Prince Consort

Chapter 53

"So, tell me more about yourself," Harry asked her, a small genuine smile on his face. One he hoped to make her feel more confident. To actually admit to wanting to be an Elder must have taken a tremendous amount of strength. There were far more male vampires than female here, even with those that had mates.

"And please, have no fear, what we discuss here goes no further," Remus reassured her, his face solemn, his emotions backing up his feelings. "I won't even share it with my own mate." Once again, being entirely truthful. There were some things that Sirius didn't need to know, and this was one of them. Not that Sirius would actually have any interest in anyone here, except Harry.

Mary relaxed completely, upon hearing that, "I was interested in politics while I was human. It was very shocking to a lot of people back then. Naturally, they all blamed my mother for instilling ideas in me that were unsustainable and not to mention undesirable in a wife."

"It seems you've faced conflict for what you desire for a long time," Remus murmured in sympathy, he did not believe that witches were lesser. Not at all, he knew many witches that could best him in magic and knowledge.

"My mother didn't raise me to quit," Mary said, her Scottish broad thickening as she spoke of her family. "I'd never do her the disservice of doing so."

"What would be the most important thing to you if you got the job?" Harry asked, and being an Elder was a job, it came with pay and a rise in notoriety.

"To strengthen the ties men that have with women, to make it clear we aren't in any way weaker or inferior without causing them to feel egotistical or defensive." Mary explained concisely and clearly, "Not something easily accomplished, even now, with the advances made for witches in this day and age." Prideful for what they'd accomplished for themselves, and desiring it for her and the others struggling to find their own footing other than being mates or bearers in this society.

"How do you feel about the differences between Lord Glenn Prince and Lord Severus Prince when it comes to their sovereignty?" Harry asked, genuinely curious about it but had never had the chance to ask anyone. Not that he felt they'd answer in any other way than a diplomatic approach.

Remus coughed, glancing at Harry with a look that suggested he amend that question. Unfortunately, if he knew his son, which he did, he would not take his question back.

"Anything said won't leave this room," His green eyes gleamed in silent challenge, daring her to try and be diplomatic with him.

Remus smirked ruefully, just as he predicted, honestly, his son sometimes.

"If I may, Lord Glenn took a more traditional approach, which made him a very popular ruler." Mary explained, "When Lord Severus took his seat, he had proven himself a proficient fighter, and that was one thing we like far more than anything else, even tradition. Everyone has their own feelings regarding the change overs, but I personally prefer Lord Severus, he has made quite a few changes especially for female vampires." Pride and happiness suffusing her as she spoke of it.

"Did you attempt to become a personal guard?" Remus asked, already deviating, which he had predicted they'd likely do. Understandable since they'd be side-tracked over the many answers they'd receive.

"Unfortunately, not, I was sent abroad with a group of others directly after Lord Severus' ascension." Mary explained, "If my orders had been different, I would have most definitely attempted to become one."

Harry nodded, pleased to hear his thoughts were correct on that front. He ponded on whether Storm was the same, if she had the same aspirations. She wasn't on his list of interviewees for today, or any day.

"What would you say is your proudest achievement?" Harry asked, getting back on track.

"My mating," Mary replied, without going into specifics, nobody wanted that.

Harry and Remus both smiled, tilting their head to the left just so, in silent agreement. Nothing could beat the mating.

"And you're really happy?" Harry asked, thinking back to his conversation with Rose.

"I am," Mary proclaimed, her smile turning sweet for just a moment. Pleased that he was so worried about her, but there was no need to be. Her mate had tried to be an asshole early on in their relationship and she'd made herself very clear. It had shocked John, a lot, but it was that shock that helped him become the vampire he was today.

"Where would you say your greatest strengths and weaknesses lay?" Harry asked, not even glancing at the list. He didn't need to, he remembered everything, but it was good to have a list ready at hand anyway.

"It's difficult to say, I'd like to say they're rather equal strengths in both politics and fighting," Mary explained, she very rarely lost a fight, and frequently wondered if she could have beaten out Storm for the place as their Lords personal guard. "My weakness is…diplomacy, I know politics goes hand in hand with diplomacy normally but I've never been able to partake in anything political wise. It is merely my own interests."

"Harry is quite similar, he doesn't have a diplomatic bone in his body, but knows the law and politics inside and outside." Remus said, chuckling fondly.

Harry stuck his tongue out at his father.

Mary laughed, genuinely amused.

"Where do you see yourself in five years?" Harry asked after they'd calmed.

"Well that greatly depends on how this interview goes," Mary teased lightly, "I'd love to say that we'd made great strides in modernising but keeping tradition alive for our sovereign. I'd love to say I see myself steeped in politics; it's always been an aspiration of mine. In whatever avenue that's open to me. Even chief Elder, or personal Elder." The title of Personal Elder meant exactly the job title Alfred had but it was rarely used despite it being the official title.

"If you became an Elder today, what changes would you make right away? What would be your most important change?" Harry queried, staring expectantly at Mary, truly curious about her, she was forthcoming, charming, honest all things he was looking for in an Elder. Although, he knew it could change any moment. However, with Severus' permission, he would be making yet another Elder when Gideon was dismissed. Oh, he was very much looking forward to that.

"Oh, such a thing is difficult to say, especially since it would have already come to pass. To allow women a far greater say in political matters." Mary confessed thoughtfully, "I think, perhaps, the next thing I'd wish to change is the number of seats that the Elders have."

"Meaning?" Remus prompted her to continue with a gentle smile on his face.

"I'd suggest more Elders, having such a small number has made them…feel superior, if there are more, then we'd end up less pig-headed stubborn and overinflated sense of importance." Mary admitted, a little wary of having said as much as she had. She watched their reactions under her eyelashes, relaxing slowly when neither of them seemed upset the slightest by her statement.

"I'm curious, how many would you suggest?" Harry asked, leaning back pensively, it couldn't be denied that the Elders thought themselves above everyone else. It's probably why Gideon and the others thought they were all that. Tradition did have a massive part to play as well though.

Mary shook her head, "Anywhere between fifty to one hundred, I know it's a massive number, perhaps too much but it is my suggestion. I know many others both male and female who would love to have more of a political say. We've asked the Elders to make suggestions on our behalf and unfortunately each attempt was blown off."

Remus whistled, giving a nod, it sure was a massive number.

"What would you say is the most important element to consider when making a decision regarding our world?" Harry asked, making a mental note to really consider her suggestion whether he took

"Whether it's worthwhile, ensuring that it's something worthy." Mary nodded firmly, as if confirming her own thoughts and agreeing with them.

"Thank you so much for applying," Harry answered, "Is there anything you'd like to ask?"

"How long do you think it will be before we get an answer? Are we talking days? Weeks?" she knew it was very unlikely to be the same day, especially considering there were many witches who would love nothing more than to take part in politics. She knew because she knew most of them, and admittedly, she'd be very jealous if she didn't get in and they did. However, as long as progress was made, which was happening already, she'd be good with it.

"Somewhere between one to two weeks roughly," Harry replied after a few moments thought. "I won't keep anyone waiting too long, but indulge those that are still working up the courage."

Remus nodded his approval, his son was right, some would need the courage of others going first to spark their own. This would be seen as a new change, and sometimes it can be seen as impetuous really. More importantly it could be seen as treasonous by some of the more traditionalists here. Remus didn't think for a second that it wasn't happening, although, if any of them had any sense, they wouldn't do so in front of Severus or Harry for that matter.

The interviews continued well into the afternoon, taking a break at two o'clock as he had prior decided upon. Surprisingly they only managed to interview five people in that time. Far less than Harry expected. However, despite being vampires, time did not freeze for them.

"Well…" Harry said, inclining his head thoughtfully, "What did you think?" closing the book that had laid open on the table. It was merely a bunch of questions; he didn't write anything down. There was no point, they would have been able to see it. They could retain information far easier than wizards and witches. So, they would have known exactly what he wrote down.

"That depends on what you truly want," Remus murmured pensively, amber eyes shaded a little. "Some of them…were a little too eager to accept the role in order to…" pausing briefly trying to think of a polite way to say what he was thinking.

"Give the Elders the middle finger?" Harry asked wryly, smirking at them eyes gleaming in merriment.

Remus coughed, "Well, yes, exactly," nodding his agreement, "We need people that will provide a smooth transition not antagonise the Elders further. Unless you wish for otherwise?" prompting his son to give an answer.

Harry grimaced, "Wish I could say yes, but no, not really." Growing up really, really sucked sometimes.

Remus smiled proudly, not that he'd had any doubt, but it wouldn't be the first time he'd been surprised by his son. "Then I'm afraid, if we are going by that, Margorie Madsen, Lianne Little, Lennox Oxford are out of the running. Agreed?" which was half the people they'd just spent the morning/afternoon interviewing.

"Agreed," Harry conceded, rubbing his forehead, something he did when he was stressed. "That's half the candidates, lets just hope we get a few more before the week is out." Shuffling back a bit, perturbed by the fact he'd just had to nix half the people he'd interviewed in half a second. "I can't help but feel disappointed." He confessed with a sound of grumbled discontent.

"It is disappointing, but never fear, we might get a bigger response than you are anticipating." Remus reassured his son, squeezing his shoulder in comradery.

"Coffee?" Harry asked, standing and quickly making his way over to the small kitchenette that had been installed. "Like Mary believes could happen?"

"I caught that too, she wouldn't have suggested that number for a second if it wasn't doable." Remus replied, in full agreement, he actually liked her the best, with Tiffany rounding close to second.

"I guess maybe she knows a fair amount of people that wish to partake and don't want to make waves." Harry conceded, stirring the cup, moving his way over to Remus instantaneously. Setting it down carefully as not to burn his dad or startle him.

Remus nodded, moving to wrap his hands around the mug, the warmth instantly penetrating his cool hands. "Exactly, and I guarantee you she's likely right." Recalling the things, he'd gone along with despite not approving of it just so that he didn't make waves. He'd been a child, he wasn't exactly proud of it, but on the other hand he wasn't ashamed of his teen years. He had something far worse to be ashamed of, so things such as that were negligible.

"We could be jumping the wand though," Harry said, brow wrinkling purposely, as he thought on the interviews. "They might end up being serious after the excitement wanes." Sitting down, mostly so his dad wasn't staring up at him or ending up uncomfortable by his stillness. He knew humans found it freaky and eerie really. Remus, while understanding and a dark creature too, got it, but it could still make them feel awkward at least.

"Lennox?" Remus deduced, "It's possible." A thoughtful frown marring his features, finding it thrilling being back with his son. Honestly, nobody could get him thinking as well as Harry did.

Harry clicked his tongue, "Yeah, I wonder if I had another conversation with her…whether it would help make a decision."

"A second interview or…" Remus arched a brow, as he wrote neatly what the thought of each of the women who did the interview. For Harry, of course, and his own mind, he wouldn't remember everything in great detail for much longer. "Something less official?" which would admittedly be more difficult, considering who he is.

"Honestly? Whether it was less official or not wouldn't change things." Harry grumbled, a downside to being with the leader.

"True, and no outsider would get close enough to the castle let alone inside for you to change your appearance and attempt to disguise yourself." Remus conceded, "It's unfortunate, and I know none of them would talk to me." Not solely because he was a werewolf, which was surprising, but because of who he was close to. They wouldn't trust him not to go rushing back to Harry with everything he heard. So, needless to say, they wouldn't be truthful regarding any matters that truly mean anything to them.

"Best bet would be to use my cloak and mask my scent and actually listen to their conversations…but that would require being in private with them and through the silencing spells." Harry shrugged, almost pouting, "Which would be improbable."

"Not to mention an awful breech of their privacy." Remus murmured, but he had a funny feeling that Harry didn't much care about that. To an extent anyway. "How are Blaise and Theo doing?" changing the subject, there was no point to remaining on that particular topic. There was nothing they could do about it; it was something Harry would need to think up on his own and see through.

Harry's face lit up, "I miss them so much, talking to them through the Floo and writing letters is just not enough." Although he was kept busy enough between studying for his NEWTS, the training, and everything he was doing to help Severus lead. Or how he liked to put it playing his part.

"Do you regret not returning to Hogwarts?" Remus enquired, worried that Harry might regret that.

Harry shook his head, "Not the school, but my friends yes," it was true, he hadn't much cared about Hogwarts. It was a school, a place of learning. Learning he loved, plus here had way better books than Hogwarts could ever hope to dream of having. Not that he got to do a lot of leisure reading, but he had all the time in the world now. At least that was always constantly spewed at him lately.

Remus nodded, pleased that Harry wasn't coming to regret being here. Having a mate didn't make everything hunky-dory. You still had to work at it, and there was no greater pressure than the mating of Severus and Harry. So many outside influences, it was a wonder they got any time together whatsoever. Given that Severus only had a year (less now!) to convince Harry that this sort of life would be good. That he'd thrive here, and go on to bond fully, not just a handfasting, which was as everyone knew, temporary. It 'married' them for one year and one year only.

"How are they?" Remus asked again, "I do recall Hogwarts in the last few years, admittedly the war did take up a considerable amount of fear and exhaustion along with our exams and cramming in everything they needed to learn." And they were quite luckily, free of the terror that was Voldemort. Harry had sliced the evil wizards head clean off his body. The Horcruxes had been destroyed, there was no way for him to resurface. They were the safest now than they had been since before they were born.

"They're spending most of the time in the library, the classes are difficult, the teachers are giving them so much homework." Harry answered succinctly. "They're not getting as much sleep as they ought to. They're planning on making up for that this weekend. I sent them their favourite snacks for eating while they did their homework." A soft sigh, he did miss that part of their friendship, the closeness, just sitting by the fire doing their homework.

Remus smiled, "You do miss them," perhaps a great deal more than Harry even realized.

"I'm meeting up with them in Hogsmeade," Harry perked up, "It's another four days away though."

"A Tuesday?" Remus questioned, his brow furrowed a bit, highly unusual, and it wasn't near any breaks.

"What is it?" Harry asked, wondering at his dad's reaction.

"It's called Hogsmeade weekend," Remus pointed out dryly, "As in it's meant to be during the weekend. Have you perhaps misread their missive?"

"Maybe I did…if I did it could be this weekend," Harry said, quickly moving towards his trunk, he began to rummage through his correspondence. "Thank merlin I kept it!" he muttered, as he snatched it up triumphantly.

"You do not get rid of anything," Remus said dryly, watching his son curiously from where he sat, absently drinking his coffee, silently enquiring whether he had been wrong or not.

"Hmm, they spilled a little ink there, but I think you're right," Harry admitted, utterly embarrassed that he'd completely forgotten that the day was Tuesday and wouldn't be a Hogsmeade weekend. "The date is Saturday, isn't it?"

Remus squinted at the parchment, that was a hell of an inkblot, but given their likely tiredness understandable. They'll have sore hands and wrists too with the constant writing. His own hands and fingers twitched in sympathy. They used a spell to get rid of the majority of the ink, but not all. "Yes, it's the Saturday, it's four days later than you assumed," mentally figuring out the dates.

Harry nodded, still enormously embarrassed that his dad had to point out the obvious to him. How stupid could he be? Seriously? Hogsmeade weekend…on a Tuesday.

"Don't worry about it," Remus stated firmly, "Considering everything you've got on your mind, and trying to get everything done, it's hardly surprising you've been not as focused. Don't give yourself a hard time, at least you didn't waste an afternoon." Not that he thought the vampires would have remained oblivious. They would have told Harry he had no doubt. This way at least it was him and not them.

Remus wouldn't be surprised if Alfred had put the correct dates on Harry's schedule.

"Still, it's a whole week now," Harry grumbled, he'd been looking forward to that. Pouting over the mistake now, not so critical of himself, listening to his father. Shrugging his shoulders, he moved back over to his dad. "How is Tonks doing?"

Remus smiled affectionately, "She's doing very well, I'm glad to stay as long as you need me though." he reassured his son.

Harry let out a laugh, grinning almost viciously at Remus, "Doing well, my ass, she's driving you barmy, isn't she?"

"No, no, no, no, not at all," Remus shook his head, before his shoulders hunched, "Alright, maybe just a little. It's perfectly understandable, it can't be easy carrying a baby never mind two." Not including the fact, he prayed it they weren't affected with lycanthrope. It was a massive worry for him, but he knew that if they were born with it, they wouldn't be in pain from their transformations.

Harry sniggered, "Is she being seen at St. Mungo's?"

"She is, do you want to see the scan?" Remus asked, and like the proud father (three times over, Harry and the two babies) he took out his wallet, which showed a picture of a youthful (thirteen-year-old) Harry and Remus in his new-ish robes posing together for a picture. He removed the can from inside the wallet, showing Harry.

Harry took it, and his perfect eyesight took in the grainy moving picture. Two little outlines showing the babies. Perfectly content in their temporary abode, safe and sound. He wondered if they'd gain any of the Black attributes, or perhaps latent Lupin attributes and he wasn't talking about the lycanthrope. "Not long to go now."

Remus' lips just twitched, "I'm hoping you will be there so you can meet your little siblings." He most definitely wanted Harry to be part of their lives, even if they were surrounded by guards. He couldn't deny feeling relieved that Harry was truly safe. He would always be safe surrounded by guards who would sacrifice their life for him.

"Just try and stop me," Harry said immediately, "I'll sneak away if I must." Handing over the scan, glowing with excitement. He couldn't wait until they were here, although it might be odd that his 'siblings' were more or less going to be the same age as his own.

"Now there's no call for that," Alfred commented as he moved into the room. "Up for some further interviews?" glancing at the book in his hand, "I have three more for you if you'd like to do them. I can postpone them for tomorrow?" knowing Harry didn't get to spend as much time with his father as of late.

Harry glanced at Remus in silent question.

"Go ahead, I don't mind." Remus agreed.

Harry grinned, "Are you going to spend the night?" teasing his dad.

Alfred coughed in an attempt to hide his amusement.

"Hilarious, who's first?" attempting to change the subject, and failing judging by Alfred's amusement.

"Someone you're far more familiar with," Alfred explained, causing Harry to pay attention, "Storm." He added.

"Seriously?" Harry asked, jaw unhinging at the intensity of his shock.

Alfred inclined his head, "Shall I send her in?" ensuring that was something they wanted.

"Yes," Harry agreed, he'd definitely not pegged Storm as someone with political aspirations. He felt very foolish when he realized he didn't know his guards well at all. He knew their names and some basic information, nothing worthy of note. He vowed to try and get to know them more.

He had so many questions he suddenly wanted to ask Storm.

A/N – oh what a week! (fortnight really) I've barely had a moment to myself, it doesn't help that we're basically walking on an ice rink 😉 lol but no matter, it won't last forever and I think I've gotten everything done, well most things. Still have to go shopping again but this time it's a food shop 😊 and chemist (pharmacist as you Americans likely know it better as) but only a few items overall. The only thing is it takes me three times longer lol 😊 better safe than sorry but it can be rather annoying especially as the short way is downhill – aka not going to happen lol – so longer way around it is. It sucks more so since I've come down with a cold ugh everything at once, eh? Soooo what do you think? Will Storm end up an Elder as well? Will Mary? Will Harry give Lennox a chance? I know you didn't even catch a glimpse of their characters BUT I can't exactly write every single word of all their interviews I think you'd be bored by the end 😊 and there were only so many ways to word the questions over and over again haha! R&R please