The brief interview at Beauxbatons, complete with Minerva and Xeno, went much better with Luna than it had with Harry. Neville hardly spoke a word. Luna was welcomed with open arms to the French school, and was given her own room on the other side of Ekaterina. With the girls all sharing the same classes, they would not add extra security unless the knights picked up any threat warnings.
Like Hogwarts, the decrease in wizarding population meant far too many empty rooms in places of higher learning. To someone like Hermione, who had always wanted a large family, this meant that it was her duty to have as many children as she wanted!
Ekaterina had sensed nothing at all at the school other than a few extra French aurors in the building pretending to be staff. She told Hans that the slightest problem, she would have them out of there, all three girls. She knew that Alain Delacour was a much a target for his politics as Harry was for his.
Hans knocked on the door to Harry's home. Sirius Black, looking a little relieved had Charlus on his shoulders.
"Boss! Dad, please come in. Sir, we just ate a little bit ago, but I could make you a snack."
"I'll do that, Harry! Let me down Dad!"
Harry directed the company to the living room. Hermione had still been in her night clothes and was gone to the bedroom to change as he directed the men to the living area.
Hans started to pace. "We are getting reports of gold being stolen from muggles all over the world. Not the normal large depositories that are secretly guarded by wizards, but the attacks are sudden, swift, and the guards are killed with no reason for them to be dead."
"AK's then." Harry pushed aside the memory of green light. He shuddered.
"Through the earlier trials, our goblin friends have secured about a quarter of the funds from death eaters that were available to them. And they still need to run their businesses and manors, buy supplies and food. I'm worried that if this money isn't deposited with gnomes or goblins that it will be used for mercenaries. The boarders of England are a joke. And there's worse news." He turned to Hermione as she came in.
"Can you ask the Red Witch to join us please?"
Daisy brought Ivan in as Katya and Xandra joined the throng. Harry concentrated, and soon the cozy eating area resembled a small ballroom.
He reddened. "I think I over did it a bit. Zeb, Daisy, can you do the table?"
Hermione set up the book where everyone could see. "Well, hello to you, Sir Hans. It has been far too long since I have seen ye."
"Minerva, Filius is still Deputy Headmaster? It can't be his fault. Can you please talk to him about his new student register and ask him if he is available to come here with it?"
Filius was a valued ally and Hans trusted him to come to the mountains.
"Aye, I just did, and he is." The woman said. "He can come now if ye like."
Abi left to get the half goblin.
"I want to have this meeting anywhere but here. But there are some suspected spy attempts. And I trust everyone here with my life."
The group were all handed drinks and snacks by the hardworking Charlus who beamed at his father's compliment.
"Son, I forgot to feed Harry's snakes. You want to go sacrifice the mice?"
Charlus grinned. "Thanks Dad!"
Sirius shook his head. "It was his day for us to spend time together, Hans."
"I'll try to make it short. This is going to take time for thinking not acting today."
Filius was brought into the room. Harry bowed, as did Sirius. The rest sort of gave the professor a nod of hello.
"I have brought the book, but it really shouldn't leave Hogwarts long." The goblin warned.
"I have a list of names. Dennis Creevy, Penelope Jones, Martha …" Hans read off.
Neville perked up. "Collin Creevy is a first year Gryffindor. I wonder if Dennis is his brother. If so, we'll need new furniture in the common room."
Flitwick paled. "Not because of him. He's crossed off! So are the others!" He started flipping through the book. "No! Oh no!"
The normally happy charms teacher started leaking very human tears, betraying his mother's heritage was indeed in him.
"We have started to receive the people that Amelia promised in exchange for Hermione's healing. One seemed to have a low level job – accidental magic detection. She would send out a squad to clean up and obliviate if needed. Patrice wanted her stuffed toy that had partially lost its button eye but her father didn't want her to choke on the thing. Took it away and put it on the shelf so his wife could sew the button back in place. He took it away to keep her safe! The squad, the squad…" Hans, the strong Hans who had faced Grindlewald, had faced minions of death, had been injured and injured and kept fighting wept openly. "How could they do this?"
Sirius patted Hans' back while Flitwick started to moan.
Hermione went to the teacher and put her arms around him. He put his head into her shoulder and sobbed. "Patrice was two! Two years old! Just a baby!"
Neville gripped Luna's hand. "Can't we use this book to identify the muggleborns in danger? Get them out of the country? Ward them? There aren't that many people. I can ask my grandmother to relocate Rose Hill someplace safe. That house was meant for a family of two hundred or so. It could handle two dozen or so muggle families."
"Potter Manor is available. So is the house that used to be in Japan. I sold that land already. But I really liked the design of that house. We could buy an island. The relocation should need only last a few months. They could return after the final battle. The people will need something to do of course. Wait, they'll need muggle work. Um." Harry was thinking out loud.
"Some people won't want to leave. Some people will be stubborn." Xandra pointed out.
"Can we sabotage the grid that detects this?" Hermione asked. "At least until we can get everyone out."
All of the knights turned to her. It was such an obvious action, but none of them had thought of it.
Hans turned to Harry.
"I know. She's amazing. I agree. I also agree with what she said. I think that we need Charlie Weasley and Dora Tonks."
"You have that look Potter! I don't think that I am going to like this plan!" Hans started to say.
"What? Handsome and popular seeker visiting the ministry of magic for a wedding license? He finally popped the question New Year's Eve. After all of the weddings, Dora is over the moon about it. Let it slip that Harry Potter is going to be there to object. Lots of media fireworks."
"And lots of people leaving their posts to watch. This could work. This could work." Sirius contemplated. "What about death eaters showing up to take pot shots at all?"
Harry looked down at the list of thirty seven names of children that were on the record that were alive and not yet school age. Five had been killed in three months.
"I can fire back. Charlie and Dora too. What chance did Patrice have? I swear, I will find these baby killers and end them." He looked at Neville. "Can I put buying and warding a new island in your hands? I owe you and Luna a house. I don't mind paying for the island."
Luna looked at Hermione. "Harry, your father has very strict rules about beach dress code on his island. Hermione and I are buying the island. French beach rules. After our guests have left that is."
Hermione shook hands with Luna. "I agree. Something close to Black Island though."
"How are we going to get people to move?" Katya asked. "I agree with Xandra. Some won't."
"Once the net is down, we kidnap entire families, show them magic and then show them pictures of the children that are gone if needed. We do something!" Hans said, red-eyed. He loved his children, grandchildren. He was so protective of Hermione and Luna. How could anyone do this?
"I want to implement this plan to bring down the detection magic by next weekend at the latest! Charlie is not playing Saturday, I have his schedule. Hermione, you go to your clinic hours as scheduled. Neville, since Harry cannot be there, you and Luna act as her backup there. No need to be invisible. Be available for emergency insertion into Britain if needed, both of you. ICW headquarters will have plenty of security there for our healers. And she'll have Ekaterina there too."
"Thank you for meeting me today. Professor, if any new names pop up that are muggleborns, will you please let us know? If anyone has any ideas, send me a note. I'll check in on you ladies later."
Ivan might be the right hand of Hans, but he was relying on Hermione to help with some types of planning. As long as they were not direct assaults on people, she could and would help and be brilliant at it.
"Harry, I think that you and your cousin need to have a fight someplace public to set this up. Maybe shout some details?" Hermione suggested.
Harry kissed her softly. "She's carrying my son. If he is half as smart as his mother, I think that he would make a great Minister for Magic don't you?"
"Son, your child could be half as smart as a potato and make a better minister than Fudge. But I agree with your point." Sirius said.
People were saying their goodbyes when a very happy Charlus returned with the snake tank being levitated by an annoyed Zeb.
Two of the snakes hadn't eaten. He knew this as there were two small mice and two snakes without mice lumps in them. Xandra gagged a bit, Hermione left the room at a run to the master bedroom loo.
"Mum told me that since you are home so much now that you should have the great pleasure of housing your own snakes. I think that is what she said. So, where would you like them?"
Hans looked at Sirius and at Harry. "Don't say it. I know what you are thinking. Do it, but don't tell me about it."
"Can't. They are too rare. We can't use them without getting caught. But it does give me another idea…" Harry smiled and encourage the lazier two to eat. Hermione returned in time to see a mouse caught, and she fled again.
"Dad, don't you think that, well Charlus, but, Hermione."
"The poetry! How it sings in pretty pink." Luna commented.
"If you were Neville, you'd be in trouble. But I am afraid of you! Want some snakes?" Harry offered to his friend. She looked at them wriggling. Hermione returned looking green and asked Daisy for 7-up.
"No thanks, I just ate." Luna replied.
Hermione fled again, shooting death glares at the petite blonde.
"That's it! We had the briefing. I'm going home." Hans stormed out. Xandra and Katya patted Harry on the back.
"Unless you like sleeping on the sofa, I would find a new home for the slithers there." Katya recommended before looking at her watch. "We still have time to catch the rest of the match!"
Yes, the 'spring' tournament season had started. If he won or lost, that man had a great deal to celebrate. Harry sighed. He looked at Isis, asleep and digesting.
"Harry, they need to be kept warm. Why not put them near the fire? And do you think it would be alright if we made the glass opaque when they ate?" Hermione suggested, sipping 7-up.
Harry just looked at his wife in amazement. She loved him. She really did. And it showed.
"Hermione, will you marry me?"
"I guess I have to. I am having your child." Hermione leaned in for a sweet kiss.
Harry carefully positioned the snakes in place, and then sat at his wife's feet and gave them a rub. They got out school books and did their prep work for the coming week.
Tuesday night. Harry sipped a butterbeer in the Leaky Cauldron. The boy-who-lived, dripping three reporters, sat at a table. He was giving an interview on his view of how school sports could be improved, and had a brochure of his broom company in hand. He had already given several to each reporter. His flying tricks were being repeated all over the table in happy synchronization.
The door opened and every eye in the place turned to see the newcomer. Dora Tonks wore a casual hot pink robe over lime green boots. Her hair was mostly the same pink as her robes with green tips that matched her boots.
And Andi was in fashion design!
Harry stormed over to the girl.
"You! How dare you marry a commoner? Your head of house had arranged a perfectly good match for you! So what, he was a little older. Those fifty years would seem like nothing in a half century! It doesn't matter that he was bald either! Your hair is wild enough for the two of you! I won't have it! I won't!"
"Did I ask your opinion cousin? No! And I won't stand for it. Just because you and Hermione are separated doesn't mean that me and my cuddly seeker shouldn't get married. He's nice, he flies well. We like each other! I am not marrying someone who I don't love! Arranged marriages don't work! We are getting our marriage license at 11 in the morning on Saturday. I'm an adult. You can't stop me. Your high and mighty Lord Sirius Black can't stop me! Charlie Weasley, the hottest seeker ever to sit a broom and I are getting married and you can't stop me!"
She turned and started to storm out, turned back, stuck out her tongue, and strode out of the pub.
"Did you see that? No respect! Gentlemen, I need to report to my father about this. He'll want to take action. I don't know where she lives though. How will I stop her?"
One of the reporters had an idea. "She'll be at the ministry on Saturday to get the license. You could try to stop her there!"
"Brilliant! Owl me if you have any more questions about the brooms gentlemen. Elf! Come here! Transport me home!" Harry commanded, and immediately turned and thanked Zeb and apologized for his tone, but Zeb knew what was going on and had been prepared.
The reporters scrambled, no one wanted to ignore the broom story that the Chosen one was giving them, but this newest gossip was so juicy you could taste it! And Jenkins' clever photographer even got pictures! Flying spittle! Beautiful!
Harry hoped that it would provide a level of security to have people think that he and Hermione were separated. He wasn't prepared for all of the consequences of that maneuver though.
Hermione had no idea of how many islands that there were unoccupied in the Caribbean. They were focusing their search on the islands for sale closest to Black Island for now. "This one has fresh water, an abandoned plantation house that the elves could repair according to Zeb, and is only a few miles by boat to Black Island if I am reading this chart right.
"Let's go look at this one. I'll arrange for the portkey!" Luna declared.
"Fleur, want to go to an island with us after class? I'll have Daisy make us a picnic dinner so that we don't have to endure the dining room." Hermione invited.
The three readily approved the plan, and took the portkey, with Daisy and Ekaterina with them.
The island was not overly large. It was roughly ten miles long and three and half wide. But it had smallish hills in the center, lots of trees, native and transplanted. The plantation house appeared to have once been splendid, and Hermione could imagine the cotillions once held there.
Hermione and Luna unshrunk brooms from their kit, as did Ekaterina. Hermione shared with Fleur, and they took a nice fly around. Nova sureeking her pleasure in just flying and being free and somewhere beautiful.
Luna approved of the island, and the ladies did swim in the crystal waters. Ekaterina, embarrassed, went for a walk nearby, trusting the bird to keep them from drowning. No death eaters could get here. There were trees, overgrown now, that had been planted in strait rows. Ekaterina could see why they wanted the island. Much potential here for potion ingredients already. Clearly, the soil was fertile.
The girls had forgotten swimsuits but Hermione had grown up going to French beaches. None of them minded just wearing underwear. And the water was clear, and so warm.
"This is perfect! I claim this cove for Neville and me!"
"Where do you want your house Fleur?"
"Moi? You would build me a house here?"
"Yes! I might ask that we allow a muggle family to use it for a few months before turning it over to you, if you don't mind." Hermione explained a part of the plan, just not all.
"I would be happy to share! But the cost! You will need gold. I can pay…"
"I have earned far more gold in the last month that I would have in a year working as an apprentice healer, or even first year healer. I will make sure that the master suite and several rooms in Potter manor are put aside for us and your family until everything is restored in Britain."
Fleur burst into tears and rapid French. "No one has ever been so kind to me!"
"I know that we have only known each other a short time, but I feel that we have been friends forever. I can't explain that. And I want to be selfish. If I build you a house here, then I know that you will come and visit me. Just the same reason that we gave Neville and Luna their house here.
Luna smiled at her. "You are a beautiful girl Fleur, I mean inside. Not just the pretty packaging."
"We should probably eat and get back to school. We'll come back soon once we own this. I love my in-laws. But Black Island is the place of my childhood. This island. I have a feeling that this island is going to be a place of dreams for me." Hermione shared.
Fleur took out her camera. "Please. Take my picture here in this cove, and I will take yours."
They all took individual shots, then Hermione had an idea.
"Daisy, can you please take a picture of all of us? Thank you!"
Nova flew over the entire island again, and felt nothing evil. Luna sensed more than saw magical creatures, again, nothing dangerous. She had once asked the giant squid if it wanted to return to Hogwarts, and it said no. He had found a mate, and was much happier in the warmer water. Luna made plans to move him and his family closer to this island.
The girls then washed up and called Ekaterina back to enjoy a nice picnic before returning to school.
Neville drooled on the picture of Luna he had received in the morning post. She was pretending to be a mermaid, half out of the water, on the sugar white sand shore.
'Come join me for a swim in our cove, lover.'
"Nev, Uncle Frank is giving me that look. I think that…Nev! Nev! What is that?"
Harry pulled out the pictures that Luna sent. Hermione was in there, as was their friend Fleur. They hadn't brought swimsuits along when scoping out the island.
He dropped the one of Luna quickly, and picked out all that had Hermione.
"Your wife and I are going to be having a discussion about this sort of thing!" Harry said. Padma giggled and helped Harry. She returned all of the Luna photos in one neat stack. She saw Harry putting the unfamiliar blonde in a third stack, upside down.
"Who's the beautiful girl Neville? The other blonde?" Padma asked.
"Luna wants me to ask her to be my second wife. Really likes her. She's a veela. Sent her picture to see if I thought that she was pretty enough."
Breakfast exploded all around them as Harry's blast of accidental magic sent innocent eggs, pancakes, syrup, sausage and more in all directions. Harry didn't mind that, but the loss of the bacon hurt.
He put the pictures of Hermione into his bag for later. His own letter from her included one, one picture of her from the island, dressed in robes, in front of the ruins asking him to imagine the possibilities.
"My apologies, everyone, I seem to have sneezed and made a mess. Hogwarts elf to me please. Thank you." Harry pulled out a few coins. "Please enjoy a beverage or something on me for the extra mess."
The elf was confused, but accepted. Shouldn't she be paying him for this wonderful, wonderful disaster that was the table?
At least the rest of the school week was quieter! Harry missed his wife, and looked forward to being with her soon.
The auror looked at his right leg. He compared it to the left. Not a single black hair seemed to be missing. He wriggled his foot. His right pinky toe that he lost in a childhood accident at camp was back too! He decided right then and there no more arguments with stubborn axes against rubber-like trees.
"Healer Potter! My foot! It's whole! Thank you!"
He jumped up and tried to embrace her. Three wands were at his throat in a moment.
"Aurors! I don't think that Auror Justin here meant to attack me." She offered her hand for shaking but he kissed it instead.
"Thank you. I know that you haven't been happy. If you ever want to talk. Just as a friend! Floo me."
"That is most kind, Auror. Go in Peace."
Nova gave the man a look. 'Your mate is worried about you. You are tired. Rest before the next one. Have the girl elf bring us food.'
"Alright. I was going to do a few more first. Nova, what am I doing wrong that I appear to be available? I am wearing the plain gold ring. I am wearing plain serviceable robes? What do I need to do?"
'No one here has felt evil, my bondmate. Please eat.'
Hermione sat and ordered food and ate a bit. She had always been a bit annoyed at Harry for girls coming onto him. Quidditch matches, resorts, magical plays. She would be ignored and have witches actually make passes at him in front of her.
And a part of her blamed him! Never again. The dragonhide boot was on the other foot now. Yes, indeed. She decided to take out a life size poster of the boy-who-lived. The one Harry had done for a children's charity. He was wearing quidditch robes and mud, holding a captured snitch fluttering futilely in his hand.
'Never give up until your dream is in your hand'
'To my Wife, You are my dream, and now I have everything I want and need because I have you.'
"There! Maybe that will reduce the ardor. I'm a married woman!"
But the media was reprinting lies and gossip of how the Chosen Witch had fallen out of favor. She shook her head. Hermione didn't like this at all. Harry sometimes got jealous of others for the smallest of reasons. If he found out about men talking to her, it would not be good.
The journalists of Britain were not as stupid as the daily paper made them out to be. It was the editor and others that turned reliable stories into hash. But not this time. This time the pictures had been real, the story real.
Well, reported as seen that was.
Harry Potter arrived early. He had his wand in one hand, too much power to destroy if he used his staff, and was wearing a long and billowing cloak. He stalked inside the entrance to the Ministry of Magic like an avenging angel. His face was stormier than the weather outside.
Charlie Weasley, wearing his full quidditch robes so that he would be recognized, walked into the Ministry with the pink-haired girl on his arm. Today's robes were now lime green tinged in pink with the same lime green boots. Eye bleeding colors all the same.
Pictures started snapping the moment he walked in. Charlie released a few practice snitches that he then masterfully caught, winking at the camera.
"We are playing Wimbledon next week. Watch as the Bats sting the Wasps!" Charlie announced, snitch fluttering in his hand.
Harry let them get set up before storming in.
"You! You aren't even the eldest of your house! How dare you defy the wishes of my father, Head of House Lord Sirius Orion Black, by trying to marry my cousin! She is promised to another."
"Who are you to be questioning me? I am Charlie Weasley. I am a professional seeker."
"You are going to be seeking a healer if you don't turn around right now! I am the Champion of House Black, and I say that you may not marry this girl. I have the parchment here that proves that I hold the decision for this marriage in my hand. I am my father's proxy."
Xandra and Katya were already in their positions. Polyjuice was a wonderful thing, and with careful questioning, they were able to find the accidental magic detection grid easily. A few well-placed explosives and timer would soon be in place. After the detonator went off, the grid was going to need weeks if not months of service in order to be restored.
"Potter! You have a lordship and want your cousin to marry well. But I offer her love! I offer her my heart! Can you buy her that? Can you buy her true love?"
"No! But I don't want her going without!"
"We might not have gold or art or things, but we have each other and we have love!"
"Truly?" Harry asked him in a small voice. "You truly love her? Your heart beats for her? The day that you do not see her is one remembered as stormy even when the sun shines? The stormy days are summer warm because she lives in your heart? How can I deny you this gift?"
Harry started to pontificate a bit on the power of true love. He stopped when he got the signal from Katya.
Lord Potter paced and pondered. "Elf! Come here? Why did you take so long? Run to the bank. Fetch me fifty thousand. No, one hundred thousand. Hurry!"
"You had better be good to her! I don't want to hear of one tear being shed! I don't want to hear of any need of hers not being met, because she is family! Her father may be a muggleborn but that doesn't matter. She is family. And that is all that matters."
The elf returned from the Bank of Switzerland, it distinctive motif clear.
"A dowry for you, son of House Weasley. Treat the daughter of House Black well, and go in peace. You have the blessing of Lord Black and Lord Potter for this marriage."
Loud cheering erupted throughout the Ministry. Witches were crying, people hugging. The young couple kissed for the camera time and again.
True Love had won the day.
The timing was precise. At midnight, during shift change, soft explosions muffled and hidden by runic stones that shielded most of the noise, brought down the network that detected accidental magic.
It took the operators a week and a half to notice that it wasn't working. But by then, every family of every muggleborn student below seventeen had been relocated to temporary quarters until Patrice Key was ready. Named in honor of a little one that never had a chance to even hold a wand.
She had committed the horrible crime of being a muggleborn witch that wanted her cuddle toy.
Neville watched as Hermione swayed on her feet. A few last minute aurors had shown up, one was severely injured, and if he went to the hospital, he was going to lose his leg. She downed a dose of Pepper-Up just as Harry returned from Britain.
"Good! Thank you for coming love. Can you grab a few more volunteers while I nibble a snack, Luna? Sorry auror, but you don't want me fainting partway through." He wasn't in pain, in fact, he was in stasis, but needed help soon.
Harry debated getting his mum. Hermione looked done in. Instead, he cast Sonorus on himself and went out into the halls.
"Please! We have an injured auror here that could use your help! Please!"
Harry focused as Neville nodded. The chanting started and soon, the auror was healed. Harry saw it as it happened, and caught his wife as she collapsed. The stones were gathered up by helpful elves, and Luna did the thankyous.
"You have been overdoing it, love." Harry commented, stroking her cheek.
"I know that I should not have healed that last man. But I felt something." Hermione said.
"Me too Harry, me too." Luna said.
As a result, she fell asleep forgetting about their plans for the rest of the day. She slept for a solid two hours and woke in a strange bed with Lily Belle poking her.
"Good! You're awake, and we can go swimming!"
"Right. The Delacour's. Black Island. My head! I'm up!"
She needed to show Harry their new island and talk to her friend. Fleur was nice and understanding about Hermione's nap. It was great having friends like her.
There were still a few honest aurors left in Britain. One of them, Auror Proudfoot, was on patrol when he thought he saw something flash. He was able to get the fire under control quickly. And told the reliable aurors in the group about it.
Proudfoot wasn't supposed to be on patrol that night. He had been attacked, and was supposed to be in St. Mungo's. But he was one of the ones in the know about his former neighbor, and the healer who had restored his hand. He had requested to be taken there to the ICW infirmary to be healed. And was healed. The last one of the day. He couldn't even thank her as she had needed to rest after she was done with him.
And because a muggleborn healer helped a muggleborn auror, a muggleborn shopkeeper's life and the lives of his family were saved, as was his shop.
And with the help of Healer Potter's gold, the family was relocated to safer quarters with their entire stock safe. They could have lost everything. An endowment being run to help muggleborns in Britain.
And the circle of help and love continued.
The Delacour's had a wonderful time on Black Island! Fleur had brought a silver swimsuit that made Charlus stutter a bit and James offered to be on her team with they played quidditch next. Luna and Fleur played water volleyball with Charlus and James. Harry put his wife on a floatie, kept her in tropical fruit drinks, and made her rest.
Neville sat on a chair nearby and read his Herbology text!
They couldn't time it, so there was only two hours of light left when they arrived. Sirius offered to host everyone overnight. Neville and Luna gladly ran up to their normal room to change for dinner. Gabrielle held her breath. Apoline looked at the beautiful sugar sand and the large pool. Alain thought of the work at his study.
"I would love to accept your invitation, unless Fleur needs to study?"
"Papa! I always need to study, but I can study on the beach just as well as at a desk, and I have my library with me."
He nodded agreement and his family burst into smiles.
Christine invited Apoline for a walk. She handed her a rune stone."
"Perhaps you two would enjoy some privacy. There are plenty of rooms here for the children. The beach at Victory cottage is completely private, the water is warded against sharks for a half kilometer all around the island, and you are very welcome to use it. Um, no dress code there for the beach. My very proper husband is less tolerant here. Even when the children were younger and it was hard keeping them dressed."
Apoline just looked at the stone in her hand. "You people are so amazing! You don't know me very well yet, but you do this for us?"
Christine pointed at the two girls chattering away in their new made up Franglais as they called it, Gabrielle sketching the sea, while Lily Belle watched. She knew that she should intervene, and make them speak properly, but they were just so adorable!
"With Dorea's birth, and the craziness that is my life, I haven't been able to give her the attention that she needs. I can see that you are a good mother, and your daughters are good witches. I want to be friends with good people."
"Then I accept the use of your cottage. And thank you for your hospitality. I would normally have brought wine from our vineyards, but I see that you do not drink. So I brought this."
Apoline had made a large apple custard dessert whose little apple slices were so precise, and laid out so beautifully it seemed a shame to eat without taking a picture first.
"Oh my! That is lovely! You know that Harry is going to be begging Fleur to teach him how to make that now."
"Harry bakes? Cooks?"
"Yes he does. Lily Belle is starting to learn. The boys all have basic skills. But Harry likes it, and has a flair for it. It's a shame that he can't just be a Cordon Bleu somewhere. He really could be. If that is what he wanted."
"One sees things in the paper. You are nothing like what I expected of Lady Black."
"Well, you have seen Christine. I can play Lady Black for my husband when he needs it. Watch Hermione. She is really good at playing at Lady Potter when it is needed."
"Would you like to give me a hand getting dinner on the table?"
"But of course."
Harry finally got Hermione to bed after a few songs.
He came out to look at the ocean, lit so well from the full moon. Fleur was sitting on the wide balcony, and he almost went back in.
"Please! Join me. Daisy, bring Lord Potter some butterbeer please. And then sit near me, dear elf, if you don't mind. Talk with us."
The escort. She was a proper lady too. Hermione tried to never be alone with a boy unless Harry forced her to be with Neville for a minute or two.
"Miss Delacour. Or is it lady, duchess, princess?
She laughed. "Technically a word that means something like princess. I am veela royalty, after all. Dauphine Fleur."
Fleur had never revealed that to anyone at school! Why were these people so easy to talk to?
"I wanted to thank you, your highness. Hermione, well. We haven't had the best childhood. Not because of our parents or abuse! But my fame, combined with things. It's complicated. Other than Luna, she hasn't had good female friends. You are very special. Thank you."
"Hermione doesn't talk of you, Lord Potter. She refuses to lie to me. So she only tells me what she can. I think, based on what happened at Sirius Black's trial a dozen years ago that I know far more than I would ever tell others. You have been trained to kill the dark lord. Once he is dead, you want to do something more with your life. You have separated from Hermione not due to differences. You love her. I see it. She loves you. Deeply. I see that. So why do you send her away?"
"They kidnapped her before. The security is better now. But Luna was kidnapped from Hogwarts, I didn't want Hermione kidnapped again. She was almost, almost, but she wasn't! If people think that we are having problems, well, I hope that she won't be a target right now. Luna being with her helps me feel better as Luna can fight and has special powers. You'll see them, don't worry. But it is up to her to tell you how much. I don't have enough power to just end him right now, not on my own. But I am reading, and learning and growing."
"You is powerful wizard, Master Harry Potter sir!" Daisy said, then covered her mouth.
"Thank you, Daisy. You are not furniture! You can add to the conversation! Do you want a soda?"
She shook her head no, embarrassed.
"I don't mind telling you that you are right. The final battle is coming soon Fleur. When it comes, there will be extra security, but what I want to happen is for you three to evacuate to Patrice Key or Black Island. The wards might be perfect at Beauxbatons, but Dumbledore was planning on taking France next, and Beauxbatons would be a lovely palace to rule from."
"Daisy, fetch a cloak please. I'm sorry if I scared you." Harry cast a warming charm on the girl. His magic was nice, a comforting cloak of its own.
"If you are right, and Beauxbatons is attacked, I would not have been warned without your wife's friendship."
"I am worried about her. I can't help it. I can't watch over her myself. I have to focus on the battle, and get the job done. Be a good little soldier. Bleh! Anyone can kill Voldemort now, he's mortal."
Harry was now the one to cover his mouth as Daisy returned and helped Fleur with the borrowed cloak against the midnight wind off of the sea.
"Mon pere, he thinks that he hides more than he does. I know something about this. That there was a reason he came back. Please, my father is a good man. He could be trusted with that information."
"Please say nothing of it Fleur! Please! I will try to figure out how to tell your father without telling him too many details."
Harry stood and paced before settling back on the bench swing, gently swaying it.
"You have been kind to Hermione. That means a lot to me. If you need anything, anything at all, let me know. We try to take care of our friends, Fleur. And I do count you as one. I need to get to bed. Good night. Thank you Daisy. Would you like company, princess, or to be alone?"
"You can return, Daisy. Good night, good sir knight. Sleep well."
Harry stumbled a bit about that. Had she heard something? Well, she was a beautiful princess. Wow! Her picture was there in the dictionary when you looked up the term. Dressed in a fancy flowing gown. Harry wished he had not seen those beach pictures of her. No wonder all of the girls at school had been so mean to her!
Hermione had been bullied for much of her life before and during training. Girls from all over the world, jealous and petty, had put her down. Harry tried to protect her but it hadn't worked very well. Fleur was in a similar position.
Fleur had money, looks, was a princess, and Daddy was a powerful wizard. Hard to compete with all of that.
And Neville never even looked at the girl twice or talked to her all day.
After a short trip the next morning with the family and a consult with Ted Tonks, who specialized in real estate law, a vote was cast. The 'ayes' had it.
Luna and Hermione purchased the island with a combination of funds that included all of the gold from various rewards and fines. They thought it fitting that a place of refuge was provided by the people who wanted to destroy all of the muggleborns.
Ted promised to give the ladies the name of the contractor that could be relied on, but Fleur had a suggestion to make. She knew a veela company, very discrete, whose business was making this sort of refuge for veela families. The wards on the Chateaux D'Abre came from that family business.
And the rest of the day was just spent playing in the water and enjoying the day. Christine promised that they were welcome anytime. Arrangements were made for tutoring for the children, including intensive English for Gabrielle and intensive French for Lily Belle.
Then it was cheek kisses and little girl tears, and time to say good bye until next time.
And Neville never spoke a word directly to Fleur the entire time.
Harry wondered if Mum shouldn't give him a check-up.
While the students went back to school, their minions, i.e. hired contractors were hard at work.
The warding work on the island was done. Unless you were invited or had the special portkey, you were not getting in. Two houses, Potter Manor and the Japanese house were added and in place. And Potter elves were working very hard to restore the plantation home to its former glory. Gnomes would be building a fourth very soon, just as soon as Fleur decided on a design.
Apparently, the island had been abandoned after a storm. Nothing from the house, other than people, seemed to have been removed. So the elves had found a wine and liquor cellar. The furniture, books, kitchen utensils, china, crystal, all sorts of wonderful things were restored to good order with powerful elf magic.
There were even cedar wardrobes with clothing of the time that the elves put back into pristine shape.
And unlike restoring Black Manor, there was nothing evil found in the secret passages, no dark magic lurking anywhere. Hermione liked that there was a secret passage from the master to some of the rooms nearby.
She made the elves swear that they would say nothing to Harry about them until she had a chance to prank him first!
As for Potter Manor, the bright pink paint had been able to be mostly removed as the miniature house was restored full sized. Lily Belle was relieved to hear about that. She had thought that the house looked better pink when she was younger and thought it was a real dollhouse. The elves touched up the white paint everywhere as they had found bits of pink everywhere.
While at school, the girls looked at a plot map of the island. The plantation home could be moved, but Hermione liked the cove it was near, and was tempted to claim that house for herself. Potter Manor would be relocated after the battle anyway, so why not? Luna had staked out her territory first, drawn to the beautiful cove. She knew that merpeople lived nearby!
She and Neville couldn't agree on a house plan yet. Some of Luna's ideas appeared to break more than one law of physics. Neville knew her well though. He told her that until they came up with a compromise that he would be staying in a wizarding tent. She loved camping everywhere except the beach due to the sand. Even magic seemed to have trouble banishing all of the grit.
They needed a house. She relented and submitted a design that he thought absolutely perfect for a beach house. It was an exaggerated A-frame design with a large porch on the beach side with stairs going down to the cove. The upstairs was split into two open lofts dormitories, one for boys, one for girls. It was perfect! And he didn't complain about the peach and sea-form green colors she picked, either.
Fleur, using the pictures and the maps, chose a spot for herself. The girls were then debating large or small house for Fleur with Hermione reassuring her that if she wanted small, that she could eat her meals at the large house.
And something marvelous was happening with the girl. Fleur was beginning to smile more. Laugh. The flower was beginning to bloom.
It was Friday night, and Harry just wanted to go home. He had gotten a letter from Hermione that morning, flamed to him with a bit of phoenix poo aimed for his head. They had had a misunderstanding the night before.
Nova took it personally when people upset Hermione! And she only took Hermione's side in any argument.
Hermione was being so mean to him!
Unknown to Harry, Fleur had asked her to go shopping with her after healing on Saturday. Maybe stroll through the Louvre. Hermione naturally said yes, as long as she got an additional escort. That was her agreement with Hans. Hermione was going through her list of young male knights, single, handsome, and picked one out that she thought that might be young enough for Fleur. She wasn't thinking of herself! But Harry didn't know that.
Harry had been spending far too much time on missions that were tense. Ones where he had to watch and not act. Hurry up and wait, and nothing was getting done.
Harry had to go to headquarters Saturday! They were making maps of all of the death eaters and combining information, and doing warrior things! He didn't have time to just be a teenager, and go out shopping and to a museum with friends and relax!
Why did she have to pick one of the few knights that were close to their own age, one who was handsome, muscular, brave, smart? Of course his wife would be attracted to him, who wouldn't? Jealously flared in him.
He had looked at Nova in disgust. The phoenix didn't seem to mind his wife having male friends. She stared at him.
"Well, I hope that you have a nice date with your boyfriend."
He shouldn't have said it! If he didn't want her to go, he should have sat down, and told her his feelings and talked. Instead, he was a child and a jerk. He tried to apologize. Even though it was really her fault in the first place. Wasn't that what his father had taught him though? Sometimes love meant apologizing even when you thought that it wasn't your fault. But he was still upset.
She had had Nova take her back to school. Where he wasn't allowed in unless he broke their wards. Hermione didn't want to be around him when he was so angry. His power shook the house, and it scared her. He needed time to cool down.
Now she had sent him a letter saying that she was going to work on a school project this weekend and wouldn't be home. With phoenix poo. That she was giving him time to work out his problems. How? How could he work out his problems when he wanted to be with her and he couldn't because he had to fight Voldemort but he wasn't allowed to do that yet! And be a good soldier, give me another fifty burpees, higher, higher. And watch your wife go out with others! Arrggg!
And there were Frank and Alice, looking at him with that look. They had something planned. Mad-eye came in to dinner too. Not good, not good.
"Potter, did you know that you have some kind of bird poop in your hair back here?" Mad-eye asked.
"Not surprised sir. It's Friday, so I had my weekly hair treatment. I'll shower again after the next session. This should be very interesting.
Minister Fudge had a very secret meeting with several department heads, including Auror Robards, Chief Auror.
He handed out copies of the oath that the ICW wanted them to swear to. Several people goggled at the audacity of these wizards. If they followed their procedures, then anyone could call for an auror!
"You don't expect my people to pledge themselves to serve scum do you?"
"I am merely letting you know what the ICW told me. March 15th is the deadline. Now, that gives us a couple of months to plan, maybe come up with a compromise…" Fudge began. Avery interrupted him.
"March 15th? Well, that is a very interesting date. My friends, I do not see this as a problem at all, not at all."
"You don't expect my aurors to take this oath?" Robards demanded.
Avery's smile had them all shivering. "I assure you that not one auror in Britain will take that oath unless he is a fool. Ridiculous! No, I have something in mind. Let me take this burden from you Cornelius. I assure you that it will be fine. All will be fine."
He turned to look at the others then at Fudge. "After all, we all are working together for the good of magical Britain. I am your friend, minister, and happy to help."
Fudge swallowed hard. He had a feeling he wasn't going to like Avery's solution, but was too terrified of him to speak up now. The others got up at the senior death eater's dismissal and all bowed.
They knew who the real ruler of magical Britain was, and it certainly wasn't the man with the lime green bowler!
Cathan Edwards looked at the volcano with distrust. He couldn't sort through the ashes, but fiendfyre hadn't worked, phoenix fire, blasto curses, nothing. This active volcano was miles from the nearest wizard, and there were two people here. Himself and Algernon Croaker.
Nine Dolus Orbs were retrieved from the special box that Etienne had made long before to store the evil devices. Nine orbs that radiated evil. Algernon picked up the first one and scanned it.
"As you were created for evil, we banish you from this plane to never do evil again."
Algernon had a device that could get to within ten feet of the magma that measured the evil power.
They lowered the device and orb, the magma hissing as though in pain of being touched by something so awful, so hideous.
The device showed that the vile level had steadily decreased. The magma had worked! They didn't want to rush this process though, so picked out the next orb. And the next.
On the fifth orb, the scan showed it as already destroyed. The dark detector didn't register anything. Panicked, Algernon went through the rest.
Three orbs registered as nothing but magical spheres. Perfect duplicates to the eye, but not the same.
"I have to keep one of the real ones Cathan. They only work in threes. Everything of the research confirms this. With one, I should be able to track the others."
The men were clearly horrified, but acted. They kept the three fakes in case they could lead to who had switched them. They were put back into the box.
"Who has had access to these?"
"We know that it had to be the Dolus Orbs that were stored in the department. I scanned the ones that you brought before adding them. I scanned the orbs when Etienne made the box. He had access for a time, and anyone with access to my office. I kept the box locked, but I was relying on discretion. Xeno was curious, but it couldn't be him. He has sworn a special oath."
"I have a feeling that I know where they are even if I don't know how they got there. I bet I even know the timing. When healing was restricted for marked death eaters."
"We've been trying to figure out how to destroy them, but not fast enough. I am so sorry, my friend. I not only failed you and Poppy, but everyone in green robes. What am I going to do?"
"You have destroyed two sets of these. One set exists. If I may, I hear things that I shouldn't. Rumors. Ask Harry to talk to Dumbledore. Find out as much as he can." Cathan insisted.
"That man was insane before he died! He wanted to rule the world! And had a plan to do so!"
"That may be, but he might be our only hope in getting them back. I need to warn my apprentice. They are after her, I feel it in my very soul."
Daisy was soaking wet, and it was Harry's fault. She shivered with the cold until Harry cast a drying charm on her.
"Nasty bird dropped me in family lake because Daisy is doing what Master Harry Potter sir is saying to do! Daisy tripped him, and tied boots together, and sent chair into him, then bird dropped me into water! From very high up. I is scared Master!" She showed him a bit of the memory in the air with her magic.
"Are you alright? That was a long drop!"
Boxer showed up at headquarters. "Daisy! Master Harry Potter sir! Who is hurting my Daisy?"
"Wait, you're mates? Why didn't you tell me! We could have you working together." Harry demanded.
Daisy burst into tears at that.
"Boxer, take this." Harry handed him roughly a hundred galleons, he didn't count it but made a quick-conjured pouch for it. "Daisy, it was all my fault. Your master was so mean to you, and I am so, so sorry. You take this money. Buy her some warm dinner, new clothes, wait, not clothes! Uniforms! Buy her anything she wants. Chocolate. Whatever she needs. I'm going to go punish myself. I'll send Zeb to help at the shop for today. From now on Daisy, if you see Hermione, don't stick around. And your assignment is to work for Dan and Emma for now with your mate. I am so, so, sorry."
"But what about baby?"
"Hopefully by July all of this will be straightened out. Maybe Boxer can switch with someone and you work with us in the house, or I'll get Emma different help. You are no longer to be apart, and that is an order. True Love! You showed up here without being summoned because your mate was in distress, and you knew you might be punished, but didn't care! True Love! Please, return to Emma's when you are ready. Take some time. Feel free to use any Potter property. True love! Zeb!"
Harry managed to get the elves straightened out, but he was very angry with Nova. She should have flung him in the lake, not his elf!
"Potter! Get back in here, now!" Hans's dulcet tones summoned him from the temporary refuge that he had taken to try to take care of his elves.
"Sir! Coming sir!"
Patterns and circles and plots. When would the information lead to a time when they could strike and end this?
Bill needed to watch where he was going! He was a large man, sure, but he hadn't been this clumsy for a long time. Fleur was very nice about it though. Neither girl laughed at him. As they were in the magical part of Paris, Hermione pulled her wand while Fleur helped him up. Her scans didn't show anything. His bootlaces were tied together, now that didn't happen on its own!
Ekaterina, wand in hand was twitching. She felt like this would be a very useful maneuver in order to provide a distraction for the bodyguards. Something that she was trying to prevent from working. She debated getting the girls out, but Hermione had a secret weapon of her own.
"Nova! Do you see who is attacking him? Maybe they need to take a dunk in the lake!"
The elf so was surprised that she never thought to pop away until after she made the big splash and was in the freezing water.
'Bad elf!' Nova said, flaming back and landing on Hermione' shoulder.
Bill was smiling at Fleur though. In a good way!
"Nova has taken care of the problem. Just a prank, nothing more." Hermione reassured.
Ekaterina fell back, allowing Bill the closer position. Easier for her to watch potential attackers.
"My lady, I thought this shop might have robes that you would find very pretty!" Fleur said musically.
"Bill, are you sure you don't mind?" Hermione asked.
"Not at all! In fact, I would be happy to help!"
In the interesting way that life weaves, he had been spending time with Dora's family from time to time due to Charlie, and had picked up a few things from Andi. He had a good eye for color too.
"Now this is fashion!" Hermione sighed. She followed Fleur around who picked out several things that Hermione tried on. Then Hermione remembered that Harry had told Andi that she had an exclusive contract! But he never asked her opinion, and Andi was good but very traditional! Almost out of spite, Hermione gave warning to her companions, then put on her Lady Potter mantle.
"Please. This gown. Does it come in this color?" Hermione pointed to her phoenix.
Hermione had only been photographed every other weekend. The clerk goggled a moment, then said that she would be right back.
Hermione dug in her bag. She had the remnant of feather from Nova.
A manager came bustling over, bowing. "Madame Potter! Such a pleasure! Of course we can make this gown in any color you like!"
"Match it to this. I need it for the ball at the end of March."
Bill picked out several dresses for both girls. Hermione insisted on buying Fleur's as she was charging it to Harry. Revenge shopping! Lord Potter could afford it.
Hermione asked if Fleur wanted the clothes delivered to her house or school. She called for her elf who took care of everything.
"But what of our handsome man here? He picked out brilliantly!" Hermione asked her friend.
With matching bags, jewelry and everything else earning their clerk a nice bit of gold and the appreciation of the manager.
"You are right. I know. Leather pants. Dragonhide. And a matching vest. And earring." Fleur suggested.
"Um, I don't mind the pain of getting an earring, but don't want an enemy to yank!" The knight objected. Many fighting witches wore no jewelry, especially dangling earrings. But Bill thought he might look a bit rakish indeed so attired.
"Just for us then, not when on duty." Hermione suggested.
"I can do that." He agreed.
"Here is the best place for dragonhide." Fleur informed them. Fafner's Fashions.
They walked in. The smell was very masculine, and Fleur shivered a bit. Bill pulled a cloak out of a kit, and swirled it around the girl chivalrously.
Hermione let Fleur pick out the brilliant blue, the blue-black, and solid black with several different shirts. When he came out in just black pants, needing a different size shirt, Hermione thought that Fleur was going to faint!
Bill was tall, muscular, well built, and had curly red hair all over his chest. Fleur decided he needed help finding the right fit of shirt!
She ran practiced hands over his shoulders and down to his slim waist. She grabbed the right size, and she reluctantly allowed him back into the changing rooms.
"He is so, so, so." Fleur said, obviously impressed with him.
"I agree. I was already betrothed when we met, but he is very nice. Honorable, brave." Hermione was honest with herself. She never felt anything towards him much at all but wanted to encourage her friend towards a man that she knew was good.
She didn't know much of French magical politics or families though and didn't know about Fleur's standing. Otherwise she might not have chosen this escort.
Hermione went over to the clerk. "I don't want that man to know how much we are spending today. Whatever my friend wants there, I am paying for." She handed over her Gringott's Signature Black card.
"Of course, madam! Whatever madam wants!"
Fleur couldn't decide which pants looked best, and after several runs, Hermione bought all three of the pants/vests sets with six different shirts of various white/blue/black that all coordinated.
Hermione knew that Harry and she would eventually reconcile, even if he was so, so, urgg! She bought him a set of the blue-black dragonhide pants and vest that she knew would match his favorite boots. And several shirts. Then added a set of the pure black. And a few more shirts. And a jacket in black with red and gold trim.
The clerk helping her was nearly crying in joy by the time she was done.
She called for Daisy, who didn't come. Zeb showed up, and she sent her shopping home with him.
"That is a gift for Harry. So please keep it hidden for now. Zeb, was that one of our elves attacking Bill? You know what, never mind. I work that out later. I'm just sorry, but someone was being mean to my bodyguard, and I was scared. Ekaterina thought it was a precursor to attack. So you know."
Zeb patted her hand, nodded and left with the bags. Hermione was feeling uneasy, and wanted to go. She was about to say so too, but they were ready to leave. Good. She told Ekaterina who left to scout out ahead, they had one more stop, and then they were going to a museum.
They were just getting ready to leave the shop when a scream of terror rang out. Bill had his wand is his hand before either lady could blink.
"Nova, take them to safety! Please! I can't protect Hermione and people in the street."
Had they been watched and waited for this? Hermione couldn't leave her friends, vulnerable to the green spells that brought death.
"I can shield! What is going on?" Hermione asked, but a black robed white masked death eater came into the shop. More friends came in behind him. Grateful that they had already taken care of the shopping, Hermione conjured a large stone wall in front of them with tiny wand slits. Bill had the first two stunned, shrunk and boxed before the clerks could lock down the shop. More screams were coming from down the way.
"My senses all tell me that they are here for you, Hermione! Get out of here! To safety!" Bill commanded after he took down another. Fleur had tried to stun one, but Hermione had been concentrating on plucking charms and building another wall, so missed it.
Ekaterina now behind them, having returned from the back, furious that she had left. "Nova, take us to safety!"
Nova grabbed all three witches, taking them to Fleur's palace home. They had excellent wards, but they couldn't stop a determined phoenix.
'Wizard wanted to fight, to protect the innocents in the alley!' Nova told her bondmate.
"Fleur! We need to find your father! They somehow tracked me!"
Ekaterina scanned the girl and found the tracker. It was on the business card of one of the shops. Anyone could have charmed it and dropped it in her bag, including the clerk who gave it to her. Alain came in watched the bodyguard scan the upset girl.
M. Delacour was not idle though. He was on the floo. Hermione was sobbing, and Fleur trying to comfort her.
"It's all my fault! I knew this would happen if I strayed from warded places. If anyone dies, it's my fault."
"No, Hermione. They are in so much trouble! This is their choice, not your fault." Ekaterina countered.
Alain nodded agreement. "Aurors were there quickly. Several people have been taken into custody. I should go. Your husband will want to be there to question them."
"Nova, can you go with M. Delacour to his office, then take Harry there?" Hermione asked aloud.
'No promises that I leave only him there. A bird has to poop you know.'
Hermione gave her the stink eye and asked her to be nice. 'You pooping on him doesn't help with his anger you know.' Then she remembered Bill.
"I need to give my escort a communications mirror. I don't know where he is or how he is!"
"It's not fair! We never had a chance to buy anything for Harry!" Fleur added.
"I did. I got him a couple sets like Bill's. Some have a bit of red and gold trim. And the blue-black." She sighed. "I could have died today still angry at him, and I don't know why I'm angry. I'm sad, flustered, tired, cranky. All of these emotions."
"You sound as though you might be with child. If that is a possibility, you should see a healer, and start seeing one regularly." Apoline opined as she strode into the loving living room, and hugged her daughter.
Hermione looked at them both. "It is going to come out eventually. I am pregnant. Due in late July or early August. I hope that I'm not early, but I am not looking forward to taking OWL's that pregnant. Very few know. But I trust you. Nova trusts you too, or she wouldn't have brought me here."
Her bird was back and chirped agreement with that.
"Bill knew! That is why he was so protective of you! He is a good auror Maman. He is twenty five, which I know is too old when I am not sixteen! But I ask that you meet him and make your own decision if I can be just friends with this man. He is an ICW auror. We were shopping, as you knew, and death eaters attacked. He sent us to safety but refused to come with us as there were innocents in danger! And he captured death eaters, Maman!"
Apoline looked at Hermione who nodded back. "Maybe we should arrange activities at home until this war is over. You could have been hurt!"
"It's all my fault! They were trying to find me! I'm sorry Fleur! If you had just gone with your friends, you would have been fine."
"You don't know that Hermione! This could be a test run, see how quickly the aurors react. Having Bill there, and an armed response immediately may mean that they will leave Paris alone in future and go for softer targets, as Alain calls them." Apoline countered.
"Perhaps. I suppose that is true. If so, and death eaters are preparing to invade France any city with a magical marketplace should go on alert! Oh, what if people were hurt! I'm tired from healing, but this is France! This isn't Britain where they would stone me. I could help if someone was hurt."
"Let me check and see, Hermione. If they are death eaters looking for you, they might count on that and grab you."
"Dolus Orbs! Oh no! I think that you are right. Am I ever going to be able to go anywhere again?"
Madame Delacour took over. She floo'd the hospital. "Be careful! Warn your security that death eaters might come there looking for Hermione Potter. No, she's safe. I can't say where. I'm a family friend. Look, listen to me. There has been an attack at Toussaint's. Death eaters! Oh, I am sorry to hear that. Yes, now, I need to floo another. Thank you."
"They have several severely wounded people. This is not your fault! You see that France is united against this foe. We also have capital punishment. If a child is hurt or an adult dies, they will face death."
"We should talk to your media just as soon as possible." Hermione remembered some of Harry's more memorable interviews. "Rally support."
"Two students attacked. Saved by handsome auror. I like it!" Fleur smiled. Then unsmiled. "But Papa will not want my name in the paper."
"Oh, I'm guess that I am used to seeing my name. The articles are usually wrong. But nothing too hurtful. The paper will just sort of lose articles that are really hurtful about me personally."
"Yes, but you need to know. There are these orbs. I have a picture." Hermione dug in her bag. "Three of these used in conjunction can thwart the oath. I could be killed or tortured without anyone suffering. Dumbledore found them. Nine orbs were made, some have been destroyed. There are three more somewhere in the world that need to be found and taken care of."
"You think that death eaters have them?" Apoline guessed.
"Yes, I do. And that is why I think that they were after me personally."
'Harry is calling me. Asking me to bring you.'
"I have to go. Fleur, I'll see you in school Monday, but I will send you a note to let you know what is happening." Hermione flamed away.
Apoline shivered and turned to her first born.
"You have made brave friends petite, but I don't like you being in danger."
"You should have seen Bill, maman! So brave! So strong!"
"So, you need to invite this man for dinner. And we will decide, your papa and I. And you. You are old enough to begin courting. We do have to follow wizard rules, for now, petite."
She smiled at that, and tried to put away all of the bad, and just concentrate on the good of the day.
A/N – Thank you.