He woke with the sun on his face and Draco rubbing his ass against his morning wood. Harry groaned and sighed as he settled on hand on Malfoy’s hip to still him. “Good morning.”
Draco stretched leisurely and relaxed against Harry. “You’ve ruined my fun, Potter.”
He laughed. “Did I?” He let his hand slide off Draco’s hip and dip right down between his legs. Draco groaned and spread his legs without hesitation as Harry cupped him.
“Oh, Harry.” Draco flexed his hips. “That’s good.”
“Your libido is going to increase because of the Veela traits, right?” Harry whispered softly as he shifted his hand. Finally, he slid his fingers under the waist band of the pajama bottoms and wrapped his hand around Draco’s cock for the first time. “I want to be everything you need, Dragon.”
“If you’re worried I’m going to find someone in my house to get off with…”
“No.” Harry started to stroke him carefully, gently. “I trust you and even without the mate bond you’re going to require in the next few years—I know you’re only for me.”
“Yes, only for you.” Draco arched against the steady pressure of his hand and groaned. “That’s perfect, Harry. So perfect.”
“Is it?” Harry questioned. “This is how I do myself… I like to take my time and draw it out as long as possible.” He stroked his thumb over the head of Draco’s cock. “I think about you when I do this. I think about how much I want to touch and kiss you.” He sucked the skin of Draco’s neck below the ear and pressed his own aching dick against the Malfoy’s ass. “I think about sliding into you—fucking you. Do you want that as much as I do?”
“Yes,” Draco admitted softly and pushed into Harry’s hand with a soft groan. “I want you so much.”
“Do you want to take me? Do you want to slide your pretty cock into my mouth? Do you want to fuck me?” Harry questioned. “Because I’ll let you, Dragon. I’ll let you do anything you want.”
“Harry.” Malfoy shuddered and came over Harry’s fingers with a harsh groan. He laughed weakly. “You’re so filthy, Potter.”
Harry pulled his hand from Draco’s pajamas as he turned in his arms and licked his fingers. “You taste good.”
Draco leaned in and kissed him firmly. He slid his hand down the front of Harry’s pajamas. They shifted and he prodded Harry onto his back with a soft sigh and then pulled his waistband away so he could get better access. Harry helpfully lifted his hips and sighed when Draco worked the material around his hard cock. “Don’t… don’t do anything you aren’t comfortable with.”
Draco grinned and nodded. “I just want to see you—watch you come.”
Harry shivered as Malfoy worked his pajama pants and boxers down over his hips and exposed his dick to the cool morning air. Lips glanced over the flesh of his belly and he thrust his fingers into Draco’s hair with shuddery exhale. “You’re… Merlin, Draco.”
– – – –
Harry and Draco found themselves in Dumbledore’s office during their free period. Arthur Weasley and Narcissa came through the floo shortly after they arrived. Harry said nothing as tea was arranged. Draco, however, lost patience with the silence.
Narcissa sent her son a cool look and he raised an eyebrow. She huffed. “Sometimes you look so much like your father—I want to smack you one.”
Arthur snorted into his tea and then set it aside with a sigh. “The Healer’s at St. Mungo’s have worked with Ginny and she’s quite ill…” He trailed off as the floo activated again.
A woman came through that Harry had never met before and but had seen at the Wizengamot. He remembered she was the head of the DMLE, Amelia Bones. She was quickly settled into the area around the fire.
“Amelia, I was telling Lord Malfoy and Harry about my daughter’s condition.”
Amelia nodded and focused on Draco. “While she is not at all remorseful—she was under an Imperious Curse so we can’t charge her with her actions. The spell work wasn’t great but the memory charm was very good. We can’t determine where the potion came from or who cursed her to begin with.”
“I understand,” Draco said as he sat back in his chair and crossed his legs casually. “I’d rather not see her punished—considering my father’s reputation and his own involvement in her mental state it is better if I’m seen taking the high road in such circumstances. Demanding that a fourteen year old child be sent to prison doesn’t make me exactly sympathetic.”
Arthur Weasley relaxed. “Thank you, Lord Malfoy.”
“Please, Mr. Weasley, call me Draco. Is there… a chance she can be cured of her mental issues?”
Arthur shook his head. “It’s not as if she has spell damage from her time in the Chamber of Secrets. The experience itself broke her mind and changed her—they’ve determined her to be quite insane.”
Harry paled and set aside his tea when his hand started to shake. “What will… what are the options for treating her?”
“We are considering what to do,” Arthur murmured. “Molly wanted to bring her home but we know that’s impossible. She can’t be trusted on her own and the doctors have recommended that we allow them to drain her magic to render her less dangerous.”
“I’ll establish a medical trust to take care of her,” Draco said and held up a hand when Arthur protested. “It is my father’s fault, Mr. Weasley, that she was exposed to the Dark Lord’s diary. My family is morally obligated to see to her care. Please choose the facility for long term care you are most comfortable with and my solicitor will be in contact with you to arrange the fees for the medical personnel.”
“She nearly killed you,” Arthur murmured. “I am surprised, frankly, that you’re willing to even discuss such things as moral obligations.”
“Had she not been exposed to Tom Riddle and then cursed with an Unforgiveable—her childish jealousy might have manifested itself in spreading rumors, screaming matches, and rather harmless hexes in the halls,” Draco continued and then put his hand on Harry’s arm aware that he was still trembling. “Mr. Weasley, I can’t pretend my father would have made this offer but I would consider it a personal favor if you would allow my family to do this for your family.”
Arthur took a deep breath and then nodded sadly. “Yes, and thank you.”
– – – –
Three hours later, Harry and Draco were in the courtyard with a mixture of friends that many in Hogwarts would have thought impossible even four months before. They’d transfigured a table and chairs out of rocks to enjoy the afternoon and handle a few assignments.
Harry and Draco both had set up on one end to handle ‘business issues’ which everyone quickly learned meant the two of them plotting to ruin one Terence Marcus the third. They made plans for over an hour—including Harry buying the competing magical book publisher and running Marcus out of business. Draco wanted to buy all the land around his ancestral home and develop it for potion ingredient farming which would lower the value of his estate and make it quite undesirable to even live there considering how dangerous potion farms could be.
Hermione cleared her throat. “Harry, don’t you think it’s unkind to ruin this man? What did he do to you?”
Harry put down his quill. “Winky bring Ollie.” Winky appeared beside him immediately with the baby, she offered him to Harry with a smile. “How is he doing?”
“He has four teeth!” Winky proclaimed proudly. “His magics are strong again. Ollie is good baby.”
Harry stroked Ollie’s head with careful fingers and the baby wiggled happily in his hands. “Winky, would it be okay if Hermione held your baby?”
Winky nodded shyly. “Yes.”
Harry offered Hermione the baby and he noticed the witch’s eyes were filling with tears even as she reached out. “You okay there?”
Hermione nodded as she settled the baby close to her chest and tears spilled down her cheeks. “You… do you know how rare it is to see an elf baby, Harry?” She let Ollie catch her finger in one hand. “What does the baby have to do with the man you and Draco are going to ruin?”
Harry took a deep breath. “Ollie’s birth mother was named Libby. She is buried at Potter Manor in the elf cemetery there. Terence Marcus was her bonded master and when Libby refused to give him her son for a forced servant bond—he beat her and her mate to death. As she lay dying, Libby gave me her magic and her son to take care of. I was fortunate to find a willing and compatible new mother in Winky, which is why she is now bonded to my House.”
Hermione frowned. “I thought… bonds can’t be forced. It’s what I read in the book about elves.”
“House elves are normally bonded in their fifteenth year,” Draco murmured. “That’s when they reach maturity and the full brunt of their magic settles. They have until they reach the age of fifty to achieve a bond with a Wizarding house hold without worrying about becoming ill. That bond can be forced on them shortly after their birth because infants are uniquely vulnerable to magic the first year of their life. Some Wizarding families force their female elves to breed and give over their off spring for bonding within days of birth because elf knowledge is inherited. Ollie was born with all of the skills and practical knowledge of both of his parents. He’s quite valuable.”
Hermione nodded and carefully handed Ollie back to Winky. “He is beautiful, Winky, you are a lucky elf to have him for a baby.”
“Ollie is special,” Winky responded. “Touched by Master Harry’s magic.” She turned to Harry with a questioning look. “Can we visit my mum at St. Mungo’s?”
Harry gaped in surprise. “Of course, Winky, any time your duties allow it.” Winky smiled brightly and disappeared. He sighed and rubbed his face. “Dobby.”
Dobby popped into place immediately. “Yes, Master Harry?”
“Do you have any family living?”
“My brother.” Dobby glanced towards Draco and smiled. “I sees him every day.”
Harry laughed. “Elbe is your brother. Right. I should have known. Please go tell Willaby that all of the elves in our family are welcome to visit their families and they may start searching for mates if that is their choice. I’ll be available to accept bonds from females if they chose to mate at this time.” He glanced towards Hermione who was scribbling furiously on a new piece of parchment as Dobby blinked away. “What are you doing?”
“Making a list of horrible things you and Draco can do that bastard Terence Marcus the third,” Hermione muttered as she glared at her parchment. “Horrible but legal things. You should hire a private investigator to follow him. It’s too bad the Prophet has that Serpent of Truth policy thing going on because we could cause a lot of havoc if Rita still worked there.” She chewed the end of her quill. “I should find out where she’s working now and feed her some information about him. She won’t care if it’s true or not.” She turned to Theo Nott. “Doesn’t your father own part of the Wizarding London Times?”
Theo nodded, clearly stunned. “You said bastard, Granger.”
She huffed. “Keep up, Theo, Harry and Draco need our help destroying this horrible elf murdering wizard!”
“Right.” Theo nodded and pulled out a fresh piece of parchment. “You’re pretty when you’re angry, Granger, I like it. I’ll just write my Dad. He likes elves because he hates manual labor. All of our elves are treated very well, you know. They even get vacation when we can talk them into taking it.”
Hermione eyed him thoughtfully and then turned to glare at Ron. “Well? Why aren’t you looking for the twins? Because if we’re going to get revenge on this jerk we’re going to need epic level pranks, Ron. Once Draco and Harry find out where he lives—we’ll make his life a living a hell.” She turned to Daphne. “Did I see some howler parchment in your stationary compartment? Can I borrow one?”
Daphne Greengrass smirked. “Sure, Granger, are you going to get Mrs. Weasley in on this? She sends the best Howlers ever.”
“I’ve been taking pointers from her,” Hermione admitted. “I’ve really refined my volume and vehemence over the summer. I think I can handle this.”
Draco nudged Harry who was staring at his friend in shock. “You’ve created a monster, Harry.”
“Nah, I just gave her a cause. She’s been upset for weeks about S.P.E.W. Now that she realizes that liberating the house elves would kill them, she’s been looking for a new thing to rally against. Everyone needs a hobby.”
Daphne turned to Harry suddenly. “Higgs is convinced you’re going to kill him.”
Harry frowned. “I wouldn’t kill him on school property, Daphne. It wouldn’t be a proper example for the first years.”
Draco watched the whole table go completely silent. Draco grinned and sighed. “Merlin, Potter, you warm my very soul.”
Harry smirked and opened the next letter in his pile. “I think we should hire a PI to gather information on that Marcus fellow—perhaps two. One to be sneaky about it and one to be very obvious about it.”
“Why obvious?” Theo questioned.
“So he’ll get paranoid and feel threatened,” Harry muttered as he unfolded the letter in his hand. “Trust me nothing feels quite like that. He’ll be miserable for months.”
As you may know I have announced my intention to seek the office of Minister of Magic. In three weeks time, I will have my first fund raiser and it would be an honor if you would attend.
I have followed you since you began your attendance at Hogwarts and have been able to watch you play several games. Admittedly, I was surprised to see you playing in your first year but you certainly proved to be an entertaining and talented Seeker.
I had the privilege of watching your father play in my seventh year at Hogwarts. He was in his third year and like you he had a flare and unique passion for flying.
A formal invitation will follow within the week.
Harry set aside the seemingly innocent letter aside with a shaking hand and sat back in his chair, so furious that his magic shifted in him. Draco’s hand clamped down on his arm suddenly and he looked at his friend in surprise. “What?”
“Are you aware that you’re making the table shake?” Draco questioned gently.
Harry blushed furiously and took a deep breath to calm himself. “My apologies.”
Draco frowned but lifted his head. “Did someone threaten you?”
Harry shook his head and handed him the letter. He watched boredom and then fury drift over Draco’s face and relaxed even further. At least his anger didn’t feel unreasonable anymore.
“What a wanker,” Draco muttered. He tossed the letter back on Harry’s read pile with a sigh.
“He didn’t owl you?”
Draco smirked. “Of course not, Harry, I’m a blood traitor and the Victor family is as pure as they come. Twenty generations of magic but untitled. He hardly needs to do a fundraiser but candidates for the Minister of Magic can only spend a certain amount of their own money on campaigning. The rest has to come from donations. What he really wants is your endorsement so he’s willing to slum with a half-blood because you’re so famous.”
“Not bloody likely,” Harry muttered. “Do I have to endorse someone?”
“No, but it’s good politics. Most of members of the Wizengamot will endorse a candidate out of nothing more than self-interest.” Draco shrugged.
Harry sighed and pulled out a parchment. He wrote out a quick note and then turned slightly in his chair to stare at the Gryffindor tower. He picked up his wand and murmured a charm before whistling. The whistle was gentle but it resonated throughout the courtyard and Hedwig soon appeared—launching herself gracefully from the window of the tower and flying down to land on Harry’s arm.
“Hello beautiful,” Harry murmured as he stroked her head. “I need you to take a letter to Mr. Riser and you need not wait for a response.” Hedwig rubbed her beak against his hair as Harry attached the letter to her leg.
Draco watched the exchange with a small frown and sighed when the owl took flight. “You know—your owl is very strange.”
“She is not!” Harry protested.
“She is, mate,” Theo offered as he looked up from his text book. “Most wizards have to put a lot of effort and magic into creating a bond with a magical creature. It seems like you had one with that owl since you set eyes on her. Maybe it’s the wild magic thing.”
Harry played with his quill for a few seconds. “Owls are sensitive to emotions—they hate to be berated and expect to be indulged with treats when they work for you. Not to be melodramatic but Hedwig was the first magical creature I ever had any real contact with and I was fascinated by her. The night before I went to King’s Cross—I talked to her most of the night telling her basically everything I could think of about myself.” Harry shrugged when they all stared at him. “She was magic to me. The first tangible evidence of magic I’d ever gotten to touch really and it was very exciting.”
“You didn’t grow up knowing about magic?” Nott questioned, horror dawning on his face. “You’re the bloody Boy Who Lived!”
Harry laughed. “No, I didn’t know anything about the magical world before I received my letter for Hogwarts. I knew nothing. I didn’t even know how to get to the train.” He glanced towards Hermione. “I followed Ron’s family to the platform and Mrs. Weasley told me how to get through. I think she thought I was a Muggle-born. My hair was a bigger mess than it is now. Maybe she did see my scar but I don’t think she did that first time.”
“You didn’t know you were famous,” Daphne said in awe.
“Well, by that time I did. Hagrid had taken me shopping for my school things the day before and Diagon Ally had been an educational experience.” He glanced towards Draco who had the grace to blush. He laughed. “You were such a prat.”
Draco sighed. “You did look like a street urchin.”
“I bet.” Harry nodded. “I was wearing Dudley’s old clothes. In fact, the first new clothes I ever remember getting where the ones I bought for myself that day.” He opened up another letter and frowned. “Do I have an opinion about the proper thickness for cauldron bottoms?”
Draco sighed. “You’d better, Potter, it’s a serious matter. Inferior cauldrons are a dangerous problem in the potion making business and a thin bottom can result in improper heat distribution.”
“Neville is that why you keep blowing up cauldrons in Potions?” Harry asked.
Neville blushed from his place at the other end of the table where he and Luna had been silently working on their homework. “I’m just pants at potions, Harry.” He grinned when Harry laughed. “But I’m willing to consider that poorly made cauldrons are the root of my problem. It’s certainly what I plan to tell Gran when I owl her tomorrow.”
“Right.” Harry set aside the letter. “I’m sure that’s the root of my problems, too.”
Ron returned to the table with a big grin. “Fred and George are working on some pranks that can be sent via owl and stuff we can send through a floo.”
“Excellent,” Hermione said and pulled out her list which had been titled ‘How To Destroy A Lousy Elf Murdering Wizard In Twenty Menacing Steps’.
Draco snorted and flipped through several unopened letters before finding one he was interested in opening. He read through it and frowned. He glanced towards Daphne and Harry wondered what was in the letter. He didn’t have to wonder for long because Draco handed him the letter.
It is my honor to offer the hand of my youngest daughter, Astoria, in marriage. The marriage would be beneficial to both of your families. Astoria is currently attending Beauxbatons Academy of Magic but if you are interested in getting to know her before marriage—she could be transferred to Hogwarts for the next school year.
Lord Malcolm Greengrass
The House of Greengrass
“Daphne, did you owl your parents about…” Draco trailed off.
“You’re new sparkly assets?” Daphne questioned and grinned when he blushed. “Not yet, I was going to but got distracted by my valiant efforts to spread a vicious rumor about Pansy.” She propped her chin on her hand. “Why? Have they offered my sister in sacrifice?”
“Yes,” Draco said with a sigh.
She laughed. “They tried to tell me they were going to offer you me but Astoria insisted that if anyone should be Lady Malfoy—it should be her because she is as beautiful as you are.” Daphne shrugged. “I couldn’t argue with that at the time but now I’d have to say she looks like a hag compared to you.”
Draco rubbed his face. “Fine, I’m going to send your father a note telling him that I’m flattered but not interested. I would appreciate if you would send them a letter first telling them about my Veela traits so they’ll be relieved when I reject her.”
“Not a problem,” Daphne said and rummaged through her book-bag and pulled out her ink. “I can handle that. Though Mother will not be relieved. She’s been talking about a Malfoy-Greengrass wedding since she found out you ended the betrothal with Pansy after the funeral.”
“Right.” Draco sprawled back in his chair in an elegant display that made Harry want to take a bite out of him. It must have showed on his face because Malfoy smirked at him and his eyes brightened noticeably. “Don’t look at me like that, Potter, I don’t think our friends have adjusted to our new friendship enough for us to start snogging in front of them.”
“Oh, I have,” Hermione assured. “And I’m sure Daphne agrees with me.”
“I’m not ready!” Neville announced. “I need lots of time to adjust.”
The whole table burst out laughing and Harry rolled his eyes before returning to his mail.
“Harry, you need to work on your Charms essay.”
“I’ve finished all of my homework,” Harry murmured as he sorted the last ten pieces he’d received from his solicitor. The package of mail hadn’t been a surprise—they’d arranged for a weekly delivery unless the matter was urgent. “I even completed the bonus essay in Transfiguration for extra credit.” He looked up and found her staring at him in shock. “What?”
“It’s just…” She blushed. “Normally, I have to berate you for hours about your homework.”
Harry nodded. “Things are different now.”
“It isn’t like you need the money of a good job,” Ron pointed out and glanced at Harry’s piles. “Looks like you kind of already have a job, actually.”
“A powerful man is feared,” Harry began and then shrugged. “A smart man is respected. I don’t want to be feared but I can’t help that. I do, however, want to be respected. I can’t have people thinking I’m gullible or stupid.”
“Some wizards enjoy being feared,” Daphne pointed out. “Don’t you find it kind of amusing that Higgs fears you?”
“I don’t find anything about the situation with Higgs amusing,” Harry returned evenly. “Outside of Draco’s amusement that is. Terence Higgs is a bully and an idiot—I find him intolerable and I’m going to teach him a lesson he’ll remember every time he sees me for the rest of his life. That’s not about causing him fear, either.”
“Then what is it?” Hermione questioned.
“Making sure he understands the consequences of his actions. It seems to me the most damning aspect of Wizarding life is that we can do horrible things to each other and never be held accountable. Among Muggles, if you attacked someone unprovoked—say for instance if you punched them in the face—you could be charged with assault and jailed for it. In the Wizarding world, the entire adult population walks around armed and they hex each other casually without being held responsible for it.” Harry tossed aside his quill and waved his hand around. “It’s as if the magical world has little to no respect for the sanctity of life. It’s no wonder that wizards like Tom Riddle can come into power and galvanize others into discriminating against entire groups of people.”
“Tom Riddle,” Theo frowned. “Who is Tom Riddle?”
“That’s Voldemort’s real name,” Harry said evenly. “He went to school here, Theo. His father was a Muggle and his mother a witch. For all of his grandstanding and his lofty goals about a pure blood society—he’s not even one himself.”
Nott choked on his pumpkin juice. “You know what, Potter? That’s why some people fear you. How can you just say his name like that?”
“How can you not?” Harry questioned evenly. “He’s just… well he’s not even a man at this point. He’s like a snake on two legs if I’m going to be entirely honest, which is an insult to nature itself. His real power isn’t about the magic he has or the magic he uses from his own followers—it’s the fear he elicits in the people who don’t follow him that gives him his real power.” Harry played his quill as he considered his next words. “He won’t ever get that from me. I won’t fear him—not for love or money or even the threat of death.”
Draco focused on the parchment in front of him for a long minute and then said, “Voldemort.”
“Right.” Theo leaned forward and cleared his throat. “Voldemort.” He shivered slightly but smiled for his effort.
Hermione’s fingers clenched briefly, she’d had five years to have it drilled into her not to say the Dark Lord’s name. “Voldemort.”
Ron was red in the face but he closed his eyes and said it, “Vol—Voldemort.” He huffed and relaxed after he’d said it. “That’s the most horrible thing to say, Harry.”
“Only because he’s made the magical world his bitch,” Harry returned evenly. “You’re not going to let that bigoted idiot do that to you, are you? Not after what he did to Ginny.”
Ron shook his head and said it again, “Voldemort.”
“This is the oddest conversation,” Daphne exclaimed and then she took a big dramatic breath. “Voldemort is a wanker.”
Neville choked a little and his hands started to tremble. “Voldemort is a bigot.”
“Voldemort is a coward,” Harry summed up. “And we don’t fear cowards.”
– – – –
The front page of the Daily Prophet was dedicated to the announcement of the duel. On the third page, Harry found an article about the ministry’s efforts to find and force unregistered Animagus to register or face heavy fines. He knew he had until the age of twenty-five to register so he read the article only half-interested until he came to the part where they were going to start testing students at Hogwarts, especially those who had animagus in their family. He passed the article to Ron who read it with a frown on his face.
Harry glanced towards the professor’s table and wasn’t surprised to find McGonagall furious and Delores Umbridge staring at him with undisguised interest. After reading his family history, he knew that there was at least one Animagus in every generation. The likelihood that he wouldn’t be one was nearly impossible. But he was just in his fifth year and testing was supposed to be restricted to those who were in their seventh year. He figured his adult status and the state of his family magic would make him an exception. He looked over at Draco and found him looking very disgruntled.
– – – –
“They’ve both had their family magic settle so therefore they should be included in the seventh year testing,” Delores said firmly. “The spirit of the new law must be obeyed, Minerva.”
“Neither Lord Malfoy or Lord Potter have been taught the theory behind this level of transfiguration,” Minerva began, her voice as hard as steel. “The entire sixth year of Transfiguration is designed to prepare students for that level of human transfiguration, Delores. I realize you didn’t even achieve an OWL in Transfiguration but even you must remember not only how difficult the spell is but how horribly it can go wrong if it is done improperly. I will not condone experimentation on two fifteen year old boys and if the Minister of Magic doesn’t like it—he can pass another law just for the two of them. Though I can’t imagine that will serve him in his bid for re-election.”
“I will be informing the Board of Governors if your inability to do your job,” Delores responded. “The Minister, of course, may choose to interfere in this circumstance. It is dangerous for unregistered Animagus to exist and Potter’s situation is even more tenuous. He is a child with more power than he needs or even deserves—his mother was Muggle-born, for Merlin’s sake.”
Minerva glared at her. “Get out of my office, Delores, and do find something more constructive to do with your time than to tell me how to do my job.”
She sputtered and left in a huff. Minerva dropped down in her chair. After a few minutes, she called out for Dobby just to see if the elf would respond. She smiled briefly when he did.
“Yes, Mistress?” Dobby questioned, his hands tucked behind his back. “Would yous like some more cider?”
She would, actually, but she refrained from admitting it. “I need to speak with Lord Potter, Dobby.”
Dobby nodded and disappeared.
Fifteen minutes later there was a knock on her office door and Harry entered at her call. He was wearing a pair of jeans and cashmere jumper. The changes in him went much deeper than the clothes but they did remind her that he wasn’t the boy that had fidgeted in her class the year before.
“I read the article in the Prophet.” Harry sat down at her gesture to do so and Dobby appeared with a tray and a pot of cider for her. He grinned when she flushed. “We figured you might like it.”
She nodded and they both let Dobby handle the pouring. “Delores was just in my office. I need you to be prepared for the possibility that the Ministry might force you to be tested as an Animagus because of your family history, no matter how beneficial it might be for you to keep that a secret in the coming war.” She accepted the cake from Dobby with a small smile. “Thank you Dobby.”
“I know there is a spell that can be used against an Animagus to force a transformation,” Harry stared into his tea briefly. “But how can they justify that when I haven’t been taught the theory and I’m only fifteen? The law requires registration by twenty-five and even if I don’t register—I can only be fined and registered. It isn’t like they can arrest me for it.”
“Your Family magic settled and you’re legally an adult—that’s how they’ll justify testing you.” Minerva stood and went to a bookshelf. She pulled a book off and brought it back to her desk. She placed it in front of him. “This book will outline the theory on the transfiguration. Additionally, it will teach you the spell that forces the transformation. You have a great deal of power, Harry. I doubt anyone could force you to change your form if you put your mind to preventing it.”
Harry nodded. “Dobby, ward the door and then stand outside to guard for listeners.” Dobby popped away with an abrupt nod. He set aside his tea and stood up. “I think you should see something.”
Harry closed his eyes and let go—the transformation seemed to be smoother and more fun each time he did it. To her credit, she didn’t squeak, but she set aside her cider and walked around her desk to view him. “Fascinating, Harry, just fascinating. Did Sirius instruct you?”
Harry shifted back into his human form easily and resumed his seat. “He was there when I tried the first time but I really had no problems doing it—I was afraid of it at first but it was very easy after I let go of the fear. I’m not sure I want anyone knowing about it—not after how people reacted to me being a Parselmouth.”
Minerva nodded and her wand appeared in her hand. “Perhaps, we should test your natural defenses against the revealing spell. I’ll be frank, I do not like casting this spell—it’s a disgusting thing to have someone’s inner nature revealed to the masses against their will. I had someone do it to me when I was younger and I never forgave them for it.”
“It’s okay,” Harry murmured and nodded his consent.
He watched her wand movements and felt the swish of magic drift over his body. He stiffened when she murmured the words aperio animus and while there was a small urge to shift—a gentle persistent desire to shift, but he pushed it away and opened his eyes after a few seconds. “I can feel it but it’s not overwhelming.”
Minerva put her wand away. “Much the same way you’ve proven to be immune to the Imperius Curse. It is fortunate news. Please take the book, however, and review the material closely. Also, share it with Lord Malfoy. I’m sure he’s studying on his own and but his Veela traits may have obliterated any chances he had of becoming an Animagus.”
Harry frowned. “Did Umbridge give Ginny that potion?”
“There is no way to know,” Minerva said, her tone completely level. “However, the potion is rare and expensive. She didn’t buy it on her own and she certainly didn’t get it from the potion’s storage. Severus would never keep something so dangerous on school grounds.”
“No, I can’t see how he would.” Harry frowned. “Umbridge has an agenda—far more than she’s been able to reveal.”
“She’s certainly irritated by her lack of access to you. She complained about your removal from her class but there is little she could do about it. I don’t know why Fudge put her in the school but it’s obviously her goal to expose or undermine you in some fashion. Especially after what happened over the summer. They never expected you to openly defy Minister Fudge and prove that the Dark Lord had returned.”
“I’m surprised she hasn’t tried to accuse me of being dark.”
Minerva laughed briefly before schooling her feature into the serious face Harry remembered seeing the night he was sorted. “They dare not accuse you of anything, Harry. You’ve proven you’ll give certified testimony through the goblins if they try anything so foolish as that. However, that doesn’t mean she couldn’t find out something about you and twist it to her own fashion.”
“She could try,” Harry conceded. “But she might have a hard time getting a newspaper to print lies about me now that I’ve come into my lordship. I’m not above suing to protect my name from slanderous accusations—something my lawyer has made clear to every major paper in Europe. I sent them all letters pointing out the outright lies they’d told about me in the past and informed them if it continued I would make them pay for it.”
– – – –
The duel was one hour away and Harry was viewing his wardrobe somewhat critically. He’d told Higgs privately through a messenger that he wouldn’t be wearing his school uniform and the older boy had sent back a note agreeing that it wouldn’t be appropriate to do so. Sirius was sprawled on his bed behind him watching the process in amused silence.
“The green or the blue for my robes?”
“The green. You look smashing in the green,” Sirius surmised. “And it will make Higgs irritated to see you in his house colors.”
Harry laughed and out the dark green robe. It wasn’t meant to be closed and it would hang well on his shoulders. Draco always drooled a little when he wore it. He picked out plain black silk shirt, and a dragon hide vest to wear with the charcoal grey slacks he already had on and picked out a matching belt from the rack. “Do you think this is a mistake?”
“No, even if you lose, and I don’t think you will, people will think twice about hurting your Heir. It’s your duty and your responsibility to see to his welfare much like it’s mine to see after you.” Sirius grinned. “If this Higgs boy gets out of line with you—I’m going to look forward to calling his father out for the insult of it.”
“And that’s how family feuds start,” Harry surmised. He glanced up as he pulled on his robes and watched Draco stroll into his bedroom. “Crowded down there?”
Draco inclined his head and looked Harry over with a frown. “You look too good to duel, Potter.”
“I’m going to for richer, more powerful, and better looking than Higgs,” Harry informed him blithely.
“Mission accomplished,” Draco said with a small laugh. He leaned against the bedpost and frowned. “I don’t like not being your second.”
Harry glanced at him briefly as he slipped his wand into his sleeve. Mehen shifted and secured the wand with a curl of his tail. It was the most comfortable way to carry his wand and he’d been pleased when Mehen had suggested it. The small metal companion had trained with him until his wand would appear in his hand in under a second. He put his watch on his left wrist.
“Professor McGonagall won’t let anything happen to me, Dragon.”
Sirius hopped up and cleared his throat noisily. “I’m going to scare some first years and tease Severus for a bit before things get started.”
Harry said nothing as his Godfather strolled out of his bedroom and then he turned to Draco. “Everything will be fine.”
Draco shrugged and looked away. “I can’t foresee a circumstance where I’m going to be comfortable with you fighting without me right beside you. It’s stupid that we’ve been reduced to this—sometimes I miss arguing with you and plotting against you.”
Harry grinned. “I can say the same. School isn’t quite as interesting without an arch nemesis stalking me in the halls.” He reached out and hooked his hand around Draco’s neck. He pulled him close with a small pleased sound. “I love the way you feel against me—the way you smell, the way you taste.” He brushed his mouth over Draco’s and Malfoy slid his hands around Harry’s waist in surrender. “You really do it for me, Dragon.”
The kissed for a few minutes—helplessly drawn together and enthralled by the passion that burned between them. Draco pulled away with a small moan. “Don’t let that bastard hurt you, Harry. I’ll be pissed.”
Harry laughed. “So will Madame Pomfrey.”
“Your personal Healer arrived about twenty minutes ago with Mr. Riser,” Draco pointed out. “He’s not at all pleased with you doing this apparently.”
“I did get a note from him telling me I was foolish for risking magical exhaustion no matter the circumstances. I’m sure he’ll be a complete mother hen after the fact.” Harry ran his fingers through Draco’s unbound hair and leaned in for another kiss.
“Oy! My eyes!” They turned and found Ron standing in the doorway with his hands over his face. “You’ve blinded me!”
Harry laughed. “Knock it off, Ron.”
The red head grinned and dropped his hands. He shoved his hands into his pockets and blew out a breath. “McGonagall is downstairs. She wants to meet with you before the duel.”
“Right.” Harry stepped back from Draco and let his fingers slip out of Malfoy’s hair. “I believe Headmaster Dumbledore has set some rules for us to follow because we are on school property.”
– – – –
The Headmaster’s office was quite crowded when Harry and McGonagall entered. He took one of the chairs that had obviously been placed for him and his second. Higgs and Snape were sitting across from them in another pair of chairs. Sirius and Higgs, Sr. were standing at the back of the room near the closed floo.
Dumbledore cleared his throat. “We will use the rules of a Gentlemen’s Duel. Professor Stone will act as the judge and he may call the duel when the winner is assured. Professors Snape and McGonagall will be the only other wizards in the hall able to draw their wands during the course of the duel. They are there, gentlemen, to assure things do not get out of hand. Of course, the Unforgiveables are not allowed and casting one will result in a lifelong prison term.”
Harry watched Higgs absorb that information. He wasn’t really worried that the Slytherin would make a mistake like that in public. He crossed his legs and settle back in his chair—completely relaxed while Higgs seemed about to pop out of his skin. “I understand, Headmaster.”
Higgs nodded. “As do I.”
“Spells, hexes, or curses that will permanently disable your opponent are forbidden by the rules of the Gentlemen’s Duel. Both Professor Snape and Professor McGonagall have permission to respond to such actions with equal measure—be assured, gentlemen, if you sever a limb or blind your opponent permanently—it will be delivered on you without remorse.”
Higgs paled and Harry nodded. They both quietly claimed that they understood but Harry saw Higgs glanced towards his father more than once for assurances and direction.
“I would like to renew my protest that Potter is too young for this,” Terence said firmly. “He simply has no idea what he’s getting into.”
“Nonsense,” Sirius responded from his place leaning by the floo. He grinned, dangerous and as malicious as any Death Eater ever born. “Harry dueled with me every day for two weeks in August. We destroyed three rooms in his manor and went through a whole bottle of skele-grow between us.”
Harry didn’t laugh but he wanted to. It was true—Sirius had been instrumental in helping him gain control of the ancestral magic that settled on him in August. Healer Daniels had spent the last two weeks of August in a perpetual state of fury over the spell damage they heaped on each other.
Higgs swallowed hard and his father paled slightly.
Harry picked a piece of lint off his robe and flicked it away casually. “Relax, Mr. Higgs, I have no intention of killing your only son in front of the entire school. As I explained to someone else it would set a poor example for the first years and I’m entirely certain Headmaster Dumbledore’s eyes would stop twinkling for an hour or more. That event alone could set me off my stride for the rest of the year.”
Fawkes left his perch and glided across to room to land in Harry’s lap. “He’ll burn soon.” He stroked on the bright feathers in the bird’s chest. Fawkes sang to him and then lifted way leaving a feather behind. Harry blinked in surprise at the feather and picked it up carefully. “Thank you, Fawkes.”
The phoenix sang brightly at him and then buried his head against his wing and turned his back on the room.
Sirius came to him and presented a swathe of bright blue silk. Harry wrapped the feather carefully and looked at Dumbledore for direction.
“When a phoenix gives a feather, much like when a phoenix cries for a wizard, there is a purpose for it. The core of your wand is a phoenix, Fawkes’s feather as a matter of a fact.” Albus inclined his head. “Perhaps he is telling that you will need a new wand in the future or something else. Only time will tell.”
Harry nodded. “Dobby.”
His vassal appeared immediately and seemed to recognize in an instant that he situation called for a formality. “My Lord Potter.” He bowed at the waist.
Harry held out the feather to him, still wrapped in blue silk. “Put this in my personal vault at Gringotts, Dobby. Request Ragnok for the transaction. If he asks to see what you carry—you may show him but no one can touch it directly.”
“Dobby understands, my Lord.” Dobby took the folded silk and his hands trembled briefly before he blinked away without another word.