A/N 10/13/2021: Here's the last chapter of rewrite done. I had to go through a lot of work just to get this story to the point where I am happy with up to this point.
Now we get to the reactions of some of the friends and find out a little more about what happened with the Weasley family. If you've read the story before, you will notice that this chapter is significantly different than it was prior to the rewrite.
Reader Review Response:
millerb - Thank you for reading the story! In response to your review since I can't send you a PM: I had originally left the original version of the eighth chapter up, so with having rewritten the previous chapters, the previous version of this chapter wouldn't have made sense. Thus, I have taken down the previous version of this chapter. Sorry for the confusion.
Lifelong Editor - Thank you!!!
Also, to all of the others who have left constructive reviews since I started the rewrite of the first few chapters, thank you!
Still have no ownership of any rights to Harry Potter and the associated universe. I just do this for fun!
As always, read and enjoy! If you don't enjoy the story, go read someone else's. :P
A Few Hours Later
Politicking with a Senator
Harry Potter was standing in the study of one of his best friends after using his animagus form along with a couple of elf-applied disallusionment and notice-me-not charms to fly there from his home at Wyvern's Rock in Wales. As he moved around the room looking at the pictures that were hanging on the portions of the walls that weren't filled with bookshelves, Harry had a small smile on his face that belied the tension he was feeling with his current situation.
The Potter Heir has seen these same pictures several times over the years, but it seemed that today he would get no enjoyment from the pictures, even the one of their mutual house team from last year posing with the Hogwarts Quidditch Cup after winning the Quidditch Cup last year. Harry let his mind drift to those happy memories as he replayed the hard-fought games that had culminated in the picture he was studying.
He was so focused on the picture in front of him that Harry failed to notice the door at the opposite side of the study opening to admit the young man who the study belonged to and closing again after said young man had entered. Harry mentally patted himself on the back when he didn't react when the other young man broke the silence, "You know that you have the same picture hanging in your study, correct? I mean, I know that I am a handsome bloke, but I could have sworn that you didn't swing for the home team."
Harry chuckled as he turned to look at one of his closest friends and confidants, Titus Davis, older brother of Harry's year mate and friend, Tracey Davis. Titus stood just over six feet tall with a broad frame and athletic build. He shared the same bark brown hair and hazel eyes with his younger sister. His reportedly handsome face was marred only by the fact that his nose was slightly crooked due to how many times it had been broken during Quidditch, both in school and during the juvenile summer league that he played in. In short, Titus had the classic build and look of a beater, which is the position he played on their house team.
He also had a sharp intellect and seemed to have an almost instinctual understanding of the political landscape within the house of snakes, which is one of the reasons that Harry relied on his counsel so much to maintain his position at the top of the political hierarchy within Slytherin. The other is that he had an absolutely wicked sense of humor.
Harry sent his friend a Marauder's grin, "What? I'm not allowed to visit one of my best friends during the summer? I'm hurt that you would assume that I am up to something. Maybe I just wanted to hang out and share the good news that I am now engaged to a beautiful young woman from an ancient pureblood line?"
Titus arched an eyebrow at his friend, "You forget Brim, I know about your other form and we have wards that detect such things as animagi trying to cross our wards. You would never use it just for a social call, regardless of how bad you are at floo travel. So, what is going on?"
Harry's grin faded and his face became serious, his voice going flat as he said, "I have need of counsel from my Seneddwyr (Senator)."
Titus sighed as he shook his head while he moved across the room to sit in the high backed leather chair behind his desk while gesturing to one of the guest chairs across from him, "What has my liege done now?"
Harry moved over to the indicated chair and sat down, sinking into the comfortable leather chair. He looked across at the young man who had become one of his greatest assets while maneuvering through the minefield that was Slytherin politics as well as pureblood politics in general. Their friendship had started when Harry had made the house quidditch team back in his second year, where the two had bonded during the long hours of Flint's practice sessions where the older boy had taken Harry under his wing to help him adjust to being on the team, but that was what everyone outside of Harry's circle knew.
Of course, the truth of their relationship was very different. It had started in Harry's second year when he saved Tracey from being gang-raped by three of the older members of the house quidditch team before one of the practices during that year. The three boys had thought that they could have some fun with the only female on the team and had told Tracey to show up early for some "extra instruction" on being a chaser for the team. Harry didn't know what happened before he arrived, but when he had shown up, Tracey had been stripped naked and bound to one of the benches in the locker room with all three of the older boys with the lower half of their kits removed and were discussing who would get to "break in the team whore" first. It was one of the few times that Harry had lost his temper and cut loose with some of the Potter family battle magic.
All three boys had needed extensive time in St. Mungo's and ended up facing criminal charges of attempted line theft of an Ancient and Noble House and sexual assault on a minor. All three had been expelled and convicted, causing them to be sent to Azkaban for no less than fifteen years each. It was one of the few times where other members of the Dark Traditionalist Bloc turned on their own because of what the boys had attempted to do.
Later that same week, Lord Davis, along with his wife and children, had met with Lady Potter and Harry in a private room at the Three Broomsticks to ask what she wanted in return for the life debt that Tracey had owed Harry. Lady Potter had surprised him by telling Lord Davis one simple word: nothing. Titus's father had been prepared to offer a marriage contract to the Potter family that would have bound Tracey to Harry, only to watch as Harry released Tracey from the debt without thought of repayment, stating that her thanks was payment enough.
Lord Davis had told both Harry and his mother that his family honor demanded more than a simply release from the debt. So, with the agreement of his wife, Lord Davis had sworn an oath of fealty to the Most Ancient and Noble House of Potter, stating that the oath would stand until such time as both lines ended or the Lord or Lady Potter released them. After that, Titus had reaffirmed the vow as the Heir and Scion of the Ancient and Noble House of Davis. Since then, Titus had served as Harry's political advisor in the house of snakes and beyond as his Seneddwyr (Senator) as well as one of his closest confidants.
Titus saw the look on Harry's face and said, "Rick."
A well-dressed house-elf appeared with a soft crack with a pair of butter beers as well as a promise of more, before the elf vanished just as quickly as he had arrived. Titus waited for his liege to take one before he took his own and watched as Harry took a long pull from the warm drink. Titus followed suit as he let the silence continue, fully knowing that Harry was merely gathering his thoughts. Harry had leaned back in his chair, his eyes drifting back to the picture he had been admiring earlier for a few moments before he spoke, his voice quiet as he said, "Last night, following the conclusion of the Quidditch World Cup, I saved a young woman's life and now she owes me a life debt that must be satisfied within one month's time."
Titus leaned back in his own chair as he steepled his fingers in front of his mouth. He mulled over what Harry had said and asked, "I assume that you can't just release her from the debt as you did with Tracey and the Prewitt mini banshee, correct?"
Harry nodded before he took another sip of his butter beer. He stared unseeingly at the bottle in his hands for a few moments before he looked back up at Titus, "What could you see happening in the Pit after it is announced that I am marrying a Veela who is the heiress of a French pureblood family?"
Titus's left eyebrow rose as he asked, "Which family?"
Harry answered, "Delacour. Also, they have been allies of my family since at least my grandfather's time."
Titus nodded as he re-evaluated the political landscape in not only the Pit, but throughout the rest of the student body, which reflected what occurred within the Wizengamot. Most would find it odd that what happened in the Wizengamot would reflect what occurred within the halls of Hogwarts, but that is because they forget that many alliances between families start in the hallowed halls of the ancient castle as friendship between the heirs of those families. Conversely, many of the most bitter political rivalries started in the same place. Titus took a drink of his butter beer as he stared at nothing while his mind worked. This was why Harry called him his "Senator" in Welsh as his title within Harry's inner circle, the political scene had been his bread and butter since his first year.
Harry waited patiently and sipped on his butter beer as his friend went through the likely scenarios in his head. Harry had just taken the first sip of his second butter beer when Titus stirred and looked at him, "Well, I don't think fallout will be as bad as you think."
It was Harry's turn to quirk an eyebrow, "How so? I would think that me marrying someone with a non-human heritage would cause more issues."
Titus nodded his agreement, "Normally I would agree with you, however you are leaving out a few factors: first, you are the Boy-Who-Lived. Your political power within the halls of Hogwarts has been steadily increasing since your first year as you have continuously outmaneuvered Nott as well as how you have rehabilitated the image of our house with the other three in the school. Second, she is from a prominent family within the French Ministry. Her father is the Deputy Minister with a star that has been rising steadily since his days as an Auror for the French Ministry. Third, you are easily one of the most powerful wizards in the school. That is a proven fact. You continue to prove it every year through your mastery of more and more advanced magic as well as continuing to come out of some of the most outlandish situations with your life, if not your body intact. Though, Madame Pompfrey would argue the last point with how often you end up in her care.
"Now, this is how I see things going within the Pit. First, the extremist portion of the Dark Traditionalist Bloc, a.k.a. Junior Death Munchers, will of course claim that you are sullying you're family's bloodline even further with marrying a "creature" such as a Veela, which they see as nothing more than an animal to be used for their enjoyment and discarded. We'll have to keep a close eye on them, they may use this as an excuse to try and wrest control of the house from us.
"The rest of the Dark Traditionalist Bloc may actually see it as a good thing," Titus held his hand up to forestall Harry from countering his statement as he continued, "not necessarily due to the fact that you are marrying a Veela, but because you will now be considered the heir to not just one Most Ancient and Noble House but two, which means you have even more political power on your side. They may see it as a clear sign that you are open to other ideas and are not Dumbledore's puppet, which may end up fracturing the bloc into sub-factions, some that will try to curry favor to be part of your expanding power base, others will be driven into becoming part of the Junior Death Munchers bloc. This is actually one of the two most dangerous blocs that we will have to deal with during this upcoming year. Some may try to join your bloc just to stab you in the back to curry favor with the Junior Death Munchers.
"It might actually be a good idea to invite some of the key players to your wedding so that we can begin to draw some of them to our banner. It may actually ensure the shattering of the Dark Traditionalist Bloc by doing that. Which would help us in the end."
Titus paused to take a sip of his butter beer, "The next bloc is actually one I'm almost certain will join us. There might be a few outliers that are also part of the Dark or Light extremist groups that won't, but overall, the majority would join us, politically at least. I am talking about the Heiress Bloc."
Harry accidentally ended up with some of the butter beer he was sipping going down the wrong tube, causing him to cough harshly. The Potter Heir looked at his friend skeptically, "You're having me on, surely? You can't expect me to believe that they would join us. They were one of the most neutral blocs in the school, not to mention one of the most fractured."
Titus gave his friend and lord a lopsided grin, "Actually, you being single was one of the biggest reasons that the Heiress Bloc was so fractured and thusly remained neutral for the most part. Many of them were vying for your attention in the hopes of being the one to snag the Potter Heir. Now that you are off the market, provided that your soon-to-be bride can hold her own against the best political minds and magical duelists in that bloc, she could find herself as the de facto leader of the bloc. It would also show us who will be the real problems in that group."
Harry flopped back in his chair with an exclamation of, "Bloody hell." He looked at his friend and saw that Titus was trying to hide a smile, causing Harry's eyes to narrow, "You have an inside witch in the bloc, don't you?"
Titus gave his lord and friend a mischievous grin, "Possibly, nothing set in stone yet, but it looks very likely."
With that, the two shared a grin and a chuckle before the moved on to discuss the rest of how the political landscape at Hogwarts would shift with Harry's pending wedding as well as who to invite to the wedding...
A Matter of Courtship
Arthur Weasley was sitting and relaxing in the Lord's Study in The Burrow, after performing the weekly review of the family's financial situation with his oldest son and heir, William or "Bill" Weasley, who had just left his study to go to work. He looked around the study, taking in the rich hardwood floor, well-stocked bookshelves, family photos scattered around the walls, and beautiful leather furniture. As he took in all of these details, Arthur's face gained a wistful smile as he reflected back on everything that had happened in the last thirteen years.
A lot had changed since that fateful night thirteen years ago. Arthur felt his smile fade as he reflected on that night that had seen a boy orphaned and his ex-wife showing her true colors. He recalled that as soon as he came home following the will reading, his ex-wife, having removed the silencing charm from herself before he arrived home, had seen fit to explode on him about not supporting her when she was trying to improve their family's standing. Arthur had let the then Molly Weasley rant just so he could see how far she was willing to go to "improve their family's standing". What he had heard coming out of her mouth was some of the most deprived and twisted plans he had ever heard.
She had wanted to gain physical custody of the boy so that she could then gain magical custody using some of the old pureblood laws. Molly had revealed that she wanted to ensure that the Boy-Who-Lived was brought up in, as she called it, "a proper light-sided home". She had shared how she would have used his fame to get whatever she wanted and would have used any means necessary to shackle him to, as she said it, "her daughter" not "their daughter". Molly had continued on to detail how she would have conditioned the boy to hate all, as she said it, "evil snakes" and anyone else who didn't fit in with her view of a "proper pureblood", including "dirty mudbloods", and to use his fame to get his way, all the while she used his money to spoil herself and her daughter. Even going so far as to detail how she planned to help her daughter get pregnant with Harry's child following her OWLs, which would have forced Harry to marry her daughter, in accordance with the old pureblood laws.
Arthur had felt his heart shatter as he had connected the dots and realized that Molly didn't care about him or their family and that she would go to any lengths to alienate Harry from his own family. He had cut her rant off as he had used a spell chain to silence, bind her to a chair, and relieve her of her wand. The look she had sent him when he had done that had been full of rage and loathing and had swept away any thought of keeping their family together along with all of the pieces of his broken heart.
He had then asked her a series of yes or no questions and told her to nod or shake her head to answer. The answers he had received has sent his own already burning rage into a towering inferno that saw him flooding the room with an uncontrolled stream of his magic. To find out that she fully intended to condition their own children to dislike their living conditions, blame him for it, and to seek anyway to advance themselves at the cost of others, including him, all the while treating her with a deference that was borderline hedonistic and would have practically robbed their children of their free will, had been the final straw. He he unleashed his anger upon her and his weapon had been his words.
Arthur felt a tear roll down his cheek as he recalled what had happened next. The calling down of their children, Bill carrying his youngest brother Ron, Percy carrying baby Ginny, and Charlie coming down the stairs along with the twins- Fred and George. As he looked at his children, Arthur had seen the formerly hidden look of disgust and condemnation in his third son's eyes as he looked back at Arthur.
He then told them that he couldn't stay with their mother anymore because he didn't want to be a part of what she wanted to do to the son of his friends, the Potters. Arthur almost couldn't hold back the building anguish in his chest as he recalled having to ask his older children to choose. Bill had looked down at Ron and had asked the toddler if he wanted to go with Mum or Dad. Ron had reached out towards Arthur and Bill had brought Ron with him as he had moved to stand by Arthur, Charlie and the Twins quickly following Bill and Ron whilst Percival had moved over next to his mother and proceeded to tell Arthur that he hated him and would never forgive him for what he did to his mum.
What had followed was Arthur invoking the Family Magic's as the Head of House to divorce from Molly Prewitt and for the Family Magic's to judge Molly and Percival, to see if they were still worthy of the Weasley Family Magic. The Family Magic's had decided that Molly and Percival were unworthy and had stripped them of the Weasley Family Magic's and Secrets. He had then sent them to the Leaky Cauldron after they had collected their possessions, Molly taking her daughter with her as they had left.
It had been a painful time for him. Arthur recalled how he had had to work twice as hard to provide for the family as well as take up the slack at home. By the third month following the divorce from and banishment of Molly, Arthur was on his last legs. That had been when he had received help in the form of Minerva McGonagal's daughter, Avalyn McGonagal, showing up on his doorstep asking after a possible job as a nanny. Arthur had been struck dumb by the Scottish beauty, not only because she had found his home, but also because he hadn't actually put an advertisement out for a nanny. He had only mentioned it to Minerva in passing as he had visited Hogwarts as part of his duties with the Ministry to pick up some biting tea pots that a student had decided to bring to the school to prank other students and members of the faculty.
He had invited her into his home and directed her to the living room while he prepared some tea. He chuckled as he recalled having poured tea for both the young woman and himself and was about to ask her a question but was cut off by a loud bang upstairs followed by the cursing of his two oldest boys followed by the thundering of four sets of feet as first the twins and then their two older brothers coming flying down the stairs. When they had reached the living room, all four had been frozen in place by a silent and overpowered petrificus totalus. He then had sat gobsmacked as Avalyn had proceeded to lay into Fred and George about what had obviously been an attempt at a prank on their older brothers and then into all four for running in the house and had proceeded to inform them that if it happened again that she would transfigure them into whatever fluffy critter struck her fancy and left that way for the garden gnomes to play with for the remainder of the day.
The only thing that Arthur had been able to say in response to how she took the boys to task had been to say, "You're hired. When can you start?"
Over the following two years was Avalyn instilling the values of discipline and hard work into all four of the older boys and ensuring that all five boys were treated fairly by their siblings. It had been almost natural for the then twenty-five year old Avalyn to move into the role of being the mother that the five boys deserved. He could see how much his boys had grown to love and respect the fiery Scottish woman. Over those two years he had felt his own feelings towards the fiery redhead grow. It had all come to the forefront when he had heard his youngest, Ronald call her "mum". He recalled how the rest of the boys had picked up on the habit as well. It had been a couple of months after Ron had made that little slip, while Arthur was tucking his then almost-four year old into bed when the boy had asked "when was he going to tell mum that he loved her?", that Arthur had been forced to face what he felt for the young Scotswoman.
What had followed was an awkward conversation between the two adults before they entered into what was an initially awkward courtship that had seen several humorous situations arising where Arthur and Avalyn would get caught by one of the boys kissing in the kitchen or some other room in the house, which would be called out by said child, without fail and lead to the two of them blushing furiously. After nearly six months of dating, Arthur had gone to Minerva to ask for her daughter's hand in marriage. The venerable Transfiguration Mistress has simply given Arthur a hard glare for several minutes before delivering a very familiar threat involving transfiguring him into some small fluffy critter that would end up somewhere unpleasant if he ever hurt Avalyn. She had then let him stew on that for a few minutes more before finally giving him her blessing.
The wedding had been a couple of months later at the Burrow and had been the happiest and most nerve-wracking day of his life. Shortly after the wedding, Avalyn had blood adopted all of the boys. In all honesty, it had been merely a formality for all involved since all of the boys had come to see her as their mother already and introduced her as such to all of their friends since the time that Arthur and Avalyn had started dating. What had surprised the newlyweds was the appearance of the McGonagal Family Heir ring that had appeared on Charlie's ring finger. Nine months after their wedding night, Arthur and Avalyn had welcomed a set of twin girls, Alison and Blaire, completing their family.
The intervening years from then until now had seen the children grow up in a loving environment where their passions were encouraged, discipline a must, and hard work a part of their daily routine. It had also seen Arthur promoted to one of the highest positions in the Ministry, Senior Undersecretary to the Minister of Magic, which had in-turn seen the Burrow converted from a magically-maintained multistory home that always appeared to be on the verge of collapse to a small, modest manor-style home full of love, pranks, and laughter.
Arthur was shaken from his musings as he heard a soft knock on the doorframe of his study. He looked towards the door and took in the lanky form of his youngest son, Ron. He smiled at his youngest son and gestured for him to enter and sit down in one of the guest chairs. His son gave him a nervous smile as he had settled into the indicated chair across from Arthur.
Arthur gave his son a few minutes to say something before he broke the silence, "What is it, Ron? You're not usually this inarticulate."
Ron gulped as he looked at his father, "Da, I would like to ask for your permission to begin courting Padma Patil."
Arthur arched an eyebrow at the request, "Oh, and why would you ask me for permission, furthermore, why should I say yes?"
Ron swallowed hard. He looked at his father and took a deep breath before he spoke, "Since I met her in first year, Padma has become one of the few who didn't see me as just another Weasley or a friend of the Boy-Who-Lived. Granted, I only truly met her after saving her from the troll at Halloween that year, but after she got over her shock, she said "if I dare try to count that as a date, she was going to ensure that they never figured out where to find the body". She has helped me become a better student and person as a whole. She is intelligent, frighteningly so, kind, patient with me when I don't understand a concept, has a wicked sense of humor like mum, and she is beautiful. I enjoy spending time with her, even if all we're doing is boring studying or homework for classes. Padma also listens and offers what advice she can when there is something that bothers me, even if she has to take time away from what she was doing to do so. I respect her enough to want to do this the right way."
Arthur listened as his youngest son had spoken about the young, fiery Indian girl that Arthur had gotten to meet on a few occasions, but he had also watched his son carefully while he described the girl in question. He had seen the light that had sprung to life in his son's eyes, how his whole demeanor had changed from nervous to happy as he had spoken about the girl that seemed to own a piece of his son's heart.
He stayed quiet for a few minutes as he thought about the request before he spoke, "And what if she doesn't reciprocate your feelings? Will you force her into this just to satisfy your crush? Will you force her to become a trophy through a formal betrothal agreement just to satisfy you lust? Will you force her to sacrifice her friends because they don't like what you are doing? What will happen if she tells you that she likes someone else? Will you use the life debt she owes you to force her to submit to you?"
Arthur watched as the famous Weasley temper flared in his youngest son, his eyes burning with a cold rage and his face growing stoney at his father's line of questioning. Finally just after he had asked the final question, Arthur watched as his son snapped, rocketing to his feet knocking his chair over as he stood, his fists clenched at his sides hard enough that the knuckles had turned white and his whole lanky frame shaking with rage.
Ron wasn't one to shout when he was enraged so his voice grew quiet as he growled out while his magic flooded the room, causing items all around the room to rattle, "How dare you?! How can you just assume that I would force her into anything?! Didn't I just say that I respect and like her for who she is?! How can you assume that I would use that against her in that way?! I am not a Prewitt!"
Ron was at the point of seeing red at his father's words and was almost considering some form of physical violence when he caught the small smile on his father's face, it was barely an upturning at the corners of his father's mouth, but it was there. He was confused for a moment before his father held up one hand and spoke in a calming voice, "Be at peace, Ron. Based on what you said and your anger just now, it seems that you do care for Miss Patil a great deal, enough to be standing there full of wrath and probably thinking about punching me for my words just now. I wanted to see how far you would go to defend her honor. I wanted to see if your feelings for the young lady went beyond a simple school crush."
That caused all of Ron's rage to disappear just as quickly as the flame does when blowing out a candle. Ron's face was full of surprise as he asked, "What?! All of that tripe just now was you testing me?! Why?"
Arthur allowed the proud smile that he had been trying to hide during his son's tirade to show in full as he said after his son had resumed his seat, "You see, asking me for my blessing as you have is very serious. It is something that shouldn't be entered lightly just because you fancy a girl. A formal courtship agreement is a sign of an intent to later enter into a formal betrothal and eventually marriage. The fact that you stood here in front of me, willing to attack me shows me that you have considered her feelings. However, what will you do if she tells you that she simply wishes to remain friends and nothing more?"
Arthur watched as his son's shoulders slumped and his head hung low for a moment as Ron considered his words. It was only a minute later when Ron's head came back up to look at his father, their matching glacial blue eyes locking as Ron heaved a heavy sigh, "Then I would ask you to dissolve the formal courtship agreement and would do everything in my power to be the best friend for her that I could be. It would hurt a lot to watch her pursue a relationship with someone else, but I would stand beside her as her friend, maybe even going so far as to hurt the one that hurt her like a vengeful and overprotective brother, but I wouldn't interfere beyond that. I would respect her wishes."
Arthur's smile grew even wider, if it were possible, "Excellent. I will tell you now that I will need to speak with Miss Patil's parents before anything is formalized, but you have earned my blessing. Now you get the fun part while I draft the letter to the Patil Patriarch."
Ron, fully relaxed by now with his magic back under control, arched an eyebrow at his father and was about to ask what he meant when it hit him: he had to tell his mum. Ron looked at his father and queried, "There wouldn't happen to be anyway I could trade spots with you, is there?"
Arthur's smile turned roguish as he looked at his son and teased, "Now, now Ronald, you wouldn't happen to be trying to get out of letting your mother know that you want to court a girl, would you?"
Ron groaned at his father's teasing before he slumped his shoulders again and grumbled as he rose and left his father's study in search of his mum as his father let out a hardy belly laugh at his discomfort...
A/N: Well, sorry for the long wait between chapters, but this is another chapter down. Please be patient as a lot of things are adding up to cause slow updates, not to mention that I will be working on some of my other stories as well.
As always, please let me know what you think.