Death Isn't All It's Cracked Up To Be
The week wasn't out yet when Harry was called to Professor Dumbledore's office. With no small amount of trepidation, he worked his way toward the office, the girls behind him, although he had asked them to stay behind.
"If you’re going to get yelled at, we want to be there for you afterward," Ginny replied as they mounted the stairs.
"Admirable sentiment," came the voice from inside the office, "but unnecessary. Rather, I have a proposition for him."
"Proposition?" Harry asked. "What sort of proposition?"
"We developed something of a problem the other day, when I discovered that I had managed to hire yet another Death Eater to the position of Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher. Apparently he had been in a late night conversation with Minerva as they patrolled the halls of the school when he clutched his left arm and apparently said, rather eloquently, â€˜Urk.’ We were disturbed by this, especially when the tattoo was discovered upon his arm."
"Um, forgive me if I’m a little thick, but what does this have to do with me?" Harry asked, puzzled.
"Ohmigod!" Hermione squeed. "You’re going to …" Harry looked at her in shock for a moment - Hermione never squeed.
"Precisely, Miss Granger. He has shown an aptitude for teaching — perhaps he might enjoy being our Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher." Dumbledore’s eyes were twinkling madly.
"I haven’t even taken my N.E.W.T.s!" he replied, shocked. "Besides, I was joking about that when we were here in the office!"
"The proctors will be here tomorrow, for several days. You, and any other students who may wish to attempt them, will be tested. If you pass, Harry, you will receive an offer to begin teaching Defence."
"If?" Hermione squeaked. "He studied with the Founders!"
"The N.E.W.T.s, obviously, will be a formality, but a necessary one," replied Dumbledore with a soft chuckle.
"Why are the proctors coming out just for me?" Harry asked.
Dumbledore openly laughed. "Not only did you die saving the world from Tom, you came back from the dead. There was no denying that you were in fact quite dead. And yet here you are before me, rather obviously alive. They feel it is the least that they can do for you. If you wanted the Minister’s job, you would probably get it by public acclaim."
"I’m too young. I’m only sixteen. I’m probably too young for teaching, but at least that I have some idea of how to do it." He looked at Professor Dumbledore. "If I pass the N.E.W.T.s to your satisfaction, then I will accept the teaching position." He turned to Ginny and Hermione. "Sorry, ladies."
"What are you apologizing for?" Ginny said.
"I’ll be a professor. You’ll be students. See the problem?" He looked at Hermione. "Even if you are of age right now, it's considered bad form to get romantic with your students."
The girls blanched. "Two years without being able to kiss you?" Hermione asked.
"Three for me," Ginny sighed.
Dumbledore laughed. "I’m certain that we can work something out. Harry is amongst the living because of the depth of his feelings for the two of you, as well as Miss Tonks. We will have him as a teacher because of his love for you. I will not be ashamed to give him preferential treatment, given what I have done to him in the past. Three years of allowing an unusual teacher a romance with a student or two doesn't not even begin to clear the slate for what I have done to you."
"Sir," Harry said, "What does that tell the students and the other teachers, though? Doesn't that undermine the authority of the teachers, and send a bad message to the students?" He turned to Ginny and Hermione. "Don't think I'm doing it because I don't love you, I'm asking this because …"
"… because you're so honourable that you'll hurt yourself to do the right thing," Ginny sniffed. "That's why I love you, Harry. Forgive the language, professor," she said, looking at Dumbledore, "but I was a right royal bitch this summer because I was hurting, and I took it out on the source of my frustration. I'm hoping to earn the forgiveness he's given me."
Harry took her hands. "Beloved, I had a decade or more to learn and to think. I understand completely what you were thinking, and that's why I forgive you." He turned to Dumbledore and said, "You have no idea how much I wish that she were of age, sir, because if she was, I'd ask you to get Tonks here, and I'd marry these three ladies on the spot."
Albus Dumbledore’s eyebrows rose, and soon his body followed suit. He walked to the fireplace and tossed Floo powder in, saying "Nymphadora Tonks!" Her head appeared quickly in the fireplace.
"Wotcher, Albus! Whatcha need?"
"Could you go to the Burrow and get Molly for me? I need to speak to Arthur as well. It would be best to bring them to Hogwarts. I shall have the Floo connection opened for your travels."
Mere minutes later, the three he had requested came through the fireplace. "Albus! Is something wrong?" Molly asked, worry evident in her voice.
"It depends," the headmaster replied with a twinkle. "Young Harry here has stated a wish to marry your daughter, as well as his other two fiancÃ©es, immediately, if only she were of age. He seems to be unaware that she could marry with parental permission."
Arthur walked over to Harry. "I need to ask you this, Harry, not out of an attempt to stop the wedding, but to assure myself as a father. Harry, do you …"
Harry interrupted. "Sir, one of the reasons I wanted to come back when they told me that I had to was because of your daughter. I died to save the world, but mostly because I didn’t want Ginny, Tonks, or Hermione to have to worry about that psychotic little inhuman thing anymore. I wasn’t a martyr to save the world, I was a man who loves these three women so much that I would die for them again if need be." He grinned. "Sort of hoping to avoid that, however. I want a very long life with these beautiful women." He blushed. "I want to rival your family for size in number of children."
"I’m agreeable, after I leave school," Ginny said quite seriously. "Father, I love him. We had a chance the other day to … well, let’s say that the Room of Requirement giving us a room with a Jacuzzi and a bed large enough for four to sleep comfortably should give you an idea of what happened in there, since it was Harry, me, Hermione, and Tonks. The most he would do with me, Dad, was touching me, because I’m still considered underage. I understood, and I actually appreciated it, especially since … well, let’s just say that neither he nor the others let me get too frustrated, if you catch my meaning. Daddy, he cares, and I can tell how much he still hurts for how he treated me over the summer. He loves me."
"I do, sir. For you it's been s couple months. For me it's been at least ten years. It bothers me still. I’m sorry that I interrupted you, but … there simply are not words for how much I care for these three women."
"Why now?" Molly asked.
Albus spoke up. "Because he will soon be taking over the role of Professor of Defence Against the Dark Arts."
Molly and Arthur were silent in shock for a moment, while Tonks simply began to jump up and down like a schoolgirl, letting loose with a quiet "Squee!" if such a thing could be said to be done. "My husband, the best D.A.D.A. teacher that Hogwarts has ever seen!" she said.
"Well, I have to pass my N.E.W.T.s first," Harry said with a laugh, "and then I have to actually teach, Nymph. I don’t think you can say immediately that I’m the best D.A.D.A. teacher Hogwarts has ever had just yet."
"Sure I can! Who was it who taught other students — while still a student himself, mind you — how to cast a spell that is beyond N.E.W.T. level?"
"Be that as it may be," Harry said, "even if I marry you and Hermione, I promised the Weasleys that I’d wait until she had left school. I can’t go back on that."
"Are you really sure about this, son?" Arthur asked carefully.
"Sir, I know that for all of you it was only a handful of days ago, but I have the memories in my head of roughly a decade or more of studying and â€˜living’, while they worked on what was to be done with me before I was inserted back into my body. I can quite honestly tell you that Ginny was always in my thoughts. If you ever meet Willow — and I hope to introduce your family to her — she will tell you that, even though I was with people over there, part of me pined for these ladies. I can very honestly say, sir, that I have loved your daughter for more than ten years. I’ve waited that long, I can wait for a couple years more."
"I still couldn't believe that they let us marry that very weekend," Ginny said, her head on his shoulder. She rested her free hand on her bare swollen belly. "And in three more months we make them grandparents for the fourth time."
"How did I get so lucky?" Harry murmured into her hair and he kissed the top of her head.
"Probably by waiting a decade for us. It had been so obvious that what you were saying was true."
"Harry has been a wonderful man for as long as I have known him," Willow said with a smile as she entered the room. As the day that Harry had met her, she was dressed in nothing but a smile. She was also pregnant, although only four months along, and Harry could hear Ginny's giggle as he reacted as he always did to any of his wives.
"And I broke the curse of the Defence Against the Dark Arts teaching position," he laughed. "Fifteen years in the job before I decided to take a break and work even harder at making a generation of Hogwarts students that are all Potters!"
"Are you being a megalomaniac again, love?" Katie Bell Potter asked as she walked into the room, her arms around the Patil twins waists. Behind them came the rest of his large family, as well as Severus Snape.
"Of course he is, Miss Bell — correction, Mrs. Potter," Severus said with a smile. "It's one of his more endearing qualities."
"Might be easier to refer to us by our maiden names," Ginny said with a laugh. "You call out for Mrs. Potter in here and a lot of women will answer."
"I still don't quite know how that happened," Harry said with a puzzled look. "Ginny, Hermione, and Nymph are understandable, as is Willow. I guess I can understand Susan and Daphne. But how did I end up with the rest of this beautiful troupe that runs my life so wonderfully?"
"By being yourself and having a heart that can hold so many," Hermione murmured in his ear, and he shivered slightly with incipient lust.
"We have a guest, beloved. It would be rude to do what I want to do," he murmured back into her ear, enjoying listening to the quiet moan from her as his breath tickled her ear.
He heard a giggle from Daphne before she said, "Well, we could have an orgy and invite him. Give me a chance to finally seduce the head of my Household."
"I'll contact Mr. Zabini then," Severus quipped. "I'd imagine he'd be more than willing to assist in your conquest."
"He's my classmate, sir. He'll never be my head of household. A certain hook-nosed Potions Master, however, has always set my blood to boiling for some odd reason."
Severus looked as if he had been slapped with a wet salmon. "Miss Greengrass …" he began.
"Severus, she has harboured feelings for you for a very long time. I know I won't have any problems if you choose to borrow a room and give the girl what I think you both want very much, especially since I can't yet see you just stripping down amongst us, although a few of my wives would certainly not complain about it if you did."
The Potions Master shook his head. "It is when you make such statements that I realise just how much things have changed between us, Harry."
"For the better, too," Harry answered.
"Yes, for the better." Severus thought for a moment, and soon his clothes were folded neatly and resting upon a small table nearby. He seemed more than a little embarrassed by his rampant condition, although he fought valiantly to avoid the appearance of embarrassment.
"Don't worry about it, Sev," Harry said. "I've seen 'em for fifteen years dressed like this, and I still react that way."
Daphne decided to take control of the conversation by walking up to Snape and flowing into his arms, where she proceeded to give him a kiss that left Harry slightly out of breath. "Good lord," he murmured. "I know she loves me, but … wow!"
Severus blinked for several moments. It seemed to be the only thing he was capable of doing. "Wow indeed," he finally breathed. He permitted himself to be led into a side room.
As the rest of the group sat and talked a while, they were startled by Daphne's voice shouting, "Oh Gods YES!" while settled into some fairly loud squeals of obvious pleasure. When the two finally returned to the rest of the group, they saw their old Potions professor with something he'd never had before - a look of happy contentment of the 'I never knew that I had a soul worth loving' type. Daphne was leaning on his arm. "Can I keep him Daddy?" she asked with a grin.
Harry looked to the other girls with a smile and received chuckles and nods all around. "You heard her, Sev. You've officially been invited into the family, and the rest all agree. Give it some thought. We don't need an answer now, or even quickly. Just think about it."
"I shall indeed," Severus replied. "Now, I came to talk to you about something, and was delightfully distracted." He lifted Daphne's chin and smiled. "A worthwhile distraction, I will add. But I have come to speak with you about the Ministry."
"What have they done now?" Harry grumbled.
"Well, they've managed to get another Fudge into office; a Wilberforce Throckmorton by name. He panders to the wrong people, and has been trying desperately to rescind so many of the laws that were passed after your return from the dead. I fear that you may be forced to run for office just to keep the wizarding world from pissing off the Muggles sometime soon. I have come to realise, after talking with Hermione, just how much they can do without magic. Imagine what we might do if we cooperated!"
"And if someone who was a Death Eater can come to that conclusion, imagine what the average wizard will think." He looked around the room, realising that all his wives were there. "Should I rain on Throckie's parade?"
He was elected with a landslide vote.
He'd done his time (fifteen years worth) cleaning up the Ministry again when word came to him about a rather interesting religious order that had begun, with its main place of worship in the village of Hogsmeade.
The Church of Harry Potter.
"How do I react to this?" he asked when he heard about it. "My first thought is to go raging into the town and tell them to stop this silliness immediately, but that's just not right."
"There's a few ways you can go about this, but I don’t know which is best," Hermione said. "Perhaps we should talk over some of the possible reactions you can have, and decide which is best."
Willow cocked her head. "Why not ask those who deal with it already?"
The other ladies in the room looked puzzled, but Harry simply slapped his forehead. "Of course! Who better to talk to?" He grinned. "Can't take you all, but I can take as many as four with me when I visit Avalon."
Harry arrived with Hermione, Daphne, Padma and Susan in Arcadia, where they found Pan chasing nymphs. "Yo, Horny!" Harry yelled, bringing the god to a stop.
"Harry! Long time no! What brings you here?" He wiggled his eyebrows suggestively. "And you bring your own nymphs! Smart man."
Susan was blushing furiously, and had yet to manage to unglue her eyes from Pan's most salient attribute. Harry slid over next to her. "Susan, if he offers, take him up on it. According to Mum, it's certainly an enjoyable experience."
She finally managed to pull her eyes from Pan's erect member. "Your Mum … Lily Potter has …"
"Yep. Learned a lot about Mum when I was dead all those years ago." He nudged her again. "Go on, you know you want to."
"Are you sure?" she squeaked.
"If I didn't have a problem with you carrying one of Ron's children, then I'm sure as hell not going to have a problem with you making love to Pan, who's just as good a friend as Ron." She blushed and took the proffered arm.
Harry excused himself for a few seconds to show up at the Pearly Gates and ask for Jesus. "You could go in and look for him," Peter said with a chuckle.
"Doesn't feel right to me. I wasn't pulled bodily from Earth and I'm not dead yet. Don't belong in there yet."
"Again. You're not dead again yet," Peter corrected, smiling.
Jesus appeared with his own smile, his mother next to him. "Harry! So good to see you!" she said, leaning in to kiss his cheek.
"Good to see you again, Mary," he replied, returning the greeting in kind. "Can I borrow the both of you for a while, down in Arcadia?"
A second later, they appeared next to the other three girls, who looked up. Daphne and Padma immediately set about waking Hermione up from her faint. Susan's familiar pleased scream came from the bushes, and the group chuckled as Hermione finally woke up. "Ladies," Harry said with a grin, "I'd like you to meet Jesus and his mother, Mary." He turned to his new guests and said, "I'd like to officially introduce you to three of my wives, one of whom is the reason I was willing to die the first time. Susan is over in the bushes with Pan, so you'll meet her after she comes down from that rip-roaring orgasm we just heard, and these three are Padma, Daphne, and Hermione."
Hermione was blushing furiously as she smiled at them, and Mary pulled her into a gentle motherly hug. "You're a very special lady, dear, if he was willing to die for you. I look forward to meeting Ginny and Nymphadora someday."
"It doesn't … shouldn't you … isn't our relationship, um, frowned on by you?"
Jesus laughed. "I heard of a bumper sticker that says it all, as far as your fears are concerned. 'Jesus, save me from your followers' is what it said. Too many down there have their own hang-ups and chalk them up to me to give them validity. Answer me this, Hermione - do you love him?"
"With all my heart," she answered honestly.
"Then you're good by me. Those who understand love understand all my most important messages. Those who don't need to use my name to give it backbone. You love him - all of you do, I can tell - and he loves all of you. He's still my friend, and I don't personally care that he's currently contemplating the way your clothes hug your body, Hermione. I just ask that he not follow through on his thoughts until I'm not around." Jesus finished with a large smile. "And by the way, from an asthetic sense, I have to agree with him. I see why you turn heads."
Harry shrugged. "Hey, I have good tasting women." His eyes twinkled as he waited for people to catch what he said before he continued. "I need to talk to a number of people and deities, to be honest. I've just found out that there's a religion being formed in my name, and I honestly don't know how to react." He looked to Jesus. "You're my friend, and … well, I don't want you thinking that I'm even contemplating horning in on your territory."
"I knew this could happen, Harry. Remember, I helped you with my shtick - coming back from the dead after three days? What you'll have to get used to is the overlay of what you were obviously thinking when you said something, and the people who will give you certain attributes."
"I'm very fond of his attributes," Daphne said with a purr.
"I'm sure," Jesus laughed. "How many people know that I have brothers and sisters? How many people know that I have children? My mother and I were both proper Jewish people. I studied and taught the Kaballah. I was married, if only for grounding in the physical world, and we did what all married people do. Two people who were celibate made the rules that currently govern those who are my followers these days. Peter absolutely hated my wife - to be honest, he was a misogynist. One of those cases where attribute overlay can have a good effect. He's a lot more mellow now that he guards the main gate. Friendlier. Paul never even met me, but realised that he was on the cusp of being able to form his own sect, and it got to be more successful than even he ever realised." Jesus shook his head. "Just needed to warn you.
"Perhaps … can any of you …" Hermione began. "Can any of you set foot in our world?" she finally squeaked out.
"Any of us that classify as deities can," Pan said. "We can set up a portal to talk through for some of those in Avalon that you might wish involved in the conversation."
Harry grinned again. Let me go get someone else for the conclave. Want to meet back here, or at our home?"
Mary grinned and was suddenly wearing a flattering yet demure swimming outfit. "Harry? Swimming pool. Your place." He laughed in response.
He appeared on the outskirts of a familiar place, the old smell of sulphur wafting past his nose. Wafting, that is, if you consider being hit in the nose with a olfactory equivalent of a twenty pound sledge wafting.
He walked to the massive doors and knocked. A moment later, a very puzzled demon opened the door. "'Oo's knockin' out here?" it asked.
"Me. Might I have a word with Your Lady?"
The demon's eyes widened, and he slammed the door fully open. "Yes, Lord Potter!" it said and it scampered off into the distance quickly.
Lord Potter? he mused, an eyebrow quirking skyward. Before he could think any more on the meaning behind it, he felt, rather than heard or saw, the presence of someone of power coming closer. He looked up to see Satan, wings at full extension, running for the gate. She arrived and went to one knee before him. "Welcome back, Lord Potter," she said, her face down.
He could hear the impudent tone in her voice, however, and said with a chuckle, "Get up, you! You should not be dropping to your knees in front of me."
She stood, grinning widely and said, "I can think of reasons to be on my knees in front of you that I doubt you'd complain about." She added an extra little purr at the end, and Harry couldn't help but laugh.
"You little minx! If I weren't putting my immortal soul in peril, I'd spank you!" he grinned.
She looked at him with curiosity. "Why would that put your soul in peril? Certainly not from me."
"I'm a married man, Satan. My wives …"
She laughed. "I see. They might surprise you, however. Be that as it may, sexual innuendo was not the reason you showed up here, although it is a pleasant bonus. What's your prob?"
"I'm running the risk of becoming a god, and I'd kinda like to get some input into how to nip it in the bud, you know?"
She stopped and stared at him for a very long moment, long enough that he began to get more than a little nervous. "Do you have any idea just how remarkable you are, Harry Potter?" she finally breathed. "I have never before met a mortal with the possibility of becoming a deity there within his hands who didn't want the power that comes with it. You stand there and ask me how to go about avoiding it."
"I don't need the responsibility, you know?" he shrugged. "I've taught students, I've run a government, and I've fathered enough children for several Quidditch teams. The first was gratifying to see them learn, the second was a pain to set things right, but the third was the whole purpose for living. Right there, bundled in my arms, was living proof of the feelings I have for the mother. Our love made manifest. What do I need with power? Will it make my sons and daughters love me more? Will it make my wives happier? From what they tell me, that's not possible. So what do I need with godhood? That will simply yank me away from my loved ones."
She smiled at him. "No, it won't, Lord Potter. Your godhood has already begun. We knew this was coming the day that you arrived with Riddle. Remember, time is fluid here, so we had rumblings of the Church of Harry Potter even while you were here. It was easy to keep you from hearing about it, or else you might never have gone back." She grinned at the last comment. "I'm pleased to meet one of my new adversaries. Remember, I'm evil."
"Not in my book," he said seriously. "You were the first to show me kindness and caring. You also admitted that the job you've got is rehabilitation."
"Curses!" she laughed. "You and your excellent memory! Sure I can't seduce you into forgetting?" she asked, wiggling enticingly in front of him.
He blinked. "Tempting, I admit. Get my wives to agree without coercing them, and I just might let you do the seduction part."
She blinked. "You're serious, aren’t you? If I ask your wives, and they agree, you'd … you'd actually contemplate …" She stopped speaking and walking, stunned by his words.
"Why not? You're a beautiful woman, and I mean that as by what I'd refer to as a soul - I don't know what it is in the deific realm." He paused. "Deific? Is that even a word?" He shook his head. "Doesn't hurt that you're dead sexy as well. Don't be surprised if one or two of my wives seem to hover near you when you're at the house. By the way. Pending their ratification of it, you have permission to visit whenever you want to."
She blinked at him for a moment more, and then shook her head. "We'll talk later. As for now, I have something I'd like to show you." They walked for a short distance, and Harry suddenly recognised a certain area. It was looking rather park-like now, and quite beautiful. He was surprised to see two rather overweight men working laboriously in the area.
"Vernon Dursley," she called, and the elder of the two stood and walked closer. He stopped for a moment and then walked closer to them.
"Harry," he said simply. This in itself surprised the man spoken to, for there was no malice in the voice. It was a simple statement of his name, but there were so many undercurrents, sorrow being most obvious. "I'd offer to shake your hand, but I'd get you filthy, and I doubt I'd appreciate the touch from me anyway."
Harry looked long and hard at his uncle for a moment, judging the sincerity of the man. "I'd ask what happened, but that would be cruel," Harry said. "When did the … how …"
"When did I stop being such a thundering asshole about you and finally get a grip on myself?" Harry winced slightly, but nodded. "When I'd been working this park of yours for who knows how long. I sleep in the same conditions as you did under my … ahem … 'care', eat the same portions, and experience the same back-breaking conditions we set on you. One day I woke up and realised that I deserved to be here. Not for the beauty, but for the intense work required to keep it this beautiful. Just wish I'd come to that realisation while I was alive - I'd have at least tried to turn Pet and Dudley around. Instead, Dudley works over there - we're punished if we get too close to each other for too long - and he whines incessantly about the hard work." He sighed. "If I'd made him actually work, he wouldn't have died in his early forties of extreme obesity related heart disease."
Satan whispered in Harry's ear, "Mind you, since he's come to the realisation, he no longer needs to be here, but he refuses to leave until he feels he's paid back his debt to you, and everyone else he's wronged."
"No need to whisper," Vernon said. "I know you've said that I've paid, but I haven't yet. When I think I've finally paid, I'll let you know. I've still got a few years to pay off, you know. Didn't come to that mindset until recently." He smiled a genuine smile at Harry. "Glad you hear you're moving up in the … well, I was going to say world, but …"
"I know what you mean, I think."
"Talk is all over the place about your getting promoted," Vernon said. "Part of me feels proud of that, and that's one of the reasons I need to stay here longer. I've got no right to feel proud of you - you're Pet's nephew, and I treated you like something I lay in this park on a regular basis. I have no right to feel proud of you - I wasn't part of what made you what you are today."
Harry looked at his uncle. "Are you proud in a 'What can I get out of this' sort of way, or more of a 'Hey, I know him' sort of way?"
"The second, but I've no right to feel good about even that. You're showing now who deserved to be scraped off whose shoes, and I've no complaints about that. I'll not even call you Harry again, since I haven't earned that right. Maybe someday I will, but until then …" Vernon paused. "Don't take this wrong, but I don't want to see you around here again. You deserve better than to be in Hell."
"One of my best friends is here," Harry replied, hugging Satan. "She helped me get settled when I first got here."
"Yeah, got you settled where you belong," she said with a cheeky grin. "Upstairs." She looked to Vernon. "You'll understand someday, Mr. Dursley, about your debt to the Universe. Until then," she finished, tipping a non-existent hat. Vernon chuckled and returned to working.
"His debt was paid as soon as he realised that he had a debt to pay, wasn't it?" Harry asked as they headed to the gates.
"As Hamlet said, 'Give every man what he deserves, and who would escape a whipping?' All have a debt to pay. You have, I have, even Jehovah has. We are all part of Universe, which is a living thing, and we play our part. In my small corner, I hand out some small amount of retribution and large doses of redemption. Vernon isn't yet redeemed until he has redeemed himself in his own eyes. He said he came to the realisation recently? He died when he was sixty-five. You'd been Minister for five years. He had his epiphany two years later. He insists on doing at least sixteen years of hard labour, sleeping in a tiny cupboard, and eating almost nothing. He knows that he's been here for ten years. He's put in eight years, and he insists on another eight."
"Won't that make it eighteen years then?"
"Yes. He insists that he pay in years of conscious knowledge of what he's doing. The first two don't count, in his eyes."
"Has he truly earned his release?"
"Is there a way to intercede on his behalf?"
She grinned. "You'd have to claim your divinity, and he might not appreciate it."
Harry frowned. "All right. Keep me apprised of his doings, though, please. If it starts to get excessive, then I want to know, so that I can come talk to him."
She linked her arm with his and kissed his cheek. "That's why you'll be joining the Pantheon upstairs," she chuckled as they poofed out to his home.
There had been a few moments of curiosity when Harry appeared with Satan, but when they realised that there was no blow-up scheduled between Jesus and Satan (Mary even kissed both cheeks in an 'it's been too long' gesture), they quickly got down to business. A portal was opened to Avalon.
"Sorry for not dropping by this time, folks," Harry apologised.
"S'okay, kiddo," Sirius replied. "Understand you've got other things on your plate at the moment."
"Yeah. Apparently I'm on the fast track for becoming a lesser deity."
Sirius turned to James and said, "Gives a whole new meaning to the term 'GOD-son', doesn't it?" He grinned widely, and the other seven at the table placed their heads in their hands.
"Why do we need him here again?" Merlin asked with a wide smile.
"Admit it, I spice up your afterlife," Sirius mock-whined.
"I'm over here," Lily purred. "Unless there's something you haven't been telling James and I?"
Harry began to laugh. "I have missed you guys. Sorry I haven't visited in a while." He sighed. "We need to get going on this, though. I pretty much can't get out of this deity thing, unfortunately, so…"
"What's so wrong with being a god?" Jesus asked simply, interrupting him.
"I don't belong there! I'm just this git who had a lousy childhood and was lucky enough to end up with all these beautiful women in my life. I've done nothing that makes me deserving of them, and especially nothing that makes me worthy of ascending!"
There was silence around the table, and finally Nymph came over. "Harry, you cast a spell that could have left your soul permanently in Hell. You didn't belong there, but you were willing to go there anyway. You literally died to save our lives, to save the world, and it was only because Jesus and a few others thought you were worthy that we all have sons and daughters by you."
"What else was I going to do, run the risk of letting Tom kill you all while I dithered around?"
James sniffed. With a thick voice he said, "I am so proud of that boy."
Harry simply looked confused. "What?"
Pan smiled at him. "There is just something about you, Harry. Things that should have made you a terror made you into a sweet and gentle man, one that deserves to be a deity."
"Which brings us back to the reason for getting together to talk," Harry finally said. "What do I do about this church?"
Rowena spoke up. "My thought is that you watch them. Maybe go a few times in disguise. If their theology is something you can agree with, then let them be." He started to open his mouth, but she cut him off. "Ignore the divinity aspect. You can't avoid that. I know you don't want it, but you can't get away from it."
"Why are you fighting it so hard?" Godric asked.
Again, Harry moved to speak, but Sirius surprised them by answering. "He'll be immortal. His wives won't be. Simple as that. Right, Harry?"
Tears were in Harry's eyes. "I know that there's life afterwards - you guys prove that - but to know that I'll live until there's no one around who believes in me anymore, when they're in Avalon -"
Jesus laughed. "Harry, you bodily ascend. That's basically what you're doing every time you visit us."
"Are you saying that I've been a god since i woke up thirty years ago?" he yelled.
"Actually, yes," Satan said. "You could say that the moment that You decided to marry these ladies was the moment You actually married them. It was Your decision, after all."
He closed his eyes. "Have I fathered demi-gods or something?"
"No, just damned powerful children," Satan said, eyes twinkling at the unintentional pun. "And Your divinity does explain a few of the interesting children you have, you know. Those children that Ginny and Katie bore that you were sure were Lee Jordan's and Dean Thomas's? The Patils were the fathers. They wished it could happen, you thought it would be wonderful yourself, so it happened." She paused. "It also explains how come you can impregnate Willow. She's a bona fide immortal, you know. A mortal shouldn't be able to get her with child."
He turned to his wives, his heart in his eyes. "How do you feel about this, ladies? A case could be made that you were coerced, since I might have used divine power to make you love me."
Katie walked over and sat on his lap, wiggling until she got the reaction she was after. "I have a sweet and loving husband, who I wanted to trap in the Gryffindor locker rooms before any of this happened." She grinned. "I've always said that your lovemaking was heavenly." She kissed him gently and sweetly.
It was a few hours later when the group broke up, and it devolved into a pool party. Harry sat at the edge of the pool in a lounge chair, watching as Satan floated by in a bikini that was obviously using divine power to cover her salient points, since he could see no other explanation for how it kept her covered. Jesus sat on the surface of the pool in a pair of bathing trunks in the shade of blue that Harry had come to associate with him, floating gently alongside her as they talked.
"I will take some time getting used to having my entire theological and cosmological worldview changed," Hermione said softly next to him. "I was always taught the Satan was a) male and b) His mortal enemy. Well, im-mortal enemy. Instead, I watch them floating next to each other in our swimming pool, carrying on a friendly conversation." She bit her lower lip. "I think I'm going to need you guys later. I would really like to be in that pool doing interesting things to her, if He weren't there."
"When Jesus eventually leaves, feel free to ask her. I don't deny that I wouldn't kick her out of the bed if I found her next to me in the morning."
"Have you ever …"
"Nope. Never had the chance before coming back, and ever since marrying you ladies, you'll note that I've never added anyone myself? The invites always come from you ladies."
She thought for a moment. "You're right. You've never, in thirty years, asked to add someone to the family. The way you phrased it, though - when you were dead - I seem to recall comments about Rowena Ravenclaw?"
"When I was waiting around to come back, yes. There were a few women. Rowena, Mum, Willow, Helga, a couple of the other nymphs used to cuddle with me …"
She blinked. "Wait. Did you just list your mother in that group?"
"We were dead. It wasn't like I was going to get her pregnant." He bit his lower lip. "You still respect me, don't you?"
She laughed. "I love you more than words will ever be able to state, my darling Harry," she said as she climbed into his chair to cuddle with him. "If you were happy, and she was happy, and your father didn't mind -"
"Mind? We double-teamed her a few times," he said softly, and chuckled as he watched her nipples stiffen under her barely-there bikini bra.
"We have got to visit them at some point," she breathed in his ear. "That has been a fantasy of mine since I started Hogwarts." At his puzzled look, she said, "I turned twelve nineteen days into my first year. These breasts you enjoy so much were already starting to bulge under my shirts. I had my first orgasm the May before I started Hogwarts." She gave him a half-lidded look that smouldered with pure, raw sexual desire. "Do you have any idea what it was like watching you at the school, wanting to ride you on your broom? Yes, I said that properly. I love you Harry, and even though Ron intrigued me for a while, it's always been you."
"We'll have to visit Hogwarts some summer," he said in a husky voice. "But right now, it would be rude to start this in front of Jesus."
"Feel free," Jesus said. "I need to be heading back - no, you didn't chase me off - so you can get back to your favourite past-time." He laughed. "Remember what The Book says: 'Be fruitful and multiply'." With a jaunty wave, Jesus disappeared, and Satan climbed from the pool.
"Pity," Harry said conversationally. "I think a few of my wives wanted to peel you out of that bikini and have their way with you. This little sexpot being one of them."
"How about you?" Satan asked.
"I like the idea, but I'm not losing a wife over it."
"You wouldn't," Ginny said. "We've been talking throughout the day. You two are obviously friends, and the sexual tension between you - well, we haven't let it hit that level without an orgy taking place. We know you after thirty years, Harry. If you want to invite her, go right ahead."
"Why do you all accept me?" Satan asked the next morning at breakfast. She was surprised by her treatment last night, as well as being a bit tired for the same reason. "Not complaining, mind you - just curious."
"Harry considers you worth knowing. That's enough for me," Katie said, coming up from behind her and kissing her cheek as a good morning greeting.
"I think you'll find that it's the same for all of us," Parvati said from down the table. "Harry vouched for you, so that was a major point in your favour."
"Didn't do anything to make us think otherwise either," Ginny said. "You held yourself in check around us until you were informed that fondling was acceptable, and even then, you only did it when those you knew might be bothered by it weren't around."
"Basically, we're giving you a trial membership in the family," Hermione said. "If nothing else, he'll finally be able to do to you what I think he's wanted to for forty years, his time."
Satan raised her eyebrows and looked at Harry, who was now the colour of Ginny's hair. "Your form is female and shapely. I'm male and heterosexual. You do the math."
She snorted at him. "Yeah, right. You're too caring and wonderful for the zipless fuck. If you've wanted me for that long, then you think I'm worth it, and I'm honoured."
"And horny," snorted Ginny, "if visual evidence is correct."
There was never an official wedding, but she was considered a part of the family from that point on.
There was much more that happened to him and his family, but what do you expect in the life of a deity? But those are stories for another day.
And so the story ends. Perhaps not the way I would have liked, but it leaves this open for sequels, if the mood strikes me.