He Never Saw It Coming
"Hermione? Can I talk to you for a second?" she heard from her office door.
"Sure, Daphne. Come on in. I'm always available for my favorite lawyer."
While Harry and Ron became aurors, at least until Ron left and went to work helping his brother George at the joke shop, Hermione decided to become a lawyer. She still wanted to help magical creatures. She thought becoming a magical lawyer would give her more leverage. So far it was working. Daphne was a lawyer too and worked in the same area in the Ministry as Hermione, not far from the auror offices. Daphne was different as a lawyer, in that she tended to represent witches and wizards rather than magical creatures.
The two women had known each other since Hogwarts. They had many classes together and partnered up a few times in Arithmancy and Ancient Runes, especially during their NEWT studies. They often met in the library to study together. Daphne was a very bright witch in her own right from Slytherin so got along fabulously with the Gryffindor bookworm.
As lawyers, last year Hermione hired Daphne to represent her in a lawsuit against the Daily Prophet after they went too far with their libel and slander. The press would hound her since she was so famous and at the same time try to get to Harry through her. When she wouldn't cooperate and dish up on her best friend, they attacked her in the paper, making up lies just to hurt her.
The paper had never been sued before. Unlike the Muggle papers, magicals never concerned themselves with those type of things. Consequently, the Daily Prophet steadily became worse. It all started when Harry was in Hogwarts. Since then, their lies had become very onerous. Hermione decided it was time to introduce the magical world to lawsuits against publications that thought they couldn't be touched.
They won the lawsuit and both were rewarded a lot of galleons. Hermione made sure Daphne got half for representing her in the historical case. It was more about setting a precedent rather than the money, although they did make quite a lot from the settlement. The paper toned down the rhetoric after that, especially toward Hermione, but they walked the line when it came to Harry. He was the most famous after all. Of course, he also avoided the press like the plague.
Daphne Greengrass had been watching Harry Potter since they both were in first year at Hogwarts. She wasn't obsessed about it but she knew something was off with the boy from the first day he arrived at Hogwarts. Even now as a grown man, there was something wrong with him. He was a decorated auror, he was magically powerful, and he was politically powerful with both the Potter and the Black head of house titles, giving him extra seats and votes in the Wizengamot. However, he was a recluse when he was no longer on the job. He even had a proxy to handle his votes in the Wizengamot. This man was in serious need and in her mind she was just the witch to help him. That was what she wanted to talk to Hermione about.
Daphne smiled from the doorway, walked in, and sat down in front of Hermione's desk to talk to her about what was on her mind.
"What can I do for you, Daphne?"
"I want to ask you about Harry."
"Yes, I've noticed he needs some help adjusting to his life. I've noticed him since he was eleven and showed up to the train station in rags. Every year something happened and my curiosity grew. I didn't worry too much about it while we were in school. I just took note of everything you guys did and moved on. However, while you and Ron seemed to have acclimated just fine to life after Hogwarts and the Battle, Harry has not. Plus, it's been years and he's still struggling."
"Why are you interested in Harry, Daphne? Do you have feelings for him?" she asked in a curious manner.
"Not that I know of. We've barely spoken two words to each other since we were eleven. I'm just a very observant person and it bothers me that he's not happy. I mean your friends with him and your friends with me. I kind of feel connected to him in a way, especially since he comes in here a lot. Of course, it's to see you and not me. Well anyway, technically we all owe him a life debt and it's not fair he can't enjoy life."
"What did you have in mind? Because I've been concerned for a while since he's my best friend. We're all twenty-six and twenty-seven years of age now and all Harry does is work incredibly long hours then go home and become a recluse."
"Why does he do that?"
"Harry has always, always hated attention. All those times during school when the paper reported that he was just an attention seeking brat? All lies. That is nothing like Harry."
"That part I figured out," replied Daphne.
"You never answered my question. I haven't been able to get him to snap out of it so tell me, what did you have in mind?"
"Well, I can't help him if he and I don't get to know each other first. I was thinking that with the yearly Ministry Christmas Ball coming up, maybe I could go with him and we could get to know each other. Hopefully, I can then work my magic and get him to live life a little bit. Oh wait! He's not seeing anyone, is he?"
"Are you kidding? Ever since we left on the hunt in our seventh year, Harry hasn't dated once. When he broke up with Ginny before we left, I knew he was doing it just to protect her. But after everything we went through, especially everything he went through, the spark was gone. Even Ginny was more focused on getting the career she wanted and then hyper-focused on the career once she had it. Now she's married to someone else."
"He hasn't dated at all?" she asked incredulously.
"No, not once and I'm very worried about him."
"I haven't been in any serious relationships myself, but I've at least dated a little bit. Still looking for Mr. Right, you know. Why hasn't he dated?"
"He doesn't want to date fan girls. Every girl that he knew from school, those that wouldn't act weird around him if they went out, are with someone else now. He's not a trusting person either. He's been disappointed too many times with the way people treat him and he's just stop trying, I think."
"How am I going to get him to take me to the Ministry Christmas Ball?"
Hermione thought about it for a minute before coming up with an idea.
"I know that Harry doesn't want to go but Kingsley is insisting that he shows up. Harry has missed the last three. Kingsley is actually threatening him if he doesn't show up for this one."
"So, how do I pull this off?"
"You don't give him a choice. You've never acted like a fan girl so he won't think that of you. He's been in here plenty of times to pick me up for lunch or just to talk and you both have seen each other most of those times. Since you always acted normal and he knows you were in the same year in Hogwarts together, then he'll not be worried about that."
"What do you mean don't give him a choice?"
"I mean, don't ask him to the ball. Tell him he's going with you. End of story. Do not give him a way out of it."
"What if he hexes me?" she asked worriedly.
"He won't do that," she said laughing at her friend. "Besides, he has to go and he doesn't have a date. You will be his date. This couldn't work out any better."
"Sounds risky," she said unsure of herself.
"Do it Daphne! Don't hesitate! That's an order!"
"Aye, aye, Captain," she said with a salute then stopped. "Wait a minute! You're not my boss!"
"Daphne?" she asked ominously.
"Alright, alright. I'll do it! …So pushy."
"Auror Potter!" a female voice said firmly behind him.
"What?" he mumbled looking up from the case he'd been working on and turning around to see who was talking to him.
There stood Daphne Greengrass with a very determined look on her face.
"Miss Greengrass?" Harry was confused since she never spoke to him before so he sat up a little straighter, giving her his undivided attention. "What can I do for you?" he asked politely.
"I heard you still don't have a date for this year's Ministry Ball. Is this correct?" she asked not giving him any quarter.
"That is correct, Miss Greengrass. I had no plans to go but the Minister is insisting, even threatening me." Then he got suspicious. "Why do you want to know?" he asked slowly and worriedly as he stood up thinking she was up to something.
When Potter stood up straight in front of her she almost lost her nerve. She could feel his power up close and it was amazing. He was also taller than her. However, she refocused herself, swallowed, and spoke to him again.
"I'm here to solve your problem, Auror Potter," she said in a matter of fact tone.
Harry raised his eyebrows as if to ask what she meant by that.
"You will be taking me to the ball. We can get together later and discuss what we'll be wearing so we don't clash. Just come see me soon in my office instead of only going to Hermione's"
Harry looked confused as to why Greengrass would want to go with him.
"Cheer up, Harry," she said softly this time and with a smile as she touched his cheek. "The hard part's over. You now have a date to the Christmas Ball and I'm not a fan girl. I'll do my best to make it fun for you and I expect lots of dances," she said to him then left to go back to her office.
Harry sat down very confused over what just happened. Auror Proudfoot stepped into his cubicle.
"Was that whirlwind that just swept in and then left, the beautiful and talented lawyer Daphne Greengrass?" he asked.
"I think so. I'm not sure what just happened," he answered confused.
"Sounds like you have a date to this year's ball, my friend."
"It does, doesn't it," he said as it dawned on him. "I may need some pointers. I haven't dated since Hogwarts and I sucked at it even then."
Proudfoot held up his hands in front of him. "You're looking at the wrong man. I've been married forever and can't remember for the life of me what it was like to date. You're on your own, Potter!" he turned and left to go back to his cubicle.
Harry returned to the case he was working on but his mind kept wandering back to the ambush by Daphne Greengrass. At first, he wasn't sure he liked being told he was going to take her on a date, having no choice in the matter. However, it never once entered his mind to ask her out. Sure, he met her when he was eleven but they've never really spoken to each other in all those years. Since he really wasn't familiar with her then he never thought about asking her out.
Now, he was curious as to why she picked him and why she did it the way she did. He was betting Hermione told her to not give him a choice because she knew he would automatically refuse if asked. He then realized that since he has to go to the ball then it's good he'll actually have a date this time. Dancing could be fun too.
Satisfied, Harry returned to his work.
The annual Ministry Christmas Ball was held a week before Christmas day. One of the small rooms, which was practically a closet off the atrium, and close to the exit in the Ministry, was always expanded and decorated for the ball. It was a big affair. Formal wear was required. People showed up in their most expensive robes and ball gowns, most of them trying to out do the other.
Harry refused to wear the formal wizarding robes and that was fine with Daphne when he told her he would be wearing a Muggle tuxedo, black with a red bow tie and cumber bun. Since Daphne planned on wearing a fancy red ball gown, they felt that would work.
Harry was waiting in the atrium, talking to Hermione and Ron, when the floo activated and Daphne stepped out. Daphne was a gorgeous natural blond and she stood around 5'9" barefoot. She had on 2-inch heels that night and they matched her red tight-fitting, ankle-length gown with long slits on the sides for walking and dancing. With the heels, she was still about an inch shorter than Harry.
Harry was saying something to his friends when he just stopped in mid-sentence as his eyes landed on Daphne Greengrass. He watched her as she looked around the atrium at all the people trying to find him. He was too mesmerized to do anything but Hermione raised her hand and got her attention.
He continued to stare at her as she approached their small group. When she arrived she just stood there in front of Harry, pleased at the look on his face. He still hadn't said anything.
"I think you broke him, Daphne," said Ron chuckling as he looked at his friend's face.
"You look stunningly handsome tonight, Harry," she complemented him.
Harry seemed to snap out of it when he was spoken to by Daphne.
"Daphne, you look absolutely amazing!" he said not believing his eyes.
"Why thank you," she said with a small curtsey then looked at Hermione and winked, who just smiled back at her.
"Shall we go in?" asked Hermione.
With a nod from all, Ron stepped up close to his wife and offered his arm. She took it and they walked toward the entrance to the ball. Harry and Daphne followed slowly behind them as they continued to look at each other in appreciation. Each were thinking that this was going to be a great party.
Once they were inside, Harry looked for Kingsley until he located him. He then led Daphne over to him so he could make sure the Minister knew he made it to the ball. Kingsley was quite pleased when Harry came up to him with Daphne Greengrass on is arm.
"Hi, Kingsley. As you can see, I'm here. Do you know Daphne Greengrass? Daphne do you know Kingsley, our Minister?"
"Yes, I'm very familiar with Miss Greengrass and her work here at the Ministry. You are a great asset and I appreciate all your hard work," he told her.
"Thank you, Minister. It looks like it's going to be a great party tonight."
"It is shaping up pretty well. Don't let him step all over your feet," he said to her gesturing to Harry.
"I'll have you know that I am an excellent dancer," Harry said defending himself. "I made sure I learned how after my abysmal showing in fourth year at the Yule Ball. I was pathetic!"
"As I recall, you didn't dance very much after the champions opened the floor for us," Daphne commented.
"No, my opening dance was bad enough. I gave it up."
"So how did you learn how to dance?" asked Kingsley.
"Took lessons," he clarified like it was obvious.
"From who?" asked Daphne. "I'm sure we would have read about it in the Daily Prophet."
"Muggles like to dance too. Turns out there are many dance studios in the Muggle world where you can learn how to dance pretty much any type of dance you can imagine."
"So, you haven't been as reclusive as we've been led to believe?" she asked.
"I guess not. I found the Muggle world doesn't care who I am and that's exactly how I like it."
They walked off as Kingsley was drawn into a different conversation with someone else. They started dancing and talked as they danced.
"So you've been dating Muggles? Hermione didn't think you had dated at all since Hogwarts."
"No, Hermione is correct. I do a lot in the Muggle world because I can keep my privacy there, but I haven't been dating at all."
"That's where I'm confused, Harry. Your still young, good looking, rich, powerful – I could keep going but at your age, especially if you're not married yet, you should be going on lots of dates and enjoying life. It doesn't look like you've been enjoying life at all, Harry."
"You're right. I'm not. I tried at first, took all the dance lessons, met quite a few Muggles along the way. I've become more of a recluse in the last few years. I'm just not the partying type or one that is interested in dating a bunch of girls for fun. I want to find that one true girl that's meant for me, just me. That way I can put all my attention into loving her and treating her the way she deserves to be loved and treated. Eventually, I want a family with kids so the Potters and the Blacks can live on. I never found anyone over the years so I've pretty much given up."
"Why would you give up your dream?" she asked confused.
"Because my life has never been my own. Even after everything I've done, no one seems to get it that I just want to be left alone. I want a normal life where I'm no one's hero. I just want to be Harry and the magical world refuses to honor what I want. It's only about what they want me to be. I finally just gave up. This has been my life since I was one year old. No matter how hard I try, I can't seem to change it."
"Pardon me for being direct, Harry, but I think you're going about it the wrong way. I don't think you can really change it. What I think you need to do is learn how to work around it or with it. I can help you with that. Will you allow me to help you?"
"You mean to tell me that you actually want to help me with my horrible life?" he asked unbelieving as he stopped dancing.
"Harry, I've already solved that problem. With me in your life, how can it be horrible?"
"Hmm. Good point," he responded and started them dancing again as Daphne smiled at him.
Harry discovered that since he no longer had all the problems in school, the horcruxes, and Voldemort to focus on, his life had become less focused. Oh, he still had his job that he liked to do and he spent many, many hours at it, much more than any other auror. But, when the job was done for the day and he went home, free to do what he wants, he floundered.
Sure he tried in the beginning but since he never met anyone to share his life with, someone he could actually focus his attention on, he found himself drifting back to his training by the hands of the Dursleys. He began to think that this was his life, he should just accept it, and deal with it. That he was never meant to get what he wanted. He simply was not allowed.
They continued to dance and discuss things, getting to know each other better. They only switched partners once with Hermione and Ron. The rest of the time, they stayed together.
When it was time to go, they didn't want to separate from each other since they'd been having such a good time together. Harry invited her over to his house for a little bit so they could discuss what to do next and when they were going to get back together so she could help him. Neither one had to work the next day so it was not a problem staying up a little later.
They arrived via the floo to Harry's three bedroom two bath house in the middle of a Muggle neighborhood. It had three bedrooms, but only one bed, and it was in the master bedroom. The other two bedrooms were made up of an office and an exercise room.
The fireplace had been converted and enlarged so it could be used to easily floo to other places or into the house. Only Hermione and Ron, besides Harry, had direct access into his house so Harry had to hold onto Daphne as they took the floo to his home. The fireplace was never used as a fireplace, much like the ones at the Ministry so there was no soot to remove when they arrived.
"Can I get you something to drink?" he asked once they were standing in his lounge.
"Just water, thank you. I think I had a little more alcohol than I needed. Water will do me good," she said slipping out of her heels and leaving them in front of the fireplace.
Harry went into the kitchen and grabbed a couple bottles of water and brought them out, handing one to Daphne.
She took a drink then said, "I thought you'd be living in a big manor house being a Potter and a Black."
"I have a few but they're just too big since it's just me. I would need several elves just to live in one of them. I have good neighbors here and I'm close to several shopping areas where I can find everything I need. I bought the place several years ago to get me out of the magical world. I do like my privacy."
"Well, it's bigger than my flat," she said looking around. "I like it. It's very cozy and decorated nicely."
"Thank you. I hired a Muggle consultant to help me decorate my house when I first moved in. She was really good at her job. She seemed to size me up quickly and recommended all the right things. Hey, if you don't mind, I'd like to get out of this monkey suit."
"Go right ahead. I'll wait."
"Make yourself at home, Daphne," he said then turned to go to his bedroom. He stopped and turned back. "If you want to get more comfortable too, I have plenty of clothes in there you can borrow so you don't wrinkle that dress. It's a great dress, by the way."
"Expensive too. I was just going to transfigure it into something comfortable while you changed but I'd rather not. I'd like to keep it as is and not risk messing it up in any way."
"Come on then. We can find you something and even resize it if necessary."
Daphne followed Harry to his bedroom. It was a little weird being in there with him for some reason but she ignored that feeling. Harry pointed out some drawers with some possible items and of course the closet with more possible items. While she was finding what she could use, Harry grabbed the hangars for his tux and the clothes he wanted to change into.
"I'll just go down to my office and change while you can change in here. If you require a hangar for your dress then feel free to grab whatever you need from my closet. There should be extras in there. The master bathroom is right there if you need it," he said pointing, "and of course we passed the guest bathroom back that way," he pointed down the hall. "If the bedroom door is closed when I get done then I'll know you're still changing. Of course, I'll have to burst right in for a free show," he said joking.
"I don't think you could handle it, Harry, especially since you haven't had a date in years," she said smiling.
"You know? You're probably right about that. I better behave myself," he said contritely as he went down the hall to his office.
After he was done he used the guest bathroom to relieve himself, then went back to the lounge to wait on Daphne. After another minute she found him in the lounge sipping on his water.
"I waited for you, Harry, but you never barged in," she said with a smile.
"Sorry, it must have slipped my mind," he joked back. "Say, I never looked that good in those sweatpants and t-shirt."
"They're very comfortable and these thick socks are warm. Thank you."
"No problem. So, what's the plan? How can you help me?"
"Well, we're going to have to spend a lot of time together for this to work. We need to be good friends and I think we are well on our way in that aspect. The more time we spend together, the more I can see and help you with any issues that need addressing."
"If you don't mind me asking, what makes you uniquely qualified to help me in this way?"
"Well, I'm a lawyer who helps clients deal with others who have wronged them in one way or another. I've always been a very observant person and I have a talent for coming up with solutions that work. I saw you were in need and knew I could help."
"I was that obvious?"
"Definitely," she said nodding her head.
"I guess I do need help then. But tell me, why in the world would you want to spend a lot of time with me? My life is not exciting. Well, sometimes my job is but most of the time it's just paperwork and figuring things out."
"Harry, I found out tonight on our date why Hermione is your best friend. You are a great guy and you're a lot of fun to be with. I had a blast tonight dancing and talking to you. I would love to spend more time with you sharing about our lives and getting to know each other better."
"You're a lot of fun too. I had a great time tonight and I'm still enjoying your company."
"See, we're off to a good start."
They sat on the sofa together and continued to talk and chat about anything that came to mind. They eventually ran out of things they could think of to talk about. It was getting late and Daphne's head soon rested on Harry's upper arm. Harry's head fell back onto the sofa.
They were both asleep.
Harry was a light sleeper though so woke up after a few minutes. He wasn't all that comfortable anyway with his head leaning back. He saw that Daphne was still asleep so he slipped out from beside her and laid her down on the sofa before standing and then picking her up bridal style. She mumbled something unintelligible then snuggled into his chest as he carried her to his bed and placed her in it, covering her up. He then grabbed a pillow and some extra cover from the hall closet and returned to the sofa for some much needed rest.
Daphne had been dreaming about black messy hair and bright green eyes when she awoke. She was pretty sure she smelled bacon. She then sat up quickly wondering where she was. She remembered that this was Harry's bedroom and she still had on his borrowed clothes. She slowly turned her head to look at the other side of the large king sized bed. No one was there though and apparently no one had been.
She climbed out of bed and visited the master bathroom to relieve herself. She washed her face and straightened her hair as best she could then she followed the hall to the lounge where she saw a quilt folded neatly at the end of the sofa with a pillow on top of it. Following her nose which smelled bacon and bread, she found the kitchen and dining area where the bacon was draining on a paper towel.
Harry was bent over in jeans, t-shirt, and socks checking something in the oven.
"Good morning, Sunshine," he said before he turned around and looked at Daphne. "Did you sleep well?"
"Evidently better than you, Harry. You should have left me on the sofa and you could have slept in your own bed. Actually, your bed is so wide we could have both slept in there and never have known we weren't alone."
"You fell asleep on my arm while I fell asleep sitting up. I woke up after a few minutes and carried you to my bed and covered you up. You are the guest so you got the bed. Besides, my sofa's not too bad."
"But you obviously slept less since you've been up I don't know how long and I just woke up. I slept great, by the way. Nice bed."
"I never sleep that many hours. Usually no more than six. Sometimes five."
"That's not enough. …Wait a minute. You carried me? Why not use magic and float me?"
"It's not as comfortable and I didn't want to wake you up."
"Why wouldn't it be as comfortable?" she asked curiously.
"Have you ever been held under the Cruciatus Curse?"
"No," she said shaking her head and was thankful for that.
"I have. Many times. When they float you afterwards it's painful. It's much easier on you if they provide a stretcher and float it instead. You can also be carried and it's much more comfortable. From those experiences, I figured out that carrying you would be better than floating you. Much less chance of waking you up."
"You've had that unforgiveable used on you many times?" she asked unbelieving.
"Oh, I've been tortured by the best. Voldemort's was the worse one since he was so powerful. Of course, it's been many years now. I haven't been tortured since the Battle. How do you want your eggs? The bacon's done and the scones are almost done."
Daphne just shook her head. How could he simply talk about it like the weather. "I'll eat them however you want to cook them. I'm not picky."
After breakfast, Daphne decided she better get home to her flat, get cleaned up, and take care of a few things. She promised to come back in the afternoon and spend more time with him. Harry gave her personal access to his floo and home so she could come and go freely. He then told her to just come on through when she was ready to return.
She saw her shoes before she left so grabbed them. She was about to step into the floo but then remembered that she left her dress hanging up in his closet. He was only using one side of his walk-in closet for his clothes so the other side was completely free to hang up her dress.
"I hung up my dress in your closet. I'll just get it when I come back later, if that's alright."
"Sure. No problem."
Daphne took a shower in her flat and got dressed for the day before dealing with a few things she needed to take care of. After lunch she finished everything up and decided to head back to Harry's. The sooner they got moving on this the sooner he can start enjoying life, she thought to herself. She was pretty sure she had a good plan already. Now she just needed to implement it when it was the right time.
Daphne took the floo again and stepped back into Harry's house. She didn't see him so called for him.
No answer. She decided to see if she could find him. She checked the kitchen and dining area. Not there. She then headed down the hall. When she came upon the bedroom he converted into an exercise room, she found him. He was only wearing some short shorts, ankle socks, and trainers with his tan legs on display. His upper body was also tan and completely bare.
He had on a small Bluetooth headset and his body was beaded with sweat. There was a stereo against the wall that was all lit up with little colorful bars moving up and down as it played music she couldn't hear. Obviously, Harry could though through his headset. He was using a mat in the middle of the floor and was jumping rope quite vigorously. All his muscles were on display and he was quite the specimen, she noted.
When she found him he was facing away from her and it looked like he'd been exercising for a while. As she watched, enjoying the view, he slowly turned as he continued to jump rope. When he saw her he just winked at her. She was afraid she would startle him when he noticed her standing there but he acted like he already knew she was there, much like when he greeted her while he was checking the scones in the oven that morning with his back to her.
Harry stopped jumping rope and removed his headphones. He was breathing hard and his tanned six-pack abs were on display. Harry smiled at her.
"Good afternoon, Miss Greengrass," he greeted her as he walked over, laid his headphones down, and pressed the power button on the stereo to turn it off.
"My, my, Mr. Potter! What nice muscles you have," she then smiled while she fanned herself with her hand.
Harry smiled back. "It helps to lessen the stress from the job and life in general. It makes me feel better too."
"You can't argue with the results that for sure. You have a very nice, fit body, Harry," she said seriously.
"Thank you. I do try, but this body needs a shower. Do you mind waiting? It won't take me long."
"No, go ahead. I'll wait."
"Just make yourself at home. Help yourself to anything you want in the fridge, you can watch TV, listen to music, whatever."
"I'll be fine."
"I'll be back in about ten minutes."
"Okay," she said as she walked back down the hall.
Daphne went to the lounge while Harry headed to his bedroom. Once he was done with his shower, he went to his closet to get dressed. While in there he noticed Daphne's dress on a hangar. Along with it, she had hung her lacy bra on the same hangar. Harry was distracted at the sight but then finished getting ready.
When he arrived in the lounge, he found Daphne sitting in a chair looking through the photo album Hagrid had given him. Harry had added more pictures to it over the years and it was now full.
"Found something interesting?" he asked.
"Yes, I love these pictures! You don't mind do you?"
"Of course not. I told you to make yourself at home and I meant it."
"I thought it might help me get to know you better."
"Sure. I feel like I know you better already."
"How's that?" she asked as she turned the page.
"Well, I suppose if I wanted to buy you something, you know like a particular article of clothing, I could do that without any questions as to your size or what have you."
She looked up from the picture album with a question on her face.
"Alright, I'll bite. What exactly are you talking about?" she asked him.
"You see when I finished my shower and went to my closet to get dressed, I just happened to notice your dress hanging there."
"Right, and I need to remember to take that with me when I go home later," she interrupted.
"That's not all that was hanging there," he continued. "There just happened to be a very lacy bra hanging there with it and now I know what size you wear, including your cup size."
"Oh, I don't care if you know that," she said with a wave of her hand. "I'll definitely need that bra back though, so you can't have it. It's a matching set with the knickers I wore last night."
"I did not need to know that or think about it either. I especially don't want to keep it," he said closing his eyes and shaking his head.
"So, tell me, Mr. Potter, were you handling my unmentionables?" she asked him with a smile.
"No, of course not!" he exclaimed as his eyes popped back open. "The label just happened to be showing and easy to read." He then pulled himself back together. "Besides, I'm a highly trained auror and it's my duty to gather intel."
"My cup size is intel?"
"You never know," he said with a smile.
Daphne smirked up at him and went back to looking at the pictures.
"When you get done with that do you want to go catch an afternoon matinee at the movie theatre? I figure when we're done with the movie it should be close to dinner time. I can buy you a meal at a good restaurant. You've been to the movies before, haven't you?"
"Just once a few years ago. Hermione and I had a girls night out. I enjoyed it."
"There's usually something good playing. I'm pretty sure we'll find something to watch. In fact, I'll go to my office, look up what's playing, then come right back. That'll give you time to finish the pictures."
Harry went to his office and used his computer to get on the internet. Once there he was able to find a good movie for them to watch – 'The Holiday' with Jude Law, Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, and Jack Black. Of course, if she was more in the mood for adventure, rather than Romance, they could always see 'Blood Diamond' instead with Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Connelly. Satisfied with the selections, he turned to get up and saw Daphne standing at the doorway to his office.
"Find anything good?" she asked.
"Yes, there's a romantic comedy I want to see called 'The Holiday' but if you're not in the mood for that then we have 'Blood Diamond' which is a drama and adventure. I'm good with either one."
"I think you've had enough drama and adventure in your life, Harry. We should see the romantic comedy," she suggested.
"Sold! Are you ready?"
"Whenever you are."
"Follow me then. We'll take my car since it's cold. If it was warm we could have taken my motorbike."
"You mean I won't get to snuggle up behind you on the back of your bike?" she asked with a slight whine.
"Not unless we both wanted to freeze our arses off. If you can still stand me once it warms up then I'll take you for a ride on it."
"It's a date!"
They went through a door that opened into a two car garage. There was a shiny white 1959 Triumph 650 T 120 Bonneville motorcycle sitting right there. There was also a matching side car not attached but sitting by the back wall. On the other side was a silver 1963 Aston Martin DB5. Harry pressed a button on the wall to open the garage door for the car then went over to it and opened the passenger side door.
"Your chariot awaits, my dear," he told her.
"You're just trying to impress me now, aren't you?" she asked him as she walked over.
"Is it working?" he asked her back as she sat down in the car seat.
"Yes," she said with grin.
"Good," then he shut the door, went to the driver's side, and got in.
The car roared to life when he cranked it. He eased out of the garage, pushed his remote to close the garage door, and then backed out onto the street. Then they were off to the movies. It wasn't that far of a drive since there was a theatre in a shopping area close by.
They enjoyed the movie. It was everything that was promised, both funny and romantic. They arrived a few minutes before the movie started so they sat in the theatre and chatted while they waited. Daphne wrapped her arm around his during one of the romantic scenes and snuggled closer. Harry just looked over at her and smiled.
After the movie ended and they left, she put her arm through Harry's again and they walked close together back to his car.
"That was a fun movie," he told her.
"Yes, I liked it!"
"Hmm, I'm getting there," she decided.
"I'm hungry," he replied. "I skipped lunch and worked out instead. We ate breakfast a little late and I normally eat a lot earlier so it threw me off a bit."
"Well then, we best get you fed."
"Any preference?" he asked.
"Anywhere you want to go is fine with me," she replied.
"Alright, I have a great place in mind."
They loaded back up into his car and took off. They ate at a nice steak restaurant Harry liked. He ate a large, medium-rare porterhouse steak while she had a large salad with chicken strips she couldn't finish.
The next day they went Christmas shopping together. Harry took her to Muggle shops where she found lots of things she could buy for her family and friends. Harry bought almost all of his presents for his friends while they were out.
Monday morning came and it was back to work. All the times Daphne went to Harry's house over the weekend and she never remembered to get her dress from his closet to take back with her to her flat. When they had lunch together on Monday with Hermione joining them, Harry reminded her that she forgot her dress again. She said that it wasn't that big a deal. She was not in need of it anytime soon so she would get it next time.
"What about the other item?" he asked.
"I've got plenty of bras," she blew it off.
Hermione was sitting there eating and listening to her two friends. When she heard that Daphne left her ball gown and bra at Harry's house she had to know what happened.
"Alright, spill. Both of you. You can't mention that you left your dress and bra at Harry's house and leave it at that. I want details as to what you guys have been up to."
"It's not what you're thinking, Hermione," Harry assured her.
"Just tell me."
They both told her about the weekend and how the dress and bra was left behind so she would be satisfied.
"You guys have become very friendly very quickly," she observed.
"That's the plan. It's the only way I can work my magic," Daphne told her. "And, yes, it has happened quickly. It's been quite easy, actually. Wouldn't you agree, Harry?"
"Definitely. I've never become friends with anyone this quickly. It seemed natural."
"I see," Hermione said with a look that told them she was seeing more than what was obvious.
On Thursday afternoon, Daphne appeared in Hermione's doorway again.
"Yes," she responded looking up from her work.
"I think I'm falling for Harry."
"That's wonderful news!" she exclaimed.
"No, it's not! I have to be objective in order to help him correctly. It's wrong to get involved like this. I was just supposed to be a good friend."
"Isn't your goal to help Harry enjoy life?"
"Then I don't see the problem. Harry needs someone in his life that he's in love with and who's in love with him. You can't help him any better than that."
"What if he doesn't feel the same?"
"That's not likely to happen. Daphne, Harry is completely smitten with you. It's plain as the nose on his face whenever you're around him."
"Are you sure?"
"Oh, yeah. I'm positive. He's only taken us to lunch every day this week so far. Tomorrow, I want just you and Harry to go to lunch together without me."
"How do you know he'll ask again?" Daphne questioned her.
"Oh, please. You're joking right?"
Over the next few weeks, Daphne let Harry always pick where they would go. This was usually on the weekends when they had time off. Sometimes one or the other would have work but for the most part they spent a lot of time together each weekend. Harry always picked something to do in the Muggle world. She would tag along and see how he responded to different stimuli. They steadily became closer as friends and for the most part, she thought Harry behaved fairly normal.
She realized at this point that she had completely fallen for Harry and she was fairly certain he had fallen for her as well. They were both holding off doing anything about it though. Daphne was concerned with completing the job in helping Harry learn how to enjoy life more. She realized there was more to it than Harry just needing to fall in love. On the other hand, Harry wasn't sure how she felt about him and figured she was only interested in being a friend and finishing what she started.
All the time they were together, Daphne would talk to Harry about his fame and how he dealt with his fans, giving him suggestions. She found out that as long as he was in public in his auror uniform, then he rarely got bothered. After further questioning him, it was established that when Harry started as an Auror he was teamed up with a more experienced one. During their foray into Diagon Alley the first time in uniform, Harry was set upon by his adoring fans, just like always.
Harry had turned to his new partner and told him "I told you so." However, his experienced partner brought the hammer down on Harry's crazed fans. He let them know that they would all be arrested if they didn't disburse quickly. He also explained that while Harry was in uniform, it was a crime to impede him while performing his job as an auror.
Word spread and the problem was solved. However, if Harry goes there out of uniform then all bets are off. They swarm him and become a nuisance. So he just constantly avoids them when he's not working.
It was time for the true test.
"Harry, I've really enjoyed becoming good friends with you and I always enjoy spending all this time with you."
"I feel there's a but coming," he said dreading what may follow.
He really liked her. In fact, he was sure he was in love with her, but doubted she felt the same way. Their time together was the best he's ever had. He was afraid she was ready go back to her regular life and quit spending so much time with him.
"Yes, there is a but coming and that is… but, I believe it's time for me to pick where we go."
"What?" he was not expecting that. "Daphne, you can pick where we go anytime you want."
"You need to understand, Harry, that me having you always pick where we go was part of the process. Now, in order to move onto the final stage of this process, I need to choose our destination."
"Where do you want to go?" he asked thinking she was still only here because she was just a friend trying to help another friend.
"This will be for next weekend. This weekend is still in your hands and I'm having a great time."
"Okay, but where do you want to go next weekend?"
"I'd rather wait and tell you when I see you next week. Can we do that?"
"Sure. You have me a little worried, but I trust you."
"Good, because I trust you too," she said smiling up at him.
The next weekend came and Daphne shared with Harry where she wanted to go. She told him as soon as she showed up in his house mid-morning. He was not happy.
"No. No way!"
"Harry! You have to do this. This is the only way I can help you."
"Don't you realize how crazy these people are? If I set foot in Diagon Alley without my uniform on they will swarm us like bees. It won't just be reporters either. There are fans that will be all over me!"
"Harry! Please calm down. I have a plan. A very good plan. I can't implement this excellent plan if you won't go with me to where the problem is. I don't want you to say a word when they come at you. Just put up a shield for us so they don't get too close. I will handle everything else."
He stared at her for a few seconds.
"Are you sure about this?" he finally asked.
"I'm positive. Give me some credit here."
He sighed. "The only reason I'm agreeing to do this is because I trust you. Please, please, don't let me down," he begged her.
"Harry, that is the last thing I would ever want to do." She then hugged him and held him for a minute. "You'll get through this," she said still hugging him and rubbing his back. "I'll make sure you do."
"I guess I'm ready then. Do you want me to apparate us straight there?" he asked releasing her.
"Yes, it'll be best to start right in the Alley rather than the pub."
"Here we go," he said as she held onto his arm.
When they landed in Diagon Alley and moved away from the apparition point, it didn't take long before people spotted him and called out his name. Suddenly a good-size group were running toward them, shouting his name and anxious to get to him.
Suddenly, a clear domed shield covered them both with over a meter of space all the way around them. The idiots out in front ran smack-dab into it and bounced off right back into some of the other crazies behind them who were running up, sending them all to the ground. Only a few seconds later some Daily Prophet reporters joined the throng of fans and started shouting questions as the fans continued to yell as well.
Daphne pointed her wand straight up and used the Canon Blast Spell to get everyone's attention.
This shut them up so she cast Sonorus on herself to amplify her voice and she began to speak.
"Now that I have your attention, let me introduce myself. My name is Daphne Greengrass. I just happen to be Mr. Potter's lawyer. We are here today to address your abhorrent behavior towards him. For those of you too ignorant to know what that word means, it means repulsive, detestable, or hateful."
"The Daily Prophet over here," she said continuing and pointing to the reporters, "should be very familiar with me. After all, they paid my client Mrs. Hermione Granger-Weasley thousands of galleons when we won the case against the paper for slander and libel. They did tone it down… some …and have treated my client better, but they skirt the line when it comes to Mr. Potter. Let it be known that he is now a client of mine and if we have to sue the Daily Prophet again then I doubt they would be able to remain in business after I'm done with them. After all, this is Harry Potter and his case would be on a completely different level. Am I making myself clear, Daily Prophet?"
The reporters suddenly looked worried. She then turned back to the fans. There were of course others in the Alley who stopped what they were doing and were paying attention now since they could all hear her.
"I want all you fans to look at the people over there," she said pointing. "There's some more over that way," she pointed in another direction, "and there's even more over there," she pointed as the fans in front of her looked in those directions. "Why are they not acting like you, going crazy, and attacking a national hero? Is it because they're not fond of Mr. Potter? No," she said shaking her head. "It's because they actually respect Mr. Potter. They realize that no one wants to step out in public and constantly be harassed and hindered from doing what they came out in public to do. They respect him too much to want to bother him. That's the lesson you people need to learn."
They all looked confused. She looked over at the reporters.
"How come you're not writing this down? This is front page news."
She then turned back to the fans.
"Mr. Potter does not like his fame. Forget the lie the Daily Prophet told back when he was still in Hogwarts about him seeking attention. Mr. Potter has always been the opposite of that. He can't stand unnecessary attention. He never asked to be famous. How could he? He was only one at the time. Sure he's done some amazing things since then but that doesn't mean he did it for attention. Just the opposite. He stepped up when no one else would and did it because it was the right thing to do. He doesn't want you clamoring all over him. He has no interest in that and he has a right to be left alone. How would you like it if someone trampled all over your rights and harassed you every time you appeared in public? His other fans don't do this so why do you?"
She looked around at them for a moment with a hard look.
"What if Mr. Potter needed to stop a dark wizard from killing people?" she asked them.
"But he's not wearing his auror uniform so he's not on duty," one of them answered.
"Do you seriously think Harry Potter is ever fully off duty? Do you think that if a dark wizard appeared in Diagon Alley right now and started killing people, that Mr. Potter would stand back and do nothing? You actually think he would say that he's off duty and refuse to help?"
They all shook their heads no.
"If I haven't convinced you so far, then listen to this final statement. If you continue to harass my client then the Daily Prophet will not be the only one that gets sued. I'll sue everyone of you for everything you own if you don't stop this nonsense."
"But we're his biggest fans," one of them whined while others nodded.
"No you're not. The people I pointed out earlier are far bigger fans than you'll ever be. They actually care about how Mr. Potter feels and would never dream of harassing and bothering him. You're just in it for yourself. If you really cared at all for Mr. Potter, you wouldn't be harassing him. Now clear out of his way before I start collecting names and scheduling some court dates."
They all began leaving after that. Harry dropped the shield while Daphne cancelled the Sonorus. She walked up to the Daily Prophet reporters who were still there.
"I hope you got all that."
"We did," one of them said.
"Know this. Mr. Potter has become a very good friend of mine and I refuse to stand back and allow the Daily Prophet and those crazy fans to prevent him from showing up in public. If I have to bankrupt the entire lot and the Daily Prophet, I will. This. stops. now."
Both reporters nodded and left. Daphne turned to Harry.
"Harry, if I'm not with you and that happens again, I want you to use that shield right away and remind them that your lawyer will sue them if they don't stop what they're doing. We may have to sue one or two of them before it really sinks in. They certainly don't appear to be the shiniest coins in the fountain. However, I think we made good progress today."
Harry grabbed her arm and apparated them immediately back to his lounge. Daphne turned to him.
"Harry! Why did you do that? I could have been – umph!"
She shut up because Harry was kissing her with everything he had. She was surprised at first but reciprocated soon enough, grabbing him and pulling him closer to her. This was far better than she thought it would be.
The next morning Daphne showed up at Harry's house with the Daily Prophet. She knew he didn't take that rag so she brought one with her. Harry was sitting at his kitchen counter, drinking some tea, and reading a book when she walked in and placed the paper down in front of him.
On the front page and in the headline there was an article about what Daphne did in the middle of Diagon Alley. There was a picture of Harry holding that powerful shield without showing any tiredness whatsoever and Daphne was standing slightly in front of him as she unloaded on all the people who dared to harass her client. The article contained nearly verbatim what she said.
There was also an apology to Harry from the paper for misrepresenting him over the years and a promise to do better in the future with their reporting.
"How much do I owe you for being my lawyer?" he asked after reading it.
"Oh, Harry. You don't owe me anything. This is all pro bono because I'm doing it as your friend. Now, if we have to file a lawsuit then I will need a percentage of the settlement to cover my costs. Hopefully, they'll not force that."
"What percentage did Hermione give you?"
"We actually went 50/50 but that was due to the historical nature of the case and the precedent we were setting."
"Okay, then I think we should go with 80/20 if you have to file a lawsuit. Will that work for you?"
"Sure, I usually go with 25 to 30 percent but I can work with 20."
"No, you misunderstood me. That would be 80 for you and 20 for me. I certainly don't need more money."
"Seriously? You want to give me 80 percent?"
"Sure. I think 20 percent would cover my time involved. You would be doing all the work but I would have to show up for the court date."
"You're too nice, Harry."
"I really don't need the money, Daphne."
She nodded her head then changed the subject. "Are you ready to try Diagon Alley again this afternoon? I think that will be enough time for everyone to see the paper and for word to spread."
"I have no doubt that you know exactly what you're doing so if that's the plan then I'm all for it."
"So you think I know what I'm doing, huh?" she asked as she moved closer to him.
"I do and I also think you're a really good kisser," he said turning his stool toward her.
"You're not so bad yourself," she said as she was now right in front of him, standing between his knees with her hands on his thighs.
He suddenly grabbed her and turned her so she was leaning into him. He leaned her back a little bit away from the counter, then started snogging her. She didn't complain about it in the least.
"What's this?" they heard from the doorway.
They stopped kissing and turned toward the sound. Harry had recognized the voice of course. There stood Ron with Hermione. They were staring at the couple who had just been examining each other's tonsils. Ron was the one that spoke. Hermione had a smile and a knowing look on her face.
"We saw the article in the paper from yesterday so came right over. Apparently, Daphne beat us here …or did she never leave?" asked Hermione with a knowing look.
"I slept in my own flat and just got here a minute or two ago. Thank you very much," Daphne replied to her friend.
"I was very thankful to Daphne for what she did in Diagon Alley yesterday," Harry told his friends. "After the show she put on, I brought us back here and planted one on her right away. I was amazed at what she did. We were just continuing from where we left off yesterday."
"I see," Hermione said with a smile.
"Can I get you guys some tea?" Harry asked.
They all answered in the affirmative so they each grabbed a stool while Harry made some more. Daphne actually grabbed Harry's stool and sat in it. Harry passed out the tea to everyone and sat down with them in the only stool that was left.
They chatted for a long time. At one point, Ron pulled Harry to his office to talk about the joke shop and how it was doing. Harry was a silent partner in the business and received a small percentage of the profits. The shop was doing extremely well. Ron was making a lot more money there than as an auror. They had bought out Zonko's because they were basically putting them out of business. This gave them a second store in Hogsmeade. Both shops were doing quite well.
Hermione and Daphne were in the lounge at that same time discussing Harry, how he seemed to be happy, and how he looked like a person having fun now.
The two couples talked and visited with each other for so long it became lunch time. Harry invited them all out to lunch so they took the floo to the Leaky Cauldron and ate there. Ron had to work a little that afternoon so it was the best place to go. Afterwards, they walked out into Diagon Alley to test the waters.
Everything appeared to be fine for several minutes with people obviously pointing at Harry and talking about the article or what they saw yesterday. A few of the real fans would wave and say hello like normal people. They all waved back or said hello to them.
They were just about to call it quits and let Ron go to work when they heard someone yell 'Harry Potter' excitedly. They turned and saw a man running toward them looking all crazy and yelling Harry's name. Harry didn't bother with the shield since it was just one man. Instead, he braced himself for the unwanted confrontation.
However, when the man did not seem to be slowing down as he got closer, Daphne whipped out her wand and hit him with a stunner before he got too close. It stopped him in his tracks as he fell to the ground non too gentle like. Everyone in the Alley paused what they were doing and were watching the scene.
Daphne walked over to the man and enervated him. He sat up and looked confused.
"What happened?" he asked.
"I stunned you, moron. Read the front page article in the Daily Prophet today, quit harassing Mr. Potter, and quit acting like an idiot," she said staring down at him.
An elderly wizard who was passing by, threw a copy of the paper into the man's lap so he could read it for himself. Harry turned to his friends as they watched Daphne in action. She was currently explaining about law suits to the man.
"That's my girl," he said.
"I'm glad you and Harry found each other, Daphne. I love you both and I'm glad you're happy," Hermione told her from Daphne's office doorway.
"Thank you, Hermione. I love you too, and I am desperately in love with Harry," she said with a big grin.
"Yes, I know," she said as she turned to go back to her office. "He never saw it coming," she said smiling to herself.
Around six months later, after articles appeared in the Daily Prophet about Harry's new girlfriend, especially when they were caught kissing publically in Diagon Alley, Daphne was moving in with Harry into his house. She had given up her flat after they were married in a small ceremony that only had the Weasley family, Greengrass family, and the Longbottom family attending.
When she was putting her clothes in the unused side of the large walk-in closet, she saw her ball gown and bra still hanging there. She never remembered to take it home with her whenever she left each time. She was always focused on Harry instead.
She was glad to get her bra back. It was part of a matching set, you know. And the dress? Well, there was no longer a need to move it at all.
It could stay right where it was.