The trio and Princess landed in a candlelit room, it was dim and smelt of jasmine and ash. The trio lit their wands, illuminating the space, there were three large, expensive looking beds spread out with matching dresser’s.
“Where are we?” Simone asked.
“I made it,” Samira answered simply, “this room leads into my room. It’s undetected by everyone except me.”
“Like the room of requirement,” Hermione whispered, “that’s advanced magic.”
“I told you, I don’t need anyone to look after me,” Samira added a beautiful bay window, complete with lavish window dressings to further prove her point.
“So you went to Hogwarts then?”
The silence was heavy.
“I know there was a room of requirement there, Basi said you were trained by Dumbledore and you became extremely uncomfortable when I told you I was at his funeral,” she raised an eyebrow at Harry.
“Samira, we really appreciate what you’ve done but if you know who we are, you could be put at risk,” Hermione said gently.
“It’s a risk I have to take, these Death Eaters have been influencing my Father and turning my kingdom into this horrid place,” she breathed in and regained her composure, “I have to help and you know I can be useful.”
“She’s not wrong,” Draco agreed.
“But the ministry—“
“Simone,” Samira interrupted, “if you don’t allow me to help I will give you up to the guards, you have no choice in this matter.”
Harry glanced at Draco, no one had ever told Hermione what to do but they watched in amazement as Hermione backed down.
“As you wish Princess,” Hermione bowed.
“Thank you,” she nodded, “now please stay here and stay quiet. The guards will be checking to see where I am and I’m not sure how strong my sound barriers are on this place.”
She left the room through a concealed doorway posing as the light filled bay window. Her skirts fluttered behind her and she was gone in a swirl of satin.
“This is not what we were enlisted to do,” Hermione said nervously, “we weren’t meant to get anyone else involved, especially not a Princess!”
“She didn’t exactly give us much of an option,” Draco grinned, “I like her, I think it will be a lot easier with her on our side.”
“She still doesn’t know who we are, once she does…” Hermione trailed off.
“Hermione just stop thinking for once in your life,” Draco put a hand on her shoulder, “we found my Father and we must be close to Mother, the ministry won’t care how we did it as long as we get it done.”
“Don’t worry about her safety either,” Harry gestured to the room they were in, “Samira’s magic is more advanced than we first thought.”
Draco flung himself on to the bed closest to the window, and peered underneath the bed, “she even brought our luggage!”
“The Palace will think we’ve fled,” Hermione nibbled on her thumb, a habit Harry hadn’t seen her do for many years, “soon the ministry will know we were made and they will wonder where we are.”
“My Father is not going to alert the Ministry of anything, he’s trying to keep his head down remember? He’s certainly not going to shout from the rooftops that Harry Potter is here.”
“Keep your voice down!” Hermione warned, “no one knows we are here, except Kingsley. We need to keep Harry’s identity a secret for as long as possible.”
“Why me?” Harry asked, “you’re just as famous.”
“Harry don’t do this now,” Hermione opened her organised trunk and plucked out a quill and parchment, “if only we had a desk to write on.”
Within a moment a sleek golden table with four comfortable plum chairs appeared into the room, complete with quills and parchment.
“And I wish we had some refreshments,” Draco sat up, cottoning on.
Goblets of sparkling water and elderflower wine appeared, followed by fresh bread, colourful salads and half a gleaming ham.
“That’s enough!” Hermione scolded, “the room must be under the Royals magic, anything we want we get,” she pointed at Draco, “let’s not take advantage of this, we don’t know who is in control of this magic.”
Hermione picked up a plate and added a sizeable helping of food to her plate before sitting down and using the writing utensils supplied by the Princess.
“Well?” Draco said sarcastically.
“I’m not about to let it go to waste,” she commented popping a carrot stick into her mouth, “these quills are so divine, they have auto correct on them!”
“Hermione, we’re in a situation remember?” Harry said gently.
“Of course, you’re right,” she began to write frantically on the parchment until the quill wriggled itself free of her grip and wrote on it’s own accord.
“We’ve got Marwah, King, Queen, Princess, Rouge Prince, Captain Vlad we now know to be Lucius,” Hermione read off her parchment, “we also know Ginny is here but why?”
Harry nearly choked on his sandwich, “that’s who she was talking too! Lucius, it was his voice and it makes sense he wanted to get rid of the Duke so he could step in and…”
“Ginny could become his Queen?” Draco said coldly, “that’s what you heard him say right?”
“Yeah... But maybe I heard it wrong,” Harry said quickly.
“You didn’t, sounds like my father, he was always lecherous, still is apparently,” Draco put his food down.
“Ok,” Hermione said slowly, “why does Lucius need Ginny and since when did Ginny have contact with Lucius?”
“When we split up,” Harry began, not making eye contact with anyone, “she had said she was bored, it was more fun when we were fighting and going on adventures…she said that, nothing was exciting in her life anymore.”
“Harry I…” Hermione began.
“Don’t,” he pleaded, “really it’s fine.”
“Then how does my mother fit into this,” Draco continued much to Harry’s relief, “she wouldn’t wait around while Father was having an affair.”
“Maybe she has moved on?” Hermione suggested.
“Kingsley told me they were both here, there must be a reason,” Draco stood up from his chair and began to pace.
“We’ll get back to that,” Hermione continued as the quill continued to scribble, “the factions were introduced eight years ago when the King remarried—“
“With Vlad heavily in my Father’s ear,” Samira said reappearing, resulting in all three to jump in fright, “sorry,” she smiled slightly.
“What’s going on out there?” Hermione asked anxiously.
“The Palace is in complete lock down, they think you’ve escaped, I told them you ran right after they took Vlad away,” she stood awkwardly, “Vlad told my Father that it was Harry, Ron and Hermione, you know the golden trio?”
“Did he believe him?” Hermione asked.
“Of course not but Father didn’t believe you were royalty either so I guess his suspicions were confirmed. He thinks imposters tried to marry me to get his money,” she glanced at the three of them unsure and uncertain, “I’m sorry to do this,” she waved her wand and showered the trio in silver light, their physical appearance returning back to normal.
Draco’s hair became lighter and his eyes cool grey again.
Hermione’s hair grew darker and longer, her eyes melted back to brown.
And Harry’s hair grew untidy and black, his eyes became his signature emerald green and his iconic scar returned to his forehead.
“Two out of three,” Draco tried to joke.
Samira’s eyes widened, her hand flew to her mouth.
“Now you know why we couldn’t tell you,” Hermione explained.
“But now I understand,” Samira had once again composed herself extraordinarily quickly.
“Are you alright?” Hermione asked.
“Yes, yes…I’ll just be in my room, you can come in if you need anything I have excused my servants for the night.” Without another glance, she left the room again.
“Harry, you need to talk to her,” Hermione said, “she has feelings for you and I know you do for her.”
“Is that really what’s important right now?” Draco remarked.
“It is if we want her help, we need to clear the air,” Hermione argued, “and we need her help now.”
“Right,” Harry stood up, his food feeling like lead in his stomach, “I’ll talk to her…”
“Good luck,” he heard Draco say just before the bay window closed behind him.
Harry entered the Princess’ quarters, he thought his room was lavish but her room was more like an entire penthouse apartment. An enormous rose gold framed bed was adorned with greys and blues, a polished gold table, writing desk, chairs led out towards a gigantic balcony with beautiful bright flowers dotting the scene. A room around the corner looked to be her dressing room with an incredible mirror, shelves of shoes, gowns, jewellery and further past the wardrobe must have been the bathroom.
The Princess was leaning on the balcony rail looking picturesque, over the Marwahian skyline. Harry stared for a long time before she must have felt his stare and saw him standing there, awkward and alone.
“You can’t stand out here!” Samira grabbed Harry’s arm and guided him inside, she waved her wand closing the heavy drapes, the room instantly became darker and more intimate.
“Is everything alright with your room?” She asked.
“Er…yes the room is fine…I just wanted to see if you were okay…”
“I’m fine,” her face impassive once again.
“You can be mad,” Harry said weakly, “I’d understand if you wanted to yell.”
She laughed, “I wouldn’t know how to yell even if I wanted to.”
“You don’t want to yell at me?”
“Not quite…”, she laughed again, “Harry…Harry Potter, or Dante the humble candle maker, or Eric Duke of Norway…”
“I never intended to upset you…I didn’t think we’d get this close,” he admitted.
“That night I met you as Dante, did you know who I was?”
“No, I had no idea. That’s what put the plan in motion, we knew the only people who could get into the Palace were your suitor’s.”
“I liked Dante,” she mused, “and Eric, they were really sweet. I guess you have the same problem as I do.”
“All these men wanting to marry me for my money and all the women must chase you for your fame. You never know who actually wants to be around you, just because they simply like who you are.”
“I like who you are, I liked Sadie and I like you,” Harry admitted.
“That’s very kind of you but I know now the real reason for you staying here as the Duke and it wasn’t because you liked me,” Samira looked for the first time incredibly vulnerable.
“That’s not true.”
“You kissed me just so I’d stop talking about Hogwarts, you didn’t want me to catch on,” she smiled sadly, “I was naïve to think—“
Harry took her face in his hands and kissed her, her body melted into his. His arms entwined around her waist and Samira laced her hands around his neck.
“Don’t!” Samira put her hands on Harry’s chest, “you can’t just kiss me every time you want me to be quiet.”
Harry grinned in spite of the situation, “then stop talking.”
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