my curiosity," their blue-eyed witch replied.
"Is it dangerous?" asked Dan.
"Dangerous, no: life altering, perhaps," she said, "The results may well be like drawing Death from a Tarot deck."
"Once upon a time, I'd say such things were rubbish," said Emma, "now I'm gonna have to go with kinda dodgy; let's face it, for Dan and me, magic was a part of books and fanciful movies until Hermione's eleventh birthday."
"Well rubbish isn't far from the truth for the most part when it comes to Divinity but I assure you, my loves, seers exist but true seers are rare and arise maybe once per generation," Narcissa told them, "many seers die and many others are driven insane before their gifts are recognized. It's very sad but understandable because the gift doesn't work like you're opening a book of possibilities or probabilities and reading from it; they say it's more like a chaotic kaleidoscope of random and conflicting visions that come when they will and without warning."
"That sounds rather . . . unpleasant," Dan observed, "but back to the spell you want to cast, pet; go ahead, cast away—we've seen so little magic that we still find it fascinating."
"You agree, Emma-dear?" Emma nodded; Narcissa, with wave of her wand said, "Ostendo Aurora."
The room's lights dimmed and as it grew darker; a misty glow of ethereal streamers took shape and shimmered around their bodies. To each, it gave a wraithlike appearance that consisted of rippling curtains of light in hues of blues shifting to reds and then back to blues throughout the entire spectrum. Soon, only two colors remained prominent: for the Grangers, a reddish-purple—more to the red side for Dan and more to the blue side for Emma—and for Narcissa an otherworldly blue but it was the tendrils, like golden lighting, arching between them that seemed to stun the blonde-haired witch.
"Pretty," Emma said in little better than a whisper, "but what does it mean?"
"I'm not surprised you can see this, Emma-love; either you or Dan, but it's also surprising," said the blonde witch. "Let me explain. The main hues around our bodies tell us what our magical energy states are: a muggle's energy state is mostly in the reds and a witch's is mostly in the blues."
"Interesting," Dan commented.
"Okay, I'll bite; why?" asked Emma, recognizing her husband's tone.
"Remember learning in rudimentary physics and optics that color represents light's true energy state with blue being the most energetic and red being the least?" He said and Emma nodded. "Seeing this and hearing Narcissa explanation of what we are seeing was an epiphany."
"Fine, go on," Emma prompted, as Narcissa grew more curious.
"Well, suddenly I realize that magic isn't so 'magical' it's just an energy form we weren't—as in non-magicals—aware of. It even seems to share some fundamental laws," he said then asked suddenly, "Narcissa-pet, what is magic?"
"I . . . I don't understand," she replied in confusion, "magic is . . . well . . . magic; what else could it be?"
"Haven't you even heard—you know—theories from . . . from, I don't magic scientists I guess you might call them?"
"Oh, I see; that's Department of Mysteries stuff, Dan: they never say anything about what they're doing or studying," she answered, nibbling her bottom lip nervously.
"And we sent our daughter into a world with so little general curiosity?" He mutter rhetorically, "I wonder if The Nation and The People would provide tutors for our children instead of leaving them to the mercy of—as I learn more and more about it—a flawed and lacking education because, so far, we've only ever really gotten straight answers from the goblins. Bloody hell . . ."
". . . Dan!" Emma said disapprovingly.
"Sorry dear," he replied unconsciously and continued, "We've only really known goblins for less than a week and every time we've asked a question they've answered immediately when they could . . . Sorry, Narcissa, I went off on a tangent while you were explaining something that was rude of me; please continue."
"It . . . it's fine, Dan," said Narcissa, "you're right too, witches and wizards do take most things for granted because we're not usually challenged by much and suddenly I realize just how complacent I've been; just like the rest of us. Nevertheless, let me explain what I think we're seeing further: the golden lightening arching between us suggests an extremely deep link between us and between us equally."
"How deep?" Dan asked.
"Unless I'm mistaken," Narcissa replied, "I'd say you, me and Emma are Soul-bound."
"What is Soul-bound?" asked Emma.
"Being Soul-bound is the ultimate form of marriage in the Magical World," she explained, "it is very rare and it means we are linked at the fundamental levels of our very beings—our souls. To see this link between three is even rarer than to see it between two but to see it between one magical and two unmagical is unheard of. That we are linked liked this might explain why you Dan; Emma are now squibs."
"What's a squib?" The Grangers asked
"A rather derogatory term for someone of magical background who can't use magic, although they usually can sense it and even see it like you are now but they cannot manipulate it," Narcissa explained, before she continued. "You see, magic is always flowing in and out of witches and wizards, almost like we're breathing it, but in squibs the flow is only in one direction, like they can only inhale. Without flow—a complete circle you might say—magic can do nothing."
"That sounds like electricity, Dan," Emma observed.
"It certainly does," he agreed.
"I know you've mentioned it before but I never thought about it that much but how is this electricity like magic?" Narcissa asked.
"Electricity is pretty much what's behind everything non-magicals use to do what you'd do with magic," Dan explained, "but back to this soul-bond thing: does this mean we're married to each other, as in the three of us?"
"Yes, in the eyes of magic, which trumps any law a witch or wizard might pass to the contrary," she replied.
Dan grinned ferally and growled seductively, "So this is like our wedding night, eh pet; we're going to have so much fun tonight: let's hope it won't show too much tomorrow."
"But Dan, your slave is a witch; we can play as hard as we like, push things as far as we want because with a wave my wand, it's like nothing happened at all and the only lasting effect is our memories." Narcissa purred as she knelt before him.
Her tongue explored, from the root to the tip, her master's large and inviting erection and when a second tongue, Emma's, followed the first, Dan shivered. He looked at his kneeling and lovely ladies and saw that their countenance could only be described as scalding and that they wanted to play . . . hard, very hard.