Title: MAGIC DIARIES
Fandom(s): Harry Potter Series / Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement
Pairing(s): Harry/Mia, (past) Harry/Ginny
Written: DECEMBER 2017-JUNE 2018
Summary: It was the day of Princess Mia’s high school graduation, when he approached her on the streets of San Francisco. He talked about No-Majes and sickles: not that it mattered. Harry Potter was the dreamiest man she had ever laid eyes on.
WARNING(S): Magic/Muggle relations, royalty, sexual harassment, the press gone wild, age disparity (18/23)
Mia Thermopolis should have been celebrating. She was eighteen years old and—despite all of her clumsiness and the press breathing down her neck—she had managed to graduate from high school. There was a party that night at the Embassy with Grandmama, of course.
She was feeling, however, incredibly alone. Michael Moscovitz had decided to continue touring with his band. He was a year ahead of her and Lilly and, well, Mia didn’t seem to be a priority. So she was going, dateless, to the ball. Her ball. Princess Amelia Minuette Thermopolis Rinaldi. Her face on so many magazines and yet she was unwanted by those she truly wished would be there for her.
Walking down across from the Golden Gate bridge, she pushed her unnaturally straightened hair behind her ear. “Sickle for your thoughts,” a voice stated from beside her, and she looked away from the water to see a man, barely older than her, walking beside her. He’d evened out his gait so that his strides were in time with hers and his messy black hair was windswept to show a lightning bolt scar on his forehead.
“I’m sorry,” she replied, smiling at him a little self-consciously. “Are you British?”
“I am,” he agreed. “I decided to escape a break up and I’ve never seen the Pacific Ocean.”
Mia laughed a bit, pushing her hair further behind her ear, and looked at this man. “You came all the way out to California because you broke up with your girlfriend?”
He quirked his eyebrow. “I’m sorry. I mistook you for someone else—”
She looked over him and realized that he was… well… dreamy. Nearing six feet, he had strong shoulders, a chiseled face, and the greenest of eyes. His hands could easily grasp her wrists when he kissed… woah! Stop right there.
“No,” she told him. “It’s me.” Naturally, Mia assumed he had taken her for—well—herself, the Princess of Genovia. “I decided to get out of my school uniform before the ball tonight.”
The man looked at her for a long moment and then sighed. “You have no idea who I am.” When she opened her mouth to respond, he suddenly added, “No, but that’s good. It’s nice not being myself for the moment. How am I doing, hiding from the—it’s ‘no-maj’, isn’t it?”
He looked down at his clothes and they seemed a bit spruced but perfectly normal to her. He was wearing gray slacks and a black turtleneck. The material seemed to be thin enough for the warm weather yet resilient enough for the sea air.
Mia looked over him again. “You look great,” she told him. “And, yeah, that’s right.” Of course, Mia had no idea what a ‘no-maj’ was but she was willing to go along with it. “I’m Mia. No need to call me by any of my titles. I know the British are overly fond of reminding me I’m a ‘serene highness’ until I take the throne.” She waved her hand away and continued walking down the promenade.
He gave her a penetrating stare and then nodded. “Of course, Mia. I’m Harry.”
“Harry,” she greeted, offering her hand and being thankful he didn’t kiss it but shook it as if they were two normal people. “So, you broke up with your girlfriend and came out here from England?”
“Yes,” he told her. “I thought I should see somewhere new and Europe didn’t quite seem large enough.”
She openly laughed at that. “That bad, huh? She must have been something.” Mia pushed her hair behind her ear again and smiled. She was feeling very self-conscious in front of this tourist who was speaking bits of nonsense. Had he mentioned a sickle earlier? Like the grim reaper? “How long are you going to give her?”
He paused and she stopped with him. “She took two years to plan the wedding,” he admitted.
Mia blinked at him. “Why?” It was really all she could ask. The wind whipped through her hair and she tried to tame it and pulled her head away when some got dangerously close to his face. Harry, however, only pushed it back out of her face for her.
“She—well,” he looked to the side. “She told me she was after my name and my Gringotts Vault.”
Her stare continued. She hadn’t realized such things happened in real life.
“Bank account,” he told her quickly.
She blinked and nodded. “I’m sorry. I’d hate to be married for my throne.”
His eyes squinted but he continued to look at her. “Which throne?”
Mia’s jaw nearly dropped but, at the last moment, she smiled at him. “Nevermind. You want to get away, I find I do, too. I assumed you knew who I am. Everyone else in this town does. It’s hard being a celebrity.”
A hand landed on her shoulder and squeezed. “I was one since I was eleven,” he told her sincerely. “The adjustment was not an easy one.”
“No,” she agreed. “It’s only been two years, but still, the time your girlfriend was planning your wedding.—It was really bad at the beginning with the press.”
“I can imagine,” he agreed and he led them toward an ice cream stand. Harry reached into his pockets and pulled out what looked like a pristine wallet that had never been used. He looked at her, waiting for her to give her order, and the two ate Moose Tracks together.
Mia liked to sit on the top of a bench with her feet on the seat, and he joined her.
“What brings you out tonight?”
“Grandmama is throwing a ball and my boyfriend,” she paused as she took a lick of her ice cream, “former boyfriend, didn’t come home for it. It’s a ball in my honor and I don’t have a date.”
He ate his ice cream and was silent for a few moments. “I didn’t realize they had balls in America. I shouldn’t be surprised. The Ministry likes to throw one once every few months. The tailoring bill alone is ridiculous.”
“I don’t pay the bills,” she admitted. “I’m a member of a royal family. Someone takes care of it for me. I just pick out designs I like and then get fitted. It’s tedious.” She sighed and continued to eat her Moose Tracks.
He looked down at his watch, and, wait, were the hands pointing at words and not numbers and twitching? “Aren’t you going to be late?”
“I can’t be late. It’s my party,” she drawled back, which caused him to laugh outright.
He finished first and stepped down from their seat and waited for her. Of course, Mia tripped and ended up falling into his arms. He smiled down at her and all she could do was stare like a besotted idiot. This was not a romance novel, she reminded herself. He would not kiss her and her foot definitely would not pop.
But she had reached up, hovering there, and he did kiss her.
His lips were so cold that she almost shied away, but instead she moved forward, causing their noses to bump. She pulled back to press her hand against her nose, hearing him laugh to himself, and then looked back at him. He was smiling at her—cue British voice—charmingly—and so she couldn’t help but smile back at him.
“Hey,” she murmured, “why don’t you pretend you’re famous again and take me to a ball? I don’t care if you don’t have a tux.”
The look on his face surprised her.
“Harry?” she asked. “What’s wrong?”
“You just said ‘tux’—as if that’s what I would wear to a formal ball.”
Mia was definitely confused. “Well, yeah. It’s a bit more of a to do than a suit and tie thing. Harry, what’s wrong? I don’t care if you show up in what you’re wearing now—or if you really want I can have someone send out for a rental.” She tried to smile at him but he was looking at her strangely.
“You’d classify yourself as—” He paused for several long moments. “Human.”
She honestly didn’t know what to say to this.
Harry continued to look at her. “You don’t know what a ‘no-maj’ is. It’s why you don’t know who I am.” He put his hands together and sighed. “I’m sorry. I thought you were—one of—us.” His voice drifted out at the end. “I know that doesn’t make sense to you.”
“No,” Mia agreed. “It doesn’t.—Why am I not one of you?” she asked desperately. “Come to the ball, Harry. We can put this brief little—problem—on the side burner—”
He laughed and looked up at the pink sky.
“It’s like being born with blue eyes or brown eyes, Mia,” he explained. “I’m going to walk away and then this will just be an oddity in your memory. You’ll remember some bloke called Harry and then your ball where you danced with much handsomer men—”
But she didn’t let him finish. Instead, Mia ran into his arms and kissed him. At first it was like kissing a statue, but then he was kissing her back, his hand in her long hair, another at her hip, pulling her close. She smiled to herself as her leg popped as it should for every good kiss. She knew she probably shouldn’t be wandering about San Francisco and kissing the first handsome stranger she had come across, but she couldn’t help it. He was totally worth it.
Pulling away, she grabbed his hand and ran to the side of the road, pushing her hand out for a taxi.
“I think I’ll have better luck than that,” Harry told her, coming behind her and holding out his arm. He snapped his fingers and, as if by magic, there was a taxi cab waiting for them.
She didn’t have time to question it as he ushered her in and she gave the address to the Genovian Embassy. Pushing up the privacy screen, she looked at him and gave him a self-deprecating smile. “I’m Mia Thermopolis, Princess of Genovia.”
His eyebrows rose as he looked at her and then he nodded. “Harry Potter, the Earl Black.”
“Grandmother will love you,” she stated happily. “You have a title. Grandmama is Queen Clarice Rinaldi. She’s holding the throne until I take it.”
“And when will that be?”
“They can’t decide if I should go to college first,” she admitted. Mia stared up at him and leaned in to kiss him again and was happy that his lips were waiting for her. When the cab stopped, she quickly pulled away and added, “Don’t be surprised if I’m called ‘Amelia’.”
He laughed and paid the driver after looking at the bills a little too long (he was British and this was American money), and she took his hand and led him through a side entrance. She turned to him and then started to skip ahead and he followed her, laughing, and then she found Grandmama.
“This is Lord Black,” she introduced as calmly as she could. “He’s been so kind as to agree to escort me to the ball. Harry, my grandmother, Queen Clarice.”
She looked him over and then smiled. “Well, Lord Black. You’re a happy addition. I take it you did not bring formalwear from Europe.”
“Unfortunately not, your majesty,” he agreed as Mia was ushered off to her own dress.
It was an interesting gown in the mermaid style that was made of gold scales that then petered out at the top of her shoulders on a bed of gold silk. It had a high neck, and Mia’s hair was put up into a simple twist. All the time, she couldn’t stop thinking of Harry. She hoped he was being looked after, and—
“What is this I hear about some English guy taking you to the ball?”
Mia turned to see her best friend Lilly (who was Michael’s younger sister) standing in the doorway. Her dress was loud, of course, her earrings far too large, but no one much cared. Lilly was herself.
“We met between the graduation ceremony and coming here,” Mia explained as she made eye contact in the mirror. Someone was putting heavy eyeliner on her and she couldn’t really move. “He’s wonderful.”
“What about Michael?”
“We broke up last week,” Mia stated. “Didn’t he tell you?”
Lilly huffed and came and sat next to her. “Of course he didn’t. He’s male. Why didn’t you?”
Mia sighed. “I didn’t know how to. It was all so difficult.” She wanted to put her head in her hands and sigh, but she couldn’t move her head. Then she was having a crown placed on her hair, Lilly had gone off ranting about good-for-nothing brothers, and she was standing at the top of the stairs and going down them.
Harry was waiting for her at the bottom of them in, strangely, a tuxedo. She smiled at him, and he took her hand and twirled her, causing her to laugh.
“I hope you like the waltz,” she apologized as they stood in the center of the floor, waiting for the music to begin.
“Hate it,” he teased. “Could never get away from it fast enough. I have two left feet.”
The downbeat sounded and he stepped into it perfectly and she glided in his arms. Then, something occurred to her. “Oh no. Today’s your wedding day, isn’t it, Harry?”
“Unfortunately,” he admitted, trying to keep a straight face.
The two spent the next few minutes trying not to laugh. It was all too comical. Here was this man, who spoke of no-maj’s and sickles and not being like Mia, dancing with her here in San Francisco, when he should have been holding a woman dressed in white half a world away.
During a slower dance, he held her to him and she rested her head against his shoulder. “I hope she’s not a clumsy brunette.”
“Ginny? No. Fiery carrot top.”
Her eyebrows furrowed and she angled her head up toward him. “What’s a ‘carrot top’?”
“Her hair. It’s orange.”
“Ah. Red head,” she told him.
She had fun introducing Harry around to the various Genovian dignitaries. None, of course, knew who he was. He suddenly didn’t seem to expect them to. He just spoke with them about European politics, as if he had studied it, and then swept her back off her feet.
“I think I approve of your ‘Lord Black’,” Grandmama told her. They were sitting together, drinking champagne. “He’s talking about trade in the European Union with our Trade Minister,” she confided. “What does he do?”
“Harry?” Mia asked. She looked over and, catching his eye, smiled. “I know he’s a public figure of some kind. He wasn’t used to not being recognized. Then again, I wasn’t used to not being recognized. He’s escaping his wedding. Apparently he just found out she was marrying him for his title and bank account.”
“Very good reasons to end it,” Grandmama agreed. “That sort of scandal will blow over if she’s really a—is it, golddigger, you say over here, Mia? He’d make a fine boyfriend to any queen.” She was looking at him territorially now. “Yes, if we bring you home to Genovia, he could be just what we need. He’s cultured, well-spoken, his hair could do with a good cut perhaps, but the nobility always have their eccentricities.”
“Grandmama!” Mia declared. “You sound as if you were planning our marriage.”
Of course, Mia hadn’t realized he had come up behind her, although it seemed Queen Clarice had known the whole time. She may even have planned it.
“She is,” Harry promised, taking Mia’s hand. “I’m quite used to it.”
“I imagine you are, given you’ve been groomed for public office,” Grandmama stated with a smile. “Forgive a grandmother. I don’t know if Amelia told you, but we may be crowning her before Christmas—or do you say ‘Yule’?”
The two looked at each other, some knowledge passing between them, before Harry casually responded, “I’ve always celebrated Christmas, but then again, I’m an orphan, Queen Clarice. I did not grow up with my parents’ culture.”
She lifted her chin in acknowledgement, her eyes sparkling. “I see we understand each other. My eldest son, Prince Harold, received an invitation to attend Beauxbatons before he eventually decided against it. He now is a priest in Genovia and has taken a vow of silence so I haven’t spoken to him since before Amelia was born.”
Harry nodded to her.
“Amelia,” Grandmama stated. “Why don’t you go speak to the Prime Minister’s wife? I think Lord Black and I have a few things to discuss.”
“I—oh—” Mia stood and squeezed Harry’s hand. “Are you sure?” She looked between them.
“I can deal with overbearing ‘mothers’, Mia,” he promised. “Plus, it seems like your uncle and I may have something in common.”
“No-maj’s?” she asked a little fearfully.
He squeezed her hand and Grandmama smiled at her.
After about half an hour, the two were still talking avidly. Mia really couldn’t figure what about.
Mia jumped in shock and turned to her mother. “What?”
“Everyone’s talking about ‘Lord Black.’ It seems Queen Clarice wants to know herself.” She smiled down at her daughter.
Mia tried not to frown. “She was talking about what a perfect royal boyfriend Harry would be. I didn’t want him stolen into this. I wanted to steal him in for a night and then keep him my secret, away from the press. I don’t know what I thought. We just met. He’s someone important back in England and he thought I knew who he was when we met—and I thought he knew who I was—but neither of us knew who the other person was—” She sighed and looked over at him longingly.
“Go steal him back,” her mother suggested.
She didn’t take her eyes off Harry. “Can I?”
“He’s your date.”
Mia looked over at him and cut toward the bar and looked at the man across from her. “Sam. My date, Lord Black. Know what he’s been drinking?”
She blinked. “I have no idea what that is but I’ll take one and whatever champagne cocktail you’re putting together.”
In the end, she didn’t need to steal Harry away. He came to her and took the whiskey from the counter and raised it to her. “To surviving the Queen of her very own country,” he proposed.
Mia couldn’t argue with that. “To being in one piece,” she agreed, clinking glasses before taking a sip. Carefully, she put her drink down and looked up at him. “Have you seen the rose garden?”
His eyes flashed for a moment in mischief. “Princess Mia, should I fear for my reputation?”
She placed her hands behind her back and then nodded solemnly. “Definitely. I hear several of my politicians have designs on you.”
He cracked up. Setting his drink down decidedly, he took her hand and then led her out toward the back. She had to pull him back to the right toward another door and show him the correct way. “No one can find us—”
Mia didn’t have the chance to finish. He was kissing her. She was surprised by just how much she liked the feel of his fingers along her jaw, and she just breathed him in. If she had to leave America for a country she hardly knew, she wanted to take some piece of something that was hers with her, and even though it had only been a few short hours, she wanted it to be Harry.
Was it wrong to steal a woman’s husband on their wedding day when he had already run away?
Yes, yes, perhaps it was. But in that moment she just didn’t care.
They ended the night by dancing and Harry taking her back to his place, and wasn’t that just the perfect ending to the night? Skin against skin and movements she had only ever heard the other girls at school talk about…
She rushed into the embassy the next morning in the clothes she had been wearing the night before.
“No need to ask where you have been all night,” Grandmama spoke in a slightly judgmental tone.
Mia smiled at her sheepishly. “I thought you approved.”
“I do approve, but you’re not officially a couple yet, Mia. You have yet to ask and he has yet to accept.” She patted the loveseat next to her.
“Shut up!” Mia exclaimed. She had never heard of anything quite so—backwards—before in her life.
Grandmama looked at her from the side of her eyes. “Don’t take that tone of voice with me, young lady. I had determined to talk to you on the matter. Lord Black is eminently suitable. I wish his title were a bit higher for appearances’ sake, but a man can never be perfect.”
Mia looked at her in shock.
“He’s quite amenable to the idea. Said he needed to get away for a bit and he’s quite fond of you, which is evident by last night’s escapades.—It’s Saturday, Mia, and we leave for Genovia on Thursday. If you want him to come, you better find a way to ask him. Otherwise I think he’s remaining in the United States as he wants to avoid his former fiancée.”
“Yes,” Mia agreed, “she was marrying him for his money.”
“You should be thankful you have that piece of information. You can be sure that he is independently wealthy and isn’t going to be your official boyfriend for your wealth. He also seems uncomfortable enough with his title. He doesn’t crave a higher one. You may have found the only man who doesn’t care that you’re a princess. He’d probably prefer it if you weren’t one.”
She looked at her grandmother and realized she had a great deal to think about.
“Do I need an official boyfriend?”
“No,” her grandmother answered kindly, “but it will put an end to suitors for your crown. You’re so young, Mia. It might be good to have a stabling influence like Lord Black.”
“His name is Harry.”
“His name is Harrigan,” Grandmama corrected. “He’s simply been called ‘Harry’ his entire life.”
Mia suddenly felt downtrodden. Still, that didn’t stop her from teasing him at lunch later that day. Her entire wardrobe had been revamped, unfortunately, so she was in strappy green heels, a white flare skirt, and a green tank top with flower patterns. She had a white sweater tied over her shoulders. She had her hair up in a ponytail and designer sunglasses.
“Have you ever tasted American pizza?” she asked Harry. “Harrigan.”
He groaned. “Queen Clarice told you.”
Laughing, Mia took a seat, looking at Harry appreciatively. He was in khakis today and a button up white shirt. “She might have. No, I respect the fact you want to be called ‘Harry’. I prefer ‘Mia’ to ‘Amelia.’ I mean, look at my name, you heard it last night.”
“Amelia,” he stated, pronouncing every syllable precisely, “Minuette Thermopolis Rinaldi.”
She blushed. “Did I ever learn your full name?” she asked.
“Harrigan James,” he paused, “Sunflower Potter.”
“Sunflower?” she gasped.
“My mother was named Lily, my aunt Petunia, my grandmother Rose. I had an uncle who died when he was three named Sunflower. Don’t ask me why anyone thought that name was appropriate for a little boy, but they did.”
“Sunflower!” she laughed as their pizza came and she smiled at him. “No knives or forks. I know how you Europeans eat. I’ve been to enough state dinners.”
“I can eat with my hands,” he argued. “Tell me about yourself, Mia. We both know why we’re here. I’d rather you not ask me anything until we know each other better.”
She ran her foot delicately against his leg, catching his pantleg. “I thought we did that last night.”
He smirked. “Mia.”
“I like to rock climb,” she told him suddenly. “I paint with my mom sometimes. Really, my life these past two years has been about trying to learn etiquette, attempting to figure out who my real friends are at school, and driving my baby.”
He raised his eyebrows.
“My mustang. I love to just get away and drive.”
A look came into his eyes. “Are you free tomorrow night?”
“Tomorrow night?” she asked, getting out her purse and a blackberry, tapping away at it. “You never know with Grandmama. I’m free after four.”
“I’ll pick you up after six. We’ll go in your mustang.” His green eyes flashed with a secret. “Dress with a little more street cred, I think it’s called.”
“Woah, ho,” she exclaimed. “They might have gotten rid of all my jeans, but I’ll check.”
“I’ll take you shopping,” he promised as he finished up his slice of pizza. “I think I can safely say I hate pizza.”
Mia erupted into giggles as he took a sip of his Guinness. “Take me to a pub later and experiment on me,” she promised. “Oh, Grandmama wanted to invite you to a casual family dinner. I think it will be just the three of us.”
Addressing the elephant in the room, he stated quite openly, “She wants me to go to Genovia with you.”
“Yes,” she replied. “I thought we weren’t deciding quite yet.—Do you like cats? I have one named Fat Louie.”
He nearly gagged on his beer. “What a name. I hate cats, but I put up with my friend Hermione’s monstrous beast all throughout boarding school, so I can do so again. I have an owl.”
She blinked at him. “An owl? I feel like this is a ‘no-maj’ thing.”
“It is a ‘no-maj’ thing,” he told her. “If I go to Genovia with you, you’re going to have to get used to—peculiarities of my character. Are you ready for that, Mia?”
Leaning forward, she whispered, “You’re a secret government agent that my grandmother somehow accepts.” Then she smiled widely. “No, I know there’s some great secret I’m not in on. Maybe it will become a problem, maybe not. My ministers adore you, my grandmama wants you to help form the Royal household, and I’m crushing on you. But I’m not going to ask you yet. You need to see San Francisco and you need to know what it’s like to be around royalty before you can make an informed decision.”
He nodded. “This all right for tonight?” he asked.
“Completely,” she told him. “And if not, I take full responsibility for giving you false information.”
They walked along the streets, hands against each other’s backs, two lovers comfortable with each other. The two of them found a street fair and he bought her a necklace with a blue crystal on the end of it and she had purchased the matching earrings, pushing his wallet away at the last minute.
“Should I get my tarot read?” she asked him.
He made a face. “I’ve never held with divination. I knew a reader who liked to predict my death. She was obsessed with it.”
Mia rubbed his arm and entered the tent. Harry followed her warily, but he stilled when the woman greeted him. “Harry Potter. There are a great many people who would like to know where you’ve gone to.”
“I think you’ve got the wrong person,” Mia responded. “This is Mark Highbury.” Great, she’d been reading Jane Austen again. “Can I have my fortune read?”
“A No-Maj, Mr. Potter?” the psychic asked. “You leave your pureblood bride for a No-Maj, an American No-Maj?”
“Right,” Harry said. “Mia, this is a bad idea.”
“I agree,” she murmured, getting up and leaving. When they were outside the tent, she whispered, “I’m so sorry.”
“I’m going to be in the papers tomorrow,” he told her. “Not the ones you read, but there will be press, possibly.” He took her arm and led her along the tents. They passed one for caricatures and she wanted to stop, but Harry was clearly thinking. “I’ve got to disappear,” he stated.
“Don’t,” she begged. “They would have found you eventually. Come to Genovia. I know we were going to give it more time, but you can cloister yourself in parliament and in the palace. Harry, I’m happy with you.” She turned him around and cupped his face. “I think you’re a little happy with me, too. I may seem like a silly teenager and you’re a politician—I don’t even know how old you are.” She sighed.
“Twenty-three,” she repeated. “It could be worse. You strangely look younger.”
Recognition flashed in his eyes, but he didn’t say anything. “Is this what you want, Mia? Do you want an official boyfriend? You can’t just break up with me without a scandal? You won’t have any privacy in public from me—I’ll go wherever you go. Queen Clarice wants me in the palace as I’m not a Genovian national, or at least on the grounds.”
She smiled at him. “We’ll sort it out,” she promised. “We’ll weather the storm together.”
He leaned down and brushed his lips against hers. “I should have bought you a promise ring.”
“What about those Irish rings?” she asked. “Those will surely be a good idea? I’ll get someone on staff find us a reputable jeweler and have our fingers measured.”
He leaned his head up against hers. “Okay.”
They headed back to his apartment where she sat on his bed reading a detective novel about a wizard while he packed around her. She had called up her grandmama about the press and about how she and Harry had reached an understanding, and she had invited Harry to stay at the Embassy until Thursday.
Strangely, he did have an owl, who came in the cab with them.
Dinner was a low-key affair.
“May I call you ‘Harrigan’, Lord Black?” Queen Clarice asked when they sat down to pre-dinner drinks. “You are, after all, my granddaughter’s official boyfriend.”
“I don’t see why not,” he answered.
“Then please call me ‘Clarice’ when the servants aren’t present and we’re among the family,” she offered. “I am sorry about the press. I understand it was an accident.”
“Yes,” Mia agreed. “A psychic recognized him and mentioned people would be interested where he was. I feel like this was the social event of the season.”
“It was,” he answered darkly into his drink.
Mia sipped at her glass of wine. As the drinking age in Genovia was eighteen and she was of age there and was on sovereign Genovian soil, she could legally drink. She found it hilarious.
Dinner was full of laughter. Harry was speaking about his rivalry with someone who was hilariously named Draco Malfoy over football (American soccer). Apparently he was quite the sports aficionado. He also was quite the rule breaker.
“If there was a rule, I would disregard it,” he told them. “I handle the press that way.”
“I try to avoid them.”
“I misdirect. I got into a battle of wills with one when I was fourteen. She wrote this libel article that said I was crying to her over my parents’ death and thought I was going to die in a tournament I was competing in it. I later got one over her.”
“How’d you do that?” Queen Clarice asked.
“She had unregistered—guns,” Harry told her, “that I found out about. So she had to write truthful articles for a year when I wanted to get information out there to the public.”
“You blackmailed a reporter when you were fifteen,” Mia stated in complete shock. “Harry, Lord Black, the criminal. What have I gotten myself into?”
“The point, Mia,” Grandmama said, “is to find a person’s pressure point and use it. It’s eminently useful in politics. It seems that Harrigan only uses it when necessary.”
“I’ve never used it in politics,” he admitted. “Haven’t used it since I was seventeen against a menace to society. He was a terrorist who was blowing up innocent people. They kept it out of the papers, but he killed my parents and we were rather obsessed with each other.”
“Superhero,” Mia stated. “Psychotic superhero.”
“Your psychotic superhero,” Harry reminded her with a sweet smile. “I’ve never been found guilty by any court. I’ve never been brought up on any charges.”
“There’s a relief,” Queen Clarice stated, flipping her napkin on her lap. “I did some digging into your public image today, and you have an exemplary record in politics. You’ve made several deciding votes in your—parliament. If you and Mia ever marry, you can hold her deciding seat in our parliament and actively participate in influencing decisions without the vote when the house is divided.”
“He can have my vote?” Mia asked in shock.
“An archaic law. A Princess Consort can never hold the seat, but a Prince Consort can. It leaves you free to draft and sign legislation. He can also try to sway votes on your behalf, although not the whip. The last Prince Consort was a diplomat. Then again, there has only been one, back in the early 1900s.”
“Oh,” Mia answered. “Well, I think it’s a bit early to think about that. I don’t want to be a teenage bride.”
She looked back at Harry and he smiled kindly at her.
The press hit hard the next day. Mia showed up in a blue pencil skirt and white breezy blouse, her hair down to her shoulders. Harry was back in his gray slacks and black turtleneck. They walked out of the Embassy together with cameras going off in every direction.
“Harry Potter,” someone called. “Why America?”
“They speak English and it’s the farthest away I could get from my wedding,” he stated calmly. “My second option was New Zealand.”
More pictures were taken. “Is that the No-Maj Princess Amelia Rinaldi?”
There was that word again. “It is,” he answered into the microphones. “We are an official Royal couple and will be leaving for Genovia in a few days. I am happy to have met Mia, who has made the transition from Britain and my engagement to a foreign country and bachelorhood much easier—not that I’m a bachelor anymore.”
More pictures. “Princess Amelia, how do you feel about magic?” someone shouted.
She looked over at Harry in confusion.
Harry, however, took the question. “Prince Harold, the princess’s uncle who has taken religious orders, is a member of our community. He has taken a vow of silence and has revealed nothing to his niece. Neither have I broken the Statute of Secrecy. I hope you’re arrested for asking such a blatantly irresponsible question.”
Mia gazed at Harry in confusion.
“No more questions,” Harry concluded, leading Mia into the gates of the embassy.
“What’s magic?” she asked quickly. “Magic doesn’t exist!”
“It’s a code word,” he explained. “Like the Free Masons. It shouldn’t have been used. I’m sorry, Mia.” He ran his hands up and down her arms trying to calm her. “You may hear the word again.”
“A code word,” she responded. “’Magic’ is a code word?” Mia knew she sounded skeptical, but she couldn’t help it.
He leaned down and kissed her, long and sweet, and she ran her hands up his arms and around his neck, her foot popping, despite the fact that her skirt fell down beneath her knees.
“I want to rip off that blouse,” he murmured in her ear. “You’re so goddamn straightlaced in that skirt. The perfect princess and not the fun girl I’ve come to know.”
“Well,” she whispered. “You have a room here,” she suggested.
“I do, don’t I?” He grinned. It was decided.
Later, the pencil skirt and blouse had been forgotten. “Harry,” she breathed. “This is—brilliant.”
She appeared in ripped jeans, a white baby-t and a leather jacket she had purchased with Harry earlier that afternoon. They drove up to a car show of classic cars and she squealed when he directed her to a parking space that was reserved for her car.
“You like old cars,” he answered, and they walked along the automobiles. The word “car” didn’t work for these beauties.
They walked around, Mia running over to certain automobiles, cooing over them. They bought cotton candy, and stayed well past dark.
Of course, a reporter found them. “Princess Mia,” he asked, for once not addressing Harry. “There are rumors that you have an official boyfriend. Tell us what that means.”
“Well,” she answered, “he will come back with me to Genovia and appear with me at official events. It’s not at all casual.”
“Is this him?”
“Yes,” she laughed. “Harry Potter, the Earl Black. He’s British.”
“Will you pose for a photo?”
She looked up to him and he shrugged. They handed the cotton candy to the reporter who had a notepad and then moved close to each other, Mia’s hair flying behind her and Harry looking down adoringly at her.
Their cotton candy was handed back to them. “What does the queen think?”
“Oh,” Harry answered. “I think I’m a dream come true for her.”
Mia laughed. “You are.—Is that all for now?”
The reporter looked at her. “Are there wedding bells in the future?”
It was Harry’s turn to laugh.
“I’m eighteen!” Mia was quick to answer. “Let me finish up my teenage years of rebellion.”
As they walked away, Harry murmured, “Your press is much nicer than mine.”
“I only had to deal with one. We’ll have both sets to deal with from now on, unfortunately. The story’s out there.”
Over breakfast at the loft, Mia read the story. “Well, we’re official. They don’t seem to have any information on Harry, not even his name.”
“Harry’s not his name?” Mom asked.
“It’s ‘Harrigan’,” Mia responded half-heartedly. “I don’t think he likes it any more than I like ‘Amelia.’”
“That was your father’s doing,” her mother told her. “So was the rest of it.”
When she went to the Embassy that day, she was surprised to see a girl in jeans and bushy brown hair in one of the private rooms arguing with Harry. “You were so happy,” she stated. “Look, I didn’t come all the way out here to—I don’t know why I came out here. Ron is furious. You’re splitting the entire Weasley family. I mean, a princess? Harry, what are you thinking? You hate being famous!”
“Hi,” Mia greeted as she came into the room. “The press is swarming out there.”
Harry reached up and kissed her lightly, and she smiled.
“I’m Mia,” she introduced, holding her hand out to the other woman. “I didn’t know we had any guests.”
“Hermione,” she replied. “I’m one of Harry’s oldest friends.”
The two stared at her.
“Um… it means ‘cool’. What brings you to San Francisco?”
“A wedding,” she answered simply, pushing her hair out of her face. It reminded Mia of her hair before it had been straightened.
“Right. I’ll just—” She pointed to the door.
Harry grabbed her hand. “No, Mia.—Hermione, you had Ron while we were on the run and I had nothing. Ginny just made sense and all of a sudden I was more famous than I had ever been. I just clung to any form of normality. The Weasleys were that. I was marrying the family, but I let it continue until she got drunk a week before the wedding and started talking about everything she would do as ‘Lady Black’ and with my Gringotts vaults because everyone was leaving me their money. The Weasleys weren’t worth that, so I came here—and I found the one person that wouldn’t know anything about the mess even if she somehow knew the full weight of what it means. Her own uncle is one of us.”
“Are mine,” he answered, still holding onto Mia. “Don’t blame Mia. Don’t blame all of this on her. It’s on me.”
“But your position, all the good you can do with your titles—who you are—”
“I can do good wherever I go,” he argued. “And I know what they’re saying about me. I read the papers.”
Hermione looked defeated. “You broke her heart.”
“Ginny doesn’t have a heart,” he stated viciously. “I found that out the hard way.”
Unfortunately, Hermione stayed for lunch. She was gone after that.
Harry seemed genuinely excited about flying on a plane, as if he hadn’t flown from Britain to get to San Francisco to begin with. He stared out the window the entire time, making Mia smile.
He was, of course, settled into the Guest Wing. It took Mia fifteen minutes just to get to the door of the Guest Wing where he had an entire suite to himself. She never went into it. “Mia,” he explained carefully over a private candlelight dinner. She was dressed casually in black slacks and a white button down top while he was in a similar outfit. The kitchen had been convinced to make them bacon and eggs. Mia called it “breakfast for supper.”
“Mia,” Harry tried again, reaching for her, but she didn’t even look at him. “There are parts of my life you don’t know about. No-majes and the codeword ‘magic.’ I’ve chosen to be with you, but I don’t want to forget. My room is my sanctuary.”
“You’ve been in my room,” she stated petulantly. Mia had showed him the second day, pressing her remote to unveil the crown jewels and the sunglasses, all the clothes that were fit for the soon-to-be Queen of Genovia.
“I never have to go in there again,” he told her. “If you want to make that your haven, put up posters of Heath Ledger or Matthew McCoughney—I don’t care. We can have Queen Clarice designate a room that is ours for when we are together—”
“No,” she stated. “That is too impersonal.” She sighed, rubbing her head. “Okay. I get it. You’re separate from the royal household. If I personalize my own room, you can’t comment on it. When,” she smiled, “I take you to my bed, we’ll go into the Royal Wing. We’ll agree that you will not host other women—or men—”
Harry looked at her in surprise but didn’t say anything—
“In your room.”
“And when I need to get into your closet, well, we’ll—do you have a dressing room?” She looked at him in expectation.
“You’ll blindfold me and let me enter it. Sometimes we have to go into closets. I’m sure you’ll want to go into mine.”
“All right,” he agreed. “Our closets are open to the other.” Harry reached out for her again and she let her fingers entwine with his.
And Mia took full advantage of this. She let Harry blindfold her and went into his closet and chose which tux she wanted him to wear. He had spent a day shopping in London before he had arrived in Genovia, picking out tuxes. “I want this one,” she decided. It had a green sheen, which she found utterly fuckable with his eyes. “Put it on.”
Harry laughed and kissed her before he went to put it on. She went and got an elaborate pin of a Genovian pear, which she pinned on his lapel. “There,” she declared. “I’ll let you mess up your hair to annoy Grandmama.”
“I appreciate it, Mia,” he declared, as he took her in his arms and kissed her slowly. “I don’t suppose I can convince you to let me back into your room and let me out of this tux?”
She smirked. “Perhaps later,” she admitted. Mia ran her fingers up his chest. “You can watch me dance with all the eligible bachelors in Genovia,” she whispered into his ear. “While I—make love to you with my eyes—and then you get to take me back to my dreadful pink room and drag my clothes off with your teeth.”
“Am I that talented?” he whispered huskily.
Mia laughed. “Oh, aren’t you just?” She pulled away and, after blindfolding herself, let him walk her out of his room again.
Her dress was white and a ball gown and she thought, wow, a little too suggestive. Throughout the night she looked at Harry and introduced him to all the princesses and duchesses she met.
“Do you have a boyfriend?” she asked Princess Raven from Africa.
She looked at her. “Well, Mom wants one, but I can’t see the point. I’m sixteen—”
Then there was the boy—man. He had dirty blond hair and blue blue eyes and, well, Mia couldn’t help but flirt a little. When she was given over to prince Jacques, she looked over to Harry, who was looking at her over his usual Oban 14.
“Who was he?” he asked her casually.
“I don’t know,” she admitted. “Someone.”
He took a deep breath. “You’re eighteen. You have hormones,” he began. “I just prefer—you didn’t—”
“Right,” she agreed. “I’m sorry.”
He leaned over and kissed the side of her head. “You have nothing to be sorry for.”
The next day the two of them were exploring. Mia was supposed to meet Queen Clarice and somehow they found a peephole to parliament.
“A month,” Mia murmured, as she looked at Harry. “I have to get married in a month or Lord Nicholas Devereaux gets my throne. You just—with Ginny, was it?—and I—” She swallowed. Mia felt overwhelmed. It was just too much. She buried her head between her hands, and then she felt a warm hand against hers and she looked up to see Harry smiling grimly at her.
“What are you thinking?” she asked.
“I don’t know what I’m thinking,” he admitted. “This isn’t what I signed up for.”
“No,” she agreed pragmatically. “Of course not.—It’s ridiculous with your no-maj and ‘magic’ and whatever else it is you have in your secret room!” At this point she was working herself up into a fury. “Why would you want to share any of it with me? You probably shared it with Ginny and you left her.”
He looked at her patiently. “She was after my money and my fame,” he reminded her. “Just because we were from the same culture didn’t matter. My mother wasn’t brought up in it; I wasn’t. I had to learn what we were.”
“What are you?” she demanded at him in frustration.
Harry just looked at her fondly. “I can’t tell you unless I marry you, Mia.”
“There are laws.” He reached forward carefully and pushed her hair behind her ear. “Mia, I’m not sure if I’m ready to give up my old life. I was willing to put it on hold for you. I fancy you more than I’ve ever fancied a girl. I wanted to help you through these difficult few years while you grew up until you didn’t need me anymore, but marriage? I know you don’t want to marry me.”
“I’d rather marry you than a stranger!” she answered honestly. Mia reached for him and he reluctantly gave her his hand. “You get me. You get the crown. I don’t know how you get both because we don’t really mesh—but I know with you by my side I can do anything.”
“And when you fall in love? Because you will fall in love, Mia.”
“What about you?”
“I’ve already fallen in love and felt heartbreak. You’re my second chance.”
“Perhaps you’re my one chance,” she answered honestly. “Two strangers walking in San Francisco. You thinking I was one of you and that I knew who you were, and me thinking you were like me and that you knew who I was. The perfect love story.”
He looked at her for a moment. “I want to hold your seat in Parliament,” he told her, “and I want to be Ambassador to the Hidden Minister you may or may not have clearance to know about.”
She blinked at him. “I don’t understand.”
“I want to be Ambassador to the Minister who is not a No-Maj,” he told her promptly. “They’re called ‘Muggles’ here.”
“Oh,” she repeated. “Okay. You can be Ambassador. I’ll appoint you. I’ll have you write the language of it in case you’re displacing someone.”
He looked at her carefully. “I’ll want travel privileges. I still hold a position in a parliament in Britain—”
“You’ll have to give up citizenship,” she reminded him carefully.
“Dual citizenship,” Harry bargained.
Mia couldn’t help but smile. “Why don’t we put the question to Grandmama. If you still have your position in that parliament, you want to exercise your powers?”
“Which means you’ll be away.”
“Sometimes,” he agreed.
She bit her lip. Mia didn’t like the sound of it, but she would accept it. “Let’s see about citizenship and then negotiate more.”
They were sitting in the palace television room, looking at eligible bachelors, when Mia asked, “Why are we doing this? Harry and I are getting married.”
“This is just to make sure,” Queen Clarice told them. “We can talk about your marriage as we go through these men—too old.”
Mia looked up, clearly unimpressed. “We don’t know if Harry can have dual-citizenship.”
“Oh,” Queen Clarice wondered. “I’ll put it to parliament. We’ll announce your engagement tomorrow, if you like, or the next day. I’ve invited Lord Nicholas to stay with us.”
“I don’t think that’s wise,” Harry stated carefully. “I don’t want to have to lock my door.”
Queen Clarice looked at him carefully. “It might be best if you feel that might be wise.—I know how it everything might be—different.” She looked at Harry knowingly.
Mia couldn’t help but roll her eyes. She looked up. “Oh, he’s dreamy.” It was Prince William.
“He’s not eligible. He’s in line to rule his own country—Lord Black’s country.”
“He is wonderful to look at, though,” Queen Clarice admitted.
“I’m sorry I’m only an Earl,” Harry replied ruefully, and Mia took his hand and squeezed it. “You’ll be a Prince Consort within the month,” she promised him. “We’ll be having tea with the Queen within the year.”
Harry laughed and kissed her hand.
The next day Harry came into her room as she was picking out her pink tweed dress and matching coat. “No,” he told her, going through her closet and picking out a blue dress that had a low waist at the hip and a flair skirt. “This reminds me of what women wear where I’m from.”
“Even the bow?” she asked, putting it up in front of her and looking herself in the mirror.
He came up to her and clutched her shoulders and she looked behind her. He was so much taller than her, a good half a head. “Even the bow,” he promised. A diamond necklace fell from his fingers and she gasped. “It’s not much,” Harry explained, “nothing like the crown jewels, but it belonged to my mother.”
“Harrigan,” she whispered. “It’s beautiful.”
Mia looked at it and saw that it was a pink diamond, surrounded by white diamonds. He placed it around her neck and she kissed him sweetly.
“Now let me get dressed,” she murmured against his lips. “I’ll meet you downstairs.”
He was waiting for her and he twirled her when she came out of her room. When she wound up in his arms, a beautiful yet small diamond was on her finger.
“My father was wealthy,” he admitted, “but despite being from a wealthy family,” and now he paused, “he wanted to earn the money for the engagement ring himself.”
She looked down at it. “And so it’s small and tasteful,” she murmured. “Pink diamond again.”
Harry admitted, “It seems my mother liked them.”
Mia fluttered her finger prettily and then kissed him. “I guess it’s real then.”
“I guess it is.”
They walked down out of the family wing, hand in hand, and she breathed out when they came to the stairway. “Grandmama,” she called out, reaching out her hand, “look at my engagement ring. Lord Black’s father gave it to his mother.”
“How charming,” she responded, picking up Mia’s hand and tilting it back and forth. “What a beautiful color, Harrigan. I’m sure your parents would be pleased you’re honoring them in such a way.”
It was then that Lord Nicholas was announced, and Mia felt her stomach clench. It was the dreamy man she had danced with at the ball. She could feel Harry behind her and she immediately straightened her spine and put a smile on her face. “Lord Nicholas,” she greeted, “I was just showing my grandmother my ring. It belonged to Lord Black’s mother. We’re not announcing our engagement until—tomorrow, is it?—but would you like to see?”
He ignored her question. His eyes that were far too blue looked into hers and he said, quite plainly, “I had never taken an American for an arranged marriage.”
“I think you are wrong, Lord Nicholas,” she responded, leaning forward. “Lord Black and I have been an item now for quite some time even before we were officially recognized as such. Parliament’s ruling merely made the inevitable happen on a different timeline.—Have you met?”
Lord Nicholas’s blue eyes took in Harry for a long moment. “I haven’t had that honor.”
Harry took in the man for a moment before offering his hand. “I understand you’ve spent a year at Cambridge.”
“Oxford man?” Lord Nicholas quipped.
Not rising to the occasion, Harry merely replied, “If you say so.”
“Well,” Queen Clarice stated, interrupting the tense handshake between the two men. “Gerald will show you to your room.”
Bowing to her, Lord Nicholas followed the servant out.
Harry looked at Mia who met his eyes. “Let me show you an American tradition,” she finally decided.
“You’re disappointed,” he decided.
“He flirted back,” she confessed.
Sighing, Harry followed her out of the receiving room down into the kitchens.
“Girls don’t like to be double crossed by men,” she confided. “If we hadn’t been engaged, I probably would have stepped on his foot.” Mia laughed to herself at the thought. A warm hand folded into hers and she looked up at Harry. “However, we eat ice cream when we are betrayed by the opposite sex.” Her voice was a low whisper, as if she were divulging a national secret, and Harry laughed.
“Really,” she agreed, skipping down the stairs and asking the nearest person where the ice cream was kept.
Mia and Harry sat down at the nearest table with two separate cartons and spoons and just sat there, eating the cold treat.
“We met eating ice cream,” he noted, taking a spoonful of chocolate.
“Well,” she admitted after a moment. “You remember it was the day of my ball and my boyfriend had decided not to come.”
There was a pause and the two just continued to eat their ice cream.
Finally, Mia broke the silence. “You’ve never spoken about your childhood. Is it a secret? Something you can’t talk about?” She was looking down at her ice cream so she didn’t see him still at the question.
After a moment, he spoke. “My cousin Dudley, once he heard of our engagement, has been trying to shake me down for money,” he confessed. “It’s rather annoying. I’ve unfortunately had to send some—friends—to convince him that he is making a mistake.”
“How horrible,” Mia sympathized immediately. “Has he come round?”
“In a manner of speaking. During the—conversation—he raved about no-majes and magic and his wife checked him into a mental institution. I’ve always hated him but that’s not what I would have wanted for him. He is my cousin, after all.”
Mia stared at him. “A mental institution?”
Harry smiled at her sadly. “There’s a reason why I don’t talk about my family. That’s hardly the worst of it.”
She nodded, thinking. “Can you tell me how your parents met?”
Eating another scoop of his ice cream, Harry paused. “They were eleven. Dad saw Mum on a train heading for Scotland and fancied her immediately. Mum was friends with this boy Dad hated and was jealous of so they were at loggerheads for over five years, but eventually Mum gave Dad a chance. Everyone I ever spoke to about them always mentioned how much in love they were. Apparently I look like my dad but have my mum’s eyes.”
“Well,” Mia admitted, “your dad was one handsome devil then.”
Harry laughed. “From what I understand, he liked to think so.” He looked at her fondly. “I fancied you the moment I saw you. It’s why I decided to talk to you. I was hoping I could convince you to be my tour guide and instead ended up going to a ball on Genovian sovereign territory!”
It was her turn to smile. “Well,” she decided, “I do like to keep you on your toes.” Setting her ice cream aside she looked at him for a long moment. “You’re Earl Black,” she stated.
“No one’s explained titles to me beyond ‘Royals’ and ‘Serenes.’”
“Oh,” he told her. “It’s simple. Lord Nicholas’s father held a title. He was a Marquis or a Duke, and so Lord Nicholas has a complimentary title.”
“So you outrank him.” She was trying to understand.
“Not if it were a British title, but I read a quick guide to Genovian nobility and I do outrank him here. You can flaunt me as much as you want. I thought you were planning to anyway…” He looked at her expectantly.
“I was,” she admitted.
“Good,” he stated, pushing his ice cream aside and leaning over the table to kiss her. “A powerful woman who knows what she wants is strangely charming.”
She tilted her head to meet the kiss. “Charming, am I?” she asked against his lips.
Mia had not expected such a crowd when she and Harry gave their formal announcement the next day. The royal park was full with reporters from across the globe, all screaming at them, and Mia had worn a nice white suit while Harry insisted he wear an Asian style collared vest with vines on it, black trousers, and a white shirt with billowing sleeves. Mia had almost expected him to carry a cane.
With her usual clumsiness, Mia slipped but Harry caught her and she stared into his greener than green eyes. Looking back out into the crowd she smiled and waved, glad when his arm never released her waist.
“You don’t mind if Grandmama plans the wedding?” she asked later when they sat down for a private tea—which unfortunately included Lord Nicholas. “I’ve never liked planning anything. You pick out all my clothes for public events if you remember, Harrigan.” She used his name to make a point, to show that she meant that he was acting in an unofficial capacity.
“Queen Clarice does have excellent taste,” he admitted. “If she doesn’t mind if she shows me her plans—when I was engaged to Ginny, she had the most grotesque taste and wouldn’t let me have an opinion.”
Grandmama put down her cup of tea. “I promise I won’t let that happen. However, you will of course have the final word with Mia, if she wants it.”
“I want a small wedding,” Harry confessed. “No more than a hundred on each side? I’d prefer fifty, if that can be managed. I can’t think of more than a dozen names of close friends—the rest would have to be political allies—”
Mia placed her hand over his. “Oh, do, Grandmama. I realize I will be crowned Queen the next day and the day after that Harry will become Prince Consort, but could you at least give us the wedding we want? I’ve always preferred the more intimate gatherings at the Embassy.”
Putting her hands up, Grandmama smiled. “We will of course accommodate you. Fifty on each side. Harrigan, if you could put together a list as soon as possible so invitations can go out.”
“I’m afraid I have to send them out personally, but I’ll give you a list for your perusal.”
“Of course,” she admitted after a moment of thought. “I had forgotten that particular necessity. Lord Nicholas—you are quiet or do you not like weddings?”
Mia suddenly seemed to notice that he had been staring at her the entire time. “I was trying to imagine the wedding gown,” he admitted, “what would best suit America and Genovia at the same time.”
“I have no idea what will suit America,” Grandmama admitted flatly as she put down her cup. “This will be a Genovian gown.”
There was a knock on the door and a servant entered. He approached Mia and whispered something in her ear.
She paused. “Harry? What was the name of that gold digger?”
“Ginny’s here,” he stated with suppressed anger. “Get rid of her,” he told the servant. “Wait, she’s stubborn.” There was something behind those words.
He set aside his tea and quickly left the room.
“Gold digger?” Lord Nicholas asked.
Grandmama smiled at him. “Lord Black is incredibly wealthy and sought after in Britain. I understand that he has an official fan club.”
Mia set down her cup in her saucer rather loudly. “He never told me that.”
“I imagine he’s embarrassed. I had them blocked from the grounds for your formal announcement earlier today. They’re quite well-organized from what I understand.” She took a sip of her tea.
“Well,” Mia decided, “fan club or not, I want to meet this Ginny Weasley and to give her a piece of my mind.” She walked in the general direction of the receiving room and opened the door, only to find that Harry had what appeared to be a wand pointing at a beautiful woman with bright red hair, who was wearing jeans, a tank top that showed off her bosom, and also had a wand out.
Mia gulped, slammed the door shut with her back and locked it.
“Ha-Harry?” she asked.
“Ginny,” he said, his eyes never leaving the other woman—the wizardess?—“put your wand away. A Muggle is present.”
“You haven’t told her,” she simpered.
“We’re not yet married,” he argued back.
With a sigh, Ginny put her wand in her back pocket and Harry then carefully put his up his billowing sleeve. After a moment, Mia walked up to him and took his hand. He glanced at her with fear in his eyes and she gave him a tremulous smile.
“No-maj,” she whispered. “No magic.” Nodding, she laced their fingers together and touched her necklace with her free hand, wondering if Ginny had ever worn it.
Ginny eyed them suspiciously and then scoffed. “He covers you in jewels? Of course. You’re a princess.”
“You’ve always been a tomboy,” he argued back. “I didn’t know you wanted jewels until—that night. What do you want except to try and make Princess Amelia Rinaldi feel inferior or to blast my head off? I’ve defeated wizards more powerful than you.”
“Yes,” she sneered, “the Great Conqueror.” Turning her eyes toward Mia, she stated, “He’ll leave you, too, after the wedding invitations have gone out, after the cake has been finished, the dress fitted. He’s fickle like that.”
“I think,” Mia stated, glancing at Harry, “that you should leave. You’re not welcome in Genovia. Get on your—broom—and just go.”
Harry quirked a smile. It appeared that wizards did travel by brooms.
“She’s a child!” Ginny proclaimed.
“Better a teenager,” Mia quipped, “than someone only marrying Harry for his money and his—fangirl base. I’m the most eligible girl in the world. I could have practically anyone I wanted.”
This seemed to enrage Ginny. “You whore—”
Mia just looked at her coolly.
Harry whispered something under his breath and Ginny’s wand flew into his hand. She looked startled, like this wasn’t supposed to be able to happen. “I’ll owl the wand,” he promised darkly before making a complicated motion and she disappeared with a scream. He then slipped the wand up his sleeve.
Staring at the empty space where Ginny had just stood, Mia then turned to Harry. “This changes nothing?” she checked.
“I’m a little more eccentric,” he claimed, “and you’ll be more aware of all your citizens.”
She nodded and then leaned up and kissed the side of his mouth. “Now I understand your clothing today. I want you to dress how you want around the palace. This is your home now, too.”
“Lord Nicholas?” he questioned.
“We’ll claim it’s a cultural difference—which I suppose it is.”
Before she could realize it, he’d picked her up around the waist and twirled her, making her laugh. Then he kissed her and, before she could think, he was hurrying her out of the room and toward her own, where he threw her own the bed and crawled toward her. Mia definitely liked where this was going.
Of course, Nicholas had to be prowling about the castle. Mia had been hiding from her maids a few days later when he happened upon her on the grand staircase.
“Princess Mia, whatever are you doing?”
“Admiring my ring,” she admitted. “It belonged to Lord Black’s mother. She had a weakness for pink diamonds.”
“He’s an orphan then?” he questioned flippantly.
Mia curled her hand inwardly and looked at her guest. “I believe the same could be said for you. My own father is unfortunately dead.”
Lord Nicholas bowed his head in recognition. “I do have my uncle.”
“A weasel of a man,” Mia muttered under her breath. Louder she said, “Parliament is quite enamored with my fiancé. I’m surprised your uncle never mentioned it to you.”
He looked displeased. “He had, actually. Most wish he would be king instead of you queen.”
It was like a slap in the face. Mia opened her mouth to respond, but before she could answer, Harry fortunately arrived: “Is that any way to speak to your future queen?” he asked. “I do not know the laws of Genovia, but perhaps she could put you in the stocks for such insolence. Mia is also the heart of Genovia. I merely was raised for a political life, something learnt and not inherent in a character.”
Smiling up at him, Mia mouthed, “Thank you,” and his eyes softened as he looked at her.
“I would much rather play – football – all day,” he confessed.
Mia highly doubted it was football. It was probably some magical sport and, well, Harry had the body for it. “I must come see you play next time we’re in England,” she promised. “A skirmish with some of your old teammates or friends? Or perhaps we can get together a game here if the circumstances are right.” Her dark eyes gleamed.
“Would you?” he asked in curiosity, completely ignoring Lord Nicholas.
She smiled at him. “Of course, Harrigan. I want to know everything about you—and this seems important to you. So what if I’m currently not the football enthusiast. Special order me a jersey and I’ll even sleep in it.”
Something passed through his eyes. “I have my latest one up on my wall. I’ll take it down for you and just replace it with one from one of my earlier years at school.”
Lord Nicholas was taking the two of them in.
“Perfect!” she decreed. Her eyes looked at him slyly. “I’ll wear it tonight.”
It was then that Lord Nicholas chose to speak. “Princess Mia—”
“Amelia,” the couple chorused, neither looking at him.
It was Harry, however, who continued. “I think you’ve proven that you shouldn’t be on such familiar terms with Her Serene Highness.” His green eyes turned glacial as he looked at the Genovian nobleman.
He swallowed. “Princess Amelia,” he tried again, “your familiarity with your fiancé is highly irregular.”
“I beg to differ,” Harry argued. “Queen Clarice has not commented on it since we became an official couple and it would not be unusual in England with our respective ranks as long as we’re discreet. And we are discreet given that we live in the same palace. We even have residences in different wings.”
With a tight jaw, Lord Nicholas stated, “I’ve noticed.”
Harry leaned over the railing. “Who are you going to tell? Parliament? The press? They adore us as a couple.”
The men’s eyes locked and, finally, Lord Nicholas bowed to Mia, inclined his head to Harry, and walked down the stairs off to one of the side corridors.
“I don’t like him,” Mia admitted.
Harry came down the stairs and took her hand, kissing the back of it. “You’re not meant to like him. He’s trying to steal your throne.”
“I’m still not used to the idea of having a throne,” she admitted, leaning against him. “It’s only been two years.”
He brushed hair behind her ear and breathed against it. “It’s in your blood, Mia. You can’t ignore this kind of thing. You’ll regret it for the rest of your days. It’s always easier without the pressure of titles and politics and wars—” wars? “—but it’s in your blood.”
Nodding, she let him hold her close. “What do you really play?”
He laughed. “Let’s go to a game tomorrow.”
And they did. There were flying broomsticks and balls and people trying to hit them at other players and it was all too much for Mia to take in. “I played Seeker,” Harry whispered into her ear as he pointed out two players up in the sky, eagerly looking for something. “When they catch the Golden Snitch they get 150 points for their team and usually win.”
“Usually?” she asked breathlessly, ducking down when someone in a white jersey flew over her.
He laughed as they stood up. “I’ve seen otherwise.”
Mia was thankful there wasn’t a big screen otherwise she was sure she’d be on it when she kissed Harry during a lull but a reporter found them afterward.
“The Boy-Who-Lived!” she stated excitedly. “Princess Mia! Our Royal Couple. Well, it looks like the Statute has been broken.”
“I’m afraid my ex- fiancée came in brandishing her wand,” Harry replied, holding Mia around the waist. “As there was less than a month to the wedding, I thought there was no reason to call in the Aurors and have the Princess obliviated, especially as her uncle is a wizard.”
“Her uncle a wizard,” the reporter stated happily, writing this down with a quill. “Is this your first outing to the wizarding world, Princess Mia?”
She glanced at Harry and smiled. “Yes. He told me yesterday how he played Quidditch and I absolutely had to check out the sport for myself. Who knows—my children might be enthusiasts. I should learn early—and everything that’s important to Lord Black is, of course, important to me.” Smiling at the reporter, she noticed the photographer. “We have time for a photo, don’t we, Harry?”
He leaned down and kissed her forehead. “Of course. Whatever will Queen Clarice say to you in a Gryffindor Quidditch Jersey?”
“She never has to know,” she whispered as they curled around each other in a loving pose.
The photograph was snapped, Mia and Harry talked about the wedding for a few minutes—about how it was a joint Muggle and wizarding occasion, part Genovian-American and British—and then they walked away to the car that was parked in a nearby field.
“You should have seen it, Grandmama!” Mia enthused over dinner, now dressed properly, all mud and sweat washed from her body. “The player almost collided with us.”
“And all this in football?” Lord Nicholas asked, patting his mouth. “Which teams?”
“You wouldn’t have heard of them,” Harry answered him succinctly. “I honestly don’t remember myself. I just contacted the league and got tickets to the earliest game available.”
“I played rugby myself.”
Frankly, Mia couldn’t see it. She thought that Lord Nicholas would have been tackled as soon as he got hold of the ball—unless he was fast. He could be fast. She didn’t quite see that either. “I was always uncoordinated,” she shared, looking around the table and offering a small smile with Harry. “I nearly failed gym a few times. If you wouldn’t mind showing me, though—I’d love—”
“Of course,” he agreed. “I’ll warn you if the press gets wind—”
She rolled her eyes. “You’re a public figure back in England. I imagine that they will if I engage in British pursuits.”
“Football is hardly just a British sport—” Lord Nicholas interjected.
Grandmama however smiled at him. “Playing with Lord Black and his friends will be, however, I’m certain of it.—I looked over your list. You have quite the interesting list. I had to ask the Ambassador about a few individuals.”
“Well,” Harry explained, “I was never one for social climbing, and I could hardly exclude my dearest friends from my wedding, even Ron Weasley.”
“Of course not,” she agreed. “They’re naturally all welcome, along with your political constituents. Lord Malfoy was discussed at great length as was his son.” She paused. “Death—”
“Eaters,” he supplied. “Yes. I spoke for them at their trials.”
“How noble,” Grandmama agreed. “Mia, I think you may be marrying the most selfless man in Europe.”
“That reminds me,” Mia stated as she put down her fork. “No, Grandmama let me tell him. You shall be named Ambassador on our first anniversary—I know, I’m sorry you have to wait, but that’s when the current Ambassador’s term is up.”
“That is only fair.”
“And you will retain provisional citizenship.” She gave him a small smile. “Although our children will be Genovian and I will renounce my American citizenship the day before our wedding.”
Lord Nicholas carefully put down his utensils and looked between the two of them.
“Thank you, Mia, Queen Clarice,” Harry said humbly. “I truly appreciate that you’re accommodating me in this.”
“Harrigan,” Mia breathed, “I love you. I want you to be able to vote in your parliament. I want you to serve as a link between your people and mine. You weren’t asking for the impossible. You were asking for consideration and respect. You were asking to keep your identity.”
Opening his mouth to answer, Harry was unfortunately rudely cut off by Lord Nicholas.
“Your name is ‘Harrigan’?”
“Quite,” he answered, turning to him. “I was named for my mother’s father. I don’t know the origin of the name unfortunately.” He took a bite of his lamb.
Grandmama fortunately intervened. “I quite like it. It’s distinctive and regal. ‘Prince Harrigan, Duke of Guenof’ certainly has a cache to it, don’t you agree, Lord Nicholas?”
He took his napkin from his lap and placed it on the table. “I’m afraid my appetite has quite left me,” he apologized. “If you will excuse me, Queen Clarice, Princess Amelia.”
There was a twinkle in Harry’s eyes and Mia was trying not to laugh.
“By all means.” Grandmama was graciousness itself.
Mia laughed as soon as the door to the dining room was closed. “Grandmama, I can’t believe you mentioned Harry’s future titles! You’re positively wicked.”
“Royalty isn’t wicked,” she stated primly. “We are just terribly honest.”
Harry was now chuckling. “Remind me not to get you vexed,” he told her affectionately. “Mia’s right. That was bordering on wicked.”
Of course, Harry had located a magical park within a few days. He took her by the hand and brought her through what he called ‘wards’. She couldn’t see anything but rusted old buildings until she passed through a door and then there was lush green everywhere and children playing on toy brooms, barely off the ground; people with wands out; others reading a paper with moving photographs. She noticed, after a moment, that the front page featured a picture of her and Harry holding each other, wearing their Qudditch jerseys, before she laughed and looked up at him adoringly.
Harry had a broom in one hand and his other arm around her waist. “Come on,” he told her. He found a quiet spot and held out the broom and it hovered in the air. Gracefully throwing one leg over, he sat on it, his feet in these strange stirrups. Holding out his hands, he looked at her. “It’s safe,” he promised. “I won’t drop you. Get on in front of me.”
Looking at him a moment, Mia clambered on and then breathed when she felt one of Harry’s hands come around her waist, the other grasping the handle of the broom.
Her hands held tightly to it as well and, after a moment, she felt the broom vibrate and move forward smoothly. They must have been only four feet off the ground, but she gasped.
“Shh,” he murmured in her ear as he took her in a straight line and then turned them slightly so she could feel the wind against her face.
By the end of it, she was laughing and begging him to go faster, which he did, and they spent a pleasant day in the park, later eating a basket lunch the kitchen had prepared for them, and the two of them posing for photos with the broom for children.
They fell into the palace well past dinner time, the broom minitiarized and hidden in Harry’s pocket, and Joe came and found them.
“Queen Clarice requests your presence.”
“I don’t think we’re dressed—” Mia apologized—
“You’re requested.” That didn’t leave much room for argument. He led them to the sitting room where Grandmama was sitting regally.
“Ah—football,” she commented. “Or some magical sport, I imagine.” Grandmama smiled. “Lord Nicholas left. He said he knew a lost cause when he saw one.”
Mia jumped for joy and pumped the air. “Yes! I won’t have to see his conniving face until the wedding. I’m assuming he’s invited for good form—”
Harry took her hand and kissed the back of it.
“Unfortunately,” Grandmama agreed, “along with one or two official functions before then. I’m afraid he’s still a thorn in your side although not quite as present a one as earlier.” She stood up and kissed Mia on the forehead. “It was truly fortuitous the day you and Harrigan met. I will be proud to welcome him into the family.”
There was a garden party and, of course, Lord Nicholas attended with a Lady Elissa. She was a pretty little thing with short blonde hair and Mia hated that she was thinner. Lord Nicholas tried to bicker, but Mia just held onto Harry’s arm and smiled. “How lovely,” she murmured. “I understand that you date and never more than once. I am surprised that you bothered to memorize her accomplishments.” She turned to Harry. “I’m afraid I haven’t memorized all your accomplishments. There seem to be so many.”
He smirked at him. “You should see Heir Draco and I bicker. All we do is insult each other.”
“Oh, that man in the green robes who is scowling and drinking too much champagne?” she guessed. “I was wondering why he was so upset.”
Harry leaned toward her ear so that his breath blew across it. “Muggles,” he whispered.
Mia could help but laugh. “I shall have to dance with him then and save our honor. Lord Nicholas, Lady Elissa, if you will excuse us.” The Royal couple then walked away.
Of course, Lord Nicholas got her alone. She wasn’t quite sure how it happened, but he wrapped his hand around her waist and kissed her. Mia did not enjoy it at all and started hitting him with her fan and they fell into the fountain. When she came out of it, she was crying and the bastard didn’t do anything to comfort her. She discreetly sent a servant to find Harry and he pulled her in his arms when he saw her eyes were red and puffy.
“What happened, darling?” he asked, his hands running through her hair, having removed her soaking wet hat.
“He grabbed me—and kissed me—and when I hit him we fell into the fountain. What is Grandmama going to say? I swear I didn’t—Harry, I wouldn’t—” She pulled away and her dark brown eyes looked into his green ones. “I know I’m taking you from everything you love, but I’m trying to give it back again, as best I can. I’m trying to be a part of your world.”
“I know you didn’t kiss him,” he promised. “A harmless flirtation on the dance floor is much different than cheating on me.”
“I would never,” she swore. “I may be young—”
“So young,” he agreed, “to be queen.” He stroked her hair and kissed her forehead. “Come, let’s get you changed and I’ll explain to Clarice just what a scoundrel the pretender to the throne actually is.”
Mia put on a pretty green dress that had been her second choice for the event and immediately found Heir Draco, drinking champagne and looking miserable.
“Heir Draco,” she murmured, “I’m afraid we haven’t been introduced. Are you a fan of Quidditch? I’m afraid Lord Black has been trying to convert me.”
“We played against each other at school,” he admitted. “I was in Slytherin House.”
“Ah,” she stated, not quite understanding what he meant. “Harry has given me one of his Gryffindor jerseys. I’m afraid I’m going to have to start supporting the Luxembourg National team, of course, as their queen.”
“I would expect nothing less,” he replied, a slight curl on his lips. “I’ve been following you in our press. Get Lord Black to take you Pegasus riding. You’ll be able to be on your own horse and you’ll seem quite the princess.”
She laughed, thinking of the horse ride where she lost her wooden leg. “I’ll take that into consideration, Heir Draco. Thank you for the idea. I know I am not the ideal—match—for Lord Black.”
Heir Draco took her in for a moment. “No,” he agreed, “but those who know him realize you’re eminently more suitable than that Weasley woman.”
“That bad, huh?” She took a glass of champagne from a waiter and sat down next to Heir Draco, looking out at her many guests. “I met her and wasn’t impressed. Then, why would I be?” She took a sip of her champagne.
He glanced at her. “Anyone could see she was using her family and specifically her brother Ron, Lord Black’s best friend, to get close to him. She had ulterior motives. Now, I’m a Slytherin. We’re all about ulterior motives. Gryffindors—and Lord Black especially—expect honesty. He’s supposed to have a fairytale romance and she wasn’t going to give him that. I doubt she would ever give him children. How do you feel about children—from our world?”
“My uncle was one of you,” she admitted. “He entered the church and took a vow of silence. I don’t know how closely the two were linked and I can’t ask him. I don’t want to be left behind. It scares me a little. I don’t want my children trapped between Genovia and—your world. I don’t know how to bridge the gap, but Harry and I love each other. We’ll find a way. I don’t know what it is yet, but we’ll find it.”
Heir Draco looked at her with respect. “I think there’s hope for the future after all.”
She laughed. “I hope so. Now I promised Lord Black that I would try to get you to dance to cheer you up.”
At this, Draco laughed but he set his glass aside and offered his hand and she took it.
“Is this Ron at the party?” she asked after the first twirl.
He shook his head. “The rumor is he will only go to the wedding with a few select members of the Weasley family such as the twins. Now are you wearing a Muggle wedding gown or robes?”
Mia hadn’t heard such an absurd question and threw back her head and laughed. She could imagine wearing those thick robes except when she was making public appearances in the wizarding world.
“Well,” Harry said as he took her hand as the garden party wound down, “you and Draco got along.”
“We did,” she answered. “I hope you’re inviting him to the wedding.”
“I am,” he agreed. “I just never thought he would get along with a Muggle.”
She leaned in and whispered, “I have magic powers.”
He grinned at her. “I suppose you do,” he agreed. “I did take you for a witch when we met. Those sparkling eyes, the way you moved—” He leaned down and kissed her lingeringly. “Lord Nicholas,” he told her, “is barred from official functions.”
“Excellent,” she breathed. “I can’t stand the sight of him.”
They missed dinner that night. Harry conjured candles that floated in the air in her suite and slowly undressed her on the bed. She gasped when his tongue entered her, her hands in his messy hair.
When she woke up the day of her wedding, she was curled up in his arms and she knew her life would change forever. Smiling, she kissed his lips. “Don’t open your eyes,” she whispered as he shifted. “It’s bad luck to see the bride before the wedding.”
“Easily solved,” he murmured. “Run into your closet.”
Mia laughed and scampered out of bed—knowing she only had a few hours to get ready. But it was all worth it. And to think, it had all begun with an accident!