Birth of the Serpent King – 3/3

Title: Birth of the Serpent King
Author: Keira Marcos
Fandom: Harry Potter
Pairing: Harry/Draco
Genre: Romance, Alternate Universe
Rating: R (sexual situations and violence)
Word Count: 105,062
Betas: Chris King & Ladyholder (all remaining mistakes are the author’s fault)
Warnings: Written by an American author who attempted to use every cliché she could think of, habitual abuse of canon characterizations and events AND under aged consensual sexual contact.
Disclaimer: Not mine. Entertainment purposes only. No infringement intended. If I owned Harry Potter—I’d live in a castle in Scotland with several beautiful younger men to cater to my every wish.
Author’s Note: My thanks to the HP Fandom for entertaining me thoroughly while I was broken and laid up wishing death and mayhem on my neighbors.

Summary: What if Lucius Malfoy had interfered and saved Harry Potter’s life during the third task? The Harry that returns to Hogwarts after the resurrection of Voldemort has been tempered by fire, the Potter Family legacy, and a relationship he couldn’t have ever expected. In the wake of his father’s redemption—Draco Malfoy finds everything he could have ever wanted in the man that was once his enemy.

* * * *

Chapter Nine

Harry didn’t know what kind of mother Lily Potter would’ve been. He wanted to believe that she would have been nothing like Petunia except that Petunia had obviously loved her own son beyond reason. His own mother had sacrificed herself in love—a love some might say was beyond reason. He didn’t think she wouldn’t have been much like Molly Weasley, though Sirius and Remus both claimed she had quite a temper. Still for all of Molly’s smothering and well-meaning temper tantrums, she was as much a mother as he’d ever known.

Mehen portkeyed them to the edge of the wards, the Burrow jutted up in front of them in an improbable way—only magic seemed to keep it together but Harry thought that it was part of the charm of the place.

He thread his fingers with Draco’s, tucked Ollie close to his chest as they passed through the wards. They tingled over his skin in a way he’d never noticed before and he wondered if it was because of his Family magic or if the wards danced over his skin because of his contact with Draco. He doubted that the Weasley’s had added Draco to their wards which meant that Molly had been notified of their arrival.

The front door of the Burrow opened and she came out to look for them just as he opened the front gate. “Harry.” She smiled warmly and he barely had time to pass Ollie to Draco before he was dragged into a tight hug.

Her smile towards Draco was more reserved but Harry thought it was probably genuine. He didn’t think that she necessarily approved of his friendship with Malfoy but like everyone else in his life, with the exception of Ginny, she hadn’t said anything aloud.

“Draco, I’m glad you could come for tea.” She looked curiously at the elf as Harry took him again. “Where did the two of you come across a baby house elf?”

“It’s a long story,” Harry admitted and sighed when Ollie started to cry against his robes. “Does he need another bottle? It’s only been a few hours.”

Draco shrugged. “I have no clue.”

“Here, dear, let me have him.” Molly snatched the infant away and disappeared into the house.

Harry laughed and followed. “Do you think that maternal instinct transcends species?”

“Appears so,” Draco admitted. “But then—how would you explain your aunt? Maybe just some women are more motherly than others.”

“Right.” Harry scrunched up his nose as they settled into the kitchen where Molly already had tea set up.

By the time he’d finished his tea, Ollie had been returned to him fed and cleaned. He envied her ability to take care of a couple hundred things at once and make it seem like she wasn’t even trying hard. It went beyond magic and went into a different arena all together.

“I wanted to speak to you about Ginerva.” Molly sat down at the table and took a deep breath. “She is young and high strung as you know. I can’t apologize for her for her behavior or what she said to that reporter with the Prophet because it would mean so little. I regret what she’s done and would apologize for myself and any encouragement I might have given her over the years regarding her affection for you.”

“You don’t owe me an apology, Mrs. Weasley.” Harry pushed aside his cup and patted Ollie’s back gently as he considered what to say. “I realize, perhaps better than most, what it is like to be slapped in the face with a truth you don’t want to see. She had expectations and they’ve been… altered against her will.”

Molly nodded. “I wanted you to know—to hear it from me that we never considered your being part of us anything like charity. You, since the day you became Ron’s friend, have been a part of our family. When you were twelve… Arthur and I even tried to petition the Ministry for custody of you. Albus wouldn’t support us—he said it wasn’t safe for you to live separately from our aunt. I can’t begin to tell you how sorry I am that let him change our minds.” She blinked back tears. “I should have fought for you because it was obvious, even then, that no one else was prepared to.”

“It’s not your fault. It isn’t like I said it to anyone. I never gave anyone the chance to help me.”

“Except for Dumbledore,” Draco murmured and frowned intensely at Harry when he started to protest. “He had every opportunity to help you, Harry. He chose not to. He chose to avoid the obvious—in a hundred different instances. That’s not even taking into consideration the ways you’ve been threatened, mistreated, and endangered while you were at Hogwarts.”

Harry wanted to shrug off the concern and anger in Draco’s voice but he found he couldn’t. “We all make mistakes… choices that aren’t perfect. I don’t think that Dumbledore ever meant me harm. His actions haven’t always been to my benefit, that’s true. But he isn’t a cruel man. He isn’t someone who would… I just don’t think he would have had me live the life I did if he were really aware of it. The fact that he never made any decisions to make himself aware of it is an entirely different matter.”

“I wish things could’ve been different,” Molly whispered. “Perhaps in more ways than I have a right to.”

Harry flushed slightly and sighed. “It would have never been Ginny, Mrs. Weasley. I always thought of her like a sister—the idea of being involved with her romantically never once entered my mind. I can’t see how it would have in the future either. She’s my best mate’s little sister and nothing… I can’t imagine anything altering that for me. It’s not anyone’s fault. It’s not Draco’s fault.”

Malfoy tensed beside him and Molly’s eyes went wide. She laughed suddenly. “No, I don’t suppose, as pretty as he is, that he made you gay.”

Malfoy blushed and then laughed. “Mrs. Weasley.”

“Well, you are very pretty. Take after your beautiful mother in that respect. At Hogwarts, Narcissa rarely if ever wanted for attention. I suppose most of the girls in school were relieved when she accepted the betrothal contract with Lucius. They made a striking pair—both so fierce and beautiful. It was such a shocking thing when we heard that Lucius joined Voldemort. Everyone knew his father was a Death Eater, of course, but Lucius loved Narcissa so much. It just seemed improbable that he would risk her in such a way.” Molly sighed again as she left the table and retrieved another plate of biscuits. “Eat more, you both look like you haven’t eaten in weeks. I’ll be owling your mother, Draco, and telling her how thin you are! See if I don’t. Lord of the manor or not—you have no call to not take care of yourself.”

Draco hastily took a biscuit, shoved half in his mouth, and Harry burst out laughing but then grabbed one himself when Molly glared at him.

 

* * * *

Minerva McGonagall was waiting on them at the front gates when they returned for the day. “Lord Potter—we have a situation.” She paused and glanced at the baby. “Why do these things happen to you?”

Harry laughed weakly at her baffled and exasperated tone. “Never say yes when a dverger asks for a favor without giving you details.”

“Quite so.” She nodded and motioned them to follow her. “They started arriving two hours ago—all of them asking to wait here for you. So far there are twenty-three.”

“Twenty-three what, Professor?” Harry asked as she ushered them into the castle and towards the main hall.

“House elves. Female house elves.” She glanced at the baby and lifted an eyebrow. “You do realize that elves have collective magic, Mr. Potter? The gift you received at Gringotts was felt by them all—it was reported to the Headmaster by our own Head Elf shortly after it happened. It is quite a boon, my lord.”

“I don’t quite understand that, to be honest. House elves are classified as creatures…”

“They have pure magic, Harry. Their connection with wild magic is so profound that is defies imagination,” Draco murmured. “Wizards as a whole might look down on house elves but they are by far some of the most magical beings on this planet and you were given the magic of one.”

Harry’s fingers curled into Ollie’s tea towel as they reached the end of the hall near the Headmaster’s table where all the female elves had gathered with Dumbledore.

“Ah, Harry,” Albus smiled. “These lovely young ladies have come to see if one of them might join you as the little one’s adopted mother.” He moved forward and hesitated as he reached out to touch the baby. “The most interesting things happen to you, young man.”

Harry laughed. “It seems so, sir.” He glanced at the elves. “How do I…”

“Ollie will choose, Harry,” Draco guided him to a chair that had been placed in front of the table. “Each of them will approach and touch him—if he accepts their magic, you can ask her to accept a bond with you and she will become part of your estate.”

Harry nodded. “Dobby.” His vassal immediately appeared and several of the female elves tittered a little. He grinned when his friend averted his gaze and blushed. He didn’t even know house elves could blush. “Okay, let’s get started.”

One by one, they each stepped forward to touch Ollie. Harry noticed that while they didn’t hesitate at the interaction each of them looked at the baby and at him with so much reverence that he was starting to get uncomfortable. Ollie didn’t cry at the touches but he didn’t respond either. The last of them stepped back with a small disappointed sound.

“I want to thank you all for coming and trying to bond with Ollie. Your eagerness to help me and serve as his mother is honorable and I’m pleased to have met each of you.” He turned then, a whisper of movement having caught his attention. Winky was hovering in the back of the room. “Winky, would you like to come try?”

Winky disappeared from her spot in the shadows and immediately reappeared in front of him. Her hands twisting in her battered and worn little dress. “Oh, no, Harry Potter. Winky is a bad elf. I was given clothes.” The last word was said softly and so shamefully that Harry winced. “Bad elf.”

Harry frowned and reached out carefully to touch her—elves all over the room tensed, some he thought were probably horrified by his concern. “Winky, Mr. Crouch was a horrible man and he did bad things to hide his son who was a Death Eater.  He made you do something bad and then to hide his own shame—he tried to shame you. I don’t believe you’re a bad elf. Not at all.”

He knew she’d lived for quite a while without a bond and that the Headmaster couldn’t bond her to Hogwarts because the school charter only allowed for one hundred bonded elves. Winky was probably living only because of her close proximity to Hogwarts magic itself. Dobby feared she would die within the year and Harry was ashamed to realize it had never crossed his mind to offer her a place on his estate and bond with her until now. His magic shifted in him and started to expand in the oddest way—he’d never experienced anything like it—not even when Dobby had become his vassal. He thought briefly that it must be part of what Libby had given him.

He offered Winky his ring. “Winky, I offer you the bond of service to the House of Potter.”

Her mouth trembled and fat tears rolled down her face as she touched his ring. Magic flowed between them, lighting up the entire hall with it. Briefly, he heard several exclamations of surprise but her intense relief and devotion to him was so overwhelming that he thought for a moment he might pass out. Her fingers lifted away from his ring and when the light around them faded she was dressed in a smart little smock made of a fine black pillow case—the Potter crest on her pocket like a badge.

“Now, would you like to see if Ollie would accept you as his mother?”

Winky nodded and everyone in the room leaned forward a little as she reached out and touched the baby without hesitating. The snap of magic and the bonding connection was audible. The other female elves in the room bowed carefully and disappeared in a series of pops. Harry relaxed, relieved when he felt Ollie’s magic settle. He’d known for most of the day that he wouldn’t be able to keep the baby alive on his own. He also hadn’t been surprised that no one had been willing to tell him that little fact. Winky accepted the tiny elf baby with a little cooing sound that made Harry laugh.

“Willaby.”

The Head Elf for the Potter Estate appeared immediately and bowed. “My Lord Potter.”

“This is Winky—Ollie has accepted her as his mother. She will be returning to Potter Manor with you. I trust you will see them both settled into appropriate lodgings as soon as possible and make sure the kitchen can handle all of their needs.” He turned to look at once more Ollie before focusing on the new little mother in his life. “I will see you both at Christmas, Winky.”

* * * *

“You’re very upset, dear.”

Ginny shrugged and looked away from Delores Umbridge. She didn’t much like the woman but she was getting the silent treatment from everyone in the school because of what had happened the day before. Even Hermione had looked at her like she was the most disappointing person she’d ever met. Not to mention the letter her mother had owled her with. She cringed just thinking about it. “No one understands.”

“I do.” Delores smiled. “You know that Malfoy boy is dark. You know he’ll only hurt your Harry.”

Ginny nodded, miserable and she took a deep breath. “He’s going to turn on Harry and kill him. I can’t make anyone see that.”

“I can help.” Delores placed a small potion vial on the desk between them. “This would reveal his true loyalties, child. Of course, I can’t administer it. It’s illegal and I’m bound by laws that don’t pertain to you because you’re a child.”

Ginny frowned at the white potion. “What does it do?”

“Did you know that Narcissa Malfoy has Veela blood in her family? Her son is ¼ Veela. While male Veela aren’t capable of transformation they do seek to mate. This potion would only cause young Draco to come into his inheritance. His Veela inheritance. He’d turn from your Harry to seek out his true mate and then everyone would know he was just using poor, young Potter for his own gain.”

Ginny frowned but then slowly nodded. “How…”

“It’s a vapor,” Delores explained. “He only has to inhale it.” She casually waved her wand and whispered Obliviate. It was easy, much too easy, to alter the girl’s memory—to make sure she would never remember where the potion came from. Then to insure the success—she cast a rather unforgiveable curse and instructed the youngest Weasley to dose Malfoy at the first opportunity.

* * * *

Harry let Dobby take his broom and wasn’t surprised when the elf held out a hand for Draco’s. They’d been flying all over the pitch hunting a practice snitch for an hour. Draco had finally caught it—but only because he’d grabbed Harry shortly before and kissed him senseless. Malfoy wasn’t even pretending to be upset by Harry’s accusations of having cheated.

They’d showered in the locker room—peeking at each other but keeping their distance more out of the desire to tease than any other reason. Harry knew that Draco enjoyed their little game as much as he did and he figured he should probably read up on exactly how two wizards could pleasure each other before long. Still, they had plenty of time to explore and seduce each other.

Ron and Hermione were coming down the stairs, hand in hand when Harry caught sight of them. He offered them a smirk that made Hermione blush and Ron look away but their fingers tightened as if they were both afraid the other would let go. It was kind of adorable. He held back a sigh as Ginny appeared on the landing and came down the final set of stairs.

She hadn’t apologized even after Harry had spoken with Mrs. Weasley the day before. He knew Molly had owled Ginny. She’d apologized to Harry with tears in her eyes. Her hurt had infuriated him because her daughter had caused it. It made him want to shake Ginny until she cried.

Ginny marched them toward them, smiled brightly and threw something at Draco. The small potion vial broke against his chest and they were both enveloped in a white vapor. It made Harry cough but Draco’s eyes rolled as he suddenly started to gasp for air and it was all Harry could do to catch him.

“What did you do?” Ron shouted as he grabbed his sister. “Are you mad?” He shoved her towards Hermione as the doors to the main hall were swung open under McGonagall’s hands.

“Draco,” Harry whispered fiercely as they stumbled together under his weight and he slid to his knees. “No, Draco. Don’t… don’t do this…” Malfoy’s body jerked in his hands and Harry’s magic unleashed in a wash of shock and grief when he realized what he was feeling. Draco’s magic was leaving. Windows rattled, the ground beneath them rumbled. Draco took a ragged breath and reached out for Harry.

“Harry,” he whispered, his voice hoarse with shock and pain. Their hands clasped together and Draco’s gaze fluttered shut.

“Dragon… no… don’t… please… I can’t… Merlin, don’t leave me,” he begged softly and choked back a sob. “Snape!” Harry shouted. “God damnit! Dobby! Elbe! Someone help us!”

Dobby appeared immediately, followed closely by Elbe, and Snape came from the hall at a run. Harry felt a tug on his magic and a cold swept over him—like death itself was reaching out for him. He shuddered under the weight of it and more magic poured from him as he screamed. White light burst from him and Dobby threw up a shield to contain the magic flowing from his Master in horrible, grief stricken waves. Elbe threw up another shield around Dobby’s and the castle shook. The magical stairs stilled and Fawkes appeared with a flash of fire. He flew directly through both shields towards Harry and phoenix song could be heard all the way  to Hogsmeade.

* * * *

“How did a child get hold of hereditas potion?” Narcissa Malfoy demanded fiercely and then took a calming breath. She held up a hand when Dumbledore would have responded. “We’ll leave that for later. My son has very little Veela blood—as you might remember my husband was a powerful wizard and his magic overwhelmed most of the hereditary gifts I might have had to offer, including the recessive Veela traits I have.” She looked across the room to where Harry Potter and her son were housed—in separate beds that had been pushed together. “This should have killed him.”

“It almost did,” Snape murmured. “But, Potter is anything if ordinary and while we aren’t sure what he did. He did manage to force your son to live with sheer magical power as the traits surfaced. The castle’s foundation cracked under the brunt of it. The repairs were arduous, to say the least.”

Narcissa’s gaze widened briefly and she nodded. “I see.” She bit down on her lip. “I would like to visit with them, Headmaster, and then I will join you in your office. This girl—she has done a terrible thing here today. I’d like to know her motivations and what we can do to make this right for everyone involved.”

She walked away before they could respond. Dobby and Elbe were asleep on the ends of their lords’ beds and both elves bolted awake as she breached their wards. She paused while they oriented themselves and then touched Elbe gently before sitting down on the edge of Draco’s bed.

She touched his face with reverent fingers—seeing the changes in him that never should have surfaced. He’d been beautiful before—an intoxicating combination of his father and herself but now he was something so ethereal as to appear almost angelic. She brushed his hair from his forehead and sighed. “My sweet boy.”

After a few minutes she stood and walked around so she could sit on Harry’s bed as well. Harry shifted and his eyes opened. He tried to move but she stilled him with one hand. “Our Family owes you a life debt, Lord Potter. You have saved the life of my only child and our Lord.”

Harry turned and looked at Draco. “He’s alright?”

“He’ll live but things will be different. He was dosed with a potion that woke his Veela heritage. He has so little Veela in him that it almost destroyed his magical core and killed him outright. Severus tells me that you kept him alive with raw power. It is a stunning thing you’ve done.”

“I couldn’t…” Harry blushed and looked away. “I couldn’t let him die. I just couldn’t.”

“Sleep,” Narcissa leaned forward and kissed his forehead with sincere affection. “You have saved my child but clearly exhausted yourself. Rest now as I’m sure there will be many questions for you to answer.”

* * * *

“She was under the Imperius Curse—they are treating her at St. Mungo’s,” Albus raised a hand at Molly’s obvious relief. “It was a very mild suggestion she was given, Molly and there is evidence of a memory wipe. She doesn’t know who gave her the potion but she wanted to use it on Draco to make him leave Harry alone.”

Molly’s mouth dropped open. “Albus.”

“She was questioned without Veritaserum,” Albus murmured. “As far as we can tell her instructions were to dose Lord Malfoy with the potion and even now that the curse has been lifted she’s not remotely sorry she did it. In fact, she told Auror Tonks that she wished she’d killed him.”

Molly paled. “But why…”

“The child is obviously mentally ill,” Narcissa began and sighed when Molly protested. “Molly, I’ve interacted with your family over the summer and met most of your children. There is something wrong with Ginerva. I can’t think that she was raised to place so little value on the life another human being. Draco wrote to me and told me what she said to Harry. She was cruel and vicious. As hot tempered as you and your children are—cruelty on that level towards someone that everyone knows is practically an adopted Weasley just doesn’t make any sense.”

“She’s right,” Arthur murmured. “She’s not been the same… not since the incident with the diary and the Chamber of Secrets.”

“Arthur!”

“Molly, love, it’s true. She’s always refused to talk about it and what happened—and we both know her crush on Harry was even more intense after that incident and not in a healthy way.”

“Her husband gave her the diary!” Molly pointed at Narcissa.

Narcissa nodded. “Yes, he was forced to. Even when the Dark Lord was without a body, Molly, he lingered in our lives. His connection with my husband was both painful and often times such a burden that I wondered how Lucius stayed sane enough to appear somewhat normal in public. Shortly before his rising, Lucius slept as little as an hour a night as the Dark Lord struggled to return to a body. It’s no excuse for what he exposed your child to, but we had hoped she would turn it over to you and your husband. When we realized she’d kept it—there was little we could do. The Chamber of Secrets had already been opened and the Headmaster had allowed most of the school to shun Harry as the Heir of Slytherin.”

Molly glared at Dumbledore and the old man had the grace to look abashed. “I remember.” She looked up as the office door opened and Harry entered with Snape. “Harry, you should be asleep. You’re exhausted.”

“He refused to listen to reason,” Severus muttered. “He spends too much time with that mutt godfather of his.”

“Git,” Harry muttered as Snape carefully lowered him into a chair and tossed a blanket over him.

“Five points from Gryffindor for being mouthy,” Severus muttered and then grabbed Harry’s chin and tilted his head so their eyes met. “And two hundred and fifty points to Gryffindor for an unimaginable and unspeakably brave act of magic on the behalf of another. I’ve never seen anything like that in my entire life and I dare say I never will again, Lord Potter.” He released his grip on Harry and walked away.

Harry blinked and took a deep breath. “Madame Pomfrey said that Draco would wake tomorrow.”

“Yes,” Albus acknowledged. “Thanks to you.”

“He looks different already. What did that potion do to him exactly?” Harry focused on Narcissa. “And please don’t treat me like a child, Mrs. Malfoy.”

She inclined her head. “I wouldn’t. As I said, Draco has a small amount of Veela blood in him. That potion activated his recessive Veela traits. While male Veela do not transform as females do—they are extremely beautiful, sexual, and when they mate—they mate for life. When Draco wakes—he’ll likely seek a mate, Harry.”

“And it won’t be me,” Harry murmured. “Is that what Ginny wanted? To make him leave me by activating his Veela traits?”

“It appears so—though she was quite pleased to have almost killed him,” Snape ground out through clenched teeth and glared at Molly when she started to protest. “I was there when she was questioned, Molly. We had to treat her here before she could be moved to St. Mungo’s.”

“Treat her?” Harry questioned. “For what?”

Albus sighed. “Your magic lashed out at her, Harry. I realize it wasn’t intentional but you showered the entire school with your emotions when Lord Malfoy… when you thought he was dying. People as far as Hogsmeade were knocked unconscious. Since Ginny was acting under an Imperius Curse—her mind was in a very weak state. She went into hysterics and had to be stunned quite violently in order to be subdued.” He leaned forward. “Can you tell us what happened, Harry?”

“I…” Harry closed his eyes. “I felt his magic leaving—like I felt yesterday with that poor little elf at Gringotts and then something snapped inside me—I think it was the Liege Bond. I didn’t want to let it go. So I grabbed it with my magic and then I just—I held on to it with everything I had and pushed everything else away so I could focus on him. Then the next thing I know I was in the infirmary.”

“You have Liege Bond with Draco Malfoy?” Arthur Weasley questioned softly and then paled. “I see.”

“It wasn’t something… it’s a private thing, Mr. Weasley. Not many people know about it,” Harry huddled in his blanket and glanced towards Snape.

“Does it change things? Familial or personal?” Molly questioned.

“Familial,” Narcissa murmured. “It might not be enough, Molly. It’s already crossed my mind. Their connection is very personal but the Liege Bond wasn’t. I witnessed it and I’m not sure it has the emotional connection to prevent Draco from seeking his mate if his Veela instincts point him in a direction other than Harry. Such bonds aren’t meant to be about love but about loyalty.”

Harry knew that. He’d read about the bond to make sure it wasn’t making him fall in love with Draco. He sighed. “Riddle hurt Ginny when she had the diary—emotionally and psychologically. He preyed on her romantic fantasies and insecurity that just comes from being eleven years old. His betrayal changed her and it made her harder than maybe she ever would have been.” He closed his eyes briefly to keep what he realized, with some horror, were tears at bay. “I never once encouraged her.”

“You didn’t have to, dear one.” Narcissa stood and walked over to him so she could sit in the chair next to him. She took his hand carefully and held it in both of hers. “I’m going to tell you something that will probably embarrass you horribly…” Harry laughed and Snape snorted. “Since your ancestral magic has settled—you’ve gone through some physical and magical changes that I’m sure you took in but didn’t really process. You’re beautiful if I may be quite frank.”

“Oh. That’s…” Harry blushed furiously. “I am not.”

“You are,” Snape said dryly. “It’s the damnedest thing I’ve ever seen. Your father never looked like that—not even when he accepted his title and received his inheritance. The magical power you have in you is stunning and a little irritating since you seemed to be completely unaware of it.”

Harry hitched his blanket up a little more and frowned darkly at the corner of Dumbledore’s desk. “Ten points from Slytherin for being inappropriately complimentary. You’re a blight on your house, Professor Snape.”

Narcissa laughed. “Oh, Harry.”

“I won’t make things more difficult for Draco than they already will be.” He took a deep breath. “I’d like to go back to the infirmary now.”

* * * *

Draco woke slowly and agony washed over him so fresh and vicious that it took his breath. Elbe was suddenly there, nervously trying to soothe him but failing miserably. He shivered against the pain and sighed when Madame Pomfrey lifted his head to give him a potion. Pain reliever he hoped. It took quickly, though the muscles in his body were still jerking the pain lessened immediately.

“Draco,” a voice murmured and cool fingers caressed his face. He opened his eyes and found his mother staring at him with tears in her eyes. “There you are, love. I know it must hurt.”

“What’s happening?” Draco questioned.

“You were exposed to hereditas vapor. It woke…” Narcissa hesitated. “It woke your latent Veela traits, darling.”

His eyes widened in horror. “No, Mother, no!”

“I’m so sorry, Draco,” Narcissa whispered. “I was assured that the traits would always remain dormant in any children I had because I don’t have much of the blood to pass. Your father was powerful and his inheritance was dominant in your magical blood. In fact, the exposure should have killed you.” She glanced over at Harry. “And you nearly did die—from what I’ve been told, your Harry refused to part with you and forced you to live through the physical change and the activation of your Veela traits with his magic.”

“It’s complete then?” Draco questioned. “It can’t be stopped?”

“It is done.” Narcissa brushed hair back from his forehead. “The changes are quite small over all but you have the allure, your hair is finer than it ever has been and it is more golden than the white blond you had before, your eyes are rather sparkly as well.”

“You look like a fallen star,” Harry murmured.

Draco turned and stared at his friend. “Except I’m not.”

“No.” Harry agreed, obviously tired. “But you look like one all the same.” He turned then, rolled onto his back and stared at the ceiling. “Mrs. Malfoy, you should probably cast a silencing charm and explain the rest to him.”

“Not necessary,” Draco said with a glare. “Whatever it is—I’ll tell you anyway.”

Narcissa took a deep breath. “Your Veela magic has settled completely and that means within the next year you’ll have your first mating season, Draco. You’ll seek a mate. The Veela in you will act on instinct and no matter what you might feel in this moment you won’t have a choice if you come across your destined mate. You may never meet that person but there stands every chance you will.”

Draco felt the hurt settle in his gut—as if someone had taken a knife and just pushed it into him. “I see.” He closed his eyes and shivered. “That’s what she wanted, right? She wanted me to leave… wanted to separate us because she was jealous.”

“Yes, but that is the least of little Ginny’s problems.” Narcissa sighed. “She was under an Imperius Curse and the Healers at St. Mungo’s says that she’s quite mentally ill. She probably has been for some time.”

“Since… the diary,” Harry murmured. “Voldemort ruined her when she was a child and now it’s probably too late for her. She may never be right again.”

Draco took a breath to steady himself and closed his eyes. “Can you send for Uncle Leenus? I need to ask him a few questions and would you ask Severus to visit me? I want to his advice on something. Have you asked him about suppressing the traits? At least the mating drive?”

* * * *

When Harry woke the next time Draco was staring at him—his eyes hard and bright like diamonds. It was so insanely attractive that he could barely remember to breathe.

He wet his lip and watched Malfoy’s cheeks flush. “I want to wrap myself around you—take you, brand you on some level that will let me keep you forever. I feel like a selfish prat for it.”

Draco reached out and trailed his fingers down Harry’s arm. Their beds were still pushed together. “Why are we close like this?”

“Because I apparently held your hand for a few hours after we were brought to the infirmary. We had to come here on the same stretcher and when they tried to separate us by force—my magic threw Dumbledore and Snape across the room,” Harry blushed. “I didn’t let go until you’re heritage settled and stabilized. I guess when my magic understood that you wouldn’t die I let go.” He looked down and watched Draco’s fingers moving on his skin. “This is… really unfair. I want to explode and just let everyone know how much it’s going to hurt when you find your mate.”

“I already have found my mate,” Draco murmured.  “My Uncle Leenus was here while you were sleeping. He was entirely inappropriate so I’m glad you slept through it. He drooled over you quite a bit. I don’t look forward to future family get events.” He curled his fingers against Harry’s hand aware that he’d upset him. “He theorizes that on some instinctual level that I recognized you as my mate immediately and when you rejected my friendship on the train—it really pissed off the Veela in me but those traits were recessive so all of that rejection was just sublimated and turned into my anger-fueled crush on you.”

Harry was still for a moment and then he rolled toward Draco, resettling himself entirely on his bed and burying his face against Malfoy’s neck. “I didn’t know how I was going to survive it.”

Draco buried his fingers in Harry’s hair and pulled him as close as he could. “Me neither—I didn’t understand how I could want you so much only to have my body turn against me and destroy it.” He rocked Harry gently. “My uncle told me that he’s never been in love—not ever. He respected his wife but he never loved her. He says that people with Veela traits rarely fall in love and when they do it’s always with the person that was meant to be their mate.”

They both stilled as the wards around them were breached. Elbe and Dobby appeared immediately. Harry was entirely certain one of them was growling. He sat up as one of the most attractive people he’d ever seen in his life walked around the partition.

Draco sat up and maneuvered himself between Harry and their visitor. “You’ll do well  to keep your distance, cousin. I’m not exactly in a civilized mood.”

The young man smirked at him and inclined his head as his mirror image came around the partition to join him. “Look how pretty our Draco’s mate is, Casteus.”

“Lovely, he looks delicious.” He shivered a little. “His magic feels different, Polleus.”

“Very different,” Polleus agreed.

“It’s wild,” a voice said and another man came around the partition. “I doubt you’ll ever encounter another quite like him—his House is known for their ability to harness and use wild magic and he is currently the last of his magical line.” He inclined his head. “I am Leenus Malfoy.”

Harry smirked. “Did you really get caught with six Muggle hookers in Monte Carlo?”

Leenus grinned. “Yes, shortly after I came into my inheritance. As punishment, my father made me marry.” He inclined his head towards his sons. “They were the result—it’s a never ending punishment now that I think about it.” He paused and then laughed lowly. “But it was worth it.”

Harry just bet. The man looked like a walking sex act and he frowned intensely. Then he took a close look at Draco and frowned some more. It was fortunate really that he was practically a force of nature all of a sudden because he didn’t know how he was going to keep people off Draco.

“Stop frowning at me, Potter. I’m too gorgeous to be frowned at,” Draco muttered. “Elbe, bring us a tea tray. Potter needs some chocolate biscuits.”

“You’re the one that likes those chocolate biscuits,” Harry complained. “I like the vanilla ones but Elbe never brings those. It’s quite selfish.”

Leenus cleared his throat and one of his sons retrieved him a chair. Harry was instantly reminded of Lucius and his face fell. He turned from them and took a deep breath. “You look a great deal like your brother, Mr. Malfoy.”

“Call me Leenus and yes, Lucius and I both took after our father who surprisingly had no Veela blood at all but did manage to mate with one the second time he married, after he lost Lucius’ mother.” He paused briefly and then continued. “I’d like to ask you a few questions about what you did on Sunday, Harry.”

“Sure.” Harry inclined his head then and smiled. He was out of the bed before the outer door of the infirmary opened. He shrugged on his robe as Sirius came around the partition. “Sirius!”

“Pup.” Sirius grabbed him and pulled into a tight embrace. “I came as soon as I heard.” He carded his hands through Harry’s messy hair. “What… the hell happened?”

Harry hands clenched on his robes briefly. “When? Merlin, it’s been one thing after another for the last week or so.”

Sirius laughed. “That’s something you get from your mother, she had the most amazing brand of luck—neither particularly good or bad. Just…” He waved a hand as he prodded Harry back towards the bed. “Interesting things were always happening to her.”

“Right.” Harry sat down on the bed and took a deep breath. “Well, on Saturday I went to Gringotts to bully some people I don’t know and sell some stuff and make money.” Everyone nodded because that seemed like a reasonable place to do all of those things at the same time. “But I was roped into doing Ragnok a favor. There was this elf—her owner had tried to force her to give up her baby to him so he could compel a bond when he was an infant and he beat her. She died.”

“But not before she gave Potter here her magic,” Draco provided when Harry ended abruptly. “Then he holds out his hands and calls the baby. The ugly little precious bundle of joy popped right into his hands.”

Sirius mouth dropped open. “You.” He reached out and touched Harry’s shoulder. “She gave you her magic?”

“He, of course, had no idea how amazing that was,” Draco muttered as Snape came around the partition. “Then he was all snotty with the git who had killed the house elf when he tried to take the elf baby and paid him to go away. It’s really quite horrible the way Potter has gotten used to throwing his money around to get his way.”

Harry laughed and sighed. “Draco.”

“The man, who we’re going to absolutely ruin when we have time, first said no and the Boy Who Lived over here cheerfully told him if he didn’t take his money that he’d be happy to duel with him for insulting him.”

Harry huffed. “His breathing the same air I breathe is an insult to my House, my ancestors, and the next ten generations of Potters.” He glared when everyone laughed at him. “You’re all prats.”

“So on Sunday we did some flying and practiced with a snitch for a while. Then we came back into the castle…” Harry took a deep breath. “And Ginny threw this potion on him.”

“It was hereditas vapor,” Snape offered, his tone cool and precise. “The Weasley girl had been cursed and instructed to dose Draco with it the first chance she got. Due to the small amount of Veela blood in him—exposure to the potion should have killed him in less than a minute.”

“His magic was leaving,” Harry murmured. “And I grabbed on to it. I don’t know how I managed and I just held on to it. I heard Fawkes singing. He always comes when I need him most,” Harry murmured. Fawkes appeared in a flash of fire and landed on Harry’s bed in front of him. “And sometimes just when it suits him.”

He held out his arm and the bird jumped to curl his feet delicately around his wrist. Mehen stirred but settled quickly with a small disgruntled hiss. “Hello, there, I didn’t hurt you did I?” Fawkes twittered at him and then sang a few notes to the shock of several of the people in the room. “I know. I do try to keep it contained. At least Dobby and Elbe were able to stop most of it.” He stroked Fawkes feathers gently. “And you were very helpful as well, as always.” The phoenix responded again with a burst of song that was kind of shrill. Harry blushed. “I do believe it is your job to berate Albus Dumbledore and not me.” The bird walked up his arm, nipped his ear, and then disappeared in a flash of wind and fire.

Draco cleared his throat. “Harry, how long have you been able to understand Fawkes?”

“Since the Chamber of Secrets,” Harry admitted. “He cried for me and after that—I understood him. He is less than thrilled with my Animagus form by the way. He says it reminds him of the basilisk that was in the chamber.”

Leenus nodded thoughtfully. “Severus, could you tell us what you witnessed?”

“I heard Potter screaming—for me and their Vassals. When I reached the entrance of the castle I found them both on the floor. They were both enveloped in a bright white light and the elves…” He paused and looked at Dobby and Elbe who were arranging a tea tray on Draco’s bed. “Were shielding them—two layers. Dobby was in the center and Elbe had raised a shield around them all. Fawkes appeared and breached the shields with what seemed like no effort and then he started to sing and Potter stopped screaming.” He took a deep breath. “When it was over—half the students in the school were unconscious and seventeen residents of Hogsmeade were so over wrought they had to be sedated. Everyone within five kilometers of the school reported hearing Fawkes singing. The foundation of the castle cracked and every window in the castle shattered under the vibration.”

“How long did it last?” Sirius asked.

Snape’s face went blank. “Sixteen hours. When the elves dropped the shields we moved the two of them to the infirmary and three hours after that we were able to physically separate them.”

Harry’s eyes widen. “What? It didn’t… it seemed like minutes to me.”

“Trust me, Potter, sixteen hours. As I said it was an act of magic the likes of which I’ve never seen.” Snape frowned intensely at Sirius and then swept from the room with a sweep of his robes.

Harry sighed. “Would you go fix that? I’m really tired of being concerned about that git’s sex life!”

Sirius huffed dramatically and then leaned in to plant a kiss on Harry’s forehead. “Try to keep the acts of unspeakably powerful magic to a bare minimum until you recover.” He stalked away with that, shouting cheerfully after Snape. “Severus! Harry says we should resolve our UST!”

Harry laughed softly and fell back on his bed. “Merlin, I’ll never pass Potions now.”

* * * *

Draco paused as he entered the common room and paused as Blaise stood slowly. “Don’t do something stupid, Zabini.”

Blaise smirked. “You look quite fine, Draco.” His gaze travelled over his body, more pure inspection than insult. “Easy to see what pretty Potter sees in you these days.” His eyes darkened. “Still don’t know how either of you survived what happened on Sunday.”

“He might as well be dead,” Pansy muttered and glared at him. “For all of his allure, he’s a creature now, Blaise. He’s been ruined.”

Draco laughed softly. “You’re an idiot, Pansy. It isn’t like the vapor gave me Veela blood. It activated it. I was born with it and your parents always knew. I suppose they really didn’t care that they were going to give their daughter to a wizard with creature blood as long as they benefited from it.”

She flushed furiously and then huffed. “Well, I’m glad they ended that agreement.”

Draco grinned. “You’re kidding, right? Is that what they told you? I ended it, Pansy. I cancelled the contract the day after I buried my father and ignored all three of your father’s offers to renew it since then.” He started down the hall towards his suite. “Close your mouth before something nasty flies into it.”

In his suite, he warded the door and added a few new charms to the locks as Elbe put away some laundry. He took off his robes and folded them over the back of his chair. “I’m exhausted.”

“Too bad.”

He turned and sighed at finding Harry leaning in the portrait hole that lead up to the top of the tower. “Hmm, Potter, want to sleep with me?”

Harry grinned. “Yes, of course, but I can’t.” He moved into the room and walked to stand in front of Draco. “I promised Hermione I would study with her tonight and help her with some defense spells. The wand movements always come quickly to me but frustrate her.” He moved closer and let his hand rest on Draco’s hip as the Slytherin moved into his embrace. “It was selfishness,” Harry admitted.

“What?” Draco asked softly.

“It was selfish—what I did. I couldn’t let you go because I want… I want.” Harry buried his face against his throat and shuddered as they came together fully. “I want you so much and I couldn’t part with you. I keep waiting for someone to realize that I wasn’t going to ever let go—that I would have followed you into death.”

Draco shuddered and held Harry tight. “Shh, love, no one in our lives is going to make that leap of logic. They see you as heroic, the Boy Who Keeps On Living no matter what gets thrown at him,” he whispered fiercely. He ran his hands through Harry’s hair with a sigh. “I hate her for what she’s done—for what she woke in me. I could have lived my whole life a normal wizard.”

“You’re not abnormal,” Harry whispered fiercely.

“Many won’t agree with you. While some Wizarding families consider it an honor to have Veela in their bloodlines—others believe it to be a foul and disgusting situation. Pansy called me a creature.” Draco frowned when Harry stiffened. “Hey, don’t. She won’t be the last to do it. Veela are classified as creatures per the British Ministry. Thankfully, I don’t meet the standard to be classified as Veela. You have to be at least 1/2.”

“What would happen if you could be classified as a Veela?”

“My Uncle Leenus keeps his money in France because the British Ministry of Magic  would tax him heavily and he would have to submit to questioning regularly to keep his wand. Both he and my cousins, in fact the rest of my family are French citizens and are therefore immune to those policies due to international treaties.”

“Right,” Harry frowned. “Could they take your seat on the Wizengamot?”

“No.” Draco shook his head. “The Wizengamot is a body of the Crown, Harry, not the Ministry of the Magic. The minister has a third tier seat in the court but that’s it.”

“Third tier?” Harry questioned softly.

Draco sighed and looked pained. “Do pay attention when I teach the Muggle-borns about Wizarding law, love, you’re killing me. The Wizengamot has three levels—the third tier is made up of the Minister of the Magic, the head of the Magical Law Enforcement, head of the Wizarding Examinations Authority and various department heads on a rotational basis. The second tier is made up of minor lords, those families, like Blaise’s for example, that have less than five generations in the nobility.  The first tier are nobles of Ancient houses—ten generations or more. My family joined the first tier of the court about a hundred years after yours did.” He trailed his hands along Harry’s rib cage. “Stop teasing, Harry. Kiss me.”

Harry brushed his mouth over Draco’s and soft moan passed between them. They pressed closer together—fell into an exploring kiss than left them both aching for more. He nipped at Draco’s bottom lip and sighed. He let his forehead rest on Malfoy’s for a few seconds. “Ah, Dragon, you have to know how much you mean to me.”

“I do know.” Draco’s fingers pressed firmly against Harry’s back as he pulled him closer. “I know. It’s so stupid, Harry, how did this happen to us?”

Harry laughed. “Hermione said there has always been a lot of energy and passion between us—once we stopped fighting it had to go somewhere.” He leaned in and kissed him again. “Apparently the line between love and hate is very thin.”

“Agreed, she’s quite brilliant.” He sighed. “Don’t you dare tell her I said that.”

Harry laughed. “I have to go.”

* * * *

He found Hermione in the common room at the table they normally sat at to study. He slid into place and dropped his three books on the table in front of him with a sigh. “You look…irritated.”

“I am beyond irritated,” Hermione snapped. “Terence Higgs hexed Neville in the hall on the way back to the tower.  It was a nasty stinging hex and Neville fell down a few stairs and broke his arm. He’s in the infirmary.”

“What kind of punishment was he given?”

“None,” Hermione snapped. “There were no teachers around to witness it and when Snape tested his wand it was too late—he’d already performed a couple of other charms to cover his tracks. I took house points, of course, but that’s it. It’s certainly not enough for what he did.”

Harry took a deep breath. “Dobby.”

The elf appeared immediately. “Yes, Master Harry?”

“I need parchment and my quill.” Dobby disappeared and reappeared less than thirty seconds later.

Harry quickly penned missive and then pulled his wallet out of his pocket. Once he expanded it on the table, he signed his name, applied his seal, and then folded it neatly. Then sealed the whole thing with wax. “Take this to Mr. Higgs. Let him know that I expect a response within the hour or I will have no choice but to pursue legal charges against him.”

Hermione’s gaze widened as Dobby disappeared. “Harry, what did you do?”

“I challenged him to a duel for insulting my House and causing my Heir grievous injury. It’s perfectly legal. Higgs is seventeen and I have legal standing as the patriarch of my house. I won’t have my Heir bullied by an adult while the adults around us do nothing to stop it.”

* * * *

Draco had made a half way decent attempt at his Charms essay when there was an abrupt knock on his door and the shout of a “house meeting” from one of the prefects. He sighed and pulled on his robes but left them hanging open. The common room was packed when he arrived.

“What’s going on?”

“We’re waiting on Snape,” Pansy muttered and then moved away from him when the portrait hole opened and Snape glided through.

“Well, Mr. Zabini, what is the meaning of this?” Snape glared at him.

Zabini jerked his head towards Higgs who was pale and shaking. “Terence was challenged to a duel by Potter for what he did to Longbottom.”

Snape raised an eyebrow. “Is that so?” He smirked. “Well, Mr. Higgs, have you responded?”

“No.” Higgs frowned. “Professor… he can’t challenge me to a duel. He’s not of age.”

“He is the Lord of his House and is an adult with all of the responsibilities and privileges thereof,” Draco murmured. “I assure you, Higgs, he can challenge you to a duel. I was the Noble Witness to his title claiming. You could have killed his Heir with that stunt you pulled. You’ll be lucky to come out of this without being maimed.”

“Fine.” He glared at Draco. “You’re my second.”

Draco laughed, low and his eyes sparked with malice. “The last thing you want, Terence, is to have me at your back in a duel with Potter. You should pick Miles.”

“He’ll have to settle for me,” Snape responded evenly. “In such circumstances, he is required to pick the Head of his House to act as his second. The duel is legal, the challenge is legitimate, and considering the fact that Potter could level charges against Higgs in front of the Wizengamot for a crime of attempted line damage against his House… Terence is getting off extremely lightly. If Mr. Higgs were under age, there is little Potter could do to him personally but as it stands, Mr. Higgs is an adult and he attacked and grievously injured an underage wizard in front of a half a dozen witnesses.”

* * * *

“Harry you don’t have to…” Neville trailed off and looked away. “No one has ever stood up for me before—not even me.”

“Yes, well, I’ve been a crap friend and I don’t know how you’ve tolerated me as long as you have. I asked for your support the first day of term and you said you’d give it to me. It is way past time that I returned the favor and it’s… my duty, Neville. I feel quite compelled to see this matter through.”

He nodded. “It’s your ancestral magic at play, Harry, and I understand. It must be hard on you to realize how much you’ve changed in just a few weeks.” He frowned down at his arm. “I was lucky the stairs moved the way they did or I would have fallen all the way… well. I would have probably died, I guess. Higgs has always been a mean git but he’s gotten worse this year. He’s real bitter.”

“I noticed.” Harry shoved his hands into his pockets and frowned. “But I’ll teach him a lesson he won’t soon forget.” He took a deep breath. “I’m going to bring people to Potter Manor this summer to teach me. I’d like you to come, too. I realize you’ll want to spend time with your grandmother. She’s welcome to join us at the manor for the summer if she wishes.” He glanced at Neville who looked uncertain. “She isn’t in a position to tell me no, Neville and it’s time you harness your magic. I feel it in you, you know. You’ve a lot of magical power but you’re afraid of it and it’s time you master that fear.”

* * * *

“You can’t mean to let these two boys duel!” Minerva glared at Dumbledore and then turned to stare at Severus. “Potter is fifteen years old.”

“He challenged Terence Higgs and we have two choices—we can sanction what is a legal challenge and allow it to take place in a controlled environment where we can set limits and rules…” Snape trailed off meaningfully.

“Albus.” Minerva turned to him and stared.

“Severus is right,” Dumbledore murmured. “If we tell them it can’t take place on school grounds—they’ll arrange to meet in private in a situation where we can’t monitor them or provide aid in case things get out of hand. The duel is legal and Lord Potter is well within his rights to address the insult done to his House. Mr. Higgs parents have been notified and they are set to arrive to bear witness.”

“They aren’t protesting?” McGonagall demanded.

“Actually, I think they are quite looking forward to their son dueling with the Boy Who Lived. They asked if they could bring a reporter from the Prophet,” Dumbledore informed her blithely. “I agreed. Minister Fudge has requested to attend as well. I’m considering putting a coverage charge on the event and making a few galleons for the school scholarship fund.” His eyes twinkled brightly and she quit his office with a swish of skirts and a glare.

* * * *

Harry closed the spell book in his hand when the private passage portrait swung open and Draco slipped into the room. “Hey.”

Draco laughed softly. “Potter, you thrill me.” He dropped his robes on the floor in front of the small couch and crawled right into Harry’s lap. “Higgs is horrified and didn’t stop shaking for an hour.”

Harry grinned and tossed the book aside. “I heard that McGonagall is upset but she hasn’t been to see me, yet.” He picked up his wand and warded the door that lead to the rest of the Gryffindor tower before pulling Draco close, his fingers clenching in the material of the other boy’s slacks and shifting upward for a brief kiss. “I thought you were going to bed?”

“It lost its appeal after you kissed me and then abandoned me to study with that girl,” he murmured and moved until they were flush against one another. “Higgs is petrified of you.”

“Well, I do have the power to slay a Dark Lord,” Harry murmured and grinned when Draco’s mouth dropped open. “At least that’s what he’s thinking. You and I both know I doubt how accurate that nutter’s prophecy is.”

“She is a nutter,” Draco agreed but he frowned. “However, I think you are uniquely powerful in a way that Voldemort could never be and there will come a time when you face him and he will end because no matter how evil he is, Harry, you are four times as good and wonderful. That has to mean something.”

Harry blushed and relaxed back on the couch. “I’m not that good, Dragon.”

“Oh yeah?”

“I’m pretty sure good boys don’t think about how much better it would be if you were naked right now.” He grinned at the blush that ran across Draco’s face and then sighed at the sharp knock on his door. “And that would be my Head of House.”

Draco frowned.

“Get your robes and go hide in my bedroom,” Harry suggested and kissed him quickly before urging him off his lap.

Draco picked up his abandoned robes and hurried into the bedroom. Harry waited until he shut the door before unwarding his entrance and walking to answer it. He stepped aside to let McGonagall enter and closed it gently.

“You’re upset with me?”

She eyed him shrewdly. “Only if you do poorly.”

Harry grinned then and walked to the couch. “The thing is that I know I could knock him unconscious in under a minute but that really wouldn’t do much more than embarrass him briefly. Everyone knows he’s not a powerhouse magically.” He motioned her to sit in the chair. “Tea or perhaps cider? There is an orchard on my ancestral property and the elves put up a large amount of cider.”

“Cider would be lovely,” Minerva murmured. She didn’t appear surprised when Dobby appeared with two thick slices of spiced cake and hot apple cider. “Thank you, Dobby.”

“I teach Master Harry to be proper host,” Dobby boasted and then bowed before disappearing.

Harry laughed. “That’s true enough. He keeps me on track in a lot of ways.” He poured the cider for her in a delicate cup and then poured himself some as well. “I’d like to teach the entire a school a lesson next Saturday when I duel Higgs.”

“And what is that lesson, Harry?”

“Higgs bullied Neville because he viewed him as an easy target. First and foremost, I want every wizard and witch in this school to know that Neville’s place as my Heir is one I take seriously and respect wholeheartedly. Second, I’d like to see the other older students take a more active role in making sure that the bullying stops. Four of the witnesses were from our own house and they didn’t interfere. I have a real problem with that. They let Higgs hex Neville and didn’t help him until they realized he’d been seriously hurt. Third, I want to let Snape know if he can’t keep his snakes in line that I’ll be more than happy to do it for him. I think they’ll find I’m a far bigger snake than all of them combined.”

Minerva smiled and sipped her cider. “Those are worthy goals. Mr. Higgs has more experience than you—more education. He’s probably learned all matter of spells from his father.”

“Yes, and my godfather is Sirius Black.” He inclined his head. “Try the cake. Petey, the cook for the manor, makes excellent cake.”

She smiled and picked up the plate and took a fork. “Higgs’ parents are coming to watch.”

“Good.”

“Perhaps. His father is rumored to be a Death Eater. One of the rules of a duel is that the only four people in the room allowed to draw their wands are the participants and their designated seconds. Albus will place a heavy ward on the rest of the room preventing anyone else from participating. It’s a difficult spell and a taxing one. I trust you won’t make the Headmaster carry such a heavy ward for very long.”

“I’d hate for him to be too tired for Saturday afternoon tea,” Harry conceded.

“The cake is quite tasty,” Minerva murmured. “I should probably lecture you about Dobby. Delores fumes about him and Elbe in the staff meetings. She hates you quite a bit.”

“The feeling is mutual. She’s a bigot and I have no patience for someone like that,” Harry murmured. “She would do good to mind her own business.”

“She’s also complained about the classes you’ve been organizing for the Muggle born’s. She’s of the opinion that if they can’t educate themselves on our world—then they should be left in the dark.”

Harry would like to leave in her in a dark place for a while. “It’s people like her who foster the ideals that fuel Tom Riddle and his followers. I don’t understand the mindset really but then I didn’t grow up thinking I was superior to anyone.”

Draco was asleep on the bed when he finally managed to get into his bedroom. Harry changed into his pajamas and then called Elbe. How or why the elf chose to respond to Harry remained something of a mystery but Elbe appeared with an armful of silk. With a snap of his fingers—Draco was dressed in green silk pajamas and Elbe disappeared with his uniform.

Harry slid into the bed and pulled his dragon close. With a sigh, he dragged the covers over them both and buried his face against Draco’s neck. His magic shifted in him as he relaxed and he let it drift over his skin and envelope Draco. It was perfect then—the connection that had been missing since they’d been separated in the infirmary hummed sweetly between them.

Chapter Ten

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.

“Well?”

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.”

Lord Potter,

 

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.

 

Rodger Victor

Mayor

Godric’s Hollow

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.

Lord Malfoy,

 

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.”

“Very well.”

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 dverger 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.

Chapter Eleven

Professor Stone was an imposing man and his place in the center of the dueling stage settled Harry. The minister and his reporter were on the front row of the audience and he really didn’t want to be involved with the man after it was over. He hoped that Higgs managed to injure him enough to get him taken to the infirmary after the duel.

“Silence!” Stone shouted. He pointed to the glowing marks on the stage and Harry put his right foot on the mark. Higgs took his place with a well practiced sneer. The audience shifted in their chairs. “Wands out.” Stone ordered. Harry loved the feel of the wand sliding up over his wrist and into his hand—no matter how fast it actually was—the sensation was slick and sexy. Stone stepped off the stage and Higgs shifted forward on his feet. “Begin!”

Higgs sent a stinging hex that slashed across his chest but Harry didn’t blink. The hide of his vest absorbed most of it. He pushed the small flash of pain aside without making a sound and then threw one back at Higgs that made the older boy scream and then lunge forward with a furious shout.

Serpensortio!”

Harry blinked in surprise as the snake poured out of the older boy’s wand—aware that he’d actually said the spell incorrectly—he hadn’t conjured a snake. He had summoned one. The cobra rose up on the stage and hissed at Harry as he cast a stunner that Higgs dodged.

Accio cobra!” Harry shouted and the snake flew to him. He caught it without hesitation and it coiled around his left wrist and struck out at Higgs with a vicious hiss. “Avis!” Three ravens flew out of Harry’s wand, causing Higgs to duck and turn his back briefly on him. Harry rolled his eyes and threw a strong, malicious stinging hex at the boy for being an idiot.

Higgs fell briefly to his knees, but rolled quickly and threw a cutting hex that hit his cheek—causing a shallow but painful slash. Harry casually tossed the snake at Draco. Malfoy caught it without hesitation and the cobra curled around his arm without trying to bite. Harry wiped at his cheek as he cast a shielding charm.

“First blood to you then, Higgs.”

Higgs smirked and bowed before casting again. “Sectumsempra!”

The hex hit Harry’s shield and it burned away but it was strong enough to keep the curse from actually hit him.  He knew that curse because Sirius had taught it to him—it was nasty and vicious. He threw three stunning hexes at the older boy that had him dodging around the stage like a badly coordinated dancer. The boy turned and shouted, “Aperio animus!”

Harry let the spell flow over him and the urge to shift was there—but Higgs was nowhere near as powerful as Minerva and he threw it off within a few seconds. He caught Terence in the side with a stinging hex, putting enough power in it that he screamed and then suddenly Harry was done. It just wasn’t in him to torture another human being.

He caught Terrence with a sticking charm on his feet. The older boy turned but before he could cast, Harry threw up a shield with his left hand and shouted, “Reducto!” The curse hit Higg’s wand arm and the sound of the bones crushing in his lower arm was audible in the near silent room. “Expelliarmus!”

Higgs fell to his knees on the stage, moaning softly in pain, his eyes dark with pain and fury as Harry caught his wand.

Stone stepped onto the stage between them. “I call this duel settled. Lord Potter is the undisputed victor.” He held out his hand and Harry handed him Higgs’s wand without hesitating. “My Lord, do you consider this matter settled?”

“I do. Nothing further ever be said or done.” Harry bowed formally and let his wand slide back into his sleeve.

The ward around the room lifted as Harry stepped down off the stage and Draco stood, the snake was coiling gently around his friend’s wrist in a way that was beguiling and affectionate.

Harry reached out and stroked the cobra’s head. In Parseltongue, he spoke, “I apologize that you were jerked from your home and made to be here today against your will.”

The snaked shifted up and his head flared. People around them backed off and dimly Harry could hear Delores Umbridge demanding that someone banish the snake. “We can’t banish a living creature without cause,” Harry snapped and stared hard at the woman. “In case you missed it, Professor, Mr. Higgs didn’t conjure a snake, he summoned one. Considering the species isn’t native to England I would say he stole someone’s pet or he was taken from a potions lab within a hundred miles of the school.”

Umbridge flushed with fury because people all around were nodding their agreement. “You threw a real snake at a fellow student? Headmaster Dumbledore, he attempted to kill Lord Malfoy right in front of you!”

“I did no such thing,” Harry returned dryly. “Draco is one of the few people in the room that I knew could handle the snake and it would have been a gross act of cruelty to kill or banish the snake. The only other person I could have given him to in the room was Professor Snape and he was busy.”

The cobra stirred and then left Draco’s arm to curl around Harry’s wrist next to Mehen. It hissed at Harry, “We are kindred.”

Harry inclined his head and responded, “Yes.” People around him shuddered slightly as he hissed at the snake. He glanced at the stage, not surprised to find that Higgs had already been taken from the room. He turned to Dumbledore, “Headmaster, with your permission, I will take the snake to the potions lab and we’ll create a living space for him until we can find his owner.”

“Of course, Harry.” Albus waved him away, cheerfully ignoring Delores.

Ron, Hermione, Draco, Theo, and Neville followed him out of the hall. They were all silent as they went down into the dungeon. Hermione and Draco worked together to create a large glass enclosure for the snake on a side work table while Neville, Ron, and Theo worked out a suitable sand to line the box with.

Harry stroked the snake gently. “Are you hungry?”

“Yes.”

“Will you tell me where you came from?”

“Not good place, I will stay here with the magical children.”

Harry laughed and let the snake go into the glass enclosure. “He wishes to stay with the magical children and he’s hungry.” They settled a heavy-duty screen over the cage. “Well, he’s a gorgeous beast—quite fitting I believe for this part of the castle.” He withdrew his wand and cast several heating charms on the glass tank to give the snake the proper environment. “We should let the first years name him.”

“He doesn’t already have a name?” Hermione questioned—leaning in to look at the snake now that it was safe.

“No, not like we do. Their world is just very different from ours.” Harry’s thumb drifted over Mehen on his wrist. “Snakes are…honest and not particularly interested in humans for the most part. They’re very single minded, more selfish than you’d even expect, but cunning and they have a dry humor.” He grinned. “Kind of like Draco.”

“Fuck you, Potter.” Draco didn’t even glance at him as he held a wiggling mouse over the cage. “Why should the first years get to name him? You threw him at me… I think should get to name him.”

Harry shrugged and then smiled indulgently. “Okay, you name him.”

“Obviously we should call him Salazar.” He grinned when Harry laughed.

Hermione transfigured a gold plate with the name Salazar on it and they affixed it to the cage before the snake snatched the mouse from Draco’s fingers and Hermione screamed in horror as it swallowed it whole and alive.

“Gross.” Hermione shuddered and turned away. “I’m glad I already ate lunch.”

“Lord Potter!” Healer Daniels appeared in the doorway, clearly flustered.

“Adam.” Harry smiled and waved. “Didn’t you go to Hogwarts?”

“Yes, my Lord.” Adam glanced around the potions room. “I was a Slytherin myself, you know.”

“I have long suspected—when you lecture you sound specifically like Professor Snape sometimes.” He grinned when the Healer blushed. “Especially that tone he gets when he’s really irritated and says my name like it has extra syllables.”

Adam inclined his head, glared briefly, and motioned Harry to follow. “Come, you’ll need to be examined in private.”

“You can use my rooms. I have an entrance in the hall outside of the Slytherin rooms.” Draco motioned them to follow. A portrait swung open for him without him saying a word and he ushered them into an elegantly appointed suite.

Harry allowed Adam to prod him into Draco’s bedroom and the door was shut. “I’m fine, you know.”

“You extended a great deal of magical energy.” Adam withdrew his wand and motioned Harry to take a seat. “Some of it wandless. I didn’t know you could do that.”

“It comes and goes,” Harry admitted. “I don’t always… some of it is just instinct. Shields, cushioning charms, levitation, and summoning objects across the room.” He rubbed the back of his neck. “Shield charms are a lot more work with the wand than without.”

Adam nodded and continued to cast charms. “I want you to take an extra nutrient potion but you seem to be in good shape.” He cleaned and healed the cut on Harry’s face with quick flick of his wand. “How are you sleeping now that the curse damage has been cleared up?”

“I’m good,” Harry murmured. “Better than I have been in the last few years actually. I don’t think I realized how little sleep I got until it was over. Though I admit I sleep better when I can talk Draco into snuggling with me.” He blushed when Adam laughed. “Which admittedly doesn’t happen often—he’s such a Slytherin.”

“Well, if anyone would know to snuggle with a snake it would be you.” Adam cast another charm and sighed at the results. “Let’s talk about some exercise again and flying around on a broom isn’t going to cut it. You need to build up some muscle mass—you’re doing well for the time we’ve had to work on this but I’d like to see you lifting weights and running.”

Harry sighed. “Right. I’ll work on it. I’m sure Dobby will have the way of it. I suppose they make magical weight benches or something?”

Adam agreed. “Dobby will take care of it—we’ll use a few potions as well. Nothing that will build artificial muscle but something that will encourage muscle growth safely and I’d like you to increase your caloric intake for awhile to get some weight on you. Swimming would be good.”

“I have a pool at the manor but nothing…” He frowned. “I wonder if the Room of Requirement could provide a pool?”

“I don’t see why not, the Room is nothing less than a magical miracle,” Adam said ruefully.

* * * *

Fudge was waiting with the reporter from the Daily Prophet when they came back upstairs. The dueling stage had been removed and the tables were back in place for dinner. Harry was pleased to see she didn’t have a one of those automated quills like Rita had favored. He hated those things and was glad to see that the changes they’d enforced on the staff of the paper were going in the right direction.

“Minister Fudge.”

“Lord Potter,” Fudge said with a broad grin as if he was using Harry’s title to humor him. “This Matilda Finch with the Daily Prophet.”

“Madame,” Harry inclined his head and his gaze dropped to the pendant she wore—it was a stylized version of the company logo they’d designed for Serpent & Dragon, Inc. A silver dragon and a jade green snake twined together.

She touched her jewelry. “The Serpent of Truth and the Dragon of Retribution.”

He almost laughed. “I see. It’s nice to know that the Daily Prophet will be focusing on the truth in the future. The days ahead require level heads and honesty.”

“I couldn’t agree more,” Fudge said broadly and Harry fought the urge to roll his eyes. “I was telling Ms. Finch that you would be thrilled to give her an interview.”

“Actually, I wouldn’t,” Harry returned dryly. “I’ve had a full day and I’m quite exhausted. I hope that isn’t a problem, Ms. Finch.”

“No, of course not, Lord Potter. May I ask two questions?”

“Two questions,” Harry agreed.

“Why did you challenge Terence Higgs to a duel?”

“He endangered the life of my Heir, an underage wizard, with a foolish and ill-timed prank.” Harry lifted an eyebrow. “And your second question?”

“Are you involved with Draco Malfoy romantically?”

Harry blushed. It was certainly a very pointed and direct question.  “My relationship with Lord Malfoy is complicated. We share a unique bond—we’ve both had a parent sacrifice themselves for the Light and die at the hands of Voldemort.”

“So you do have a relationship with Lord Malfoy?”

“That, Ms. Finch, is question number three.” He gave her a short bow and with a quick smile left her and the Minister in the entryway of the hall.

Harry didn’t figure he’d escaped the Minister that easy so he wasn’t surprised to see him in the dining hall for dinner but the reporter was gone. That meant whatever Fudge had planned next that he didn’t want the Finch woman around to write about it.

Several people in Gryffindor were looking at him like he was crazy but that wasn’t much of a surprise. The Parselmouth thing had been a stumbling block for him since second year and he really didn’t see it going away. It made him furious, in more than one way, because it made him ashamed of his Animagus form on some level. He hated that and part of him hated them for making him feel like a freak—more of a freak than the Dursley’s had ever been able to accomplish.

He focused on his food and tried to smile when Sirius scooted in next to him and made a few of the first years go pale. That probably wasn’t going to get old and from Sirius’ truly devious smile he figured his godfather agreed. He made sure to eat lots of protein and when Dobby appeared with a cup of liquid—Harry drank it without pausing. He held onto the cup and handed it back to Dobby when the elf returned. He didn’t want anyone at the table checking it out or accidently reusing it.

After dinner, he was herded back into Dumbledore’s office and Sirius had come along. He’d immediately picked out the most comfortable chair in the room where he pulled out a cigar he claimed came from Cuba and lit it with his wand. Fudge had glared at him briefly but had quickly averted his gaze when Sirius quirked an eyebrow at him and then slowly winked.

Harry had been able to keep from laughing but it had been a near thing. He settled in the same chair he’d sat in before the duel and crossed his legs. He wanted to run screaming from the room but that wasn’t very adult of him.

“Now, Harry, in a few weeks there will be several events that the Wizengamot members are expected to attend.”

“You mean fund raising events for your election campaign,” Harry translated. “I wasn’t aware that the members of the Wizengamot members were required to attend such events for the incumbent Minister of Magic. It doesn’t seem… fair to the other candidates if that is true.” Harry watched the man sputter. “I was invited to Godric’s Hollow recently but I declined the invitation through my solicitor. If you would like me to attend any political fundraisers, Minister, you’ll have to go through Mr. Riser’s law firm. He’s simply in a better position to determine what is in my best interest politically. Additionally, I’d want to speak with my account manager at Gringotts concerning my financial concerns.”

“I am expecting your full support, Lord Potter.”

“Are you?” Harry asked. “Perhaps if you’d proven yourself a good and honest man in the past you’d have the right to expect that. You ignored me in my third year when I told you that Peter Pettigrew was alive. If you hadn’t ignored me then—I have to wonder if Pettigrew would have still been at large and in a position to help Voldemort resurrect himself when I was kidnapped. I guess we’ll never know.” Harry raised an eyebrow when Fudge started to protest. “But perhaps I can overlook that—I mean I was a child, right? A lonely child with a bad home life who desperately wanted to reclaim some small bit of family? But what could possibly explain you going out of your way to tell everyone from here to Paris that I was a liar and mentally ill when I said that Voldemort had returned, when you knew I was being honest. After all, you had Aurors interrogate me like a criminal for hours over that very subject.”

Fudge flushed. “I was afraid and I didn’t want to believe you, Harry, surely you understand that.”

“You fear Voldemort?” Harry questioned then nodded. “Many people in my life fear that monster but they don’t mistreat children and paint them in the press as psychotic. It makes me worry about you, Minister Fudge. If you would prey on a child and use a person like Delores Umbridge to spy on a school because of your fear—just what else would you do to pacify that fear? Would you stand in the face of Voldemort and tell him no not once but three times? Would you sacrifice your life for another? Do you love anyone but yourself, Minister Fudge? How much do you allow your fear to rule you?”

“I was never tempted by the Dark—not when he came the first time and I won’t be tempted now. You don’t understand what it was like the first time, however, you were just a baby.”

“Fear is debilitating, Minister Fudge. It makes you weak and ineffectual. So to answer your unspoken question, no, I will not endorse you politically. I will not support you publically. A war is coming and men like you aren’t strong enough to do what must be done to protect the public or really even themselves. You’d be better served retiring from public life and hoping that when Voldemort does reclaim his power base that an ex-Minister of Magic is the least of his concerns.” Harry stood and smoothed his hands down his robes. “I won’t endorse anyone in the incoming election, Minister Fudge. Let’s see how you do on your own merits. If you attempt to use my name or my reputation for your own gain—I will find someone to endorse so quickly your head will spin.”

Fudge glared at him. “Do you think I can’t compel your support?”

“I think you’d be an idiot to try but then you’ve already proven yourself quite foolish when it comes to me,” Harry replied evenly. “What you would do good to remember, Minister, is that I’m fifteen years old and I’ve stood in front of Voldemort not once but four times only to walk away from it relatively unharmed.” He stroked a finger over his curse scar. “Do you want to know how?”

“Everyone wants to know,” Fudge snapped and then flushed, furious.

“I don’t fear him. Tom Riddle has my pity and my hatred—but the last thing he’ll ever get is my fear. To quote a famous Muggle author, fear is a mind killer.”

* * * *

Draco had delivered a small note to him from Snape after he’d left the Headmaster’s office. They walked down to the dungeons together—walking as close as they ever allowed in public despite the rumors of their relationship.

“Fudge was a prat?”

Harry laughed. “Yes. He told me he expected my support for Minister and when I told him no—he grew quite upset. I told him I wouldn’t endorse anyone at all unless he does something stupid like use my name to further himself.”

He quickly found himself in the potions lab where they’d set up Salazar’s cage. Snape was at his own work station with a large cauldron burning on a low flame. He motioned them forward and eyed Draco briefly. “Potter, I need to ask you some questions about the potions that Daniels left. Are you comfortable answering those questions in front of Draco?”

Harry nodded. “Sure.”

“The nutrient potion he’s prescribing to you is extremely potent,” Snape began. “You’ve been on it for far longer than most Healers would allow. Is this related to the ceremony we participated in August?”

“No, though that ceremony did tax my body heavily as you know,” Harry admitted. He pulled his wand and flicked the doors shut in the room and put a heavy privacy charm on it. “Sir, if you would ward the room for privacy, I would appreciate it. Rita is an unregistered animagus—a beetle so please keep that in mind when you cast the ward.”

Snape withdrew his wand and did as instructed. “Done. I assume you have the ability to cast such wards.”

“This is your space and you are in a better position to understand what is required,” Harry murmured. He sat down on the stool that Draco provided and waited until Malfoy had settled beside him. “You might have noticed that I’ve gone through a growth spurt in the past few months. It was medically induced—Healer Daniels has been working to undo years of malnutrition and physical abuse at the hands of my Muggle relatives.”

Snape’s gaze narrowed. “Petunia allowed her husband to abuse you?”

“Yes, and she paid for it. She had a small amount of magic herself—nothing to speak of in the scheme of things but she was not quite a squib. When I claimed my title, her magic left her and I had to put her in a clinic to have her treated for the damage left behind as a result.” Harry shrugged. “Daniels wants to keep me on that nutrient potion for at least a year and then do quarterly boosters for another year after that. My bones, organs, and bones were damaged by the habitual starvation. Often, I was fortunate to get a small meal every day when I lived with my aunt.”

Snape’s lips pressed together. “Why didn’t you say?”

“I grew up with bullies, Professor. My uncle, my cousin, and my cousin’s friends—the first thing I learned is not to expose myself to someone with the power and the desire to make me miserable. I’m entirely certain you hated me on sight. I really didn’t think you’d believe me.”

“I don’t hate you, Potter,” Snape frowned at him. “I had made assumptions about you and you were a reminder of the friendships that I lost.” He checked his cauldron. “How is the nutrient potion working for you?”

“Adam seems pleased with the results. He has my permission to consult with you about the potion itself but he did make an unbreakable vow regarding the rest of my medical information.”

“His Healer’s Oath wasn’t enough for you?” Severus questioned coolly.

“I have had adults abuse my trust for as long as I could remember,” Harry said as he stroked his fingers along Mehen’s body. “My life hasn’t been my own—not when I lived with the Dursleys and certainly not for the first four years I attended school here. Fudge just spent half an hour trying to manipulate me into supporting him for re-election—like he didn’t spend the first two months of the summer telling everyone who would listen that I was crazy and a liar.”

Snape snorted and picked up his stirrer to work with the potion in front of him. “I will speak with Daniels regarding the potions he has prescribed. Does he have permission to discuss his goals regarding the different potions?”

“I will give it to him,” Harry murmured and then slipped off the stool. “Was there anything else?”

Snape’s mouth tightened again. “Does Dumbledore know about your relatives?”

“He’s aware.”

“And Black?”

“I told him this summer. It was all I could do to keep him from killing my Uncle.”

* * * *

Draco was sprawled elegantly on a large couch in the Slytherin common room when Higgs returned from the infirmary. The older boy glared openly at him and people around the room stilled.

“The difference between Potter and myself is that he wasn’t interested in maiming you…” Malfoy murmured. “He also wasn’t taught to fight at my father’s knee, Terence. Whatever you have on your mind—you should reflect on that first before you draw your wand.”

“You’re a blood traitor,” Higgs seethed. “Just like Longbottom and the Weasleys and any other pure blood that kisses Potter’s ass.”

Malfoy threw an arm over the back of the couch. “It could be argued, Higgs, that I’m not a pure blood. My father didn’t care about those things, you know, how could he? He was married to a woman with Veela blood and he knew before they ever married. Lucius enjoyed power and perhaps he was dramatic enough to enjoy being feared by people he found inferior.” He sneered as he inspected Terence. “And I assure you—he found your entire family inferior regardless of your dubious blood status. After all, you only claimed four generations of ancestral magic when you came of age.”

* * * *

“Wizards and witches who share blood create a pool of magic that endures even after members of the family die. Some people say that ancestral magic is sentient but the theories differ wildly on that subject.” Draco leaned against the desk in front of the class as he spoke. “Most of you will come into your magical inheritance in your seventeenth year. You shouldn’t think of it like a pool of energy that must be shared by a family—it isn’t diluted if a family is large but rather expands exponentially with families like the Weasleys—who have connections with most of the other pure blood families in magical Britain.”

Hermione raised her hand and then flushed when Draco laughed. He nodded and she leaned forward. “So, my magical blood connects me to other wizards and witches if we share an ancestor?”

“Yes,” Draco nodded. “For instance—I received my Malfoy ancestral magic when I claimed my father’s title. Ancestral or blood magic is the most powerful of all the magic that we as magical beings can wield. I am the Patriarch of my family which gives me ritual powers over my entire family—I can make blood oaths on behalf of every witch or wizard that shares my ancestral magic. This is why many entire families become heavily involved in the same causes. Making a blood oath on behalf of an entire family can be dangerous for the Patriarch which is why most Death Eaters have never made the mistake of trying to commit their entire family to Voldemort.”

“Because it would damage their magic?” Hermione questioned.

“Because if one member of their family attempted to violate such an oath—it could weaken the well of their ancestral magic in the backlash. While individuals within the family wouldn’t lose their magic—the oath breaker would lose theirs.”

“What is in this well?” A Hufflepuff Muggle-born that Draco had never spoken with questioned.

“Gifts—magical gifts such as being a Parselmouth, an Animagus, wild magic in older families, and the talents for such things as potion brewing, transfiguration, and charms. We carry this connection to ancestral magic in our bodies from birth—it’s in our blood,” Draco responded. “I think Muggles use something called DNA to analyze their blood heritage. We have charms and spells that we can use to define how ancestral magic influences us.”

Hermione hesitated to raise her hand again but smiled when Draco nodded. “What happens when a person is disowned?”

“Disowning someone is an extremely involved process and is ritualized to the point of being almost absurd,” Draco admitted. “It’s difficult because the decision to excise someone from an ancestral magic well requires a great deal of thought and shouldn’t be done in the heat of the moment. In fact, it’s impossible to perform the ritual if you’re angry. The magic requires a clear mind and a calm disposition.”

“I met your uncle and cousins—you all kind of look alike.”

Draco grinned. “Familiar traits such as hair color tend to be passed along. The Weasleys and the Malfoys are prime examples of this in pure blood families. Our own Lord Potter is another example, as he looks a great deal like his father. The surprising factor is, of course, that he has his mother’s eyes. Lily Evans Potter had to be an extremely powerful witch to pass on such a trait to her only child. The Potters have fifteen generations of ancestral magic and they are loosely connected to most of the pure blood families in Scotland and Great Britain. Potter and I share familial connections by marriage through the Black family and the Malfoy’s are connected through the Black’s to the Weasley family as well.”

Kevin Wesley leaned forward. “Lord Malfoy, what does that mean for us that don’t… have family?”

Draco’s face softened slightly. “The fact is, Kevin, that even though you don’t have any immediate family that the Ministry could find for you to live with… magical children, especially children as magical as you just don’t appear out of thin air. Your parents were a witch and a wizard and you have ancestral magic inside you—in your blood waiting until you reach your majority so it can settle on you.”

“My mum’s or my dad’s?” Kevin questioned softly.

“Well, let’s look at two people in the room as an example.” Draco looked at Harry who nodded and pushed away from the wall.

Harry shrugged out of his robe and put it on the table Draco had been leaning against. Malfoy grinned.

“Okay, as many of you might have noticed, Harry has changed quite a bit since his ancestral magic settled. On his father’s side, he claimed fifteen generations of ancestral magic—as many of the older kids in the room had demonstrated for them—Harry is a Parselmouth. He’s always been one. These innate gifts are settled on an individual long before they come into their magical inheritance. Potters are a Light family so it’s always been quite scandalous that they are Parselmouths. He came into his ancestral magic early because he claimed his father’s title and the duties of his title required it and like you, Kevin, he has no immediate family. His Heir is several times removed.”

Harry didn’t blink when Draco pulled his wand. “What will you cast?”

“A really simple paternity charm,” Draco murmured. “Ostendo abbatis!

Draco’s magic shifted over him and started to glow—and then gold writing started to appear in the air around him and he saw the Potter Family tree displayed. He reached out and touched his father’s name with trembling fingers and laughed softly. “Sometimes, magic breaks my heart you know.”
Draco blinked at him in surprise. “Harry…”

“No, it’s okay.” Harry smiled but his eyes were bright with unshed tears. His fingers drifted over the smokey gold ink of his mother’s name. “How can I see more about her? There is nothing in the family grimoire about her beyond the basic details.”

Draco frowned intensely. “No one has ever done this for you before?”

“No.” Harry shook his head.

Ostendo genetrix!” Draco flicked his wand gently and the spell changed. “Your mother, my Lord Potter.”

Harry blinked in surprise as his gaze flicked up over the family tree and he choked on his surprise. He looked at Draco who was suspiciously more pale than he’d ever seen his friend and lover ever be. “Is that what I think it is?”

“Yes, it is.” Draco swallowed. “Merlin, Potter, if I wasn’t completely mad for you I’d be furious right now.”

Everyone in the classroom started laughing.

Harry bit down on his lip and then gently touched the names of Godric Gryffindor and then Salazar Slytherin with a reverent look on his face. “Perhaps this is why the Sorting Hat let me chose.” He winced at people all over the room gasped. “Oops.”

“What do you mean let you chose?” Ron demanded. “Harry! You never told us it let you chose your house.”

Harry shrugged. “Ron, can you lecture me later? Right now I’m still trying to get my head around the idea that one of my ancestors married a Slytherin and had babies!”

Ron laughed and Draco glared.

“So, what does this mean?”

“It means that you’re the Heir of Godric Gryffindor,” Draco muttered dryly. “And a descendent but not the Heir of Slytherin—as it must be passed down through the male line and you descend from his daughter not his son. You should do a formal inheritance ritual at Gringotts soon so you can claim the Gryffindor legacy. He wasn’t titled but it’s an extreme honor.” Draco used his wand to trace the path on the family tree. “Oh, sorry about spreading that vicious and obviously untrue rumor about you second year.”

Harry sighed. “You bastard.”

Draco grinned and then sobered. “The reason Harry’s family trees are gold is because he is currently the last of his blood line. His Heir is so distantly related to him to not show up with this basic charm. If Neville’s name did appear—it would be in bright silver because he’s living.” He glanced over and found Harry tracing his mother’s name. He took a few steps back so he could cast another charm. “Because I’ve also had my ancestral magic settled, I’m a good example of the difference.” He smiled apologetically to his friend before casting on himself.

The Malfoy tree was a mixture of silver and gold. Lucius Malfoy’s name was in red. Harry frowned and raised an eyebrow at Draco. “What does that mean?”

“It signifies that the my father was the Patriarch of the family when he was killed and that he died fulfilling a life debt on behalf of his Family,” Draco murmured. He touched his father’s name and murmured something so low no one could hear it. A streak of red light poured out of his tree and attached itself to Lily Potter’s name. “Your mother saved the life of my father’s heir and in doing so our Family owed her a life debt. That debt transferred to her son when she was killed.”

Harry nodded thoughtfully. “It speaks to your character that you were still an evil prat to me for years.”

Draco blushed furiously. “I didn’t know!” He waved his wand and cancelled both charms. “Questions?”

Neville Longbottom who was attending more out of house loyalty than need leaned forward a little. “My ancestral magic is settling, Draco. We think it’s because my Dad’s claim on the title has weakened because of Harry’s claim on me as his Heir. Will you cast that charm on me?”

Draco nodded. “Sure, Nev.”

Neville left his seat and presented himself without hesitation and then grinned. “You know, a year ago I wouldn’t have stood still for you to cast on me.”

Draco grinned. “Don’t think I’m not tempted to hex you out of nostalgia—I still would if I didn’t think Potter would challenge me to a duel and embarrass me on a level so primal that six generations of Malfoys would sit up in the family crypt and scream in horror.” He cast the charm for the paternal line and Neville too had a tree forming—it wasn’t complete as Draco’s and it was almost transparent after his great grandparents. “You’re right, Neville, your ancestral magic is settling. It’s probably a response to Harry. He’s powerful and being friends with him is dangerous.” Draco grinned when Harry glared at him. “I was only friends with him for a week before I found myself fighting Dementors in front of Gringotts.”

Kevin immediately raised his hand. Draco smirked at him and the kid blushed sweetly. “Yes, Kevin?”

“Is it true your Patronus is a dragon?”

“Yes,” Draco admitted. “Casting a Patronus takes a lot of magical power and a very happy memory. I have several that I’ve practiced with.” He pulled out his wand. “Expecto Patrunum!”  The silver dragon poured out of the wand and was quite small compared to the one he’d cast on Diagon Ally. “He gets bigger or smaller depending on what memory I use. When I think of my Father—I think about the day he taught me to fly a broom and he gets just about as big as this room.”

“Harry, let’s see yours!” The kid focused on him intently.

Draco grinned let his Patronus fade with a flick of his wand. “Yes, Harry, do show us yours.” He wiggled an eyebrow that made Potter glare at him briefly.

Harry sighed and then pulled his wand. He pointed it towards the opposite of the room and cast, “Expecto Patronum!” His stag emerged at a gallop—its hooves snapping loudly against the stones as it burst forward and then turned to regard his wizard with what resembled a frown. Prongs snorted and pawed at the ground impatiently.

“I was just showing you off,” Harry admitted. “You’re very pretty.” Prongs inclined his head as if to agree and shimmered away.

“Is a Patronus supposed to be that solid?” Someone asked in a low tone from the back of the room.

“It takes a great deal of personal magical power to cast a Patronus—the more corporeal they are—the stronger the wizard is,” Draco explained. “You’ll notice the floor is scuffed where the Patronus was standing.”

Harry blushed and sighed. “At least mine wasn’t eating Dementors, Lord Malfoy.” He smirked when several mouths dropped open.

Draco stared at him. “I was uniquely motivated. Protecting one’s self-interest is the fundamental principal of my house.”

* * * *

A shiver slid down his back and he dropped his fork. A single word started resonating in his head. Violation. Violation. Over and over again in a fierce dark voice that sounded like a dverger and Harry stood up abruptly from the table. His skin chilled and he started moving towards the entryway doors of the large hall, completely oblivious to the people calling after him.

Draco caught up with him as he exited Hogwarts. “Harry!” He grabbed his arm.

“Something is very wrong,” Harry hissed and looked towards the front gates of the school. “I feel like a Dementor is sitting on my grave for Merlin’s sake!”

“Harry.” Dumbledore grabbed his other arm and forced him to face him. “Look at me. Does it feel like the wards on one of your homes as been violated? Concentrate to find the location.”

Harry blanched. “Privet Drive. We have to go to Privet Drive.”

Dumbledore and Draco released him and they all three hurried to the gates. The moment they passed through, Dumbledore pulled a piece of candy from his robes and said, “Portus.” He held out the candy. “I’ll apparate ahead of you. This will go off in fifteen seconds.”

Harry took it and Draco smashed their hands together so the candy was pressed between them as Dumbledore disappeared with a small pop. The tug at his naval was as horrific as always. He really hated portkeys. Draco caught him easily as they reappeared inside the house and found easily the most horrific scene Harry had ever seen in the house spread out before him.

His Aunt lay on the floor, deathly pale. His Uncle lay bleeding profusely from the head and his cousin was calmly and with some vigor for his size kicking his father repeatedly.

Harry brushed past Dumbledore who seemed stunned. “Dudley! What are you doing?”

Dudley stopped kicking his father and let the baseball bat that had hung in one hand rather limply fall to the floor. “Harry. Mum’s hurt bad.”

That jumpstarted Dumbledore who immediately rushed to Petunia’s side. “She’s alive but she needs immediate care, Harry.”

“Please take her to St. Mungo’s,” Harry whispered. “We’ll call for Muggle healers after you’re gone.”

Dumbledore disappeared in a pop with his Aunt. Harry rubbed his face with one hand, aware that Draco was standing beside him with his wand drawn. “Tell me what’s happened, Dudley.”

“I came home from school because Mum hadn’t been writing me as often as she should have and when I called there was no answer. I came home and found her locked up in the cupboard.” Dudley waved a hand towards the cupboard that had been Harry’s home for eleven years. “I broke the lock to get her out and when Dad came home—he hit her really hard in the face and called her a freak. I think she must have told him where she was over the summer. I warned her not to—I told her that he wouldn’t remember what had happened because you’d taken care of it.”

Harry glared at his uncle and grimaced when the man moaned softly. Then he turned to Dudley—he was covered in bruises and his arm was hanging awkwardly at his side. “Is your arm broken?”

“Dad used a bat on me,” Dudley muttered. “But I took it from him and returned the favor.”

The front door of the house banged open and Moody thumped into the room with a glare for all three of them. He snorted at the sight of Vernon. “Which one of you finally gave that fat bastard what he deserved?”

“Dudley did it to defend himself and his mother,” Harry murmured. “Can you obliviate Vernon and make him think that Petunia left him? She obviously can’t come back here.”

Moody smirked and nodded. “I’ve been wanting to obliviate him for a very long time.” He looked at Dudley. “What about you?”

“Make him think that he hates me and wants nothing to do with me ever again,” Dudley responded evenly. “He hit my Mum and starved her—he’s lucky I’m letting him live.”

Harry refrained from pointing out that he’d suffered the same in the house. He knew from Dudley’s perspective that Vernon Dursley had crossed a line that should never be crossed. “Dobby.”

His Vassal appeared immediately and bowed. “My Lord Potter.”

Harry almost laughed at the pompous tone. Dobby had been taken lessons from his brother as to not embarrass his Lord in public and they showed in the most interesting ways. “I need Mr. Riser here. There are some legal matters.”

Dobby popped away immediately and then returned in under a minute. “Mr. Riser will come immediately, Lord Potter.”

There was a sharp knock on the open door and Cecil Riser stepped into the house. He shut the door behind him and crossed the small living room to the dining area where Vernon still lay bleeding and moaning. “Well, today is certainly one for small justices.”

Harry nodded. “Cecil, this is my cousin Dudley. My Aunt and Dudley are leaving this house. Can you handle Muggle legal matters?”

“You have a Muggle law firm on retainer to handle such matters that I cannot. They take their instructions from me.”

Harry nodded. “Very well, my Aunt is at St. Mungo’s being treated for injuries suffered at her husband’s hands. Ask her what she wants and help her over see any legal matters that will see her free of this man and take as much of his money as you possibly can. Dudley goes to Smeltings—check to make sure his tuition has been paid for the year and set up a trust for him that will cover the rest of his schooling and moderate expenses until he’s twenty-one unless he goes to university. We’ll discuss that in the future. Buy my aunt a nicer place than this and set her up with a reasonable allowance—taking into account how much money you manage to take from this fat fuck.” He prodded Vernon with his boot. “Moody is going to take care of things on this end.”

Cecil nodded and turned to Dudley who was pale and staring at Harry in shock. “Mr. Dursley…”

“Harry.” Dudley frowned at him. “Why would you do that for me after how mean I was to you?”

“I’m a better person,” Harry returned evenly. “And it would be an insult to my House and a stain on my magic to do anything else. Don’t abuse my generosity, Dudley, and I will be monitoring your grades. If you want to go to university and you can get admitted, we’ll work on that as well.” He glared at Vernon. “It’ll be your job to keep your mum from coming back here to this arse.” He sighed. “Mr. Riser, my cousin, despite his surprisingly stoic appearance is in a great deal of pain. The wards are humming with it—at the very least his arm is broken.”

“I’ll take care of everything and owl you with the details, Lord Potter.”

Harry nodded. “Don’t let anyone mistreat him or my aunt because they are Muggles. I’d be most disappointed if I had to sue them but I would do it without hesitation.”

“He’s no Muggle,” Moody muttered and leaned in a little to glare closely at Dudley. “Not enough magical power to be trained but not exactly a squib either. Bet he’s probably had a few incidents of accidental magic. His response must have triggered the wards.”

Harry glared. “My aunt’s conditions should have triggered the wards. I had Bill Weasley change them on purpose to alert me of any danger she might be in.”

Moody huffed and growled. “I was ordered to take those down by Dumbledore. He said you didn’t need to be taxed by unnecessary protections for your Muggle aunt. Since your cousin has a bit of magic in him—it was enough to set off the blood wards that are still active in the house.”

“I see.” Harry’s nostrils flared slightly and the house around him started to rattle. “I assure you, Moody, that the last thing anyone needs to worry about is taxing my magic with a few protective wards.”

“Right.” Moody nodded. “You in the mood for me to apologize for what I threatened with Black over the summer?”

Harry snorted. “Try again in a few months, right now I’m chewing on the fact that you let your blind faith in Dumbledore nearly get my Aunt murdered by her own husband.”

Chapter Twelve

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.”

“I understand.”

“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.”

“Right.”

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.

* * * *

Lord Potter,

 

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.”

“Quite right.”

* * * *

“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.”

“Of course.”

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.”

“I bet.”

“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 dverger 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.

“Merlin!”

“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.”

The End

Keira Marcos

In my spare time, I write fanfiction and lead a cult of cock worshippers on the Internet. It's not the usual kind of hobby for a 40ish "domestic engineer" but we live in a modern world and I like fucking with people's expectations.

295 Comments:

  1. I love you so much right now! I have a sleepless night ahead of me so I’d better start reading. Thank you again!

  2. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I was just planning what to do on my day off and now I am set.
    What a great way to start the day! (well it’s the start of the day here in Aus anyway.)

    May your creativity continue to inspire us all.

  3. I am so excited to see this. I was hoping it would be posted in time for me to take on my trip. So thanks! I can’t wait to read it. Now I’ll just have to find enough will power to wait until we actually leave so I have something new to read.

  4. There are lots of reasons why I love your writing, and this whole story is one of them. You made the whole thing wonderful. And I can’t wait to see if there will be any more.

    Thank you.

    ~L

  5. This is a terrible thing to say, but if this is what we get when you’re laid up and broken and wishing murder and mayhem on your neighbors… well I can only hope you keep wishing murder and mayhem on your neighbors. (I do hope you’re feeling better because I did the broken and laid up thing last month and it sucked!!)

    I love Harry Potter and this is my favorite pairing so it was a wonderful Sunday treat for me, I always get mad at all the “Gee they’re screwing me around but I’ll forgive them” fanfic so it’s nice to read ones that make Harry human and not quite so eager to forgive.

  6. Great fic.
    I love how you expand the world J.K. Rowlings created. The gobblin society, the Elves’ inheritances, the wizard’s family legacy and so much more…
    Thanks a lot for sharing.

  7. I really loved the universe you created for Darco & Harry – it was such a wonderful story and I loved it!

    I want to say more but I’m at a loss for words! lol This is excellent and I love how you create new universes in your stories and this was awesome, just what I expected to see from your writing!

    I am slightly disappointed to see this ending…and hopes that you might write more of this universe.

  8. This is just….. I mean….I have just devoured the whole thing. If I didn’t have to work tomorrow I’d read it all again right now! All the things I wished Rowling had fixed, how did Dumbledore not know -he just didn’t care? Hate to ask but will there be a sequel??
    Also I feel that my writing muses just came back 😉

    • Also it’s 1.45 am here and I’m trying not to think that I really could manage 30 8 year olds on 4 hours sleep!!!

  9. <3
    Excellent as always.
    And you've probably already told us somewhere I haven't read yet, but… Will there be anymore in this 'verse?

    • I want to write more for it. But as you know– I’ve got a lot of fic planned already.

      • Oh, come on! There’s always room for more Keira!fic!

        *waves my pom poms with enthusiasm*

        • Haha, I actually did almost that last night! I started reading this thinking ‘I’ll stop at 12’. Which then became ‘I’ll stop at 1’… Thankfully I finished reading it a little before 2, so I got a good 5 hours sleep before I had to go teach 32 seven/eight year olds. I think the key is the hour nap when I get home before I do my marking and planning for the next day. Of course, an hour’s OSA/PPA time and then circle time before they went home helped!

          I definitely think we should see more of this! I want to see the reaction to the newpaper and everything, Draco’s heat and Harry taking his inheritance as Gryffindor’s heir. Plus there’s the inevitable fight with Voldemort. I think you’re one of the few authors who could be capable of writing this kind of fic where the story didn’t end with ‘and then he killed Voldemort. Epilogue.’

  10. I loved this so much 🙂
    It was just perfect.
    Thank you!

  11. I discovered your fiction through your Stargate Atlantis stories. At this point, I have read just about everything on your site three times, and I am about to start over again. This is a great story. You have added another ‘universe’ to your repertoire in a wonderful way, and I look forward to seeing what else you will do with it.
    I had planned to do other things today, but that all went by the wayside when I saw you had posted a new story. Thanks so much for sharing your efforts.

  12. UNF. I think my brain melted. Absolutely fantastic in all ways possible. Thanks for sharing this gem!

  13. Oh dear gods, I love this. I love all your AUs, actually, because you make them so plausible. You don’t just throw random events out there without explanation, you build so much backstory and build your characters up so well…I don’t know how you do it.

    Cannot wait for the next part.

  14. I love the allusions to Prince Humperdink’s speech in a Princess Bride!

  15. This is AWESOME!!!! I lost it with that perfect Princess Bride reference. My hubby thought I was watching a comedy on my nook. I can’t wait to see where you go with this. I also wanted to say thank you for writing a H/D fic where the Weasleys and Hermione aren’t very large PITAs. That gets annoying fast.

  16. Your like Midas, everything you write is gold.

  17. I really don’t know what to say beyond the one fact of thank you..thank you for allowing all of us inside the worlds you build with such a remarkable gift

  18. Dear lady Keira,
    What a great joy it was finding out that you have posted the HP universe !
    Once again, I am awed by the manner you have structured this verse, creating the nobility idea in wizard land, with precise rules . You have a magnificent and so well ordered mind, it is a unique pleasure for your readers to dive in any of your universes. As you did with the Pleasure Houses in Ties that bind, every detail is precisely linked to the next here too :the larger space and powers given to goblins and elves . the noble families with family magic being given to the heir, changing Harry from being Rowlings nice boy to being a man with healthy appetites for love and sex … very nice.
    I adore ” Merlin ” as a swear word.
    I adore the fact that Dumbledore is shown as a half bad guy, it gives him a colour , different from the powerless man he is usually. You make the reader understands his manipulation is for the greater good , but it does not excuse his negligence or the fact he considers Harry to be a mere tool against Voldemort.
    I adore Draco being Harry’s Dragon and liege man , his lover and protector .
    You know english is not my first language . I would like to express my total admiration for how you have written Birth of the Serpent King with the mastery I have of french. This story , for me , is like a Monet in his good years: thousands of details , patches of colors , all linked creating a remarkable ensemble , a tableau to be savoured.
    Sometime during these months you were in the healing process, I was worried about how your spirit would be affected by your accident. I am happy to see I was wrong to worry. You are stronger that before, your writing is so powerful , it is such a pleasure to read, I am giddy.
    Bravo to you dear lady. Once again you have given proof you are unique. And thank you for this story. Now, I am going to reread it slowly to enjoy it again.
    Lise

  19. Holy Sh#t! I never thought you would EVER get into Harry Potter since you rarely make mention of it, I did know you would write an epic like you always do if you did so, and I got to say this, so far, is my ultimate Harry/Draco flick. Are you sure you won’t post on Fanfic.net? God knows you’ll break the review button with it and crash the systems with how much people would be raving about you. Please, I will give you my first born I swear to god, if you hurriedly post the next section, ebook, novella, what-the-f@ck-what you call it, as soon as possible.

    • I’m actually on the fence about even announcing in HP communities. And no– I won’t post to FF.net. I don’t post anywhere but my own site these days. It is just easier to avoid the hassle.

      • To be frank if I were you I wouldn’t announce this in any of the HP communities. Your characterisations is so strong and real that they wouldn’t be able to cope with it. The little fanbrats would be up in arms over how strong you’ve made Harry. It’s not the woobie Harry they are used to.

  20. Absolutely great, I should have been doing homework but got caught up in this. Awesome.

  21. Can I say that I love you with out geting in trouble? My sister called me as I was driving home from dropping the kids off with their father, she had to let me know that you posted the new story and then she teased me for I was an hour from the house. So I got home and she started telling me about the story asking me if I really wanted to read it. I would beat her more often but she has school on Monday so I have to be nice. Well I love the story and hope like hell that there is a book two at some point. I love Harry and Draco as you have them here. Thank you so much for the wonderful writing.

    Sister: exactly what she said . . . without the beating : ) Loved what I have read – Big sis reads faster than me and is tauntng me with the ending – evil wench. Thanks for sharing your wonderful ideas with us.

  22. Hi,
    Awesome novel! I really like the way you created your own Harry Potter world. And serious bonus points for the Princess Bride reference, I had to pause reading until I could stop laughing :). Also, congrats on sending you posted word count up by I think 6%? Nice.

  23. Keira,
    In the past Harry/Draco was a ship I did not favor; however, as I have yet to dislike any of your writings and have fallen into each story line, I started to read Birth of the Serpent King. A few paragraps in and I could not read fast enough. You have converted me.

    The background, the detail , is astounding. A favorite part is impossible to select. Although, I do truly fancy the baby house elf. Just one question, is this to be the start of a new series?

    As always, amazing!

    Winter

  24. This, this is fantastic. I have never read or seen any of the Harry Potter books/movies and I love this. You are awesome.
    Thank You.

    😀

  25. Wow! Just wow. You have given me a new ship. Loved this. Thanks for sharing it.

  26. Oh. My. Gods….. I think my brain just leaked out of my ears…. That was Fantabulous!

    I love how well you did the characters, not that that’s a surprise, but still. You make it so believable that I think that J.K. should take some pointers from you. 😉

    *Runs off to read it again*

  27. This was a wonderful story thank you! It’s one of the more plausible Harry Potter stories I’ve read. The idea of family magics and inheritance was a wonderful way to help Harry mature and learn more.

    My favourite bit is back when Hermione says that she doesn’t really know what evil is until she enters the magic world. You put that so well and it comes across so strongly in this fandom – neglect, indifference, dementors etc. Your Voldemort is shaping up to be a very plausible evil Lord – most people just call him evil but you are actually outlining what he has done that is so despicable.

  28. Loved it! Took me forever to finish though 😀

    Will you be adding anymore to this in the future or is this just a one-shot?

  29. Harry Potter was my first fandom and while Harry/Draco was not my most read pairing I dabbled. I have drifted almost completely away from it in recent years. However, this reminds me of why I loved it so much. You have breathed a great deal of life into JK Rowlings world for me again. Thank you.

  30. I just finished Birth of the Serpent King and all I can say is WOW!! I love harry/draco fic and powerhouse (coming into his own) harry is great. Dumbledore being forced to recognize his mistakes is good also.

  31. This was fantastic!! I love how you have twisted this universe to make it uniquely yours.

    I admit that I have read only one story before with this pairing but the little snippet you gave us really intrigued me. So of course I had to read. And now I am completely hooked and cannot wait for you to write/post the next part of this story!

    As usual your world building is spectacular and I love all of the background tidbits we get.

    I was surprised by your characterization of Dumbledore and his actions but it really seems to fit in this universe well. I admit that I thought that you were going to have a Sirius/Remus pairing but the hint of a possible pairing between Sirius/Severus is interesting.

    Really enjoyed!!

  32. I love this story. I can’t even tell you how much. If I had money I would pay you to just write stories like this. I am awed by your talent and the work it takes to consistently produce stories of high quality. I have no idea what motivates you but whatever it is I hope it continues.

  33. This story SATISFIED me in a way that few stories in the Harry Potter fandom do. Just one question: Are you writing a sequel? PLEASE, PLEASE write a sequel. I have many delicious pictures of Harry and Draco if you need visual inspiration 😉

  34. i adore this so much! Harry/Draco was my first ship in fandom and remains one of my favorites. I was so excited to see that you were writing them and this story exceeded everyone of my expectations and hopes. Perfect!

  35. Absolutely fantastic. I started reading it and didn’t stop until I finished. Thank you for sharing your writing.

  36. Loved this! Absolutely loved this fic! So happy to find it today – you made my weekend!

  37. First, from the time Harry called Ollie the elf baby to him I was going, “give him to Winky, she needs him and he needs her.” So I was really glad that that is what happened. Second, I like how Harry grew and changed, becoming more confident and charismatic, someone others would want to follow because is good. Third, I think Harry has been much nicer to Dumbledore than he deserves for Dumbles really should have been more on the ball and had no right to interfere in any of the wards Bill set down on Privet Drive. Fourth, I hope it occurs to Harry to keep an eye on Dudley when it comes to his having kids, if he marries a squib or even if he doesn’t, he could eventually have a wizard child. Lastly, I’m glad Harry and Draco are starting to heal together and draw closer but they have a long road ahead of them. I’m hoping we’ll get a sequel to this story one day.

    (also it would be great if Draco’s uncle and Remus met and cool if they were mates. I’d also lay money on Hermione being somehow related to McGonagall or Harry’s mother’s side of the family.)

  38. I just had to refresh the page I was reading (WMHB) to check to see if you had anything new at 1:30 in the morning… I’m gonna go read this now and maybe I’ll sleep tomorrow. 😀

    • I love you and hate you a little right now. I have to be up for work in just under 3 hours.
      It was worth it.
      Lori D.

      • *glum look*

        I’m in the same boat. I managed four hours of sleep; I had to get up extra early to finish reading this morning.

  39. I can like your Harry/Draco !
    Damned you evil author, i love them, i forgot my Lucius/Harry crush thanks or not to you.
    It’s incredible hot and it’s sexy and credible.

    Love your universe, i have a huge crush for the baby and laugh, thinking at Harry, the most powerful wizard, a lord, caring this babe, it’s so sweet and so him.

    There’s a lot to say about this fic…. So i’m just going to say “you do it, you make me love that”

    I have to tell that since yesterday i collect pics of the guys to make some arts, hoping that you’re interested.
    Tell me, do you want my first H/D art ever ?

  40. Oh god I spent hours rereading this! and you left in at a part where I can’t wait to see what happens next! *sigh* It was a good read. Thanks for sharing! 😉

  41. This was fun and fascinating and, god, I just LOVED Harry and Draco’s relationship. Epic, wonderful story.

  42. wonderful! your work is always so full of ingenious plot twists and is it ungrateful of me to hope there is a sequel for this in the future? Because that would just be SHINNY!

  43. You are a marvel! I loved this story and can only hope that this will mean that you are creating a new universe. I am thrilled to see a story written with Draco and Harry as the pairing that doesn’t have everyone Harry cares about being asses and turning their backs on him.

    Thank you for another fantastic work of fiction.
    Calia

  44. I’m sitting in my nice warm house while a cyclone whips around us reading your new fic, which is just wonderful, and all those other superlatives we keep throwing at you.
    You should know, I have no interest in Harry Potter fic, don’t read it, can’t even get my head around why anyone my age would want to………..yet here I am….. reading it.
    The only reason I can think of is that your are one hell of a writer… good going girl 😉

  45. I should have gone to bed hours ago, my boyfriend laughed at me, I didn’t even read the last Harry Potter books and I blame all of this on you. 🙂

    That being said, I am absolutely in love with your writing and your characters and the gratuitous amounts of snark. There were a couple times I could almost hear Rodney in Harry and Draco.

    And I totally finished this before my roommate. 🙂 Which almost makes up for the less than 2 hours of sleep I’m getting tonight…

  46. I love this!! You made my week with the awesomeness that is this story. I think that it is very possible that you are the best fanfiction writer around, if not the best then for sure in the top three. If I tried to explain everything I loved about this story I would be typing for hours. There was just so much fantabulousness. I can’t wait for your next update of any kind. I wish you well and just wanted you to know that I think you are super talented.

  47. Oh. My. God. No words can truly express the awesomeness and beauty of this fic. I love you so much Keira, I’d so date you if you weren’t older and of the same gender as I am.

  48. This is just perfect from start to finish–thank you!

  49. OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG!
    I logged on at lunch today… I think I came in my pants just seeing the update.

    I don’t think I did any work at all this afternoon, I’m sure my boss would be horrified to know I bludged off work to read Harry Potter gay porn… I totally wouldn’t even regret telling her.

    So in love with you right now, but I have to go and start reading it again. I always miss a couple details the first time ’round.

    ~ Rosie 😛

  50. This was awesome… words can not describe how much I loved this story… and eh sleep…. well sleep is over rated.

  51. Well, now I think I can re-read something for my exam later today. It was obvious last night when I found that you posted this story that my exam will go down on my to do list.
    It was a beautiful, powerful story. I love powerful!Harry stories and (as I expected) yours is one of the best I’ve read. Right now I’m hoping it’s the first sory in a new series. I can’t wait to see how Harry and Draco will change and evolve in their fifth through seventh years, along with their friends.
    Thanks for sharing!
    Irina

  52. “Swoon”
    Loved it, the chemistry between Draco and Harry leaps off the page.
    Thank you for helping me feel better while home sick from work 🙂

  53. Outstanding! That was such a fun, gloriously long ride. I especially loved the ‘Keira’ twist on Draco and Harry’s personalities – it was definitely a match made in heaven! 🙂

  54. I have to confess you almost killed me this morning. The notification that you were posting came in just as I was leaving very late for work (I’m in Melbourne – so the first notification came in at like… 8.59 on Monday morning.) I so wanted to stay home and read. I couldn’t of course, but it was a damned hard decision.

    On to the important stuff, once again you have created a wonderful world that is rich in history and believability. You took a universe that lacks grey and gave us so many layers I just can’t think of words to tell you how much I love your ability to weave wonders with words! I have seldom, if ever, read something so satisfying in regards to Harry making people take responsibility for their actions. Satiftying really is the right word.

    Once again I’ve read your story and gone, “YES! That’s… that’s what I wanted it to be.”

    Thank you!!.

    Oh, also wanted to say, I love the fact we seem to be wearing the same prescription in slash glasses, because if you were writing couples I couldn’t see, I think I’d be devastated. Missing out on any of your worlds would be heartbreaking.

    Thank you for posting this wonderfully rich tale and creating yet another world for us to play in while we wait for more – with baited breath.

    Emma

  55. Loved your Harry and Draco. I liked how your Harry was kicking ass and taking names. What happened to him now was by his choice and by his decision. That was one thing in the original stories I hated was how all the so called adults treated Harry like an idiot and expected him to be able to save them Voldemort without giving him all the info and training he actually needed to do it. They were setting him up to fail, him surviving must have shocked many.

    Keira, I hope you continue this series. I want to see the Sirius/Snape thing grow. See how Harry takes out Tom with all his new friends and companions. See little Ollie grow to a good house elf. I would love to see how Harry changes the Wizard world into something that is more compassionate and responsible for their actions. Especially setting a child to kill the most feared Dark Lord in their history with very little help, I wish them the evolution to Harry’s version of their world.

    Thank you for a lovely story that has kept me involved and I’ll be re-reading it shortly. Also loved Harry’s Humperdink impersonation. That list had me giggling for hours.

    Melisa

  56. MARVELOUS. Just putting that right out there first. –I had mixed feelings when you posted the snippet from this story. I was excited because it was you, but I really was agonizing over waiting for the next Ties That Bind because there is no story that I adore more. I had mixed feelings because anything new was not adding to something already started. So I avoided reading the full posting for most of the day because I was rebelling a bit. Well I didn’t last even a full day and read it (stayed up until 5:30 AM reading it :). I really loved it and think you did a wonderful service to the fandom of HP. So that was my long-winded comment on why I currently feel like scum for ever having had any such mixed feelings because you are so incredible. Thanks for sharing your awesomeness!

  57. I so loved this story. It corrects everything of the HP universe that I started to notice when I got older and read the books again through a different color of glasses. I would wait forever for an update to this fic. My husband as spent the past 12 hours making fun of me because I can’t stop telling him about this fic. He is happy to see me so happy so soon after the death of my grandmother. She was and will be the light of my life and she taught me to read at the age of three and turned me loose on the world of fiction. Your other fics saved me while watching her slowly pass and this one drew me out of the funk I have been in. You truly are a kindness to the world. THANK YOU FOR WHAT YOU DO!

  58. I adore your fiction, they are always so good! and this was no exception, it had the elements i love to read in a HP story. I was so excited when i saw that you had posted something new on your site! Please keep going, reading your stories give me such joy 🙂

    xxx

  59. Lovely. I’m going to read it all over agian. Is this part of a new series or a stand alone?

  60. I loved this story. Harry/Draco is one of my favorite pairings. I love your writing and am always glad we I see you’ve posted something.

  61. What a great read. You have me totally hooked. I ended up reading this all in one shot and staying up until 2:00 a.m. to do so. It made it hard to get up for work at 6:00 a.m. but it was totally worth it. I’ve never read any Harry/Draco slash. Despite seeing all of the movies and loving them, it didn’t occur to me that I would enjoy any of the fanfic. I am so glad to be wrong and to be able to add a new fandom to my reading. Thanks Keira!

  62. I am a culinary intern and yesterday when you posted this I was in the middle of picking thyme leaves for FIVE HOURS!!!!!! yes it is just as horrible and mindless as you think it sounds and I was in my own little personal hell in a way. So when I came home and checked my email and I saw that you updated and it was harry potter a fandom I did not know you wrote in… Anyway I wanted to thank you, reading this was the best part of my day and I love that in this story harry is strong in more than one way. Thank you.

  63. Gahhhhhhhh *runs around like a chicken with the head cut off*

    you are unbelievable evil, because off you i could not sleep(i got the mail you postet around 23:00 my time yesterday), i could not concentrate on work and now i have not enough time to read your probably awesome storry in one go.

    I have read the first 4 chapters and have to say they are great. cant wait to read the rest of it. 🙂

    i just could not wait to tell you how awesome you are, i love your writing and hope you are doing better with your private live and your neighbours dog ^^
    Keep going.

    Magda

  64. I am going to fail all of my classes because of you, and I am not going to regret a minute of it 😀 Kay is right they are both so snarky and awesome! Thanks for posting!

  65. Thank you for another fantastic fic! When I got the link in me e-mail yesterday, I was half “great, great, great” and half “oh no, why is it posted now that it’s 11pm here, and I must work tomorrow…”. In the end, I was stuck in the middle of the last chapter when I had to leave for work. That’s just torture! I really hope to see more of this verse, after all, if this was the birth of the serpent king, we need to see his life… I usually like the stories where Harry takes control of his life, but I really appreciate the way you have him doing that without bashing half his entourage (Fudgre, Umbridge and Percy are fair game in my mind). The way you worked the Malfoy in the story is a good idea, I like that the life debt was to Lily and not James (else, one would think he liked to collect them). And your Narcissa looks very interesting, the way she acted before the Wizengamot was sooooo cool. Draco’s humor about Hermione and the elves was really funny too. Well, everything was great, but we are used to it with your stories. I can’t wait to read the next one you post, whichever it is.

  66. I am not and never have been a reader of HP fanfic. It has never appealed to me in any shape or form. So, last night I found myself sitting reading something I thought I’d never do, reading a HP fic. I managed to read up to Chapter Five at 2:30am and then dragged myself off to sleep. I continued to read it this afternoon. I then re-read the whole darn thing again, because I was pretty certain I’d missed things the first time.

    I loved it, I loved the strong real Characters that you have made them be. I love the fact that Harry made old Dumby face the truth over his bad decisions in Harry’s life. I love your Sirius….. Oh Hell I love the whole damn thing!!!!

    So, is it possible that there will be a sequel sometime in the future???? Oh and thank Buttons for creating the plot bunny 🙂

  67. WHat Princess Bride remark?
    Please tell me this isn’t the ending…chapter 13, please!

  68. *gives you a bleary grin*

    Even as many times as I’ve read this, I had to stay up until 2 a.m. reading, until I just couldn’t keep my eyes open…. and then woke up at 6 a.m. so I could finish reading before work.

    You’re just that good.

    *waves a weary and somewhat bedraggled pom pom*

    When I fall asleep at work, I’m blaming you. 😀

    You’re entirely too awesome… you’ve corrupted me entirely and hooked me on a freaking HP fic, something I’ve avoided the way most small humanoids avoid boiled spinach. *blech* But this story hooked me within seconds… I still love the correspondence between Narcissa, Draco and Harry.

    *sighs*

    Okay, now I’m late to work as well as exhausted…. ^___^ And I’m grateful! How sick is that? But still… thanks for posting this. It totally made my day… night? Whatever!

  69. This was awesome. I totally loved it! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  70. Wonderful work as always…would have finished it in one sitting but the other half insisted that I needed sleep before work….

  71. i totally love it. it’s a wonderful story as is usual for your work. i hope that you write a sequel soon.

  72. A very nice surprise this morning. I have to say that that little rant of Harry’s to Ron and Hermione about how he was swamped with work totally reminded me of Prince Humperdink in the Princess Bride 🙂 It was great. You have written in all of my absolute favorite fandoms now, so many wonderful stories. Thank you!

  73. Okay, so, I wasn’t as sober when I started reading this. I blame you. I had every intention of sleeping off my buzz, but no, this story called my name. So, I stayed up till 5am reading this. *sigh* I love it. Harry/Draco has always been my second fave pairing in the HPverse. Severus and Sirius are third, so I have to say you did wicked awesome with this!!! So, I can safely say I would soo love more if you, you know feel like writing more. 🙂 also I had a hell of a time not laughing my ass off at 3am when I read “Draco, here take the baby.”
    Still makes me laugh….again. Thank you for writing this and sharing with the rest of your rabid fans!!

  74. You are one of the most awesome people on the face of the planet. Seriously. How you come up with all of this wonderful stuff that manages to blow my mind every time…I have no idea. Many hugs, and if there were a way for me to send you cookies every day for the rest of my life, I totally would. You rock.

  75. Stayed up way too late reading this last night. I usually avoid Harry / Draco fic but your stories are so great I gave it a shot. This was BRILLIANT! I loved the society you created and the characterization of Dumbledore and Harry’s relationship. Any chance of some Sirius / Severus fic?

  76. HP was my first fandom and Harry/Draco my favourite pairing so finding out you wrote a whole novella of them was amazing. I should have written a paper today but I spent most of my time reading this and I don’t regret it.
    It was a fantastic story, full of magic and with more rounded characters than Rowling wrote. Thank you so much for the story 🙂

  77. this was bloody wonderful Keira, you already got me addicted to Harry/Draco with your recommendations, but this was just superb.
    i love strong beautiful Harry standing up for himself but we really need a sequel for all the things stilll to come……especially torturing the elf killing bastard!!
    bloody gorgeous need more!!!!

  78. It’s awful how awesome this is!! I had just gotten over the urge to start checking out HP fics again. I’m just glad I didn’t see the email notification last night or I wouldn’t have gotten any sleep at all 😀 Now I just spent the day pretending to work while actually devouring your newest masterpiece ♥

    I loved every single part of it!! Just what I like in my HP fics Harry/Draco, independent!Harry without bashing the other characters, the snarky dialogue, cool magical stuff hapening with the goblins and the house elves & snakey parseltongue sexiness ^__^

    Thank you for another wonderful story to read and re-read and re-re-read!!! Will there be more??

  79. God I hate when I get to the end of one of your stories! I always find that I’m devastated by wanting more!!!!!

    Beautifully done – far better than some of the drek and dribble that JKR foisted upon us.

    I do love this Harry and Draco and really really want to read more about them.

    Thank you for sharing!

  80. Harry/Draco is my OTP in this fandom and it’s been an age since a really long fic has caught my attention. The world-building you’ve done on expanding and improving existing canon elements is breath-taking.

    I was initially dubious about reading it because of the starting point for the story, i.e. the ages of Harry, Draco and their contemporaries. I quickly realised my worries were completely unfounded. The relationship you’ve portrayed Harry and Draco growing in to is wonderful.

    As a fan of your Sentinel, Trek and SGA stories, I should begrudge you writing another story this good… but I won’t! Instead, I’ll cheerfully add fan of your HP stories to my mentail checklist.

    I eagerly await the next story in this universe, just as I eagerly await the next stories you produce in your other fandoms.

    You spoil us for choice and I thank you for that.

  81. I am sloop tired. I stayed up really late last night to read this all in one gulp. I normally don’t read Harry Potter fanfiction but this was amaaaaaaazzzzing. Don’t change Keira, you rock.

  82. I was so incredibly excited to have the entirety of today off in order to read this story. Seriously, it absorbed most of my afternoon, and I couldn’t be happier with the result. It alternately made me smile, laugh, sniffle, or grit my teeth. Just wonderfully satisfying and engrossing.

    As always, your power for world building is extraordinary. You managed address certain plot oddities that had made me wonder in the actual novels, such as didn’t Harry have any sort of family at all on his father’s side? Anywhere? And Dumbledore’s manipulativeness always did bother me. I always hated how Harry had very little emotional support, especially in the fifth book; it was so sad that when he finally found some one he could call family that that person then died. I’m so glad that Sirius is alive in your universe and that Harry has plenty of people to trust and who love him. I must say that I also appreciated your take on house elves. SPEW was another thing that always irritated me. I liked your interpretation better.

    I haven’t read much in the Harry/Draco fandom, less than a half dozen stories including yours, in fact. I am looking forward to reading more, and I hope someday that you will revisit this world and give us more of your lovely ‘verse. I would be ecstatic to read another installment, especially to see Voldemort’s defeat (and perhaps Harry and Draco’s bonding – my personal favorite trope).

    Kudos to you and your crack beta team for another fantastic story. Thank-you so much for sharing; I enjoyed every minute. ♥

  83. This was wonderful!! I can honestly say that I love anything that you write!!

  84. I just recently started reading Harry Potter fan fiction, then lo and behold I get the update message in my Inbox. What a wonderful gift. I tried to pace myself but your stories are too addicting. Thank you for creating this wonderful world. I think I like it more than the original Harry Potter, its nice when he’s written as an intelligent and powerful person.
    You are amazing and I continue to look forward to more great stories from you.

  85. I have to say this is up there with very few HP stories as one of my all time favorites. You took Harry, and yeah you did the Super!Harry (which I’ve seen done ….badly *shudders* lol), and just made him yours. You made both Harry and Draco wonderfully believable in thier changes and growth. And Ron and Hermione were awesome best friends. So much better than what some people do to them. Just an amazing and lovely story! I have to agree with some of the others up above, lol, if this is how you deal with being frustrated and pissed off at your neighbors then please…continue lololol. I hope you know how much you are loved and treasured as both a writer and a person. Thank you for letting us explore your mind just a little. I hope we see more of your writting if it’s HP that’s great but anything from you is treated with a bounce and squeal of happiness and instant attention.

    Shade and Sweet Water
    MistWalker

  86. Oh, so lovely…. Okay, I have to admit that Severus/Harry is my OTP in this ‘verse but I’m always open to well written and thought out options… and, darned if you haven’t done it.

    I love how Harry and Draco work so well together… Narcissa is a delight, Sirius is a survivor but, well, I do hope Dumbledore gets what is coming to him. I’ll be interested in seeing what plans you have for Albus… even in ‘canon’ he’s pretty much a prat to Harry and gets away with too much.

    Wonderful story … will wait (not so) patiently for more…. 😉 I know how much work it is to get an opus like this done…..

    ::hands you tea and cookies::

  87. I am seriously in utter awe of you right now. You have this wonderful gift of drawing me in and giving me a whole new outlook on characters that i had thought had been completely fleshed out long before. I have been a big H/D fan since i was introduced to the fanfic world several years ago and i think you just combined everything i love about the fandom and made it beyond amazing. Now, i am sure your other readers are asking for a sequel, politely or otherwise, and the inner five year old in me wants to stomp my foot and demand more now… well, i wont. But i will say that if you decide to continue in this universe i would be a very happy reader. I am always eagerly waiting for more of your wonderful writing, whether its in a fandom i am a part of or not. (You’ve converted me before… i.e. The Awakening;-))

    Thanks for sharing and giving me a lovely respite from real life. ;p

  88. Great story. I adore Draco and Harry together. And the snakes all being fond of Harry, especially the bracelet, were awesome.

  89. WOW this was fantastic very glad you dipped into the HP universe and created a masterpiece.

    I must admit I have a love of strong Harry but on the other hand have always hated Ginny as a significant other for Harry even if it became cannon as it simply does not work to my thoughts.

    I also had a feeling of something lacking in the whole HP Wizarding World construction by the Author of the books it seemed half done and slap dash while the series was a master piece and I loved them I simply wanted to know more all the way through and she basically made Harry a wimp without much of a brain in his head he had just been thrown into this new world a world his parents came from and he set out to learn nothing about it just didn’t makes sense which was very silly on a lot of levels plus the last couple of books seemed to me as if she as if she was writing them as a chore just to get the series over and done with.

    I can seriously see how all the evil Dumbledore stories that abound came about the man was either a hidden manipulating hidden Dark Lord, a man treading a fine line between dark and light with only his Phoenix keeping him in line as you wrote him or a total idiot going senile from age, to not know what was happing in his school and to Harry even at the Dursleys as he made himself his guardian and don’t even start on the whole Sirius Black mess the man was the head of two many Governments and over the Law for that to hold water even if he hadn’t known about the lack of a trial until third year he damn well should have started throwing a fit to get a trial after he knew.

    The author left so many gaps in the Wizarding World construction and must admit I also love playing in that pond it is just so intriguing to play with it. Canon wise it became very obvious she hadn’t bothered with a plotting out a lot of the simpler things to round the story out, for pity sake the Dursley neighbour was called Mrs Next Door in the books . It was a real shame as she ignored all the rich background and plot growth she could have played with if she was only bothered to explore her own world and the implications, the the Wizarding World was old and separated from the Non Wizarding world long before the Crown became a figurehead and with Magic so much of their society should have been bound up in the Magic.

    On a personal level concerning Harry I alway found the Dursleys abuse strange sure abuse of that level happens but they went to extremes and in many ways it was against their own need to be normal it all smacked of Magical manipulation being at it’s root especially as the whole neighourhood seemed to take the Dursley’s word as gospal whenever it concerned Harry which was very strange. Plus an Orphan would have had some sort of oversight from normal Muggle services they had to have the paperwork or they couldn’t have gotten him into primary school.

    Their treatment of Harry was very alien to those of this century in thinking very Victorian Oliver Twist in concept which is probably also why so many Dark Lord Dumbledore Stories are around as the cause of it as that made much more sense. The Dursleys also came accross as lacking in self preservation as they were abusing a power Wizard child who could eventually take it all out on them as he grew. Again it came across as Magical manipulation of Dumbles trying to make Harry Tom’s equal in every way to match the prophesy including childhood abuse.

    I look forward to more of this as I am interested in how you develop it all

    Shaz

  90. Once upon a time I was a Draco/Ginny shipper. (Stop laughing! I was young, new to fanfiction and didn’t know about slash yet.) That ended quite quickly and I never looked back. H/D has always been my favourite pairing in HP fandom and I am so happy, thrilled even, with this newest contribution. I adore the clichés you’ve included in this universe and I can’t even begin to tell you which I would consider the best variation. Give me three or four re-reads. Thank you for posting yesterday rather than tomorrow or I’d be going to work with no sleep whatsoever.

    Like so many other things you’ve written, this story has made me laugh and cry along side your protagonists, become angry and frustrated with your antagonists, and generally make my life just that little bit happier. It is my belief that only good authors can evoke emotion like this from me, and I love them, and you, for doing it.

    One question: which is Draco’s middle name in your universe, Lucian or Orion? You’ve used both in this *first* book. (Please let it be the first of several books. Oh please, oh please, oh please! Short stories are good too.) Honestly, the only problem that I can see with world building is that there is always something more to see. Who are Hermione’s people? What mischief do the twins and the first years get up to regarding the bastard Marcus? What else was on that list of Hermione’s? What’s to become of all those companies that Harry is having investigated? I’m truly curious to see what you have in store for Umbridge and Fudge, because their cannon natures practically beg retribution and you’ve said that Harry would support someone else in the MoM elections if his name was brandied about.

    Again, thank you for what you have given us, a precious jewel to add to the collection.

  91. This? Is delicious and wonderful and I’d dearly love a sequel with Voldemort melting into a puddle of yuck, and babies and Snape and Sirius getting it ON, and Fudge getting dismembered by a goblin and all kinds of cool stuff. You rock, really really hard.

  92. will there be a sequal????

  93. You are such ab EVIL person(GRINNING) . each time i think you have a great story you turn around and start a even greater story. i have yet to regret reading any of your stories. i will be a faithful read for a very long time .

  94. Ohhh yay! I was soooooo happy when I saw you had posted this. I just had to read it straight away – am bloody glad I’m on annual leave this week. It was perfect. I just loved your characterizations – I’ve always enjoyed a strong Harry and Draco in my HP fic. All the others were just great too. I also liked that you kept Harry’s original friendships going. So many HP fics just end up with Ron or Hermione bashing and I get tired of them.
    Thanks again for another great read, Booffra

  95. Now, I’m only on chapter three, but I had to comment now, because I have just bust a rib laughing. I had to say, Dobby is so baddass in this, I just adore his awesome snarky little hide. I want a Dobby like this one.

  96. That was GREAT! I thoroughly enjoyed your portrayal of Harry and company as well as the Malfoys. Rarely do we have stories where among other things Ron isn’t a jealous whiny brat, Hermoine learns to accept she doesn’t know everything and isn’t always right, where Dumbledore isn’t evil per se but keeps screwing up despite his best intentions. He just can’t seem to learn from his mistakes when it comes to Harry. This was a very good read and I hope there will be more in this AU in the future.

  97. Mostly I’m just all SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE still because YOU WROTE HARRY/DRACO!
    And that pretty much blows my mind towards any other rational thought.

    I actually really really need to go to bed… or maybe not considering I would get less than 3 hours of sleep before I have to get up for class, but I NEEDED TO READ IT!

    So I’m not going to make much sense but, the way you build worlds, darling, blows my mind EVERY SINGLE TIME. I love what you’ve done with the wizarding world. LOVE IT.

    And while there are a half-a dozen hundred thousand or so little details I love, here’s the thing that really gets me:

    You brilliantly showcase how truly MESSED UP Harry’s life was. I don’t think its something that gets addressed much, more like, look at Harry he’s like Oliver Twist only magically, but… you showcased the extremely dark nature of his childhood and his continued existence during his summers very very well, highlighting and magnifying it in a wonderful way with the world you built.

    And I always love stories that explore blood line magic and what being a pure blood is and generational magic. It fascinates me.

  98. “Severus! Harry thinks we should resolve our UST!” Absolutely hilarious and totally made of win. I love this and love the fact that you keep bringing such amazing writing to all the fandoms I know and love. I’ll add this to my re-reading rotation along with all of your other amazing work and will impatiently wait for more. You are a goddess among women and I freely worship at your feet.

    P.S. “Fear is a mind killer.” Awesome line and please forgive me if this is a stupid question but…is that from Dune?

    • Yes, it is from Dune – kind of. I didn’t think Harry would be able to quote it exactly. The actual quote is:

      “I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”

  99. oh god it’s 4:30am and i have class at 8am and work after that! gah! i read all of it and it’s fantastic!!! now if only i had checked your site before midnight…oh well off to get 2hrs of sleep. thank you for the story, i would love to see more.

  100. You rekindled my love of H/D and HP in general <3 This is a fabulous fic and i'm sure that i'll be re-reading this one just as much as the rest of your wonderful stories!

  101. This totally made my day! I spent all yesterday reading it. I had to or I wouldnt be able to get any studying done. I loved it. The plot seemed to move very quickly to me and you crammed a ton of things in there. I think you left yourself room for two or three sequels. I adored the Dune reference. Its one of my favorites. I love the Litany Against Fear. I think its actually one of the most inspiring things Ive ever read. I say it to myself sometimes and it helps me get through tough things. Not that I’m going to go out and drown some worms or anything. LOL. Was the “shiny” you were referring to a Serenity reference or just you being awesome? I love your writing. Its not perfect but I adore the strong characters you create. I would just like to say that I appreciate all the effort you put into writing and I want to thank you for all the joy you bring to me with every update. Your schedule is something to look forward to and every update is a lovely surprise.

  102. Oh man, that was brilliant. I put off all of my programming homework to the last minute so I could finish reading the story! I’m glad I did. I feel like there might be more, which would be awesome. And if not, I love things that give me the feeling of wanting more. As my mom always says “It’s better to leave while you’re still wanted than to overstay your welcome.” Okay, so it roughly translates to stories. I loved the personalities you gave Harry and Draco. Very mature and interesting. Your Harry is really someone his people can look up.

    Anyway, the story was amazing. Everything you write is gold. You’re like Midas. You touch a universe and it becomes gold!

  103. puh.. ok now i’ve read it all!
    You Baby rock my world. First fic of the year from you and i am speechless, i am standing beside me and do not know how to say it.

    I love you, marry me 😀
    i keep you in chocolate and coffee for the rest of your life

  104. Loved it and enjoyed it very much.
    I begun to read on the way to work and fought the long long day with me to read it at work – but it isn’t allowed….
    Thank you for the work you put in your stories.

    Monika

  105. ok, so i am sitting reading this again today and my e-mail notification pops up to say harry potter and deathly hallows dvd available to pre-order!!!
    anyway after eading again i have to agree with some of the comments and if you need me to flatter and grovel i can …but i have to admit i think only you could write the sheer superb violence and passion that would be Severus and Sirius relieving their unresolved sexual tension!!!

    if you do i promise to send you some UK diabetic chocolate cos it is so good

  106. What a truly awesome story! I started reading it and couldn’t stop! I really *really* wish there were more stories in this world. I would like to see how Harry and Draco live, love and thrive in their lives.

    Once again, amazing story! Weell done! 🙂

  107. I am in utter awe! I think you could write the dictionary and make it stand up and shout. HP has never been all that appealing to me. I loved the first few books but hated the way that Rawling tied up her universe. I gave this a try because it was YOURS and I am so glad that I did. A foot plus of snow is falling outside and I’ve had this lovely fic to keep me company. I was quite disappointed when I got to the 12th chapter and realized that this was the last chapter you’d posted. So thank you again for crafting yet another vivid fanverse that just sucks you in. Always much better than the original and extremely entertaining. You are amazing and I’m a very happy, dedicated cult member 🙂

  108. This was so much fun! Oh man, I was an H/D shipper way back at the beginning of Harry Potter slash fandom. I have a soft spot for the pairing because it (along with Gundam Wing) introduced me to slash as a genre. One of the great things about Harry Potter canon is it captivates the imagination and inspires creativity; spells, magical objects, creatures, and all sorts of stuff. But while flashy new jinxes are fun, a really good story needs more. As I’ve grown and matured, so have my tastes; H/D is a pairing I very rarely read anymore due to the fact that Harry Potter is such a youth-centered fandom, and truly adult fic can be hard to find. I don’t mean ‘adult’ as in explicit content, but ‘adult’ as in moving beyond an adolescent view of the world. You were certainly inspired to do so.
    Birth of the Serpent King takes HP canon and gives it a good shaking, demanding us as adults to question and really think about issues in the British Wizarding world. I love that you wrote house elves as not slaves, but as willingly bonded staff that are in that position because it is in their best interest, not because they are simple minded creatures who get pleasure from serving. Seeing the expanded world including Goblin magic, lawyers, healers, Soul Orbs, and politics was a joy. I really like that you used the Harry-as-Horcrux trope even though you branched off your AU at GOF, mostly because the whole deal was figured out early by Draco and he DID something about it! No drawn-out angst, prophesied battle and last minute death/resurrection. Draco saw a problem, he got right down to finding a solution, and made it happen. Brilliant. I like that you didn’t fall into the Powerful!Harry trap where he finds his independence because all of a sudden Dumbledore or the Wealsleys or Hermione are suddenly evil and the Malfoys are suddenly misunderstood good. You addressed changing feelings about Draco and Lucius and Dumbledore with maturity. When you wrote Ginny as unreasonable and horrible it wasn’t on whim, it had a clear origin as consequence of her CoS possession. I like that you pointed out how the Wizarding World lacks accountability for its actions. I loved the budding, snarky romance between Serpent and Dragon.
    Ok, so now that I’ve gushed and rambled, simply: Thank You. Your work is a joy to read, and I’m so glad you share it with us all.

  109. You know, reading this, I can totally understand why Ms Rowling gets upset about Harry Potter fanfic. You have taken her work and elevated it. Starting with a basic ‘what if…’ and building a fabulous answer to the question. The end result is that I’m rather spoiled now and won’t be able to go back to the books because this story – this fabulous story – has taken over my imagination.
    Thank you so much for sharing this, Keira. Even if it meant getting so little sleep because I couldn’t stop reading once the story was begun.
    I will have to comment later with specifics about the story that struck me in a particularly powerful way, but I couldn’t let another moment go by without saying how much I love it. Thank you again for this!

  110. I have a question about terminology.
    When confessing one’s addiction to all things written by Keira, is it necessary to itemize the addiction, as one would with crack, heroin, and X? Or is it enough to use an umbrella like “I’m addicted to all things Keira-slash?” as one would say ‘prescription narcotics’. You know how I am about strict definitions. (see ass-crack of dawn and fuckton).

    I adore your “I’m absolutely kicking ass, taking names, and using those names to horrify future generations” Harry. I am so completely tired of the whinging ‘why me’ heros currently in fashion, HP in particular. Draco is adorable and his middle name should definitely be Lucien because otherwise his initials would be DOM and that really isn’t his place in this world!

    Thank you for building house elves into real characters with backstory and purpose and not just little slavelings so that wizards don’t have to get their hands dirty. And for fixing Winky’s life. She deserved it.

    Have you considered founding a church? Then we could all join it and send you donations and you wouldn’t need to waste your time writing that other stuff you do for money. You could just spend your days at the coffee house creating sacred documents for your cultists. Just a thought.

    • *passes you a pom pom*

      🙂

    • You know, you’re not the first to say something along those lines. Frankley, I can’t decide if I’m afraid or hopefull she’ll one day accept this. This probably means I’m the weird sort of Fanboy.

  111. It’s always a pleasure to see a new story on your site. I enjoyed it, thanks 🙂

  112. I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    a new draco/harry story and neither of them are whiny and clingy just what the world needs!!!!!!!!!!

    i’m so going to read this over and over and over, i guess this will be like all of your other stories something someone can read and come back to all of the tiime and always have fun reading.

    you are brill!!!

    emma

  113. This was wonderful, but I should know better by now all your fics are like that. This is actually the first HP fic I have ever read. I figured what the heck if you wrote it it must be good. Of course now you have ruined me for all others nothing will stand up to your magnificence. Hope to see more in this verse when you get the chance.

  114. Fabulous, I want some more. Pleeaassse:)

  115. Fabulous, I love your characters, so rich I can see them. I would like some more. Pleeaaasssseeeee.

  116. This is, of course, awesome like everything of yours that I have read. I really enjoyed the the way you write the interactions between Harry and Draco. I also really like your strong take on the Harry character; I think too often people want to write him as a weak victim in slash fics and that just doesn’t mesh with all of the crap he has had to deal with in canon for me. I thought the dash of Sirius/Severus really added to the humor of the story and several lines made me laugh out loud. I would love to see more of this, but as I am heavily invested in all of the other stories you are currently working on and time is finite, I understand if you don’t have the time. Still this was a great read and you never disappoint!

  117. Just thought I should tell you that I love you! Really. Harry/Draco is one of my favourite pairings (and one of the first after Scott/Logan X-men). I’m so hoping there’s more. Harry turning the Wizarding world on its head it fun 😀

  118. You are awesome. I am literally in awe of your awesomeness. Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a beautiful piece, it was sincerely a pleasure to read. You are by far one of my favorite writers, your words are so engaging that by the time I’m done it’s as if I’ve lived and breathed in this world you created, and it was truly lovely.
    Thanks again for writing this. I love that this is your hobby because I shamefully take advantage of that fact and encourage you to continue supplying me with my fix, because this is truly an addiction.
    The Harry Potter fandom is awesome. I love Harry being independent and competent and you’ve captured that beautifully.
    Many millions thanks for this, I’m so happy with this that I don’t know what to do with myself.

  119. Thank you so very much!

    I needed to start with that because I’ve have been haunting your site and lj all of January waiting for any updates. I reread all your stories and when I saw the progress updates that this would come first I was so incredibly excited. Harry Potter fanfiction was my introduction to creative writing, which sounds really horrible when you consider most of FanFiction.net’ stuff, but I quickly recovered. This story has rekindled my love for this fandom which I have let go of a bit recently.

    The story is awesome. I like AUs and this has an awesome deviation point and you explore the differences thoroughly. I loved your inclusion of the other sentient beings in the story and the way you give a bit of a look into their cultures and still leave so much to be addressed. And Harry matured! It made me so happy, that whole grown-up v. responsible adult and how Harry would balance that and school as influenced by his upbringing and circumstances.

    It is a funny (Murphy style funny that is) thing that this epic update came just when work and my social life actually exist enough to interfere with my reading though. Which is why I read it all in one go after my shift at work last night.

    So, again, lots of thanks for this.
    Good-morning,
    greencat

    p.s. please excuse any grammar or spelling or missing word errors as i am now nodding off over my keyboard.

  120. Diva0789(Michelle)

    Truly amazing.

    I truly hope that you plan on continuing this. I would love to see the epic final battle as told by you. Maybe once you clear your plate a bit, after you post and/or finish writing you WMHB novel series? But then you have the Lantean Legacy novels to finish ….. never mind all you series works. Hmmmmm……maybe we should see Rodney or the Asgaurd about cloning??????

  121. I couldn’t stop reading once you posted but had to take work breaks,drat, but since today I have off I finished reading afterwork.. Wow!! I loved the snippet you teased us with, the goblin court rocks! and the rest of the story blows me away. Harry is what I wanted for him, comfortable in himself, heavy duty magic (wild magic is best) and a lord to boot. Heh. Draco pledging himself and family to Harry startled me but seeing what Lily did for the Malfoy family which I can so see, she always seemed like what needed to be done she did no matter who was involved. Which is an advantage that muggleborns have, no long held wizard feuds since they didn’t grow up with it.
    Also thank you for Harry’s reaction to Ginny, she is the little sister of his family, ugh. And an interseting after affect of handling Tom”s diary. One of the things that annoy me with the whole series is the lack of concern about the things that happen to people like Ginny makes them spear carriers there to look good or bring a message and then throw them away. I do realise that it adds length to the story or maybe is something the author doesn’t want to think about but really, the Harry Potter books rival Stephn King in size.
    I am getting really long here just want you to know I love the story am hoping that there will be more but thankful we got this lovely story correcting so many things. Whee..

  122. Love that you updated the site and I adore the fact that it’s in the HP universe

    This totally rocks!

  123. Keira, you slay me! I actually like your AU better than the original 😀 Not to say you “made” me like HP fanfiction 😉 Do you think there ever be more chapters or was it a one-off? One way or another, thank you for this – I enjoyed it immensely (twice already ;))

  124. *face palm* I didn’t like HP fanfic and the books while good were very limited…Darn you I like yours and it’s all your fault…*pauses* Yeah Ok need more but willing to wait because ya know I need read it a few more times to catch all the nuances. You are so good it’s scary sometimes, by the way have you blown up the neighbor yet?

  125. It was great to see your take on HP but I think you might have spoiled me for other HP fic 🙂

    Looking forward to whatever you post next since I’m a fan of all of your stories.

  126. *flails*

    I wanted to catch up on the comments but got sucked into reading Chapter Twelve again…. I couldn’t resist!

    Damn, you’re good. And evil, because you dragged me into this fandom… alas, this is so damned good that nothing else has even a hope of measuring up.

    *shakes a pom pom at you*

    You ruined me and made me like it! *laughing*

    I even found myself trolling the WIP page last night, just in case there was something cooking that I haven’t heard about… I think I’m in withdrawal. I’ve had WMHB open 24/7 for months. Even when I was too drugged to be useful, it still sat there on my monitor, providing a comfortable background purring of Keira!fic as I stumbled around in a haze of painkillers.

    *doing the geriatric fangirl chairdance of glee – in slow motion*

  127. You know, for a twelve chapter story this was nothing, & I mean it in the best way posible.

    May I know how the Blood-Ward work in your univers? Bocause I allways thoght that Dumbeldor(SP? how do yopu spell that?…) put the wammy on them ‘cuz to me Blood without love is just red, posibly poison.

  128. Okay, even though I love just about everything you’ve written, I’ve never commented before, because I am a huge grammar/spelling nerd, and have a problem with giving unsolicited advice. As you explicitly state that you don’t want to hear it, I’ve considered discretion to be the better part of valor, and have avoided commenting in the past.

    But here, I had to speak up.
    Thank you.
    I loved the first few HP books, but by book 4, I really started having problems with them. I don’t expect perfection from heroes, but Harry wasn’t shaping up to even be an imperfect hero – he was a useless nonentity. The kids weren’t being taught anything useful, and Harry wasn’t interested in anything but skating through school. He got people killed with his self-centeredness and incompetence. 100 pages from the end of book 6, I tossed it aside in disgust and haven’t read anything since.
    You took the series from right where it started breaking down for me, and redeemed it. You grabbed Harry by the scruff of the neck, gave him a good hard shake, and made him grow up. You took the gaping plot holes and inconsistencies, acknowledged them, and stitched them up into a story that is stronger and more interesting than the original.

    So yeah, thanks.

  129. **Sigh**

    Can I just reiterate that I utterly and completely worship you? I don’t even care that I’m going to be completely useless from sleep deprivation today, I simply could not resist reading this new fic. Twice.

  130. Just dropping out of permanent lurker mode to say one thing: Thank you. You fixed the one thing that drove me to distraction about the HP books. JKR never allowed Harry to have any agency, any power over his own destiny and you’ve given it back to him in the best ways possible. I love Harry as the BAMF he always should have been. Well done!

  131. Thanks so much for the great read! 🙂

  132. I have been waiting for an update to Ties that Bind so I regularly check your site. When I saw this new story, and saw that it was a Harry/Draco tale I had to read it and I was stuck on my computer until I finished it. It is one of the best Harry/Draco stories I have ever read. Not that I’m surprised, based on your other works, but it was truly amazing. If you write more in the Harry Potter verse I would devour them in the same manner. Also I can’t wait for the next part of Ties that Bind. I hope you enjoy writing these as much as we all enjoy reading them.

  133. I loved this. I am not a HP fic fan reader as the few stories I read in it had Harry all woobie and whisy washy. Kid has all this magic ability but never uses it and lets everyone walk all over him and run his life.(WTF) You have him storng and BAMF which is wonderful. I loved your Draco/ Harry interaction. you made them work wonderfully. I have read the books but have to say after the 4th book I disliked where she went with the books and hated the last one. She killed off all the interesting charactors-Sirius, sbape, remus and them paired Harry with Ginny.(WTF) That was so wrong. I a feeling with how you changed things that all that crap isn’t happening in your universe-Yeah. I just loved how you pointed out all the things Albas and company have been doing to Harry and how they haven’t really been looking out for him. You have Harry and Draco standing up for themselfs and doing something about it. Your Harry is so shiny and snarky is wonderful. Draco doesn’t stand a chance. I really hope you do more in this verse.

  134. This cannot be the end! *sobbing uncontrollably* I love this fic to death and it’s almost 2 in the morning but I refuse to sleep until there is more to read! I REFUSE! You are so amazing and this fic is amazing, thank you so much for sharing and I would really, really love to read more of this or anything else you feel like writing really. ♥_♥ Thanks. I love– *collapses with exhaustion*

  135. I really loved what you did in this story. I don’t usually read Harry Potter fics but I always read anything by you and so I was quite surprised how much I enjoyed it.
    What I loved especially was that you took all the stuff that got on my nerves in the books and fixed it! Thank you so much for sharing.

  136. Christina McMillan

    I’d love it will you write a sequl(sp)

  137. I was anticipating the full version of this fic after the snippet you posted and frankly it surpassed anything I may have imagined that you were going to write. I am eternally grateful that you choose to do this and that you find pleasure in sharing it. Lord knows that I would drive myself bankrupt paying for your fanfiction if you chose to provide it that way.

    This was a fascinating and titillating read.

  138. After re-reading the whole thing (but not all the comments, I admit, just the one you did answer), I have to ask. An “epic friendship”? Did I read too much Smallville fanfiction (which is totally possible, quite funny really since I never saw any episode), and I’m seeing it everywhere, or was that done on purpose? Because I have to say that the Harry-Draco relationship totally works like the Clark-Lex in many ways…

    I really hope we will see more of this, there are so many ways you can explore. I’d really like to know who were Hermione’s grand-parents. About family relationships, how come that Harry is still Sirius Heir instead of Draco (now that Draco is on the “good side”, of course : before that, I can totally understand why Sirius would choose Harry)? Draco is presented as Heir to a family we don’t know, but not to his mother’s family? It seems a bit strange to me.

    Thank you again.

    Liane

    • I don’t think Draco would be the direct choice anyway — it depends on close his “cousin” Narcissa is. There could be any number of blood choices but I left it to Harry as being Sirius’ heir for simply sentimental reasons — to foster their father/son connection — even more so since Harry emancipated himself.

      Additionally, there is every reason to believe that Sirius would have done everything he could separate himself from those in his family that practiced the Dark Arts.

      • Narcissa is, from what I could tell, the daughter of Sirius’ Aunt or Uncle, which would put Draco in direct line for the House, as it appears to pass through the male. Although it could actually be Rudolphus, as he’s married to Bellatrix, the eldest sibling.

        Having said that, however, I completely agree with Keira’s interpretation. The patriarchy issue was never as important in the Harry Potter series, so most of this comes from Keira, and what I can see of Keira’s work, especially with Petunia’s reaction to her abuse of Harry, the importance of the bond between Harry and Sirius is so magically important that it could (and obviously does) supercede blood ties. And we all know what a bitch magic can be! When Harry made Neville his heir he was told that would be the case until he had or claimed an heir. Presumably if Teddy was born (which presumably isn’t going to happen!) and he became Harry’s heir, his claim would then supercede Neville’s.

        • Technically, “Teddy” could be born. Harry’s wild magic has a familial history of producing children in same sex relationships, as established in Keira’s interpretation.

  139. YOU WROTE HARRY POTTER FIC!! *does a flailing kind of dance*

    Wow. And it was AMAZING. I am IN LOVE with everything about this ‘verse, okay? IN LOVE.

    I’m really interested to see what happens, especially with Umbridge and Harry taking on the Ministry. I’m going to assume, however, that I’m going to have to wait A TORTUROUS AMOUNT OF TIME for the next installment? (If one is even planned?)

    • I left myself room to write more, obviously, but my fic plate is full. Serpent King started out as a thank you to the HP fandom for entertaining me while I was broken and miserable 😉

  140. all i can say is wow… just wow… this was an fantastic story filled with such an amazing amount of world building it’s just asounding… i spent last night and most of today reading this awesomeness… and i must say that you are FULL OF WIN… i haven’t read Harry/Draco in a very long time… it used to be a major fandom of mine when i was younger… but it was a really good way to come back into it thru your fic…

    i will second more in this ‘verse but i know that you are busy and all so if it ends here then so be it… i’ll definately be reading this again…

    Dai

  141. So here I am speachless. I don`t really know how to tell you everything that is at the moment in my head because reading is a lot more easier for me than writting in english. But I want to tell you that this story is amazing. I really love all of your Stargate Storys because your an incredible writter but since Hp is my favourite Fandom this is somehow special for me.

    I know there is a lot your currently writting and I am really looking forward to read everything 🙂 But I hope that you will find time to write more of this. I want to know how Harrys Training will be, how the Yule ball will be, how the relationship between Draco and Harry will go and … . You can imagine. 😉

    I read that you were reading a lot Hp Storys over the last weeks so maybe you have some suggestions for me for new stories that I can read. I am always on the search for more to entertain me.

    Thank you for sharing all of your Ideas with us.

    Lierra

  142. so. Yeah. That was fabulous. You took so many of the cliches that I have alternately loved and hated about HP fics and turned them into something wonderfully real and complex. Harry was as strong as I love him to be… and your wizarding world is rich with detail that it makes me fall in love with it. I’d quote some of my favorite parts…but well, there are just so many. 🙂 You’ve given us a taste of a fabulous new KeiraVerse. Although I would love more of your HP world, this piece was so very satisfying and perfect that I could be happy if this were all there ever was. I’m well aware of how full you’re fic writing plate is right now as I’m very eager for the next installments in your various universes over the coming months. Thank you, Keira for your wonderful writing and another story I will re-read over and over again.

  143. I now think this is canon. I blame you. 😉

  144. Hey! I came by to see if you had any new parts for “Ties That Bind” and came across this gem in your updates column. I was like, a KM HP fic…that’s gotta be good, let’s try that chapter one. LOL. I only got one hour of sleep before I had to be up at 5 AM to go to work! OMG! I should never attempt to read a long fic on Sunday nights! But this story was brilliant. I kept telling myself that Harry was only 15 years old in this story and I loved the whole history of ancestral magic and how it changed his priorities. The growing friendship and romance with Draco. Hermione’s love for causes and her naughty books. BILL WEASLEY flirting with Harry! Hahaha…What great fun! SO much potential to write off-shoots! I think my favorite is the Sirius and Severus “resolve our UST” sidebar. LOL. Or stories about any of the other characters in your verse. 🙂 Just a lovely story all throughout.

  145. You know what would be really cool and I haven’t EVER seen done ? A safe-sex lecture for the sixth and seventh years. If Sirius is fondly remembering Gryffindor orgies, I’m guessing the current gen. isn’t far behind… plus, I assume Remus was involved in at least some of it. Isn’t werewolfism passed by saliva? I can just see him giving someone a blowjob and freaking out after. ^_^ Bonus points if McGonagall has to give the lecture. Or Snape. Actually, scratch Snape; he’ll prob. chuck condoms at everyone and tell them if they aren’t safe, it’s their own problem and flounce out.

  146. I loved this!

    HP is one of my fandoms, but I actually haven’t read fic in it for quite a while. I fell into SGA and the McShep love kind of took over my fandom brain for a long while. Even when I was really into HP, I read very little Harry/Draco. Still, I knew I had to give this one a try, and I’m glad I did. I loved every bit! I didn’t catch if this was a universe that you intended to expand on in the future, but I certainly hope you do.

    Oh, and personally, I also loved the hints of Snape/Black you had thrown in there. I would love more of *that* too! But that’s me; a Snape girl all the way!

    Anyway, thanks for sharing. I was thrilled to see you writing in another fandom I adore so much, and reading this particular fic has refreshed my love of HP fic in general. I’m reading (and rereading) like crazy! Thanks for that, too. 😉

  147. I just finished reading this for the third time and I have to say this is what I want to read when I am in the mood for HP fanfiction. Most of the time the writers don’t build the world they are writing in cleanly and it makes the stories very one dimensional. I will also say that when I read fanfiction I am not looking for the original story to be rehashed I want there to be changes and I love that you were able to do that while still leaving the characters in some way recogniseable.
    I have not read harry/draco fic in some time because what I had read in the last few years had been unbelievable to me, but this actually made it seem plausible. I also really like the way that you did not make Dumbledore either perfect and light or evil and despicable. Thank you also for not killing of Cedric, I like stories that rescue him from his fate.
    If you write another story in this universe I would read it, but even if you don’t thanks for the joy and fun of this one.

  148. Detail, plot, and all kinds of fun stuff.

    My sister recommended your work. She was telling me, rather enthusiastically about another story where the villian is skinned and then some with a whip. This was the most recent story, and I kinda sorta like HP so I decided to read it first. Now I really really want to read more, but it will have to wait a bit because the papers and tests have to come first – darn it!

    The history, the details provided, the bits implied – I will go back to the grind and dream of the day somebody flays Dumbles.

    Thank for writing and sharing.

  149. Hi Keira
    I’ve just read your LJ comments and since I don’t have an LJ and don’t intent to get one want to take the time to comment here.
    I consider fan fiction as a courtesy, something that people who have a love or passion for a series/book/whatever do to entertain themselves and others, like me, who can’t write for shit.
    What you do is inspirational – your word smithing is outstanding and I would read anything you wrote for that reason alone; the fact that I get a great deal of joy out of reading your work is a given that I don’t question or ponder in any great detail. I love Stargate fic, it’s my fiction of choice and always will be probably but since finding your site I’ve been enticed (albeit not always willingly) to taste sentinel, Star Trek and now Harry Potter fic and will continue to read anything from these fandoms you write.
    I can’t believe the arrogant self-importance of some people who think they can order up fic without thought to what is entailed in good writing ( I can’t write, but my partner is an author of non-fiction, I know what goes into a writers day). And anyone who has read your rules and is then stupid enough to complain, comment negatively or pass judgment deserves everything they get.
    I hope I have never offended you with any comments and if you ever do decide to become members only; I’ll probably tantrum until you let me in!
    By the way, the sex scenes (if they can be called that) are much,much, much tamer than anything my 14 year old nephew and his 15 year boyfriend get up to on most days (just saying)

  150. Ok… so… I promised myself I would never read HP fic. Anyway, I was checking out your site looking for upgates and saw Serpent King. I left it a few days and thought, nope, no HP for me. Yet something drew me back and, like a moth to flame, I found myself reading. I’m not entirely sure why I had the ban now but, in your favour, you are a kick ass writer. Seriously, underage sex is one of my squicks – despite having been underage myself once and, yes, I do know how completely hypocritical that makes me – but yu handled the relationship between your characters really well and I didn’t cringe once. I loved the story and found myself blasting through all 12 chapters in a single sitting. I hope you plan on writing more in this world… assuming you find the time betwen your job, home and all the other kick ass stories you give us. I still wish you’d write more in your Sentinel world too, cause that also rocked. Actucally, the only series I of yours I don’t read, re-read and enjoy immensely are the Tangled Destines and Dark Place – and that isn’t because of any fundamental dislike of the subject matter, just that they didn’t grab and hold me like yhe others did.

  151. So, I read this when you first posted it, and I meant to comment, but then I forgot – sorry. (But to be fair, I was only a couple days out of the hospital with the new little one, so I was pretty sleep deprived and had a huge case of baby brain.)

    Anyway, amazing story. Probably the best Harry/Draco story I’ve ever read. I love the world you’ve created here, I love every little thing about it. Thanks for writing it, thanks for posting it to share with us, and thanks for giving me something to read while nursing the baby in the middle of the night.

  152. I have never read any HP fanfiction before. I’ve only seen one of the movies and have read none of the books, so the fanfiction did not interest me. That being said, I read Birth of the Serpent King because I enjoy everything else you have written, so why not. I was totally drawn into the story and had a had time putting it down. If you ever feel inspired to visit this ‘verse again, I would thoroughly enjoy it. Thanks for sharing.

  153. I’ve now read it through maybe … four times? Five?

    THANK you. Thank you for a last-minute reversal by Lucius, allowing the fic – and thank you for NOT leading with it.

    Thank you for calling Dumbledore on his lack of care.

    Thank you for using the Goblins effectively.

    Thank you for more backstory, because the entire HP arc is all resolution of backstory.

    Thank you for easing Harry and Draco into their relationship, and for considering the reactions of others.

    Thank you for cutting the legs out from under – oh, so many many vicious idiots!

    You know, my very dear author, if you ever chose to write in — in — oh, say Moby Dick, which I abhore, I would read it, because you always make it worth my time.

    I do hope we make it worth yours.

  154. This was just a sea of awesomeness, Draco/Harry are one of my fave hp pairings and this is just a awesome au with a smart aware harry who is taking charge of his life and his destiny. Which i really love. Hope this means a start of a new series.

  155. I just wanted to say that I really enjoyed reading this. I loved your characterisation, particularly of Harry.

  156. Miss Keira,
    YOU are AMAZING!! I have read “Awakenings” so many times now and I wasn’t expecting such a wonderful gift in the HP universe. You made my weekend. The characterizations and the detail you put into the worlds you create just awe me. I LOVE Harry and Draco’s personalities and how real you make them, as well as the supporting characters. Thank you ever so much. I look forward to future writings in this universe should you choose to continue it. 🙂 In the meantime, my own imagination will dwell on the possibilities of what you may write as I read this story again and again. Many happy writings!
    -Bethie

  157. It is 5:25am. I just read this whole fic in one go. I adored it! So sweet and fun and romantic. I liked the balanced views on the characters, so often people just make Dumbledore, Ron and Hermione irredeemable. It’s fun to see Ron and Mione as likeable characters in a Drarry Fic.

    Truly truly wonderful. I apologise for my lack of profuseness and eloquence but I’ve had to retype about half the words and my brain has started to fizzle. At least I’ll probably have lovely dreams.

    THANK YOU. YOU ROCK!

  158. This story is fantastic. It’s feels very deep and rich.

    I loved watching Harry mature and he kept fighting for all those who couldn’t do it for themselves.

    What is going to happen with the Phoenix feather?

    I’d love to see more of this.

  159. love love looove reading your stories, they’re fantastically written, rich and in depth. brilliant characterizations and just freaking brilliant! i adored your harry potter and draco, they were were an absolutely lovely match and i was seriously really sad to see the story end, i wanted to read more! but ah well, cant wait to read more of your stories, i was actually only on this website to read your st, waiting anxiously to read the next installment of the epic story as it were and then i stumbled across this one and i couldnt resist, i just had to know what you were going to do with them, and i seriously cannot wait to read more again…haha, but seriously love love love your stories!! and i do have to admit that i sound kind of manic, but it is 1:30 in the morning and i just read this story straight through

  160. I just wanted to say that your fic was great. Thanks for taking the time to write and share. I have to agree that I would love to see more of the fic but understand the “full plate” thing. I do think I will branch a little and try reading some of your other fics to tide me over for now.

  161. ive read it four times allready HP for adults fantastic i love the strong harry

  162. that was a great story, loved the layers of story telling you weave so expertly (my first thought was to say magically, but that would possibly be a pun too many)

  163. Just finished reading Birth of the Serpent King. Found your fics last night and have read two. (The other was The Awakening). Loved both of them. Your expansion of their universes into fully fleshed out stories makes it very satisfying to read but still leaves your readers with ideas on how the stories will advance. Thoroughly enjoyed but now need more sleep.
    Rae

  164. I must admitt that the first thing I did when I finally got my new computer this morning was to come here and read this. There are many things I probably should have done today, not least of which was start reading the book on Windows 7, but I totally blew it off in favor of indulging in your wonderful story. Thank you so, so much for this beautiful universe, it is undoubtly one of the best pieces of H/D fic I’ve ever read! I do wonder though, where is Hagrid? Not a complaint, but I just realized when Harry was talking about him at one point that he hadn’t made an actual appearance and was curious.

  165. I’m in awe with how many cliche you managed to introduce in this story and make it believable.
    This Harry is quite different than the ones most often found in fanfics, more adult and strong which makes it all the more interesting and give your story a unique “feel” . He reminds me a lot of John Sheppard in “Ties that bind”.

  166. Thank you so much for writing in this fandom. Your story was recommended on a HP fanfic Yahoo group I belong to and after downloading all 12 parts I started reading only to be blown away by the well written and plotted story. It had all the elements I enjoy in HP fanfic … a strong, independent Harry who takes his life and destiny into his own hands and doesn’t let other people guilt him into being their puppet. The elements of inheritance of familial magic has been done before but you’ve made it your own quite splendidly.

    I was intrigued by the elf society you portrayed and the OME and OFE (original male and female elves) you introduced were charming. Elbe is quite the vicious little guy and Dobby scolding Draco for biting him when he was 2 yrs old made me laugh out loud. I liked the OMS (original male snakes) you created and would have liked to read more of Mehne adding his comments to events around him.

    The canon characters were expanded in new and satisfying ways … Narcissa (Beautiful One) becomes the strong female Slytherin we know she must have been. Draco and Ragnok … well, I could go on and on.

    And now the payoff for a reader who has spent 2 days devouring every word, PLEASE tell me that you will continue this story! The Serpent King has been born, surely we will see his puberty and ultimately, his manhood. 🙂

    Thank you again for sharing your story with your grateful readers.

  167. This was an incredible story. Its always unbelievably exciting when an author you love starts writing in a fandom you like. Though I have to tell you that I am now craving a Harry/Bill story just from what you had at the beginning of the fic.

    Thank you so much for writing this.

  168. Wonderful story!!!!! Any plans for a sequel?

  169. I have just reread this for the 4th or 5th time. I also went back and reread some of my Harry Potter favorites just to be sure I was not imagining how good this was. You bring such a depth of character, such a richness in the whole fabric of the stories you weave, that compels me to revisit your site repeatedly and that I appreciate immensely. I know that a sequel is not in the works (atm) but I find myself hopeful the fandom will call you back some time in the future.

  170. love it want more, you are so cruel to give us so many good fic with not enough sequel (seriously great and i understand the lack of time) but you are mean.

  171. ….OMG

    I have no idea why I haven’t browsed your other fandoms/fics before now, but it is entirely your fault that I was up until 6:00 am reading, slept for 3 hours, then got back online to read more.

    I seriously have a girl-crush on you, I hope you don’t mind.

  172. *sighing happily*

    I adore this. Still.

    *hugs a pom pom in an excess of geriatric fangirl glee*

  173. :: sigh ::

    I just reread this…. So much yumminess.

    ~L

  174. Seriously, read this i think three times now? and seriously i love it more and more every time i read it, i pretty much love all your fics though, you’re a freaking awesome writer, incredible attention to details and just amazing writing in general, although i couldnt help notice some grammar and spelling errors, ahaha, i dont think i would’ve noticed if it wasnt for me reading it three times or not, but they’re minor, but they’re just a tiny pet peeve of mine, but it’s understandable as this is an a very long fic, not as epic as some of your others, but quite long the same, and mistakes pass even when you’re being super careful~~
    ahh! i cant believe that I’m giving an amazing writer like you a tiny bit of a lecture, haha, but seriously loooove all your stuff and i wish you could write faster, i guess all i can do is go back and re-read the fics again…and look at your recommendations, keke

    oooh and btw have you read “not your usual veela mate”? it’s very good, a bit sloppy in writing style and has a lot of plot holes and loose ends, but it’s still an amazing story and sadly the writer has yet to finish it, but i think she’s planning on revamping the story and stuff, sooo yeaaa, but if you do like a strong harry, you should def read it…althoough i do have to say this, if you dont like ron and hermione and dumbledore bashing, def dont read it ^^

    • ah, as for the lil lecture on grammar i do realize that you work really really hard on your stories, and i sincerely do love them to death~~not going to say any more than that, but curious as to something, do you have any other recommendations besides those on the slashworld? cause im always looking for more stuff to read, sometimes it sucks being able to read a bit faster than most, cause i tend to devour it as soon as i can…if you can recommend some more anything stories that’d be great!! oooh and esp those with a strong and just a more of a take charge harry, rather unlike the one that i recommended to you, i do think it’s a very good fic, it’s just that in tht one, he is a bit weepy and very emotional

      • I put all of my recs on Slashworld.

        As to the grammar stuff– of course there are going to be errors. Nothing on my site is edited by a professional editor and I don’t pretend to be perfect. In fact, nothing written/edited by humans is perfect — professional or otherwise.

  175. Okay, i gotta admit, i feel a little like i’ve been left hanging here. It’s not even that you didn’t take us to the distruction of Tom Riddle (i’m not even going to try and spell his other name-i’ll slaughter it!) as i can totally understand that-although a peak at it would’ve been nice. No, that part that was a little disappointing is that you didn’t show us Harry taking down Fudge! I *so* wanted to see that after everything! You’re so good at taking down the bad guys in your stories in truely thrilling and ‘stick it to him’ ways that i was looking forward to it. I almost cried when i came to the end and it hadn’t happened! That aside, this is the first time i’ve ventured into HP FanFic as i didn’t think anyone could compete with JK’s writting and most of the stuff has sexual stuff in it and i just find it a little weird reading it when i still see all the kids as they were in the first movie and it just seems so *wrong*. I’m totally behind the idea of Harry and Draco which i understand is one of the popular pairings, and i was very happy with how you handled the sex stuff. You always made it so hot in your other stories that i was truely hesitant to pick up this one, but you did beautifully. You didn’t go too far, and even got me to a point that if they had done something more it wouldn’t have had an ick factor-or at least if it had then probably not much of one at all. BTW i think they way you protrayed Dumbledore was inspired, i’ve often wondered about the old bat while reading the books and watching the movies. Normally i wouldn’t think i’d get on board the whole Dumbledore as an asshat buss, but i was right there!

    Your Number One Fan
    I’m not a stalker-I SWEAR!!!!
    (stands in front of wall of creepy Keira pictures-blocking everyones veiw of it) (g)
    Bows at the feet of the Master, ‘We’re not wearthy!’
    Coley

    • It was in my mind that I would write another one and that meant that Fudge had to be around to continue to a sorry motherfucker for the next book 😉

      • That’s so awsome, i’d love another. Please…can we have some more! So does Fudge get his in the next one? I’d so love that. It’s something i’m looking forward to so much! I’m kinda in a Harry Potter craze right now thanks to waiting on the last movie, and the fact that it coincides with my ten year old nephew getting into the books thanks to my lending them to him. I just re-watched all but the first part of the last movie (the Deathly Hallows Part 1) and am thinking about re-reading the books too. So having more great fic from you in Harry Ptter would be great. Especially since you’ve got me hooked on your AU version of the Potter ‘verse!

  176. Re-read for the god knows how many times. Still love it, still get seriously warm fuzzies over it. Favourite phrase out of the whole thing? This:

    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.”

    Only downside is that it finishes. I’d love to see Fudge get his come-uppance and for dear Delores also to receive what she is due. Oh, and, more of the Serpent King and his Dragon 🙂

  177. I have reread this so many times that I have lost count and I only just realised that I hadn’t reviewed yet. I absolutely love it. I enjoyed your twist on the veela theme. I really like how you have written Narcissa. I’d definitely would love to see at least the yule ball at Malfoy manor, cause I think the boys could have lots of fun there 🙂

  178. Kaat ShadowLover

    I just reread this whole story and had to leave a comment to tell you just how much Narcissa reminds me of Morticia Addams! 🙂 Everytime she was in a scene, that’s what I’d keep thinking.

  179. I keep coming back to this story. It seems to have become my go-to when I need a pick-me-up. I’ve said it before and I’ll said it again (and again and again) – thank you so much for sharing this remarkable story. In my heart of hearts I hope you’ll continue this, but I am also happy with it as it stands now, so no pressure from me.

    May your words continue to flow!

  180. Oh my, lady I think you are amazing. I have been working my way through your website and every single story I am disappointment that it ended. I could read any of your fics for hours.

  181. I hope my dear that you are working on a sequel for this- because it all ended so abruptly and it made me sadface. I mean you had such a beautiful plot going lots of rising action and good things, manipulative dumbles and rich harry then boom End.

    Please write a sequel

  182. Okay, okay, you seduced me into another fandom, which by the way I never intended to read any of. I adored this story and read it in one sitting as I couldn’t quit. I found that I love Harry/Draco. I’m glad you let Lucius redeem himself (I adore Jason Isaacs) and made the house elves such an integral part of the story. Best of all you cleaned up all the screwups JK Rowling made in her own universe. I had quit reading after the third book, I’d started the fourth but didn’t finish it. I like spoilers so when some of my friends told me what she did in the latter books I had no desire to ever read them. Harry was a pawn never able to take a proactive part in his own life. I love how you gave him the strong will, strength and power he should have been given. Dumbledore was playing stupid games with Harry’s life that he never should have considered, (loved the way you had Harry throw it in the old coot’s face). Thank you for actually getting me to like Harry Potter. I am now looking forward to the sequel but as I love all of your series I can be patient as they all mean a lot to me.

  183. So I woke up from a (for me) deep sleep 10 minutes ago with the thought…what if Sirius were to give Harry a liege oath for his family?? Bellatrix would lose her family magic, maybe even become a squib. Or maybe Sirius already offered James such an oath and that’s what turned Bellatrix insane – she lost the family magic but kept her own. Hmm what do you think?

    Hope you are feeling better honey and the heat wave breaks soon, Hxx

  184. I just reread this for perhaps the fifth time, and I have to tell you that perhaps my favorite paragraph in this entire fic (though they’re all great) is “I have OWLS to take… I’m swamped.” It’s a great allusion to The Princess Bride.

  185. My darling Keira, should you ever (or your muse ever) decide to write a sequel/continuation to this story I would be moved to do something drastic like offer to bear your children or something!! I love this fic that much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  186. *throws my pom poms in the air*

    Damn, you’re good.

    I just read it all *again*. You are entirely awesome and I love every word of this to bits.

    *sighs happily*

    I love this ‘verse.

    Like puppies.

    \o/

  187. I’ve recently re-read this story after working my way through the books again now that the movies have finished.

    I do thoroughly enjoy the canon of the books but I have to admit to loving this version of what happened after Goblet of Fire.

    I’ve downloaded the ebook and it is ear-marked for my next long train journey. It’ll be the perfect way to pass the time.

    Thanks for a great read.

  188. I just re-read this (and I must say it’s still one of the most amazing fanfictions I’ve ever read) and I have a question. Now, I know it won’t happen for years, not until AFTER Voldemort is dead, but, when or if Harry and Draco ever get married and/or have kids, whose name do you think they’ll take? I know that neither Harry nor Draco are ever likely to change their last name, but what about their kids (when they finally get to it)? I can guess that if they have a son he will be the heir to both houses, but will he be a Potter, a Malfoy, or will the name be hyphenated (Malfoy-Potter and/or Potter-Malfoy)? I hope I’m not asking you a question with a spoiler answer, and you obviously don’t have to answer whether or not the answer is a spoiler. I’m just curious. Keep up the good work! Can’t wait to see what you post next!

    • I think they would have two sons (at least) — one for each title and last name. I don’t think they’d hyphenate due to the responsibilities concerning their titles and family magics.

  189. This was so amazing! But I feel like so much went unfulfilled! Not even the confrontation with Tom, but seeing Fudge get his ass handed to him, and even the much anticipated Malfoy Ball. LOL. This is begging for a sequel. I love how you’ve made Harry so mature and taking control over his life. I usually shy away from story where Harry is “all-powerful” but you explained his gaining power and status in such a way that was realistic and understandable. I will be sure to keep a watch for any future fics from this universe.

  190. I adore this tale.

    *sighs happily*

  191. I can’t remember if I wrote fb when you first published this, but I am reading it again and I just *love* it. I completely enjoy stories when we learn more about the wizarding world and Harry learns about magic. Two thumbs way up! 🙂

  192. I should have read this long ago– LOVED IT! AS Mariah said I would. 🙂 I do hope at some point you write more in the HP land, and maybe even a sequel to this sometime 🙂

  193. Wow.. just wow. =) I absolutely loved this from beginning to end . I really do hope that you wirte more in this ‘verse. It would simply be amazing. Thank you so much for a wonderful story.

  194. Okay, re-reading this yet again.

    Still love it.

    *fangirling wildly*

  195. Hello
    Will there be more of this story. I love it.

    • This story is complete. There is a sequel in progress.

      • Ohhhhh…. YES PLEASE!!! I’ve read both of your HP fics 4 times now… *swoon*.

        If you do a sequel, that would be wonderful. In the mean time, thank you for making a fic where Harry is so strong! If you have any recommendations of other fics where Harry is so strong please please share.

        But in the mean time… THANK YOU for being so amazing, wonderful and giving with your time, and your fantastic story weaving skills.

        Right, fan girl gushing over for the mo. 🙂

        • I wrote this particular story because I was unsatisfied with how few stories there are where Harry smartened up and got his head on straight AND it was slash. There are quite a few independent!Harry fics but they are most often (based on my limited experience with the fandom) either Harry/Hermione or Harry/Ginny.

          I’ll read Harry/Hermione but I won’t touch Harry/Ginny with someone else’s mouse and severed finger.

  196. *fangirling shamelessly*

    I still adore this with a passion.

    If I didn’t have to get up at the crack of dawn for work, I’d move on to That Old Black Magic next. Ah, well… I’ll save it for tomorrow.

  197. *sigh*
    SO, I don’t normally read HP slash or really, any HP fic at all, since there’s so much that is utter dreck. But I was bored. I should have realized that your work would be different. You actually write plot, characters, and relationships, so, while HP slash still isn’t my thing in general, I absolutely adore yours.

    I also finally read your Sentinel fic. It’s another case of not usually reading Sentinel slash because the pairing doesn’t usually do it for me. But again, your writing transcends that. SO now, I’m eyeing your Sherlock Holmes and STar Trek fics with interest. I’ve long been a fan of your SGA stuff… well, except Ties that Bind. I did try it, but the squick factor was too much for me there. BDSM just isn’t my cup of tea, I suppose.

    Anyway, I just wanted to comment on my enjoyment of your work before I lose myself in more of it 🙂

    Look forward to seeing more from you in 2013.

  198. Hello Keira.

    Great fic, I adore your Harry and Draco. Ok I adore every story and every character you’ve put a spin on.

    I hope to god you dont consider this nitpicking but I noticed a spelling error.

    “Tom Riddle.” Harry inclined his head. “He was born Tom Malvo Riddle.

    • Considering that story has been published for more than a year and in order to correct it — I’d have to edit all of the ebooks to? Yeah, I consider that a nitpick.

      But thanks. I’m glad you enjoyed the story.

  199. This is def. my all time favorite story from anything I’ve read. I am begging you PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE!!!!! write a sequel or continue this story I love it soooooo much.

  200. I must say I’ve avoided reading this story because Drarry isn’t one of my fave pairings. However, as with all of your stories, I loved it. I really enjoyed the snarking between Harry and Draco and the fact that you didn’t write that Ron and Hermione turned on Harry. Thank you for making Ginny insane and sending her away. I very much appreciate it. Hopefully there will be more in the future and I’ll get to read some Sirius/Severus. That’s a pairing I’ve never read before. Curiouser and curiouser.

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