1 October 1998

Daphne opened her eyes, having woken up before the ringing of her alarm. She blinked blearily for a moment and realised she was resting her head on Harry's chest, which was not an uncommon way for her to wake up these days.

The day after the Autumn Equinox, she had officially moved into Potter Hall. The Lady's Chamber at the Potter Hall currently held all of her clothes and belongings, the reading room had been populated with her books and the Lady's study had become her new home office. The Greengrass Manor had been left in the care of the house elves, who had been practically giddy when Daphne had moved her belongings.

Daphne knew most people would disapprove. While her virtue remained intact in the crudest of senses, she was essentially acting like the Lady of the house with no betrothal contract or promise in place. Even her father, who was more open-minded than most people in her family, would have had trouble reconciling her decision. Merlin only knows what her grandmother would have to say about it.

But Daphne didn't care, or so she was telling herself. For the first time in her life, she was choosing what she wanted, rather than something that was expected of her or something that she had been trained for. Being with Harry made her happy, and Daphne was letting her heart lead her, simultaneously excited and dreading this entirely new territory that she had stepped into. Harry seemed happier, and it brought her great relief to see that he wasn't regretting his drunken decision to ask her to move in with him.

She looked at his sleeping face now, and her eyes invariably drifted up to the lightning bolt scar on his forehead. It was getting fainter every day, and yet Daphne felt a cold chill down her spine as she remembered what Harry had told her about Horcruxes. She had always assumed that the Dark Lord had delved into the darkest of Dark Arts, but even she hadn't considered horcruxes. She hadn't even heard the word before Harry had told her about his past year.

And the greatest shock of all had been the horcrux within Harry himself. Daphne still wasn't sure how she felt about it. Harry had looked worried when he'd told her, as if expecting her to be disgusted by it. Daphne wasn't disgusted, not in any way whatsoever, but she did see Harry with new eyes. It was almost amusing that the wizarding world that saw him as the Saviour barely even knew the extent of his strength and power.

Harry Potter had wielded all three of the Deathly Hallows, he had defeated the greatest Dark wizard of all time, all the while as a piece of the Dark Lord feasted on his own soul. Harry had never given in to the temptation of the Dark Arts, never used his strength to lord over anyone. Men like the Dark Lord, even Dumbledore, had succumbed to the lure of power in one way or another, but Harry had channelled it into something else, something beautiful and wonderful.

Daphne had known very early on that she could very well fall in love with Harry, but now she was certain she had fallen even deeper. She wasn't ready to say the words, not even close, but she could admit to herself at least that she was in love with Harry.

Harry stirred slightly, and Daphne smiled and kissed his cheek before starting to climb out of bed. Harry's strong arm pulled her back into his embrace as he hummed. Daphne chuckled and raised her gaze to his.

"Good morning," she said.

He was squinting sleepily but he smiled back. "Morning," he said. "Do we have to get up yet?"

"You don't, but I do," she said. "I want to get a swim in before breakfast."

He hummed again and released her. Daphne turned her alarm off before it could ring and went across the hall to the Lady's chambers. After freshening up, she put on a bathing suit and made her way down to the lake. She waved at Gainsboro who was swooping for prey near the lake, and he hooted at her in greeting before flying back toward the house for a much-needed nap.

Setting her towel on the shore, Daphne dived into the slightly cold water, relishing in the way it woke her right up. The water would have been much colder without the climate charm, but it was thankfully just the perfect temperature for a vigorous swim.

Daphne swam a few laps for about thirty minutes before returning to the house. She had seen Harry briefly as he went on his morning run around the mansion grounds and he'd blown her a kiss when he'd passed the lake.

Back in the Lady's chambers again, she showered and got dressed for the day, choosing a silver skirt, pink silk blouse and silver robes and matching cloak on top. Harry walked in, freshly showered and dressed, as she was pinning up her hair.

"Are you almost ready?" he asked.

Daphne nodded, finishing up and appraising her reflection carefully. They went down to breakfast together where Minnie served them both eggs, toast and porridge with coffee and freshly made scones. They ate in companionable silence, Harry going through a pile of his mail while Daphne read the Daily Prophet.

It was her favourite part of the day, when they ate breakfast in peace before the insanity of the day hit them. Thankfully, there wasn't a trial that day which meant Harry would most likely use his morning to answer his mail before his meetings. Daphne knew he was meeting with Belinda and Andromeda later that morning to oversee hiring of tutors for the younger children at the Lily Potter Home.

Daphne herself would be dropping by Emerald Teacups for a while and finishing her latest Talking Teas piece for Witch Weekly, before they both had a meeting with Newt to discuss the progress of the Institute's expansion.

Harry had a press conference later that afternoon to promote the Pottery, since the first of the household products had now been shipped to their recipients and they were ready for more customers. Daphne, who had grown up in a magical home herself, could see how immensely useful some of the appliances were, and had already bought a portable wireless radio and a magical kettle for her office which she used frequently.

While Harry would be busy with the press conference, Daphne had an appointment with a dressmaker for her gown for the Halloween event.

An exclamation from Harry interrupted Daphne's musings.

"What?" she asked, immediately.

Harry was staring at a letter, jaw dropped in shock. He wordlessly handed the letter to Daphne, who hurriedly took it and began reading.

Dear Harry,

I hope this letter finds you. I know you use owls to send letters but I didn't know where to get one, so I asked Mrs Figg to do it for me.

I know you might not want to hear from me, especially since the last time we saw each other, Mum and Dad pretty much threw you out of the house. Funny thing is, I am kind of in the same boat at the moment. I have left Privet Drive and I am currently living on my own in London.

I really wanted to talk to you and explain in person. Could you please meet me for dinner on Sunday, 10th of October at the Ceccon Italian restaurant in Piccadilly Circus at 7?

I hope you can make it and I look forward to seeing you.


Dudley Dursley.

Daphne looked at Harry. "That's your cousin, isn't it?"

Harry nodded. "I know he said he would want to stay in touch with me but…"

"But you didn't expect this," surmised Daphne. "Are you going to go?"

He paused but then nodded. "I should," he said. "Would you come with me?"

"Yes, of course," she said. He smiled and then leaned forward and brushed a kiss across her forehead. Daphne raised her face for a proper kiss and Harry seemed only too pleased to oblige. "I should be on my way."

Harry nodded as he returned to his breakfast while Daphne finished the last of her coffee and stood up. She briefly went upstairs to cast a teeth cleaning charm and retouch her makeup before calling out a goodbye to Harry and apparating into Platinum Alley.

The shopfront of Emerald Teacups was done up in shades of ebony and gold with emerald green littered throughout. The shop was yet to open to customers but Daphne could see her staff inside.

Evangeline Carlisle, the manager and apprentice tea maker that Daphne had hired, looked up when Daphne entered. "Good morning," she greeted, in her heavy Welsh accent. "I had a feeling you'd be stopping by."

Daphne smiled. "How are you, Eva?"

"Very well, thanks," smiled Evangeline. "We are fully stocked for today and there's plenty of inventory in the back. We will need to do a huge restock in another two weeks but the current lot should carry us over."

"Good," said Daphne. "Do we have any extras for the Jasmine Nights brew? My Talking Teas piece this month is going to be about it."

"Yes, we have doubled the stock in anticipation," said Evangeline, briefly checking the inventory list in front of her. "I have also placed an order for more of our green glass jars."

"The turnaround on those is fairly quick," said Daphne, and checked the time. "Opening time is in 10 minutes so I'll leave you to it."

Evangeline waved goodbye and Daphne smiled at the other staff before taking her leave and going to Verdant.

Ayesha greeted her with a slightly nervous smile when she walked in. "Good morning. You have a visitor, Madam Greengrass."

Daphne raised her eyebrows. Ayesha usually addressed her by her first name, and sure enough, there was a man sitting in the visitor's area. He stood up and walked toward Daphne, with an amiable smile on his face.

"Lady Greengrass, I don't believe we have been formally introduced," he said, holding out his hand. "Kei Blackwood."

"Mr Blackwood," nodded Daphne, shaking his hand as her face pulled up into what Astoria always teased her as her 'ice queen' expression.

Kei's smile did not waver. "I apologise, I don't have an appointment but I was hoping to take up a moment of your time," he said.

Daphne gave him a sharp look. "Certainly, this way," she said, walking toward one of the meeting rooms. "Some tea, Ayesha," she called over her shoulder.

"Of course," said Ayesha, before Daphne closed the door to the meeting room behind herself and Kei.

"Please, sit," said Daphne, nodding toward one of the sofas and waited until he was sitting down to sit down on the other one, crossing her legs daintily and looking at him expectantly. "What can I do for you, Mr Blackwood?"

"Well, for one, you can call me, Kei," he said, his bright smile ever-present. "May I call you Daphne?"

She was spared having to answer because of Ayesha walking in with a tray of tea. Daphne accepted her cup with a smile at Ayesha, who gave her a subtle questioning look.

"Should I move your next appointment, Madam Greengrass?" asked Ayesha.

Daphne kept her face neutral but made a mental note to commend Ayesha later. There were no appointments that morning and Ayesha knew that. She was asking a question, without asking it outright.

"No need," said Daphne. "I don't expect we will be long."

Ayesha nodded and left. Daphne looked at Kei, who had raised his eyebrows but his smile hadn't moved.

"I find your reticence puzzling, Lady Greengrass," said Kei.

"It isn't reticence, Mr Blackwood," she said, coolly. "I am a busy woman but I did not wish to turn you away without listening to your reasons for an unexpected visit."

He chuckled. "Suppose that's fair," he said. "Have you heard of my family's business, Lady Greengrass?"

"The Blackwood Conglomerate, yes," she said, not even pretending to be unaware. "You purchased and then revived the Banchory Bangers. It's an impressive feat."

He nodded. "That was merely a small stepping stone," he said. "I'll be frank with you, Lady Greengrass, I am looking to expand my business into Britain and everyone says that you're the woman to talk to."

Daphne raised her eyebrows delicately. "I am a lawyer, Mr Blackwood," she said.

"To GSC and Harry Potter," he said. "Two of my biggest competitors."

Daphne sighed. "You know I am bound by oaths," she said.

"Oh, no, no, no, I am not asking you to break your oaths," he said, immediately. "I am asking you to take the Blackwood Conglomerate on as a client."

Daphne almost rolled her eyes but restrained herself. "Mr Blackwood, I am currently not taking on new clients," she said. "Besides, why would you want to hire the same lawyer as your competitors? Surely that would be a conflict of interest."

"I have been assured that you are a consummate professional," he said.

"While that is good to hear, my position stands," she said. "I am not taking on new clients." She surveyed him shrewdly. "Besides, I know that the Scottish firm of McTavish and Co. handled your acquisition of the Banchory Bangers, so I would not be surprised if they were on retainer for the Blackwood Conglomerate, considering their area of practice aligns more with your interests than Verdant."

Kei Blackwood's smile widened and he leaned back in his seat. "You really are quite brilliant, aren't you?" he murmured, and his eyes gleamed a little. "No wonder he trusts you."

Daphne stared back at him impassively, even as she felt herself shudder internally. There was something creepy about his gaze and the way he looked at her; it wasn't quite lust, but more like a desire to possess her like a trophy. She cleared her throat. "If that is all, I must get on with my day," she said.

Kei chuckled. "I cannot change your mind?" he asked.

"I'm afraid not," she said, standing up. "Good day to you, Mr Blackwood."

He sighed but stood up and held out his hand again. Daphne shook his hand and let it go as soon as it was polite. Instead of walking him out, she got Ayesha to do it and retired to her own office and locked the door.

She hadn't anticipated Kei Blackwood to come knocking but she supposed it wasn't surprising. Taking off her silver cloak, she set the magical kettle to boil and sat down in her chair. It was only mid-morning and she was already exhausted. That entire encounter had put her on edge. As an afterthought, she also took off her heels and let her hair down. When the water was done, she brewed a cup of Jasmine Nights and returned to her desk.

Halfway through a relaxing cup of tea, she heard a knock at her door and she hastily pulled her hair back up and stuck her poisoned pin in it before answering the door, only to see Ayesha looking at her in concern.

"Everything okay, boss?" asked Ayesha.

Daphne smiled and nodded. "Yes, thanks, Ayesha," she said. "And thank you for handling Mr Blackwood."

"That's why I'm here," said Ayesha, though she looked pleased at the praise. "I was going to walk to Sara's Pasta to get some lunch in a bit. Would you like something?"

"No, I'm alright, thanks," said Daphne. "I'm going to try and finish my Talking Teas piece before my meeting with Newt."

Ayesha nodded and returned to her desk. Daphne closed the door to her office but didn't lock it this time as she returned to her desk. Her tea had gone cold, so she vanished the cool liquid and made a fresh cuppa as she summoned her partially written article from the filing cabinet.

No doubt she and Harry would dissect that encounter with Kei Blackwood over dinner, but in the meantime, she had work to do. Putting away the thoughts of Kei Blackwood for the time being, she began writing, letting the comforting sound of quill on parchment and the scent of the Jasmine Nights brew ease the tension from her body.

4 October 1998

Daphne had always been a bigger fan of flying itself than Quidditch, but there was something really fun about a League game on a Sunday afternoon.

The official Quidditch season had commenced the day before with the Ballycastle Bats playing the Caerphilly Catapults. The game held at home for the Catapults had run for fifty six minutes before the star seeker for the Bats had caught the snitch, ending the game 280-110. Daphne hadn't attended the game but Harry had, and he'd given her a play-by-play over dinner.

With the addition of the Banchory Bangers there were now 14 teams in the League. The season was played in a double round robin, with each team playing each other twice - once at home and once away. The winner was awarded 3 points and a point was awarded for a draw. After the playoffs, the top two seeds proceeded directly to the semi finals, leaving the third, fourth, fifth and sixth teams to battle in the quarterfinals before progressing through the bracket to the semi finals.

The finals were usually held on the last weekend of June.

It was Puddlemere's first match of the season and they were playing the Holyhead Harpies. Daphne was usually a Bats supporter but she was seated in the Puddlemere Top Box in a row behind Harry and Neville. Neville had brought along Hannah Abbott as his date, and while Daphne wished she could sit next to Harry as well, they both knew it wouldn't be a good idea just yet. Especially considering how many cameras were flashing toward their box.

Harry turned around briefly and smiled at her, which she returned, making sure to tilt her head in a way that her hat would be sure to conceal most of her face from the cameras.

Unlike her everyday outfits that she wore to work, Daphne was dressed exactly as Lady Greengrass was expected to dress: tailored slim leg black trousers, thin-heeled black boots laced all the way up to her knees, royal blue corset top, and a calf length long sleeved black open robe with royal blue lining. The robe had a singular gold button just under the bust, holding it closed. Daphne wore a wide brimmed black picture hat with blue hydrangeas on it, and matching black gloves with embroidered blue hydrangeas along the cuff. A diamond tennis necklace adorned her neck, and her hair was pulled up into a stylish knot under her hat.

Harry had given her an appreciative look when she'd arrived at the stadium (he'd had to meet with the team before the match) but he'd not had a chance to say anything, considering they had been surrounded by people since.

Daphne raised her Omnioculars to her eyes and appraised the field. It was an overcast day but it wasn't raining, thankfully. The game was in full force and had been so for over an hour, and the Harpies were up 110 - 40.

"Hell of a Keeper, that Gianna Mancini," Daphne heard Neville say to Hannah. "Vanessa looks mad enough to spit."

Sure enough, Vanessa Chen, the Star Chaser and Captain of Puddlemere looked like she wanted to murder the Harpies' Keeper. When Gianna blocked yet another shot and passed it to their Chasers, who scored once more and brought the Harpies up 120 - 40, Daphne saw Vanessa call a timeout.

As the team huddled around Vanessa, Daphne trained her Omnioculars on them, noticing Viktor saying something to Vanessa, who looked surprised but nodded eagerly. The game resumed, and both teams scored once each, but then there was a loud gasp from the crowd when Viktor dove into a near straight line toward the ground. The Harpies' Seeker followed suit and people in the Top Boxes stood up in their seats to see what was happening. Daphne stood as well, but a second later the whistle sounded sharply three times, signalling that the Golden Snitch had been caught and the game had come to an end.

Another moment later, a triumphant Viktor flew up with the Snitch held in his hand, bringing the game home for Puddlemere with a final score of 200-130.

Daphne clapped enthusiastically as the Puddlemere team took a victory lap around the field before landing in their Top Box. It was a blur of congratulations after that, and when the press conference was due to begin, Daphne made a quiet exit to Potter Hall.

She shed her hat and gloves, which Annie took away to the Lady's chambers to be put away. It was around four in the afternoon, and Daphne was considering browsing the library to find something to read when the pocket of her coat buzzed. She pulled out her Pleiades Mirror and saw Astoria's face.

Smiling, Daphne spoke her name and Astoria grinned as the connection engaged.

"I saw the game was done, and figured you'd be free," said Astoria.

"How did you know the game was done?" asked Daphne, as she sat at the barstool in the kitchen.

"Wireless in the common room," said Astoria. "I was listening while finishing my Charms homework. You look nice."

"Thanks," said Daphne, smiling down at her outfit. "I admit, it is rather fun to dress up once in a while."

"It suits you, you know," said Astoria, softly. "Being Lady Greengrass. Father would be proud."

Daphne felt her smile waver. She hadn't told Astoria that she had moved into Potter Hall, and she felt like the worst person. She knew deep down that Astoria would understand, but she also knew that Astoria would know their father would have disapproved. On the other hand, Astoria, who was being courted in the old ways by the Heir to a Sacred Twenty Eight family, would have been a point of pride for their father. In a way, Daphne was almost jealous of Astoria, and she hated that ugly feeling.

She didn't blame Harry for not courting her; she doubted he was even aware of the traditions. She felt petty but this was the one thing she did not want to teach Harry. If he felt the need to court her properly, she wanted him to initiate it and educate himself, rather than her teaching him like some sort of an obligation.


Daphne blinked and focused on Astoria. "Sorry, Tori, I'm just a bit distracted," she said.

Astoria nodded, but gave her a concerned look anyway. Daphne changed the subject and asked about Astoria's studies, and the two fell into easy conversation for the next half an hour before Astoria said her goodbyes.

Daphne went up to the library and was in the process of browsing through the Transfiguration section when she felt a pair of arms wrap around her waist.

"Hello, how was the press conference?" asked Daphne, relaxing into Harry's embrace.

He pressed a kiss to the side of her neck. "It was good," he said.

"I wasn't expecting you home until later," she said, as his fingers deftly undid the button holding her coat closed.

Harry pulled the coat off her and tossed it aside, as Daphne turned around. "The team is off celebrating but I wanted to join you for dinner," he said, ducking his head down for a kiss.

Daphne wrapped her arms around his neck as they kissed, letting him press her up against the bookshelves. Harry pulled away after a moment and searched her eyes.

"Are you alright?" he asked.

"Yes, why?" asked Daphne, surprised.

"You seem preoccupied," he said.

Daphne slowly unwrapped her arms from around his neck and shrugged. "Just tired, I suppose," she lied, unwilling to really get into the reasons for her melancholic mood.

"Let's have an early night then," he said, smiling softly. "I'll tell Minnie to set the table."

"Thanks, Harry," said Daphne, picking up her coat. "I'll freshen up and be downstairs soon."

Harry nodded, and left after placing a kiss on her cheek. Daphne sighed to herself and went to the Lady's chambers to shower and change before dinner, wishing she could just learn to be honest with the people she loved.

6 October 1998

"Ammon and Maye have already started on plans at Lots 1123, 1125, 1129 and 1141 in Hogsmeade," said Daphne, looking through her notes.

"These are commercial plots?" asked Adrian.

"All of them, except 1141," said Daphne.

"Lot 1141 will have an apartment building," said Fleur. "Just a small one, only three storeys tall, and the ground floor will have some shop space as well."

"1123, 1125 and 1129 will be ordinary single-storeyed shop spaces," said Draco. "We will approach Finn about Lot 1129. It's about the right size for a cafe."

"What is the timeline on construction for these?" asked Tracey.

"Ammon and Maye have reached out to their subcontractors and we have a solid initial staff for Cardinal Constructions," said Fleur. "1123, 1125 and 1129 are expected to be ready by the end of next month, however, fitouts will probably add on another two weeks to it."

"That's fast," said Harry, surprised.

"The Ministry is cutting through the red tape and you said you are offering a higher rate of pay, aren't you?" asked Ernie.

"Yes, using the Ministry grants," said Fleur, and Ernie nodded approvingly.

"What about 1141?" asked Harry.

"Yes, we wanted to talk to you about that," said Draco. "Maye asked us what demographic we wanted to target for the apartments. The more upscale the apartment building, the longer it would take to build."

"Hogsmeade doesn't really strike as the upscale sort though, does it?" said Parvati, thoughtfully.

"Certainly not," agreed Adrian. "Hogsmeade mostly has lower to middle income households."

"We agree, which is why following our meeting with Maye, Fleur and I came up with a tier system for any residential construction," said Draco. "Tier 4, or Bronze tier, is fairly basic with small apartments. A step above the Celine Abbott Boarding House but not by much. Tier 3, or Silver tier, is slightly more upscale. A lobby in the apartment building, common laundry, medium-sized apartments." He flipped the parchment over before continuing. "Tier 2, or Gold tier, will have a concierge desk as well as a lobby, a combination of medium to large sized apartments, and an indoor recreation room. Tier 1, or Diamond tier, will have large-sized apartments, as well as a doorman, indoor swimming pool and in-house cleaning services, in addition to the rest."

"The purpose of having the tier system is two-fold," said Fleur, when everyone looked a bit confused at the level of details. "It will help determine the style and scope of construction, the materials used, and it would help with pricing."

"When it comes to selling the apartments, you mean," said Daphne, nodding understandingly.

"Or renting them," said Draco. "There is no reason why Larkspur Incorporated can't own the apartments and rent them out if not all of them are sold."

Daphne met Harry's gaze, who nodded. "That is a good plan, especially considering not everyone is in a position to buy right away," he said.

"So, by that measure, Hogsmeade would be what? Bronze, or silver perhaps?" asked Tracey.

"Silver," said Fleur. "A similar tier system will also apply to houses, though Cardinal is yet to be contracted for building a house."

"Ammon and Maye think they can begin construction on Lot 1141 in January next year and expected completion will be June," said Draco. "We have to be careful not to tie them up exclusively to our projects, you see. The whole point of having a construction company is to capitalise on the opportunity. We only purchased 4 out of the 20 lots that went on sale in Hogsmeade under Project Atlas."

"And we need Cardinal to get some business from the other 16," nodded Harry.

"Not just the other 16," added Ernie, looking through his notes. "There are nine other villages apart from Hogsmeade which are a part of this first phase of Project Atlas."

"The difference being that those are entirely new villages," said Daphne.

"Yes," nodded Ernie. "The release of plots in those villages is slightly more complex. There is a quota for residential lots, and they are following the same policy as Diagon did in the early days."

"Meaning no more than one business of its kind?" asked Harry.

Ernie nodded. "They have also released a list of essential businesses who are eligible for additional grants," he said. "Grocery shops, apothecaries, and the like."

"Have we spoken with any of the existing businesses helped by GSC to gauge interest for expansion?" asked Tracey.

"Rosette Frost is interested in a Hogsmeade branch of Rosette's Beauty Potions. We were thinking of Lot 1125," said Fleur. "We could also approach Vikram Kale and see if he wants to open a Hogsmeade branch of the Claw Bookshop."

"What about the other villages?" asked Parvati.

"That's a bit harder," said Draco. "Especially because we don't know who else is already opening a shop there."

"I believe I can help there," said Ernie, pulling out another scroll of parchment. "Here's a list of businesses who have been approved by the Ministry so far. There aren't very many of them, mind you." He made copies and distributed them to everyone around the conference room table.

Daphne took her copy and skimmed through it. "What's the Caledonia Market?" she asked, noticing that it appeared on the list for each of the new villages, with the exception of Hogsmeade.

"Grocery store chain," said Ernie. "The two Macdougal sons who ran the green grocer's and butcher's shop in Diagon have joined forces to open a one-stop grocery shop."

Daphne's brow furrowed. "Why haven't we heard about this before?" she asked.

"We had heard of their shops in Diagon closing temporarily but nothing about this," said Draco.

"Elder Macdougal is an ambitious man," said Adrian. "It's unsurprising that he is using this opportunity to expand his family's business."

Daphne met Harry's gaze, and knew they would talk about it later in private. "The Sparkling Growth is on here as well," she said, looking at the list again. "In Hogsmeade, and five of the other villages."

"Sparkling Growth? That's Polly Winterbotham's liquor shop, isn't it?" asked Parvati. "The one that stocks the Pride Farmhouse wine?"

"Yes, she was one of the first retailers we had for the wine," said Draco. "Where are these villages located?"

"Ravensworth is near Manchester, Coldholt near Leeds, Fairdragon near Birmingham, Hedgebourne around Glasgow, Silversage near Liverpool, Fayhaven near Cardiff, Flowerdell near Southampton, and Brightdale is around Reading," listed Ernie, without even having to consult a list.

"Not a lot of apothecaries," observed Adrian, looking at the list that Ernie had given them. "No taverns or bars either."

"We've only just launched," said Ernie. "It is expected that there will be more interest in the coming months."

"It is an opportunity up for grabs in the meantime," said Adrian, and looked at Daphne. "Perhaps something for Larkspur?"

Daphne gave a short nod, as they moved on. Later that evening when she and Harry were sitting in the arboretum with their cups of Emerald Brew before bed, Daphne reflected back on the end of day meeting.

"I can hear your brain racing," said Harry, and Daphne blinked and smiled at him. "You're thinking about what Adrian said."

Daphne nodded, seeing no point in denying it. "The villages are in their planning stage so there is not much to do right away if we wanted to think of a new venture," she said. "We can do what the Macdougals did and plant our flag, so to speak."

"You're thinking of an apothecary chain? Or a tavern?" asked Harry.

"I'm thinking both," she said, sheepishly. Harry laughed, which made her smile. "I know, I know, I am letting my ambition get the better of me."

Harry looked as if he were contemplating that. "I don't know if that is a bad thing, Daph," he said. "Emerald Teacups is doing well, and Eva seems to be managing it with minimal guidance from you. If we can build up businesses to run self-sufficiently, that is what we want eventually."

"Yes, but to what end?" she asked, seriously. "Are we doing this to make more money?"

"Have any of our ventures started making money yet?" he asked, with an amused look on his face.

Daphne rolled her eyes, but her lips twitched. "But we know that they will," she said, and Harry conceded with a nod.

"What I'm saying is, money has never really been a motivating factor for me," he said. "But even I can't deny that having money is better than not having it. Having plenty of capital has made it possible for us to move so quickly on our ventures. While money isn't the end goal, or the only goal for that matter, it is a necessary one."

Daphne nodded in agreement. "I want Project Atlas to succeed," she said, finally. "I don't know how successful it will be, given the initial lukewarm response from the public. You saw Ernie's list. Businesses aren't exactly lining up to snap up spots in villages other than Hogsmeade. And the people won't want to move into a village in the middle of nowhere with nothing around them. There needs to be a push, with positive press and additional businesses to draw people into those places."

"Which is why I said it's not a bad thing if you're letting your ambition get the best of you," he said, setting his empty cup down on the end table and reaching for her.

Daphne followed suit and snuggled into his arms as they both lay down on the couch. "I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop, you know," whispered Daphne, hiding her face in Harry's chest instead of looking at him. "For the downside of my ambition to come back to bite us."

"You're not the only one with ambition," said Harry, running his fingers through her hair. She hummed and closed her eyes, enjoying the sensation. "And if it does come back to bite us, we will deal with it together."

Daphne chuckled and raised her gaze to his. He grinned back and tucked a strand of her hair behind her ear.

"Bed?" he asked.

"Bed," agreed Daphne.

10 October 1998

Harry kept bouncing his leg up and down, and Daphne placed a hand on his knee for the third time in ten minutes to get him to stop. They were seated at a table near the back of the Ceccon Italian Restaurant in Piccadilly Circus on the Muggle side, and Harry's nerves appeared to be at an all time high at the prospect of seeing his cousin again.

Daphne herself was not all that relaxed herself. It wasn't her first venture into the Muggle world, but it was the first time she was spending more than a few minutes there. She felt uncomfortable, but she drew comfort from the fact that she could feel her wand against her wrist. The holster was covered by the full sleeves of her black blazer dress, the simple yet stylish knee-length dress making her look slightly older. She had also chosen to wear pearl jewellery that day, despite her usual aversion to pearls in hopes of conveying maturity and affluence.

She had also picked out Harry's clothes for him: black chinos, mother of pearl coloured collared shirt, and a black blazer with a mother of pearl pocket square. She felt a bit childish, but she wanted Harry's cousin to see Harry as the man he was, not the boy his family had mistreated. They were both slightly overdressed for the restaurant, but Daphne didn't care.

Harry started bouncing his leg again and Daphne looked at him. "Harry," she whispered.

"Sorry," he said, stopping immediately. "I don't even know why I'm nervous."

Daphne smiled softly and squeezed his knee comfortingly. "Doesn't matter why," she said. "There doesn't always have to be a reason for how you feel."

His eyes softened and he nodded and kissed her cheek, just as the waitress walked up to their table leading two people behind her. Harry got to his feet, and Daphne followed suit after a moment.

Harry's cousin, Dudley, was tall and stocky with sandy blonde hair and blue eyes. He was dressed in dark jeans and a navy blue button up shirt, and looked about as nervous as Harry. The woman with him was of Asian descent, with pin straight black hair, who was dressed in a white dress with purple lillies on it.

"Harry, it's good to see you," said Dudley, as he and Harry shook hands awkwardly.

"Y-yeah, it's good to see you too," said Harry. There was a pregnant pause before he glanced at Daphne. "Er, this is Daphne Greengrass, my-uh girlfriend."

"Hello," said Dudley, holding out his hand. Daphne shook his hand with a polite smile. "This is my girlfriend, Tina Ueno."

"Hi," smiled Tina cheerfully, as she shook Daphne's hand and then Harry's. "It is very nice to meet you both."

"Very nice to meet you as well," said Daphne politely, as Harry nodded vigorously. There was another awkward pause. "Let's sit, shall we?" prompted Daphne.

"Yeah, of course," said Dudley, as they all sat down.

Daphne picked up the menu and glanced sideways at Harry, who still looked very nervous and awkward. With a sigh, she glanced across the table and saw Tina giving a similar look to Dudley. Tina must have felt Daphne's gaze on her, because she looked at Daphne and a look of silent solidarity passed between them.

"Shall we start with some wine?" prompted Tina.

"Excellent idea," agreed Daphne, immediately.

Tina waved down the waitress. "Could we get a bottle of Pinot Noir and 4 glasses, please?"

"Certainly," nodded the waitress. "Are you ready to order food?"

"Perhaps the bruschetta and the arancini to start with," said Daphne.

The waitress nodded and left. Daphne took a breath and placed a hand on Harry's knee. He looked at her and gave a nod.

"So, Dudley, how have you been?" he asked, looking at his cousin.

Dudley shrugged with a small smile. "Good, I guess," he said, and glanced at Tina. "It's a bit of a long story, actually."

Tina smiled encouragingly at him as the waitress returned and poured them all wine. Dudley took a hearty sip of his wine before inhaling deeply.

"Mum and Dad threw me out," he said. He chuckled at the shocked look on Harry's face. "Yeah, Dad had pulled some strings to get me into university but I refused to go and instead picked up an apprenticeship as a plumber. That's how I met Tina, actually. Her dad is my supervisor."

Harry just blinked for a few moments. "I-I don't know what to say," he said, finally.

"I don't blame you," said Dudley. "Mum kept in touch at first but then…"

"Then she saw her darling boy dating me and said she would rather see him dead than with a…" Tina trailed off and took a sip of her wine. "Well, I'll spare us the unpleasant language."

"They didn't like that Tina is Japanese," said Dudley, looking uncomfortable.

"Or more precisely, they don't like that I'm not white," said Tina, bluntly, which made Daphne like her immediately. "Well, that and also my family is blue collar."

The waitress returned and placed a platter of bruschetta and a plate of arancini on the table. There was silence as everyone helped themselves to some food.

"I thought about reasoning with them, but then I thought about things, you know, really thought about them," said Dudley, after a moment. He met Harry's gaze squarely. "About our childhood, about what Mum and Dad did…" He inhaled again, as if to take a steadying breath. "What I did."

"You were just a child," said Harry.

"So were you," said Dudley, immediately. He looked away awkwardly. "I know it's not an excuse, but I am really sorry for everything, Harry." Tina placed a comforting hand on Dudley's arm.

"Are we ready to order mains?" asked the waitress, as she came back.

"Yes," said Daphne, sensing that Harry needed a moment to recover from Dudley's words. "I'll have the gnocchi and the saltimbocca. Harry, did you want to have the ravioli and the lamb ribs?"

"Yeah," said Harry, and shot her a grateful smile.

"I'll have the gnocchi as well, and chicken parmigiana," said Tina.

"Same for me," said Dudley.

The waitress collected their menus and left with a cheerful smile. Harry took a deep breath and held Daphne's hand under the table.

"Thanks, Dudley," he said, quietly. "It means a lot."

Dudley exhaled in obvious relief and smiled. "Thank you, Harry. Really," he said.

Harry smiled back and squeezed Daphne's hand. "We are family," he said. "Everything happened as it did, but what we do from now on is a lot more important."

"I agree," said Dudley, leaning forward eagerly. "Look, one of the first things I have learned since being on my own was how messed up our home life was. And I don't want to be the person that my parents wanted me to be." He looked at Tina briefly before looking back at Harry. "I never want to be like them. Mum, Dad, Aunt Marge…I don't think they will ever change, and I don't want to pin my hopes on them anyway."

"I'm the only family left then," smiled Harry, ruefully.

Dudley chuckled in agreement. "Yeah," he said. "I am in a good place at the moment. I've got Tina and her dad, my housemates at the shared house where I live, and I have joined a boxing gym recently as well." He took a breath and smiled. "So I wanted to reach out to you. You could have told me to get lost, but I was hoping you wouldn't."

"I wouldn't do that," said Harry, and then considered his response. "I-a lot of stuff has happened, and a lot has changed, even since the last time we saw each other. But I'm in a good place too, and I want to keep the family I still have."

Dudley nodded, and the two of them exchanged slightly relieved smiles.

The waitress brought over the first course, and the four of them began to dig in.

"So, Daphne," said Tina. "How did you and Harry meet?"

"Harry and I went to school together," said Daphne, smoothly. "We reconnected after graduation."

"That's the boarding school in Scotland, isn't it?" asked Tina.

"Yeah," said Harry, with a small smile.

"Are you both at university now?" asked Tina.

"No," said Daphne. "I have taken over my family's business."

"Oh, what's your family's business?" asked Dudley, with interest.

"Teamaking," said Daphne. "We have a shop near…Charing Cross."

"That's lovely," smiled Tina. "What about you, Harry?"

"I, uh," he glanced at Daphne. "I work at a charity."

"He's being modest," said Daphne. "He started the charity."

"Really?" asked Tina, as both she and Dudley looked at Harry with wide eyes.

"Yeah, I, uh, inherited some money from my parents," he said. "I reckon I'd put it to good use."

"That's wonderful, Harry," said Dudley.

"What do you do, Tina?" asked Daphne.

"I am a seamstress. I work at a local fashion house in Covent Garden," she said.

Daphne ate her pasta left-handed as Harry kept a firm grip on her right hand under the table as Tina talked about her job. His grip began to relax as conversation flowed easily, mostly because of Tina and Daphne, and by the time the next course was served, Harry had relinquished his grip.

"...we are both saving up at the moment so we can find a flat together in the new year," said Tina. "Do you both live together?"

"Yes," said Harry, as Daphne said "No" at the same time.

Dudley and Tina gave them confused looks, and Daphne blinked as Harry looked at her in surprise.

"I stay over at Harry's a lot, but I haven't moved in," lied Daphne, looking at her plate instead of Harry.

"Yeah," said Harry, and Daphne chanced a look at him, only to see a slightly hurt expression in his eyes which felt like a cutting curse to her gut.

"But we will, of course, down the line," said Daphne.

"Yeah, that makes sense," said Tina. "So, Harry, tell us a bit more about this charity."

Daphne breathed in relief as Tina changed the subject. After the main course but before dessert, she excused herself to go to the bathroom and was joined by Tina.

"I'm really glad I got to meet you and Harry," said Tina, as they both refreshed their makeup at the mirrors. "Dudley was so nervous that Harry would want nothing to do with him."

Daphne considered her response carefully. "Harry is a forgiving person," she said.

Tina smiled as she met Daphne's gaze in the mirror. "You don't agree?" she asked.

"It changes, from time to time," said Daphne, honestly. "I was glad to be wrong this time."

Tina nodded. "Dudley is putting on a brave face but he is hurting from the way his parents have been acting," she said. "Truthfully, I have been worried about him. But I am hoping having Harry on his side will help."

"The thing I know about Harry," said Daphne. "Is that he never gives up on the people that he cares about."

Tina grinned gratefully. "That makes me feel better," she said. "Thank you, Daphne."

Daphne smiled back, and they left to rejoin their table. The remainder of dinner passed without incident, and when they left, Daphne saw Harry slip a note to Dudley, no doubt with instructions on how to get in touch with him, if needed.

When they returned to Potter Hall, Daphne was about ready to crawl into bed right away, but Harry followed her to the vanity room in the Lady's chambers. Daphne saw the slightly perturbed look on Harry's face as she was taking her jewellery off, and she sighed and set the pearls down, before turning to look at Harry.

"I know," she said, knowing he was confused about why she had denied their living situation.

"I don't understand," said Harry. "You said…"

Daphne sighed and leaned against her vanity. "I am in love with you."

Harry's eyes widened in shock; he clearly hadn't expected her to say that. Daphne hadn't expected herself to either, but she knew she had to be honest, lest she sabotage her own happiness due to stubbornness and pride.

"I am in love with you," said Daphne, again. "But…I am also frustrated at you. And at myself. Mostly at myself."

Harry stepped closer and placed his hands on her waist. "Daph, I-I," he began, but Daphne put her fingers on his lips, stopping him.

"I don't know how to say this properly, so don't interrupt, please," she said, and waited until he had nodded to continue. "I am awful at asking for anything for myself. When I agreed to live with you, I chose myself and what I wanted. Which is a life with you, in a way that defies everything I have been taught by the people who love me." She saw hurt and understanding flash in his eyes as he nodded again. "This is difficult for me, Harry, because I love you. And I do want a life with you. I just don't know how to let go of this…guilt, I feel still."

Harry sighed and removed one hand from her waist to grab her hand that was still on his mouth. He slowly kissed her fingers and squeezed her hand.

"I love you too, Daphne," he said. "And I was hoping to do this at Halloween but I couldn't think of a better moment." He slowly let her go and took a step back. "I'll be back in a moment."

Daphne blinked in shock as he left her alone. She absent-mindedly undid her bun and removed the poisoned pin, jumping slightly when she heard Harry return.

He had a hand behind his back, and he smiled at her, even as she saw hints of nervousness. He held a familiar journal in his other hand that he handed to her on an earmarked page. Daphne took James Potter's journal with a look of confusion and began reading it.

I remember asking Dad about the Potter family traditions and why they were so different from the usual ones. Courting in the old ways, while not set in stone, was fairly consistent in what it demanded for it to be proper and acceptable.

Dad didn't really have an answer; just that it was the way our family did things. Personally, I am not too fussed about the origins of the traditions, though Lily is currently…researching, shall we say.

My heart was in my throat not an hour earlier when I presented her with the first gift. I forgot to explain and just handed her the gift, confusing the life out of her. In my defence, I had expected her to hex me. We have been dating for less than a month, and I had it in my head that courting in the old ways would seem archaic to her.

That couldn't be further from the truth. She is currently reading everything the Hogwarts library has on courting traditions. Which, admittedly, is not a lot, but I don't have the heart to point it out just yet. I have already sent a letter off to Mum to send me the Legatum Familiae so Lily can read to her heart's content.

For now, I am the happiest I ever remember being. The gift is currently safe in Lily's trunk, wrapped in the Invisibility Cloak, because it would be rather hard to explain the large sword in the girls dormitory.



Daphne gasped as she got to the end of the page and looked up as Harry revealed his hand which held a short, thin sword in a finely crafted scabbard.

"The first gift in the Potter family tradition is a sword," said Harry as he held the sword horizontally in his hands. "I looked it up in the Legatum Familiae once I had read that entry in my Dad's journal. The Legatum Familiae is…"

"The legacy of your family," said Daphne, her words coming out breathless. Their family had one too; kept securely in the family vault at Gringotts.

Harry chuckled and nodded. "It magically records my family's traditions, for every Sacred Day, for courtship…for everything," he said, and Daphne's eyes misted when she saw how utterly happy he sounded. "There are stories about my ancestors, about their accomplishments, even their mishaps because there was a lesson to be learned." He paused and chuckled. "I am rambling, sorry." He stepped forward with the sword. "Lady Daphne Cecilia Maeve Greengrass, I come to you as the Head of the Potter family, the Peverell family, the Black family, but more importantly, I come to you as Harry James Potter. I beseech you to accept my first gift, a sword personally crafted for you."

Daphne carefully set the journal on the vanity before accepting the sword with both hands. It was lighter than she expected, and she saw that the finely crafted leather scabbard had detailed embroidery in gold. Her eyes widened when she realised that the embroidery was the Potter amaryllis drawn in with the Greengrass ivy, the pattern running the entire length of the scabbard.

It was a beautiful hunting sword, she realised as she pulled the sword from the scabbard. It had a steel blade and a platinum hilt, decorated with a gem-studded ivy-wrapped amaryllis, the amaryllis consisting of small rubies, and the ivy and amaryllis stalk consisting of smaller emeralds.

"I realise it is not just about my family, but yours as well," said Harry, and Daphne looked away from the beautiful sword to look at him again.

With a watery smile, Daphne sheathed the sword again, and sank into a graceful curtsy. "Thank you, Lord Potter," she said. "I accept your gift, and thank you for it."

She barely had a moment to set the sword down on the vanity before Harry pulled her into his arms and captured her lips in a heated kiss. Daphne's hands clutched the lapel of his blazer as they kissed, and when they pulled away for a breath, Daphne wrapped her arms around his neck, resting her forehead on his.

A few quiet moments passed, and it was all the time Daphne needed to make up her mind.

"Take me to bed, Harry," she said.

His eyes widened, and Daphne smiled in reassurance. She yelped in surprise when Harry picked her up easily bridal-style and carried her from the vanity in the Lady's chambers and across the hall to his chambers. In his bedroom, he set her down on the thick, shag rug in front of the fireplace. With a wave of his hand, the fireplace roared to life, as the sconces dimmed to a low, intimate hue. Harry took off his blazer and tossed it onto one of the armchairs, before pulling her into another heated kiss.

Daphne melted in his arms as his fingers carded through her long hair, his grip occasionally tightening while their lips moved together. A clap of thunder made her jump, and she felt Harry smile against her mouth.

"Alright?" he asked her, pulling back enough to meet her gaze.

Daphne could feel how warm her face was, but she nodded. Her heart was racing, and she felt like she had swallowed a cauldron-full of butterflies. Harry seemed to understand that she needed a moment, and he took the time to undo his cuffs. When he went to unbutton his shirt, Daphne stopped him hurriedly and took over.

"You have to be patient with me," she said, nervously, as she unbuttoned Harry's shirt.

"Of course," said Harry. "Daph, look at me." He waited until she had met his gaze. "I love you, and we don't have to do anything you don't want to."

Daphne chuckled. "I know," she said, and knew there was something she had to clear up before they could proceed. "I am sorry about before, though, and for being distant lately."

"I think I deserved it just a bit," said Harry, sheepishly.

Daphne's eyes went wide. "No, you didn't," she said, immediately. "Harry, listen to me, the reason for my behaviour was my own inability to reconcile what I should be doing and what I wanted to do. I am sorry that I took it out on you instead of talking to you about it." She took a breath. "And, I am sorry I cornered you into giving me the first gift before you were ready."

"Now, you need to listen to me," said Harry. "I have been ready for a long time. I didn't magically craft the sword this evening, you know. I was waiting for the perfect moment and that was it."

Daphne smiled widely in response and she launched herself into his arms, pressing her mouth to his. Harry grinned as he took his shirt off and unbuttoned the buttons on her blazer dress, since the dress opened in the front.

"Merlin, you are beautiful," she heard him murmur, which substantially dissipated the nervousness that she felt.

She removed the dress, letting it fall behind herself, feeling rather exposed in the matching black lace undergarments, but the way Harry's eyes moved over body bolstered her confidence.

The two of them retired to the bed, exchanging breathless kisses, their hands exploring each others' bodies. The remaining clothes were tossed aside as another loud clap of thunder shook the windows of the manor, and rain began to fall in earnest outside.

Daphne smiled up at Harry hazily, relishing the way he was so focused on her and her pleasure. When he moved down her naked body, exploring every inch of her skin with his hands, tongue and mouth, she gasped out his name, which morphed into a groan when she felt him place a small bite on the inside of her thigh.

It had been over a month since that time in her office, and one of Daphne's last coherent thoughts was why they hadn't been doing this every single day since.

When Harry fell onto the bed next to her, looking smug beyond belief, Daphne couldn't even bring herself to admonish him for it. Not when her brain was swimming with pleasure from two consecutive mind-shattering orgasms. Harry's glasses had been tossed aside between the first and the second orgasm, and Daphne couldn't help but get lost in his piercing emerald gaze.

"Show me what you like," said Daphne, after she had caught her breath.

Harry grinned at her. "Another time, love," he said, and rolled on top of her again, parting her thighs and situating himself between them. "Tonight is about you."

She felt some of her nervousness return and Harry kissed her forehead reassuringly. "You can tell me to stop at any time," he said, and Daphne nodded. She removed her wand from her wrist holster and cast the charm on herself, before tossing her wand onto the bedside table.

Harry kissed her, and Daphne made a small noise as he entered her. "Relax, love, you have to relax," he murmured as he pushed himself in all the way.

Daphne met his gaze, grimacing at the pinch of pain she felt between her thighs as Harry broke past her maidenhood. Her hands clutched his biceps in a strong grip, and at his soothing words, she started to relax as the initial pinch of pain began to abate.

"You can move now," she gasped, and Harry nodded as he began to move in and out of her. The pain was slowly being overtaken by pleasure and Daphne's eyes fell shut as her own hips picked up on Harry's rhythm like a familiar tango.

"That's it, love, just like that," she heard Harry murmur. He gripped her hips with both his hands, increasing the tempo of his movements, while his fingers dug into her skin to the point of pain, though not quite.

She could feel his breathing getting laboured, and knew she would not get there before him unless she helped things along. Remembering what she had read, Daphne wrapped her legs around Harry's hips, pulling him in deeper, relishing in the loud groan that escaped his lips when she did that. He looked down at her with lust-darkened eyes and sat back, simultaneously lifting her by the hips so that she was on his lap.

The sudden change in position hurt just a bit, and Daphne hissed in pain. Harry immediately paused and looked up at her in alarm.

"I am alright," she said, sounding a bit breathless. "You just surprised me."

"Are you sure?" he asked, searching her eyes. "Do you want me to stop?"

"Don't you dare," she said, and he laughed out loud.

Harry ran his palms along the side of her hips and thighs in a soothing motion, before wrapping a firm arm around her waist, while he lay his other hand flat on the bed to brace himself. Daphne gasped and threw her head back as he began moving again, this new position feeling even better than the one before. As she had previously, she began moving her hips in tandem, bracing herself with her hands on his shoulders.

The fire blazed in the fireplace, the sound almost drowned out by the torrential rain outside, but Daphne could only hear Harry's quiet, deep groans and sighs as he buried himself over and over again in her. At one point he rested his head right over her heart, matching the rhythm of his hips to the sound of her heartbeat.

When Daphne had her third and final orgasm of the night, it was almost gentle, and made tears fill her eyes. Harry followed moments after, murmuring sweet nothings into the skin between her breasts, as he tumbled over the brink.

They collapsed onto the bed in a heap, Harry having enough presence of mind to cast a Scourgify on both of them and the bed, before laying down next to her. Daphne was glad, though the slight burn between her thighs told her that she was in for a painful day tomorrow. The two of them remained silent, hands intertwined as they listened to the rain outside and their own breathing as it slowed back down to normal.

"I love you," said Daphne, finally.

Harry squeezed her hand. "I love you, too," he replied.

With tired smiles, they kissed each other again, as Harry pulled the duvet over their naked bodies.

In the Legatum Familiae of both the Potter and Greengrass families, magic marked the beginning of the courtship of their respective Heads.