Does it Get Better Than This?
DISCLAIMER – Harry Potter and its affiliates are the sole property of JK Rowling.
DISCLAIMER – Any similarities between my story and anyone else's is purely coincidental.
DISCLAIER – This is a gay love story between Draco and Harry. If you are offended by gay rights or homosexual innuendos, then I humbly ask you to not read beyond this point. Thank you for your consideration.
NOTE – Thank you to all my faithful readers. For Love of a Slytherin is by far the favorite story of many of you. Your patronage is deeply appreciated. Your reviews give me the incentive to continue with the story. I hope that you have enjoyed it thus far.
Chapter 16 – Does It Get Better Than This?
Harry and Draco were sluggish the next day, but both were able to wake and go about their business. Albus took over DADA classes for the day and Draco was excused from his studies for the day. Both young men were encouraged by Poppy to walk about as much as possible to regain their blood flow. Harry and Draco walked down to Hagrid's hut where they picked up Fang for a walk around the lake. Hagrid was teaching class and was delighted to see the boys. Hagrid was teaching his class about Unicorns that day. The class was delighted when the lead stallion walked up to Harry and bowed its regal head to him. They were further delighted when Harry bowed at the waist in return and then reached his hand to stroke the silky nose. Hagrid was standing there looking like a fish out of water. He had just finished telling the class that adult unicorns did not like the touch of a male and here was Harry rubbing the nose of the lead stallion.
"Show off," whispered Draco as they walked away.
They laughed as they could hear Hagrid in the background try and correct his insight as to what had happened. The boys locked hands and continued to walk around the lake. Fang trotted along side of them occasionally running after a bird or deer to the amusement of the couple. The day had proven to be a beautiful one. As they finished their circuit around the lake, they headed back to the castle. Harry and Draco both felt better. Draco could see that there was something on Harry's mind.
"What is it?" asked Draco. "You are kind of lost in thought there. Is something wrong?"
"No," said Harry with a smile for his lover. "I am just thinking about something that would be great for us. Also I am thinking about our wedding. I can't wait for it to be official."
"That will be wonderful," said Draco. "At least the moms aren't going crazy with things. I thought my mother would be going a little crazy."
"I have no doubt that Mother Molly would be also," said Harry with a laugh. "Maybe Aunt Petunia is keeping them somewhat in check."
"Maybe," said Draco with a smile. "At least we are letting them be happy and running things. The only thing we have to worry about is showing up and saying I DO."
The boys headed into the castle. Harry gave Draco a quick kiss and excused himself. He went in search of Hermione and Ginny. He found the ladies sitting at the Potter table studying. Ginny had her OWLS coming up and Hermione was sitting her NEWTS at the same time. Every now and then Ginny would ask a question and Hermione would look over and help her. Harry approached the ladies quietly and surprised both with a kiss on the cheek.
"Hello my lovelies," he said. "How would you two like to help me woo Draco tonight?'
"What did you have in mind?" asked Hermione.
Harry spent the next fifteen minutes going over his ideas. Ginny and Hermione would add or subtract something from the thoughts occasionally. Finally they had all the kinks worked out as to how they would do it. He pulled out two slim boxes containing a special surprise in them handed them to Hermione. Harry then gave them another kiss on the cheek and left them to their studies. They had plenty of time to work on it. Harry went to Severus and Minerva and told them what was going to happen that evening. Both were delighted with the idea and asked to help. Harry gave them their roles to play and they assured him that he could count on them. Harry gave them a bow and left. He had business to attend to with the Head Master.
Harry walked up the stairs to Albus' office. He knocked politely on the door and waited for the old mage to open it. When Albus saw Harry he beamed at the young man.
"Harry," he exclaimed. "What a pleasant surprise. It is good to see you up and about today. What can I do for you my boy?"
"I want to go to Gringotts," said Harry.
"Well you certainly don't need my permission for that," said Albus with a confused look on his face.
"I know," said Harry quickly. "But I do need your help. I am going after the cup of Helga Hufflepuff and of course that portion of Voldemort's soul. I am not sure I can do it alone."
"Yes after the trouble last night it would be prudent to act quickly," said Albus. "I am free at this time if you want to go."
"I think that might be good," said Harry summoning his and Godric's swords. "We also need to get the paperwork set up for the purchase of the Daily Prophet while we are there."
"That is good thinking," said Albus taking the sword of Gryffindor from Harry. "We can just tell the goblin in charge of your accounts what you want and have the papers drawn up and sent here for you and Draco's approval and signature."
"That is what I was thinking," said Harry taking the arm of the older wizard.
Harry turned on the spot and apparated them to the front doors of Gringotts. They entered the bank and were met by a couple of goblins. Harry bowed low to them before addressing them.
"I need to speak with Griphook if he is free," said Harry to the floor attendant.
"Of course Mr. Potter," said the goblin and hurried away.
A few minutes later she came back followed by Griphook. Harry thanked her pleasantly for her help and turned his attention to Griphook.
"I have something very important that I wish to discuss with you and the manager of the bank," said Harry quietly. "This is a matter of extreme importance and dire consequences."
Griphook noticed that Albus and Harry both wore swords on their person. That the swords were the Potter and Gryffindor swords made the goblin's eyes widen in pleasure and curiosity. Griphook quickly showed the men into a private room.
"I shall return in a few moments with the bank manager," said the goblin.
About five minutes later, Griphook returned with a very old goblin.
"Mr. Potter," said Griphook. "May I introduce Achilles Rainbend? He is the manager of Gringotts of Britain."
"It is a pleasure to meet you," said Harry to the old goblin.
"The pleasure is all mine," said Achilles as he sat in the chair behind the desk. "Griphook has told me that you are in need of a conversation with me. What can we do to assist you today?"
"First off," said Harry. "My husband to be and I would like to buy the Daily Prophet. We need Griphook to get in touch with the current owner or owners and make a fair offer for the place. We don't want it to dent our account by that much if you understand our meaning. We want to own the paper, but not at our expense due to a greedy person that wants to sell it for more than its worth."
"I can arrange all of that," assured Griphook. "We know how to get a fair price for something. It will be my pleasure to tend to that matter for you."
"Thank you," said Harry. "Please make sure you give yourself a stipend for your trouble and hard work. Also when everything is ready, just have the paperwork sent to Hogwarts."
"Very well," said Griphook taking notes. "What else can we help you with today?"
"I want to make sure that the Weasley and Lupin vaults are not in need of anything. If they don't have at least ten million galleons in each vault, then please add some from the Potter vault until they do."
"I will double check," said Griphook. "However I believe both vaults have over that amount now with the interest being collected."
"Very good," said Harry. "The last thing I have to talk with you about is very dangerous."
"In what way?" Achilles asked. "We pride ourselves on not having danger here."
"I am aware of that," said Harry quickly. "However I have learned something recently that the goblins may not have known. As you know, I am not one to take what doesn't belong to me."
Both goblins and Albus all nodded their heads.
"If there was anyone in this bank we trust as much as the goblins here it would be you," said Griphook. "Why don't you start from the beginning and tell us what is going on?"
"We know that the goblins have no interest in the war between wizards," stated Harry plainly. "However an injustice to my family has occurred. I assure you that I do not hold the bank at fault in any way. I have nothing but respect for the goblins of Gringotts."
"This is a serious concern Mr. Potter," said Achilles. "What has happened that has you so worried?"
"Many years ago Voldemort started collecting trophies," said Albus. "He managed to find the lost Diadem of Rowena Ravenclaw, the locket of Salazar Slytherin, and the cup of Helga Hufflepuff. Being a descendant of Slytherin he had a right to stake his claim on the locket. He however as you know was NOT a descendant of Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff. It has been proven that he stole those items from their previous owners."
"We are aware that Mr. Potter has a stronger claim on those said items over anyone else," said Achilles. "What does this have to do with the bank? Surely you did not come here to tell us the blood status of everyone."
"Of course not," said Harry politely. "We happen to know where the stolen cup of Helga Hufflepuff lies. We also know that is a VERY dangerous artifact now as Voldemort has used the cup and turned it into a Horcrux."
"Did I hear you correctly?" asked the old goblin in astonishment.
"I am afraid so," said Albus. "Professor Potter here is telling you the truth."
"In which vault is the cup?" asked Griphook.
"It is in the Lestrange vault," said Harry quietly.
The two goblins looked at one another and nodded. As one they looked back at the two wizards.
"I can see where this would be a concern for both of us," said Achilles.
"Can we count on the goblins to help us retrieve the item in question?" asked Harry. "I think you already know that I am not trying to steal anything. I do not care what is in the Lestrange vault other than my own personal property."
"The goblin nation, as a general rule, does not trust wizards Mr. Potter," said Achilles. "You however are a strange exception to the rule. We do trust you and your intentions. We will help you. Griphook will take you to the Lestrange vault to assist you in retrieving your property. I believe that a freeze will be placed upon the vault after so that no one can get in or out of the vault until we prove that every item in there is in fact the property of the Lestranges themselves. It is a simple enough charm to see if anything in the vault is stolen."
"Thank you for your assistance in this endeavor," said Albus standing.
"Thank you for the trust that the goblins are placing in me," said Harry extending his hand to the old goblin.
"You are indeed a rare person," said Achilles accepting and shaking the hand. "I suggest you hurry to retrieve your property. It is good that you will be taking something that dangerous out of the bank. We do have a reputation to uphold."
"We understand," said Harry following them out of the room.
Griphook led the two wizards to the carts. The trio sat and the goblin told the cart which vault. Harry knew that they were going deep into the underground. His vault was one of a few that was as far down as you could go. The Lestranges were an old family and Harry knew that they would be pretty far down. Soon enough the cart came to a stop and the goblin and wizards stepped out of the cart. Griphook went to the door and opened the vault. Harry and Albus lit their wands as Griphook held up the lamp. Harry saw piles of money and gems lying all around. He was not interested in any of it. He had ample wealth. In fact his vault was probably twenty times bigger than this one. Harry and Albus kept their eyes peeled for the cup. Harry spotted it in the far corner on a shelf. He reached up and took the cup down. It was then he heard a sinister laugh behind them. Both Albus and Harry whirled around. Griphook was unconscious on the floor. Harry quickly conjured a shield around the goblin. Rudolphus and Rabastan Lestrange entered the vault. They were followed by Amycus and Alecto Carrow.
"Well, well," said Rudolphus. "What have we here? It seems intruders have broken into our vault and is trying to steal our gold."
"I have no interest in your gold," sneered Harry. "I have enough gold to last me ten lifetimes and then some. I am here to collect MY property that your leader stole from a relative of mine."
"Now why don't I believe you," said Rabastan.
"I don't care what you believe," said Harry. "Alecto, if you touch that Dark Mark I will sever your arm off of your body before you can say sickle."
"I am not scared of you or Dumbledore," snarled the female Death Eater.
"You should be," said Harry.
"I would tame your dog if I were you Dumbledore," said Amycus. "We have little tolerance for those that steal from the Dark Lord."
"I am only taking from Voldemort what is already mine," snarled Harry. "If you have something to say to me then say it. I don't need Albus to fight my battles for me."
"Seems the child has spunk," said Rabastan. "Why aren't you saying anything Dumbledore?"
"As Harry stated," he replied. "I have no power over him. I am merely his friend and mentor. Harry is quite capable of taking care of himself."
"Let's put that to the test then," said Alecto drawing her wand.
"I wouldn't do that if I were you," said Albus. "I won't be held responsible if one of you gets hurt."
"Me get hurt?" laughed Alecto. "You are losing your grip Dumbledore if you think this child is a match for me."
"I have had enough of this," said Harry. "Albus protect Griphook."
"As you wish Harry," said Albus with a slight smile on his lips and stepped nearer the fallen goblin.
The four Death Eaters stepped out into the hall and beckoned Harry forward. They spread out and Alecto stepped forward to confront him one on one. Before she had a chance to say anything, she dropped her wand and held her throat. Harry hit her with a spell of his own devise that froze just a part of her body. A second spell severed her wand in two pieces.
"Hurts don't it?" taunted Harry. "You would be surprised at what you learn when you are the heir to the four founders. I would not do that if I were you Amycus. You have no idea of what I am capable of."
Rudolphus raised his wand and shouted AVADA KEDAVRA. Harry lifted his sword and had the satisfaction of watching the spell dissipate.
"Just when, are you people going to realize, that the Killing Curse will not affect me?" he asked.
"How did you do that Potter?" snarled Lestrange.
"Goblin steel and seeker reflexes idiot," said Harry.
"CRUCIO," screamed Rabastan.
Harry paused for a moment, but then he felt something in him begin to glow. He looked back at the Death Eater and smiled.
"Now THAT was cool," said Harry. "That was the first time that has ever happened. Unfortunately I grow tired of this game. RELASHIO!
The arm of Amycus fell to the floor. Harry quickly closed the wound.
"I warned you to not do that," said Harry. "Now which of you should I release to go back to Voldemort with my message? Will it be the one armed bandit? Maybe it should be the husband of Bellatrix. She will be very interested to hear how you failed to save the item that Voldemort wanted her and you to protect with your lives. Or maybe it should be that idiot brother of yours. I think I will let you chose. As far as Ms Carrow is concerned, STUPEFY."
Harry watched as Alecto Carrow hit the floor. The other three Death Eaters did not know what to do. They were stunned at the power that was emanating off of Harry.
"Harry," said Albus with a small smile. "What have I told you about picking on people weaker than you? Just send Amycus and be done with this. We have other things to do today."
"AWW," said Harry pretending to pout. "And just when I was beginning to have fun. I guess you are right though. I do have special plans for this evening that I would love to get back home and get started with."
Harry looked at the Lestrange brothers and without saying a word stunned both of them. Harry looked at Amycus.
"You better run," said Harry. "That is, before I change my mind. By the way, leave that arm. It is now my property. Leave with your life while you still have it. I doubt the Dark Lord will be happy when you make your report. Tell him for me that I have the cup of Helga Hufflepuff. Also tell Bellatrix that her estate is now mine by an act of conquest."
"But she is still alive," squeaked Amycus.
"For now," said Harry with a feral grin. "Now I suggest you go before I count to three."
Amycus did not need telling twice. He turned on the spot and apparated away. Harry entered the vault to see a shaky, but an alert Griphook standing there. Albus was already in the process of binding the prisoners. When he was done with that, he waited. Soon he heard the goblins coming around the corner for the surface. When they saw the scene before them, they all started asking questions at once.
"STOP," said Griphook. "Mr. Potter and the Head Master saved my life. Have the Aurors come and get this trash from the bank."
Griphook walked up to Harry and looked him in the eye.
"On behalf of the goblin nation," he began. "I thank you for your protection and for saving me. On behalf of the bank, I award you the contents of this vault, minus stolen property. You were correct in your right of conquest claim. While Bellatrix Lestrange is in fact alive, she has no power over the vault. It is now yours by right. After we exclude the stolen items, this vault will be combined with yours."
"You are more important to this bank than you are telling us," stated Harry. "A mere worker doesn't have that kind of power."
"Very astute in your observation Mr. Potter," said Achilles walking up. "When you asked to speak to the bank manager, I of course arrived. I am the bank manager. I however do not own the bank."
"That would be you," said Harry pointing to Griphook. "You are the current owner of the bank. However you work like everyone else as a front."
"That is correct Mr. Potter," said the goblin breaking into a smile. "My full name is Griphook Gringott. My grandfather founded this bank just over two thousand years ago. Achilles is my cousin."
"It is a pleasure knowing this," said Albus.
"Thank you for your assistance," said Harry. "May I suggest something to you? It would be a good idea to keep the Dark Lord out as best as you can. He will be VERY angry in a few moments time. Now, if you will excuse us, we have somewhere we would like to be. There is no need to show us out."
Harry grabbed Dumbledore by the arm and apparated them out of the bank. They arrived back in the Head Master's office. Albus set the cup on the desk, and Harry swung his sword in a clean arc. It severed the cup into two pieces. The Horcrux inside screamed its death throes and vanished. Harry picked up the pieces and put them in his pocket.
"Thank you for your help Albus," said Harry. "I could not have done this without you."
"I was only there for support," said Albus. "You did everything by yourself."
"I am curious about something," said Harry. "Why did my body react the way it did when Lestrange used the Cruciatus Curse on me?"
"Well," said Albus sitting behind his desk. "As we know from your fourth year as a student you were able to throw off the Imperius Curse. You have survived the Killing Curse on you once and have been able to deflect the spell every time it is used on you. The Cruciatus Curse will no longer affect you or Draco because of the bond of love that you have for one another."
"It felt like the spell was going to work at first," admitted Harry. "Then my image of Draco came in front of me and after that the spell made me tingle, but it did not hurt."
"That would be the bond doing that Harry," assured Albus with a smile. "For once you are not unique in that. Mr. Malfoy will also be impervious to that particular spell."
Harry grinned as he thanked Albus and left the office. He had a couple of more hours before his surprise for Draco would go into affect. By now he was sure that Hermione and Ginny had gotten into their closet and chose a set of clothes for him and Draco to wear. He was sure that Severus was occupying Draco and the little accident would happen, causing Draco to have to shower and change down in the dungeon. As he left, he noticed that Pomona was assisting Minerva with the trail that would take Draco on a scavenger hunt all over the castle.
"Don't forget about the rose petals," whispered Harry.
"Don't worry," said Minerva. "Rolanda and Sybil are seeing to that personally. Before you ask, they are placing a single rose in each spot. Don't worry Harry, we know our part. You go get dressed and talk with Dobby and Winky about your dinner and such."
Harry smiled and took off at a run. If Minerva said they had it covered, then he knew they did. Albus came down the stairs and noticed the two women working on something.
"What are you doing?" he asked curiously.
They quickly and quietly told Albus what Harry had planned for Draco. The old wizard's eyes brightened at the idea and he too got involved in the preparation.
At seven that evening, Harry was in the common room putting the finishing touches on the table. Albus had brought Harry a bottle of champagne and Harry had used a light cooling spell on it. The candles were lit and everything was ready. He dressed very carefully that night. He wore tight black jeans, a charcoal grey long sleeve button down shirt with a black tank top under it. He had set up the final area of the evening with the help of Ginny. When they were done, Ginny discretely left the common room. She and Hermione would be staying the night elsewhere. Harry stayed barefooted. He climbed on the bed and waited.
Draco was concentrating on the potion he was working on. It was not all that unusual for Severus to ask for his or Hermione's assistance when doing potions. This night, they were working on Amortentia. It was a strong love potion. Draco was concentrating so hard that he did not notice Severus approach. When Draco looked away for the next section of instructions, Severus quickly added another ingredient that did not belong and backed off quickly. Draco added the next potion ingredient and when he stirred, the cauldron exploded and he stood there with soaking wet robes and slime in his hair and covering him from head to foot.
"Dam it," said Draco. "I am sorry Sev. I don't know what I did wrong. I thought I was doing it right. I must have added something at the wrong time or stirred the wrong way."
"Accidents will happen, Draco," said Severus hiding a smile. "I had Miss Granger bring you a change of clothes in case something went wrong. Why don't you go and shower and clean up while I clear up this mess."
"Are you sure?" asked Draco still looking guilty.
"Yes go," said Severus. "I am used to exploding cauldrons. You might want to get in the shower soon before some of that potion starts to burn or something."
Severus watched as Draco left and quickly cleared up the mess. He looked over and listened as Draco got in the shower. He quickly sent a patronus to Harry telling him that it worked and Draco was in the shower. While Draco was in the water, Severus picked up his robes and handed them to Dobby who was waiting for them. The elf smiled at Severus as he left with a small pop. Severus then laid Draco's outfit for the evening on the bed. Harry specifically said that Draco was to be bare footed. With a quick wave of his wand, Draco's shoes and socks made their way to his rooms for Dobby to clean. Draco came out of the shower and quickly dried off. Severus pretended to be concerned about the blonde's hair as he brushed it to make sure "none of it falls out". Effectively, Severus got the blonde's hair brushed in a flattering style. Draco put on the tight blue jeans and the navy blue silk shirt. When he went for shoes, Severus told him to let the coolness of the castle be on his feet for a little while. Draco nodded in understanding and thanked him and then left the room.
As he left the room he noticed a small trail of rose petals on the floor. He smiled and picked one up. After sniffing it, he followed the trail to the end of the corridor. He saw a note floating in the air. He grabbed the letter and read it quickly. A red rose was lying on the floor. Draco picked it up.
"I wonder what this is about," he mumbled to himself reading the letter. "Go to the charms corridor."
He headed for the charms corridor. Once again he saw a trail of rose petals. He followed it carefully and came upon another letter. He picked it up and read the instructions. Lying on the table was a pink rose and a small box. He opened the box and saw the silver chain with the half heart on it. He smiled and picked up the rose. Carefully he made his way to the transfiguration room. Halfway down the hall, he saw the petals again. Smiling he followed them. He picked up the next letter which instructed him to head for the DADA classroom. On the table next to that letter was a yellow rose. Smiling, Draco picked up the rose and added it to the growing bouquet in his hand. He made his way to the DADA classroom and searched for the next letter. He was instructed to go to the Great Hall. Next to the letter was a blue rose. He was starting to enjoy this. He picked up the rose and headed to the Great Hall. Petunia met him in the Great Hall wearing an evening gown. She held a tray in her hands. On it was his next set of instructions. There was a white rose lying on the tray with a second box. Upon opening it, he saw that it was the second half of the heart he had found earlier.
If you made it this far, then perhaps you would be so kind as to finish the scavenger hunt. From here, all you have to do is follow the rose petals. The hearts you have found represent us. Once our hearts come together, then the talisman will complete itself. Here is hoping to see you soon.
All my love,
Draco smiled at Petunia who smiled back and discreetly left. Draco turned around searching for the rose petals. He saw them outside the door. He followed the trail of petals. It looked like it was leading to their room. When he opened the door of their common room, he saw the table and the candles. He could hear the soft music coming softly from their bedroom. There was a vase with water in it for the roses. Draco placed them there and continued to follow the petals. When he entered the room, the sight before him took his breath away. Harry was casually lying across the bed that was full of rose petals. Draco approached his lover who was watching his expression with a fierce intensity. Harry did not say anything or make a move as he watched Draco climb onto the bed. When Draco finally reached where Harry was sitting, the green eyed man grabbed him and kissed him with full emotion. The two cases Draco had in his hands glowed golden for a moment. When the glow died down, two hearts that were identical to one another appeared. Each one was pure gold with a ruby and a pearl in it. Inscribed were the words Harry and Draco Forever. Let love keep our hearts beating as one. Draco picked up one heart and hung it around Harry's neck. Harry picked up the other and returned the favor. From there, Draco crushed his lips back to Harry's. It did not take long for their passion to flare up. Later that evening they sat at the table and ate the special dinner that Harry had the elves prepare. They toasted one another and then retired to their room where they made love the rest of the night.
Amycus Carrow was not having a good night. He lost his sister. Potter had captured her and the Lestrange brothers. When Bellatrix found him, he was weak. Potter had severed his arm off when he went to press the Dark Mark. She started questioning him. The more she heard the more frightened she became. Not only had Potter invaded her vault, but thanks to her husband and brother in law, along with the Carrows, one of the Dark Lords possessions was taken and her vault sealed against her. Rumor even had it that when the goblins were finished examining the vault, it would he handed over to the Potter brat and his mate. Her husband and his brother had failed her. The Carrows had failed her. She was the one who would pay the price however. The Dark Lord was already not happy with her for the loss of her sister and nephew. Now the Dark Lord no longer had access to Potters mind period. Her one stroke of luck was that the Dark Lord was injured from that last battle and was still recovering. She knew he would not forget her when he was back to full strength. She would be punished for the failure of the other four. She paced back and forth trying to figure out what to do. That Carrow would lose his life was a given. How could she turn this mistake away from her? She had a fearful look in her eyes as she tried to figure out a way.
AUTHOR'S NOTE – Thank you for bearing with me on that. It is a fantasy I have for myself. To be lead by a trail of rose petals to find my loved one looking sexy on a bed covered with rose petals. I hope I left enough drama in so that the story is balancing itself. Even though this is a love story, it still has to have action and mystery to it. Thanks for the wonderful reviews I know you will send my way.