Birth of the Serpent King – Chapter Seven

Chapter Seven

THE MINISTRY FOR MAGIC REVEALS LONG HIDDEN PROPHECY. BOY WHO LIVED HAS BEEN CHOSEN TO END YOU-KNOW-WHO’S REIGN OF TERROR!

“Bloody goddamned hell!” Sirius shouted as he tossed the Daily Prophet across the table at Remus. He watched his best friend absorb the news headline, growing increasingly pale. “Why the fuck would they…I’ll kill Fudge for this.”

“It’s surprising that the prophecy was hidden so long,” Remus murmured. “We should contact Albus.”

Harry appeared in the large airy room they’d been using for meals with Draco at his side. A copy of the Daily Prophet was clutched in his hand. Dark green eyes flashing he said, “The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches … Born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies … And the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not … And either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives … The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies…” He put the paper down on the table. “This is why he murdered my parents? This stupid fucking prophecy from the mouth of the biggest nutter in Great Britain?”

“She wasn’t the only one to make it,” Remus murmured. “We’ve since learned that a Goblin Seer foretold almost the same thing in the year before you were born.”

Harry’s jaws tightened and he took a deep breath. “Why wasn’t I told?” He held up a hand. “No, it’s okay. I know why I wasn’t told.” He inclined his head and said, “Willaby.” The Head Elf for the household appeared in an instant. “Go and bring me Albus Dumbledore. I won’t take no for an answer.”

Dumbledore appeared, carefully holding Willaby’s hand a minute later. He held out a small glass orb. “This will, I believe, answer your questions, my boy.”

Harry took it and the orb lit in his hand with a soft blue light and then that light poured out in front of him in the form of his father. “Dad.”

“Harry.”  James Potter reached out briefly and sighed. “When I made this I knew it would only be used if I were dead… it didn’t occur to me how much it would hurt not to touch you.” He looked around the room and smiled for Sirius and Remus. “I’m glad he has you. Or at least I’m pretty sure I’d be glad. I hope you two are helping him get into more trouble than he can handle.”

“Never, James,” Sirius shook his head with a sad smile. “Not your precious boy.”

James smiled and refocused on Harry. “You may be wondering why it’s just me and not your mother? She refused to participate as this is technically a Dark Art. It’s not unlike a living painting but Soul Orbs are precariously close to a Horcrux so they are a Dark Art. Don’t worry, son, you aren’t holding a piece of my soul in your hand. It’s just a very intricate copy of me a few weeks before your first birthday. Far more advanced than if I were a portrait. You’ve been given the Soul Orb because you’ve found out about the prophecy and if you have an ounce of my temper—you’re probably livid that it was kept from you.”

“You could say that,” Harry admitted softly.

“I made Albus swear a Wizard’s Oath that he would not reveal the prophecy to you before you were sixteen unless the war with Voldemort grew worse before then. It’s too much for you, son, to have to deal with and I wanted you to have a normal life as much as possible.”

“Has he told you what’s happened to me since I came to Hogwarts?”

“No, you’re the only person alive who can activate the Soul Orb, Harry.” James looked him over and then focused on Draco. “Well, that’s a Malfoy if I ever saw one. Easily the prettiest blokes in all of Wizarding Europe.”

Harry chuckled. “This is Lord Draco Malfoy.”

Draco blushed furiously and glared at Sirius when he laughed before focusing on James again. “It’s an honor to meet you, Lord Potter.”

“Hmmm, the pleasure is mine Lord Malfoy.” James grinned and then focused on Harry. “You do realize that the Potters and the Malfoys have been engaged in a blood feud for two hundred years?”

“Yes, well, I think I sort of called a truce—what with all of the kissing and groping,” Harry smirked when James laughed. “Besides he’s my Liegeman.”

James eyes widened and he looked at Dumbledore who appeared completely floored. “Good on you, lad, that’s the first time I’ve seen Albus shocked in all the time that I’ve known him.” He laughed as the older wizard fussed with his robes. “How old are you?”

“I turned fifteen a few weeks ago,” Harry admitted.

“You’ve taken the title, I see. I would have liked you to have waited until you were seventeen—it’s a lot of responsibility and pressure to have that much ancestral magic pressed down on you.”

“I’ll need the strength if I’m to fight Voldemort,” Harry snapped shortly and then blushed at the raised eyebrow he got from his father. “Sorry.”

“No need, lad, you’re the Lord of the Manor after all.” James shoved his hands into his pockets. “Why don’t you take me somewhere private. I’d like to speak with just my son.” He flowed into the orb without another word and Harry brought it close to his chest.

He turned to Albus. “I want you to swear on your magic that this is not some kind of trick—that my Dad really made this for me.”

Albus carefully pulled his wand and placed the tip over his heart. “On my magic, I solemnly swear that the Soul Orb you hold in your hand was created by James Potter to only be activated by his son Harry James Potter in the event of his death. So mote it be.”

Harry nodded and with a brief touch on Draco’s arm left the room.

Draco watched the departure with a frown and then with a little glare towards Dumbledore joined Sirius and Remus at the table for a meal. “You could join us for a meal and explain how Fudge got a hold of the prophecy and what you plan to do about it? He just painted a target on Potter’s back for every so-called Death Eater on the planet.”

– – – –

“Then Dumbledore sent me back to the Dursleys,” Harry murmured and winced at the curse that James let go with. “I know but with the blood wards in place it was probably the safest place I could go at the time. I didn’t have access to the manor because I hadn’t claimed the title.”

“Right.” James frowned. “I’m sorry I couldn’t get your mother do to this with me but she always had definite ideas about what was appropriate and what wasn’t.”

“One of my best friends is like that, Muggle-born and easily the brightest witch of our generation. Everyone expects her to break the records for NEWT scores when she takes them.” Harry turned and looked at his father. “I see why a Soul Orb is considered a Dark Artifact. If I could… I would spend days, months talking to you. I could see myself forsaking everyone in my life for it.”

“I won’t let you.”

“You aren’t the only one who’d have a problem with it,” Harry admitted. “I suppose I should go see what my Dragon is up to. There is no telling with Sirius and Remus for company. Does time pass for you in the orb?”

“No.” James reached out and the soft light he was made of bent as he touched Harry’s face. “Not at all, son. Take me to Sirius and Remus for a while. I want to speak with them and then you can retrieve the orb and put me somewhere safe until you need me. I caution you, Harry, against activating the orb often. It isn’t like a portrait, don’t treat it like one.”

– – – –

He found Sirius and Remus in the library with Draco arguing over who to bring to the manor for dueling. He watched them for a moment—amused by their good-natured arguing and quite enthralled with the look of Draco. Remus noticed him first and motioned him in.

“Have a good talk with your Dad?”

“Yes,” Harry murmured and he set the orb down carefully. His fingers brushed over it and James appeared. “He wanted to spend some time with you before I put the orb away.”

Sirius’ eyes lit up. “James.”

“Padfoot,” James murmured and watched as Harry offered Draco a hand and the two left the room silently. “I bet that little romance is going to break hearts from here to London.”

Remus snorted. “They both have quite a following—Harry the Boy Who Lived and Draco the son of a reformed Death Eater who sacrificed himself for the Boy Who Lived. The papers have had a field day with them most of the summer in one manner or another.”

James nodded, thoughtful and sad. “The Boy Who Lived.” He sighed. “Lily would be horrified.”

“I know,” Sirius said. “For more than one reason. I don’t even have the words to apologize…”

“No, Padfoot, Harry doesn’t blame you and I can’t either. He loves you very much—thinks of you like a father.” James’ youthful face darkened briefly and then he sighed. “I could hate you for that but that isn’t your fault either.”

– – – –

Harry washed his face with the cloth Draco had passed his way. “I don’t… my Dad respected Dumbledore a lot even when he was being a nutter.”

Draco laughed. “He is a powerful and dynamic wizard, Harry. Albus Dumbledore defeated a Dark Lord and with that kind of feat comes power and respect and love. You blame him for your miserable childhood and that is your right.”

“Right,” Harry repeated. “Fudge obviously wants me dead, you were right about that.”

Draco frowned. “I didn’t… I’d heard rumors about a prophecy, of course but I had no idea what it was about. I know that my Dad talked about it occasionally.” He leaned in the doorway of the bathroom. “But I got the feeling he was talking about it like it had already came true.”

“Because I lived and Voldemort was killed, at least briefly.” Harry touched his scar. “I need to make an appointment with Mr. Riser. Aren’t there laws about prophecies? Can Fudge just release something like that to the public without asking me?”

Draco shook his head abruptly. “Actually, no, he can’t. Prophecies concerning individuals are supposed to be private.”

“Good.” Harry glared at the mirror and snorted when it blithely told him that he looked quite angry. “This is not me, angry, sweetheart—this is me mildly irritated.”

“Gorgeous,” Draco murmured and laughed when Harry blushed. He held out a hand which Harry took quickly. He tugged him gently into the bedroom. “Let’s pretend we don’t have anything better than to do than make out.”

Harry quirked one eyebrow and let Draco drag him onto the bed. “Who would’ve thought we’d end up here?”

“No one remotely sane,” Draco returned dryly as he ran his fingers through Harry’s hair. He cupped the back of his head and pulled him in gently—giving him time to change his mind or disagree.

Harry moaned softly against Draco’s mouth and they sank into each other. By the time they broke for air, Harry was settled between Draco’s legs. He laughed softly. “I…”

Draco took a deep breath. “Hey, Potter.”

“Hey, Malfoy.” Harry shifted slightly and watched Draco’s eyes widen and blur with a mixture of surprise and pleasure. The amount of clothes between them seemed inconsequential at that moment—the heat of Malfoy’s erection was burning against his and he shivered. “This is… is this okay?”

“Yeah,” Draco murmured, breathless as he shifted his legs and cradled Harry between them. “Good. It’s very good.”

“Good.” Harry pressed his mouth against Draco’s again and the blond fisted one hand in his hair as they started to move. Each little shift and thrust brought them both closer. He lifted his mouth and they shuddered together—breath mingling as they sought release. “Merlin, Draco.”

“I can’t believe…” Draco broke off and arched under Harry with a soft breathless moan. “So close, Harry.”

“I know.” Harry buried his face against Draco’s neck and ran one hand down his side to slide it under the blonde’s ass. Their movements became harder and faster in the seconds that followed until Malfoy made a choked sound and thrust up hard against him. Harry moaned and pressed an open mouth kiss against Draco’s neck and came.

“Merlin.” Draco relaxed on the bed and laughed softly. “I hope the rest of the house isn’t shaking like this bed is.”

Harry blushed furiously and reached out blindly for his magic, pulling it back into him with a huff. “I can’t believe…thank fuck that doesn’t happen when I…” He rolled off Malfoy and threw one arm over his face. “Just imagine how much damage Gryffindor tower would have suffered over the last two years.”

Draco grinned and turned his head so he could see him. “Can I ask you a question?”

“I think under the circumstances—you can ask me anything you’d like.” He rubbed his stomach to ease the sudden case of nerves.

“Are you… have you ever been with someone?”

“No. I mean,” Harry took a deep breath. “Well, not exactly.”

“That answer doesn’t… make any sense at all, Potter.” Draco huffed and glared at his friend with icy grey eyes.

Harry rolled onto his side and propped his head so he could look at Draco without straining his neck. “When you put on the Malfoy ring, what did it give you?”

Draco frowned. “Knowledge of all of the Malfoy properties, wards, connections to all of the house elves that had pledged themselves to my House, and a profound urge to pick up the Family grimoire. I spent two weeks reading it. I found that I retained every single word. After I finished reading it—I was able to concentrate on other things and start going through the Family business holdings.”

“Right.” Harry took a deep breath. “My ring.” He looked down at the ring in question and used his thumb to twist it on his finger. “Gave me all of that, too. Though I’d already read the majority of the family grimoire by the time I put on the ring. In the week that followed, when I was bombarded daily by the Family magic and I started to realize I knew family secrets—things that hadn’t been recorded in the grimoire. Then I started to remember events from my father’s life, my grandfather—important events.”

“Like?”

“Like my parents wedding, my own birth. Thank Merlin, my father never put sex memories in the ring but some of my other ancestors weren’t so discreet.” Harry blushed when Draco laughed. “Have you ever used a pensive?”

Draco nodded. “Only with my father. I have one in my office at the manor. I’m sure you’ve got one around here.”

Harry sighed. “Right, it’s in my office in a locked cabinet. There are memories in the cabinet. The grimoire told me. Memories that were added to the ring and some that weren’t.”

“So, you haven’t had sex with another person but you have memories of sex.”

“Right,” Harry nodded and sighed. “The ring has proven to be very educational beyond the sex. Each of the men in my family who wore it before me also seemed to imbue it with their understandings of different magical subjects like ancient runes and transfiguration. My father was a genius at transfiguration. I spent a few nights dreaming through his memories on the subject. It’s very odd.”

“Do the memories always come in dreams?”

“No. Sometimes the ring urges me and gives me flashes of intuition about how I should act in a certain situation. It’s not sentient like Mehen.” He touched the snake still coiled on his wrist and then groaned. “I can’t believe we just did what we did with him right here.”

Draco glanced at the snake that he’d only seen once before in his life before his mother had given it to Harry. “I supposed he’s been around long enough that two teenagers rubbing off together isn’t too shocking.”

Harry bit down on his bottom lip to keep from laughing. “Did it bother you when your mother gave him to me?”

“No.” Draco shook his head. “Owning Mehen is a calling I think and very few people deserve to have something so pure and magical in their life.” He reached out and touched the little snake and Mehen uncoiled slowly and wrapped himself around Draco’s fingers in a little hug. “He was meant for you, I think.” He grinned when the little snake hissed and returned to Harry’s wrist.

– – – –

Harry dropped down in front of his desk with the small book that he’d found in the library about the rules of the Wizengamot and frowned deeply as the Headmaster appeared in a flash of phoenix flame. Apparently being kidnapped by Willaby and brought to the property had given Dumbledore some tacit permission to drop in whenever he bloody well felt like it.

“I see you received your summons.” Albus sat down in the large wing backed chair in front of the desk and arranged himself carefully.

Harry sighed. “Tea, Professor?”

“That would be lovely, Harry.” Albus smiled and his eyes twinkled so brightly that Harry had to swallow hard not to snort.

“Franky.” The little elf appeared immediately on his right and offered him a bright eyed smile.

“Yes, Master Harry Potter!”

Harry couldn’t help but grin at him. He was the youngest of the Potter elves and had been the last elf to pledge himself to the Family prior to James Potter’s death. “Please arrange tea for the Headmaster. Bring some of those lemon biscuits, I believe he’ll like those best.”

“Right away!” Franky popped away with an audible pop that had first surprised Harry but Dobby had informed him that elves learned over time to do it silently and that Franky was doing quite well for being just thirty years old. The elf returned quickly with the tea pot and a small table that appeared in place beside the headmaster.

“Oh.” Albus reached out for one of the biscuits. “Your mother used to bring these to me sometimes… lovely. She liked lemon, too. One of the few students I’ve ever had that I actually had to fill up my candy bowl after she visited.”

Harry smiled at that, not really surprised because his father had told him about his mother’s affection for all things lemon. “Is there something you wanted to talk about, sir?”

“Yes, you’ll claim your seats in the Wizengamot next week and I’m aware that you will act in Sirius’ place as well. With that much power at your disposal, you’ll have the eyes of many throughout the proceedings. The rules of the court are rather simple and I’m sure the book you’ve pulled will educate on the proper decorum.” Albus started to prepare his tea as he continued. “Did you have any questions for me about the process?”

“If I don’t attend every session, will my seat come into question?”

“No, we must have two-thirds of the available seats filled in order to conduct business but it is rare that every chair is filled. Popular criminal trials often bring everyone out for the spectacle of it—as you might imagine.” He sighed. “And often when there are laws to be passed that are popular among the pure bloods, the court will fill up for those votes as well. You’ll find you’ll be courted for your votes on certain measures and as you grow into your position—you’ll gather like minds around you among your peers that will help you pass legislation you favor. It is the nature of such organizations.”

Harry nodded. “Voting blocks, you mean. If I can gather a strong enough voting bloc—I’ll be able to temper the Ministry of Magic’s stupidity.”

Albus grinned. “Exactly so, my boy.”

“What do I do about Fudge and the prophecy?”

“I don’t know,” Albus admitted. “It is a strange situation, Harry. No one but you and Voldemort should’ve been able to access the prophecy. Since I was there when it was done and Sybil doesn’t actually remember giving it—I’m at a loss as to who would have released it to the public.”

“You didn’t.”

“No, if you wish—I’ll swear a wizard’s oath.”

“Not necessary,” Harry said and held out a hand when the older wizard had reached for his wand. “I trust that you wouldn’t put me at risk in such a way, Professor. Tell me about… how did I become a target when I was little?”

“Someone overheard the first part of the prophecy,” Albus admitted. “A young Death Eater who had no way of knowing who would be the target of Tom’s ire once he heard the words. Once he knew… he tried to do the right thing by coming to me. That’s why your parents went into hiding in the first place.”

Harry cleared his throat. “It was Snape.”

“How…” Albus sighed. “Yes, it was Severus. How did you guess?”

“Sometimes he looks at me like he hates me,” Harry murmured. “And sometimes he looks at me like he’ll never do enough to atone for something. Additionally, I don’t believe the hostility between him and Sirius could solely be because of the night Remus almost bit Snape. It would have been enough but Snape is a Slytherin and he, above most, would understand how angry pain can make someone. I can’t see him not forgiving Sirius for what happened, especially since my Dad stepped in unless things escalated further. I knew that he took the Dark Mark eventually—that means that things escalated beyond their control.”

Albus sighed. “It’s a harsh thing what heart break will do to lives of so many, Harry. I do hope you understand that—the true power of love and the hate that can take its place in the passage of time.”

“I do.” Harry looked down at his desk. “I grew up surrounded by hate. I know it wasn’t your intention but that was my circumstances. Vernon Dursley hated me for existing—for being a living example that there were things outside of his control. Muggles like him fear and hate magic because it can’t be controlled or understood by their methods.”

“It’s good that you understand his perspective.”

“Perhaps,” Harry agreed. “At least it will prevent me from making his mistakes. Learning from just my own mistakes won’t be enough if I’m to survive.” He paused and cleared his throat. “That is on your agenda, right? My survival? Because, I have to tell you, sir, I don’t feel like it has been in the past.”

Albus paled dramatically and set aside his tea. “Harry.”

“Tell me honestly, could you have gotten me out of the Tri-Wizard Tournament?”

Albus looked down at his hands and nodded. “I could have but it would have required cancelling the entire thing and the Ministry had invested a great deal of money in the event. Crouch and Fudge were understandably unwilling to go that route and they felt it wasn’t so dangerous that you could not survive it. After you did so well in the first task, they were even less willing to listen to me about ending the tournament. I would do anything to undo what was done that night, Harry.”

“Perhaps it’s best that it happened when it did. Instead of worrying how and when Tom Riddle will return—we only have to worry about ending him in such a way that he never has the chance to return again.” Harry rubbed his thumb along the spine of the book on the desk in front of him. “How goes the hunt for the Horcruxes?”

“Bill and Charlie Weasley are leading a research and retrieval team for the items. I’m giving them all the information they need and things are going as well as we can expect. We’ve retrieved one and it is being kept in a vault at Gringotts. Ragnok is helping us explore avenues for destruction.”

“The basilisk fang worked well for the diary,” Harry said dryly and grinned when the Headmaster smiled. “That’s a little dramatic though. Can I help?”

“I’d rather not expose you to the objects unless we find we have no choice,” Albus murmured. “You were able to destroy the diary but we can’t be sure you still can now that your curse scar has been healed.”

“Right.” Harry nodded. “That is something to consider. The soul fragment in the diary didn’t have anywhere to go in the chamber because I already had a piece… unless it did join the piece I already had in my head. I have no way of knowing otherwise.” He touched his scar and then looked away from the headmaster in an effort to gather his thoughts. “I’m surprised you haven’t asked about that night.”

“I viewed Severus’ memory of the event in my pensive,” Albus admitted softly. “I’m sorry that you had to go through such a thing.”

“I don’t remember much after Sirius arrived,” Harry admitted. “It’s all hazy and indistinct like a dream of a dream if that makes any kind of sense. I’m glad I don’t remember it.”

“So am I, my boy.” Albus reached out and plucked the rest of the lemon biscuits off the small plate with a little blush. “I’ll be going. Will you need my assistance getting to court next week or will Bill Weasley handle your travel?”

“I’ve already informed Bill that I will need him,” Harry admitted. “He said he would be available to take me. I may need your help afterward, I doubt Minister Fudge will let the opportunity to corner me pass by.”

“No, agreed.”

– – – –

Harry let his fingers drift over the smooth, glossy surface of the soul orb and sat back with his bottle of butter beer when his father flowed out of it like a genie out of a bottle. “I sort of had sex with Draco.”

James blinked in surprise. “Well, that’s not the kind of thing I anticipated talking about when I made this.” He shoved his hands into his jeans and rocked back on his heels. “Aren’t you a little young for that?”

Harry shrugged. “Maybe. I don’t know. It wasn’t sex, per say but it was far more intimate than I’ve ever been with anyone.” He blushed and averted his gaze. “And it’s pretty much all I think about now.”

“Not surprising,” James pursed his lips. “I was fifteen, too.”

“If this involves my mother…”

James laughed. “No, actually. It was a shop girl working in Diagon Ally during the summer before my fifth year. She was a pretty witch—she’d been at Hogwarts but graduated my third year. Your mother hated her quite a lot when she found out. I don’t know how she found out but girls talk about things when you expect they wouldn’t.” He made a show of sitting in the chair in front of Harry and they both shared the same grin over the feat. “So, are you interested in witches at all?”

“I thought so but…” He waved his bottle briefly as if that would explain it. “Not so much any anymore. I just think about him and that’s stupid because I was pretty sure I hated his guts. I mean all we’ve done since we met is argue and try to hex each other. He was a complete prat to me and up until recently I would have much rather punched him in the face than do just about anything else. Now, I want to crawl on top of him and just…” Harry trailed off and sighed. “That’s probably crossing some line but let’s just say that punching him isn’t on my agenda anymore.”

James chuckled. “Well, Potter’s have always liked a challenge that’s for certain. Your mother drove me to distraction and most of the time I didn’t know whether I was coming or going when it came to her. When she finally agreed to go out with me, I was so relieved I damn near fainted. Sirius and Remus were horrible to me over it but I didn’t care. She was pretty much all I’d ever wanted since the moment I met her and I couldn’t imagine how I was going to get through life without her. It was a good thing she took pity on me.”

“Yeah,” Harry nodded. “Do you… did the two of you regret having me?”

James stared at him in silence for a few seconds. “Harry.”

“It’s okay if you did—if you’d waited until you were older or whatever—then Voldemort wouldn’t have killed you to get to me.”

“Harry,” James sighed. “Do you believe in destiny?”

“I wish I didn’t.”

He laughed. “Your mother said the same thing to me once. We wanted you so much and when you were born—it was the best thing that ever happened to us. Even after Albus told us the prophecy. Alice and Frank Longbottom were sitting in his office with us. I remember Lily taking a deep breath and closing her eyes because we both knew the prophecy was about you.”

“It could have been Neville.”

James shook his head. “Neville was a bright baby but Harry—we could feel the magic in you practically from the moment you were born. You were summoning your toys by the time you were five months old. The Healer suggested we put a block on your magic to keep you safe but Lily refused—she refused because she thought if we put a block on you that you might not be strong enough to survive whatever Voldemort had planned to do to you.”

“The night it happened… how did I survive?”

“I don’t remember, son.” James grimaced. “This orb was created before that night happened. I know your mother had plans to do a protective ritual she’d read about and but she was nervous about it because it was going to require blood—yours, hers, and her sisters. I don’t know how she retrieved Petunia’s blood but we were ready to do the ritual shortly before I made the orb. In fact, I was able to make this orb because your mother was so distracted preparing for the ritual that she didn’t notice what I was up to until it was too late. She was furious, of course.”

“I bet.” Harry frowned and stared at his butter beer. “I remember it. I remember hearing  a fight downstairs and him killing mum. Then there was a green light. The next thing I remember is flying. Hagrid brought me to Petunia’s house on Sirius’ bike. I had dreams about flying for years after that. But I didn’t remember him killing you and mum until my third year when I was exposed to a Dementor for the first time.”

– – – –

“Lord Harry James Potter, House of Potter and Heir Regent to the House of Black.” Harry watched the other members of the Wizengamot adjust to the fact that he currently had his own vote and Sirius Black’s proxy. He took his seat and his gaze met Draco’s from across the room. Draco inclined his head as Harry activated the two Seals of Judgment he’d been presented with as he’d entered the room.

The Wizengamot met quarterly to handle serious cases that the lower courts couldn’t legally pass judgment on like murder, major thefts, land disputes involving Nobles, and oddly enough Muggle abuse. He’d voted with the other members all morning—mostly because they hadn’t done anything stupid as he understood it. The fifth case of the morning was a man accused of murdering his son.

Harry had read through the Healer’s report with shaking hands, aware that more than one person in the room was watching him. Dumbledore was in place and Draco looked sick with disgust. Most of the wizards on the court were simply too horrified to ask any questions. The silence was deafening.

He tapped his wand and Dumbledore’s gaze settled on him with sadness and resignation mixed. Harry figured the man didn’t want to ask questions either.

“Lord Potter, you have the floor.”

“Mr. Wells-Abbey, it is your testimony that you never struck the child without cause.”

The man fidgeted under the weight of the Boy Who Lived’s gaze. “He was a problem child.”

“And you, a wizard of forty years found yourself unable to control an eleven year old child to such a degree that your only recourse was physical abuse?”

“I did not abuse my son!”

“He’s dead, Mr. Wells-Abbey, cursed to death by your own hand. If that does not fit your definition of abuse, I would find myself quite afraid of how you would define it.” His gaze narrowed. “And you’ll find that I don’t fear much of anything.”

Bodies shifted in the quiet of the courtroom as that small and rather undeniable fact settled around them.

“I am…” The man trailed off.

“What you are, Mr. Wells-Abbey is a coward, and as foul as any man to have ever worn the Dark Mark. You preyed on a helpless child, your own helpless child,” Harry responded, evenly. His tone was mild and as smooth as silk. He flipped through the papers in front of him. “You were tested for all manner of curses and found to be in perfect health an hour following the event. In fact, the mediwitch who examined you for the DMLE commented that you didn’t even appear to be mentally agitated to learn that you had in fact killed your child. While your wife had to be restrained and eventually sedated.”

“Simone is prone to hysterics but even she admits that the child’s death was an accident. He was being punished and it got out of hand.”

The Wizarding photos of the scene were rather disturbing. The boy’s body was twisted an unnatural angle.

Draco tapped his wand and Harry slumped briefly in relief.

“Lord Malfoy, you have the floor.”

“Mr. Wells-Abbey, you admit that you punished your child with a curse and due to his previously undocumented heart condition he died.”

“Yes.”

“The DMLE was unable to determine what curse you used because your wand was used by your wife in an effort to heal the child as he lay dying.” Draco slowly lowered his own wand to the desk in front of him. “Tell me, Mr. Wells-Abbey, what made you use the incarcerous curse on Joshua?”

The man flinched at the use of his son’s name. “He ran.”

“From you?” Draco questioned. “Why on Earth would he have run from you? His own father?”

The man lurched and Harry knew he was fighting the Veritaserum he’d been given before the court process had begun. “Because I hexed him.”

“With what?”

“Reductor curse,” Wells-Abbey spat and lurched against the magical chains.

Draco leaned forward and inclined his head. “Mr. Wells-Abbey, did you visit a shop in Nocturn Ally called The Snake’s Nest?”

The man hissed and screamed at Draco. “Blood Traitor!” He jerked at the chains. “Yes. Yes. Damn you.”

“Let the record show that The Snake’s Nest is a shop in Nocturn Ally that specializes in testing children to see which House they will be sorted in at Hogwarts.”

Harry tapped his wand. Dumbledore leaned forward. “You have the floor, Lord Potter.”

“Mr. Wells-Abbey, what House were you a part of when you attended Hogwarts?” Harry lowered his wand at Dumbledore’s discreet cough and let it sit harmless on the surface in front of him.

“Slytherin.”

“What House was Joshua predicted to be sorted into Mr. Wells-Abbey?” Harry questioned and frowned when the man gagged in his effort not to respond.

“Gryffindor,” the man hissed.

“You caused your child to go into cardiac arrest due to suffocation because of the House he would be sorted in?” Dumbledore demanded. “Are you insane?”

“His weakness was a threat to my entire family,” Wells-Abbey hissed.

Harry was numb throughout the rest of the process, horrified that children he went to school with could be condemned by their own parents just because a magical hat decided what house they belonged in. When it came time to vote—no one in the room hesitated to vote guilty.

“The court acknowledges Mrs. Narcissa Malfoy.”

Harry straightened up as Narcissa swept into the room with a pair of lawyers, a goblin, and a metal box.

“Ladies and gentlemen of the Wizengamot,” Narcissa began and offered them a beautiful smile. Most of the wizards in the room shifted in their chairs and Harry fought back a laugh. “May I present Director Ragnok, Chief of the Goblin Court. Ragnok has been so kind as to help me with a family matter.” She carelessly tossed the metal box into the center of the room and flicked her wand at it. The cage magically expanded and a small rat inside it was forced into its human form. “Peter ‘Wormtail’ Pettigrew. Most of you may remember him as the so-called victim of my cousin Lord Sirius Black. While others might have heard in the certified testimony of Lord Harry James Potter that he recently helped the Dark Lord, Voldemort return.”

Dumbledore leaned forward and frowned at Peter. “I am most disappointed in you, Mr. Pettigrew.” He sat back, eyes twinkling. “Narcissa, may I be the first to congratulate you on the construction of a better mouse trap.”

Narcissa inclined her head and flicked her hair over her shoulder. “Ragnok will provide you with Mr. Pettigrew’s certified testimony proving my dear cousin, Lord Sirius Black, was imprisoned unjustly and therefore must be declared innocent.”

Fudge, who sat second tier in the court with fifteen other people from the Ministry, tapped his wand.

Dumbledore frowned. “Minister Fudge, you have the floor.”

“Since Sirius Black escaped prison has committed many other crimes since that escape, Mrs. Malfoy. He is not an innocent man!” Fudge spat.

“I would caution you, Minister Fudge, against slandering my cousin’s good name,” Narcissa began. “My solicitor has already prepared a lawsuit against the Ministry for the wrongful imprisonment of Lord Sirius Black. That he was put in prison without a trial is complete a miscarriage of justice. If my cousin does not receive justice today. I will file this lawsuit on his behalf.”

“Are you blackmailing the Ministry of Magic?”

“Of course not, Minister, I am forewarning you of my intentions to sue you.” Narcissa arched one blond eyebrow when Fudge started to sputter. “Do be careful, Cornelius, you don’t want to hurt my feelings do you? It’s an election year.”

Harry laughed abruptly and sat up when she turned to look at him. He tapped his wand and Dumbledore gave him the floor. “I’m going to buy you diamonds. Lots of diamonds.”

Narcissa smiled and blushed prettily. “They are a witch’s best friend, my dear Lord Potter.”

“And a witch such as you deserves nothing less than her weight in them,” Harry said and offered her a gentle salute with his wand which half the men in the room repeated after him.

– – – –

Harry wasn’t surprised that he didn’t get out of the Ministry building without being prodded into Fudge’s office. He refused tea as they were seated and watched Draco make a show of getting settled. He was easily the snottiest wizard that Harry knew. He swallowed back a smirk as Draco leveled a cool-eyed stare at Fudge that would have made Lucius crow with delight.

“I wanted to apologize personally for the security failure that lead to the revelation of the prophecy related to you and the Dark Lord, Harry.”

Harry’s gaze narrowed. “My solicitor is researching my legal options, Minister Fudge. You do understand that an apology is hardly enough for making me a target for every living Death Eater.”

Dumbledore finished preparing his tea and swished his wand over the cup without apology. “Yes, it is very unfortunate about your mistake, Minister. Someone on your staff has put Harry at grave risk.”

Fudge fussed with his own tea and glared briefly at Dumbledore before glancing towards Malfoy, “I believe we’d best to discuss the situation of your future security without Lord Malfoy.”

Harry put his hand on Draco’s arm when the blond tensed in his place beside him on the couch. “I trust Draco with my life, Minister Fudge. That being said, I won’t be discussing my future security with you. It’s not your problem.”

“You are the Chosen One, Harry.”

“Lord Potter,” Harry snapped. “I have not given you leave to call me by my given name and do be careful about calling me anything so ridiculous as the chosen one to the press.” He stood abruptly. “Lord Malfoy, I believe we’re finished here.”

“Quite right, Lord Potter.” Draco stood. “We should go have lunch with your godfather. Throw him a party and get him some… entertainment. I could firecall my Uncle Leenus for recommendations.”

“We should.”

Chapter Eight

Keira Marcos

In my spare time I write fan fiction and lead a cult of cock worshippers on Facebook. It's not the usual kind of hobby for a "domestic engineer" in her 30's but we live in a modern world and I like fucking with people's expectations.

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