A/N: I don’t own Harry Potter and wouldn’t particularly care to. I would like a rental agreement with option to buy for Hermione Granger. A short term contract with Nymphadora Tonks wouldn’t be turned down. A Long-term agreement with Luna Lovegood would probably be a whole lot of fun. Any time Padma Patil wants to open negotiations, call me and oh for a weekend with Fleur. Oddly Lavender and Padma’s sister (despite being her twin) Parvati do nothing for me…
The pounding stopped. The ward stones’ continued to shed energy at a horrific rate, have left the visible spectrum entirely and now just radiating heat. At the risk of stating the bloody obvious, this isn’t good.
I start grasping for straws. Maybe if I hid under the bed… Would that fool them even for a second? I pull my wand and conjure a metallic brace for the door. Conjuring has never been one of my higher skill sets; I guess that at most this will buy me another five minutes or so.
I’m doomed. Why didn’t I just… I can’t think of anything that I could have tried that I didn’t do.
Panic brings an idea after all. Using my wand I shape the stone over the door into a shelf. I disillusion the shelf and wrap myself in my father’s cloak, cast silencing and scent neutralizing charms on myself. Then I climb on to the nearly invisible shelf and cast one last Notice-Me-Not of the structure and myself.
It might work. Maybe. Please?
The door is noisily shoved open. It seems that my five minute estimate for my conjured brace turned out to be somewhat optimistic.
After all that… silence. I don’t know what I expected, but silence wasn’t it. The only thing I can hear is the pounding of my heart.
This can’t be good.
Other than my wives, Ron was my most frequent visitor while I was stuck in the Hospital Wing, keeping me well informed of the happenings around the school, including the antics of those he called ‘Fucking Idiots’ who were now convinced that I was either the next Dark Lord or planning on joining the current one. It seemed that this group even included a disturbingly high number of the previous year’s members of the DA.
That hurt, it really did. I don’t know if I had ever really considered the kids in the DA to be my friends, but I had thought that they at very least trusted me.
I also got (finally) Ron’s side of what was going on between him and Hermione. It turned out that at some point the previous year while I was busy paying attention to how unfair life was, the pair of them hooked up. The whole hand holding, stolen kisses, moonlight strolls, making plans for a possible future together kind of hooking up. My keen observational skills being what they are, I of course had missed it entirely.
While I was safely ensconced at Durskaban, Ron took it upon himself to actually visit Hermione at her home. That bears repeating, so I’ll say it again. Ron Weasley traveled Muggle style to Hermione’s home in Crawley and visited her. He was justifiably proud of himself for managing this feat without ending up violating several instances of the Statute of Secrecy. Of course being his friend I had to rain on his parade a bit, so I asked him why he hadn’t just used the Knight’s Bus. The look on his face told me that he hadn’t even thought of that.
I didn’t laugh at him. Well, not much.
Anyway, after two weeks of his visiting her at home, with some fairly passionate sessions of progressively heavier petting getting their hormones bubbling along in an entertaining manner, Hermione decided that she wanted more.
And that’s when Ron shut up. He refused to tell me what happened.
On some levels I found some new respect for Ron based on his refusal. Truthfully, what had happened between then was none of my business. That being said, something had happened to break them up after Hermione took this step, and I was starting to strongly suspect that what ever had happened was also the catalyst for Hermione’s problems with me.
Besides, I wanted to know.
I spoke with Dobby and arranged for a few beverages to be available for the next time Ron came by to visit. Elves have ways of preventing Witches and Wizards from seeing what they are doing; I’d never known that Dobby was capable of masking our little party from Madam Pomfrey until he volunteered to do so.
Someday some wizard is going to figure out how to get all the elves in the world to work for him, and that wizard will rule the world.
There isn’t much alcohol in Butterbeer, but I know from experience that a bottle or three will loosen Ron’s tongue. It actually took six to get him talking about what happened when Hermione took him to her bed.
I don’t think Hermione making the first move between them really surprised me. Ron is a ‘boy this is really good, I’d better not spoil it’ kind of guy. Hermione has always known what she wanted and had never been afraid to take the steps needed to get it. Ron didn’t say anything about it, but I’m willing to bet that she provided him with diagrams and step by step instructions for what she wanted him to try.
So Hermione pulled Ron into her bedroom, which Ron described as ‘surprisingly feminine’ without a bookshelf in sight, and undressed them both. She then took Ron to her bed and restarted their kissing session that had been in progress down stairs.
Which was when the problem reared its head. Or rather didn’t. It seemed that once on her bed, ‘little Ron’ decided to do his turtle impression, despite having been at full mast for pretty much every snogging session they had ever had. Taking a cue provided by what she called her father’s collection of ‘special’ videos, Hermione attempted to ‘encourage’ the little guy with no results beyond a wet crotch for Ron and a sore jaw for Hermione.
Unsurprisingly, this was not a good thing. After apologies all around Ron all but ran from the Granger home. He needed someone to talk to, and his parents were right out so That left his older brothers. There was no way he would trust the twins, Percy was as utterly out of the question as Molly and Arthur, Charlie was in Albania, so Ron sought out his eldest and most supportive brother, Bill.
Who laughed at him, patted him on the back, and then laughed some more in that helpful older brother type way of his.
After a while, Bill had gotten enough of that out of his system to actually speak to his youngest brother, and together they had examined Ron’s feelings for Hermione. After a lot of discussion, a few fire whiskeys, and more laughter at Ron’s expense Bill opined that on at least some level, Ron saw Hermione as a sister, and that Ron just wasn’t enough of a Pure Blood to carry on with it in the face of that.
That comment had even Ron smiling. Bill illustrated his point by telling of the scandal caused by Lucius Malfoy marrying Narcissa Black back in Bill’s first year, seeing how the Blacks and Malfoys had never been related before and neither family tended to stray much further than cousins for wives, especially since Lucius’ father had married a ‘cousin’ who looked just like his sister, even sharing the same name. It was odd that Abraxas Malfoy’s sister was never seen or heard from again.
After spending a day or so thinking about things, Ron returned to Hermione’s home to apologize. After Ron explained himself, they decided together that it was going to much to awkward to try and deal with this in the short term and that it might be best if they avoided each other outside of class or prefect duties, which explained many things about how they had been acting around each other.
In all, I spent four days in the Hospital wing after I woke up, one of my longer stays. After receiving Poppy’s traditional ‘try and be more careful Mr. Potter’ speech followed by her usual threats of ‘next time, I’ll just leave you where you’re laying’, Millie and Susan escorted me from the Hospital Wing as if I was made of glass.
This ‘being married to four insanely powerful witches’ stuff was doing wonders for my manly self image. Still, the sex was freaking great, so that made up for a lot of things.
Millie wouldn’t quit apologizing for hurting me. It was embarrassing really. As soon as we got back to our rooms all four of my ladies clung to me as if they were afraid that I might disappear.
“Hey, I’m not going anywhere you know.” I said.
“I almost killed you!” Millie sobbed into my shoulder.
“No, I was stupid. I knew you were all having bouts of accidental magic and I still teased you until you lost control.” I rubbed her back as best I could given that four women were all seemingly doing their best to merge with me. “Since I was stupid, that makes it Mari’s fault.”
“My fault?” My eldest wife asked indignantly. “How could it possibly be my fault?”
“You were the one who took it upon herself to teach me to think,” I grinned. “If I’m still an idiot, it must be your fault.”
“Ah, I see,” Mari said stepping back and drawing her wand. “How silly of you to attempt another dark ritual so soon after getting out of the hospital.”
“Wait, wait,” I pleaded, only half joking. “I’m sorry. Don’t hurt me.”
That caused all four of my wives to start laughing. It was quite a while before they calmed down.
I think it was the whispering that got to me the most. The furtive looks didn’t help, but the whispering that suddenly stopped whenever the whisperer noticed I was looking at him or her only to begin again when I looked away grated on my nerves.
It was almost as if my school mates all expected me to start casting unforgivables in the halls.
Ron was right. Fucking idiots.
The saddest thing about it was I was getting those looks from some of the staff as well. Not McGonagall or Flitwick, but so many of the others. I even recall waking up in the History of Magic to find Binns staring at me in a manner that suggested bowel voiding terror.
I spent several hours thinking about what it meant that I had a ghost frightened of me. And wondering if ghosts had bowels to void.
The Prophet kept a relentless drumbeat about my apparent ‘darkness’ and it was getting more than a little annoying.
Which isn’t to say that there weren’t bright points. There were. For example the day that Susan and I had a free period and were in the Great Hall working on our Herbology assignments and Justin Finch-Fletchley slid into the chair to Susan’s left.
“Something we can help you with Justin?” Sue asked coldly.
“Yeah, Sue, there is.” The sandy haired Hufflepuff said. “I just wanted to know why the hell you never got in contact with me when you were in trouble.”
“I never heard word one from you all summer, and on the train I hear that you hate all the Hufflepuffs and that you’ve married Harry. It took forever to get the story out of Hannah, and I told her what I thought of what she and her family had done. I know we had decided that we didn’t work together last May Sue, but I always thought that you knew you could come to me if you needed something.”
Sue started to cry and pulled the Hufflepuff into a hug, and the pair began comparing notes on their lives since the previous spring. I was glad that Sue had managed to reconnect to at least one of her old friends, because I intended to at least try to reconnect to one of mine.
Well, helped might be a bit strong. Almost got me killed is probably more accurate, but she tried.
I don’t know why I hadn’t thought to ask her for her help, but she recognized my moping around for what it was and suggested that she find Hermione and invite her to meet with me in the Room of Requirements.
Romi was so excited to be asked to help she started jumping up and down clapping her hands.
God I loved that girl. It was getting harder and harder to resist taking her to bed. If I’d only known…
Anyway I was in the Room waiting, trying to imagine all the ways my conversation with my first female friend could possibly go. I had asked the Room for a place where we could talk and it presented me with a duplicate of the Gryffindor common room.
Waiting has never been one of my strong points. I’m sure the pacing of the room I did while waiting had to measure out to at least a couple of miles before the door opened and Hermione was unceremoniously shoved into the Room before Romilda entered holding her wand.
“Romi!” I yelped. “You were supposed to ask Hermione to meet with me, not kidnap her!”
“I did ask,” my youngest wife explained patiently. “She said no. I simply showed her that refusal wasn’t an option.” Romi grinned at me before leaving the room.
The door disappeared as soon as my youngest wife closed it behind her. Evidently the Room had decided that Hermione and I ‘Required’ having to remain together until we thrashed this out between ourselves.
Hermione hadn’t said a word since entering the Room, she just stood there glowering at me with her arms crossed.
“I was hoping we could talk,” I said as apologetically as possible.
“So you sent your enforcer after me?”
The room had provided a pair of wing backed chairs. I sat in one and gestured toward the other. “Hermione, please?” I waited while she huffed a bit before sitting down.
“Hermione, what’s going on with us? Why are you so angry with me?”
“What you’re doing is wrong Harry!”
“And why is it wrong Hermione? By the culture we live in it’s not common, but it is legal.”
“You know that it’s wrong Harry! I’ve looked into the history of these so called harems. The women are practically slaves.”
“Hermione, what ever else my wives are, slaves doesn’t describe them in the slightest. Mari drills me more than you ever did and makes me like it. Sue has taught me more offensive magic than I ever dreamed existed. I have no idea why she bothered with the DA, the Aurors who were on her Aunt’s protective detail taught her very well. Millie is convinced that I’m too thin and has taken it upon herself to make sure I eat properly. And Romilda… that little minx has been trying to seduce me since the second day we were married. No, slave doesn’t really describe our relationship.”
She just remained seated, staring at me.
“When you came to see me in the Hospital wing, I thought maybe we could be like we were, you know? But you never came back and still wouldn’t speak to me outside of class.” I decided to cheat a bit, a little emotional blackmail. “I miss my friend Hermione. I miss her telling me to do my homework, I miss her look of amazement whenever I accidently make a good point in an essay. I miss laughing with you and Ron.”
That got no response at all. Changing my tactics I tried again.
“I know that this marriage upset you, but Hermione, you’ve got to understand, the bond had tied us together in amazing ways. It wasn’t my idea, and I was tricked into it, but I wouldn’t change it now if I could.”
That got through to her. I could see her resolve to resent me in silence cracking. “Harry, I know you well enough to know that you mean well, but… you’re using them.”
“We’re using each other Hermione. Have you thought through where they came from? How my wives got to the point where they would even think about joining into a group marriage with me? Millie is a half blood from a family of blood purists. Think about that for a moment. While she was tolerated, she was never really accepted. When she was offered a chance to prove herself to her family by linking the Potter fortune to the Bulstrode family, she leapt at the chance. Marietta hated me. She hated me for my relationship with Cho last year and for the pressure her mother was put under that led to her exposing the DA to Umbridge. Then her father uses her to settle a debt to my family’s trust.”
I could see Hermione’s social consciousness start to flare at the injustice of that, but before she could explode I continued.
“Romilda’s mum fed her the same Boy-Who-Lived crap that Molly fed Ginny, but almost to the exclusion of everything else. She’s the only one who came into this marriage with her eyes open full of nothing but enthusiasm, and she’s deeply hurt that I won’t take her to bed, but I think she knows that I think she’s too young and I would feel like a pervert if I did. When Sue lost her Aunt, taxes, death duties, and debt emptied her family’s vaults. She was evicted from the only home she had ever known and put out into the street with little more than the clothing she was wearing and a few galleons in her pocket. No one would take her in, help her or hire her due to rumors being spread that any family who helped her would be attacked and destroyed by the Death Eaters. When Dumbledore approached her about joining a group marriage, she had a choice to going along with it or end up selling herself to keep from starving.”
I could tell from her expression that the news about Sue was not something she had already known. Well, Hermione wasn’t ever one to keep up with the gossip in the castle.
“From the very first, your concern was that I was using my wives in some horrendous manner,” I hesitated. Did I really want to discuss this with Hermione? No, I didn’t, because it was almost assured to make her angry… Still, I was too far into this to stop by this point. “Yes, we make love. When one of them comes to me, we make each other happy. I don’t force myself on them, they come to me.”
“They don’t have a choice Harry. Saying ‘yes’ doesn’t mean a thing if you can’t say no.”
We sat in silence for several moments. “Is that what you really think of me Hermione?”
“Are you done with me?” I asked. “It hurt when Ron didn’t believe me fourth year, I’m not sure I could take it if you abandoned me Hermione.”
“Abandoned you?” She asked incredulously. “You abandoned me.”
“What? I didn’t…” Suddenly what I had suspected about her break up with Ron gelled. “This is about you and Ron.”
“No it’s not!” she protested.
“Yes it is. Something happened between you and Ron. You are so mad at him you can barely tolerate being with him to fulfill your prefect duties, and you’re pushing some of that mad at me.”
Her head dropped until her chin touched her chest, presenting me with a view of her bushy locks. I knew that I had hurt her by bringing up her situation with Ron, and I hadn’t really intended to mention Ron at all, but…
“Ron and I started sort of dating last year,” Hermione said her voice barely a whisper. “We never really meant for anything to happen, but you were in detention so much, and your lessons with Professor Snape… it just sort of happened.”
“You don’t need to explain to me Hermione. I couldn’t have been much fun to be around even when I wasn’t in trouble.”
She seemingly didn’t hear me and continued. “It seemed to be going well, you know, exciting and… and… and dangerous with the way Umbridge and her Inquistorial Squad were everywhere. Then the fight at the ministry and everything, we just never found a way to let you know.”
I leaned forward and took her hand. “I never noticed a thing. But even if I had, I wouldn’t have had a problem with the two of you getting together.”
“Ron was so sweet; he even came over to my house. He travelled completely Muggle from Ottery St. Catchpole to my house. I was so proud of him for making the effort like that. We spent whole days together, and then we…”
“I know,” I said. I had to let her know that I already knew what had happened. The effort of trying to tell me almost had her in tears. “I managed to get the story out of Ron.”
“You talk about me?” She asked working herself back into a fury.
“Yes. Just like you and I are talking about Ron. He didn’t brag to me, I had to pull it out of him.”
“So you know how hideous he found me.” Her tears started to flow.
I hate it when girls cry; I never know what to do. As I saw it I had two possible ways to respond. I could just try and hold her hand until she calmed down, or I could tell her the truth. Between Hermione and me, the truth had always been the best option.
“Hermione, it isn’t always about you.”
“Try thinking about from Ron’s perspective,” I said quietly. “A very pretty girl takes him to bed and he can’t perform. At all. He was terrified that he was gay.”
She blinked at me. “There’s nothing wrong with being gay. Ron has never had a problem with anyone who has come out.”
“Just because someone doesn’t have a problem with other people being gay doesn’t mean that they would want to be gay themselves. As soon as he left you that day, Ron ran to find someone to talk to about it.”
“Oh god,” she covered her mouth with her left hand. “Tell me that Molly doesn’t know, please.”
“Ron is more likely to sit down and discuss his sex life with Malfoy than he is to discuss it with Arthur or Molly. He went to Bill. They had a long talk about how Ron felt about you, and Bill has an interesting theory.”
Hermione has always respected Bill Weasley. Headboy, Scholar, Curse Breaker, and it didn’t hurt that he had those ultra-cool good looks and attitude. If Bill suggested something, it was very likely that Hermione would believe it. “What? What did Bill say?”
“Bill compared how Ron reacted to you when you dated Viktor and how he reacts when Ginny dates anyone. He believes that deep down, Ron sees you as another sister.”
“Sister?” she asked in a shocked tone of voice.
“Yeah. Sister. He fights with you the way he fights with Gin, he’s protective of you the way he’s protective of Gin, and it makes sense really. Bill joked with Ron that the reason that he couldn’t respond to you was that Ron isn’t ‘Pure Blood’ enough.”
She wrinkled her nose. “Ew.”
“Yeah, if you’d buddied up with Malfoy the same way, there wouldn’t have been a problem.”
She hit me for that one. Hard. Then she sobered as I rubbed my arm. “When Ron didn’t want me, I told myself that I could see you after your birthday and it would be ok, because we’d all be together again, you know?”
“And then out of the blue, I was married.” I nodded my understanding.
“Ron didn’t want me, and you were… well unavailable, and the way Dumbledore did this to you and the girls… I’m going to end up alone aren’t I?”
I couldn’t help it. I started laughing, which caused her anger to spike again. She hit me again. My left bicep ended up with a fairly spectacular bruise.
“Sorry, sorry. Pax!” I laughed. “Hermione, you are absolutely the dumbest genius I’ve ever known. How is it you haven’t seen how half the Ravenclaws stare at you like you were a steak dinner in front of a starving man? Hell, Finch-Fletchley would give his left arm to go out with you, and if you don’t mind guys a little younger, I think Colin would probably die by orgasm if you as much as held his hand.”
“Hardly, Hermione look in the mirror. You are more than pretty. If you showed the slightest bit of interest, you wouldn’t have time to do your homework for all the guys competing for your time.” For the first time in our conversation a hint of a smile crossed her lips. “I know you don’t like my marriage, and I have to admit in the beginning none of the five of us were all that wild about it. But the fact remains, we are married and there is nothing I can do about it. I just need my friend Hermione back.”
And she was crying again. I hate that.
Hermione and I spoke for another two hours, we even got to laughing. I was certain that I had done a lot to heal the rift that had formed between us.
If only I had known.
Anyway the room finally decided that we had worked through our problems and the door reappeared. I held the door open for my best friend and followed her out into the hallway.
I ran into the Susan’s left hand pushing against my chest.
“Hello Hermione,” Susan said sweetly while pushing me back into the room. She turned back to Hermione and continued. “If you are ever alone with my husband behind locked doors again, I’ll pull ever single hair out of your head. Good bye Hermione,” she closed and sealed the door behind us cutting off Hermione’s denials.
Sue suspected something was going on between Hermione and me? I was shocked at that thought. “Sue, I promise, nothing happened, we were just talking.”
The redhead smiled. “I know that Harry, I’m just messing with her. It’s obvious to everyone that after whatever happened between her and Ron Weasley, she is jealous of our relationship.”
“It is?” I asked, flabbergasted that it had taken me so long to figure out what everyone else evidently just saw.
“Well, obvious to everyone who isn’t clueless.” She grinned at my reaction to that. “Wands out Potter. It’s time for your lesson.”
Around me the Room reformed from a sitting room to a dueling pit. That really bugged me. That wasn’t how the Room was supposed to work; you had to ask the Room for what you needed before you entered. But Susan could cause changes on the fly. My other wives probably could as well, but I hadn’t been in the Room with any of them since we returned to Hogwarts.
“That’s tomorrow,” I said drawing my wand. I had learned on our first lesson that Sue didn’t give second chances. I was starting to wonder about the wisdom of my asking her to teach me the Auror spells she knew.
“No,” her grin widened and became substantially more evil. “It’s today… Perhaps I am a little angry that my husband would be in a locked room with another woman and I want to work a little of that mad off…Expulso!”
I dived to the floor to avoid the explosive hex, despite my reflexes the hex came within a whisker of taking my head off. From the floor I twirled my wand and returned with a “Furnunculus!”
“Or maybe I just want to keep you off balance.” She continued, still grinning as she batted my boil producing curse away with a casual ease. “All warmed up? Good. Now we can get serious.”
An hour later the Room of Requirement was littered with the debris of our ‘practice session.’ I sat against the far wall trying to catch my breath as Susan knelt next to me working to repair what she had done to my wand arm. I’m not sure what it was or what she was doing to fix it, but the arm was starting to feel decidedly less… crunchy. I had already decided that ‘crunchy’ was not a condition that you would ever want a body part to be in.
I took minor solace in watching her chest move in a hypnotic fashion as she was also breathing deeply following the work out. Not that I had hit her with much.
I seriously doubt that I could have laid a glove on her even before her Harem Effect Power up. I don’t think I ever really appreciated just how skilled the Auror force must be. The sheer number of spells she knew, and her skill in using them.
“UUHH!” I grunted as she manipulated my arm.
“Oh hush,” She said with a smile. “If you’re good, when I’m done here, I’ll kiss it all better.”
“Sue, why did you ever come to the DA meetings? You must have been bored silly.”
“Oh, I don’t know Harry… My protective detail never taught me to cast a patronus… Hell, I taught some of them after you taught me. Besides there’s that whole Hufflepuff teamwork thing to consider, we used to do that you know. Anyway,” she reached up to brush some hair from my eyes, “the teacher was fairly cute.”
I pondered that while Susan continued working on my arm. I still wonder if she was just messing with me because I never thought I was all that good looking.
“There,” She said as she released my arm which didn’t hurt any longer. “All better.”
“And here I thought you were going to kiss it.” I snarked.
Susan swung her leg across my lap so that she was straddling me, and pulled my face between her breasts. “I never said I was going to kiss your arm.” She whispered in my ear. “I mean think about it, if I wanted to kiss arms, I’ve got arms,” and she ground her crotch into mine. “So I know that kissing an arm doesn’t make anything all better.”
Sometimes, just sometimes, it’s very good to be me.
By the end of January the castles was suffused with an odd feeling of… peace. Riddle and his crew of insane bastards hadn’t done anything since the Battle at the Ministry, which seemed odd, but I wasn’t going to complain about it. I wasn’t having nightmares, my scar wasn’t bothering me, my classes were going well and even the food seemed to be better than average. Three of my four wives were sexy/kinky/randy all the bloody time and the fourth one was working herself up to such a point that I strongly suspect that once she was of age, she was going to rape me.
In short, life was good.
Oh, sure, there were still the suspicious looks and the occasional whisper, but since pretty much nothing was going on at the school outside of class work, and since no one was turning up petrified, poisoned, or otherwise near death without a reasonable explanation, most of my school mates seemed content to think ill of me quietly and pretty much leave me alone about it.
The only dark cloud on the horizon was the impending start of my ladies’ synchronized menstrual cycle, which was due to start any time now but we were getting pretty used to those by this point, so how bad could it possibly be?
I actually asked that question out loud. I’m an idiot. I actually stood there in our common room and challenged fate like that.
Mari was exceptionally affectionate that night, telling me that she wanted to feel good before she had several days of feeling horrible, and I was happy to oblige. Our love making was gentle and sweet, with her telling me over and over how what I was doing was just right.
Sated, we finally drifted off to sleep in each other’s arms at around 3 am… Ah, to still have that kind of stamina.
Some time in those early hours the dreams started. Sex, and lots of it. Sex with Susan, Millie, Mari, and even Romilda. Sometimes just one of the girls and me, sometimes combinations of my wives, pairs, trios, even all four at once. It was pure passion, a seemingly endless series of encounters, one after another, pure driving sex. Indescribably pleasure, that somehow over the course of the dream became excruciating pain.
Something wet was being poured into my throat. I had inhaled at precisely the wrong time and began coughing.
What the hell? I hurt all over my body; my back was on fire, my left arm seemed to be restrained, and I had no feeling from the waist down. Another coughing fit racked my body. My glasses were gone and my eyes were filled with tears from the pain and the coughing, but the smell that made its way through the coughing fits told me I was in the Hospital Wing again.
What the hell happened? I wondered as I struggled to get air into my lungs.
“Headmaster?” I heard Poppy Pomfrey call. “Mr. Potter is waking up.”
“So I can hear Poppy.” The old man’s voice filled my ears. Pomfrey muttered some incantation and my coughing fit eased.
“What happened?” I gasped as soon as I had enough air in my lungs to speak.
“We shall speak soon Mr. Potter,” Dumbledore said, “But first, let’s allow Madam Pomfrey to do her job, shall we?”
“Mr. Potter,” the Healer said in a tone that did nothing to disguise her distaste for my condition. “I have never seen anyone in the condition you find yourself in. The damage is almost sufficient to make me believe those rumors about you engaging in Dark Rituals to enhance your level of power.
“What’s happened to me?” I asked through gritted teeth.
“I know that you’re in pain, but there is little I can do about it at this time. You have a badly broken, almost shattered pelvis, the pain from that had you thrashing about so much that you were doing even more damage which is why you are currently under a nerve block charm to keep your lower body immobilized. The skin on your back is shredded to the point where I’m going to have to force a regrowth but I cannot do that until your pelvis is taken care of, you arrived horribly dehydrated with a blood sugar level that suggested that you hadn’t eaten for the better part of a week, in short your entire body chemistry is badly skewed.”
She was leaving something out, but for the life of me I couldn’t figure out what. “What’s wrong with my left arm?”
“Both of your arms and upper torso are covered in bite marks Mr. Potter,” Poppy sniffed. She was angry with me? I wracked my mind trying to figure out what had I done that might have angered Madam Pomfrey. The whole concept of bite marks frightened me more than a little bit… “Your left arm,” she continued, “is restrained. Your level of dehydration required that I get fluids into your system as quickly as possible, so you now have a Muggle style Intravenous drip in your arm.”
“Thank you Poppy,” Dumbledore said in that patient way of his. “Is Mr. Potter well enough that we might speak privately?”
Poppy huffed in that annoyed way of hers, and her blur disappeared from my limited view. “Now that we’re alone Harry,” Dumbledore continued, “I suppose you would like to know what happened to you.”
“God, yes Headmaster. What happened to me? What bit me? Are my girls ok?”
“The Mrs. Potters are as well as can be expected Harry, given their level of worry about you. What you are experiencing is the aftermath of one of the unfortunate downsides of a group marriage among magical people. Once a year, when all of your wives bio-magical cycles synchronize they will become, shall we say, aggressively fertile.”
“Aggressively fertile? You mean that they did this to me?” I asked my mind boggling that any of my gentle ladies could possibly…
“Well, it might be more accurate to say that all five of you did this to you. A symptom of their condition has the bodies of the women in a marriage bond issue an alchemical aphrodisiac, something like what the Muggles call a pheromone dump. You were a willing, if addled participant.”
I groped for my glasses, and after I got them on, I could see that the old man was seemingly sincere. “How often is this going to happen?”
“As I said, once a year. You will likely have quite interesting late Januaries and early Februaries for the rest of your life.”
I digested that for a few moments. Then it dawned on me that I didn’t know how long I’d been out this time. Poppy said that I hadn’t eaten for most of a week?
“What day is it?” I asked.
“It is currently the morning of February the 4th Harry.”
That shocked me speechless. My last memory was making love to Mari in the early hours of January 30th.
“You and your wives missed all of your classes Thursday and Friday of last week, and any attempt to ascertain your statuses were rebuffed by your elves, who would only say that you were all busy with family obligations,” the old man hesitated, as if embarrassed. “I must admit to being somewhat surprised that elves could so effectively block my access to any part of the castle. What had happened was only discovered Sunday afternoon when Susan Potter emerged from your apartments looking for help.”
“But the girls, they’re alright?”
“Yes Mr. Potter, your wives are all fine. Unfortunately, your reputation again is suffering from poorly thought out rumors. The Daily Prophet was full of speculation as to the nature of the Dark Rituals you were using to subjugate your wives.”
“Oh bloody hell.” I shook my head. “Can’t you do anything about these stupid rumors?”
The old man simply shrugged. “I can try…”
Evidently a pelvis is more complicated to regrow than the bones in your arm. I wouldn’t have thought so; I mean the hand alone… Still I was stuck in that bed for two days while that vile potion did its work.
Meanwhile I had four extremely distraught witches visiting me whenever Poppy would let them on the ward, sometimes alone, other times in groups of two or three or all four.
Their stories poured out. While I had no memories of our four day rut beyond the faint and fading dream like memories I woke with, the ladies were fully conscious for the entire time, conscious, but out of control. They just wouldn’t stop apologizing.
So I responded with bad jokes as soon as the skelgrow let me.
“I should have known the rest of you were jealous of Millie almost killing me with sex, so you all had to try yourselves.”
“Harry!” Susan said, shocked that I would joke about that.
“Probably getting ready to hire yourselves out… I even know your new slogan Carnal Assassins, Look Sexy, Will Travel.”
A small grin crossed Mari’s lips. “That would look good on a business card.”
“Mari!” Susan and Romilda chorused.
“Harry, you don’t have to make us laugh.” Millie said. “You’re hurt and we are the ones that hurt you.”
“You didn’t do it on purpose Millie. Besides, think of all the guilt points I’ve racked up here. I can be stupid all I want and none of you can yell at me for months.” I grinned.
“I’m afraid I’m going to have to insist you refrain from the intentional stupidity Mr. Potter,” Poppy Pomfrey said as she bustled up to my bed side and began waving her wand in a very complex pattern over my groin. “While your wives may not be able to shout at you for it, I have noticed that whenever you are intentionally stupid you tend to end up on my ward distracting me from caring for students who are truly ill.” Some glowing symbols appeared over my body. “Very good Mr. Potter, the Skelgrow had done its job. Your pelvis is as good as new.”
“So I can go?” I asked hopefully.
“As much as we might both enjoy that, sadly no.” The healer waved her wand and I was flipped onto my stomach. “Now I can begin working on your back. First I have to cancel the numbing charm…” My back seemingly lit on fire. “Luckily, this potion is applied topically.” And the sadistic witch sprayed my back with something that smelled of petrol and which seemed to cause the flames to burn hotter. “You need to remain face down for the next twenty hours or so Mr. Potter. Please don’t make me restrain you, as that would spoil my fun.”
My wives watched the healer return to her office, and then Susan started crying again. “Harry, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean…”
“So, you’re the tiger then?” I asked as lightly as I could while trying to ignore the few billion ants on my back. “Who’s the biter?”
“Me,” Mari said hanging her head. “I’m sorry Harry.”
“Don’t be. What little I recall of it was a lot of fun. According to the Headmaster it won’t happen again for a year, so we can make sure to take a few precautions.” I winced at a spasm in my back. When I opened my eyes again I could see that the girls were all near tears. Trying for another joke I spoke again. “So… How do I taste Mari?”
That did it, any hint of tears vanished from my elder wife’s eyes, and danger glinted in them. She reached out and pushed her index finger into my back causing me to gasp in pain. “Quite like an old shoe… You know the type, broken and torn and not really any good for anything anymore, but you keep it around for sentimental reasons.”
Once I could breathe again I reminded myself to never, ever make Marietta angry.
Upon leaving the Hospital wing I discovered that the whispers and pointed silences that seemed to occur when ever I entered a room had begun again in full force. Ron and Neville had stopped by to let me know that they believed me and that they thought near death by sex was a hilarious concept.
“I never really believed that it was possible for anyone to die from too much sex,” Neville said in his most serious tone. “But I had always hoped it was. You know Harry, it’s hardly fair that most of us barely get enough affection to merit an increased heart rate while you are getting enough to nearly die. Not fair at all.
“Yeah,” Ron agreed. “When I tell my kids the story, I’m not going to tell them it was with your wives though.”
“Excuse me? Tell your kids?” I asked.
“Well, sure,” he said jerking his thumb toward his chest. “Weasley here. The smallest Weasley family I’ve ever heard of is one with four kids. When my sons are old enough I’ll tell them the story of how my best mate Harry Potter broke his pelvis subduing an entire Veela enclave and that the local village put up a statue to commemorate the event. Wives are boring, Veela are hot.”
Funny, funny guys I hung out with… You know I wonder if Ron carried through with his threat to tell the story of Harry Potter and the Veelas. I wish I could ask him.
Romilda joined in the rotation for spending the night with me.
That sounded bad. There wasn’t really a ‘rotation’. In fact I never did learn how they decided amongst themselves who would sleep with me. Pretty much every time I thought I had cracked their pattern, they switched up on me.
Anyway Romi started sleeping with me. Waiting for her sixteenth birthday seemed a bit silly following the events of the end of January.
In mid February my wives were tested by Madam Pomfrey. Despite their ‘aggressive fertility’ as the Headmaster put it, and what can only be described as my ‘best efforts’ none of my wives conceived.
Which was ok. None of them wanted to be carrying a child while still at Hogwarts. It was good that they hadn’t caught.
My bed was fairly crowded that night with four sobbing women.
Winter gave way to spring. The weather improved but the whispers and the rumors did not.
The high point of May was the news that Amelia Bones’ will was finally finished in probate. The family money was long gone, but Susan received a trunk holding a few family mementos. The five of us gathered in the sitting room of our apartment when Susan opened the trunk with trembling hands.
The contents of the trunk were at first glance the paltry remnants of a bankrupt house; a few items of china, a partial silver setting, Susan’s mother’s wedding gown. Then she found Amelia’s badge and my pretty ‘Puff broke down in tears. I held her while she cried herself numb.
Once she had composed herself, Susan returned to her examination of her family’s treasure. A few more artifacts of her Aunt’s time as an Auror remained. A metallic baton and surprisingly several sets of blood red leather body armor.
“Is that what Aurors wear under their robes?” I asked.
“Well, not every day,” Susan said lifting one of the sets up to drape across her body. “If they knew they were going to find trouble or things like that.” Her eyes lost focus. “Auntie Amelia came up through the ranks, the Hard Way, she always said. She said she had to be twice as good as a man to get half the recognition.”
“Try it on.” Millie suggested. “That way we can see what a young Auror Bones might have looked like.
Susan blushed and looked at me. “If you want to Sue,” I said.
She smiled a bit and scooped up one entire set of the body armor and went to the girl’s common bedroom, only to return a few moments later.
I don’t know what I expected, but this wasn’t it. I’ve seen leather clothing before, mostly in the Muggle world but some Wizarding versions. Amelia Bones’ body armor wasn’t for looking sexy, though Susan did. No, that body armor was for looking like someone about to commit major property damage and make you like it. It wasn’t armor like the various suits of armor around the castle which seemed to say ‘look at me, I’m an antique.’ The blood red leather gear said ‘I’m going to hurt you and everyone you know if you upset me.’
“You’ve worn that before.” Mari said, her mouth open in amazement as she watched Sue move.
“Auntie Amelia had a set made for me when my protective detail started training me.” Sue said pulling her left glove tight. “And last year I was the same size she was so I started wearing hers.”
“Everyone in Slytherin house was sure that the Bones line had gone soft when you were sorted into Hufflepuff.” Millie said. “You were never Soft Susie, were you?”
Susan smiled again. “The best way to hide is to have everyone underestimate you. Besides,” her smile got larger, “Auntie Amelia was a bit disappointed that I didn’t follow her into Slytherin or my Dad into Ravenclaw, but she always said that being a Hard Case didn’t mean you couldn’t be a team player.”
We woke on one day in late May to find the castle was under lockdown. Meals were delivered to the Dorms, including our apartment. The Staff were patrolling the halls and the guardian portraits refused to allow anyone out of their dorms.
Lacking anything else to do, Mari organized a study session. This was how we spent our time until finally at 2 pm Professor McGonagall was at our door.
“The Headmaster wishes to speak with you Mr. Potter.”
“What’s happened Professor? Is it Voldemort?”
The woman flinched at the forbidden name. “Never you mind about that Mr. Potter. Take this pass and present yourself to the Headmaster.” She said handing me a large blue sheet of parchment. “The password is ‘Bloodpop’.”
Making my way to the Headmaster’s office was… odd. I don’t think that I’d ever seen the halls of Hogwarts quite so empty. The only living person I saw on my trek across the castle was Professor Flitwick, who insisted on inspecting my pass. My first and only hall pass during my Hogwarts career.
I specified ‘living person’ because the ghosts were everywhere. I’d heard that there were far more ghosts than we normally see, but this was the first evidence I’d ever seen of it. Nearly Headless Nick stopped me outside the Headmaster’s office to inspect my pass again.
“My apologies Mr. Potter, but the Headmaster was most insistent that we keep the students contained and safe today.” The old caviler said as he drifted off to complete his patrol.
The only thing going through my mind for the entire trip was what the hell is going on?
The Gargoyle lifted an eyebrow while waiting for me to give him the password. There was just something about that snooty bit of stonework. “Bloodpop.”
The statue slowly moved out of the way while never losing its expression of exasperation. I made my way up the moving staircase to the door and knocked.
“Come in Harry,” the old man called from his desk. “I’ll be with you in just a moment, I need to complete this thought.”
I entered and took my place standing before the old man’s desk. He continued with the document he was writing, so I had a chance to observe the man. He appeared oddly… exhilarated. Something was going on, and hopefully I was about to find out what.
I watched as he signed his name with more than a little flourish, then look up at me. “Ah, Harry. Welcome. It has been a trying day, but a great day. Greater than you might imagine.”
“What has happened Professor?” I asked.
“There was a massive battle. Tom marshaled his Death Eaters against the Ministry. Hundreds died. Unfortunately Harry, your absence has been taken as evidence that you have joined Voldemort.”
“What? Did you tell the Ministry that I was here under lockdown?” I couldn’t believe this. Why was this happening to me?
“Sadly, once the bureaucracy gets an idea in its collective mind, there is no changing it.”
“But Professor, surely you can do something,” I was panicking, what could I do? “I mean, you’re Albus Dumbledore!”
The old man’s brow furrowed as if he were trying to make a decision… He drew his wand and with his left hand removed an empty candy dish from a drawer in his desk. “Portus!” The candy dish glowed blue for a moment.
“Harry,” he said, “I think you’re ready to find out some things. It’s a tribute to your maturity I’m allowing this. Take this portkey back to your apartments. It will activate automatically at precisely 3 pm. On the other side you will learn some very important things, things that are likely to save your life. When you are satisfied, the portkey will return you to your apartments, that the return activation phrase is ‘I Understand’.”
I accepted the candy dish. “Thank you sir.”
“No Harry, thank you. Thank you for your acceptance of an old man’s mistakes. I hope what you will learn today will give you a measure of peace.”
The portkey deposited me in the center of a richly appointed bedroom, where I found a man in what appeared to be Muggle clothing rushing about packing a large trunk.
“Harry!” the man greeted me happily when he spotted me. “So glad you could make it. I begged Dumbledore for the chance to thank you personally and to apologize for everything.”
Well, that didn’t make any sense. I regarded the smiling man. He was tall, and appeared to be somewhere in that middle age thing that adult wizards do where they don’t appear to age at all between 40 and 100. Jet black hair, with just a hint of silver beginning at the temples, he was dressed in khaki cargo shorts and an unbuttoned blue and red Hawaiian shirt over a bright yellow tee-shirt bearing the words ‘You say Dark Wizard… I say Grumpy Visionary’ emblazoned on the front with an animated cartoon wizard waving his wand about. He seemed somewhat familiar, but…
My eyes widened when I made the connection and I drew my wand. “Hello Tom,” I said extending my wand ready to cast if he made a false move.
Tom Riddle appeared to be slightly confused by my actions but calmly raised his hands in a show of surrender. “Should I assume from your actions that Dumbledore hasn’t explained things to you?”
“What are you talking about?” I demanded.
Riddle rolled his eyes. “Damn him.” The man who killed my parents and who had made something of a career trying to kill me snapped the fingers of his left hand.
My wand vanished from my hand and reappeared in his. Riddle made much of a show of lowering his hands and placing my wand on the table. “Harry, sit down. We need to talk.”
He had disarmed me like I was nothing. I’d never seen power like that before. I sat down at the chair he indicated. “What’s with the glamour?” I asked.
The man appeared to be confused for a moment, then understanding flashed across his face. “Oh, you mean this.” He gestured at his face. “No glamour Harry, this is the real me.”
“That bastard Dumbledore was supposed to have already explained all this to you. Typical he sloughs it off to me. The long and the short of it is everything you know is wrong.”
I just stared at him.
He sighed. “Alright, let’s do it this way.” He drew his wand, “I, Tom Marvolo Riddle, swear upon my life and my magic that I will not lie to Harry James Potter about any situation we share an interest in. I will not omit any information that he needs to know, though I reserve the right to maintain my own privacy, but not to the extent that I would endanger Potter or his family.”
The pulse of magic that sealed his vow almost blinded me.
“Harry, let’s start at the beginning, shall we? Right. Most importantly, as far as you and I are concerned, there is no Albus Dumbledore.”
“Yeah, shocked me too when Gellert told me,” The older wizard smiled. “The man we all know as Albus Dumbledore is in actually Nicholas Flamel.”
I guess the expression on my face was in some way funny, at least Riddle felt the need to laugh at it. “The man achieved immortality in the late 1300s. Since then, he’s been looking for something to do.”
“Something to do?” I echoed.
“Yes. In his original life he became a philanthropist with the money he made with his stone, and then he became a series of artists from late 1400s through the early 1600s. Then he was the Dark Lord Dilligaf through the 1700s. Somewhere in the early 1800s he decided that he would try to be the hero for a while and he created the Dumbledore personae.”
I struggled to figure out how Voldemort was managing to tell me these things without coming into conflict with the magical oath he had taken. The only thing I could come up with was that he was telling me the truth.
A hero needs a villain, but the villain must be credible. Old Nick… Let’s just call him Albus had gotten so powerful that no one could stand up to him. This meant he had to amplify the power of another wizard to the point he could appear to actually give Albus a run for his money. So in the late 1800s he approached Gellert Grindelwald with this great plan to expand Gellert’s power. Albus claimed to have found a ways to counter the negative effects of the Harem Effect. He lied of course.”
“You’re telling me that Albus Dumbledore created Gellert Grendelwald in order to be the hero that defeated him?” I asked incredulously.
“Quite. Gellert had just finished at Durmstrang, top of his class and he intended to become a curse breaker for Gringotts,” Riddle smiled fondly at the memory. “Gellert had a bad case of wanderlust and wanted to see the world, solve the great riddles of the ages and get rich doing it. But before he could really get started he met Dumbledore who spun promises of great power.”
I hated to admit it to myself but this was beginning to make sense.
“Before Gellert knew it, Dumbledore had him married off to three women. By the mid 1920, a much more powerful Gellert Grendelwald started making a move for power in Europe.”
“But why?” I asked.
“Like you surmised a moment ago, Dumbledore created Gellert as to the villain he defeated. By that time Gellert really had no choice. But what ever else he is, Dumbledore takes care of his pawns. The conflict that Dumbledore forced Gellert to precipitate came to an end in the mid 1940s, and it was time for Dumbledore the Hero to defeat Grendelwald the Villain.”
“So… World War II was nothing more than a plot to make Albus Dumbledore look heroic?” I asked incredulously.
“Well, that’s a bit of an over simplification, the Muggles had their own political problems as they always do, but Dumbledore’s manipulations of the leaders of the various Muggle nations certainly didn’t put the conflict off. Dumbledore knew that Gellert had run his course as the villain of the Wizarding world and he started looking for a replacement. After all, Heroes can be around forever, but if the Villains persist as well… That makes the Hero look a bit incompetent.”
“And he found you?”
“Exactly. There I was, a minding my own business in Slytherin, wanting nothing more than to make my mark on the world, after my parents were killed at the end of my fourth year.” Riddle seemed to notice something about my expression. “What?”
“It’s just the way you spoke of your parents just then. It seemed odd when I think about how you spoke about your Muggle father back in my second year.”
It seemed that I had confused him. “Your second year? I spoke to you when I was doing my Quirrell impression during your first year, but I didn’t see you again until that phony rebirthing ritual Peter and I did at the end of your fourth year.”
“Lucius Malfoy gave your diary to Ginny Weasley,” I wondered if it was possible that Malfoy had never told Riddle what he had done.
“My diary? I’ve never kept a diary… well that’s not strictly true. When my father introduced me to the works of a few diarists over the summer before I started at Hogwarts, I tried to keep a journal a few times, but it never lasted more than a week before I abandoned it.”
“But it held your shade. It claimed to be a magical manifestation of your memories.” I searched my memories of the event. “It even showed me how you got ‘I am Lord Voldemort’ from your name.”
A blush spread across Tom Riddle’s face. “That whole anagram thing is a result of a charms project third year. I thought that it was really cool and tried to get everyone to call me ‘Lord Voldemort.” He shrugged. “I was thirteen and an idiot. Then that’s the name I’m known by when I ‘go dark’ and I’m stuck with it. Why else do you suppose I put so much energy into making sure that no one used it? Being referred to as ‘You Know Who’ has been annoying, but it’s better than constantly being reminded of what an idiot I was as a boy.”
I must have smiled because he kept going.
“Oh, don’t feel so superior. Purely out of curiosity I anagrammed your name Harry, and if you’re not careful I’ll see to it you’re known as Pyjamas The Terror.”
I winced a bit. After learning where ‘I am Lord Voldemort’ had come from second year, I in fact had experimented in anagrammizing my own name, though I was more partial to ‘Raja Rhyme Protest’ than ‘Pyjamas’.
“So,” Riddle continued. “I never had a diary. That must have been one of Albus’ little plots.”
That made more sense than I really wanted to admit at the time. “But why?”
Riddle shrugged. “Because I’ve been his villain for most of forty years, and it’s time for a new evil dark lord. That will be you. His tests throughout your school years were to determine if you had the potential to be my replacement, and you quite obviously do, which is why he’s tied you to your wives.”
“You’re in a group marriage too?” I asked.
“Yes,” Riddle said, his eyes losing their focus for a moment. “Our wives are how he jacks up our powers to make us credible threats, and they are how he controls us.”
“That old bastard has controlled me my entire life, ever since you killed my parents.” I stood up from the chair. “I’m going back there and I’m going to let everyone know about him. Then I’m going to find a way to kill you for everything you’ve done to me, at his orders or not.”
“Harry! NO!” Riddle all but screamed as he rose from his own seat. “You… You can’t do that…” his voice trailed off, and then he started again. “Damned oath.” For the first time since I had arrived Tom Riddle no longer met my eyes. “When I found out what he was doing back in my 6th year, I challenged him, and he punished me. Don’t challenge him Harry, please don’t.”
I don’t know what was shocking me more, everything I had learned about Dumbledore, or the fact that Tom Riddle seemed to be intent on protecting me as best he could. “What happened? What did he do to you?”
“When he bound me to my wives, he… he did something to them. When I challenged him, he killed my Myrtle. But just killing her wasn’t enough, no, he bound her soul to the Castle, forever. She has no peace, she has no solace, just unending loss and torment. Possibly worse of all, whatever he did removed her memories of us. Of me and my other wives. Sweet little Myrtle knows that she’s forgotten something, something important to her, but she just can’t recall what it was. What he did was like ripping my arm off at the shoulder.”
I sat back down. His oath ensured that he couldn’t lie to me. Dumbledore had killed Myrtle?
Riddle sat as well. “I’m sorry Harry, I really am. Don’t challenge Dumbledore, just do what he tells you to do. He’s a twisted bastard, but he will reward you for following his instructions,’ he looked down again as if the memories were almost too much for him to bear. “And punish you in horrible ways if you don’t.”
I just couldn’t let it go. “So you killed my parents on his orders?”
“No,” he shook his head. “I didn’t kill your parents. I was already gone when they were killed. Originally Dumbledore was to have defeated me, but then you were born and Albus recognized the seeds of great power in you. Albus Dumbledore killed your parents Harry. The first time I ever laid eyes on you was the day Hagrid brought you into the Leaky Cauldron.”
The shocks kept coming. “But if that you didn’t… How do you explain your Death Eaters?”
“Blood purists all. I’m more than a little ashamed to admit that I enjoy disciplining them. You will be gathering your own grouping in a decade or so. Albus doesn’t like there being dark forces he isn’t controlling running around. When you become the next ‘Dark Lord’ you will spend the first decade or so purging those groups that won’t join you.”
The door to the room opened and a woman entered pulling a wheeled trunk behind her.
“Tom? Are you about ready?” That was when she spotted me. “Oh, I’m sorry.”
Long black hair, full lips, her eyes… I rose from my chair again. “Bellatrix!”
Riddle hesitated. “Yes Harry, Bellatrix. Bellatrix Riddle. My wife.”
The woman no longer had that look of madness that I had seen at the Ministry of Magic, rather a general sense of calmness that was somehow even more disturbing.
“I do want to apologize for what happened at the Ministry Mr. Potter.” Her eyes shone almost as if she were fighting back… tears? “I want you to know, I didn’t kill Sirius.”
“I saw you!”
“You saw what spell I used.”
“A stunner.” I responded.
“And what happens when someone is hit with a stunner?” she asked.
“They fall…” it suddenly dawned on me what she was saying.
“Exactly, they fall. There is nothing in a stunner that could have thrown Sirius through the veil.” She sat on the arm of Riddle’s chair. “Tom and I have discussed it at length. We suspect Dumbledore did it to remove you from Sirius’ influence.”
I sat back down, still staring at the two of them.
“You’re thinking of the age difference, aren’t you Harry? After we lost Myrtle, my surviving wives and I went into a long mourning period. Then when I was back in Britain working on my first so called rise to power I met this lovely woman in the late 1960s. We married in 1970” Riddle gazed at her lovingly. “For the first time in a long time, we felt… complete.”
“We’ve been married twenty seven years,” Bellatrix noted serenely.
“So, you didn’t kill my parents, and Bellatrix didn’t kill my Godfather. Was Peter Pettigrew actually the one who betrayed my parents?”
“Yes,” Riddle nodded. “Peter happily told Dumbledore where they were. He’s Dumbledore’s man through and through.”
“So, what happens now?”
“Now, I leave Britain, as I suspect that you will soon.” He grinned a bit. “I’m dead you see. Permanently this time. I fell to the wand of the Great Albus Dumbledore in the atrium of the Ministry of Magic in front of hundreds of witnesses, but then after it was confirmed that I was very dead, who else but Harry Potter portkeyed in stole my body and vowed vengeance on those who had killed his master.”
“It was very moving.” Bellatrix said with a smile.
“Who?” I asked.
“Peter under polyjuice. My time is done and now you are the rising Dark Lord. Dumbledore plans for you to disappear for at least a decade and then reemerge to form your empire.”
“Tom?” a new voice called out, and Peter Pettigrew entered the room. “Good, you’re all here. Albus wanted me to remind you that we’re on a schedule here. Tom, you need to leave so that Harry can get back to Hogwarts.”
“I’m going to kill you Pettigrew!”
“Calm down boy,” the short man said shaking his head. “We all serve the same master.”
Riddle stood with a sigh. “One last piece of advice. Chose one of your wives to be your Bellatrix. I know that your first instinct will be to keep them safe, but you cannot know the comfort that your most ardent supporter will give you when you are on your rise to power. Things became so much easier when Bella joined me.”
Riddle and Bellatrix gathered their trunks and were reaching for an oddly out of place tankard, obviously a portkey.
“Wait!” I called. “Before you go, who killed Amelia Bones?”
“Peter did.” Bellatrix said. “Snuck up behind her in his rat form and struck her down like the coward he is.”
And the couple disappeared as the portkey activated.
I turned to find Peter grinning at me. “What are you going to do Potter? Tell everyone that a dead man killed that bitch Bones?”
“Why Peter? Why did you kill her?”
“Dumbledore’s orders.” The rat animagus shrugged. “He needed little Susie to be available to you. It was easy, all I did was…” His voice cut off when the entrails expelling curse hit him in his gut and his belly opened allowing his internal organs to spill out.
There was a shimmer to my left as Susan threw off my father’s cloak and followed her first curse with a dozen more, reducing Peter Pettigrew to a bloody stain on the floor. It wasn’t until she hesitated whole looking for the largest remaining piece of the man to curse next that I managed to pull her into my arms.
It was several minutes before she could speak.
“I’ll be your Bellatrix, Harry. To keep the others safe, I’ll be your Bellatrix until we can deal with Albus Dumbledore.”
“I thought you might be.” I whispered in her ear. “I think we need to get back, if ‘I’ was seen taking Voldemort’s body then Dumbledore must want me arrested or has arranged for an escape.”
I picked up my wand. I was going to kill Albus Dumbledore, just probably not today. “Put the cloak back on Sue. No sense giving up our advantage.”
She wrapped herself in my father’s cloak and disappeared. I felt her wrap her arm around me and the weight of her touching the portkey. “I’m ready Harry.”
“I understand.” I said to activate the magical transport.
The portkey returned us to our sitting room, which almost appeared to be an abattoir. There was blood everywhere, the furnishings were destroyed, and crucified against one wall was… Romi?
She took my hand through the cloak, reassuring me that she was still there. For the thousandth time that day I asked what the hell had happened. Who had done this to sweet little Romi?
I never heard the petrification spell that hit me, causing me to fall forward oh to my face.
“So ye’ve returned to the scene of your crimes have ye Potter?” McGonagall’s voice was full of hatred. “You were one of mine. How could ye do this? Whaur are the others Potter? Have ye sacrificed them as well? Whaur are their bodies boy? Ye’ll be tellin’ the Headmaster!” I’d never known that McGonagall’s brogue got thicker when she got angry.
My former Head of House levitated me from the floor. I was amazed at Susan’s restraint, if it was me under the cloak, I’d have been hexing anything that moved as soon as the first curse was thrown. I guess that’s why she kept harping about restraint and situational awareness in our sessions together.
As soon as McGonagall’s levitation charm had me upright she had be moving from our former home. I wanted to ask where my girls were, but I was locked in my frozen state. Susan would touch me every so often to let me know she was still there. Unlike earlier in the day, the halls were full of students, all of them staring at me.
Evidently the word was out that ‘I’ had taken Voldemort’s body and sworn vengeance on those who had struck down my lord. The reactions from the students were and interesting mix, mostly along house lines. The Gryffindors were universally horrified; the Hufflepuffs seemed confused, the Ravenclaws aloof and above it all, while the Slytherins seemed torn between cheering my defeat and capture and rushing to help me.
Outside the Headmaster’s office a small crowd had gathered. As the gargoyle slid out of the way Neville Longbottom pushed through the crowd and putting all his weight into it, punched me in the face. “We trusted you,” he spat, “and you joined HIM.” One of the teachers pushed him away before he could hit me again.
I wished I could blame Neville, but I couldn’t. My last sight as I was levitated up the moving stairs facing backwards, was a furious Neville holding a sobbing Hermione Granger.
Dumbledore had fucked me proper, that was for sure.
Once I was in the office, Dumbledore took control of the levitation charm and released me from being petrified before he forced me to sit in the chair before his desk.
“How could you do it Harry? Tell me, how could you do something so evil?”
The old man was shouting at me, from the corner of my eye I could see that the door was still open and I understood. This was for public consumption.
“You were the Chosen One!” he continued, “It was prophesized that you would, destroy Voldemort, not join him. It was you who would save the Wizarding world, not leave it to the Darkness.”
That sounded like a line from a bad movie. Dumbledore… Flamel… Whoever the hell he was waved his wand at me and I was bound to the chair in heavy chains.
“Everyone out of my office.” He barked. “I will be calling the Minister and the head of the DMLE and we will be interrogating Mr. Potter. Professors, take charge of your students. I will be making a few announcements at the evening meal.”
Like good little Robots, like I would have done only the day before, everyone filed out of the office, and the door sealed behind them. Suddenly Dumbledore’s anger was gone.
“It is good to see you Mrs. Potter; I was worried something had happened to you.”
I’d forgotten that he could see people hidden by cloaks. Recognizing that she wasn’t truly hidden, Susan pulled the cloak from her body.
“Where are the rest of my wives Old Man?” I spat from where I was sitting. “Who did that to Romilda?”
“All of your wives are safe Mr. Potter, and that thing in your quarters is not really your youngest wife, rather a rather convincing creation of my own design. I doubt her own mother could tell the difference. No, your wives are safe Mr. Potter, and you will be joining them soon so that your powers can continue to mature.”
“You had my Aunt killed.” Susan growled.
“I did. She was in my way. It was for the greater good,” a smile crossed his lips. “My greater good.”
Susan whipped out her wand and froze until a chair materialized behind her and she was suddenly sitting down with a bewildered look on her face.
“Mrs. Potter please. I know you have gotten something of an increase in power since your marriage, but compared to me, you are almost nothing. I am allowing you to keep your wand because you are going to need it to escape in a few moments.
From a drawer in his desk, he removed an old sock, and cast portus on it. “Mr. Potter, I’m sure you will be cursing my name for many years to come, but just remember the price young Tom once paid for disobedience. At a time of my choosing, you will return to Britain, raise an army of darkness that I will destroy and you will be rewarded for good performance. In the mean time, spend time with your wives and raise your family. Mrs. Potter, you will now stun me, free your husband and use this portkey to escape. I warn you, the use of any other magic against me will result in one of your fellow Mrs. Potters dying in a most horrific manner.”
It was an exceptionally long portkey ride, one that ended in darkness and both Susan and I on our knees vomiting violently.
On my knees I noticed first that I was in sand, and then that there was water lapping against my legs.
“Lumos!” Susan cast, and the area around us lit up from the sphere of light on the tip of her wand.
A beach. We were on a beach. Evidently our arrival (or perhaps Susan’s Lumos) had been noticed because several people were rushing toward us. Susan and I were mobbed by our three other selves and I tried to hold them all at the same time until the fourth person with them spoke up.
“Welcome home Harry.” Tom Riddle said. “Come on; let’s get you two into your house. Tomorrow I’ll show you all around the island.”
“You live here too?” I asked stupidly.
“No, I’m the next house down the beach. We’re neighbors.” The man I had spent my life hating and fearing since I’d first heard of him clapped me on the back. “Don’t worry about it Harry, you’ll get used to living in paradise.
At least until Dumbledore called me back to hell, was a thought we both left unsaid.
As it turned out, I never became Dark Lord Potter. Twelve years after we fled Hogwarts, and just two months before I was supposed to return to Britain to begin my rise to power, Albus Dumbledore lost his immortal life to a stupid pointless accident. Evidently his form of immortality meant he wouldn’t die of old age, not that he couldn’t be killed.
He was in Ottawa Canada for a major meeting of the International Confederation of Wizards, and while on a break from the conference wanted to demonstrate to a younger colleague his mastery of blending in to the Muggle world by taking said colleague to lunch outside the magical quarter of the city.
Following what was reported to be a sumptuous meal; the old man was leading his friend back to the conference when he looked the wrong way crossing the street and stepped in front of an oncoming city bus.
A healer might have saved his life, but the wizard with him panicked and ran from the scene leaving the famous Albus Dumbledore bleeding in the street, and to the mercies of the Muggle medical system. The hospital he was taken to did its level best, but the injuries were just too severe.
Albus Dumbledore passed from this life on August 12 2009, and my family and I were free. Not that we could return to Britain, but we were free.
Four figures enter my room, and I know I’ve lost.
I’m not surprised, I always lose. We’ve been doing this for 142 years now.
“You made us work for it this year Harry,” Susan said, her hair still as vibrant as ever, my First Wife’s figure still takes my breath away, even after four children and almost a century and a half of marriage.
Millie gestures toward my shelf and I am lifted down with great gentleness. “We aren’t kids anymore Harry, we can control ourselves now. You haven’t had an injury serious enough to need a healer in twenty years.” Millie missed being First Wife by six hours. I don’t think she ever really forgave Edgar for beating Michael ‘out the shoot’ so to speak. Oh she still spoiled him, after all, ‘Momma Millie’ turned out to be the most maternal of my wives. It might have been because complications with Michael’s birth meant that he was the only child of her body.
Marietta pressed her breasts into my back and wrapped her arms around me, licking my left ear. “Come on Stud, you know what we need.” Of all my wives, Mari was the most consistently sexual. She enjoyed having children and never skipped a chance to knock my legs out from under me and some how land on top of me accidently naked. She and I had eight children over thirty five years. Just as she did with me, she took it upon herself to ensure that all of our family’s children knew how to be students.
“Forget these fossils Harry,” Romilda snarked. “I don’t blame you from hiding from a bunch of old women, but you’ve still got me, and I’m still young enough to have urges…” Romi became the firm hand of our family, she somehow became responsible for maintaining discipline in our household. She and I had two children together, but she was the Boss of the whole herd over the years. Me included.
Our fifteen children had children of their own, and so on and so on. I’m told at last count we are the Great Great grandparents of 163. I get briefed on the names whenever they come visiting.
The pheromones are getting to me, as the women peel my clothing from my body, I find I’m rising to the occasion.
I surrender to the situation. The sex is still fantastic, but I’m 159 year old. I don’t heal as fast as I used to.
But it’s a good kind of doomed.