Summary: Harry is married to Ginny but not as happy as he had expected to be. Dobby thinks that The Great Wizard Harry Potter Sir is in danger of being very unhappy indeed in the not too distant future - but he has a 'brilliant plan' to fix the problem; however, he needs a potion from Master Potions Master Snape to put his plan into action. Crack fic. Pre slash, well, maybe. *Chapter 1*: Dobby's Plan
I should be the happiest wizard in Britain, I certainly should…but… well… let me make this quite clear, I love my wife, I adore my Ginny of the melting brown eyes and flaming hair ... ah, but I have no need to describe her looks to you, you must have seen photos of her in The Prophet, The Quibbler and various Quidditch magazines often enough; hardly a day goes by without something being written about her, the reporters and photographers are all fascinated by her, obsessed by her it seems: her beauty, the speed and skill she displays as Seeker for the Holyhead Harpies, her quick wit—a wit honed by years of defending herself from the teasing of her brothers—and she is always happy to talk to the fans and journalists too, whether it is just a throw-away line as she walks by or a full interview. Ginny is a resounding success both as a Society wife and as a sportswoman. The traditional pure-bloods who thought that a 'blood traitor' from a poor family should not aspire to marry one of the richest and most powerful wizards in Britain have certainly been proven wrong. As Snape once remarked to me, "They have been confounded."
The Wizarding public can never seem to get enough of her. Me they are a little in awe of; it's painfully obvious that some of them are actually afraid of me. I hate that, really detest it: do they think I'm going to AK them just because I have killed a few dark wizards? Heck, that was to protect them!
Ginny says everyone prefers to speak to her rather than to me because I make their fear worse, because when anyone does gather up enough courage to speak to me I never say very much back to them, and that makes me seem even more unapproachable, but that's not my fault. I do not have the gift of the gab that she is blessed with; besides, I hate all the publicity. Ginny usually adds that they talk about her because she is my wife and so she receives reflected glory without any of the 'scary power'. That is mostly nonsense: yes, the BWL fame does seem to fascinate them, and I am more powerful than other wizards, and there may be some 'reflected glory' on her perhaps, but mostly they want to interview and photograph her because she is beautiful, charismatic, and a Quidditch star; she sells papers. Since the Harpies contracted her they have done better than they have for many years, and their gates have surpassed all previous records.
Since falling for Ginny, I have never wanted any other witch—any other woman, for that matter. That is why I should be the happiest wizard in Britain; I have a beautiful wife whom everyone loves and who loves me, and we have three adorable children… but… well, I must admit, I am not completely happy. There is a nasty little voice in my head that whispers that if Ginny really loved me and the children as much as she says she does, then she wouldn't want to go out so much, especially as she knows I prefer to be at home and that I do not like the public's reaction when we do go out, that she would want to stay home with the children more than she does. Sometimes that small voice adds that her love for me depends a great deal on that fame of mine, and the ample Galleons in my vaults. But I shouldn't blame her for the money thing; yes, Ginny does enjoy being able to spend freely after a comparatively poor childhood when every Knut had to be accounted for, of course she does: who wouldn't? For that matter, the same is true of me; we both had no money as children and so we appreciate it now.
I suppose that my dissatisfaction is mainly my own fault; it really stems from the fact that our marriage is not how I'd once expected it to be. I suppose, too, that I should have talked more to Ginny about what we both expected out of the marriage before we made the final decision. Though the truth is, whatever she'd wanted out of the marriage, I still would have married her. As I said before, I love her; I loved her then and I love her now.
What I expected, what I thought, what I blindly assumed without any evidence to back it up, was that she would be more maternal when we had kids, and would dislike a hectic social life as much as I do. Stupidly, with no real reason to think it at all, I thought that she would somehow become more like her mother and want to spend as much time as possible at home with the children. It turns out that with the possible exception of Charlie, her brothers are more like Molly in that way than she is. Ginny would much rather go out partying or to play Quidditch than stay at home with me and the children. Since Lily was a couple of months old, Ginny's need to socialise has become stronger than ever. It is as if a healer has told her that she has only six months to live so she wants to pack as much into that six months as possible. I admit that a few months ago, strongly suspecting something of that sort and therefore being worried out of my mind, I visited her healer and, with the help of a handy but, er, slightly illegal charm that is only a few degrees short of an Imperius, plus a couple of drops of Veritaserum, cross-examined her on my wife's health. Well, apparently Ginny is healthier than I am.
I utterly refuse to hire a live-in nanny, as Ginny has suggested; if we did that, Ginny would never stay at home; nor do I intend to continue to leave the children with Molly and Arthur more than once a week, however keen they are to have them, nor with Dobby and Kreacher, good though they are with the kids. They need their mum. At the moment we have reached a shaky compromise: we go out together and leave them with Molly and Arthur twice a week and once a week with Dobby and Kreacher. On another night Ginny goes out with the girls and I look after them. That leaves two evenings on which either both of us stay at home with them or I stay and she goes out; usually she goes out alone on at least one of those evenings.
Neither of us is really happy with that; I think we should both be home more, at least in the evenings, perhaps just go out together one night a week, and Ginny is grumpy and resentful at not being permitted to go to all the events to which we are invited. If we did that, we would hardly ever be home at all. I find the arrangement both annoying and incomprehensible. It is not as if days and evenings with the children are boring; during the day we often take them to places such as the zoo, give them flying lessons, or visit friends who have children, and in the evenings it is pleasant to play games such as Exploding Snap or teach the two older ones chess or a few household charms. James has learned chess amazingly quickly; he is actually better than I am at chess—not that that is saying much at all—but he even trounced his uncle Ron on two occasions, at which Ron declared that he should think of becoming a professional chess player, just as Ron himself is now.
The kids are fantastic: beautiful, bright and funny, so I just do not understand Ginny's need to spend so much time away from them and with other people, most of whom probably only like us because we are famous, when she could be being entertained by the children. Ginny says that I'm unreasonable and we should enjoy ourselves while we are still young. I agree about the enjoying ourselves, just not about what is enjoyable and what isn't.
The other evening she told me "You have got so bloody used to everyone hanging on every little word you say, doing everything and anything that you order them to, or just suggest to them, that you expect me to behave the same way!"
In arguments with Ginny, I always try to remain cool, quiet and logical: well, that is the theory, at least; somehow I always manage to add a few quiet comments that act like the classic red rag to a bull. From memory, my reply that time was along the lines of, "Okay, some people, a few, do tend to behave like that around me, so there might be a smidgeon of truth in what you are saying, but nowhere near as much as you say there is. Besides, I never—well almost never, actually order you to do anything much—well, except be a good mother for a change." I was going all right until that last bit. Yes, well, diplomacy is not my strong suit.
"You bastard! I am a great mother, but I am not, repeat NOT, a clone of my own brood cow of a mother."
My brain-dead reply to that was; "More's the pity!"
"You sexist pig…! You want me to stagnate at home, think of nothing but having kids and cooking, just basically have no life at all… No fear, not me. Mum was a champion duellist once, before she gave it all up to have kids and play 'Mummy'. Look at her now, all fat and frumpy."
She was flushed almost to the same colour as her hair, not a good look. I fingered my wand, preparing to shield myself from an imminent and stronger than usual Bat-bogey Hex.
"No, that is not what I want at all. A happy medium would be good." I said quietly. "For god's sake, I don't want you to be exactly like Molly, that's just nasty. All I want is an attentive mother for our kids, one who actually likes to be with them, whose kids are her first priority; surely, that is not too much to ask!"
Well, between ourselves, that was not completely true, of course, or rather, it was true but incomplete; I also wanted a wife who wanted to be with me most of the time, who paid more attention to me, attention that did not always have to be just because she wanted sex… Heck, I better shut up, I sound like some poor ignored wife whinging about her sex-obsessed husband. Actually, though, the sex thing was part of it, or it had been until lately. It was a problem we'd had until a few months ago. I think I am a man with a reasonably normal sexual appetite: a couple of times in twenty four hours seems plenty to me, but it was not enough for Ginny, and that caused quite a few arguments. However, Ginny seems to have settled down about that; at least, she has not mentioned it for a while now.
Severus Salazar Snape, Order of Merlin C1, pure-blood, Potions Master, widely recognised as the foremost practitioner of his art in Britain, respected, intensely disliked, ex-Death Eater, ex spy, ex professor of Potions, war hero, possessor of a Roman nose to be reckoned with and a face that had been known to frighten small children into hysterics, owner of a manor of tasteful splendour, master of biting sarcasm and the acerbic riposte, stared unseeing through his bedroom window, then grimaced, shrugged, and strode into his adjoining study.
Working as a Potions Master specialising in research as he had been since the war, while often satisfying intellectually, was not proving as enjoyable and exciting as he had fondly imagined it to be when he had been the reluctant purveyor of his art to ungrateful, unappreciative and dunderheaded students. Truth to tell, although he was perhaps not entirely ready to admit it to himself, he was bored. He missed the adrenaline rush of spying on a dangerously psychotic dark lord, he even missed having dunderheaded students to intimidate and upon which to sharpen his wit. Even a Neville Longbottom to blow up a cauldron or two of unstable and hazardous potions might not have been entirely unwelcome. The two research assistants he employed now were competent and highly unlikely to explode a cauldron more than a couple of times in a decade.
He sighed and reached for his bottle of Firewhiskey, only to nearly drop it as a house-elf popped into existence beside him.
"Winton!" He said furiously. "You cotton-brained fool! I have told you before – do not ever…" Then realising that it was not his young elf Winton, he stopped.
"Who the hell are you?" 'And how the hell did you breach my wards?' he thought.
"Hello, Master Potions Master Sir. I be Dobby. You remembers Dobby, Sir?"
"Yes, Dobby the Daft, yes, unfortunately, I do remember you. Just what do you think you are doing, popping in here…"
"Dobby be free elf but Dobby do impooortant jobs for Great Master Harry Potter Sir!" Dobby stated proudly, his ears held high and wide. He nodded significantly. "Master Harry Potter Sir need helps from Master Potions Master Sir."
Severus Snape felt a shiver of something that felt remarkably like dread run down his spine. "Harry? Something wrong with him? Tell me at once, you cretin…"
Dobby frowned. "Youse be quiet! Dobby need helps for Harry Potter Sir! Youse give Dobby potion so Dobby can make Harry Potter Sir happy. He not sick but Dobby must make happy." The hyperactive elf was bobbing up and down and at the same time nodding his head fast and out of sync with his bobbing body.
"Stand still! Stop bobbing around in that ridiculous fashion. Did Potter send you?"
"No no! Youse not listen. Dobby's idea all by hisself."
Snape sank into the nearest chair and took a deep breath. "Settle down. Now, slowly and quietly, tell me your story, right from the beginning."
Dobby quietened at the schoolmaster-ish tone, then jumped onto the table and seated himself on the edge of it, legs dangling and swinging. "Dobby baby elf many times ago. Dobby bad master Malfoy's elf for ages, lots of ages, but Great Master Harry Potter Sir save Dobby, yes he did! The Great Harry…" He broke off reluctantly as Snape interrupted him.
"I do not wish to hear your melodramatic and pathetic life history, you imbecilic manikin; I wish to hear only that which pertains to this visit."
Dobby felt indignant but manfully, elffully, did not point out that Master Potions Master Snape had asked for his story 'right from the beginning'. He stared at Snape and, assuming an air of high significance, announced, "Great Wizard Master Harry Potter Sir be married."
"Of course he is, you fool, he has been married for years; he even has three rug rats to prove the matter."
Dobby shook his head and held up his hand; pointing a long forefinger at Snape, he said, "Mrs Harry Potter Sir bad very naughty Weazy! Dobby know. Dobby seen it. The Great Wizard Harry Potter sad if he know too. So Dobby fix!"
Severus Snape felt that foreboding shiver curl around his spine again. House-elves were extremely powerful magical creatures; moreover, they lacked common sense to an even greater degree than did most wizards. The consequences of this free elf, unrestrained by any bond to a master, and acting solely in accordance with the dictates of his own brain, hardly bore thinking of.
"Tell me, elf. Tell me slowly. What has Ginevra Potter done, and what, exactly, have you done to 'fix' it?"
"Mistress Ginny Potter naughty with bad wizards! Master Harry not knows. He love bad naughty mistress, so very sad when he know."
Snape had heard, but almost immediately discounted, several rumours that Ginny Potter was not as faithful to the marriage bed as she should be. Surely no witch married to a man as magically powerful as Potter would ever want a lesser wizard. Now, to hear that those rumours might be founded in fact astonished him, and Potter must indeed still be oblivious to any hanky-panky, as there had been no reports of any enormous magical flares. Had the witch no sense of self-preservation! And that she had discovered even one, let alone more than one, wizard foolhardy enough to rut with her was also astonishing. Snape was no coward, not at all, but had he been both of the heterosexual persuasion and intensely attracted to Mrs Potter, he neither would nor could have braved the wrath of a jealous, betrayed and vengeful Harry Potter. 'Merlin's beard, the man was the strongest magic user in generations; of course… there was the fact that he was also notoriously soft-hearted, he might allow both Ginny and her lovers to get away with cuckolding him… but then again, he seemed besotted with his wife: could he maintain control of his magic if he discovered her betrayal? Now, there's a question.'
It was obvious that something must be done to save them all from an out-of-control Potter, but what? And what had this elf done that he thought had fixed the problem?
Before he could say anything, Dobby spoke. "Dobby punish bad naughty witch, yes Dobby has. Bad witch not bad now. Please youse give potion to Dobby."
"Just what have you done? No punishment will guarantee her faithfulness you fool… unless you've… what exactly have you done to her?"
"Dobby throwed naughty witch out window!"
Evidently the elf's freedom had fried whatever modicum of sanity he'd once possessed.
"While I am all admiration for your dedication to what you no doubt feel is your duty, mere defenestration is far too lenient a punishment. It will have done nothing to rectify the dangerous situation. Unless… I trust that at least you defenestrated the chit from an upper story?"
"Dobby defrer… toss bad Weazy from first floor, from balcony window."
"An improvement on a ground floor window, I grant you; however, the damage must be minimal, hardly ..."
Dobby interrupted. "Dobby took balcony to Mt Etna first."
"Ah, resourceful of you, you evil creature," Snape said admiringly; he was starting realise that he might have underestimated the small elf. I cannot fault your logic in concluding that the moronic bint needed punishment, for sheer stupidity if nothing else, but volcano-isation was perhaps a tad extreme. Moreover, a few moment's thought, or prior consultation with me, would have informed you that I could provide a potion to make Ginny fall back in love with Potter and cease any extramarital activities.
Dobby's ears wilted.
Snape continued, "Your ill-considered disposal of Mrs Potter creates several serious problems that I doubt you have addressed. I cannot pretend any degree of respectable grief or horror at her demise; however, its discovery will render the ridiculously besotted Potter as unhappy as discovery of her adultery would have done, perhaps more so. Also, it will be extensively investigated, probably by Potter himself. I trust you are prepared for him to kill you slowly and painfully?"
Dobby had understood enough of that to respond. He smiled. "Dobby punished naughty Weazy, now Dobby has more clever plan. Master Potions Master Sir gives Dobby potion. Potion will make Great Wizard Harry Potter Sir happy."
"I assure you there is no potion strong enough to overcome Potter's grief and anger… unless you're thinking of…"
"Dobby has naughty witch hair; Dobby cut it off first." Dobby fossicked in his tunic and extracted a thick long plait of red hair.
"As I suspected, your ridiculous plan is to Polyjuice someone using Ginevra's hair and have her take Ginevra's place, a nonsensical plan, and one fraught with problems. In any case, how do you imagine that would improve Potter's marriage and happiness? Admittedly, there are possibly thousands of witches who would be delighted to be his wife, probably even to the extent of being willing to take Polyjuice to achieve it; however, the witch may be as sexually frisky as the one she replaces, and in any case sipping Polyjuice every hour for each twenty-four-hour day is totally impractical."
There was a more recent variation of Polyjuice, as Snape well knew since it was one of his own developments, but it was not one he had yet made available to the public, if in fact he ever did. On first taking the uninspiringly named Polyjuice 11, the effects lasted between fifty-five and sixty hours, but consistent regular dosage over a six-week period would render those effects semi-permanent.
"Master Potions Master think Dobby must interview many many witches. No, no, Dobby not stupid. Dobby take Polyjuice hisself." Dobby was congratulating himself for his own cleverness.
Snape nearly choked trying to hold back laughter. "You cretinous elf! How long do you imagine it would be before even the virtually blind and ever-oblivious Potter knows you are not only not his wife, but also has identifies you as Dobby the house-elf? When you first open your mouth, the lack of grammar will identify your breed, not to mention that it would be a mere matter of minutes before you forgot your role, bowed, and called him 'Great Master Harry Potter Sir'."
Dobby opened his mouth, left it hanging open, and stared at Snape. He was gobsmacked, crestfallen. His[H1] ears drooped again and his eyes started to water. He was utterly confounded; he could see that the Master Potions Master was so so so right; what a stupid stupid stupid elf he was. He should have known that his 'clever plan' was very very bad plan, very stupid plan. He jumped off the table, ran to the wall and started to bang his head against it.
Snape grabbed his shoulders and pulled him away from the wall. "Cease your caterwauling and stop damaging my wall. Sit there." Snape lifted and thrust him, none too gently, back onto the table top.
Snape was not particularly troubled by the fact that Dobby had murdered Ginny; he was not a particularly moral man, nor had he been fond of the woman, particularly now he knew that she had been cuckolding Potter. Potter deserved better than that.… Ah, yes… Potter… the situation created by the insane elf, while deplorable of course, might be redeemable in a manner to his own advantage, might allow him to achieve, to some degree, an ambition he had previously dismissed as hopeless.
He thought for a short while longer and then turned to Dobby, who had become quiet but was still shaking. "Now, listen to me, elf. Perhaps all is not yet lost."
At that, Dobby calmed further, and turned huge and hopeful eyes up at Snape.
"There may be an iota of merit in your plan, though it requires adjustment, adjustment which I am prepared to provide. I shall take the Polyjuice." Snape said.
Dobby was overwhelmed with relief. He jumped down from the table and hugged Snape around the knees. "Thank you, thank you, Master Potions Master Sir, you is true friend to Great Wizard Harry Potter Sir."
"Yes… yes… but stop that, stop that at once." Snape ordered, while trying to pull Dobby's arms from around his legs. "Back onto the table with you… that's better[H2] .
"I have no particular desire to protect you from either Potter's or the law's rightful retribution; however, to allow it would necessitate Potter's knowing that his wife was dead, in which case he would become both inconsolable and extremely dangerous. Neither do I have any intention of having to nurse the young fool through some long-drawn-out mourning period. Therefore, I see no option but to abet you in your foolish crime by dosing myself with Polyjuice and acting as his wife."
Snape was well satisfied and congratulating himself, his boredom of less than half an hour ago forgotten. Yes, it was obviously his duty to protect Harry from heartbreak, and the Wizarding public from the considerable danger of a grief-stricken and wildly out-of-control mage… so he was selflessly prepared to sacrifice his own time and homosexual preferences in that cause… nor was he likely to get into Potter's pants, or in this case, Potter into his, in any other way, as Potter was lamentably straight. Experiencing heterosexual intercourse—or what would be from a physical point of view at least be heterosexual intercourse—would be odd, very odd, as would the basic fact of being in a female body… but in any case, he had always much preferred to bottom.
I'm rather worried about Harry and Ginny. Actually, I am rather annoyed with them both; they are both acting like idiots. Harry seemed to be so happy when they were first married—they both did. They were obviously deeply in love, or at least deeply in lust; they could not keep their hands off each other. However, since the babies started coming, things have changed. Harry seems to be so focussed on the children that he hardly notices her any more, and Ginny spends most of her days either playing Quidditch or shopping, and her evenings out with the girls.
Ginny and I have never been great friends, but these last few years, thrust together as we have been by Ron and Harry's friendship, we have become much closer than we used to be, to the extent that she sometimes talks about and complains to me about Harry. The gist of her complaints seems to be that, though Harry is still amazing when he does make love to her, he does not want sex very often, never wants to go out, and is so besotted by the kids, especially Lily, that she might as well be just the housekeeper.
I think Ginny is jealous of her own children and she is definitely not very motherly. She can't completely help how she feels, of course, though I think that she should make some effort to be a better mother, whatever she feels or does not feel, and Molly and Harry between them certainly adore the children so much that it makes up for Ginny's indifference to a great extent. However, as I have often told her, ignoring her children and nagging Harry to go out more is not the best way to endear herself to him and get more of his time and attention. Quite the opposite: I should know, I admit that I used to do more than my share of nagging and trying to boss Harry, and it never worked.
To some extent, Harry, too, confides in me. He does love Ginny, at least he tells me he does; he says that he adores her. I've told him that Ginny is probably insecure; it can't be easy to be married to someone who is the object of so many teenage witches' and wizards' fantasies, so she needs more of his attention, but all he said was, "If she were home more, I'd give it to her."
Then, about three weeks ago, I found out something that has made me stop feeling just annoyance with Ginny, or any pity for her at all. I am now completely furious with her. She is unaware that I now know that many of her nights 'out with the girls' are in fact nights 'out with the boys'.
Knowing that is tearing me apart—for many reasons. Ginny is an utter fool to risk hurting and losing Harry, the best and kindest wizard in the world in my opinion, just because she is getting less attention and sex than she wants. As for me, should I just mind my own business and say nothing to anyone? I can't decide if being a good friend to Harry means I must tell him what I know, or if being a good friend means I should make sure he never knows. I just can't stop thinking about it and it is keeping me awake at night. I shudder to think what Harry would be like, what the consequences for us all might be, for that matter, if I did tell him or, even worse, if he got wind of it some other way.
I have told no one so far, not even Ron—particularly not Ron, in fact, because he would tell Harry at once, I think—though sometimes I think I could stop him racing off to do just that by pointing out to him the consequences for his sister if Harry knew she had been playing around. Maybe I could get him to give Ginny a good talking to… but no, she has never taken much, if any, notice of what Ron says to her. If only I had a discreet friend whom I could ask for advice about it: what to do about it, if anything.
I am due to 'do lunch' with Ginny soon, as we do once a month, so perhaps I can at least give her some advice as to how to get her marriage back on track before it completely crashes, and we all crash with it.
Two fortnights later:
Good news! Unexpected good news. Something has changed again in the Potter household. I had worked out in detail everything I intended to say to Ginny when we lunched together, so I was put out when she did not show up at the restaurant. She did not even Floo-call me to apologise or explain why she had not been able to come. However, later that same day, I was just coming out of Flourish and Blotts with several books under my arm when I caught sight of Harry and Ginny, who were walking together, and they were so absorbed in each other that they passed right by without noticing me. They were disguised, of course, both wearing long cloaks, dark glasses and Harry had some sort of cap low over his forehead, but their hands were bare. Harry had his arm around her shoulders and she was laughing up at him, just like the Ginny of a few years ago. I stayed back out of sight, then wandered along behind them, and observed them discreetly for a while as they window-shopped. They seemed totally engrossed in each other. That made me feel great: ecstatic at the probability that they had overcome their problems and rather proud that I may have helped with what I had told Harry, that I had had some success as their marriage guidance counsellor. Something seemed a bit different about Ginny in particular, but then I realised that it was because she was acting,—well, they both were, really—as if they had fallen in love all over again.
At that point I decided to say hello, so I walked closer—not too close, as startling Harry was never advisable—and said, "Hello, you two."
They turned to me. "Oh. Hello, Hermione," Harry exclaimed. "You've been buying one or two books, I see.
"How did you know it was us?" he asked.
"Really," I said, "If you wish to swan up and down Diagon Alley incognito, you should disguise your hands, and you should definitely hide those rings; they are a dead giveaway, too."
Harry laughed, passed his hands over each other and then over both of Ginny's; their hands became short and stubby and the Potter rings disappeared.
I glared, mock angrily, at Ginny. "I can see now why you stood me up," I growled.
For a split second she looked blank, then said, "Stood you up?"
"For luncheon today. At that Muggle Thai restaurant we were going to try. You can't have completely forgotten our lunch date; we do it every second Thursday in the month, after all. No, don't answer that, I guess I won't get much sense out of either of you today. Never mind, we'll go there next Thursday instead." I couldn't wait to hear the details, to find out if they were now as happy as they appeared to be.
"Ah yes, of course, sorry Hermione, I am a bit distracted today, as you've probably noticed. I had not forgotten, exactly; for some reason I was thinking today was Tuesday."
"You certainly both look happy," I smiled, trying to prompt them to tell me more about it; it worked, too, because Harry grinned at me. "We have had a long talk and we realised that we both have been acting very stupidly. Poor Ginny had a bit of an accident, but it turned out alright in the end because we talked and we understand each other better now. You see before you the new Potters. Actually, we have you to thank for most of it; I have taken your advice to heart, haven't I, Gin, and I am sure you must have been giving Ginny advice too?" Ginny looked slightly uncertain, but nodded in agreement anyway.
"I am very glad to hear it! Well, I suppose I'd better be off now… I am delighted to see you both like this again," I said.
We said our goodbyes and they invited Ron and me to dinner on Saturday. I walked away to continue my shopping, feeling much lighter of heart and mind than I had for months.
Unexpectedly meeting Mrs Hermione Weasley in Diagon Alley like that had slightly disconcerted me. Fortunately, she had assumed that my 'forgetfulness' about the luncheon date was due to Ginevra's new infatuation with Potter. Dobby, the fool, had not mentioned the Know It All and red menace's monthly luncheon dates when briefing me on the Potter household. I shall instruct the small cretin in the necessity of providing full and detailed intelligence if he wishes the continued success of our joint venture.
As we had walked back along Diagon Alley towards the Leaky Cauldron, I said to my remarkable husband (the man's expertise and stamina were phenomenal), "I have been meaning to ask you: that house-elf who is so fond of you, what's he called? Oh, yes, Dobby. Well, several times now I've found him in our kitchen, huddled down by the stove and moaning to himself. I don't think he is happy as a free elf. We should ask him if he would like to bond with us. It would give his attachment to you official recognition, and he would get a lot of power from it."
Plus, I thought, Dobby would then be constantly available for the gathering of information. It would also be convenient to have Dobby on hand to Polyjuice as either Ginevra or myself when she and Severus Snape needed to be seen together.
"Yes, the magic boost a house-elf gets from his bond with a master: plus, of course, he'd regain respect from other house-elves. They despise him now because he is a free elf; he would get that respect back if he were bonded, plus the great admiration he'd get because he was Harry Potter's elf." Having to speak in a manner I thought typical of his late wife was rather irritating. I had to remind myself of some of the benefits of being Potter's wife.
"Admiration just because he was my elf?"
"Yes, of course, don't be an idiot, darling; all the house-elves absolutely venerate you as the super-duper-powerful wizard who killed old Voldie and even got laws passed to make it illegal for their masters to be cruel to them, so, as your elf, Dobby would be envied. That you considered him good enough to belong to you would make them think he must be very special. They would regard him as virtually your representative and mouthpiece amongst them; he'd gain a tremendous degree of respect for that."
"But, well, that can't be right; I don't think they admire Kreacher all that much."
"Maybe not admire, but that's because they know you just inherited him; you didn't honour him by specially asking him to be your elf, so they probably don't admire him, but I bet they envy him because he belongs to you."
"Besides, James loves Dobby, he'd be delighted to have Dobby with us full time instead of just when you need him or when he decides to visit us himself."
"I don't like the idea of owning another house-elf, though. If it weren't for the fact that they themselves wish to be bound to masters, I would like the practice of house-elf slavery totally outlawed."
"Wish but also need," I reminded him.
"Okay, okay, I'll think about it. I'll ask Dobby if that's what he'd really like."
I was satisfied. "Thanks, love," I said, and squeezed his hand. "Come on, let's go home to the kids." Then, thinking that Harry might find Ginevra's change of attitude to the children too quick to be believable, I added, "Now I know I don't have to be jealous of your love for them, I suddenly feel quite differently about them. I did always love them, of course, it was just that you did not seem to care for me at all when they were around, and that made me miserable."
That was no lie. It was a fact that what I felt about his children was not the same emotion Ginevra had felt, and it was also, strangely, true that I was beginning to regard them differently from how I had once felt about them, about all rug rats. Possibly it was a consequence of the euphoria I was experiencing—yes, euphoria was not too extreme a word for it—at possessing, after many years of virtual abstinence, an exceedingly active sexual relationship with a uniquely powerful wizard.
However, possession of a female body might also be influencing me to experience emotions which, hesitantly and reluctantly, I could only define as maternal, although that it had not so affected Ginevra would argue against that hypothesis. Whatever the cause, the effect upon me was deplorable, and it was apparent that I had metamorphosed into not only Ginevra but also into a sentimental old fool.
The other evening, while sitting quietly and watching the play of light from the fire as it caressed Harry's face, I had also been evaluating the advantages and disadvantages of my current situation.
I did not delude myself that I felt as a real mother would or should feel for her children, but both Harry and Dobby and their grandparents doted excessively on his admittedly engaging litter, so a more objective parent might ensure that their characters were not ruined by overindulgence. I have been told that possession of parents who live in marital harmony is also of great benefit to children.
That I could continue my masquerade successfully for any length of time was uncertain; however, the chance of discovery added the spice of danger that I had missed since the end of the war. I was not sanguine enough to hope that I would survive for more than a few minutes if ever Potter discovered my true identity and my involvement in the fate of his wife.
When 'Ginevra' had suddenly announced that her Quidditch career was at an end, that she was retiring, the public furore and speculation had reached ridiculous proportions. If the Prophet was to be given any credence, it was widely believed that Harry had forced her to retire. That caused an avalanche of Howlers and hate mail—most of it addressed to Harry but some for Ginevra, too—from a public apparently more obsessed by Quidditch than they were filled with gratitude for 'their Saviour'. Potter was too used to the fickleness of public affection to be concerned for himself, but his concern about its possible effect on me was… well, I must admit it, adorable.
Although Potter's vocabulary and speech had matured far beyond the inarticulate unfinished sentences and mumblings which had so annoyed me when he was my student, he still occasionally reverted to that manner of speech, but since that usually happened only during sex, it was not irritating: on the contrary.
That I could not now spend as much time in my laboratory as had been my wont was regrettable, of course. That seemed to be the only real disadvantage of being 'Mrs Potter', but I was surprised by how little it irked me. Weighed against having gained the pleasure of a sexual relationship with such a good, well-hung and powerful wizard as Harry, it meant little.
Another source of satisfaction was that any surviving Death Eaters who were still avid for their cause, and those idiotic 'light' wizards still unconvinced of my true allegiance, both united in their insane passion for revenge on one Severus Snape, would be unlikely to locate me in the person of Mrs Ginevra Potter. Not that all danger of attack would be eliminated: any public perambulation as Mrs Potter would attract the attention of those of a less than sane disposition; however, the threat would be greatly lessened.
All things considered, I did not regret my response on the day Dobby had requested my aid to conceal his murder of 'naughty' Mistress Potter and help him guarantee the happiness of the 'Great Wizard Harry Potter Sir'.
The End, for now anyway, I may continue it &/or flesh it out later on.
[H2]No end quote, since he continues speaking without a break in the next paragraph.