"Storm!" Harry said, making no effort to hide his cheer or act in any way remotely professional. Storm and the rest of his husbands' guards knew him better than anyone else. Well, with the obvious exception of his husband of course. His father just stood to the side, fondly shaking his head, but hey, he was young still, and he would always do things his way.
"My Lord Consort," Storm said, giving him the proper greeting, and curtsied.
"None of that, you're not here as a guard, you're here as a possible future Elder," Harry stated firmly, as cheerful as he was, he knew when to be proper. "Thank you, Alfred," he said, letting him know his presence was no longer needed, without dismissing him.
Alfred merely inclined his head, checking the daily planner before leaving. Not only did Alfred have Severus' own schedule but Harry's too. He kept them both on track and ensured they got where they were meant to be on time with minutes to spare. If they were lucky, it was usually seconds to spare really.
"Come, sit down," Remus encouraged Storm, with a small smile on his face. Despite her watching over his son, he'd admit freely he hadn't had much of a chance to talk to her much. She was a familiar face that was all.
"Thank you," Storm replied, smiling even if somewhat blandly but not unkindly. She wasn't used to being the centre of attention and she didn't do well with it. Fighting was different, she wasn't self-conscious or thinking other than how to defeat her opponent.
"What made you want to be an Elder?" Harry asked, getting straight to the point, and Storms smile became more genuine.
"I like the challenge, both for myself, and the situation on a whole." Storm revealed, grateful that they weren't about to beat around the bush for an undetermined amount of time before they got to the interview.
"Have you always desired to be an Elder?" Remus questioned lightly, amber eyes watching Storm curiously, wondering if she didn't want to be a guard anymore. Or if perhaps she just liked challenging herself as she just said.
"I rarely allow myself to desire anything I believe is out of the scope of reality for me." Storm explained somewhat bluntly. "I like to focus on things I can do, instead to what I cannot."
"That's rather—" Remus trailed off, "Unusual." He finished, not able to find a word that could convey what he was thinking at the moment. He wished he'd had the ability if he was honest, unfortunately, Remus was one for the opposite. He'd constantly thought about the desires that were closed to him all his life. Always coming back to the fact, he was a werewolf, and he let it dictate his life, until Harry that was. Now here he was, a father to James son, and about to have twins, had a mate, and was good friends with his unborn children's mother. He couldn't have asked for more really.
"Commendable," he added, not wishing for his words to be misconstrued which could happen, nobody could read his thoughts after all.
"If you had wanted to be an Elder, when would you have said it appeared before you dismissed the reality of it?" Harry asked, a small grin on his face, what could he say, he liked teasing when he felt like it.
Storm's mouth plucked up, as she valiantly attempted to stop herself laughing. She'd forgotten how well he was at this. She had grown very fond of him, not that she'd reveal that much to anyone. "It would be when I first swore my oath to the Prince Lord and his consort." She'd dismissed it almost directly afterward, it wasn't a progressively thinking clan, although, in all other regards it was. Although, treason was still dealt the same harsh way, and she believed that was for the best. If you begin forgiving traitors and letting them, go, you were just asking to be killed.
Harry's head cocked to the side, "Which set?" he added cheekily, but it was a genuine question. Storm was a vampire, she could have lived for centuries – she hadn't really – for all he knew.
"Lord Glenn and Rose," Storm replied, having to stop herself from her usual 'My Lord Consort' as he was. He had made it more than clear she was just in an interview at the moment. She was nothing if not perfectly content to follow orders, especially that one. "I have been in five clans since my…rebirth."
"Cool," Harry muttered in awe, he would definitely be discussing this with her further, but not right now.
"If you had to chose between being an Elder and a Guard, which would you choose?" Remus then asked after a few moments.
Storm's lips pursed, a thoughtful look being adopted to her face on purpose. "Frankly? I do not know, and I am not sure which one I would pick if the opportunity rose. I always like to challenge myself, and don't get me wrong, I love being a guard, but I do like change as well."
"You're becoming bored, and you need your intellect challenged." Harry stated, staring at Storm with a knowing look on his face.
"Yes, yes you could say that," Storm agreed. "I don't do well when I am bored, when every day is the same. The drudgery can make me feel like I'm stuck in the petrification spell." unable to move, scream, shout, rage. It was stifling, she'd known there would be a bit of normality to their routine but not to this extent. Then again, she hadn't expected her Lord's Consort to get pregnant almost right away.
"Have you told, Severus?" Harry asked, slipping up and using his name which wasn't too bad considering it was a private meeting. "I mean your Lord?" rolling his eyes at himself, glancing at Remus who sniggered quietly.
"No, it's not my place, but know if it becomes detrimental I will stand down." Storm swore, magic flaring, showing her sincerity.
Harry nodded his head grinning; he couldn't wait until he could do stuff like that. The older the vampire the better control they had over their magic. It all depended on just how powerful their magical core was. He could imagine just how awesome he and Severus were going to be in a couple of centuries. He knew they weren't lousy when it came to magic. "I know." He declared seriously, showing that he knew Storm well enough to know she would do the right thing. Always.
Storm relaxed at that proclamation, pleased that she was trusted so.
Then again, one does need trust when you were literally putting your lives in their hands potentially every time, they left the safety of the castle.
"If you were to be given the post of an Elder, what would your first implementation on the job?" Remus asked, noticing how pleased she was at Harry's approval. It meant a lot to him that they genuinely cared about him and his word.
Harry nodded, also curious to know the answer to that question.
"I'd give the clan a little more power, more of a say, put it to a vote where we all partake not just the Elders." Storm confessed, feeling no shame over her suggestion, staring resolutely at Harry. The changes affected all of them, so yes, she believed a few Elders shouldn't have a say over the thousand others under the Prince clan banner.
"Can I ask, have you given any variation of such a request in any form, speech, written or suggested to the Elders?" Harry asked, his tone grim, suspecting he already knew the answer but seeking the truth all the same.
"Honestly?" Storm asked bluntly.
"I demand to know," Harry retorted immediately, knowing it might be the only way to get a real answer. She wouldn't lie to her Lord's consort. Even if it meant going against members of her own clan. They after all swore allegiance to Lord Severus Prince and later Lord Severus' consort, aka him.
"Then yes, we've put the suggestion to the Elders multiple times, many times before Lord Severus took over, and then again since." Storm declared, the words slipping out without much thought going into them.
Remus growled lowly, why was it that people in positions of power liked to abuse it? Instead of using it for the betterment of all? It just went to show that people should never be in power too long, otherwise it corrupts them. That's if they'd started out decent in the first place and not become Elders just for the position of power in the first place.
Harry muttered angrily under his breathe, "Let me guess…" he sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose tiredly. "Gideon?"
"He's the de facto leader of the Elders despite the fact there really isn't an actual title or role for such a thing." Storm explained, tone slightly dry.
Harry nodded, "I've noticed," he confessed, out of them all, he was the Elder that spoke out the most. "Although, I have wondered if the others feel as he does or if they are of the belief that he holds the Elder court as if it is independent from the clan."
"That bad?" Remus asked alarmed, he naturally knew most of everything going on here. Harry wrote to him frequently, and when they weren't writing he was visiting. He'd made sure to do so since he never wanted his son to think for a minute because he had biological children that he was somehow not important. Harry was his world, he'd taught him to really live, not just survive. Taught him to have pride in his wolf, somehow Harry had accomplished the impossible, something not even Lily, James and Sirius in all their acceptance and love hadn't accomplished.
"Oh, yes," Harry nodded emphatically. "That bad." He reiterated Remus' own words back at him.
Remus winced grimacing a little.
Storm remained silent on that front, even if she was in complete agreement.
"What would be the most important thing for you if you gained the job, unless it's the same as your earlier answer." Harry queried.
"There's a lot of changes I'd love to see come to light," Storm answered sincerely, "If I can manage to make one or two happen, I'd be delighted."
"Good answer," Remus murmured, slightly impressed.
Storm smiled, far more genuine than it had been when she first entered the room. Inclining her head in silent thanks for the compliment. She wasn't saying it to get the position or cosy up to them. She genuinely meant it, to make any change, however small, would be a blessing and not to forget a miracle.
However Harry Potter was a miracle, he was nothing like any previous consort. Lord Severus hadn't been raised in this lifestyle; thus, he didn't kowtow to the Elders. They were the change the clan needed, the change witches and female vampires sought.
She couldn't be surprised if their reputation drew vampires from all over the world in hopes of joining such a progressive clan with the likes nobody had ever seen in the vampire world.
She was going to be a part of that, and she couldn't help but desire a bigger and better part. Although, taking care of Harry and making sure he was safe was no small part, it was an invisible one. She was expected to look after him and fight for him, with no thanks, whereas in the Elders she'd be actually making changes, the desire had begun and heightened slowly overtime.
"I want to be part of something new, not just in the background," Storm added, slightly ashamed of herself for her confession. "I'd love to be able to do both, serve and herald in a new era…and I can do that if given the chance." Oh, she could do both, but she didn't think for a second, she'd be given the opportunity to do both.
"Ambition, I think I know now why Sev accepted you in the advanced guard," Harry said with amusement, Severus admired ambitious people. He'd grown up around them from the age of eleven. That was Slytherin's for you though, and ambitious people could go far. "Well, that and your abilities." He hastened to add belatedly realizing how it sounded.
Storm had been offended, but she wouldn't – not even in private – dare vocalise her displeasure at his words. She couldn't ever forget that he was and would remain for some time, her Lords consort. She did feel better when it became clear it was just a tiny misunderstanding. "I am greatly ambitious, yes," and she saw no reason to hide that desire.
Harry leaned back, "What would you do with the current Elders if given the choice?" crossing his legs, arms on his lap as he stared.
"I don't believe in useless speculation," Storm stated diplomatically, like she'd be foolish to get into all that. No, she knew better.
"If you were me, what would you do about the Elders?" his tone become firmer.
Storm pursed her lips, sighing softly, nodding her head in resignation, "I would make more Elders to begin with, lessen their power, make sure they understood that they weren't better than the rest of the clan regardless of age."
"It's to my understanding that all Elders aren't necessarily the oldest, is that not, correct?" Remus asked, his amber eyes filled with a little confusion and befuddlement.
"That's true," Storm agreed, "They're amongst the ancients, but there are dozens I can actually name off the top of my head that are older than them and then some." Glancing to her left when she caught movement, relaxing when it was only Remus lifting his cup of coffee to his lips. She was hypervigilant.
"Just because you're ancient doesn't mean you're mature," Harry said, scowling at the mere thought of Gideon, he hated the Elder so much. He did grin just recalling Severus' statement that he could get rid of him. Of course, Harry wanted to do it as publicly as possible and in the most humiliating manner to ensure the vampire gained some humility. He needed to learn modesty by any means necessary.
Remus coughed, "Do you have any questions for us?" reminding them of the fact this was an interview.
"How long until I'd find out if I've got the position?" Storm asked, leaning forward curiously. She hadn't had to wait when she fought the others for a position on the guard, first female too at that.
"Not long," Harry said, a thoughtful look on his face.
Remus glanced at Harry curiously, wondering what he was thinking and doing. He was certainly changing his tune, and when his son got into thoughtful mode…it didn't bode well for everyone that's for certain.
"Days, weeks or months?" Storm asked, seeking clarification.
"Days or weeks, definitely not months," Harry stated, if he had his way, he'd have it all sorted within the next week or so.
Storm narrowed her eyes, noticing the mischievous look on his face, normally that didn't bode well for anyone.
"Thank you for coming, we'll let you know," Remus informed her, standing up, Storm automatically did as well.
Remus saw Storm out of the room, closing the door behind her softly. He knew better than to startle the guards, and it would startle her if he slammed it. Given how she'd reacted to him moving to get the coffee…he wasn't sure if she was hypervigilant due to her duties, or if it was more of a trauma response.
"What are you planning, now?" Remus questioned his son; he didn't normally change his mind quite so much. He usually saw his decided course and stayed it.
"Nothing much, I'm just really contemplating the idea of not only quadrupling the Elder numbers but making sure they're equal men and women. I've already got permission to kick Gideon to the curb." Harry said, scratching his ear absently, "Might be the change they're all looking for…it's no coincidence they've all given round about the same answer especially when they answered what they'd do."
They'd be smart enough not to give the same answer word for word.
"You think they're working an angle?" Remus questioned thoughtfully.
"I think they're desperate for change," Harry refuted the idea they were betraying anyone let alone their own clan. "It seems this clan has come close to change the most that people are far more comfortable joining a clan that offers them more."
"Or you could be looking at it all wrong," Remus pointed out.
"Maybe," Harry agreed, he'd never know for sure, nobody would admit to it, but he knew they had likely discussed a lot when the opportunity to apply for the job came up.
A knock on the door interrupted them, as Alfred walked in, "Your next class." He reminded the young consort.
"I guess you'll be heading home?" Harry asked, grinning wickedly, "Give Tonks my best." Taunting him with her.
"You'll be the same, just you wait," Remus pointed out wryly, gazing at the flat stomach of his son. It would likely remain flat, with perhaps just a little bulge. Every male pregnancy was different, and it was still a rare thing for males to actually willingly want.
"Maybe," Harry shrugged, he liked to think he had a firm grip of his emotions. He'd had no choice, otherwise the Dursley's would have killed him for sure.
Only Harry would underestimate the hormones that wreak havoc with women who are used to it never mind him who did not have a clue.
Remus chuckled, "You really don't have a clue, do you?" shaking his head fondly, nothing would convince his son of it until he experienced it either.
Alfred coughed, reminding them of his presence here in the room and why.
"I'm coming," Harry said with a sigh, "I guess I'll deal with all that later." That being the Elder and everything he was planning.
"I could help if you like?" Remus questioned, "I do wish to read a book or two in the vault before I return, I promised to give Tonks and Kingsley time to themselves."
Harry's eyebrows rose in surprise, "You're staying the night?" he asked, as he grabbed his work books and box that held his ink, quill, charcoal, and coloured pencils and such.
"As long as I can, I'll be meeting Sirius at the Leaky Cauldron at ten," Remus smiled, "We're just going to stay the night there." he knew his son didn't like Sirius, as much as he made an effort for him, he wasn't going to force him.
"Alright, I'll meet you at the vault after I'm done," Harry told him, it would give him a few more hours with his dad before he had to leave. "I've missed you." Moving towards him and hugging him.
"I've missed you too, pup," Remus hugged him back just as tightly. "Go on, best not make your professor annoyed." He'd be annoyed yes, but he wouldn't do a damn thing. None of the people educating Harry for his NEWTs actually would. Least not if they valued their lives.
"I'll see you later," Harry said, rushing out with his needed items.
"Bye," Remus called out, aware that Harry would hear him.
"What's the chance of Severus actually finishing on time tonight?" Harry asked Alfred, as they made for the other side of the castle where his education was seen to.
"As always, it's fifty-fifty," Alfred replied, "You've got a mock exam after this instead of a lesson for history of magic, your professor couldn't make it family emergency." He didn't elaborate on that, and Harry wasn't interested in hearing why or who.
"And after that?" Harry asked, "The usual?"
"Normal schedule after that, yes," Alfred answered, opening the door for Harry before he could reach for it.
The professor glanced up, but remained seated, waiting for Harry to finish.
"When does Severus finish for the evening?" Harry asked, as they were vampires their schedules weren't from 6am to 7pm or anything like that. They didn't need to sleep; thus, their schedules were to a human's standard absolutely insane. Although, his wasn't anywhere near as crazy as Severus' thankfully.
"He has meetings until twelve, then meetings in four, five and six o'clock." Alfred informed him, giving the schedule a glance to make sure he was right. Naturally, he was, he hadn't made a mistake a day in his life when it comes to their all important schedules.
Harry nodded, "Put me down for Diagon Alley tomorrow, I want to visit it."
"Diagon Alley? There's only one place worse, that's Knockturn Alley, can't I convince you to go to Celestial Market?" Alfred more than a little hopeful, but knowing that Harry would likely deny him.
"Where's that?" Harry asked, more than a little curious, setting his books and box aside.
"It's one of the biggest magical world's markets, they sell everything from sweets, clothes, homewares and even second hand wands." Alfred explained, "It also happens to be in France, but it's primarily an English-speaking district."
"Why there?" Harry asked, "A market must be seriously busier than Diagon Alley." Knowing why they wanted him to go somewhere else. they'd stand out like a sore thumb, and given the fact he was already going during the weekend to meet with Blaise and Theo, he knew they didn't want to do two trips likely. The oftener they were there, the greater the risk of becoming predictable. Given Harry's delicate status, he didn't want that happening.
Thankfully the professor couldn't reveal anything that was said. The vow they took was highly restrictive, Severus wasn't about to let anyone harm his mate.
"Diagon Alley is tightly confined, the market has a lot of room, and less blind spots." Alfred stated honestly.
"Alright, I'll give it a go," Harry shrugged, he just wanted to look for baby things, the excitement he felt at the life growing in him, the lives growing in him swelled each day. "That's all, thank you, Alfred." Taking a seat at his usual desk, settling in, as always sorely missing his friends, but he could wait until the weekend.
Alfred gave a nod, before he closed the door, nodding to the guard that was watching over Harry whilst he was educated.
Given how far he'd come in such a short time, he knew he'd be ready to take his tests soon enough.
Harry was exceptionally intelligent.
As were his friends actually, he'd picked them well.
Alfred strode through the castle; it was time for Severus' next meeting with Matt Samuels.
Luckily it was one of their calmer days.
A/N – I go ages without updating, struggling to get a chapter out then the next day I get one out in two days…I swear I'm totally contrary when I don't mean to be lol 😊 but there we go! What do you think? Do you want to see Gideon removed and everyone's reaction or will it only be discussed afterwards? Do you want to see Theo and Blaise as well and Harry in Diagon Alley or will it be more about the castle and vampire side of things? So many ways it can go, so little time 😊 but it has been fun writing this I'll admit 😉 it's not high on the muse chain but it's a gentle simmer which might just be better overall 😉 remember to read and review please