Harry pushed through the heavy curtains that separated the circular, incense-filled room from its antechamber. He didn’t know why he was here, he’d had his fill of fake prophecies and fortune telling in Trelawney’s classes. Unfortunately, Auror Robards had tasked him with interviewing Madame de Bourville and Harry couldn’t let him down. He was only an Eighth Year Auror apprentice, and this was his first case without his Auror Instructor present.
“Ah, Monsieur Potter. I ‘ave been expecting you.” The thick French accent came from the woman at the center of the small room. He looked much like Professor Trelawney did, with multi-coloured fabrics and many beaded necklaces, bracelets, and rings dotting every conceivable surface of her person. She looked to be in her late fifties, with crisply drawn-on black eyebrows and heavy-lidded eyes that seemed like they held the weight of the world in them.
“Er, yes, hello, Madame de Bourville. I am Harry Potter, from the Auror Department. I just have a few questions for you, if you will be so kind as to—”
Madame de Bourville interrupted him.
“Please, sit, Monsieur Potter. Let me read your cards.”
“Now, really, I don’t have the time just now for—”
It was a command, not a request, and Harry’s eye twitched. It was clear he would get nowhere with the woman if she didn’t have her way. And so, resigned, Harry tugged off his wizarding cap and hung it on the corner of the empty chair before sitting down across from the fortune teller. He expected some of Trelawney’s style of mumbo-jumbo, the end of your life is nigh, yadda yadda.
Instead, he felt something pulling around him, like air tugging at his sleeves as it whipped around the room. He blinked twice rapidly, and the new spells the Auror department had cast on his glasses activated, showing him where magic was being done. At its center was Madame de Bourville herself, alight with purples and blues that swirled around her, reaching out to connect to him and wrap themselves around him. His immediate instinct was to pull out his wand and stop her, but the colours of the spells belied the true nature of the magic; it was not malevolent, whatever it was, or it would have shone a sickeningly neon green and yellow to his vision. So instead he watched, fascinated, as the colours swirled faster and faster around them both, the Seer shuffling her cards and splaying them out before Harry on the table.
“Choose wisely,” she intoned, and her voice was far deeper than it had been before. Harry didn’t know how to respond, and instead reached out a shaking hand to the cards spread before him. His fingers brushed over the cards. One card in the middle of the table seemed to glow in his magically-enhanced vision, and he flipped it over to reveal two naked figures embracing on a tree-covered landscape. Although their faces were turned away, the one on the left was pale with blonde hair, the other baring a stark resemblance to himself. They moved and shifted on the card’s surface, and it was clear what the pair were doing. Harry blushed and looked away from the card, straight into Madame de Bourville’s eyes.
“Fascinating, Monsieur Potter. You ‘ave drawn The Lovers card. This is the card of true romance, one that has been blessed by an angel. You ‘ave someone very powerful in your life, someone ‘oo is most important to you, in all the world, although neither of you may see it that way. This person is your truest equal and soul's match. Just know that it is your decision to make, when the time comes to it.”
The colourful lights around Madame de Bourville sparkled and glowed with each pronouncement. Harry raised an eyebrow at the Seer. If he were being honest, he hadn’t been expecting a romance fortune telling when he stepped through those curtains.
“After everything I’ve been through, Madame, I was expecting you to foretell my gruesome death by Dark Wizard or drowning,” Harry joked.
Madame de Bourville cracked a wicked grin at him.
“I think that you ‘ave ‘ad enough death in your past to last you a lifetime, n’est-ce pas?”
Harry gave her a wry grin in response.
Madame de Bourville tapped the drawing on front of The Lovers card, and the image shifted, seeming to zoom in on the two figures in sensual embrace. Harry could see the details more clearly now, and was shocked to realize that depicted right there on the front of the card were life-like paintings of him...and Draco Malfoy.
“You want my advice, monsieur, seek out the blond boy ‘oo broke your nose. He holds the key to much in your life. And per’aps more, if you are willing to seize the chance.”
Harry sat back, stunned, and deactivated his glasses to return them to normal.
“R-right, then. I guess I’ll just...be off, then?”
He stood to leave, forgetting that he had come to the Seer’s establishment for a very different reason. As he left, however, Madame de Bourville called out to him.
“In regards to the reason you came to me, may I suggest, Monsieur Potter, that you look to the stacks? There is more information to be found there than you might expect.”
Harry turned to stare at the old Seer, frowning slightly, and then his mind caught up and he could have smacked himself on the forehead. I am such an idiot, forgetting the reason I actually came here.
“Thank you , Madame de Bourville. I will keep that in mind.”
If Harry hadn’t been so distracted by what the Seer had told him, he might have noticed the remarkably familiar little beetle, clinging to the entry curtains to Madame de Bourville’s establishment. As it was, the bug skittered out and flew into an alleyway, where it transformed into the form of one Rita Skeeter, smirking with the knowledge of a juicy bit of gossip.
Daily Prophet Evening Edition
7 February 1999
Shocking news rocks the Wizarding World as this reporter has discovered that one Harry Potter, saviour of the Wizard World and leading Witch Weekly ‘Most Desirable Bachelor’, was recently seen leaving the establishment of the world-renowned Seer, Madame de Bourville. There is no doubt in this reporter’s mind that something must be troubling the Boy Wonder, especially after the nasty break-up that occurred between him and Ginny Weasley over this past summer after the War ended. Mr. Potter and de Bourville could be heard doing a tarot card reading, and it will shock and excite the Daily Prophet’s readers to know that Mr. Harry Potter went searching for love on this crisp winter day.
Luck may be with one of you, the readers, for Madame de Bourville informed Mr. Potter that he will soon be lucky in love, and that he should talk to the pretty blond boy who broke his nose—a curious statement, if ever this reporter has heard one! If any of our readers know who this blond boy is, please send in your owls, and we at the Daily Prophet will endeavour to keep you informed on who Harry Potter’s true love may be!
Both Harry Potter and Madame de Bourville were unavailable for comment at time of printing.
Harry crumpled up the Daily Prophet that had just come in on special delivery owl, swooping into the Eighth Year common just as he was getting back into the swing of things from his month away with the Auror department by playing a game of chess against Ron. The owl had distracted him, since he didn’t receive the Daily Prophet anymore, let alone the Evening Edition.
Hermione snatched up the crumpled ball of newspaper and smoothed it out to read over the cover story. Harry had read it aloud to her and Ron, but she clearly wanted to read over it again. Nodding to herself, Hermione looked up at Harry and Ron in turn.
“It’s Rita Skeeter, all right. There’s no other way that she could have hidden so well in that de Bourville woman’s building to pick up what you were both saying. You’d think she would have learnt after everything our fourth year, but old habits and all that rubbish. I think it’s high time the Ministry caught wind of her illegal Animagus form.”
There was a glint in Hermione’s eye that worried Harry, but really, what in Merlin’s name had Skeeter been doing lurking about de Bourville’s place? He asked the question aloud, and Hermione answered immediately.
“Well, it’s a quick way to grab any gossip she can find, isn’t it? Just listen in on what people are hiding, their secrets and aspirations, and you can write just about anything you want, if you stoop as low as Skeeter.”
A throat clearing behind Harry brought his attention to the person standing behind him. A slightly-crimson Draco Malfoy was leaning against the wall, his hands stuffed in his pockets, the knot of his House tie tugged down. All of that combined with the tousled hair gave Malfoy the look of someone trying too hard to appear casual.
“Can I have a word with you, Potter?”
They had mainly kept their distance from one another since Malfoy’s trial over the summer, exchanging greetings rather than the barbed threats that their classmates had been witness to over their years in school together. The new look was good on Malfoy, Harry had to admit, and since returning to school, he had gained back the healthy glow and weight that he had lost while living with Voldemort at Malfoy Manor. Harry would never admit, however, that he caught himself staring on more than one occasion to the snugness of Malfoy’s school trousers, the way his Quidditch robes fit over tight muscles that had returned over the course of the school year. How he wanted to tuck that stray lock of blond hair that kept falling into his silver-grey eyes behind Malfoy’s ear.
Harry blinked, and remembered that Malfoy had asked him a question.
“Er… sure.” Harry jumped up from the table. “I’ll be back to finish our game, Ron.”
He waved at Ron and Hermione and followed Malfoy out of the common room into the hallway outside, where they had a bit more privacy. Malfoy led Harry over to an alcove in the wall and turned sharply to face him, leaning against one side while Harry leant against the other.
“So… Interesting article in the Prophet today, Potter.”
Harry blanched, not expecting Malfoy of all people to have read it. It had only been out for a couple of hours, after all. He feigned ignorance.
“Er, what d’you mean?”
Malfoy raised his hand, looking at his nails in a posture of complete ease.
“The Daily Prophet article written by a certain nameless reporter. Don’t tell me you haven’t read it, Potter. Even if it weren’t all over your face, I could hear you arguing with your friends about it in the common room. So. About that article, hmm?”
“Yeah, it’s interesting all right,” Harry replied, unable to come up with a retort. He felt his neck getting warm and tugged at the knot of his own tie to loosen it.
“And I assume there aren’t all that many blonds who’ve broken your nose.”
“Well, there’s my cousin Dudley—”
“I highly doubt that your ‘true love’ is your cousin, Potter.”
“So, unless I’m very much mistaken, I won’t be getting a broken nose myself for this…” Malfoy pushed off of the wall and stood flush against Harry’s body, one foot slotted between Harry’s legs. His mouth was so close that Harry could feel Malfoy’s breath against his ear as he whispered, “Can I kiss you, Harry?”
Harry groaned and reached out to cup Malfoy’s face with both hands, pulling him into a rough, short-lived kiss. They broke apart and Malfoy gave a huff of a laugh, resting his forehead against Harry’s.
“So, what body part do I need to break to get you to shag me?”
Harry laughed and wiggled his eyebrows. “I’d rather break the bed.”
The comment was worth the shocked look on Malfoy’s face, who immediately pressed into Harry’s body to snog him. They didn’t leave the alcove until Peeves found them and started serenading them with off-key love songs at the top of his voice.