HK03 of 25 files

Part the Third—
And over them triumphant Death his dart shook, but delay’d to strike, though oft invok’d.
—Milton, Paradise Lost, Book XI

McGonagall wanted to interview Octavian later that day, but Harry immediately refused.  He’d already told her what he knew—or, rather, what he wanted her to know, and there was no way he would allow her to subject her innate distrust of Octavian when Madame Pomfrey had ordered complete bed rest for at least a week. Octavian had also taken all of his exams so he was now officially an enrolled student at Beauxbatons for his fifth year. It was also bad enough that Harry would have to transport Octavian on the Hogwarts Express in a matter of days and then get him to 12 Grimmauld Place. 

Justin, surprisingly, had been an ally.  He had sat by Octavian’s bedside as he slept for the half-hour Harry was talking with the Grangers and Astoria and when Harry had returned, bleary eyed and exhausted, Justin had slipped out of the room, pressing a locket into his hand.

Harry had looked at him questioningly and Justin had just given him a look telling him not to ask.  At opening it, Harry had found a note from an R.A.B. to Voldemort, saying that he had learned the secret of the Horcruxes, and his mind was immediately returned to the book Dumbledore had given him before his death.  There would be time enough for that later, however.  His first priority was Octavian.

The Weasleys naturally kicked up a fuss when they returned early that morning to see Bill.  Fleur, it appeared, hadn’t moved from his side all night, and she and Mrs. Weasley had gotten into a shouting match that woke all of the patients until Madam Pomfrey had threatened to throw them both out.

“This is ridiculous.  What do you have to prove?” Mrs. Weasley hissed, her usually cherry-tinted face a pallid gray.

“Zat everytheeng weell continue as eet would ‘ave and zat I weell always be zere for Beell,” she answered with a toss of her hair.

When Daphne and Astoria had come in later to visit Octavian, she had instantly issued them an invitation to the wedding, promising that within the week they would receive a formal one, much to Mrs. Weasley’s dissatisfaction.

“As a warning, she’s hoping you’ll possibly distract Viktor Krum,” Harry murmured to Daphne as they sat in his and Octavian’s partitioned part of the “graveyard,” as Harry was now calling the hospital wing.  “So—if you want no part of it at all, tell me now and I’ll try to dissuade her.”

Daphne looked at him imperiously.  “Why would she want me to do that?”

“He was mad about Granger, and according to Fleur Veela charms don’t work on him.  I don’t think she wants one of her old friend to be moping the entire time since Granger—well—“

“Died,” Daphne said with a stiff voice, her blue eyes looking at Harry coldly.  Harry knew she wasn’t angry at him, just at the situation.

Octavian, who Harry was forcing to remain in bed (he’d even brought up Octavian’s tarot cards and their copy of Spungen’s to make it feel a bit more like “home”), looked anxiously between the two of them.

“I ‘ave not met Viktor Krum,” he admitted softly.  “Is ‘e a friend of yours, Henri Jacques?”

Harry hesitated.  “We’re friendly,” he finally settled on.  “Haven’t seen him since he left at the end of the Tournament—or heard from him, although Granger got regular letters last year.”

Astoria peeked at her older sister.  “Daphne?”

Daphne smoothed her school uniform.  “Viktor Krum is not—unattractive,” she finally admitted.  “I must confess that I had hoped he would ask me to the Yule Ball as we often spoke during meals, as much as he did speak, but he asked the Mudblood instead.”

Harry closed his eyes, but let it pass.

“Well, Granger’s no longer in the picture,” Astoria assured her sister, “and worse comes to worst it will make Flint jealous.”

Harry coughed.  “Marcus Flint?”

Astoria rolled her eyes.  “He shows up occasionally on Hogsmeade weekends and buys her lunch, same over the summer, but from what we’ve heard he always seems to have a girlfriend, if you can call them that.”  She shrugged.  “We can’t figure out if he has some fondness for Daphne as an old housemate or is laying the foundation to court her once she leaves Hogwarts.”

Harry stared at both of them.  “Marcus Flint.”

Oui, Henri Jacques, elle dit ‘Marcus Flint.’”  Octavian smiled fondly at him.

Harry nodded mutely.  “Well, he can play Quidditch,” was all he could offer, choosing not to mention that his tactics as the Slytherin Captain had caused more broken bones and foul tactics than he cared to remember.  Idly he wondered what Flint was doing now.

“And dance,” Astoria said in an off-hand way, looking at the jar of fireflies that Caspar had brought Octavian earlier that day.

Harry wondered how Astoria had come to that conclusion as Flint had already graduated by the time the Yule Ball had occurred.

Fortunately, at that moment a tray of a Winky-approved pre-natal meal appeared for Octavian, along with several glasses of honey-milk, most likely with several vitamins added.  Harry had called their house-elf earlier that morning and informed her, in the strictest confidence, that Octavian was expecting and to make plans accordingly.

The small elf had instantly broken into tears of joy and started babbling about which rooms would be best for a nursery before disappearing back to London to make proper arrangements.

Octavian was going to be the most spoiled wizard on the planet between Winky and himself, Harry had decided, by the end of the summer.

Harry stepped out of the cab at Grimmauld Place, helping Octavian out as the driver quickly set their baggage on the street.  He watched Octavian expectantly and saw his black eyes light up as the house appeared to him the first time.  “I know it’s not much,” he whispered quietly, “but it’s yours—to do whatever you want with it.”

Henri?” Octavian asked, a hand lightly placed on his abdomen under his wizard coat.

He looked truly resplendent, Harry thought.  The several days rest had brought a rose color to his cheeks and his hair fell loosely to his shoulders, brushing against his pale green and light blue wizard coat.  It was an odd combination of colors that Harry never thought Octavian would favor, but it softened his aristocratic features a bit.

“Redecorate.  It’s our home now and I—I know nothing about this sort of thing.  You have carte blanche.  Make it into your ideal home where we can raise our children,” he whispered, leading him to the door.  He noticed that their trunks and Hedwig’s and Prospère’s cages glinted in the light before shimmering away.  Winky, clearly, was on top of everything.

Winky, of course, had done marvels already.  The house actually was clean, although dreary.  The house elf had managed to remove the elf heads from the wall along the first floor corridor as well as, surprisingly, Walburga Black’s portrait.

Of course, none of that really mattered, as Harry had swept Octavian off his feet and carried him across the threshold.

“Winky!” he called out and was happy when he saw the house elf appear before them.

“What is Master Black wanting, sir?” she squeaked, her ears flapping happily.

“I just want to know which bedroom you set up for us.”

Octavian was smiling up at him, his cheeks tinted a beautiful pink, and to Harry’s mind his husband looked absolutely shaggable.

“The master bedroom, Master Black,” Winky said happily.  “I chose blueses and purples, I hopes masters like it.”

“It’s perfect, Winky, thank you.  If you could prepare dinner for an hour or so,” he trailed off, carrying Octavian quickly up the stairs.

“What is my ‘usband thinking?” Octavian teased as Harry kicked open the door to the redecorated master bedroom.  Neither of them paid much attention to the new furnishings that Winky had gotten, and instead Harry reverently placed Octavian on the mattress, kissing him deeply until Octavian was gasping for breath, his hands entwined in Harry’s black hair.  “Henri,” Octavian moaned, as Harry pushed Octavian’s wizard coat from his shoulders.

“Is this new?  I don’t think I’ve seen it before.”

Harry bent over and ran his lips teasingly along Octavian’s neck before grabbing the hem of his lightweight dark green shirt, pushing it up so that his abdomen was revealed to him, an expanse of pale skin.

Nothing was as heavenly as the sight of Octavian’s skin, Harry decided as his lips descended, gently nibbling around his navel.

Ou-oui,” Octavian gasped, his hands pressing against Harry’s shoulders, urging him on as his head was thrown back.  “Tante Bella s-sent it yesterday.  An early cadeau for mon anniversaire.”

Harry hesitated a moment, letting the words leak into his mind before continuing his ministrations.  Well, Bellatrix Lestrange was by no means his favorite person, in fact he despised her for murdering Sirius, but she was Octavian’s aunt of sorts.  He smirked against Octavian’s skin, running his hands upward so that he was tweaking Octavian’s nipples, making his husband shiver underneath his questing hands.

“Well, she has excellent taste.”

Elle a dit qu’elle gôtait le plus recent Black,” Octavian admitted.

Elle est très bizarre,” Harry countered as he quickly took off his own coat and, sitting up, pulled his shirt over his head.  He had no need for clothes, not with Octavian lying flushed before him.

Octavian reached up and cupped his cheek lovingly, reaching up and planting a gentle kiss on Harry’s lips.  Deepening it, he slowly pushed Harry off of him—or so Harry initially thought, before hooking a leg loosely around Harry and following as Harry fell onto his back.

“You imp,” Harry accused lightly as he watched Octavian pull away and lift his shirt over his head.

Je ne suis pas un lutin,” he chided.  “Je suis un magicien.”

D’accord,” Harry answered, melting under Octavian’s intense gaze.  He stretched his neck, his lips begging for another of his husband’s sweet kisses, but Octavian pulled away slightly, his dark eyes surveying Harry with a question in his eyes.

“We ‘ave not been alone—not since zat night—“

Harry leaned back and sighed, allowing his hands to run about Octavian’s sides, gently caressing, making Octavian’s breath hitch slightly as the sensations.

“No,” Harry finally agreed.  “Not really.”

Octavian looked down at him in understanding, his young eyes too knowledgeable, too knowing.  Slowly he traced the lines of Harry’s face and sighed, leaning down and pressing a chaste kiss against his lips.  “Mon Henri Jacques, you need to mourn,” he instructed as he lay himself flush against Harry, tucking his face into the nook of Harry’s shoulder.  “S’il te plaît.  It is not ‘ealthy; I can see the pain in tes yeux, staring out at me.”

Harry hesitated and finally relaxed into the bed, bringing his arms up so that he was cradling Octavian close to him.  “Je suis désolé.  I—I didn’t want to worry you, with Draco—“

Je sais,” Octavian agreed, breathing in deeply.  “You ‘ave not said anything of zat either.”

“I think I knew, somewhere in the back of my mind.  I knew that you looked like—Lucius Malfoy, like Draco.  I hate them—despise them—but you love them and they love you.”  He pulled Octavian closer, pressing a kiss on his temple.  “I—I’m glad I didn’t know sooner, it might have stopped me from falling in love with you.”

Octavian tensed in his arms and Harry could feel silent tears drip down onto his neck.

“I might not have let myself see you as you are, so I’m glad I didn’t know.  I couldn’t live without you, Octavian,” he swore desperately.  “I wouldn’t even want to try—before—before I was just empty.  I was surviving.  Voldemort was always trying to kill me, and I survived, but you—you taught me how to love, how to be loved, and I would never give that up.”

“And ze rest?”  Octavian lifted himself and gazed at Harry.  “I know you like to pretend you cannot feel, zat it does not matter.  But—Non, écoute, Henri Jacques,” he commanded when Harry looked away, uncomfortable.  “Ginny Weasley was your best friend’s little sister and ‘Ermione, she was your close friend once—before zis.  If I ‘adn’t come into your life zen she would still have been dear to you.”

Harry shook his head vehemently.  “We’d started drifting apart third year—she began to feel prejudiced against purebloods, threatened almost.  She didn’t even tell me she had a sister, Octavian.”  His voice caught in his throat, but he fought through it.  “A younger sister, Elissa.  She’s your age.  I’d known her for six years,” his voice hitched again and Harry held back a sob.  “Six years and not once,” he cried and Octavian quietly stroked his cheeks, letting him cry.

“Shh,” he cooed.  “Je sais.  Pleure, Henri Jacques.  Pour moi.” 

Harry clutched Octavian to him and gently began to rock him, letting out all his pent up frustration.  He had convinced himself that he was strong, that nothing mattered except that Octavian and Romola were well.  But he had been supposedly Hermione’s best friend and now she was gone—and she’d never even told him such an intimate detail of her life when she demanded that he tell her absolutely everything.

Laisse-moi t’aimer,” Octavian whispered against his lips, gently kissing him.  “Je t’aime, Henri Jacques.”  He pulled Harry’s pants down gently before kicking off his own.

“Octavian,” Harry wept, pulling him into a desperate kiss.  He felt Octavian’s tongue battle with own and then, with a gasp, Octavian began to rock against him, their semi-erect members nestled against each other.  He sighed out in bliss as Octavian kept up a stead rhythm, his lips caressing Harry’s jaw as they held each other closely.

Pleure,” Octavian breathed, giving him permission to just mourn as they both moaned at the exquisite friction.  “Pleure, Henri Jacques.”

And Harry did, tears streaming down his face when, with a sigh, he shivered his pleasure, finally freeing his emotions completely.

Harry sat at the kitchen table, watching impassively as Winky made them breakfast.  He couldn’t remember crying so much in his entire life, but the night before Octavian had just said the words he needed to hear and, without thinking about it, he let himself mourn as he and Octavian quietly made love.  It hadn’t been perfect or earth shattering, but instead it had been the gentle melding of two souls that were bound together for the rest of their unnaturally long wizard lives.

Hedwig fluttered into the room with a letter, followed closely by a Daily Prophet owl with the paper.  He sighed as he picked it up, looking at the front page.

“Potion Master Murders Dumbledore,” the title clearly proclaimed.  A colored photograph of the Astronomy Tower with the Dark Mark hanging over it had been placed in the middle of the text. 

Draco Malfoy was safe then, and by now (days after the event, which most likely had had similar reporting since the incident occurred) he would know that he was free to walk around the wizarding world.  It was a small gift to his brother-in-law, and a more important one to his husband.

He wondered exactly what Snape thought of the “betrayal.”  He was probably cursing Octavian at this very moment, as no one knew that Harry had also been at the top of the Astronomy Tower.

Harry casually flipped through the pages and was stunned when in the society pages there was an announcement that “Lord Black and his husband” would be attending the wedding of Fleur Delacour, the French debutante and former Beauxbatons Champion.  Scanning the article closely, he saw that an entire guest list had been provided, as well as an announcement that Octavian would be one of the wedding party. 

He grinned as he read further down.  Both of the Greengrass sisters were listed, showing that they had accepted, with a note that they would be escorted by the heir to the Malfoy title.  Good, Octavian would get to see his brother.

A large cup of French coffee was placed before him and Harry smiled.  Taking a large sip, he turned back to the article, wondering who the Weasleys were escorting.  It was truly surprising, but Fleur’s social status seemed to have turned a wedding from a family of blood traitors into the event of the season.

Charlie, it seemed, had no date—it wasn’t surprising; when Mr. Weasley had given him a book about wizards loving wizards the previous Christmas, it had been a tome that had previously belonged to the dragon tamer—and Percy wasn’t listed at all.  Fred, likewise, were strangely going solo, but Ron . . .

Harry sputtered, staring at the paper in shock.  Ron Weasley was taking his ex-girlfriend, Lavender Brown.  Gossip extraordinaire.  The girl who called him Won-Won.  Wonders, it seemed, never ceased.

He hadn’t even realized they were talking to each other after the assumed break-up, but apparently he was wrong.  He also thought that Ron was just with Lavender because, well, Ginny taunted him, saying that Hermione had snogged Krum and Harry had snogged Cho and Octavian, though he hadn’t yet snogged Octavian at the time, he thought with a smile on his face.

Now, he thought happily, he was doing much more than snogging his beautiful and responsive husband.  Life was brilliant.

And then he paled.  He really hoped Ron wasn’t doing more than snogging Lavender, not that it was any of his business.  He just really didn’t want the mental images that were flitting through his head at the moment.

Briefly he wondered what Granger would say, before letting go of the thought.

At one time the previous Autumn he had thought that Hermione and Ron fancied each other, but now it was clear that they hadn’t—or at least Ron hadn’t really fancied her.  He wouldn’t really be taking Lavender so soon after her death, at least Harry assumed he wouldn’t be.

Hmm… Viktor Krum wasn’t taking anyone it seemed, at least according to the society writers of The Daily Prophet.

He flipped the page.  Draco Malfoy was a favorite for being named the most eligible bachelor of 1998 as Harry himself was now married.  Thank the gods he was now off the market, Harry thought grimly to himself.

He wondered how Astoria would take the article, if she saw it.

Harry pulled the coffee cup closer to him as he heard the familiar creak of the stairs.  Winky had pulled up the carpet over the past few months and replaced it with a dusky blue that brightened the halls considerably without clashing with the rest of the depressing décor.  He and Octavian could now walk around with bare feet without fear of splinters or decade old dust.

The place was by no means perfect, but Winky had done wonders in a short amount of time and Harry had no doubt that was Octavian’s touch, it would soon be a home for the first time in—well—living memory.

Bonjour,” Octavian greeted through a yawn, looking about blearily before his eyes settled on Harry’s coffee.  “Le café,” he sighed in relief, sinking into Harry’s lap and quickly draining the cup.  “Le café français.”

Tu es éveillé,” Harry commented, breathing in the scent of Octavian’s hair as his arm snaked around his waist.

Et toi, mon mari,” Octavian smirked at him before turning back to the coffee.  “I would ‘ave thought you would ‘ave slept a bit more.  Am I not satisfying you, Henri Jacques?” he teased.

Harry thought the only suitable answer was to push the coffee away and kiss his husband deeply.  “Merci, for last night,” he whispered huskily against Octavian’s lips.

Octavian reached forward and gently cupped his cheek.  “It is my ‘onor and my pleasure, is it not?” he countered before resting one last lingering kiss on the side of Harry’s mouth before turning to the morning mail, which Winky had been collecting for them before they arrived.

“Ah, from Maman,” he announced just as Winky was placing a glass of honey milk on the table.  Without thinking, Octavian picked it up and drank it almost in one go.  A moment later and the glass had been swept away, replaced with another.

Octavian opened the letter and paled.  “I forgot to tell ‘er I would not be returning ‘ome,” he whispered before hurrying toward the floo.  “I’ll be right back,” he called over his shoulder just as Winky was placing their breakfasts in front of them.  They had been given more fresh fruit than Harry could name as well as a warm pile of French pastries.

Harry smiled after his husband before a small frown also marred his features.  He hadn’t bothered to tell the Dursleys.

“Dammit,” he muttered, looking about for a quill and spare bit of parchment.  What with everything that had happened, it hadn’t even occurred to him to inform the Dursleys, especially as Uncle Vernon knew he was a peer of the realm and married.  However, he could just imagine that the Order had told them that Harry would be returning to Privet Drive and, although Harry hadn’t seen his relatives at the train station, he and Octavian had slipped off the train immediately and gone out a side entrance, wishing to avoid the rush and the wizarding press who, as they had guessed, had appeared hoping to get a candid photograph of the famous couple.

Winky placed a fresh quill and pile of parchment deftly in front of him, a bottle of ink sliding over to him magically with her house elf magic.

“Thank you, Winky,” he commented absently before trying to figure out exactly how to write this.  Wording, he decided after a moment, wasn’t that important.  They’d be furious with him anyway.

To the Dursleys—Obviously I’m not returning for the summer as I have now taken up residence elsewhere.  Sorry for any confusion, but I can just imagine that the Order had told you otherwise.

He didn’t bother to sign it.  There was really no need.

Harry quickly folded it and, after calling for Hedwig, sent her on her way.  There.  Now he would never have to think of the Dursleys ever again.

A few minutes later, Octavian returned, a half-smile on his face.  “Maman devineé,” he supplied as he took his place on Harry’s lap once again.  “She did not even come yesterday.”

“Good,” Harry breathed, accepting the fresh cup of coffee Winky gave him before snagging some sort of croissant.  He was hoping it was chocolate.  He loved chocolate croissants.  “I sent the Dursleys a note just in case as well.”

Octavian grimaced.  “Je n’aime pas les Dursleys.”

“No one likes the Dursleys, except perhaps the Dursleys—and Aunt Marge.  But she’s Uncle Vernon’s sister, so I prove my point.”

“I suppose you do.”  Octavian took a bite out of his pastry, humming happily.  “It tastes like it is français,” he sighed in contentment.  “Why would ze Dursleys think you might return?”

“Dumbledore,” Harry supplied, not wanting to think about the wizard.  “He insisted I had to return every year for my protection, though you can’t get any safer than this.”  He glanced around the kitchen.  “Only the two of us and Winky can enter, that’s how protected it is.”

Octavian nodded.

“I was thinking,” Harry thought out loud.  “Despite the fact that we’re under the Fidelius Charm, the Order knows this was once the Headquarters and could contact us by Floo potentially—perhaps you would like to rename the house.  Twelve Grimmauld Place does sound a bit depressing, after all.”

Octavian turned, surprise evident on his features.  “You would let me—?” he gasped and Harry only nodded.

“Whatever you want.  Think of the house as a wedding present almost, to do with as you wish.”

Leaning forward, Octavian kissed him gently, both forgetting entirely about their breakfast.

French to English.

Oui, Henri Jacques, elle dit ‘Marcus Flint.’ Yes, Henri Jacques, she said ‘Marcus Flint.’

Tante Bellacadeau mon anniversaire.  Aunt Bella … gift … my birthday.

Elle a dit qu’elle gâtait le plus récent Black. She said that she would spoil me.

Elle est très bizarre. She’s very strange.

Je ne suis pas un lutin. I am not an imp.

Je suis un magicien. I am a wizard.

S’il te plait. Please.

Je suis désolé. I’m sorry.

Je sais.  I know.

Non, écoute, Henri Jacques.  No, listen, Henri Jacques.

Je sais.  Pleure, Henri Jacques.  Pour moi.  I know.  Cry, Henri Jacques.  For me.

Laisse-moi t’aimer.  Let me love you.

Le café français. French coffee.

Tu es éveillé. You are awake.

Et toi, mon mari.  And you, my husband.

Je n’aime pas les Dursleys.  I do not like the Dursleys.

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