Harry was sitting in the chair Sirius favored whenever he was forced into sitting in the Headmaster’s office. The fury boiling in his gut was so overwhelming that he could hardly even think. Draco was sitting across from him—sprawled elegant and lazy like a predator.
Dumbledore swept through the floo with easy grace, not even pausing as he casually cast a cleaning spell on his robes and strode toward his desk. He turned as if he wasn’t expecting his office to be occupied and smiled at Harry. “Your aunt will make a full recovery.”
“That is good—it would reflect poorly on you if that was not the case. As it stands, I’m considering filing a complaint with the Ministry concerning your choice to order a member of your precious vigilante group to alter the wards around my aunts home in such a way that I was not notified of the abuse she was suffering at the hands of her husband. The wards didn’t trigger until he hurt Dudley, Moody thinks that’s because Dudley has a little more magic than the average squib.”
“Harry, those wards were heavy and it was my opinion that they were completely unnecessary.”
Harry chilled at the words. “Are you presuming to tell me what is necessary when it concerns the protection of my Aunt on the very day her husband nearly killed her?”
“I believed it was necessary to alter the wards at the time but it is clear that I made a mistake.”
He sat back in his chair and forced himself to calm down. He would not lose his temper. It wouldn’t serve him at all. “It was none of your business, Headmaster. You meddled in matters that do not concern you—just as you always have. This is the last time you make a personal decision for me. I assure you I have the funds to hire private tutors and sit my NEWTS with the Ministry.”
“I would apologize but it appears that you aren’t interested in hearing it,” Albus murmured.
“Your judgment when it comes to me as been questionable since my parents were murdered,” Harry began and then took a deep breath. “I realize that you have a different perspective about what must happen in the future between me and Voldemort, but from now on it would be in our best interest to have an honest and open dialogue. Had you asked me about the wards I would have told you why I had them upgraded and my Aunt would have been found long before today. My Uncle Vernon is a vicious, bigoted man—the kind of man who would embrace the ideals of Voldemort if he were magical.”
“Good.” Harry took a deep breath. “It occurred to me today that you could have had the wards around my aunt’s house altered so that you could monitor my health. Had you taken your role as my magical guardian seriously before I came to Hogwarts, perhaps I wouldn’t have spent my childhood being beaten and near starved to death.”
He turned and left before Dumbledore could respond—leaving Draco glaring at the Headmaster in shocked silence.
– – – –
Draco signed the last of his correspondence and dropped it into the stack. “Elbe, wrap these in a package and magically seal it for Ramses to deliver to Mr. Wilbanks.”
“Yes, my Lord.” Elbe accepted the stack of letters and popped away.
He sat back at his desk and rubbed his thumb over his father’s ring. The moment he’d slipped the Malfoy signet on—he’d been overwhelmed by the connection he’d felt with his deceased father. Draco wasn’t fool enough to ever think that his father had been a good man. Lucius had been the epitome of what it meant to be a Death Eater in Voldemort’s inner circle which made his sacrifice for Harry and Cedric all the more stunning.
A warm, large hand slid across his neck and he turned into Harry with a sigh. “I love your hands.”
Potter made a soft sound of contentment as Draco slid out of his chair and into his arms. “I’m very fond of touching you.” He pulled him closer and sighed when Draco slid his arms around him, under his robes. “Merlin, you feel amazing.”
Draco pressed a soft kiss against his throat and then another when Harry trembled in his arms. “Let’s go to bed.”
Harry clamped one hand on Draco’s hip as they shifted and pressed the blond against the edge of his desk. He sought out his mouth as he lifted Malfoy slightly and sat him on his desk. Draco laughed a little against his mouth and they separated.
“Are you laughing at me?” Harry demanded softly as he pressed in between Draco’s legs.
“No,” Draco murmured. He ran his hands along Harry’s rib cage. “I’m just amused how much I like being manhandled by you. It’s completely mad how it makes me feel.” He tilted his face just a little and pulled at Harry. “Kiss me, Potter.”
Harry leaned in and took his mouth in a hard kiss as Draco’s hands started to prod him out of his robes. They both shuddered as Harry stroked his tongue between Draco’s lips. His magic shifted, a warning that they were no longer alone and he jerked away to glare at the person standing in Draco’s doorway.
Higgs glared at him and then focused on Draco who was frowning. “We have a house meeting. Snape sent me along to get you. You should shut your door when you’re entertaining your half-blood.”
Draco sighed and slid off his desk. “You should have broken him a lot more, Harry. He obviously hasn’t learned his place.”
Harry laughed a little and picked up his robes with a sigh. “Some people are incapable of learning such things. I blame inbreeding—I mean, just look at Pansy.”
Draco grinned. It was common knowledge that Higgs and Pansy were dating. “It’s like they were made for each other.”
“Agreed. Barely forked family tree, common interests, thoughtless, and completely without regard to their continued good social standing.” Harry nodded as he slid on his robes. “Sounds like fate to me.”
Higgs flushed with anger. “You think you’re better than me, half-blood?”
“I think I’ve already proven to be twice the wizard you are, Higgs.” Harry glanced over at him. “The evidence that I’m a better man is obvious—you don’t see me abusing under-aged wizards for my own amusement.” He paused. “And you do realize that your so-called Dark Lord is a half-blood, right?” He laughed when Higgs paled. “His father was a Muggle, Higgs. Not even a Muggle-born wizard but a plain, average, everyday Muggle. How does it feel for your blood purity crusade to be led by a half-blood?”
“I don’t believe you,” Higgs hissed.
“Tom Riddle.” Harry inclined his head. “He was born Tom Malvo Riddle. He isn’t all powerful, and one day I’m going to kill him and you should know that I plan to kill everyone that stands in my way when that day comes. You and your father both will die beside that corrupt, half-blood monstrosity if you continue on the path you’re currently on.”
“How can you be so sure?” Higgs demanded. “How can you stand there and say you’re going to kill the most powerful wizard on the planet?”
“Because he isn’t the most powerful wizard on the planet. He isn’t even the most powerful wizard in Britain.” Harry settled his robes and shook them out so they fell the way they were tailored to fall. “He is undoubtedly very powerful but, it would do you to remember, Higgs, that I was marked as his equal when I was little more than a year old. He claimed me as equal before I matured and before my ancestral magic settled.”
Higgs made a shocked noise, turned and left the room without another word.
Draco grinned and sighed. “You’re going to keep doing that to people, Potter, and eventually I’m going to get so excited that I’m just going to fall on my knees and beg for your cock.”
Harry flushed. “You bastard. Walk me out—I’m sure he’s told everyone I’m in here. There is no need broadcasting the second entrance into your quarters.”
Draco took his hand and tugged on it gently as they left the room and walked down the wide hall that he shared with two prefects and into the common room. Harry offered the room in general a smirk and favored Snape with a nod as he was led to the portrait.
The ornate metal snake that twined around the carved stone entrance activated as soon as Harry got close to him. It hissed at him in greeting. ”Hello, wizard.”
Harry grinned and stroked his head with a careful finger. ”Hello, snake, did Salazar create you?”
”Yes.” The snake moved its head under Harry’s hand and slid around his wrist in greeting. “Your magic feels good.”
Draco cleared his throat. “What is it saying, Harry?”
Harry blushed. “He said hello and I asked him if Salazar created him and he said yes. Then he said my magic feels good to him.”
“So it is hitting on you,” Draco summed up dryly. “It figures, Potter.”
The snake hissed at Draco briefly and Harry laughed before responding in Parseltongue, “Be nice. He’s mine.”
The snake left Harry and pushed out completely from the doorframe towards Draco. Malfoy hesitated briefly before offering his hand. “Then I will watch over your dragon, wizard. Tell him to put me on his door.”
Harry nodded. “He says to take him to your door so he can guard the entrance.”
“Oh.” Draco blinked in surprise as the snake completely wound around his arm. “Seriously?”
“Seriously.” Harry pushed through the portrait with a small smile. “Goodnight, Dragon.”
Draco flushed as the portrait closed and he turned to face the rest of his house. The metal snake was resting its head on the top of his hand. “The strangest things happen around him.” He settled down in a chair and absently stroked the metal snake’s head.
Snape cleared his throat. “I’ve called this meeting to discuss certain activities that have taken place in the school and within our own house. It has been implied that I do not have control over my own house.”
Draco winced as his godfather’s voice went silky and hard. He’d never been in the presence of the Dark Lord but he did think there could be a comparison drawn. He listened with half an ear as Snape laid down the law and lowered the curfew by two hours for everyone in the house until after the Christmas holidays.
– – – –
Harry set aside another book in his quest for a reference he needed for his transfiguration essay and frowned at the pile he had remaining. A soft sob caught his ear followed by sniffles. He frowned and stood up to follow the noise. It took him a few minutes to find the source and frowned as he encountered Kevin Wesley tucked in the last row in the back of the library holding a blooded cloth to his hand.
“Kevin?” Harry squatted down in front of him. “Are you hurt?” He reached out to touch the boy. “Who did this to you?”
“Filch caught me out after curfew and got Professor Umbridge—she gave me detention.” Kevin hitched a breath. “This was the first night I had to serve.”
“What did she make you do?” Harry demanded. “Why are you bleeding?”
“I had to write lines but the quill… it used…” Kevin lifted the clothe off his hand and showed Harry his hand. The words ‘I’m worthless’ had been carved into the top. “I don’t know what it was but it used my blood for ink.”
Harry’s stomach tightened in horror. “Dobby.” The elf appeared immediately. “Take Kevin to Madame Pomfrey in the infirmary. I will join you there with the Headmaster. Make sure she documents his injury thoroughly.”
Fifteen minutes later, Harry found himself staring at Dumbledore in horrified silence. McGonagall was close to hyperventilating at his side but was holding her tongue.
“You expect me to ignore the fact that she tortured a first year in my house because you don’t want to antagonize Minister Fudge?” Harry demanded in a low tone. “How exactly did you manage to become the Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot with such corrupt morals?”
“Lord Potter,” Minerva hissed. “There is no reason…”
“There is every reason!” Harry shouted. “She tortured an eleven year old child by making him carve the words ‘I’m worthless’ into his own hand!” He glared at her and took a deep breath. “My apologies, Professor, it’s unbecoming for me to take my shock and anger out on you.” He turned to look at Dumbledore and found him less sparkly than normal. “Kevin Wesley is an orphan so it isn’t like he has parents he can complain to. He told me what happened to him and I assure you, Headmaster, no matter what you might say—this issue will be addressed to the fullest measure. You will notify the DMLE and press charges against Umbridge for this or I will. If I levy charges against her—it will reflect poorly on you and your leadership of this school.”
“I’ll contact Amelia Bones,” Albus allowed. “And explain the situation to her. I can’t guarantee that charges will be filed.”
“I suggest you all work together to accomplish it or this situation will be on the front page of the Daily Prophet.”
“The Minister has demonstrated the ability to control what gets printed in the Prophet, Harry.” Dumbledore pointed out.
Harry smiled then. “I think you’ll find that situations change, Headmaster, and that Minister Fudge no longer has the ability to determine what does and does not get printed at the Daily Prophet.”
– – – –
“Look guys, I realize that Umbridge and Filch have some kind of punishment scheme going on.” Harry looked around the tower at the first years he’d gathered. “I’ve complained to the Headmaster and if something isn’t done about her—I will crucify her and everyone who stands in my way in the press until the Ministry has no choice but to remove her from the school. In the mean time, I think it’s high time she learned a lesson or two about picking on Gryffindors.” He turned and looked at the twins who’d been muttering amongst themselves since he’d filled them in. “So, if you’d like to help Fred and George make Delores Umbridge miserable—raise your hand.”
Fred and George grinned evilly as all the first years raised their hands. “Wonderful.”
“We have recruits,” Fred murmured with a nod. “We’ll make her regret…”
“Ever coming here,” George exclaimed gleefully. “Come firsties, we have planning to do!”
“Oh.” Harry pulled a folded piece of parchment from his robes. “You might need this for your mischief management.”
Fred took it. “We shall make good use of it and return it when we are finished.”
“You can pass it to the next generation—someone worthy. I have my father’s copy. It was at Potter Manor in his desk.”
“Even better,” George proclaimed. “Kevin, my young friend, come it is time for you to be introduced to the Marauders.”
Harry grinned. “Hey Fred.”
“Yeah?” Fred questioned with a grin.
“I think this means that Filch is fair game, too. After all he apparently likes capturing students for Umbridge’s little sadistic games.”
“Oh,” George sighed. “That is…”
“Righteous,” Fred agreed and the twins shared a smile so evil that it made Harry shiver in anticipation.
– – – –
I am pleased to inform you that both your Aunt Petunia and her son Dudley are healed, and through the Muggle law firm, we’ve began the process legal process to separate her from Vernon Dursley. I have arranged for her a nice flat in a good neighborhood in London and she whole heartedly approved.
I took the liberty of contacting Bill Weasley concerning wards for the new property to insure her safety from both unwanted Muggles and other unsavory types. We were able to file a restraining order against her soon to be former husband.
She did say with some hesitation that she’s willing to accept owls if you are interested in communicating with her though I believe she would understand if you chose not to.
She expressed several times that she could hardly believe that you were willing to do this for her and help her escape her situation and provide for her.
Mr. Cecil Riser
Harry set aside the letter with a frown and glanced around the common room. The last thing he wanted to do was actually become involved in Petunia Dursley’s life. He felt an obligation to her but that was in his blood and perhaps even his magic. He felt far more responsible for her now than he ever had before and he blamed his ancestral magic for that.
The men in his family were rather renowned for stupid heroics and protective streaks a few kilometers wide. He would provide for her and protect her within his ability to do so but he didn’t want her in his life. He was just at a point when he was carving out a life for himself.
“What’s going on?” Ron questioned. “You look upset.”
“My Aunt told my solicitor that she would like some contact with me,” Harry muttered and started to play with his quill. “It’s insane.”
“She apologized, right? And you accepted?” Hermione questioned.
Harry sighed. “I have OWLs to take this year, a corrupt Minister of Magic to undermine, several people that I want to treat poorly in public for the next decade, several businesses with hundreds of employees to bring out of the middle ages, people to threaten, a Dark Lord to kill, a Dark Lord’s minions that I may or may not have to kill, and a Slytherin to seduce. I’m swamped! I simply don’t time at this point to forgive my aunt for fourteen years of neglect and mental abuse.”
Ron sputtered and Hermione stared in silence for a full thirty seconds before she started to laugh. Ron cleared his throat and said, “Harry, you’re mental!”
– – – –
Harry dropped down into the seat next to Kevin Wesley and in amongst several other first years that Filch had captured for Umbridge’s detention session. There were fifteen kids from various houses. He raised an eyebrow as Draco entered the room and sat down next to a second year from Slytherin followed quickly by Susan Bones who sat down next to a little girl from Hufflepuff. Roger Davies strolled in just before the doors closed and got comfortable with his fellow Ravenclaws.
Umbridge entered from her office in the back and appeared very startled at the sight of all the upper classmen then she smirked. “Did Mr. Filch catch you doing something bad, Lord Potter?”
Harry smirked. “No. I’m not here for detention.” He leaned forward a little. “I’m actually here to supervise detention. I’ve heard some disturbing rumors. To promote house unity—I asked Draco, Susan, and Roger to join us.”
“Who are you to supervise me?” Delores demanded, shocked and furious.
“Lord Harry James Potter, last scion of the House of Potter and Heir to the House of Black.”
“And the Boy Who Lived,” Susan offered with a bright smile.
“And the Chosen One!” Roger said as he unpacked a text book.
“And the youngest Dark Lord slayer in history,” Draco murmured with a smug little grin and they all watched Umbridge pale with fury. “I’m Lord Draco Lucien Malfoy, The House of Malfoy, Heir Regent to the House of Lavoy, and fiftieth in line for the throne of the Veela Nation.”
“That’s pretty impressive,” Susan allowed. “I’m Susan Bones—Heir Regent to the House of Bones and ward of Madame Amelia Bones, the Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.”
Roger flicked open his text book and set his wand purposefully on the table beside him. “I’m Heir Apparent to the House of Davies. I’ll be the first to claim the title of Lord in my family as I’m the tenth magical generation and the Queen has already granted our petition. I am to have my title conferred on my seventeenth birthday.”
“Which is in a few weeks, right?” Susan questioned. “Are you coming to the Malfoy Ball?”
“Of course, my mother is giddy,” Roger rolled his eyes and looked toward Umbridge with a raised eyebrow. “In case you’re wondering, Potter out ranks us all. That’s who he is, Professor.”
She sputtered and then glared at Harry. “Get out of my classroom immediately.”
“And if I say no?” Harry questioned. “You can’t possibly think I care about house points at this point in my life. Will you give me detention, too? Then we’ll be right back where we started.”
She drew her wand and pointed it at him. “Get out of my classroom.”
“Pointing a wand at a member of the Wizengamot without cause by a Ministry employee is a fireable offense,” Harry murmured and then smiled. “You can’t imagine how much I’m looking forward to what comes next.”
Her wand wavered and then she put it away with a scowl. “The Minister…”
“Is an elected employee of the Ministry. He is certainly not above the law and is subject to the rules and regulations set down by the Crown in the Magical Accord of 522. If he were to attempt to use his position to usurp the laws of the crown—the entire magical government could be dissolved and sovereignty over our people would return to the British crown.” Harry inclined his head. “I would think as an employee of the Ministry you, above most others, would be fully educated on such matters. It simply wouldn’t do for the ministry to be disbanded due to the foolishness of one witch.”
“It’s the inbreeding,” Draco drawled lazily. “I didn’t believe you at first, Potter, but I started researching a few things.” He turned half in his seat and adopted a truly innocent expression. “I can only thank Merlin that my father chose to honor a contract with the Black family—otherwise he might have married his first cousin on his mother’s side. Did you know that in the last three hundred years the Ministry of Magic has dropped the employment standards twenty-six times to insure that pure bloods could actually qualify for positions?”
“I’m not remotely surprised by that,” Harry admitted. “Even the ones that aren’t inbred to the point of genetic mutation are indoctrinated into bigoted ideals and pure blood nonsense so early in life that it’s a wonder they even have a thought of their own.”
“Shut up!” Delores hissed. “You don’t know what you’re talking about, you half-blood bastard. I don’t care how many titles you think you can claim. You shouldn’t even be allowed a wand—mudbloods like you should be stripped of what little magic you have and obliviated!”
Harry smirked and relaxed back in his chair. “It is widely established that Voldemort and Albus Dumbledore are the two most powerful wizards in the wizarding world. I have been proclaimed by prophecy to be Voldemort’s equal. He marked me as his equal when I was an infant. Then in a feat of magic that no one can explain, I banished him from his own body—without a wand, without training, and with an immature magical core.”
Draco chuckled softly as Umbridge paled and then fainted. “You’re so shiny, Potter. I want to do things to you that I can’t even say because of all the first years in the room.”
Roger Davies cleared his throat. “You aren’t… even sixteen, yet.”
“Right.” Harry nodded.
“Have you received all of your Family magic?”
“Yes, but I’ll still likely go through my magical inheritance at seventeen like everyone else. It’s a separate matter after all.”
“Right.” Roger sighed. “You really are shiny, Potter. Very shiny.”
Susan Bones chuckled. “I guess we should be lucky the sun hasn’t decided to shine out of his arse.” She sighed and picked up her wand. “You guys want to have a friendly duel to figure out who has to wake the toad up?”
“I vote we leave her there and send a note to Professor Dumbledore that she needs medical assistance,” Kevin offered. “In a few hours.”
“I don’t know who you didn’t end up in Slytherin,” Draco said with a sigh and then he frowned at the kid. “Did you talk the hat into putting you in Gryffindor?”
Kevin blushed furiously. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Sure, kid, sure.” Draco laughed and glanced at Harry briefly who just grinned back at him unrepentant. “It takes a special kind of person to manipulate an artifact as powerful as the Sorting Hat.”
“I just think it likes to mess with people’s heads,” Harry confided. “Like it gets some perverse pleasure out of messing with the house system on a fundamental level.” He inclined his head and then picked up his quill. “Detention was two hours, right?”
“Right.” Kevin confirmed.
“We’ll stay here two hours and if she’s still unconscious when we leave—we’ll let the Headmaster know she needs Poppy.” He holstered his wand and then sent a wandless stunner at her that made her body jerk minutely. Draco, the only one to notice, snorted and everyone else went back to their home work.
– – – –
“I want them all suspended!” Delores shouted.
“For what?” Minerva questioned. “They stayed for their detention and notified Poppy that you needed medical assistance.”
“Four hours later!” Delores shouted and started to struggle to sit up in her infirmary bed. “I want Potter expelled!”
“Whatever for?” Albus questioned wide eyed. “If anything, I’m tempted to reward the young man for his efforts in uniting the houses and for the loyalty he’s shown to the youngest, most vulnerable members of his house.” His eyes were twinkling so brightly that Minerva had to take several deep breaths to keep from laughing out loud at him.
“One of them stunned me!”
“We did check their wands after your initial accusation and I assure you that no one in that room stunned you,” Albus patted her shoulder and smiled at her so serenely that Poppy had to turn abruptly away to hide her own mirth. “Perhaps, dear, you need to monitor your health a little better. It’s not good for members of the staff to appear so fragile in front of the students.”
“Potter lied! He said he was as powerful as you!”
“Indeed,” Albus inclined his head. “It’s entirely possible—I haven’t personally tested him but I wouldn’t be at all surprised to find that he is extremely powerful. It has been the general consensus since his birth that he would achieve the power of level of a Magus by his twenty-fifth year. Considering his talents in Defense, Charms, and most recently in Transfiguration—I do believe the International Council of Warlocks & Witches will bestow on him the title of War Mage on or after his seventeenth birthday. This is all public record, Delores.”
“He’s a half-blood!”
Albus’ eyes stopped twinkling. “So am I, Delores and I assure you I have more magical power in one finger than you have in your entire body.”
Minerva bit down on her bottom lip and averted her gaze as Poppy snorted and rushed from the room. “Albus, perhaps we should let Delores rest.”
“Yes, perhaps we should.” Albus offered her his arm and she took it with a mild glare. “We wouldn’t want to be late for dinner.”
– – – –
“The Minister quashed my arrest warrant for Delores Umbridge citing her position has High Inquisitor,” Amelia winced at the cold fury that crossed Potter’s face. She didn’t know much about the kid but she had seen a pensive memory of the duel he’d had with the Higgs kid and she had cause to wonder more than once if the Boy Who Lived had any idea how much political power he had at his disposal.
“I see.” Harry’s gaze narrowed. “Dobby.” An elf immediately popped into place beside his chair.
“My Lord Potter.” Dobby bowed briefly and tucked his hands behind his back. “How may Dobby serve?”
“Take the package I have on my desk to Mr. Riser and inform him that I expect the first story to appear in the Prophet no later than Wednesday.” Harry relaxed back in his chair as the elf disappeared. “There. If Minister Fudge wants to play with torturing children—he needs to be taught a lesson on morality.”
Amelia nodded. “I take it that package is a duplicate of the one I received from the Headmaster?”
“Complete with magically sealed testimonials, copies of the pensive memories you received, medical reports concerning the reported injuries, and all the photographic evidence you were shown,” Harry confirmed in a neutral tone.
“You know that the Daily Prophet won’t print…”
“The Ministry of Magic doesn’t own a single share of the Daily Prophet, Madame Bones.” Harry brushed a piece of lint from his slack and crossed his legs casually. “And I’ve been told the staff of the newspaper has been instructed to magically seal their building and put it under a Fidelius if the Ministry attempts to interfere with the daily running of the paper.”
Her mouth dropped open briefly before she shut it with an audible click of teeth. “I see. I do believe Cornelius will be quite upset by tomorrow’s headline.”
“If he were a decent man, he would have nothing to worry about,” Harry replied evenly. “I find that can be said about a great many people in the magical world, Madame Bones.” He raised an eyebrow when she started to protest. “The lack of accountability in magical society is contemptible and might I say in most cases, unforgiveable. The vast majority of the people are content to let someone else do their thinking for them and many in power are so corrupted by fanatical ideals and easy gold that it’s laughable Voldemort bothered to use violence to get his way.”
“I don’t understand,” Amelia admitted.
“He could have bought magical Britain for a few million galleons and gotten everything he wanted without ever getting his hands dirty. Instead he used his follower’s money to wage a guerilla war while the Ministry twisted itself up in knots and whined like petulant children because things stopped being easy.” Harry ran his finger over his Potter signet ring thoughtfully. “Great Britain’s magical population are isolationists in every meaning of the word. They know little of international politics and ninety percent of them couldn’t even tell you who the current North American Minister of Magic is. They allow men like Fudge to keep them ignorant and lazy and then have the nerve to get upset when their perfect little world shatters under the weight of dishonesty and greed.”
“I don’t follow,” Albus admitted.
“Did you know after my sworn testimony was released that I received two hundred Howlers complaining that I allowed the Dark Lord to rise. They actually blame me for it! They, like many others in this country, are under the impression that I should go out and fight their battles for them. It only got worse after the ministry leaked the prophecy. After that I received letter after letter telling me that I should finish this ‘war business’ before it got out of hand so that decent people wouldn’t get caught up in my squabble with Riddle.”
Amelia’s face paled and her lips pressed together. “I… Lord Potter, while many people might choose to ignore the fact that you’re a fifteen year old child, I’m not one of them. I don’t expect you to fight this war for me or for anyone else.”
“I’m not child, Madame Bones. I never had a childhood to speak of,” Harry murmured. “I do recognize my responsibility to the memory of parents and in turn the magical world. I will do my part when the time comes and I have no doubts my actions that day will be vilified by most as extreme and perhaps even Dark.” He focused on his father’s ring and sighed. “Last year, shortly before the third task, I received a note from a woman who knew my parents. She told me if I my father hadn’t married a mudblood that the Dark Lord wouldn’t have murdered him. Then she told me I must be evil to have survived the Killing Curse and that I should have been put down the day I was found because I would be worse than Voldemort ever was. The fact that I’d done so well in the Tri-Wizard tournament at fourteen was enough for her to think that I couldn’t be natural.”
Minerva, who had been silent since the meeting had begun, took a furious breath. “Mr. Potter! You should have brought me that letter immediately!”
Harry bit down on his lip. “If I brought such things to your attention, Professor, that’s all you’d do with your day. Of course, now I a personal mail ward on my magical signature and anything from non-authorized senders is sent to a room in Potter Manor for processing. It stops the Howlers from everyone because I don’t intend to give anyone permission to abuse me. Mrs. Weasley tried to send me three over the summer before I sent her a note telling her to stop because my house elves were starting to hate her.”
“Do you receive death threats?” Amelia questioned.
“My solicitor keeps those,” Harry admitted. “I only read the ones that come from people I might actually know. You wouldn’t believe how many death threats I received last year during the tournament from students I had classes with every day.” He stood and stretched. Then he sighed. “By the way, I never told you…” He focused on the Headmaster. “You got it wrong.”
“What?” Albus questioned with a raised eyebrow.
“What I would miss most,” Harry admitted. “Ron’s my friend, of course, but at that time he didn’t even come close to being what I’d miss most. Then it would have been Hermione. She was, quite frankly, the only person I had on my side through most of last year and the only one I fully trusted.”
– – – –
Draco put down the letter his mother had sent him and pinched the bridge of his nose as guilt and anger pooled in his gut. “Elbe.”
The elf appeared at his side immediately. “Yes, Master Draco.”
“Return to Malfoy Manor and check on my mother as discreetly as possible. Ask the other elves if she is eating as she should and make sure if she isn’t that you come back to me immediately.”
She’d done so well to move on that Draco had allowed himself to ignore the depth of his mother’s grief. It could never be said that his father was a good man but he’d been his mother’s lover and friend for many years. It galled him that he’d forgotten what it must be like for her to be rattling around in their manor alone while he was at school romancing his way into Harry’s life and bed.
He pulled on his robe and fastened it with steady hands while he processed the content of his mother’s letter. He went to the portrait that lead to the passage that would take him under the castle and then up the tower into Harry’s chambers. He made the trip in silence, grief tumbled around inside him. It felt new and raw inside him all over again. A part of him wanted to be angry at his mother but he felt small and immature for the desire.
Harry was on the sofa with a book when Draco exited the passage. He stared at his friend and liege lord for several seconds before clearing his throat. “My father’s portrait woke up last week.”
Harry closed the book with a sharp snap and frowned. “And your mother didn’t send you a letter when it first happened?”
“No.” Draco slouched down on the sofa beside him and took a deep breath. “Thankfully, he doesn’t remember his own death.” He frowned. “Well, if he does—he’s chosen to tell my mother that he doesn’t remember it at all.” He shivered at the thought.
“I don’t… do all wizards have portraits?”
“No, normally it is very for the very wealthy and the titled.” Draco took a deep breath. “He… did you know that I found his remains? I couldn’t keep her from seeing him. Merlin knows, I tried.”
“Ron mentioned it.” Harry let his head fall back to rest on the back of the sofa and they both stared at the ceiling. “I can’t imagine what that must have been like for you.”
Draco blinked rapidly and cleared his throat. “At first, I wasn’t sure that they’d sent back all of his parts but I couldn’t…” He shuddered. “Every time I closed my eyes for weeks it was all I saw—his body strewn over the foyer. The elves spent hours cleaning up after we removed the body. The Ministry officials were fucking horrible.”
“The Aurors kept trying to peek around the manor and find anything dark they could confiscate and my mother could barely even speak.”
“I don’t…” Harry sighed. “I’m sorry.” He reached out and curled his hand into Draco’s. “I was wrapped up in my own problems over the summer.”
Draco’s fingers tightened against his. “You stood up in front of everyone and told the truth—risked your own life and magic to testify before the Goblin Court so that everyone would know that Voldemort had returned. So that everyone would know what my father did—how he redeemed himself.”
“Redemption,” Harry murmured. “It’s a harsh word—it implies so much. What does it take to receive the Dark Mark?”
“The murder of an innocent,” Draco whispered. “Normally a Muggle or a Muggle-born. My grandfather forced my father to participate in a ritual with the Dark Lord and during that ritual, he killed a young witch. He said she was fifteen. There is nothing but evil in Voldemort’s circle.”
“When did he tell you this?”
“After my first year when I told him about the rumors about what happened to you at the end of the year.”
Harry took a deep breath. “Is that when you asked him to make sure you wouldn’t have to take the mark?”
“Yes.” Draco shifted closer and wrapped both of his hands around Harry’s. “It was a pretty hard moment between us.”
“Are you worried about speaking to his portrait?” Harry questioned.
Draco sighed. “Yes and no. The shift of power in our relationship is really scary. He’s dead, Harry, and his portrait is just one of my fucking assets!”
Harry lifted his hand and dragged Draco’s along for the ride. He pressed a kiss the top his hand. “He’s your father—for all of his heroics and flaws. The mistakes he made in his life really can’t be balanced by the last moments of his life—you know that.”
“I do.” Draco admitted. “I don’t want to be anything like the man he was.”
“You won’t be,” Harry promised. He turned to face him. “I’m here, Draco, and I won’t let you go down that path. We… walk together. We’ll always walk together.”
Draco leaned forward and let his forehead rest on Harry’s with a soft sigh. “Together.”
“Always, Dragon,” Harry whispered and then leaned in to press a soft kiss against Draco’s mouth. “You and me.”
Draco moaned against his mouth and moved closer. “Let’s… go to bed.”
Harry smiled and used his free hand to brush his fingers over his face and down the side of his neck. “Are you sure that’s what you need?”
“You’re exactly what I need.”
“Alright then.” Harry stood and then offered Draco his hand. He smiled when Malfoy took his hand without hesitation.
They walked into the bed chamber of the suite in silence and Harry closed the door carefully. He secured and then murmured a simple locking charm that would do nothing much against an accomplished wizard but would indicate the amount of privacy he was requesting.
They shed their clothes efficiently and with very little unease. Harry was no stranger to the naked form of his liegeman but seeing Draco slip onto the cool cotton sheets of his bed and spread himself out made his mouth go dry.
“You’re so beautiful,” Harry murmured as he put one knee on the bed. He crawled up slowly, stopping to press his mouth against the inside of Draco’s knee and then trailed his lips up his inner thigh. “I want to kiss you everywhere.”
Malfoy sucked in a breath as Harry’s lips drifted over the length of his dick and he gasped in shock as his mouth as he leaned in and brushed his mouth over the head of Draco’s leaking cock and smiled softly at the soft moan he was rewarded with. He sucked him in gently and flicked his tongue over the head to gather the precum. He wrapped his free hand around the length of Draco’s cock and stroked him gently as he sucked firmly on the head.
“Not quite,” Harry murmured as he released his cock and flicked his tongue into his belly button and then moved upward. “I’ve been thinking about this for quite a while.”
“Yeah?” Draco exhaled sharply when Harry glided his tongue over his nipple. “Have you been practicing with someone? Because I’m not above cold blooded murder, Potter.”
Harry grinned. “Of course not, Dragon, practically everyone is afraid of you.” He settled on top of Draco and sighed against his mouth as their cocks brushed together. “Hermione brought me a book or two.”
Draco laughed and ran his fingers through Harry’s hair with a sigh. “You don’t say.”
“Illustrated—those little moving pictures did a lot of really dirty, explicit things to each other,” Harry murmured as he pressed kisses along his lover’s jaw. “She’s a very naughty kind of witch.”
“The best witches are,” Draco declared as he spread his legs and lifted his knees so he could cradle Harry with his body.
They fell into a kiss, bodies shifting and rubbing together until they were both gasping for air and groaning. It became impossible to go slow—to savor the pleasure that burned between them.
“Merlin, Draco,” Harry whispered against Malfoy’s cheek before taking his mouth again in a kiss. “You feel so good against me like this.”
“Yes,” Draco’s agreed as his fingers clenched on Harry’s lower back. “Come on me, Harry. Let me feel it.”
Harry shuddered and buried his face against the side of Malfoy’s neck as the other boy shifted and thrust up against him. He came and groaned loudly as Draco thrust hard up against him and came, too. “Dragon.”
Draco chuckled. “You’re my favorite snake on the whole planet, you know that right?”
“I do,” Harry agreed. He slipped off his friend with a small sigh and reached out for his wand. He cleaned them both with a flick of his wand and a muttered scourgify. He settled down on the bed beside him and pulled a sheet over their bodies. “That was… really good.”
“Better than what we’ve done before?” Draco questioned.
Harry shook his head. “Just different—more intimate. Any time I’m with you is amazing, you know.”
“Right.” Draco turned on his side and snuggled back against Harry. “If you tell a soul that I spoon with you on a regular basis, Potter, I’ll make you suffer horribly.”
Harry laughed and pressed a kiss into his hair. “All of your secrets are safe with me, Dragon.”
“You won’t… you won’t let him take you from me, will you?”
Harry closed his eyes at the softly spoken question. “No, I won’t. I promise. We’re going to live stupidly long lives, Draco, full of spoiled rotten children and grandchildren and friends. We’ll be doddering old codgers like Dumbledore before I even think about letting death get the best of me.”
Draco snorted, unwillingly amused. “Just as long as you don’t start making your eyes twinkle, love.”
“I think it’d be a great look for me,” Harry protested.
“Go to sleep, Potter.”
“As you wish, Dragon.”