"I am pleased to make your acquaintance," Einar Hogunson said. "Let us not stand on ceremony, Miss Granger. You look as if you are about to faint."
"I just . . . I don't wish to offend, and I haven't had a chance to study gnomish customs," she said in a voice less sure than her usual one.
"The fact that you would wish to study them speaks volumes for you, dear lady, and all of it good. Let us simply speak as friends, and assume that any insult that happens is accidental, as can happen amongst friends." He turned to Harry. "That means that I expect you to start calling me Einar, Harry."
"Doesn't feel right to me, but . . . well, you asked me to, so I'll try. Einar," he added as an afterthought, obviously a bit uncomfortable with it.
"Don't worry. It becomes easier as you do it more often."
"They say that about sex, too," Heidi murmured.
"They're right, too," Derek said. "Fun practising, though." Heidi turned a brilliant red, making it quite clear that she had not intended anyone to overhear her comment. Einar was chuckling madly.
"Now that we have this out of the way, I have some news about your accounts. I have managed to get the wills of both of your parents and Sirius Black, through my connections within your Ministry. The goblins have copies and would not release them to us, despite the laws requiring such disclosure if requested by another banking institution. This was enough to make us more than a little curious, and I begin to understand why, having had a chance to look at the wills.
"There are multiple things that you need to know. One is that your parents, while being intelligent in making statements in their wills about your disposition, made the mistake of not letting others know of their wishes. The wills state that you were to be placed with anyone but the Dursley family. You need to marry by your twenty-first birthday - or at least be betrothed - in order to carry on the family name. There is a handwritten comment from Lily Potter about this requirement, and it is less than complimentary to the older laws, shall we say? They also named Minerva McGonagall as your wizarding guardian if Sirius Black was unable to fulfil that function for whatever reason."
Harry was doing his by now quite familiar scowl as he listened. "Were the wills at the Ministry sealed away from others, by chance? Perhaps by the Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot?"
"However did you jump to that amazingly correct conclusion?" Einar asked with a wry smile.
"I've taken three years of Divination," he replied loftily. "Obviously, it was my 'Inner Eye' opening and deducing the truth of the situation." He chuckled for only a moment, before adding darkly, "Or maybe it's just getting to know how the old bastard thinks."
"Well, we're not finished. Basically, all the Potter wealth goes to you. The Black wealth, while also yours, carries an interesting price. You must also marry to retain that wealth, but it is specifically written such that you must have a separate wife for the Black name, and she must be a pureblood of at least five generations. If you do not, it falls on the next closest individual, who the records state would be a Draco Malfoy."
"And if I kill Voldie and all his cronies - hopefully including the aforementioned little ponce - what happens then, if I choose not to fulfil that part of the contract?"
"The money stays in trust until a male child is born in the line, at which point he becomes subject to it."
"Do I know anyone that is pureblood to those specifications?" he asked Hermione, looking a little worried.
She thought for a minute before her eyes shot open wide. "You know several, and I think I know exactly who is expecting to be that bride."
"My Inner Eye, tee em, tells me that you are about to announce that Ginevra Weasley just happens to be a pureblood of at least five generations, right?"
"Yes, and now I know why she was talking the way she was. I'm betting that Dumbledore is trying to aim you in that direction."
"Pity you're not a pureblood of five generations," he murmured, lost in thought as he spoke.
There was silence in the room as he finished, and he looked up into a variety of reactions. Einar was openly amused, as was Heidi, although there was something extra in Heidi's look, but Hermione and her parents looked stunned. Hermione's eyes were so wide that Harry was afraid once again that they might drop from her skull. "Did you mean that the way it sounded?" she finally asked him in a very shaky voice.
"Hmm?" he asked. He thought for a moment as to what might have brought that reaction, and then started. "Well," he said, rubbing the back of his neck, "I, uh, well, I have to admit that -" He stopped, and then finally looked up and said in a rush, "Look, I know that we're still really young, and that you probably don't feel that way for me yet - ready for marriage, I mean - but I really wouldn't mind waking up and looking in your eyes every morning for the next hundred years and maybe someday you could feel the same way about mmph!" He was forced to stop by Hermione performing the simple expedient manoeuvre of kissing him senseless.
"Harry, my future husband, you can stop talking now. Mum once said to me that it's not enough to want to sleep with someone - and I'm going to shock Daddy by saying that I very much like that idea as far as you're concerned, Harry - but the important thing is that you want to wake up with them the next morning. Bad breath and bad hair and all. I've thought about that for a while, and all the kids in my dreams seem to have unruly black hair. The thought of waking up and seeing your eyes is one I can most definitely get behind."
"Then we should make a statement of some sort," Harry said. "A betrothal contract or something, something that we can drop on the Ministry. And is there any way of changing my wizarding guardian?"
"From Dumbledore?" Einar asked.
"From McGonagall. She's a solid Dumbledore supporter, and I really don't want to have him give it up knowing that he can simply demand that she do his bidding to stifle me."
"Well, since we know that the wills state that she should have been your guardian, the change from Dumbledore would be easy," Einar said. "We might have trouble getting it changed from Madam McGonagall, but given your age, I believe that we can probably get it filtered through the right people. Who would you wish it changed to?"
"As much as I'd prefer it to be Hermione, the fact that there will be a bethrothal contract as well would work against us. I am betting that her parents are right out, even assuming that I knew them well enough. None of the Order are on the list. Right now, I can't come up with anyone other than Heidi over there, since I think you have a little too much on your plate right now, sir."
"You would actually ask a non-human to be your guardian?" Einar asked with interest.
"What defines humanity? A set of genes? A set of attitudes? Personally, I see your help in this to be invaluable, and if I thought you had the time, I'd ask you, because you've been doing for me exactly what I think a guardian should. Watching out for my best interests. The fact that it's because it's in your best interests as well is not something I've missed either."
"If you are serious, I will accept this duty. It's not terribly onerous a duty, either, since I will only have three hundred and sixty-five days until I am out that job due to your age. Might I wish you a happy birthday, by the way?"
"Thank you," Harry replied. "And it is, rather. A beautiful woman has told me that she'd like to wake up to this ugly mug for the next hundred years. I can't think of a better present."
"Except having two women offer," Hermione said with a smirk.
"Depends on the woman," he said seriously. "Would you be tempted to kill her for looking at me? Then I'm probably not going to have anything to do with her. Are you introducing her to me and saying that you want her to be part of our relationship? Then I'll likely get to know her." He smiled softly at the look of mortification on Hermione's face, but lost it when her parents began to laugh.
"She thought she was going to embarrass you, and you turned it around on her!" Angelina Granger howled.
"Hey, I'm a teenager! The idea of beautiful women throwing themselves at me is a standard fantasy. The intelligent part of me realises that it's not likely to happen."
"Don't be too sure about that," Derek said. "Ask her to tell you about Missy, the summer just before she started at Hogwarts."
Once again Hermione tried to drop her eyes out of her head. "You knew?" she asked in a small voice.
"She was a very pretty girl, and it was fairly obvious that she was not abusing you, or forcing you. We overheard the one conversation at the pool where she mentioned how you two had met. We knew. You were happy, and no force seemed to be involved, so we let it happen. Whether you're heterosexual, lesbian, or bisexual, you're our daughter, and we love you."
"And in case you think I was joking, Hermione - if you decide that you want a third person in our relationship, tell me."
"I think I'd like to get to know this Heidi you've been travelling with," she said quietly. "You trust her at your back -"
"And what a cute butt it is, too!" Heidi quipped. It seemed a little forced, though.
"Be at ease, Miss," Derek said. "We're not going to judge you badly just because you fell in love with the same guy our daughter did." Harry's head shot up in shock, and then he slapped his forehead and began muttering under his breath. "Are you all right, Mr Potter?"
"Just reminding myself just how blindingly stupid I can be sometimes."
"And why is that?" Heidi asked. "You're wrong, given what I've seen since I've known you, but I'd like to know what brought you to such a revelation."
"You met me, and were intrigued by me. Okay. I can see wanting some excitement in your life and following me. But we've been getting steadily closer over these past three weeks, and I've only just realised that you've been falling in love with me, despite doing things like kissing me awake some mornings."
"Have you enjoyed them?" Hermione asked.
"Yes," he said in a very small voice.
"Well then, I hope that the two of us can get along, because I don't plan on giving you up, and I really don't see Heidi giving you up either."
"I won't break you two up. You're the reason I haven't been able to scratch a particular itch, if you get my drift. I'm pretty sure that's the case, at least, whether or not he's been conscious of it."
"Yes and no. I didn't know how long we'd be together, and -" He blushed furiously. "Hermione would think less of me if I became a 'love 'em and leave 'em' kind of guy." He shook his head. "We're taking up an important businessman's time talking touchy-feelie. Let's get back to the business at hand, okay?"
"I don't mind, Harry," Einar said. "But there are things we need to deal with. Do you want me to pursue this in the courts?"
"Actually, yes. Now that I know that the final confrontation with Tommie leaves him defeated once and for all, I'm less worried about what happens if Dumbledore is yanked from the limelight and brought to justice for what he's done. He'll likely never pay, unfortunately, for the mind rape of Hermione, but I think we can clobber him for what he's done to me and others."
"I believe that I can get the wizarding guardianship pushed through before Albus Dumbledore realises what is happening," Einar said. "If you don't mind, after that fact, I will hire a bodyguard that I will make my attorney-in-fact in regards to decisions on your behalf."
"Who would you hire?" Harry asked.
"I was hoping that perhaps Miss Koenig might contemplate the job. It would give her a legal reason to be at the school, and I do believe that having someone there to look out for your best interests would help stem the most egregious of his offences against you."
"I think I'd need to demand a separate room for him, one where I could be in a bedroom right next door," Heidi said before scowling. "Are we going to make your betrothal to Miss Granger public? If so, then we should demand a suite of rooms. Perhaps enough so that you can move your other betrothed in once you find someone that fits the bill." She shrugged. "I'm what you in England call a half-blood. My mother was non-magical."
"And now you see why she would be a good choice. Given the chance to think for only a moment, she has made suggestions that I myself would make." Einar smiled. "Give us an hour and we will have the paperwork to change your wizarding guardian. If you sign them under no coercion, then we can have them through your Ministry before school starts, and you can surprise your Headmaster with a fait accompli."
"Shall we wait in the side room , then?" Harry asked. "I need to talk to Hermione's parents for a bit anyway." Einar nodded, and the group left for the small board room next door.
"What do you need to talk to them about, Harry?" Hermione asked.
He smiled at her. "This is going to be a betrothal contract, Hermione. I need to work certain things out with them."
"Such as what?" Derek asked.
"Well, first off is your permission. Once that's done, we need to talk about bride price and dowry. The wizarding world is blindingly backwards in certain ways, but then I remember that most marriages created through this type of contract are definitely not love matches. I happen to love your daughter.
"This leads me to a problem. At this exact moment, I can be considered penniless, because the goblins refuse to release my accounts to me. Once I have my accounts back, I will be a fairly wealthy man, able to keep your daughter in books for the rest of her life."
"Mr Potter, I would prefer that my daughter not rip your clothes off in my presence," Angelina Granger said with a mischievous grin.
"MU-ther!" Hermione yelled. Harry didn't even have to look to know that her face was bright red.
"Dear," Angelina said, "What did you tell us was the hardest part of being paralysed after that basilisk got you?" She blinked. "I can't believe that I just said that seriously."
"Get used to weird comments like that," Harry chuckled. "As I recall, when Dumbledore cancelled the finals at the end of that year, the only person depressed by it was Hermione."
"Harry?" he heard in an over sweet voice.
"Yes, dear. I was wrong, dear. I'll go stand in the corner and beat myself with a fish, dear." He was smiling by the end of his comment. "Seriously, though, I hope to be able to access my money by the end of the summer, at which point I would be able to offer you a valid bride price."
"You do know that we don't do that anymore?" Derek asked with amusement.
"Yeah, but the traditions need to be followed, especially if I don't want Dumbledore to step in and declare it non-valid."
"Then let's do it this way," Derek said, "now that I understand the real reason you're insisting on this."
"I'm not sure that I do," Hermione said, her tone making her annoyance at the whole process clear.
"He's saying that he's willing to offend you in this because you mean enough to him that he won't let Dumbledore ruin things for you by getting the contract declared invalid." Angelina smiled indulgently at her daughter.
"Really?" she asked, looking at Harry.
"Be honest, Hermione. He seems to be willing to do anything in the name of whatever final idea he's got in mind. If he thinks that me being married to you will ruin those plans, he'd work first to break up the relationship. If we do anything wrong in this, such as no betrothal contract, he might well use his influence to prevent our marriage. Once it's official the old way, he'll have to step it up to different methods - ones more likely to get him caught." He got a hard look to his eyes. "And if he thinks I'm going to sit back and simply let you be injured or ruined in some way - well, he just might be the reason for the new dark lord."
"Harry James Potter, I forbid you to turn into a Dark Lord, no matter if you think that you might have the provocation!" Hermione said severely. "I will not have it!"
Everyone in the room blinked for several seconds at her outburst, and then Hermione herself broke the silence by making some noise that sounded suspiciously like a snort of amusement. This broke everyone else up, and a few moments later, they were all howling with laughter.
"I hear and obey, Dark Lady Granger," he finally managed to snicker.
"Does that make you a minion?" Angelina asked.
"I guess so. I just hope the perks are good."
Hermione wiggled her eyebrows at him. "Trust me - they're the best."
"Damn, it's good to be me!" he replied before turning back to her parents.
"I understand the necessity now," her mother said. "What do you think is a fair price for her?"
"I don't say this to be cute or anything, but to me, she honestly is beyond price. If you state an amount that you think is worthy of your daughter, I will swear on my life to get that amount to you as soon as possible in a legal manner."
"No you will not!" Hermione said. "No oaths that could cost you your life!"
"You mean that it's more than just a phrase in the wizarding world?" Derek asked.
"Yes," Heidi said. "And I can tell that he was serious, as well. He literally would swear an oath that could cost his life."
He reached into his pouch and pulled out his remaining two Galleons. "Three weeks ago, this netted me roughly £500. Will you accept this as a down-payment on the bride price?"
"You're serious? These two coins are worth that much money?" Angelina asked.
"Quite," Einar said as he entered the room. "And to answer a question that I suspect none of you knows the answer to, given your various upbringings, an average bride price would run between three and five thousand Galleons. When Harry has access to all his money and property, he will be able to pay that easily. And I do mean 'when', Harry. You might not have realised that making me your guardian also allows me to order the removal of all your money from the British wizarding economy."
Harry grinned. "Excellent! I hadn't thought of that as an outcome, but I'm not complaining." He turned to Derek and Angelina. "Mr and Mrs Granger, I would like to make an offer of seven thousand five hundred Galleons as bride price for your daughter. She is worth far more to me, but there is not enough money on the planet to pay what she is truly worth. Is this amount a satisfactory recompense for the loss of an angel from your immediate family?"
"We're not losing a daughter," Derek said. "We're gaining a son. Dependent on Angelina's agreement, I accept the amount as a fair amount."
"It's fine by me," Angelina said. "I know you both find 'buying a bride', as it were, to be distasteful, but I think you send an excellent message within the community. Welcome to the family, son." She pulled Harry into a hug. A moment later, she dragged both Hermione and Heidi into a group hug. "I suspect we're gaining another daughter in the process," she said softly. "If so, I approve if you're happy."
"We've only just met," Hermione said. "We'll honestly have to see. But Harry trusts her, which is a huge mark for her."
In short order, the contract changing wizarding guardians was signed, followed by a contract for Heidi, making her attorney-in-fact for Einar in regards to Harry's welfare. The betrothal contract was signed next, witnessed by Hermione's parents and Einar Hogunson. "Pity we couldn't be married before we get back to school," Hermione murmured.
"Actually, let's check the laws," Derek said. At Hermione's startled look, he said, "Look, it's obvious how you two feel about each other. I see no reason why we can't help you on this, rather than fight you and possibly lose you."
Einar smiled. "Sixteen, with the permission of the parents or guardians. It just so happens that my charge is sixteen today, and your daughter is sixteen. Shall we start the fifteen day waiting period in regards to the license?" He smiled widely and slid some paperwork toward them. "I was going to suggest this and see if you were willing. If you agree, we can get this paperwork in process today. By the fifteenth of August, you should be able to stand before a British official and exchange rings and vows."
Harry's face made the decision for all concerned, and Hermione signed the paperwork immediately. He was shaking so much that he almost couldn't sign his name. "This is really going to happen?"
"Yeah," Hermione breathed. "How did we go from me betraying you at the start of summer to me marrying you at the end of it?"
"Your punishment?" he asked with a soft laugh. She slapped him softly on the arm.
"How are we working this, then?" Angelina asked.
"Small civil wedding in August, and a massive proper one as soon as Hermione decides is good," Harry said. "No children until after we're done with Hoggy Warty Hogwarts, unless there's an unknown magic that demands children as soon as a couple is married."
"If so, we deal with me waddling to tests," Hermione said. "Otherwise, he's right. Whether or not we've married, I'm not quite ready to make you grandparents."
Harry scowled. "Be aware that at some point soon, I'm going to have to find someone who qualifies as a pureblood to marry in the wizarding world, rather than let Riddle get his hands on the Black fortune. Hermione will be involved in the process of choosing her, since it needs to be someone she can deal with."
"If things work out with Heidi -" Derek said.
"My mother was like you two. Non-magical. I don't qualify." She blushed. "Otherwise I'd jump at the chance."
"Admit it," Angelina said. "You just want to jump him."
"I have since we met," she said quietly. "He affects me in ways that I don't understand, but they're all good."
"Then you should likely become part of the family in some way or another," Derek said. "Even if it ends up being 'the other woman'. As long as both are aware and don't mind, then it's not really cheating, is it?"
"Especially if it's a threesome," Angelina said.
Hermione narrowed her eyes. "Why do I suspect that you speak from experience?"
"Aunt Catherine," was all that Angelina said.
"Well, at least I know you won't hate me for it if it happens," Hermione replied, obviously a little startled.
"Excellent!" Einar said. "I do hope that you'll invite me to the wedding, although you can choose which one." He was grinning, making it clear that he wasn't serious.
"Einar, I'm going to need family on my side. The Dursleys are anything but - and I want to do something legal but nasty to them when I can - so I can think of nothing better than to have someone who will be standing in as a father with me when I marry my first wife." After a pause. "And my second, and I suspect a third as well." His eyes slid over to Heidi.
"I would be honoured to be there, Harry." Einar bowed. "Now, I believe that I shall leave you to enjoy the rest of your day."
The group spent the rest of the day enjoying Paris, with the Grangers getting to know both Harry and Heidi. As they headed to the train station to return to England, Hermione's parents said, "Why not stay here with your fiancé? I'm sure that he wouldn't complain, and I doubt that you'd complain about getting to know someone that I suspect we'll be seeing a lot of in the upcoming years." They surprised Harry by hugging him once more - Angelina kissing his cheek - and saying "Welcome to our family, Harry. It was just a matter of time, really."
"Thank you, and thank you for giving us your blessing."
"How could we not, when we could see how much she means to you?" Derek asked. "I know that I'm supposed to be the stereotypical father who threatens you and says all sorts of things, but you didn't see how devastated she was when she thought that Dumbledore had caused her to lose your friendship. And for you to forgive her, and then propose, because she means that much? I wouldn't stop anyone who makes my little girl that happy." He hugged Harry again.
It was the next day before Harry bought Hermione an engagement ring, and she had to convince him not to buy her one with a huge stone in it. Instead, it was a simple thing with alternating small diamonds and emeralds, since she said that they reminded her of his eyes. He ended up buying Heidi a ring as well, when Hermione nudged him as Heidi looked at some of the engagement rings longingly. At the raised eyebrows of the proprietor, Harry simply said, "Make of it what you will."
"You know he thinks you're doing something weird or illegal," Heidi said when they were outside once more.
"That's his problem. If he wants to assume that I'm somehow engaged to two beautiful women, that's his right. He's likely right, if I can manage it, although as I understand it, I can't ask you until after I'm betrothed to the bride for the Black family."
Heidi smiled softly. "You're serious, aren't you?"
"Yes. Ignoring any obvious sexual things about it, I find that waking up in a bed where I have more than one woman smiling at me is a very nice one. I've gotten quite used to waking up next to you in the mornings, and I found that adding Hermione to the bed last night was easy. I haven't had a nightmare all summer, once I met up with you, Heidi. I felt warm and safe and loved last night, and both of you made me feel that way."
"I won't stop you, Harry. And I think I know what you mean about Heidi," Hermione said with a smile aimed at the girl in question. "Other than the fact that the way that camisole top fits her gives someone a cardiac workout just from looking at her, let alone her underwear, waking up with her in the bed felt . . . it felt right. I had a wonderful man poking me in the stomach while a beautiful woman was pressed against me, and I felt safe. Given what her thumb was doing to my nipple, I also felt horny, but that's something else."
"Sorry," Heidi said with a blush. "It's sort of a somatic doodling, if you understand me. My hands seem to always be in motion in one way or another, and I had a pretty tit in my hand."
"Well, you made up for it in the shower," Hermione purred before kissing the black-haired beauty gently.
"Much to my chagrin," Harry grumbled good-naturedly. "The noises you two were making led to why you ended up teaching Hermione a new use for her tongue." After a pause, he added, "Thank God!"
"I aim to please," Hermione said in the same voice she'd just used on Heidi.
"Evil woman," he groaned. He was about to speak further, but another voice calling his name startled him, so he turned to see who it was. "Cho! What brings you to Paris?" he asked as she got closer.
"Enjoying the last couple days of vacation before having to return to school for my N.E.W.T.s," she told him. "I was a bit surprised to see you here. Hi, Hermione." Her voice was a little nervous in its nature.
"Cho," was all that Hermione said, in a calm voice that gave no hint as to her feelings.
Cho chewed on her lower lip a bit. "I'm actually glad I caught you two. I . . ." She stopped, worrying her lower lip a little more. "I need to drag out my nearly non-existent Gryffindor and apologise to the both of you for last year, and explain why it happened. I deserve the cool reception I got from you, Hermione. I know that now, and I accept it. If I hadn't been an idiot, we might have been able to be friends."
She sighed, but stood still in front of them for several seconds. "I was in a bad place in so many ways last year, and everyone paid for it," she said after a few moments of thought. "I was still in mourning for Cedric, and thought that dating Harry might recapture some of that. That was quite unfair to you. Then I blamed you for having Hermione as a friend, as if you would drop her on my say-so."
Hermione opened her mouth to say something, but Cho interrupted. "Please. If you stop me, I may never be able to get the courage to finish. Please?" She received a nod from Hermione, and took a deep breath. "There was one more thing that I wasn't willing to admit, even to myself, until about two weeks ago. Our relationship was doomed, Harry, because . . ." Her lower lip quivered and her eyes became suspiciously bright. "It was doomed because I wanted to date Hermione as much as I wanted to date you. Smart people turn me on, and you're both smart, and I realised that about you. I hated that she was so close to you, and I hated that you were so close to her. So everyone paid, and I lost all my friends, basically." She stopped. "And Marietta's a bitch. I'm sorry for backing her at the end of the school year. She ran so fast there were skid marks when I admitted that I found girls interesting as more than merely platonic friends."
"Wait," Harry said. "Let me get this straight - are you saying that you want to see Hermione naked as much as most of the guys in the school want to see you naked?"
"Yourself included?" she asked with a weak laugh. "And your answer is 'yes'. I know that you probably feel the same way that Marietta does, but . . . I needed you to know what led to the blow-up last year, and that I take full responsibility for it."
Hermione looked at her for a very long moment before nodding, and then leaning over to Heidi. She brushed her lips gently across the black-haired girl's lips before brushing her tongue along those same lips. It was obvious that during the fifteen seconds that they were kissing that their tongues were likely to be warring sensuously. "Why do you kiss me like that when I'm not wearing a bra?" Heidi moaned softly.
"I think you just answered your own question," Harry laughed. He looked to Cho, who was stunned, and also advertising her own lack of support, although her nipples were much different than Heidi's or Hermione's. Where both of those girls had nipples as big around as his index finger and about as long as the distance from the tip of that finger to the first knuckle, Cho was displaying her areolae. The nipple itself was like the rubber end of a pencil, placed in the middle of something that looked as if someone had placed half of a tennis ball on her breast.
Hermione turned to Cho and began to walk closer, entering the pretty Asian's personal space. "You can stop me at any time," she said as she slowly moved closer. She finally was close enough that she leaned forward and pressed her lips to to Cho's, and Cho almost immediately moaned. The moaning got louder when Hermione's hand came up and she brushed her thumb across one of the bulging areolae.
The kiss finally broke, and Hermione said, "I think we'll finish this conversation somewhere where we don't need as many clothes."
"You -" was all Cho seemed to be able to say.
"It's partially my apology for my being a real bitch last year. I wanted Harry with me, and he notices you instead. So instead of giving him actually helpful advice, I 'fix' his problems by telling him what he did wrong afterwards. Some friend, huh? And yeah, I was a little jealous that he might get to see you naked and I wouldn't." She thought for a moment. "Plus, I did something really stupid this summer, and Harry forgave me because I took full responsibility for it, knowing that it would destroy our friendship. Instead, we're getting married in a couple weeks. You took responsibility for your actions. Harry set the bar, and I want Harry to be proud of my actions. I've forced others too many times, and Dumbledore took advantage of that this summer."
"Wait - information overload," Cho said. "Dumbledore's evil? You're getting married? You kissed me, knowing that you're getting married?"
"Dumbledore has a plan for me," Harry said, "and several things this summer have made me look back and question whether or not that plan is good for me. He talks of the greater good, but I wonder if it really is, or if it's his version of the greater good." He shrugged. "As for the getting married part, some of it is because I love her, and some of it is because it will help in my quest for freedom from Dumbledore's manipulations. I have to marry by the Potter family charter, or whatever the thing is called, and I also have to marry in order to keep the Black name out of Voldie's clutches. Due to an oddity in the Black family set-up, I have to have a second, pureblood wife - of five generations - in order to keep the Black money and name."
Cho blinked rapidly several times, and Harry was intrigued to notice that he was suddenly able to tell how fast her heart was beating by watching her nipples - it was quite rapid. "If . . ." she breathed, and then gulped, obviously trying to get herself under control. "If we can work things out, I think have a solution for you. My extended family moved here from China. It is verifiable that I am the eleventh generation witch in my family." She bit her lower lip again, hard. "I really want us to work things out," she said in a voice that was nearing a moan.
He reached out and kissed her hand. "Then, my lady Chang, I find myself hoping that our interaction is far more conducive to romance than during our school year last year."
"It seems that all of us find intelligence to be a sexual criteria," Heidi said. "We're all turned on by smart people. And somehow, beyond all logic or probability, Harry seems to have attracted three bisexual women who just might be able to live together without killing each other."
"Although I'll probably need a chisel to get the grin off my face when you ladies are done with me," he said.
"You . . . you're actually willing to give me another chance?" Cho asked.
"Can you handle that I'm in a betrothal contract with Hermione?"
"If I could, I'd like to be in a betrothal contract with her," was the very quiet answer.
He looked deeply into Cho's eyes as she stood before him, and found himself kissing her. This kiss was not a wet one - it was happy, and a little sad, and romantic, and there was more than a little erotic passion in it as well. They broke, both breathing a bit heavily. "I may regret this, but I think we'll need a third ring, and I'll need to find out what your family might expect for a contract."
Cho's eyes were incredibly wide. "But why?"
"I can't say, really. Something tells me that the four of us are needed. I'll need you three to keep me on the straight and narrow. Given everything the Headmaster has done to me, it could easily drive me dark, but I don't want that. I want you ladies proud of me. So with you three to keep me happy enough to stay light -"
"It's hard to go dark when you're getting laid regularly," Heidi quipped.
"I wouldn't know yet, by choice," Harry replied. "But yeah. I'm less likely to go dark with you three around. I was attracted to more than the fact that you're one of the sexiest women at Hogwarts. Note that the women I've paid the greatest attention to are all highly intelligent? Luna is a friend, Hermione is my best friend, and I fell for you. The fact that I've fantasised about you, me, and the Quidditch locker rooms is unimportant."
"Nice to know I wasn't the only one," Cho said softly.
"I don't know why, but things have happened this summer. I can see magical auras, and can tell a witch or wizard just because of that. I'm also getting feelings about things - not due to visions, but a stronger sense than that. It's why I was willing to deal with Kaatje - my Dutch 'big sister' who Dumbles kidnapped - without much worry. I stuck around in The Netherlands for two days waiting for her return, because something told me to. Something told me to accept Hermione, and now you. So far, those feelings have worked out for the best. I think magic or something is gearing up for the final showdown with tall, pale and snake-like."
"I hope you survive it," Cho said with a whimper.
He let his hands slide across the cheek of each lady before answering. "I have to. I have you ladies to give a happy life to."
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