The Spoils of War


Story Summary:
Harry kills Lucius Malfoy, Rodolphus LeStrange, and Voldemort and, as Bellatrix LeStrange and Narcissa Malfoy lie in the mud at his feet, proclaims an ancient cry of victory. Little does he realize the impact of claiming the spoils of war.

Chapter 09

Chapter Summary:
Harry kills Lucius Malfoy, Rodolphus Lestrange, and Voldemort and, as Bellatrix Lestrange and Narcissa Malfoy lie in the mud at his feet, proclaims an ancient cry of victory. Little does he realize the impact of claiming the spoils of war. This Chapter: Who are the Camerons; Plotting; Meeting the parents.





* * *

"Who's Marcus Cameron," Harry said as he slipped off his shoes back in the drawing room of the Manor.

Cissy pursed her lips. "He is a very important man to know, Harry."

Harry shrugged. "Well, I've heard of the Camerons. But who is Marcus? The grandfather?"

Cissy bit her lip. How could she explain it? Finally, she shrugged. Best tell him the truth. "He is considered the patriarch of Purebloods."

Harry's head jerked up and stared at her. "What, one of the Death Eaters who got away?" he snarled.

Cissy let out a hearty laugh. "Oh, Harry. You couldn't be further off," she said as she sat down and casually kicked off her spike heels.

Harry gave her a suspicious look. "Not a Death Eater? Maybe he just bankrolled them. I heard the Camerons were rich."

Cissy noticed Belle hovering in the background and motioned her over. Then she leaned back on the couch and closed her eyes. "Marcus Cameron may be the reason why the Dark Lord didn't succeed before you were born."

Harry frowned and leaned forward in curiosity. "How so?"

Cissy looked at him with half-closed eyes. "Marcus knew who Tom Riddle was, and what he had become. The Dark Lord's early followers approached him for support and to join with their master. He threw them out. 'No Cameron will follow anyone, especially some half-blood bastard,' he told them."

Harry snorted.

Then Cissy lowered her head. "They tried to kill him after that. They didn't get him, but they managed to kill his granddaughter and her husband in the attack."

Harry frowned. "They did? Who?"

"Emily and Nathan Bones. You know their daughter, Susan."

Harry quickly sat up. "Really?"

Cissy nodded. "From that day, he worked to keep a substantial portion of the pureblood families from the Dark Lord's influence. That's what kept the Camerons, the Abbotts, the Zabinis, the Davises, the Greengrasses, and countless others out of the fight, or fighting for the light. Many others of the pureblood families joined the Light side of their own accord, like the Weasleys, the Browns, the Brocklehursts. But many think that Marcus's influence kept the Dark Lord from gaining enough power to succeed the first time. And Marcus kept them in line during the second war."

Harry frowned. "He's dead now. Just call him by his name. Voldemort. Or Tom Riddle," Harry snapped.

Belle suddenly hissed and recoiled, shivering.

Harry looked over to her. "He's dead, Belle. He can't hurt you anymore," he said quietly but firmly.

Finally, he turned back to Cissy. "So he's Mr. Pureblood. What's he doing, shaking hands with a halfblood like me?"

Cissy frowned and paused for a few moments. Then she looked up. "He respects you. Maybe even admires you. He told me he was impressed that you chose to take to the ceremony tonight. And I told him how you were treating us, and he was doubly impressed. I think he might like you."

Harry cast her a skeptical eye. "Oh yeah," he countered. "How could you tell?"

Cissy frowned. "Well, he was the one to suggest I introduce you to the parents of two of his favorite great-granddaughters," she said softly.

Harry tilted his head and frowned. "Who?"

"Hannah Abbott and Blaise Zabini."

* * *

"I see there's an article here about Dumbledore campaigning to finally clear my cousin's name," Cissy said over breakfast the next morning.

Harry frowned and grabbed the copy of the Daily Prophet. He hadn't bothered to even look at it after seeing the front-page picture of himself awkwardly shaking Fudge's hand at the award ceremony last night. He snorted. "They've got Pettigrew's body. They have vertiserum testimony from dozens of Death Eaters. What else do they need to clear Sirius?"

Cissy ignored his rant as she gazed thoughtfully into the distance. "Why only now? Why wasn't this settled years ago?" Cissy asked.

Harry frowned. "Dumbledore tried after his death, but couldn't even convince anyone that Sirius had died, much less was innocent. The Ministry didn't want to hear it. So he decided to put it off until the war was in hand or at least went into a lull."

Cissy sighed and shrugged. "If you'd like, I can have a solicitor look into it."

Harry snorted again. "Daedelus Diggle couldn't find his bum with both hands," he said derisively.

Cissy shook her head. "Diggle is a hack. Let me hire our old family attorney, J. Learned Steele. He's expensive, but he's worth it."

Harry glanced up. "Yeah? Of Doolittle & Steele?"

Cissy smirked at the old lawyer joke. "No, Harry. He is honest, at least with his clients. But he knows where all the bodies are buried. He is worth it."

Harry shrugged.

Cissy paused, then glanced up at Harry. "We should also get started planning your party." She got out a quill. "What say, 'You are cordially invited to attend dinner at Potter Manor. 4:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Dress: casual. R.S.V.P.'"

Harry rolled his eyes. "How about, 'Party at Harry's starting at noon. Bring your broom and a bathing suit. Sleep over if you'd like'," he said with a smirk.

Cissy closed her eyes and shook her head. "You're going to have to get used to hosting social events eventually."

"Yeah, eventually," he said sullenly. "But not yet."

The two spent the next half-hour deciding who to invite. All the surviving senior members of the D.A., plus Harry's old Quidditch teammates, of course. Harry immediately rejected Cissy's suggestion to invite Cho Chiang or Pansy Parkinson. However, he readily agreed to invite Blaise Zabini, and reluctantly agreed to have Daphne Greengrass and Tracey Davis, two other Slytherin girls, come, as well.

Finally, Cissy took a deep breath. "What about Draco?"

Harry's head snapped up and he stared angrily at Cissy. "No!" he said in an annoyed tone.

Cissy closed her eyes. "Please, Harry. He's got no one. All his friends were killed or sent to Azkaban. I haven't been able to find him a job. He's desperately lonely. He needs this. He needs to interact with people his own age again," she pleaded.

Harry scowled. "He may be your son, but he's still an arrogant, nasty little git. None of the people coming like him. I don't like him. He'll only disrupt the party."

Cissy looked up at Harry with desperate, pleading eyes. "Blaise likes him. So do Daphne and Tracey. And he'll behave, I promise. He knows he can't afford not to," she said in a rush.

Harry shut his eyes to avoid looking at her. "No. I'm not his nursemaid."

He could feel Cissy clutching his arm and hear her begin to weep. "Please, Harry. He's my son," she said through her sobs.

Harry closed his eyes in an attempt to block her weeping from his mind. 'Damn it!' he thought in resignation.

* * *

The Granger home was beautiful. It was much bigger and more elegant than No. 4 Privet Drive. But it had a much more lived-in feeling. There were stray books and well-thumbed magazines on the coffee tables, totally unlike the unread and artistically positioned ones his Aunt Petunia would set out on the coffee table at Privet Drive only when there were guests to impress.

Then Paul Granger steered Harry into his den. Harry smiled as he saw it overflowed with books and papers. He noticed a good deal of them related to British history, and many military histories. The wall hung heavy with prints of famous figures in history, along with a couple old portraits in oils.

Paul slung his arm around Harry's shoulders and guided him to a cushy armchair. Harry noticed that Paul, who was not a big man, had exceptionally thick and muscular forearms. The man noticed and laughed. "Popeye arms," he said with a glint in his eye. "Pulling teeth is not for the faint of heart, or for the weak and infirm," he said with a mischievous grin.

Paul then rummaged through some papers and pulled out a portfolio. "Hermione tells me much of the Wizarding World is obsessed with genealogy. Well, I guess I would fit right in."

Hermione breathed a heavy sigh, rolling her eyes theatrically, while her mother Claire simply smiled indulgently.

Paul harrumphed. "Well, I think it is quite interesting. A bit of history, what?"

Harry gave Mr. Granger a puzzled grin.

Paul turned to Harry and opened the portfolio. "Here, see? We can trace my side of the family back to the 1480s. We know this because John Granger was barber-surgeon to William Cecil, the first Lord Burleigh, himself. His father Peter and grandfather Andrew were barber-surgeons, as well," Paul said with a hint of pride. "Imagine being at Cecil's side when he was guiding Elizabeth I. Rescuing the Scots Protestants. Standing up to Sir Francis Drake."

Harry blinked. There in the portfolio, over several pages, was a family tree not too far removed from what he had seen in the Black family tapestry of their bloodline. He slowly traced the genealogy through several generations. Then he paused. "Henry Granger: 1648-?" He looked up at Paul.

Hermione's father shrugged. "He was a first-born son, so he should have inherited. He's the only first-born son that we can't account for. A couple died when they were children, but Henry just seemed to disappear. Maybe he went off to school somewhere and got caught up in the plague. Or maybe he died in the great fire of London. I doubt we'll ever know."

Harry frowned. 'How tenuous these family trees were, Muggle and Wizarding. So many great Wizarding families wiped out by wars, first with Grindelwald, then the two Voldemort Wars,' he thought.

"Well, we're going to prepare dinner," Claire announced. "We'll leave you boys to fight the wars of the last four centuries by yourselves."

Harry was prepared to be bored, but surprisingly wasn't. The Grangers had been barber-surgeons through the end of the eighteenth century. Then Arthur Granger managed to follow a later Lord Burleigh in the wars against Napoleon, distinguishing himself in the Peninsular campaign.

In later times, the Grangers tended toward being chemists, running a successful apothecary through several generations for over a century. In the Twentieth Century, Grangers fought bravely and were cited for their actions in both the World Wars.

At last, Paul closed the portfolio and sighed. "I would have liked to have a son to carry on the Granger name. Of course, my younger brother has a couple boys. But Hermione has given Claire and me so much to be proud of. I just hope she doesn't disappear completely into the Wizarding world."

Harry looked across at the pleasant, wistful man. "She loves you very much," he said quietly. "I'm sure she'll always be there for you."

Paul gave an absent nod, then looked across at Harry. "Here now, let me get you something to drink."

* * *

"Tell me about your friend, Cissy."

Harry looked up at Paul Granger, who was approaching him with a pint in one hand and a butterbeer in the other. "Don't know how you can drink that," Paul muttered. "Tastes like weak, cheap porter laced with molasses."

Harry gratefully accepted the butterbeer, but shifted uncomfortably under the man's gaze. "She's a very beautiful woman, Harry. How old is she? Twenty-eight? Thirty?" Paul asked.

Harry shrugged. "She's thirty-eight. She's the mother of one of our classmates. The biggest jerk at Hogwarts, Draco Malfoy."

Paul's eyebrows rose. "Thirty-eight?"

Harry nodded.

Paul Granger sat in a comfortable chair next to Harry's as Hermione and Claire Granger busied themselves in the kitchen, preparing dinner. He knew that Hermione would only be of limited help, but he wanted some time alone with this young man who had captured Hermione's attentions. "Hermione has spoken in not so glowing terms of this Malfoy chap. And his mother? Cut from the same cloth?"

Harry shrugged again. "She can be a little bossy. She's always making appointments for me to see these people in the Wizarding World with some influence or this or that. It's dead boring, but she keeps telling me it's important for someone in my position to get to know people."

Paul snorted in amusement. "Sort of like a social secretary?"

Harry shrugged.

Then Paul's expression became serious. "Hermione says you have some sort of power over Cissy and her sister. That they're your 'property?' Surely not slavery. They aren't your slaves, are they?"

Harry frowned and looked down at his shoes. "I cast a victory spell after the final battle. I didn't know it meant I was claiming the estates and the wives of the ... Death Eaters I ... killed."

"Can't you just free them? Manumission and all that?"

Harry shook his head. "I've been looking up ways to counteract the spell. It's never been done. I guess no one ever wanted to counteract it, at least from the victor's side. Once I cast the spell, Cissy and Belle lost their rights as citizens and became ... property. Even if I let them go, they would be defenseless in both a Wizarding sense and a legal sense. Anyone could do anything to them. Like they were abandoned property. I can't let them go through that."

Paul nodded. "And the other sister? Hermione tells me she is having emotional problems, nightmares and the like."

Harry nodded. "Yeah, nightmares. And sometimes, something will happen or something might be said and she'll go all tense and rigid like she wants to curse anything that moves. Or she'll just go quiet and leave. Somehow, she seems to respond when I'm there and calms down. But it's scary. I'm not sure what to do."

Paul sighed. "Have you thought of bringing her to a ... Muggle psychologist?"

Harry frowned. "She has trouble talking to our own MediWitches and Wizards. And if she ever opened up to a Muggle, can you imagine what would happen? 'Witches, wizards, magic, Death Eaters, Azkaban?' They'd think she was a loon and try to put her away first thing, without even hearing what was really troubling her. Or they'd stuff her so full of meds that she'd end up a zombie."

Paul made a face. "I can see your point. Sounds like Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome."

Harry struggled with the thought. "I don't know," he said sadly. "I've tried a couple times to get her to talk, but she seems so ... guilty. She was responsible for the death of my godfather and tortured another couple into insanity. I want to hate her. But she seems so lost. I don't know what to do about it."

"I'm no expert, but I've heard from friends in the medical community that you've got to be really careful with people who've been through prolonged periods of trauma," Paul Granger said. "They tend to take on a heavy layer of guilt for what was done to them. And, in rare cases, anger, too. And in this woman's case, I understand she has enough to be guilty about already. It's tough getting inside someone's head to help ease their burdens. You have to be sensitive at all times."

Harry simply nodded. The two then spent a few minutes sipping their drinks in silence.

"So you live with them? Cissy and Bella?"

Harry glanced up. "It's Belle. She hates Bella. That's what Voldemort and her husband called her." Harry then paused and took a sip of his butterbeer. "And yeah, they stay with me. It's a big house. Belle seems to disappear most of the time. I find her in the library or in the greenhouses, reading, tending the flowers, or just staring off into space. Cissy's always around, writing letters and flooing people--sort of like ringing them up, arranging stuff. I take care of them. Try to make sure they're as comfortable as they can be under the circumstances."

Paul Granger sipped his pint thoughtfully. Then he gave a rueful chuckle. "I can't believe you're Hermione's age?"

Harry simply nodded. "I just turned eighteen on Friday."

Paul simply shook his head. "That's an awful lot to put on the shoulders of someone so young. Are you getting help?"

Harry shrugged. "Professor Dumbledore writes me on occasion," he said with a frown. "He and I don't always see eye to eye. Like he thinks I'm still in Hogwarts and wants to run my life. I wrote him to say I want his advice, but stop trying to order me to do this and that all the time."

Paul frowned. "Hermione puts a lot of stock in what he has to say."

Harry sighed. "I do too. I just wish he would give me advice, rather than trying to give me orders ... for my own good, of course."

"That's it? I mean, people giving you advice?"

Harry shook his head. "I write to Remus Lupin a lot. He was another of my professors one year. At least he listens to me. And the Weasleys, although Mrs. Weasley hates both Belle and Cissy. She's actually really good at understanding and giving advice, though. And a few others from Hogwarts. Professor McGonagall and Madam Pomfrey--she was the school nurse, but she's smarter than a lot of them. They give me advice. But mostly, I listen to Cissy ... and Hermione."

Paul took another sip from his pint and set the glass down. "And what about Hermione?"

Harry bit his lip. He didn't know how to answer this question, even though he knew it would come up.

"You know she likes you," Paul said softly.

Harry gave a slow nod.

"Do you like her?"

Harry nodded again.

Paul reached over and grabbed Harry gently by the shoulder. "Then tell her." He paused and looked out the window. "You know, I always dreaded the day when Hermione would bring home some young man and announce she had found somebody. But somehow, with you ... knowing you, it doesn't seem so terrible. I like you. And I know you're a decent and honorable young man. And I also know you will always be able to take care of her, if that's the way it ends up."

Harry winced internally. 'Decent and honorable? After having slept with Cissy last night?' he thought to his shame.

* * *

Cissy leaned back. "What do you think?" she asked anxiously.

Belle looked up from her position sprawled across the couch. "Why not let him decide," she said in a faraway voice.

Cissy frowned and looked across at her sister with frightened eyes. "I ... don't want to lose him," she said in a shaky voice.

"You're afraid the Granger girl will toss us out?" she asked.

"I don't know," Cissy said, her head down and a tear rapidly coursing down her cheek.

Belle gave a ragged sigh. "If not her, then who?"

Cissy looked up and stared into the far corner of the drawing room. She seemed to take a moment to compose herself. Then, she took a deep breath. "Not the Parkinson girl," she said absently, as if ordering her thoughts. "Her family's already in disgrace, and Harry hates her. Susan Bones would be good for her political connections, but that would leave us open to political pressure on Harry against us. Harry mentioned Nymphadora, but she's too much a wild card, and a half-blood at that. Even if she's family, I doubt whether we could put up with each other. Ginevra Weasley's a possibility. She's a pureblood and from a prominent family. But I've met he and don't like her. She's strong willed like her mother, but not very sophisticated and I don't think she's all that bright. Tracy Davis is already promised to someone. I've sounded out Harry about some of the older girls, but he doesn't seem to like them. He was absolutely furious when I asked him what he thought of the Chang girl. It was even worse when I mentioned the Edgecombe girl."

Belle sat up, eyes wide. "You've actually been asking him about it?"

Cissy looked at her sister with sad eyes. "Of course not. I've just been asking him about what he thought about some of his classmates. From a romantic standpoint, he seems fixated on Granger."

"So who's left."

Cissy took another deep breath. "Hannah Abbott and Blaise Zabini. Either would be perfect. Purebloods. Both bring a Cameron blood connection. They both come from rich families, so there would be no hint of them marrying for money. I know Hannah. She's very mild-tempered. I think things would work out well between us. And Blaise is sophisticated enough to understand the situation and live with it, I think."

Belle leaned back on the couch. "Why not wait?"

Cissy shook her head angrily. "We can't. If we wait, he'll marry Granger and we'll be tossed out, locked away in some place like the Lestrange Manor, like we were inconveniences to be exiled to some convent, never to be seen or heard from again."

Belle lay down on the couch and stared off into space.

Cissy was now wringing her hands. "Harry needs us," she said desperately. "He doesn't understand our world or his responsibilities." Cissy was silent for a few moments. "Besides ..." she said quietly. Belle waited as the moment drew out. Finally Cissy looked up at her sister. "I'm in love with him. And I don't want the one thing that has ever gone right in my life to end."

Belle simply curled up on the couch. "Me either," she murmured.

* * *

"We'll be upstairs if you need anything," Claire Granger said with a smile.

Harry fidgeted for a moment as Hermione walked into the sitting room with another butterbeer.

He looked up at her and smiled, thinking of all they'd been through together. For his first five years at Hogwarts, she'd been his anchor in troubled seas. She'd always been there for him, brave, clever and caring.

Then, after their fight with the Death Eaters in the Department of Mysteries at the end of their fifth year, he saw her vulnerable for the first time. She continued to be strong and clever and, at times, bossy. But he could see her more and more looking to him for help, for answers, for support. As the war around them raged, as people began to die, he slowly became more concerned and protective of her.

She had grown very pretty in the past two or three years. Perhaps she wouldn't turn heads on the sidewalk, but she would hold your attention once she attracted it. And Harry had noticed.

But, as his training and preparations for confronting Voldemort became more intense, as he found himself a virtual prisoner in Hogwarts, or 12 Grimmauld Place, or at Privet Drive for a couple weeks after his sixth year, he found little time to give her the attention she deserved. He would have liked nothing better than to simply be boyfriend/girlfriend with her. Instead, he had to scramble to make time to give her an ear when her frustrations began to overwhelm her, or a shoulder to cry on when her fears gripped her.

But now it was over. Now he had the time and the freedom to pay attention to this lovely, wonderful woman who kept giving him nervous little smiles as she sat on the couch next to him.

Slowly, he reached out and stroked her waves of hair. She gave him an uncertain smile and began cautiously to lean toward him. And just as slowly, he began to lean into her. After the briefest of moment's hesitation, he brushed his lips against hers.

As she drew back just little, he could see her eyes staring at him in wonder, her lips parted as if to ask for more. He closed the short distance between them and their lips met, and all the pent-up emotion, the wants, the hopes, the needs of the past two years were poured into their kiss.

As they kissed, Harry could tell she wasn't very experienced, but her initial hesitancy gave way to a desperate need for him. He responded in kind, clutching and stroking her hair with one hand as he gripped her tight with the other.

It seemed an eternity of sharing before they broke the kiss. Harry blinked a few times as he stared at her. She stared wide-eyed back, a few stray tears coursing down her cheeks. Suddenly, she was giggling and weeping at the same time. Her mouth opened and closed a couple times, but no words would come. Then she hiccuped. She gave out an embarrassed gasp, then another hiccup, and suddenly flung herself at him, burying her head in his shoulder, grasping him around the chest

tightly. He could feel her alternating between giggles and sniffles against him and pressed his cheek against the side of her head. He heard her mumble something into his chest.

"Mmmm?" he murmured.

"I love you," she whispered without looking up.

"I love you, too," he said quietly, and felt her relax a little, without relenting on her embrace.

Harry sighed happily. 'How could this wonderful, bossy, sexy, silly, vulnerable, brilliant young woman love me?' he thought. He tightened his hug a little and smiled. At this point, he didn't care, so long as she did.

* * *

It was over an hour later that Claire Granger tiptoed down to find the couple still entwined on the couch, sleeping comfortably in each others' arms. She gave a little sigh of relief that their clothes were still on and not in disarray--Hermione's blouse was even still tucked neatly in her walking shorts.

She paused for a moment, watching the two of them as they slept. She felt a brief pang that her baby was all grown up. But she knew that the time had come for Hermione to leave the nest. And if there was a young man in all the world of Hermione's age that could take care of her baby, it was this one.

Claire smiled. 'Maybe Hermione's dreams will come true, after all,' she thought.

Author notes: Hello everyone. I am sorry this took so long to post. It wasn’t that it was difficult to write. It’s just that it was such a short chapter, barely 2,500 words when I first wrote it. The problem was that the next two chapters are pretty much written and are set pieces, so I couldn’t merely append the beginning of the next one to the end of this one. And I didn’t want to pad this one. So I had to move some thoughts and plot points around and add a few things I was going to save for later chapters to this one.

Regarding reviews, I really appreciate your input. As for the typos and the need for a beta, I can’t considering the way I write. I constantly polish, amend and edit. And I know that as soon as I got something back from a beta, I would instantly begin tweaking and changing things, introducing new material and new typos. Plus, I’ve had some bad experiences with betas in the past. So please accept this chapter, warts and all, with my apologies for any errors or typos.

As to ships, every ship is cliched unless it is treated in an original way. I understand that, no matter who Harry ends up with, there will be complaints. So, if Harry/Hermione hits your squick button, please accept my apologies for the end of this chapter. The same goes for whatever ships develop in later chapters.

As I said, the next two chapters are in the polishing stage and should be up soon.