|SIYE Time:8:25 on 20th July 2018|
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Category: Alternate Universe
Warnings: Death, Disturbing Imagery, Intimate Sexual Situations, Violence
Story is Complete
Summary: A bored Ginny Weasley finds her world turned upside down when a handsome and mysterious young wizard with a dark reputation offers her a job. Together, they seek a lost treasure and battle monsters while she learns many new things about herself.
Hitcount: Story Total: 23329; Chapter Total: 2253
Awards: View Trophy Room
Some acknowledgements are required for this chapter, as I had quite a bit of help with it.
Firstly, I must thank Arnel for her usual wonderful work in beta reading for me and also saving me from making a terrible mistake with a specific grammar choice which would probably have got me tarred and feathered. Iím still scrapping that black muck out of my ears from the last time that happened, so Iím very grateful.
Also, thanks to Jill (Lioness1988) for help on geography and locations in New Orleans. It helps to have a southern belle to lend you a hand with such things.
Finally, I must give a lot of credit to (ex-) Mrs Brennus for her knowledge and advice on the Loa. We spent a long time discussing the characters here and their attributes. We certainly got a few strange looks from a waitress in a restaurant we were in when she overheard us discussing voodoo over a meal. Not that we donít attract strange looks normally, but still.
Chapter 4 — Bringer of Death
“So, what’s he like then?”
Ginny sighed and looked over at her friend, Hermione Granger. Hermione was her brother Ron’s girlfriend, but she’d known the girl since her first year at Hogwarts. As Hermione had ended up staying at the Burrow many times, she and Ginny had become frequent roommates and had always been on good terms. After spending most of the previous day trying to assure her mother that Potter hadn’t raped, enchanted or otherwise interfered with her, Ginny had arranged this lunch with Hermione just to have someone a bit more sympathetic to talk to.
So far the subject of Harry Potter and what Ginny had been doing for him had been avoided by simple virtue of the Privacy Agreement she’d signed when she took the job. Unfortunately, personal questions about her employer probably didn’t fall under that agreement.
“He’s… not what I expected,” Ginny replied evasively.
“In what way?”
Ginny sighed again and put down her fork. She might have known her friend wouldn’t let this drop until she’d squeezed every last available bit of information out of her.
“Well, it’s very obvious that he was brought up by a well-to-do, pureblood family, but he’s never snobbish about it. He’s cultured, very well educated, and extremely powerful magically. He’s also very fit and athletic. On the other hand, I think he’s a bit of a tortured soul. The last war robbed him of everyone he loved or cared about, and I think he’s built a lot of walls around himself as protection. I’m beginning to suspect that he drinks a bit too much, too.”
“What’s your personal relationship with him like?” Hermione pressed. “Do the two of you get on?”
“We’ve had our ups and downs, but he seems to have a lot of confidence in me, which means a lot. In fact, he’s deliberately put me in difficult situations just to see how I would cope.”
“Really? What sort of situation?”
“Sorry, Hermione, that falls squarely within the bounds of the Privacy Agreement, so I can’t tell you. I will say that I had to make an incredibly difficult choice, and I’m not convinced I made the right decision.”
“What did Potter think?” Hermione asked, clearly interested by the whole thing.
“I think he was of the opinion that there were no right or wrong answers in the position we were in. I suspect he just wanted to see how I would react in a stressful situation, and that I wouldn’t just freeze and start crying like a little girl.”
“He doesn’t know you very well if he thought you’d act like that!” Hermione snorted.
“The thing is, I very nearly did break down in tears. This wasn’t an easy situation I was in, Hermione. It could have been a matter of life or death to certain people. I’m still amazed that he just stood back and let me decide. Hopefully, it’s a sign that he’ll want to employ me permanently when the trial period is up.”
“You’d want the job on a permanent basis, then?”
“Yeah, I think I do. I mean, some of the things I’ve had to do so far haven’t been easy, and the paperwork can be a pain, but I suspect that there will always be something new with this job. I’m never going to be just stuck behind a counter, bored out of my mind.”
“You realise working for Harry Potter has a certain stigma attached to it. People will never look at you the same way again,” Hermione pointed out.
Ginny shrugged. “I really don’t care what other people think. I know what Harry’s like, and I’m happy to work for him.”
Hermione nodded, before a sly grin crept onto her face. “I understand he’s very handsome, too.”
“Oh, he’s gorgeous. I’ve never met a more attractive man in my life.”
“Sounds like you’ve got a bit of a crush on him,” her friend teased.
“I fancy the pants off him, Hermione. Given half a chance, I’d jump him and ride him like a Hippogriff.”
“Well, don’t beat around the bush, tell us what you really think!” she snorted. “It’s not like you to be so upfront, Ginny, especially about a man you only met a few weeks ago.”
“I can’t help it,” Ginny admitted. “I tried to lie to myself at first, and convince myself that all I wanted was a new, exciting job, but, truth be told, I simply would never have accepted his initial invitation to dinner if I wasn’t so attracted to him.”
“I see,” Hermione said slowly. “Does he give any indication that he shares your feelings?”
“He… I think he flirted with me a bit a couple of days ago, but then something happened which kind of scrambled both our brains and I really don’t know where I stand with him at the moment. Have you ever experienced magic so pure and powerful that it’s actually sexually arousing?”
“Umm, no, I can’t say that I have,” Hermione replied, looking a little shocked.
“I did, two days ago. I mean, I was already hot and bothered when Harry had taken off his shirt, and then when…”
“Wait a minute!” Hermione interrupted. “Taken off his shirt? Why did he do that?”
“Oh, he was preparing to perform an extremely difficult Detection Ritual, and didn’t want it messed up. Considering just how taxing the bloody ritual was, it was a sensible move.”
“And? Come on, Weasley, I want details,” Hermione implored.
“He looked amazing, okay? He obviously spends a lot of time exercising, and he’s lean, mean and had me practically panting like a dog in heat. He’d previously made a joke about us having to perform the ritual naked, and let me tell you, I nearly started getting my kit off right there and then.”
“Wow, he really must be something,” Hermione said, before giving Ginny an appraising look. “This really isn’t like you, Ginny. I mean, I know you’ve had a few boyfriends, but you’ve always been a sensible girl. I’ve never seen you like this, so totally gaga about a bloke. You’re not going to do anything silly, are you?”
“Depends what you mean by silly,” Ginny countered. “Look, don’t worry about me, I know what I’m doing and I’m not just going to throw myself at him. Any relationship with Harry Potter is going to come with a lot of baggage attached, and I’d want to know beforehand that he was into me as much as I’m into him. I’m not some naÔve little country witch who’s never been kissed, you know. Let’s face it, neither of us are exactly inexperienced.”
“Speak for yourself. I’m as pure as the driven snow,” Hermione sniffed.
“Pull the other one, Granger,” Ginny smirked. “Aside from what you get up to with my idiot brother, I know about that wizard you met in Manchester when you and Ron were on a break, remember.”
“You promised never to mention that!” Hermione hissed angrily.
“And I never will. All I’m saying is that we both know what’s what, and that I’m not going to just drop my knickers and bend over for Potter.”
“Good, I’m glad to hear it. So, what is it about this man that so turns you on? It can’t be just his looks, can it?”
“Nah, it’s the whole package,” Ginny admitted. “He’s not like anyone I’ve ever met before. This might sound odd, but he’s what I always imagined someone from Slytherin House should have been like. What I mean is, not one of the racist, evil morons that we met, but someone who’s exquisitely mannered, gracious in how he approaches anyone, and a bit mysterious. He has this aura about him that’s a little dark and dangerous, but really appealing at the same time.”
“I actually would like to meet him now,” Hermione admitted. “Amazing really, before all this I’d probably have hidden in a cupboard if I’d seen him coming towards me at the Ministry.”
“Me, too,” Ginny agreed. “I just hope I can do enough to convince him to take me on permanently at the end of the trial period.”
“Do you have doubts?”
“I came very close to quitting just a while back. I was cold, wet and scared out of my wits. I just wanted to say sod it, and Apparate home.”
“Why didn’t you? What was Potter getting you to do that was so terrible?”
“I can’t tell you,” Ginny smiled wryly. “All I can say was that I was in more danger than I’ve ever been in my life, and that includes all my accidents while playing Quidditch or anything that happened back during the war. As for why I didn’t quit, well, there were a few reasons. The main one was I would have been disgusted at myself. I’ve been banging on about trying to find an interesting and exciting line of work, and when I’m finally given the chance to do something like that, I wanted to quit! Besides, I really didn’t want to disappoint Harry. He took a chance employing a girl he’d only met briefly because he thought he saw something in me, and I couldn’t let him down. There was another reason though. I might have been more scared out there then I’d ever been before, but there was something I was even more afraid of.”
“What?” Hermione asked.
“Returning to that dead-end job and spending the rest of my days bored out of my mind. I just knew if I went back I’d never get another chance like this again. I’d always be a shop girl, stacking shelves and serving rude children. If I was lucky, I’d meet some bloke and get married, and end up just like my mother, tied to the oven with a bunch of screaming kids running round. I can’t live like that, Hermione, and this is my chance to make sure I never have to.”
Hermione nodded, but said nothing. What else was there to say? Ginny had made her choice, and nothing was going to sway her from her path, apparently. She just hoped her friend didn’t live to regret her decision.
“How ’s the gumbo?”
Ginny paused from raising the spoon to her mouth, and shot Harry a warm smile.
“Absolutely delicious. I’ve never tasted seafood this good. The shrimp and crabmeat are to die for. I love the oysters, too,” she gushed.
“Excellent. I’m glad this place lives up to its reputation.”
They were eating in a small restaurant in the Garden District of New Orleans which had a distinctly British pub flavour to its decor. The food, however, was a different matter and was mainly Cajun and seafood based, not to mention utterly sensational. They’d only arrived in the city that morning, and already Harry had decided they should venture out from their hotel and explore the place. That had led them to this restaurant, where Harry had easily managed to blag them a table, despite not having a reservation.
“How are the fish tacos?” she asked, pointing at Harry’s plate.
“Very good,” he admitted. “I must admit, I do like to sample the local cuisine whenever I go anywhere new. You can tell a lot about a place by what food they serve.”
“Not to mention the drink,” she noted, eying Harry’s pineapple express cocktail with a grin.
“It’s an extremely refreshing drink,” he replied with a note of amusement in his voice. “I’m surprised you only wanted a beer.”
“Anything stronger than that at lunchtime and you’d have to carry me around for the rest of the day,” she said, laughing.
He tutted. “I don’t know, no stamina some people. Mind you, it’s probably for the best. I want to visit the magical section of the city later, and I’ll need you on your best behaviour. I imagine you’d be a bit of a trouble maker with a few drinks in you, Miss Weasley.”
“Cheek!” she protested, although she couldn’t help smirking.
This, she thought, was why she’d taken this job. She’d always wanted to travel and see new things, and here she was, sitting in a great restaurant in what looked like a very exciting city, eating wonderful food with her handsome employer.
Eating out with Harry was truly a great experience, she was rapidly learning. Food and drink seemed to be something of a passion for him, and he was always helpful in guiding her through the unfamiliar parts of the menu. Having him lavish attention on her while she enjoyed a superb lunch was just about as good as it got as far as she was concerned.
Regretfully, she spooned up the last of her meal, savouring the flavour as she took her last bite. She really didn’t eat enough seafood, she decided, assuming that good old fish and chips didn’t count. She took a last swig of her beer, and saw that Harry had finished eating, too. With a practiced flick of his wrist, he downed the last of his cocktail and signalled for the bill. The waiter nearly fell over himself to be of service, which amused Ginny. Harry was just one of those people who seemed to command respect wherever he went.
After paying the bill and leaving a tip so large that Ginny nearly gasped out loud, Harry led her outside into the warm, slightly humid air. Frankly, she couldn’t believe it was December it was so warm. Only the occasional shower threatened to spoil the pleasant weather.
“Apparently, it’s stifling here in the summer,” Harry informed her after she’d voiced her thoughts. “Not to mention they get hit by the odd hurricane.”
“I’m glad we came here now,” she agreed. “So, where to next, boss?”
“I wish you wouldn’t call me that, Ginny,” he winced. “Next, we’ll head over to the French Quarter, where I’m reliably informed that the city’s magical district is located.”
“How are we getting there?”
“I thought we’d just grab a taxi. The entrance is very close to the Omni Royal Hotel, so we’ll just ask for that.”
Flagging down a taxi proved to be no effort at all, and it wasn’t long before the driver had deposited them outside the regal-looking building. Harry led them down the street from the hotel, towards a brightly painted, three story building.
“Look for the green door, that’s what I was told,” Harry informed her, coming to a halt in front of the said entrance.
Without pausing, he pushed open the front door of the building and entered. Ginny immediately followed, and found herself inside a rather plain looking bar, dominated by a long, wooden counter. A grizzled, fat man looked up at them with little interest.
“Good afternoon to you,” Harry addressed him warmly. “I assume we’re in the correct place to enter the magical district?”
“Hey, Brits! What’da ya, know. We don’t get many foreigners coming down here. Yeah, buddy, just go through the door at the back. Then tap your wand on the empty beer barrel leaning against the wall, and you’ll be in.”
“Thanks for your help,” Harry nodded politely at the man, before leading Ginny through the door. The barrel the man had mentioned was sitting right in front of them.
“An empty beer barrel? That seem quite fitting for this place,” Ginny grinned.
“Yes, I suspect it’s a crime to waste alcohol in this city. I have to say, I’m liking the place more and more.”
“You would,” she laughed. “Come on, Harry, I’m dying to know what their version of Diagon Alley looks like.”
Harry removed his wand and tapped the barrel once. The plain brick wall that had previously barred their way seemed to dissolve before their eyes, revealing a busy street beyond.
“Wow, it’s a lot more colourful than Diagon Alley,” Ginny noted as they stepped through.
“Indeed, the place seems very vibrant, doesn’t it?” Harry agreed. “The architecture seems to be Spanish, I believe, with a few odd French influences. Every building seems to have a balcony, I note.”
“Yeah, it looks great. So, what exactly are we looking for here, or are you just looking to do a bit of shopping?”
“I’m always on the lookout for rare or attractive items, but today I do have a specific purpose for coming here,” he confirmed. “That name ‘The Baron’ struck a chord with me, and I believe him to be well known to the magical community here. I suggest we find a slightly shady looking establishment, and see if we can obtain some information.”
“Fair enough. Where do you want to try?”
“Nowhere in the main street,” Harry decided. “We’ll be better served by finding a place rather more off the beaten track.”
They walked down the main street with Ginny eagerly examining all the shops they passed. While many of them would have slotted in at home quite readily, others were more exotic and unfamiliar. She was, of course, aware of the Voodoo tradition of the city, but it still came as a surprise to see so many shops selling the related paraphernalia. All looked very bright and colourful compared to the items a British witch or wizard would use.
Eventually, they encountered a small side alley which immediately made her think of Knockturn Alley back home. Harry, of course, entered the shady side street without breaking step, and Ginny was forced to hurry after him. This alley was far less busy than the main street, and the few people who did occupy the place looked at them suspiciously.
Harry came to an abrupt stop outside a shop that bore a sign declaring itself to be ‘Erzulies House of Vodou’. Giving Ginny a quick grin, Harry pushed the door open and entered. Feeling a little apprehensive, she followed close behind.
“Don’t touch nothin’ unless you be buying it,” a voice immediately called out.
The shop was dark and cluttered, with all manner of strange and wonderful looking objects. One wall was entirely covered in what looked like poppet dolls, while another had multiple racks of potions. Lounging against a long counter was an attractive, young black woman who had her long hair in dreads. Her ample bosom was straining to be contained by a tight leather vest which was elaborately decorated. She regarded both of them with cool indifference.
“Good afternoon,” Harry said politely, nodding his head slightly to the woman.
“Well, seems we got us an Englishman here,” the woman drawled, her expression turning to one of amused interest. “You’re a long way from home, sugar. You sure you in da right place?”
“Quite sure,” Harry replied, favouring the woman with a warm smile. Ginny instantly recognised that he was turning on his not inconsiderable charm on the shopkeeper, and she was rather surprised to feel a pang of jealousy.
“In dat case, what can I do for you? If you get rid of little fire-hair over there, I’m sure I could do quite a lot for you,” the woman purred.
“I’m sure you could,” Harry smiled, coming over and leaning on the counter just inches from the woman. “Unfortunately, I’m not really looking for what you’re offering… at the moment. However, if you could provide me with a little bit of information, I’m sure I could make it well worth your while.”
“Really? Keep talking, handsome, and I’ll let you know if I can be of service,” she said with a seductive smile on her lips.
“It’s recently come to my attention that a local resident has come into possession of a rather rare magical object and I’m interested in trying to buy this object from him. Unfortunately, all the information I have about this man is what I assume is a nickname and the fact that he lives in this area.” Harry paused to remove a money bag from his trouser pocket and place it on the counter. “Any help you could provide on tracking this person down would be well rewarded, I promise.”
“What name were you given?” the woman asked huskily, leaning over so her face was just inches away from his.
The woman stood up straight and gasped, her eyes wide. Then, without warning, she burst out laughing.
“Oh, sugar, no, no, no! You do not want to be chasing after the Baron,” she managed to say, despite being nearly doubled up with laughter.
“Why not?” Harry demanded, with a frown on his face.
“Cos if the Baron has your little magical toy, it’s ‘cos the Baron wanted it, and nothing you can say or do will change that. You go and stir up trouble, and he’ll put you in a coffin and nail it shut permanently, honey.”
“I have no intention of causing this man any trouble. I merely want to speak with him,” Harry implored.
“Handsome, I’m going to do you a big favour. I’m going to send you packing out of my shop, and I ain’t gonna tell you nothing about da Baron! You can forget about asking anyone else about him either. Ain’t no one around here who’s gonna tell you ‘bout him. The more questions you ask, the more trouble you’re gonna find yourself in. Now, scram!”
“I see,” Harry said, standing up straight and turning to leave. “I guess I have no choice other than to… Imperio!”
Harry had drawn his wand and turned in one fluid motion. The woman had no chance to avoid the spell, at all, and her eyes widened for a split second, before her features relaxed and she stood absolutely still.
“Harry! That was an Unforgivable you used!” Ginny cried in alarm.
“Wasn’t the first time, I doubt it will be the last,” he replied with a shrug. “Don’t worry, I won’t hurt her in any way. In fact, once we’re gone she won’t even remember we were here. Normally, I would just use Legilimency on someone to obtain information, but this woman is extremely resistant to it. In fact, I can sense she’s fighting the Imperius Curse even as we speak. We’d better be quick with this. You’d better lock the door so we’re not disturbed.”
“Okay,” she agreed reluctantly, but hurried over to the door and bolted it closed. She turned the ‘open’ sign to ‘closed’ for good measure. While she wasn’t at all comfortable about Harry’s methods, she really didn’t want to be caught while he was practicing them.
She returned to the counter to find Harry was already questioning the woman. She spoke in a slow, dead voice.
“…house in the Garden District, but no one goes there without an invite. The Baron, he has mighty strong magic, and you don’t wanna be messing with him.”
“What’s his real name?” Harry demanded.
“Baron Samedi, and he’s one of the Loa.”
“Shit!” Harry cursed.
“Is that bad?” Ginny asked him nervously.
“Very bad. The Loa are demi-gods of the Vodou religion. I’ve heard of this Samedi character and he’s supposed to be their god of the dead.”
“A god?” Ginny gasped. “Are you joking?”
“Not in the slightest. Of course, the modern interpretation of a god has become rather confused and this person is probably not what you imagine when you hear that word, but it’s still very likely he is someone with enormous magical power and knowledge.”
“Harry, taking on werewolves is one thing, but this is insane! You can’t seriously be thinking of continuing your quest, can you?”
“Why not?” he grinned. “I’ve never met a god before and, besides, I’m sure if we approach him in the right way he’ll at least talk to us.”
“Have you only just noticed?” he laughed, before turning back to the shop owner. “Now, you, what did you say your name was, girl?”
“Loretta,” she answered immediately.
“Well, Loretta, you’re going to tell me everything you know about the Baron, including the safest way to approach him.”
As the girl began to talk, Ginny listened intently. Despite her objections, she had to admit she was curious about this mysterious demi-god, too. She just hoped that Harry knew what the hell he was doing.
Nervously, Ginny trailed behind Harry as he confidently opened the gate that led to a large, white mansion which was situated in the Garden District of the city. Despite her mounting trepidation, she had to admit she shared a little of her employer’s fascination at the idea of meeting a demi-god. The fact that he would be found living here surprised her, however.
For a start, the houses in this immediate area all appeared to have been modernised and clearly this was a very wealthy part of the city. In her head, she’d had images of romantic but dilapidated buildings, covered in Spanish moss, all displaying signs of fallen grandeur and harbouring memories of better days. Instead, this appeared to be an area on the up and up. Although most of the houses did appear quite old, by American standards at least, most of them were in immaculate condition, with well-tended gardens and expensive cars parked in their driveways.
Baron Samedi’s house appeared no different. As they walked up the front path, she could see that the front door of the property appeared to be brand new and quite sturdy. In fact, the whole place seemed to reek of being extremely secure and well protected, despite its native charm. Harry appeared supremely unconcerned by this and, with his usual confidence, rang the doorbell without hesitation.
After a surprisingly short amount of time, the door opened revealing a tall black man dressed in what Ginny assumed was a butler’s uniform. He looked at them with something approaching repugnance on his face.
“Yes?” he drawled in a deep voice.
“Good afternoon,” Harry greeted the man graciously. “My name is Harry Potter and I’m a wizard visiting your country from England. While in this city, I learnt that your employer was residing here and naturally felt I should visit to pay my respects. Is your employer available to accept visitors?”
Ginny gaped at Harry in amazement. She certainly hadn’t expected him to turn up at the door of a complete stranger and announce himself to be a wizard. Even so, the butler seemed unmoved by the statement and, if anything, seemed even more contemptuous.
“Wait here,” the man said simply and closed the door. Harry turned and offered Ginny a mischievous smile.
“Was that a good idea? I mean, just blurting out who you are?” she demanded.
Harry shrugged. “We’re hopefully about to visit with a demi-god. Lying would have achieved very little, I imagine.”
Accepting that logic, she just curtly nodded. This was starting to seem less and less of a good idea.
It was some minutes before the door opened and revealed the butler, again. He regarded them with cold, hard eyes for a second.
“The Baron will see you,” he informed them.
“Excellent,” Harry said. “After you, my dear.”
Almost before she knew what was happening, Ginny found herself ushered into the large house. The inside proved to be a lot more modern than she was expecting, with pristine white walls and polished wood flooring. The butler had already started down the entrance hall, so she hurried after him, dimly aware of the front door closing behind them, apparently of its own accord.
The butler was walking at a rapid pace, so she didn’t have long to examine the property as they went. From what she saw of it, however, she was disappointed. The whole place looked just like a modern Muggle house, and a rather sterile and uninteresting one, at that. Harry’s residence in Grimmauld Place was far more appealing to her mind.
Unexpectedly, she found herself blinking as she stepped out into bright sunlight. The butler had led them through a side door and outside. In front of her was a large swimming pool which was surrounded by a paved patio area. By the side of the pool were two people, both dressed in swimwear and relaxing on chaise lounges. As they approached, Ginny had a better look at the pair of them.
The woman was lusciously beautiful, with her one piece swimsuit doing little to conceal her full, sensual figure. Like the girl in the shop they’d encountered earlier, her hair was braided but somehow this woman’s style was classier and more appealing. As they approached, she looked up at them through her dark glasses and offered them a smile.
A few feet away, the second chaise lounge was occupied by a man. He looked to be very tall, and his dark skin seemed to glisten in the sunshine. He too wore dark glasses, but seemed completely unaware that he had company. Instead, with his body reclined gracefully, his hand shot out and grasped a glass of dark liquid which was perched on a small table next to him. In one fluid movement, he raised the glass to his lips and drained the contents in one go. Oddly, by the time he placed the glass back on the table it seemed to have refilled itself.
“Well, we appear to have company, how nice,” the woman said with a distinct Caribbean accent.
“Allow me to introduce us,” Harry said in a respectful tone. “My name is Harry Potter, and I am, if I might be so immodest, a wizard of some repute in my homeland. The beautiful young lady accompanying me is my assistant, and I hope, my friend, Ginny Weasley. We were travelling in these parts and felt it was only right and proper to come and show our respects.”
At this introduction, the man had sat up and removed his sunglasses. He stared directly at Ginny, much to her discomfort.
“Well, now, look at this! Now ain’t that a beautiful sight,” he drawled. “Tell me, white boy, is this pretty little thing an offering to me, ‘cos I’d be mighty pleased if it is.”
Ginny felt the hairs on the back of her neck rise, and her fingers twitched as she started to reach for her wand, currently inside her shoulder bag. The woman, however, forestalled her.
“Samedi! Is that any way to treat a guest? I’m sorry, Miss Ginny, my husband has the manners of a pig sometimes. My name, if you are unaware, is Maman Brigitte and I have the unfortunate burden of being married to this reprobate.”
“We’re charmed to make your acquaintance,” Harry said, and stepped forward to take Maman Brigitte’s hand, which he placed a kiss upon. Ginny couldn’t help but notice the apparent amusement on the Baron’s face as Harry did this.
“You’ll find my wife is a lot more neighbourly than I am,” Samedi announced, although there was definitely amusement in his tone. “You best be having a good reason for calling on me, white boy.”
“Naturally, I wouldn’t dream of disturbing you without good purpose,” Harry said, completely unruffled. “But first, you mentioned an offering. While I regret my lovely companion isn’t available to fulfil that role, I have brought a token of my respect. May I?”
Harry had half drawn his wand and looked at Samedi with a questioning expression. The man gave a slight nod, and Harry withdrew his wand fully and gave it a casual wave. Suddenly, a large crate appeared by the side of Samedi’s lounger. With an amused expression on his face, the dark-skinned man swung his legs over and stood up. Without any apparent effort, he pulled the top off the crate and looked inside. A look of genuine pleasure appeared on his face when he saw what was inside.
“Well, now, you do know how to show proper respect!” he exclaimed, and pulled a bottle of dark liquid from the crate. “50% proof Jamaican rum! Damn it, white boy, I ain’t had this brand for a dozen years or more. Where’d you get this?”
“I have contacts,” Harry said depreciatively. “I hope it’s to your taste.”
“How many bottles are in that crate?” Maman Brigitte asked in a resigned manner.
“Damn, he won’t be sober for a month!” she cursed.
“Ha! I’d better make a start then,” Samedi declared, grinning like a schoolboy. “Get your ass over here, white boy. You and me are gonna have a little drink. You, too, red.”
With a casual wave of his hand, four tall glasses appeared on the table next to him, and the one he had been drinking from vanished. Samedi poured an extremely generous amount of rum into three of the glasses, before looking up at his wife questioningly.
“You think I’m going to refuse some of the good stuff?” she snorted with derision.
Samedi chortled and filled the remaining glass. The drinks were distributed, allowing Ginny to take a cautious sniff of the liquid. The smell of the rum was nearly enough to make her pass out.
“To our gracious guests,” Samedi announced, and promptly drained half his glass in one go. Harry and Brigitte copied his actions, but Ginny could only manage a small mouthful before she started coughing. She could feel the rum burning her insides as she swallowed. Samedi, of course, found this hilarious.
“Oh, your sweet little thing there can’t hold her booze,” he said to Harry. “Still, if we can get her drunk who knows what fun we can have?”
Ginny felt the hairs on the back of her neck stand up again. There was definitely something about Samedi that creeped her out, and it wasn’t just the crude comments that he was throwing in her direction. She remembered Harry had told her that Samedi was worshiped as a god of the dead, and that seemed strangely appropriate. Although he looked handsome and athletic, there was definitely a graveyard stench about hm.
“You know, I really have no desire to watch you boys drink yourselves into insensibility,” Brigitte declared. “Ginny and I are going to go inside and have a proper conversation.”
“What? My pretty ladies are deserting me? Damn, no!” Samedi exclaimed.
Mercifully, Brigitte ignored him and had taken Ginny’s arm, steering her back through the door into the house. They headed into a large sitting room which was immaculately decorated. Brigitte took a seat on a huge, squashy sofa and patted the seat next to her as an invitation to Ginny. She sat down willingly, still clutching her glass of near-toxic rum.
“I’m afraid your friend out there isn’t going to leave this house sober,” Brigitte began. “Samedi will insist that he drinks with him and I expect he will carry on until well into the evening.”
“It’s okay. Harry can handle his drink.”
“Oh, trust me, no one can drink like Samedi!” Brigitte snorted. “So, Potter described you as his assistant and friend. Is that all you are to him?”
“Uh, yes. It’s a very professional arrangement. In fact, I think it’s a bit of an exaggeration to say we’re even friends. I’ve only know him for a few weeks, after all.”
“Really?” Brigitte drawled. “That’s one handsome man that you’re working for, sugar. Still, you’d be best resisting temptation when it comes to him, I think.”
“What? Why?” Ginny asked, sounding rather more outraged than she’d intended. Brigitte stared at her calmly through her large, dark eyes.
“Do you know who I am, Ginny? Who I really am?” she asked eventually. “I’m one of the Loa. I have powers like you couldn’t even imagine. I might look damn hot, but I’m actually hundreds of years old, and I have thousands of worshipers who offer their prayers to me every day. My main attribute is judgement, and I actually have a job as a fancy, high-paid lawyer, just ‘cos I enjoy it. I only have to take one look at a client and know whether they’re innocent or guilty. But I tell you, girl, in all my days I’ve never met anyone like your pretty employer out there.”
“Because there’s a mystery to him, and there ain’t no mysteries to Maman Brigitte,” the dark woman said with a note of anger in her voice. “I can’t read him, and that makes him dangerous in my book. I understand he’s famous in your country because he kicked some evil wizard’s butt?”
“Yeah, he defeated the Dark Lord V…Voldemort,” Ginny confirmed. Even now she struggled to even say the name.
“I can feel he’s powerful, but what’s so special about him? I’ve known plenty of powerful wizards in my time, even slept with a few, but I’ve never got the feeling I got off Potter from any of them.”
“As I said, I’ve only known him for a short while,” Ginny repeated. “No one knows exactly how he defeated Voldemort, and he won’t say.”
Brigitte gazed intently at her for a moment, until Ginny started to feel very uncomfortable. She really didn’t want to talk behind Harry’s back, as it felt like a betrayal of confidence. Eventually, Brigitte dropped her gaze and took a long pull on her drink.
“You just be careful about him, honey,” she advised. “There’s something off about that boy. He’s dangerous.”
Ginny said nothing. Really, what was there to say?
It was well after ten in the evening when they left the Loa’s house. The two men had been drinking continually all that time, and from where she was sitting Ginny could hear their raucous laughter and snatches of extremely dirty jokes being shared. Fortunately, Brigitte had not questioned Ginny on her employer any further, and the two of them had actually started to get along quite well. They even shared a light dinner while the men continued drinking.
While Ginny’s assessment of Harry’s drinking capabilities seemed to have been proved correct, Brigitte’s comments about her husband’s capacity had been equally valid. By the time it came for them to leave, Harry could barely stand. Ginny found herself, quite literally, dragging him out of the front door and towards a waiting taxi which Brigitte had thoughtfully arranged.
Once they were in the car, Harry just slumped in the seat, his head lolling as the car started moving.
“You folks had a good night, then?” the driver asked in amusement.
“Some of us better than others,” Ginny replied. Just the smell of Harry’s breath was getting her drunk. She dreaded to think how many bottles of that rot-gut rum he and Samedi had consumed.
The driver fortunately managed to get them back to their hotel without incident, and even helped her half-carry Harry inside. From there, a young concierge took over and between them they helped get Harry to his room. Ginny was just about to thank the young man for his help, when he ruined it by informing her that he was due to finish work shortly and would be more than willing to ‘keep her company’ while her man was incapacitated. Her response was to tell him that he’d just blown the generous tip she had been about to give him before throwing him out of the room.
They’d booked adjoining rooms and she was just about to head to her own room for a quick shower before bed, when she stopped. Something made her turn and look back at her sleeping employer. On a whim, she walked back to the bed and sat on the edge of it. Harry was sound asleep. She’d removed his shoes and socks, but hadn’t felt comfortable doing anything more than that initially.
Not knowing why she was doing it, Ginny began to unbutton his shirt. Once she had it open, she realised she was doing this the hard way and pulled out her wand. With a flick she removed the shirt from his back, leaving him topless. After a moment’s hesitation, she removed his trousers, too. He now lay on his back, clad only in a pair of boxer shorts.
Almost against her will, she reached out and placed her hand on his chest, her fingers lightly brushing his skin. She could feel the taught muscles underneath, and she began to tremble. Gently, she let her hand run down his body, her excitement growing at the feel of his flesh under her fingers. She had paused on his abs, and she realised she didn’t have the courage to venture any lower. Not at the moment, anyway.
She leaned forward and placed a soft kiss on his partially open lips. He stirred in his sleep slightly, but didn’t wake. Silently, Ginny stood and headed into her own room. She showered and made ready for bed quickly, and once between the soft sheets she stared at the ceiling for a moment.
Maman Brigitte had called Harry ‘dangerous’. As she lay in the darkness, Ginny pondered why that statement had just made her want him all the more.
Next morning, Harry understandably rose late and took his breakfast in the privacy of his own room. Ginny had been up for some time, but joined him for a coffee as he began to explain to her what had happened the previous night.
“My ego took a large knock,” he informed her between forkfuls of scrambled egg. “I thought I was an accomplished drinker, but Samedi wiped the floor with me. He was still relatively sober while I was being carried out.”
“Brigitte did say that no one could match him,” she said sympathetically. “How many bottles did the two of you get through?”
“I’m not sure. Things started to get hazy after we opened the third.”
Ginny snorted in amusement. “Did you actually remember to bring up the subject of the Moon Hare at any point in the evening?”
“I did,” Harry confirmed before virtually downing his glass of orange juice in one go. “He won’t sell it.”
“So this was all a waste of time?” she asked, surprising herself at how disappointed she was.
“Not exactly. He flatly refused to sell it, but he did say that he would give us the opportunity to win it.”
“Win it? How? Not another drinking contest, I hope.”
“No, we wouldn’t stand a chance, if that was the case,” Harry admitted with a pained expression. “Actually, he didn’t really give me many details, other than we have to be at Lafayette Cemetery tonight at midnight.”
“A cemetery? Oh good. As long as he didn’t pick anywhere creepy or unpleasant,” Ginny noted.
Harry just chuckled. “What do you expect from a man worshipped as the god of death by his people? I expect that’s where he feels most at home.”
“Brilliant,” she said with a distinct note of sarcasm in her voice. “So, what do you reckon he’ll do? Some sort of test or competition?”
“Something like that. I got the impression he was a very competitive man,” Harry said as he finished off the last of his breakfast.
“I guess we’ll have to wait and see,” Ginny said. “So, what are we going to do for the rest of the day?”
“Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m going back to bed for a few hours,” he announced before standing and heading over to the large bed that dominated the room. As he was about to climb in, he looked back at Ginny with a mischievous grin. “You’re welcome to join me, of course.”
“It’s alright, Harry. I’m not angling for a pay raise just yet,” she replied with a cheeky smile.
“Shame. Come and wake me for lunch, would you?”
“Of course. Sleep well,” she told him, before closing the curtains and leaving the room.
Fortunately, she had packed a couple of books for the trip so she had something to occupy her for the next few hours. Soon, she was settled in a comfy chair that had a wonderful view out of the window in her room and a cool glass of iced water beside her, happy in the knowledge that her boss had definitely been flirting with her that time.
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