Title: Goblin’s Daughter – Prologue-Chapter 3
Author: Saydria Wolfe
Fandom: Harry Potter
Genre: AU, Rule 63
Relationship(s): future poly, currently platonic
Content Rating: PG-13
Warnings: No Beta, Dark Themes, Character Bashing, Violence – Canon-level
Word Count: 34,403
Summary: Okay. So. I wanted to make Harry a girl but keep canon events pretty much the same? But that means the motivations for those actions had to change – I made them deliberate rather than Dumbledore’s negligence. With every change there is fall out and that’s basically what this is.
“Would you,” Harry winces at the quiver in her voice but then she clears her throat and soldiers on regardless. “Would you go to the Ball with me?”
The man blinks and shifts on his bench. “What?”
“Hermione made me read about this, thing.” She explains, suddenly very glad she’d caught the man alone on his way onto the castle. “And over the winter holiday there will be a Yule Ball. I checked with McGonagall she said females have to take or go with a male date otherwise I’d just ask Hermione.”
“What about Ron?”
“We, uh, we aren’t exactly talking right now? He’s-” Ah, well, nothing for it. “He’s being a total prat! And he said all these nasty things when my name came out of the Goblet and he’s starting rumors and he’s making things up for the Prophet and- I can’t ask him, he’d be horrible about it.”
Charlie blinks, looking unsettled. “Why me?”
Its Harry’s turn to blink this time. “Because I trust you.”
“So I’m your backup plan, then?”
“No, my back up plan is Neville. Or the twins.” Feeling a bit of devilry she hums. “Bet if I asked them I could get both of Fred and George to go with me.”
Charlie huffs. “You probably could. Or you could wait until someone asks you.”
“No one’s going to ask me.” She rolls her eyes at him. Surely he hasn’t forgotten the ridiculousness of school politics already? Unless he mentally blocked it out, in which case, she’s jealous. “I’m the False Champion, remember? No one outside of Gryffindor has even bothered to even see that I exist unless it’s to give me shite and no one inside Gryffindor will ask because of Ron.”
“There are boys not from Hogwarts.”
“Yeah, I know, that’s why I’m asking you.”
“I meant boys from Beauxbatons or Durmstrang.”
Harry scrunches her nose. “You can just say no if you don’t want to go with me. It’s fine, I can take it.”
Charlie opens his mouth and then closes it.
After an extended moment of silence, Harry nods. “Yeah, that’s what I expected. Sorry.” Time to change the subject. “Why’d you come to Hogwarts, anyway?”
“Oh, uh, I’m here for work, actually.”
“What? For work? Oh, my god. Did Hagrid manage to get another dragon egg?”
“Uh, no?” He’s frowning like he might actually be in pain.
What else would he be doing at Hogwarts for work? Harry can’t help but wonder. And then it dawns on her.
“Oh. Oh, no.”
“And what did you say?” His mother asks, honestly curious.
“I told her that I couldn’t answer until after the First Task. And I can’t, mum. We can’t show any favoritism.”
Molly Weasley tuts. “And what did she say?”
“She asked if she should be looking forward to my answer or dreading it.”
“And?” She asks around a spate of laughter.
“No favorites, mum. It’s in our contracts.”
“Tell me you gave her something. I mean, honestly.”
“I smiled? Does that count? I think it counts because then she smiled back and told me her dress is green.”
“We picked one that looked like Lily Potter’s wedding dress,” She says on a wistful sigh.
That has a stupid number of implications, Charlie sighs. “I thought you wanted Ron to go with her.”
“I want to give Harry a proper family. Ron seemed like the logical option being in her year and all but I have five other sons if he’s being a-” She hesitates to pick a word and starts to frown.
“A twat, mum, he’s being a twat. Worse than the Slytherins, according to Hermione, because Harry can escape the Slytherins but Ron lives in the Tower.”
“Oh, that boy. I’ll give him a piece of my mind, see if I don’t! Honestly, If anyone could get past the Age Line it would have been the Fred and George. I love Harry but she’s just not that clever.”
“Who could be more clever than Fred and George?” Because honestly, he never wants to meet them. That would be someone to run from.
Molly waves the line of discussion away. “I told Dumbledore he needed to send her to Beauxbatons before she gets killed. Hogwarts is not safe for her but he wouldn’t hear it. Neither would your father and look at her now! Name coming out of the Goblet, having to face down dragons and Merlin knows what else this year!
“Has there been a single year since she went off to Hogwarts where something hasn’t tried to kill that very, very young girl?”
“Last year,” Charlie offers. “Sirius wasn’t trying to kill her. We know that now even if it seemed different at the time.”
His mum points one finger at him and says, “Dementors. Hermione said they were pretty much hunting Harry last year and Harry won’t speak of it so it’s probably true. She never talks about the things that almost kill her.”
“She’ll talk about suspecting Snape but not the confrontation with Quirrel.” Charlie says by way of agreement.
“She’ll talk about hearing the Basilisk in the pipes but not anything in the Chamber.” His mum shakes her head again. “How is Hermione, dear? She is standing with Harry, isn’t she?”
“Of course she is. And she’s good even if she looks like she wants to hex three quarters of the school. She’s still looking up ways to get Harry out of the Tournament. She’s terrified, of course. The moment she saw me she knew what it meant, I thought she was going to faint.”
“Oh, bless, that girl has such a big heart.” Molly’s eyes go calculating for a moment. “Do you think Bill-?”
“Mum, no!” He laughs. Always with the matchmaking.
“I don’t see what’s so funny, she’s practically one of ours already!”
“I think five Weasleys at a single ball is quite enough, mum. Besides, I think she’s already been asked.” Charlie frowns, just realizing a possible problem. “Have you had a chance to discuss courting etiquette with the girls? They’re minors and if I’m right about Hermione both of their dates won’t be.”
Molly points a finger at him and nods. “I haven’t. I’ll send Hermione a book. She’ll have them both drilled by the end of the week.” His mum grins at him and Charlie can only laugh.
A month after Harry outflies a nesting Hungarian Horntail, Charlie finds himself standing in the Hogwarts Entrance Hall in a brand new set of dress robes. Harry looks way too lovely to be standing next to him in a gown of deep green, edged in gold. Her hair is piled in an artful tumble atop her head and studded with little green stones that glitter like stars.
And she’s a nervous wreck.
“Miss Potter, you will lead us in, being in first place,” McGonagall instructs them. “Charlie, you’ll lead them down the aisle and once around the dancefloor. Then you will all take ready positions and wait for the music.”
Harry and McGonagall wring their hands at each other until the Professor catches something behind them and rushes off shouting, “Mister Finnegan!”
“Here,” he offers her his dented silver flask.
Harry chokes, her eyes going wide. “What?!”
“Calming Draught. Mum figured someone might need it.”
“Oh, thank Merlin,” she takes the flask and pounds it back like an actual shot.
Charlie laughs a little but takes his own shot of Draught when it’s his turn nonetheless.
“Calming Draught?” The Diggory boy asks.
Taking pity on him, Charlie hands the flask over while Harry asks, “How did you know?!”
“Professor Lupin taught us a number of detection and neutralization spells last year. Dead useful.” He takes a swig and hands the flask back with a nod. “Easiest one’s a Second Year spell, really. Detects potions hidden in food and drink.”
“What’s the spell?”
McGonagall comes rushing back. “In line! We’re ready.”
“I’ll show you the spell later,” Charlie promises her as she takes his arm.
One dance becomes two and then three rather quickly. They don’t actually leave the dance floor until the student orchestra gives way to the Weird Sisters.
They sit off to one side and Harry asks, “Anything in the punch?”
He teaches her the spell. It takes her twice before she can properly cast it which is basically no time at all, especially considering that she’s doing it wandless. Cedric joins them minus his date and they take turns identifying what people around the room are drinking. A surprising number of professors have smuggled in personal hoards of booze, it’s utterly hilarious.
“Do you have to see the liquid for it to work?” She asks them. “All these glasses are clear. Would it work on, say, Moody’s flask?”
“Worked on my flask, didn’t it?”
“Yeah but we were all close together. I mean like across the room.”
“Moody’s taking a sip now, shall we try it?”
All three of them cast the spell together and all three of them freeze.
“Is that?” Cedric frowns and stops.
Charlie can’t help but finish thought, “Polyjuice?”
“That’s not Moody,” Harry immediately realizes. A hand comes up to cover her face. “Oh my god, that’s not Moody. How long has that not been Moody?”
“No idea,” Cedric says, frowning like a stormcloud about to burst. “But I bet we just found out who entered you into the tournament,”
“We need to tell Bill,” Charlie tells them. “The Bank needs to know.”
“The Bank? Why does the Bank need to know?” Harry asks. “What about the police?”
“Because the Bank put a bounty out on whoever forced you into the tournament,” Cedric answers. At Harry’s stare, he shrugs. “My dad works at Magical Creature Control in the Ministry. He’s livid about it but can’t do anything. The Potters are close allies with the Goblins, historically speaking.”
“Really?” Harry leans back to look him in the face. “They don’t seem to like me much.”
“Have you ever acknowledged the alliance between your House and the Horde while you were in the Bank?”
“Considering that I didn’t know it was even a thing, no.”
“I can have Bill bring you a book.” Charlie offers. “It’ll be a good excuse to get him up to the castle.”
“Now? You think a book is a good reason to come up here now?”
“Well, no,” Charlie frowns at her. “But we have to do something. Whoever that is must be holding the real Mad Eye captive to harvest his hair. Assuming he’s still alive, we can’t leave him like that.”
“We can go to Dumbledore.” Harry declares. “Moody’s his friend, right? He’ll save his friend. Surely.”
Cedric and Charlie exchange a look, the same thought evident in both of their eyes. Wards. There’s no way Dumbledore doesn’t know about the polyjuice. Or the imposter. Which makes him complicit in whatever that not-Moody arsehole is up to.
Charlie sighs. Nothing for it right now, “So I understand you play quidditch too?”
Harry laughs, why he’s not quite sure. “Cedric is a Seeker too. So is his date, Cho.”
“For Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw,” Cedric says by way of agreement. “Respectively.”
“Where is she anyway?”
“Oh,” he says breezily. “She latched on the Marietta to gossip about people together.”
“Let me guess,” Harry starts darkly.
“I’m sure you don’t have to,” The Hufflepuff cuts her off with a significant glance at Hermione and Viktor Krum as they approach. Hermione is practically glowing while Krum levitates a tray with a half dozen drinks on it before them.
“Harry!” The girl grins fit to split her face. “Isn’t this amazing?”
“It’s pretty great,” She agrees mildly with her best friend. “You’re just in time, Viktor, we were just discussing quidditch.”
Hermione groans half heartedly and Harry just laughs.
“Favorite game you’ve ever seen?” Charlie asks Cedric.
Cedric blushes. It’s adorable. “One of yours, actually. You were a sixth year my first. It was your first game captaining, against Slytherin. The Snitch hunt was ruthless and you pulled a 10 point win out of your pocket. It’s the reason I went for Seeker, actually.”
“He is quite inspiring,” Viktor adds before Charlie can tease Cedric at all. “My coach was still mourning the fact that you didn’t go professional when they recruited me. He had me listen to recordings of all your games and evaluate your tactics before my first professional game. There were pensive memories involved to though I do not know how he got them.”
Charlie is, well. He’s taken aback. He knew he was good but the never thought-
Well, it didn’t matter. The danger of his animagus form was so great there had really only been one place for him after he left Hogwarts. Once he confessed it to his mum she hadn’t even tried to argue, she’d just helped him pick the reserve that best fit his needs.
Now he’s mastered his form and finished his apprenticeship. He could- He’s almost afraid to think about it.
Something must show on his face because Harry leans as heavily as she can against his side and smiles up at him. “It’s not too late,” She promises. “We can get you back into fighting trim.”
Turning a dragon handler into a professional Seeker would take some doing but from Krum and Cedric nods she would not be doing it alone.
“It would be good challenge.” Krum, Viktor offers. “Good to have challenge. On the Pitch.”
“You say that now,” Cedric laughs.
“Give me three years,” Harry offers, grinning with mischievous, sparkling eyes. “I’ll kick your bum too.”
“Considering that Cedric kicked your bum,” Charlie offers teasingly.
“She’s right,” Cedric supports Harry immediately. “She almost had the snitch when the dementors came. I don’t think that game counts. If I’d been smarter I’d have realized…”
“Nobody expects Dementors,” Harry assures her fellow Champion. “That was rather the problem.”
“You got a handle on it for the next time.”
Harry huffs and rolls her eyes, “Malfoy.”
Charlie and Cedric both burst out laughing while Viktor frowns on in confusion.
Hermione takes pity on the man and explains. “Last year, after Sirius Black escaped Azkaban, the Ministry thought he was trying to kill Harry so they put Dementors around the school to guard her. Unfortunately the Dementors really liked Harry and kept trying to, uh, eat her. I guess? They tried on the train, on the quidditch pitch, and one time in the forest.”
“Was he even here?” Viktor asks. “Sirius Black?”
“Oh yeah,” Harry nods with some sort of longing in her eyes. “He’s amazing. My godfather, you know? He broke out of prison to protect me and the Ministry tried to Kiss him for it.”
“You met him?” Viktor sounds capital-s Shocked.
“Briefly, after he was caught and before the Minister showed up with a Dementor in tow. He escaped though, thank Merlin.”
“He must be clever and powerful.”
Harry shrugs, not meeting anyones eyes which immediately makes Charlie suspicious. “So what about you? Favorite game?”
“Every game is my favorite until it is over.”
That has both Charlie and Harry nodding emphatically. It’s a startlingly Gryffindor answer to hear from a foreigner. Of course that’s the entire point of the Tournament, isn’t it? To realize they all aren’t all that different from each other?
“Come on,” Hermione prompts. “I want to dance some more.”
She pops up and grabs Viktor and Harry’s wrists, pulling them toward the dance floor. Harry’s free hand latches on to Charlie’s wrist. Not one to leave a man behind, Charlie take a hold of Cedric. They’re all laughing as they make their own little awkwardly gyrating group. First on the edge of the dance floor and then towards the middle as they are noticed and quickly surrounded by students.
Cedric’s wayward date and the fourth Champion Fleur and her Ravenclaw date, a lad named Roger Davies, show up and work themselves into the group.
It’s not something Charlie’s ever thought to want. As a kid he was bookish outside of quidditch, more than pleased to spend the day reading alone. He’s much the same as an adult when he’s not tending dragons but now with Harry’s radiant smile and flashing green eyes within arm’s reach he can’t help but think that maybe there is something to this society stuff.
“Hey, Harry!” Bill calls to the girl he considers his future sister in-law as she exits the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom. According to Ginny this is both the Fourth Year Gryffindors’ and the class instructor’s final class of the day. “You’re looking good.”
“Bill!” She smiles at him, bright and relieved. “How is everyone?”
Charlie. She means ‘how is Charlie?’ But he decides to take her at face value anyway. “Mum’s at war with Mister Lovegood’s jarveys again. They keep raiding the gnome tunnels in the garden when it gets too cold. Dad’s got his marching orders from mum which means he’s mostly staying out in his shed when he’s home. Charlie is trying to talk his boss around to a transfer to the Scottland Dragon Reserve. Mum’s thrilled, she wants him to move home. And then of course there’s me.”
“Trying to-” She blushes scarlet and she looks so pleased, but then she shakes her head. “And what are you doing here?”
“Charlie said he owed you a book and mum had another loaner for you.”
He hands them to her and she smiles, “Thank you, but you didn’t have to come all the way up here just for books!”
“And I didn’t. I need to speak to your professor, actually.”
“Weasley,” the man grunts as he stomps his way over to them. “What did you need me for?”
“I managed to snag one of the specimens we discussed this summer and I have permission from the Bank for you to use it for class. You’ll have to return it when done, though.”
“Well,” the man eyes him as if they really had a discussion of any sort this last summer. “Where is it?”
“Three Broomsticks. I couldn’t bring it past the wards myself.”
“You better have left it with guards.”
“Four apprentices, another journeyman, and our Master Curse Breaker.”
“Good lad,” The man turns to Harry. “Better get a move on Potter, Snape is monitoring study hall today.”
As expected Harry groans and throws herself down the hallway like she just spotted the Snitch in a tied game.
“We’ll floo,” Not-Moody instructs as he leads him through the classroom and into the professor’s office. Bill just nods gratefully. The fewer people that see them together, the fewer questions he’ll be asked about it later.
He waits for the man to exit the floo before he informs him, “We got it in a private room.”
“Well done.” Not-Moody tells hims with a gruff nod.
He turns up the stairs and leads the man to Room Four, the room reserved on a mostly-permanent basis by the Bank. They stop just outside the door as the Mad Eye does its thing, counting the occupants and trying to inspect the warded box in the middle of the room.
“Soup’s on,” Not-Moody says as he pushes his way in.
“You’re right on time!” His fellow journeyman, Deiter greets and he holds up a plate with a roll on it in clear invitation.
The impersonator does his Mad Eye act again, thoroughly inspecting the roll for poisons, toxins, and potions before he takes the plate. The moment he touches the plate, the portkey activates and the man disappears with a whoosh.
Dieter laughs as he catches the suddenly airborne roll and takes a chomping bite. “Never thought he’d fall for that.”
“Would have been hell to explain if he hadn’t,” Bill says as he rolls his eyes.
“First Year shit there, mate. Works every time.”
“Now what?” Bill asks their Master Curse Breaker Karguff.
The goblin gives him a truly blood thirsty smirk. “The Chieftains will question him, he will confess to all of his crimes and the Horde will follow every lead until we have eliminated the threat to the Heir of House Potter.”
“That can’t be legal,” One of the little apprentices immediately objects.
The goblin simply raises an eyebrow in a way that tells Bill that he is furious at the outburst.
Bill exchanges a look with Dieter and Dieter rolls his eyes. There’s no way the little bastard’s apprenticeship will last much longer. If he survives that long, that is. Simple decency says to research the species you are working with and all of the laws that apply to them before you start working with them. It’s just common sense.
If he had done even the barest amount of looking, the arsehole would have learned that the Potters are the bridge that stands between the Goblin Horde and the Wizarding public. They are the reason there hasn’t been a Fifth Goblin Rebellion and to have their number reduced to one. And for that one to be a daughter out in the world without a rightful, legal, blood guardian? Well, to be honest, the only reason Albus Dumbledore is still alive right now is a lack of evidence to corroborate his involvement.
“I slipped your book into the pile I took to Harry,” Bill offers into the silence. “She seemed pleased to get them. Charlie said she had a lot of questions when they talked at the Ball.”
The promise of murder recedes slightly in Master Karguff’s eyes to make room for something that could almost be called pleasure. “Tell her she may write me directly with her questions. I will ignore all rudeness from her for the first year.”
Dieter chokes on his soup and Bill can’t blame him. The offer is generous to put it mildly.
“And what of your brother, the young Charlie?”
“He’s good, working on a transfer to the Scotland preserve. To be closer to the family.”
Karguff raises a doubtful eyebrow. “Does he intend to court the young Miss Potter?”
“He hasn’t spoken to me specifically of any plans in that direction,” Bill evades.
“I understand he was the one that contacted you with the tip that lead us to this connection.”
Bill nods. “He and a lad named Cedric Diggory were teaching Harry detection spells when the three of them discovered the imposter together.”
Master Karguff gives him a single nod, looking pleased as he turns back to his soup.
Not sure what else to do Bill accepts his own bowl of soup and settles in to eat.
“He will see you now,” Ragnock’s assistant announces as he turns to lead Charlie back.
Charlie follows the young goblin into the Chieftain’s office. He’s not dressed in any finery as many would be on such an occasion but he’s never been that kind of a man and considering the nature of this particular meeting he figures it’s better to present himself as he actually is. To not set unrealistic expectations of himself.
“Dragon Soul Weasley,” The High Chieftain greets him. “The reason for this meeting?”
“I have come to petition for permission to court Harry Potter.”
The goblin evaluates him in silence for several moments and gestures for him to sit before he asks, “Why do you want to court Harry Potter?”
“I could give you a number of answers,” Charlie says earnestly once he’s seated by the fire. “She’s brilliant, fun, athletic. Heartbreakingly heroic. But the truth is I want to court her and get to know her because she’s kind. She can see what is important to the people around her -my brothers Fred and George, for example. She can see through their jokes and games and see that their individuality matters to them as much as their unity and she gives that to them. She’s the only person I know that can always tell them apart. And she’s just about the only one that bothers making her not only kind but diligent. I can’t imagine more important traits to look for in a mate.”
The goblin nods. “The treaty between the Goblin Horde and the House of Potter means you’ll have to take the Potter name, leaving your father’s behind.”
“My father has five other sons to carry on his name.”
“Very well. Due to her orphan status our treaty legally makes her the First Daughter of the Horde. As the First Daughter of the Horde can take up to ten spouses, one for each clan in the Horde.”
Charlie pales but nods. He’d been aware of it but he hadn’t thought ten. Ten is, wow.
“As a human, she won’t be expected to take a full ten or even all Goblin spouses but she will be encouraged to take at least one for each human title she bares.
“You are a Dragon Soul, can you share your spouse?”
Charlie inclines his head, “Dragons are hoarders, High Chieftain. As long as I am first any spouses that come after me would be ours together and, in a way, part of my hoard.”
“And that would work for you?” The goblin presses, “There is no going back from a magical marriage.”
“As you know these decisions take time, more so when one has the animagus spirit of a Hungarian Horntail. When I watched her out fly the Horntail in the First Task, my dragon approved my choice. We knew she was ours, the mother of our hatchlings. I read the Potter Agreement with the Horde and my brother, Journeyman Curse Breaker Weasley, made sure I understood how that Agreement affected Harry Potter. I knew I could accept it but I had to present it to my Dragon Soul in a way he could accept. We have meditated on this for two months now and he is in agreement.”
“Is this boon what you request as payment for the bounty you collected?”
A trick question. “No, the matters are seperate. I am not owed anything in any way in regards to Harry Potter. No, I am here today because I seek to be worthy of her.”
The goblin smirks at him ever so slightly. If he wasn’t paying attention he would think it a trick of the light.
“And indeed you may be, Dragon Soul Weasley. I will notify her that I have given you my permission for you to court her. However, you still must ask her Wizarding Guardian for his permission.”
Another test. Charlie nods, “I will seek out Sirius Black and gain his approval as well.”
The goblin laughs and slaps his thigh, obviously pleased.
“You merely need wait, young Dragon Soul. Confidentially, in two months, perhaps three, Lord Black will regain his rightful place in Wizarding Society.” Ragnock narrows his eyes, “But the road will not be an easy one.”
“I will heed your words, High Chieftain. May your enemies know fear until the end of their days.”
“Our enemies, young Dragon Soul. Our enemies.”
Half way through February is typically a boring time at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Holidays are over, end of year exams are still a far away terror. The Quidditch Season would usually be in full swing but of course this year the Triwizard Tournament has taken its place which is pretty boring outside of the events unless you happen to be a Champion.
Which he isn’t, for the record.
Back to the point though, boring. February Hogwarts is boring.
Or it was right up until Dumbledore was called away a week ago by some emergency at the ICW. Coming right after Professor Moody’s sudden, silent disappearance in January, it’s highly suspicious.
Now the rumors are as rampant as they are ugly. Some of them started by Draco himself or his fellow Slytherins just for the petty joy of it but by no means all.
On Friday morning a week into Dumbledore’s absence, McGonagall stands and calls for silence as breakfast ends.
“Attention, please,” She says, holding up her hands. “We have received word from the Board of Governors that the Headmaster as well as a several Ministry Officials have been tried for a number of crimes before the International Court of Magical Justice.” That is nothing like any of the rumors Draco had heard. No wonder his father hasn’t been able to tell him anything. “Per the Hogwarts Board of Governors the current student body must listen to the verdict and witness to the standing headmaster’s redemption in the court of law.” The woman frowns. “Or his condemnation.
“Classes are canceled, you will remain in the Great Hall and listen.”
She nods to them. Filch flips a switch on the wireless as Professor Shacklebolt, the fill in for DADA, secures the doors.
“The International Court of Magical Justice hereby finds Cornelius Maximus Fudge guilty of wrongful imprisonment, denial of human rights, and the attempted murder of the Lord of and Ancient and Noble House.” A rich baritone announces with a slight Draco thinks Slavic? Accent.
Clearly the verdicts and sentencing have been going on for a while for them to be past the day’s opening statements already but what the hell is this? What Lord did Fudge do these heinous things to? And how?
“You will now take veritaserum and confess to the fullness of your crimes before sentencing.”
Draco winces. He had heard that was a thing the International Court did when any of the crimes were murder-related. Ideally its to make sure the punishment fit the crime. For example if Fudge has been accused for murder when he was actually just went overboard when defending himself the charge would be lesser than if he attempted to murder someone for money or to further his career. Someone that’s just crazy would not be sentenced to death while someone that’s just malicious could be. And, of course, anyone else implicated by his Veritaserum-enabled confession would in turn be tried with Fudge’s confession being permissible evidence in the other individuals trials.
The whole idea of course was lifted wholecloth from the Goblin Horde criminal code. Not that most wizards would admit to such a thing but the knowledge of it is power.
This could go rather poorly for his father, Draco fights not to frown.
Unfortunately the Court’s Potion Master is indeed competent because Fudge readily admits to several forms of corruption from throwing cases as a prosecutor for the Ministry and corrupting other prosecutor’s cases in exchange for bribes from various individuals. That’s not a surprise. Everyone knows the man is bought and sold regularly as Minister, why would he be any different as a mere prosecutor?
But he also admits to sending Sirius Black to Azkaban without a trial and burying the evidence of the act at Lucius Malfoy’s request. With a deliberate act on record against the Lord of such a powerful house Fudge is dead, Draco is certain.
His father might be too, Draco drops his head into his hands and fights despair.
When Fudge is quickly sentenced to death after his confession closes and the antidote is administered, Draco feels a sort of relieved pity for the man. At least this way he’ll just be beheaded, not hunted down and tortured as his father would no doubt prefer.
“The International Court of Magical Justice hereby finds Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore guilty of wrongful imprisonment, denial of human rights, and the attempted murder of the Lord of and Ancient and Noble House.”
When the order for a confession is given the female voice with a thick spanish accent, the prosecutor that questioned Fudge, objects. “I would remind the Court that Albus Dumbledore is a certified Mind Mage. As such, standard Veritaserum would be ineffective on the defendant. I move that the Mind Mages Guild instead administer their most powerful alternative to ensure the veracity of the confession.”
The defense attorney is not consulted before the Justice doing the reading says, “The motion is approved, Madame Fitzgerald. Master Greene, if you would.”
The alternative is administered and after a few moments the lead up questions are asked. Dumbledore sounds out of it, likely from the potion’s powerful narcotic effect. The prosecutor requests his confession and Draco almost winces because the question she asks is much too general but then the Headmaster starts to admit to his crimes as asked.
“Two days before my eleventh birthday I attacked with intent to murder the three muggle boys that attacked my sister.” The man giggles. “And I let my father go to Azkaban for it.
Draco blinks. He hadn’t even know Dumbledore had siblings but he’s quickly distracted from his own curiosity as Dumbledore keeps on confessing.
“As a prefect at Hogwarts, I began fostering tension between Slytherin and Gryffindor. It was easy. A few words here, a tripping jinx there, and a handful of compulsion potions. Unfortunately that did lead to the death of a Gryffindor Third Year, Madelyn Irvine.” The man just sounds.. Just so amused but also absent? Like he’s saying these horrible things but they don’t actually matter. “And of course Slytherin Sixth Year Ellis Higgs went to Azkaban for her murder.”
Draco feels sick. Utterly sick. Have all the Gryffindor/Slytherin issues just been the Headmaster’s manipulation? This entire time? Or at least since Dumbledore went to school?
“After Hogwarts, I met Gellert Grindelwald and we fell in love. We were planning our future together but my mother objected to our association so of course she had to go. A Heart Stopping Curse in the middle of one of my sister’s outbursts and that was taken care of, we were free to be as we should be.”
“To clarify,” Madame Fitzgerald cuts in. “You admit to murdering your mother in cold blood.”
“So that you could be with Gellert Grindelwald.”
“And what future were you planning with Gellert Grindelwald?”
“We were going to take over the world and institute a benevolent magical government, over Wizard and Muggle alike, of course. For the greater good.”
“And your sister? The record shows she died two months after your mother.”
“My younger brother Aberforth picked a fight with Gellert and myself. She died in the crossfire.”
“A legitimate crossfire this time? You don’t know who killed her?”
“Yes, legitimate. No, I don’t know.”
“And Grindelwald? Did you plot his rise to power together?”
“So you knew all of his plans before he ever started?”
“Millions of people -magical and muggle, alike- died before you stopped him in 1945. Were all those deaths part of your plan?”
“Yes, had to clean out the riff-raff.”
“What do you define as ‘riff-raff’, Mr. Dumbledore?”
“The Muggles and the Purebloods, of course.”
Draco is reeling. Purebloods? Riff-raff? Gods, He Who Must Not Be Named and the Death Eaters really were doing Dumbledore’s bidding all along. If you count both sides, seventy percent of those that died were all Pure Bloods.
“Why didn’t you stop him earlier than you did?”
“I didn’t want to.”
McGonagall taps her wand on the head table and wire racks appear on the tables around the room. Draco pulls one of the vials from the rack and sees it labeled in Professor Snape’s orderly fashion as a Calming Draught. No one’s got to tell him twice. Draco throws the serving back and looks around the room, his head floating a bit as the potion takes effect.
“How did you defeat Gellert Grindelwald?”
“We had sex. While he was asleep, I took his wand, tied him up. and wrecked his home. Dropped him at the ICW on my way back to Hogwarts.”
“And when you got back to England?”
“I attempted to negotiate a marriage with Henry Potter as our combined political worth would be advantageous to my goals. My suit was immediately rejected without explanation and I swore I would get my revenge.”
“You are aware that the Potter-Goblin Alliance requires every Potter suitor to be approved by the High Chieftain before negotiations are even considered by the human family patriarch, aren’t you?”
Dumbledore scoffs. “I don’t care what those little beasts want or require. Wizards make their own choices.”
Draco puts a hand over his mouth. Good gods.
“And once you didn’t get your alliance with Henry Potter, the great grandfather of Miss Harry Potter?”
“Without the Potter name, I needed a new Dark Lord to increase my political value. The Head Boy that year at Hogwarts was named Tom Riddle. A half-blood boy in Slytherin. I’d been shaping him since before he came to the school and I knew he was a good candidate. A few of the right whispers and he went far beyond the normal evil.”
“How did you know he was a ‘good candidate?’”
“He came from an abusive orphanage and was hungry for both revenge and to prove himself. He was the Heir of Slytherin and I’d already allowed him to frame another student for murder. And he was charismatic, he collected followers just by breathing.”
“Who else have you murdered or allowed to be murdered in your school, Headmaster Dumbledore?”
“Students or Staff?” Several people shift nervously in the Great Hall.
“Both. List them.”
“First was Madelyn Irvine in my Sixth Year.
“Headmaster Armando Dippet was taking too long to retire and make me headmaster, so I got rid of him.
“As headmaster, I convinced Professor Eachann Abbott to teach his Fifth Year Care of Magical Creature class about sphinxes by informing him that he could not handle such a creature. It killed him and three students and injured several others before Charlus Potter successfully answered it’s riddle. Unfortunately Potter survived.
“I allowed Tom Riddle to open the Chamber of Secrets, a muggle Myrtle Warren was killed.”
Draco swallows. His Black grandmother referred to muggleborns as muggles too. It hadn’t really sunk in until right then but for Dumbledore to do the same he must be just as racist. The champion of muggleborns must actually hate them. What the actual fuck.
“Professor Cuthbert Binns was starting to have concerns about me, so of course he had to go. Of course he didn’t really go, did he?” And there’s more giggling.
“Back to your second dark lord, if he was such a good candidate how come no one has ever heard of Dark Lord Riddle?”
“Because he changed his name to Voldemort,” Is Dumbledore’s immediate response. There’s no ‘duh’ at the end but it’s so obvious in the headmaster’s tone that that’s likely an oversight.
“You’re saying you not only helped Grindelwald form his plan to take over the entire world and allowed him to commit his crimes knowing you could defeat him at any time but you shaped the evil that was Voldemort as well?”
“Who else have you shaped in our society?”
Dumbledore snorts. “Everyone that matters.”
What follows is a litany of manipulations with word, potion, charm and curse used on… thousands of people. Every member of the Hogwarts staff, past and present, beginning with Armando Dippet to guarantee Dumbledore’s spot as the next Headmaster. Over eighty years of Hogwarts students were manipulated with anything from aversion draughts to love potions, from obsession charms to enmity curses, sometimes just the word of mouth. The Wizengamot, the Ministry, the ICW.
And somehow worse is the gleeful tone his voice takes as he recites each and every one.
It’s almost dinner before they reach the Potters’ deaths.
“And then I encouraged the DMLE to hunt down one of their own. I knew he wasn’t the Secret Keeper but my revenge was almost complete. I couldn’t allow for the possibility Sirius Black would survive and protect the last Potter. And yet, survive he did. It was easy enough to allow Malfoy and Crouch to send him off to Azkaban without a trial. With Sirius out of the way they had about equal chance to take the Black Vote in the Wizengamot and under the cover of their infighting, I was able to settle Miss Potter into the care of her magic-hating muggle aunt.
“Oh, the things she suffered,” The giggling is back.
The very idea that Lord Sirius Black to rot in the dementors’ care solely so that he could keep Harry Potter in a home he knew was abusive. The abuse that he carries on describing in such detail that his theft from the Potter vaults and estate is almost an after note. Barely a mention. Insult atop an injury so grave-
Honestly, Draco feels sick that he’s ever so much as frowned at the girl by the time Dumbledore finishes the list of abuses he knows the guardians he gave her to have commited. He’s called her Princess Potter for years. Assumed her life was a fairytale.
Merlin, how has she not hexed his balls off as a First Year?
“On August the first of 1991, I signed a binding contract giving Harry Potter in Marriage to Ronald Weasley. They will marry on Miss Potter’s 17th birthday and he will have absolute control of her title, her money, and her family magicks. She won’t even get to finish school without his permission.”
Draco looks around. Maybe, maybe he’s not hearing this correctly. Maybe it’s all an auditory hallucination. Maybe-
Blaise’s face is the color of skim milk, which is quite a feat when you consider his usual complexion.
Daph is staring vacantly at nothing. It’s a good attempt at her usual blank mask but it rather misses the mark- not that he can blame her.
Pansy has straight up fainted but Madam Pomfrey is too focused on the Hufflepuffs to notice. One of the ‘Puffs started throwing up during the laundry list of abuses heaped directly on one Harry Potter and the state has proven horrifically contagious across the table.
The Ravenclaws generally look heart broken and/or confused.
The Gryffindors are furious. All of them except the mud- All of them except for Hermione Granger who is openly bawling with a Weasley Twin on either side. The twins are taking turns comforting her and holding up a rudimentary silence ward in an attempt to preserve the girl’s dignity.
“Why?” The prosecutor asks for all of them. “What could possibly be worth enslaving the Girl Who Lived in such a way?”
“His work to keep her in the Light, of course! We couldn’t afford to have the Savior of the Wizarding World sorted into Slytherin, after all!” The man then laughs like the idea of a ‘good’ Slytherin is the most ridiculous thing he’s ever heard.
No, not laughs. He doesn’t laugh. He giggles.
“Since you hate her and her family so much, why didn’t you just kill her? By your own account, she was in your care the night after he parents died. Why keep her alive at all?”
“There’s a prophecy.” Dumbledore finally sounds sad. Sad that he kept Harry alive and it’s just so out of place. “Only she can kill Tom. She cannot die until she meets her destiny.”
It’s dinner time and no one has an appetite by the time the questions and answers begin to slow. McGonagall unilaterally decides to forgo the usual meal and has the house elves pop nutrient potions on to the tables instead as Dumbledore admits to allowing a man impersonating Alastor Moody to infiltrate Hogwarts and maliciously put Harry’s name into the Goblet of Fire. He admits to using her and the impersonator deliberately as bait to get Voldemort -who, yes, is apparently still alive- back under Dumbledore’s control.
Draco takes a second dose of Calming Draught.
The Council of Justices close the court for the day not long after that and promise to conclude the sentencing the next morning, despite that being Saturday. The gavel falls and before McGonagall can order the wireless turned off a rush of reporters shouting, “Miss Potter! Miss Potter!” Makes them all freeze in their seats.
Draco exchanges a look with Blaise, only just then realizing Harry hasn’t been there all day.
Thank Merlin for that.
“Miss Potter will answer a few questions.” Professor Snape’s voice flows like menacing silk over the wireless. “Do be brief.”
“Miss Potter!” One voice shouts alone. “Artemis Dinghy with the Wizarding Wireless, can we get a statement about the day?”
You could hear a pin drop in the Great Hall as Harry Potter’s best put upon sigh echoes from the little device in the corner. She doesn’t want to answer but of course she doesn’t, she never has.
After a few moments her outrage apparently gets the best of her.
“What in Merlin’s name is so terrible about being a Slytherin? I just-” She scoffs. “I can’t wrap my mind around it. I think about the Slytherins I know. The ones I go to school with -Draco Malfoy, Blaise Zabini, Daphne Greengrass. Of course their Head of House Severus Snape and I just-
“Do you really think the Four Founders would have left something as central to the school as one of its four Houses in place if it had no value? No redeeming qualities? Honestly. Do any of us get anything done without ambition?
“It’s my ambition to survive the Triwizard Tournament, does that make me evil?” Silence answers her. “It’s my ambition to play professional quidditch, does that make me evil?” More silence. “It’s my ambition to lead England to a World Cup Victory, to prove myself head to head against the so-called ‘greatest seeker that ever lived’ Viktor Krum, does that make me evil?”
“Maybe in Bulgaria,” One brave soul quips and the reporters all laugh. Harry doesn’t but it doesn’t sound awkward so she must smile or something.
“Honestly. I mean, honestly. Slytherins are people. Just people. Like you and me. They’re strong, united. I wish they weren’t united against me, per se, but they’re loyal. To each other, that’s for sure. You never see them in-fighting or back biting each other when they’re in public. I wouldn’t assume they always, you know, agree on everything but you’d never suspect it from the outside looking in. And anytime a rumor is started about one of them, the rest immediately quash it. With prejudice. It’s-
“In recent weeks I’ve seen that loyalty and- And I know. I know if I’d been a Slytherin when my name came out of the Goblet of Fire, they’d have had my back. They’d have stood with me against the rest of the school rather than turning on me in the face of Ron’s vitriol and the headmaster’s silence because that is Slytherin loyalty.
“Severus Snape is the first person to teach me how to defend myself. He’s the one that taught me how to duel. I wouldn’t be alive right now without him. That’s Slytherin loyalty.
“Meanwhile Gryffindor loyalty gets my parents killed. Gryffindor loyalty gets the man that tried to apprehend their betrayer framed for murders he didn’t commit and just- thrown away. Gryffindor loyalty gets me-” Harry stops abruptly and changes her tack. “It gets my future stolen and given wholesale to a boy I that thought was my friend.” Silence then. Probably Harry shaking her head or something, knowing her. “As far as I’m concerned between Peter Pettigrew and Dumbledore, Gryffindor has burned two chances with me.
“I fail see how I’ll survive a third.”
Someone clears their throat nervously. “Uh, Arnie Pumpernickel, Daily Prophet.” He sounds suspiciously like the brave soul from earlier even as he clears his throat yet again. “What about your relatives? What about the abuse you suffered at their hands?”
“I think quite enough has been said on that subject already. I will not be pressing charges against them. I will not stand as witness against them in any court. I will provide no one with their names or the means to contact them. I can’t either as that is, in fact, a Horde Secret. High Chieftain Ragnok has personally promised me that they will face Goblin Justice and I am satisfied.” Draco winces at the idea of Goblin Justice. It sounds specifically like a fate worse than death. “I will entertain no more discussion on the matter.”
“And Dumbledore’s involvement?” The man prompts.
“Dumbledore’s involvement,” Harry’s voice quavers ever so slightly. There’s a rustle like maybe -hopefully- someone is giving Harry a hug and she sniffles exactly once. “It was a fear that I could have lived happily never knowing the truth of.”
There is a moment of almost fearful silence, then a woman speaks. “Gemma Anderson, Witch Weekly. We heard the news about your marriage contract and yet you stand here beneath the arm of Charlie Weasley who is rumored to be Courting you. Do you have anything to say on the matter?”
Harry laughs but its not a happy sound. “First of all, we aren’t Courting. Courting me requires not only the permission of my godfather Sirius Black,” Draco swallows hard in sympathy for the daring redhead that would brave that. “But the blessing of the High Chieftain of the Goblin Horde, per their treaty with my family. And as far as I know Charlie has never met my godfather.”
Which doesn’t say anything about him meeting with the High Chieftain, Draco smirks to himself.
“Second, I have no active betrothal contract or marriage contract or any social contract of any kind outside of those negotiated by my historic blood relatives. The enslavement contract Albus Dumbledore wrote on my behalf violated the alliance that has stood between my House and the Horde for over a thousand years left, right, and center. As such it was invalid, illegal, and unenforceable. In fact the very parchment it was written on was burned the moment it reached goblin hands so it was never even properly filed, either.”
“Last question?” Harry asks in an impersonation of brightness. It falls well short and lands soundly in the territory of mocking. “Then I’m going to cunningly convince Professor Snape to take me to visit my godfather before Headmistress McGonagall sends someone out to fetch us.”
“Jezzie Periwinkle, International Wizarding Times. Miss Potter, your thoughts on Dumbledore’s sentencing tomorrow?”
“That I’ll probably have to be there?” Harry snorts. “Though that’s not what you’re actually asking.
“You want to know is ‘what sentence do I think he should get’? For all the damage he’s done not just to me personally but to our society, to our entire world since, what? The time of our great grandparents? Maybe our great great grandparents? I imagine he’s done enough to be executed at least ten times over, but.
“But I know, I think, that the worst fate for a man that has styled himself into a hero as Albus Dumbledore has would be to be forgotten. For him to live, knowing he’s been left behind. That his work has been overturned. That he is irrelevant and there’s nothing he can do about it, that would to him be the worst fate he could suffer.
“But, that would probably be inhumane and he is not worth the loss of our humanity.
“But, he is a powerful wizard and leaving him alive in any circumstances I can imagine would be a security risk. So it’s not an easy decision.
“However. Regardless of whatever Council of Justice decides tomorrow, I know one thing: I, Harriet Jasmine Potter, Heir by the blood of my father to the Ancient and Noble House of Potter declare that Albus Dumbledore is now and forever shall be my enemy.”
McGonagall draws all focus as she sits back sharply in her chair, looking faint for what’s probably the first time in her life. But Harry’s not done.
“I, Harriet Jasmine Potter, Heir by the blood of my mother to the Sacred and Immortal House of Gryffindor declare that Albus Dumbledore is now and forever shall be my enemy.”
The Gryffindors all start glancing around and staring at each other in shock while the Ravenclaws start to babble about this new information!
“I, Harriet Jasmine Potter, Heir by the conquest of the previous heir to the Sacred and Immortal House of Slytherin declare that Albus Dumbledore is now and forever shall be my enemy.”
That… feels about ten times more powerful than Hermione’s punch to his face last year and it sits quite heavily in his gut.
“You are also Sirius’s heir as well, Harry,” A voice that sounds surprisingly like former Professor Lupin offers.
There’s a moment of silence before Harry declares. “I, Harriet Jasmine Potter, Heir by the love of my godfather to the Ancient and Noble House of Black declare that Albus Dumbledore is now and forever shall be my enemy.”
There’s the sound of someone clearing their throat. Harry asks, “May I?” away from the microphone and then, “I, Harriet Jasmine Potter, First Daughter by alliance to the Goblin Horde declare that Albus Dumbledore is now and forever shall be my enemy.”
“May my allies heed my words and our enemies tremble with fear. So mote it be.”
Draco and several other people -Potter’s allies, all- both where ever she is and within the Great Hall itself repeat after her, “So mote it be.” His heart is pounding, his resolve is firm. Whatever his liege lady needs, he will give it to her and more.
“You know,” A youngish voice offers. “I heard Dumbledore say last Christmas that you were going to change the world. Somehow, I don’t think this is what he meant.”
Harry laughs and the spell is broken.
“That will be all,” Professor Snape snaps. “We have much to do and our time is limited. Thank you.”
“Are we going to visit Sirius now?” Harry asks, finally sounding interested.
“I suppose we must,” Is the droll response her inquiry receives.
They sound like they -at least Harry and Snape- are walking away. The audience can hear the person from the Wireless running to keep up.
“How does one go about getting re-Sorted?” Harry asks idly.
Professor Snape huffs what might almost be a laugh. “You do realize that if you were to get resorted the chances the Hat will put you anywhere but Slytherin are almost nill.”
“I am not afraid,” She declares.
“Bloody Gryffindors,” Snape scoffs.
“You think Draco would ever forgive me if –when- I take his place on the House Team?”
A snort and then, “Resorting to Slytherin would give you dogfather a heart attack, I approve. If you like I can speak with-”
“BACK IT UP!” A belligerent shout cuts in. “I said back off! This is a private area. No reporters are allowed in this building. Just turn around and go, you’re not getting in. Come on, people-”
“That was the live broadcast of the sentencing of former Minister for Magic Cornelius Fudge and former, well, everything Albus Dumbledore.” A practiced announcer voice cuts into the broadcast. Cherry Abernathy, Draco recognizes. His mother loves her gossip programme. Narcissa Malfoy would never own up to such a thing but she never misses a show. “To recap-”
The feed cuts off and cups of hot chocolate no doubt laced with sleeping potion appear on all of the tables.
“Let us finish up the night and away to our beds.” McGonagall tells them. “No doubt tomorrow will be just as,” she hesitates. “As long as today.
“Good night, children.”
“Sirius looked good, didn’t he?” Harry asks as they enter the Athens Branch of Gringotts.
“He did.” Charlie assures her. “Better than I expected. Do you know when they’re going to release him?”
“May, is what the Head Healer said. Maybe June but probably May. I’m kind of worried about Remus though,” Harry ignores the snort from where Professor Snape is walking ahead of them. “That’s three full moons alone.”
“He could spend them with me,” Charlie offers.
“You’re an animagus?”
“Yep. He’ll have to come up to the reserve though, my form needs a lot of space.”
“Are you going to tell me what your form is or do I have to guess?” Harry asks, eyeing him speculatively.
Charlie laughs. “You received an animated miniature of my form back in November.”
“What?” Harry stops in the middle of the hallway to stare at him in shock. “You’re a dragon? A Hungarian Horntail?”
“Why do you think the goblins call me Dragon Soul?”
“I hadn’t really thought about it.” She says as she starts moving again. “How would that, uh we, work? I mean, you know- If you did. Uh, I mean.”
“If I did court you?” Charlie grins at her.
Harry blushes scarlet. “Yeah, that.”
“As long as I go first and everyone after has to court us, I should be fine.”
Harry huffs because should is not a guarantee, but-
Severus Snape opens one more door but this time rather than lead them through it, he steps back and gestures for Harry to go first. It’s easy enough to see why when she steps up to look through. Ragnok the High Chieftain and the next two highest ranked chieftains in the Horde are seated in front of the fire. There’s one chair left available in their little grouping and a half dozen humans standing against the far wall.
Harry walks right into the conversation grouping and waits respectfully.
“Daughter,” Ragnok greets her and gestures to the empty chair.
“Father,” She returns as she smiles and takes her seat.
“How did you find the Court today?”
“Boring. Irritating. Heartbreaking. I kind of want a t-shirt that says ‘Little Beast’ on it. I know he meant it as an insult but fuck that man. I’m little and anyone that’s stood against me would agree I’m pretty beast.”
“Not every First Year can take on a fully grown Mountain Troll and live to tell the tale,” Chieftain Maritok interjects.
“That’s exactly what Professor McGonagall said at the time,” She agrees. “And I killed a 60 foot basilisk as a Second Year, so there’s that.”
“House of Potter colors?” Ragnok asks.
“Preferably, unless we can get the words in a shiny silver. Wouldn’t want anyone to miss them.”
He laughs out loud and glances to his assistant. The younger goblin nods and starts making notes on his clipboard.
“We’ll have it for you tomorrow,” Ragnock promises. “Now that your place as First Daughter has been publicized we need to discuss you security.”
“You said you were arranging half-goblins for the detail for my comfort.”
“And I have,” He gestures expansively at the six people standing against the wall.
The first one that steps forward is tall and wild looking. Easily the most beautiful man she’s ever seen. He’s broad and just as muscled as Charlie if not more so with a thick goatee, long hair, tanned skin and white-blue eyes.
“Okay, yeah, no. What’s your name?”
“Alexis Kealoha, Son of Karguff.” The man answers in a deep, gravelly voice.
“Okay, Master Karguff is awesome but Mr. Kealoha is much too beautiful.” Harry blushes as the man gives a shocked laugh. She focuses entirely of Ragnok in self defense. “I’d never get a single thing done for all the staring, he won’t work as a bodyguard.”
The man laughs again, sounding both embarrassed and pleased. “But I might work as a mate?”
Harry shakes her head, baffled, and risks a glance over. “You barely know me.”
“That’s what Courting is for.”
“Okay, point, but you’d be Courting both of us.” She glances back at Charlie and he steps forward to place a hand on her shoulder. “Once Sirius gets around to giving permission and stuff.”
“We could start with letters.” The son of Karguff proposes. “Become friends, all three of us. I could come and support you at the remaining Tournament events.”
She shares a look with Charlie and smiles when he nods. “Okay, we can work with that.”
The next guy is pretty too but nearly a foot shorter than the other guy. He also has long hair but it’s straight and solid black. He’s wearing what might be a cowboy hat made of dragonhide and he’s got a bit scruffier a goatee going on.
“Cougar.” The man says in a thick spanish accent. “Carlos Alvarez, Son of Furrak.”
“Okay, he’s gayer than the day is long, he’ll work.”
The woman in line next to him laughs out loud and Cougar glares at her until she holds up an apologetic hand.
“Are you seeing anyone?” Harry asks.
“Courting,” The man answers gruffly.
“Maybe we can find a job in my household for your future husband?” She glances back to Ragnok. “It would be messed up to seperate them long term, right?”
“Cougar and I will discuss it with his young man,” Ragnok promises.
The man nods to Harry and steps back to lean against the wall.
The woman he glared at steps forward. “Gaia Fitzgerald, Daughter of Furrak.”
“So you’re Cougar’s what? Half sister?”
“Yes, his older half sister.”
“But you’re the prosecutor in the case against Dumbledore, wouldn’t forming a relationship with me endanger your case?”
“If it begins before he is sentenced, yes.”
“Okay, so, no on the bodyguard thing -probably ever– but maybe in a few months we can be friends? If you’re done cleaning up this English mess by then. I could use someone that can teach me how to, you know,” Harry flaps a hand. “Girl. And you dress very beautifully.”
“It would be my pleasure to teach you how to girl.” The woman giver her a look somewhere between indulgent and amused. “Perhaps this summer?”
“Hopefully, but you should probably go now, right?”
Gaia nods. “I do have a case related question for you first however.”
“On the Wireless, you declared that you are the Heir of Slytherin. My research suggests that Dark Mark is fueled by Slytherin Family Magic. Now that that magic is yours, can you control Voldemort’s Death Eaters through their Marks?”
“This is relevant, how?”
“After Voldemort and Dumbledore are taken care of, decisions will have to be made about the surviving Death Eaters. Having them -and their families since almost all of them are patriarchs- under control of someone that is not dark or evil could be an alternative to putting them all to death. Especially since their crimes aren’t entirely their own.”
“Oh, okay, yeah. That’s a good thought.” Harry looks at Snape in question. He nods his consent and she orders him to, “Jump.”
He gives her a sardonic look, “Perhaps in parseltongue.”
“Uh.” Harry frowns, unsure.
“A snake.” Gaia suggests. She steps forward and pulls a bright red boa from around her neck. “The first few times using parseltongue deliberately can be difficult. Focus on the snake but speak with intent to Professor Snape.”
Harry takes the snake and stares at it. “Walk to the desk.”
With a jerk and a confused look, Severus walks over to the one desk in the room.
“Pick up the golden pen from the blotter and bring it to me.” He hesitates so she pushes on him with her magic. But she pushes too much though because he pretty much snatches it off the desk and runs over to her with it.
She smiles and takes the pen.
Gaia nods. “That answers that question. It was a bit rough though.”
“You’re a parselmouth?” Harry asks and the older woman nods. “Perhaps you’ll need to do more than teach me to girl.”
“Perhaps,” She agrees. “Maybe it will be easier for her to control the Marks once she has the Slytherin Ring?” Gaia’s look hits Ragnok with the question.
The High Chieftain nods, “We will discuss it. You are dismissed.” And out she goes.
“And finally Fauna and Flora Sprout, daughters of Ulkras. I believe you know their mother, Pomona Sprout?”
“She’s my Herbology Professor.” Harry nods as she examines the two women and huffs. “You know, not to be rude, but I thought half-goblins would be shorter. I probably wouldn’t have agreed to this if I knew they would be towering over me all the time.”
Ragnok stares at her blankly for a second and all the half-goblins laugh.
The High Chieftain huffs amusedly and says, “You are familiar with Filius Flitwick?”
“He would be why I thought they would be shorter.”
Ragnok nods. “My nephew is the son of my sister who was First Daughter before you. Because he was carried by a goblin, his magic and physical characteristics are more inline with a goblin’s.”
“Because he was exposed to goblin magic during his development,” Harry nods. “I guess that makes sense. And these are all more human in stature because their mothers were human.”
“I still feel like you cheated,” She says with the edge of a pout.
The High Chieftain grins and reminds her, “Goblin.” Making the half goblins and his under chiefs laugh again.
“You don’t think Cougar is enough security?”
“No.” Ragnok says in a tone that brooks no argument. “And you need guards that can follow you everywhere including your dorm and the bathroom. The Sprouts can do that.”
“Ugh, fine.” Harry does not pout. She doesn’t! Honestly! …Okay, she does but only just a little! “Now what about the Death Eaters? Gaia bringing this up today means it will probably come up in Court tomorrow, right?”
“More than likely.” Ragnok agrees. “Let us get you your rings and try a test case. No one knows exactly how many Death Eaters there are still at large so we must proceed with caution.”
“Alright. But how do we punish them for the terrible things they did when those terrible things were pretty much forced on them by Dark Lord Dumbles and Old Voldie? Should we even try? Is punishing them even the right thing to do?”
In a public room of the bank -just before midnight, unfortunately- they do their test case.
Harry stares into the gleaming emerald eyes of the basilisk on her new ring and orders, “Lucius Abraxas Malfoy, come to me.” She waits a few moments and pushes her new family magic just a touch.
There’s no pop or boom or any noise at all, really. There’s just suddenly a six foot column of smoke that solidifies into a single man in a black cloak with a silver mask.
“Take that damn thing off.”
The silver mask vanishes and the last of the dramatic smoke clears.
Lucius Malfoy stares at her. His face does something like he wants to sneer but his magic won’t let him.
“Do you want to live, Lord Malfoy?” She asks evenly.
The man’s eyes fly wide and he glances around. First to Severus Snape, then Charlie. Alexis, then Ragnok. They all just look at him impassively.
“Of course,” He grinds out. And then, with great reluctance, “My Lady.”
“You’re a valuable man, Lord Malfoy. Both Voldemort and Dumbledore set you up to be destroyed, to be thrown away. Do you want to be thrown away?”
“No, my Lady.” He’s less reluctant now.
“You must realize I am the only thing standing between you and Azkaban. Between you and the Dementor’s Kiss.”
“Yes, my Lady.”
“I require two things of you.” She tells him. “First, you will swear a Vassal Oath to me. For your whole family. Not to Slytherin, to Potter.”
“My Lady, my family’s oaths to the House of Black-”
“Don’t exist or you never would have been able to take the Mark without your mind breaking like Bellatrix’s did.”
That shuts him up for a moment. She waits, letting him calculate all he wants.
“And the second thing?” He finally asks.
“You will be tended by Healers of the Goblin Horde. They will clear your mind of any outside influence, be it from Albus Dumbledore or Tom Riddle.”
“You think Albus Dumbledore magically influenced me?”
“I know he did. Did you not listen to his confession on the wireless?”
“I admit I did not.”
“You don’t know the horrible things he’s done?” Harry doesn’t wait for him to answer. “I’ll ask the Goblins to play you a recording. Or give you a transcript, if that is what you prefer.
“I, Lucius Abraxas Malfoy, Lord of the Ancient House of Malfoy, solemnly swear the loyalty and obedient service of myself and my House to Harriet Jasmine Potter, Lady of the Ancient and Noble House of Potter. Further I swear the House of Malfoy will stand with and aid the House of Potter in every possible way, in War and Peace, from this day until the end of days.”
“Thank you, Lord Malfoy. Now if you would go with Egrast,” She gestures to where Ragnok’s assistant is standing in the doorway leading down still armed with his clipboard. “He will show you to your healer.”
Lucius nods once in a way that’s almost a bow and just sort of floats after the goblin.
Harry exchanges amused looks with Charlie and turns to Ragnok. “What’s next?”
“Good morning, everyone! This is David Jordan reporting on behalf of Wizarding Wireless News. With me today is Cherry Abernathy. Welcome to the show, Cherry!”
Draco takes his seat quickly even as breakfast appears on the four long tables. The Head Table is packed, every single professor except Professor Snape is there, even the ones that don’t usually take meals in the hall. From the looks of it they’ve been there a while, listening to the wireless.
“I’m excited to be here, thank you for having me.” The female host that closed the other night chirps. “For those just joining us, we are reporting live from the World Court in Athens where the final statements and sentencing for Albus Dumbledore is about to commence!”
“They’re starting,” David Jordan speaks up. “Let’s listen in.”
“We are now in order,” The chief justice informs the room and he bangs the gavel two more times. “Lady Potter, you have a statement for the court?”
“Lady Potter is dressed for war,” the female commentator breaks in in a stage whisper. “She’s wearing what our sources say us black dragonhide body armor and a Potter Red battle cloak made of basilisk leather. And peaking over her shoulder is none other than the Sword of Gryffindor!”
“I rather like the t-shirt she’s wearing.” Jordan adds. “It’s Potter Red with the words ‘Little Beast’ in twinkling silver. And is that? That’s Lord Malfoy and Sir Severus Snape flanking her, also wearing dueling robes of Potter Red.”
“Something interesting must have happened last night!” Cherry crows.
Draco exchanges wide-eyed looks with Blaise. His father? Wearing Potter Red? ‘Interesting’ is an unspeakably huge understatement!
“Lords and Lady Justice, thank you for your time this morning.” Harry starts sounding confident. “I actually have one request to put before the court now which I will explain and then I would request permission to make a statement to the Court later when the subject of Tom Riddle’s Death Eaters is addressed.”
“Begin your explanation,” the Chief Justice orders.
“Very well.” Harry takes a deep breath. “Yesterday, Albus Dumbledore revealed to the Court that he didn’t murder me as a babe because there is a prophecy determining my fate.
“After the end of the session yesterday, I reached out to my Goblin allies to hear a copy of said prophecy and in doing so realized that I am not the only child this true prophecy described. There is one other, born just hours before I, that also fit the prophecy. The other, however, did not have conveniently dead parents. Nor has his entire family had been hunted to the very brink of extinction by Albus Dumbledore. In fact, his parents were alive and well. And they were well situated politically, magically, and financially.
“Or they were until they were tortured to insanity by Death Eaters.
“You see, these two people had the right and the power to take me from the abusive home Albus Dumbledore wanted me to remain within. She was my sworn godmother and he was both a dear friend of my father and my father’s sworn ally. Our families have indeed been allies for over a thousand years. And yet, less than 24 hours after they declared their intent to take me and raise me as my parents would have wanted, they were attacked.
“Attacked, not killed.
“They are, in fact, to this day, in Saint Mungo’s. Supposedly insane from Cruciatus exposure.” There is a pause. “I can see the looks of confusion on your Honors’ faces and I can’t blame you. I checked with several different healers -human, goblin and even house elf for their renowned mental healing poweress- and I was informed multiple times that Cruciatus exposure does not cause long term insanity. I was informed that as long as the initial exposure is survived long term symptoms generally clear up with in the year even in cases where no treatment is rendered.
“And yet, that hasn’t been the case in Magical Britain for going on 13 years now.
“Therefore. I request that Albus Dumbledore once more be truth potioned and then questioned about his involvement in the fate of Lord Franklin and Lady Alice of the House of Longbottom as he has an established history of deeds most foul and stood the most to gain from the timely incapacitation of the Ancient and Noble House of Longbottom.”
“You don’t need to potion me,” Dumbledore scoffs. “You can just ask and I’ll tell you.”
“Taking you up on that offer, former headmaster, would imply that we trust you to speak the truth or to even know what the truth is. I, for one, don’t.” Harry informs him cooly.
There’s a bit of debate but in the end Master Greene is called up to once again to dose Dumbledore.
Surprisingly, Harry asks the questions.
“Albus Dumbledore did you have any involvement in the Lestrange’s attack upon Lord Longbottom and his wife?”
“What was your involvement in the Lestrange’s attack upon Lord Longbottom and his wife?”
“Through the spy, Peter Pettigrew, I made it clear that the Longbottoms were Voldemort’s secondary target and I encouraged them to,” the man giggles. “To question them thoroughly regarding the fate of their lord.”
“Why did you pick the Lestranges?”
“Because of their proclivity for using the Cruciatus, of course.”
“You knew Cruciatus exposure would incapacitate the Longbottoms for at least a year?”
“Did you do anything to increase the Longbottom’s incapacitation?”
“When the Head of their healing team at Saint Mungo’s called me for a consultation, I took the opportunity to curse them thoroughly. I also provided a potion that I promised the healer would keep them alive long enough for us to fix the damage.”
“And does the potion work as you described?”
“Hmm, among other things.”
“What other things does the potion you fed them do?”
“It maintains my spellwork and the appearance of Cruciatus damage. It’s also addicting. Withdraw at this point would kill them.”
“That’s why you offered us this knowledge. Because you think there is nothing we can do about it.”
Dumbledore just giggles some more, higher than a kite on the truth potion.
“Your honors, I would like the Court to know that I have already discussed my suspicions with Dowager Lady Augusta Longbottom. A healing and curse breaking team has already been dispatched from the Bank to attempt Lord and Lady Longbottom’s recovery.
“Which brings us to my motion that the death sentence be taken off the table in the case of Albus Dumbledore. He has wrecked too much havok to be allowed such peace. We could question him everyday until he dies and still find some new horror he has wrought. I fear in a hundred years we will still be facing problems rooted in what he has done to our world and I feel it is only prudent to keep him around, if for nothing else than so that we may verify his hand in all the horrible things we will no doubt continue to encounter.”
“Thank you for your contribution today, Lady Potter,” The female justice speaks up for the first time that Draco has heard. “I cannot imagine the strength of character required to speak for mercy in your situation. You are indeed wise. Please remain at the podium while we deliberate.”
“For those of you at home,” David Jordan the commentator speaks up. “The justices have raise a privacy screen and currently debating Albus Dumbledore’s fate. What are his options, Cherry?”
“The most obvious choice and the sentence both Cornelius Fudge and Barty Crouch Senior have received is death by beheading. Barty Crouch Junior was, of course, sentenced to the Dementor’s Kiss for escaping Azkaban, and aiding and abetting an enemy of Magic, as well as attempted murder for maliciously placing Harry Potter’s name in the Goblet of Fire and ensuring she was picked as the Fourth Champion.
“Other options include, as Harry Potter just mentioned, life imprisonment. Either in the British prison Azkaban or in the ICW’s prison Tartarus.”
“I imagine they would sentence him to life in Tartarus if they plan to question him regularly.”
“Right you are, David. Long term dementor exposure is supposed to be hell on the memory!” She sounds all cutesy like she’s not talking about continued exposure to soul-sucking Dark creatures. Draco rolls his eyes and huffs in irritation even as Daph laughs at him.
“I for one would like to know what her ideas to do with the Death Eaters are,” Jordan returns then to the subject. “Rumor has it both Lord Malfoy and Sir Snape were active Death Eaters. I wonder- oh, the privacy screen has come down! Let’s listen in.”
“Thank you for your patience.” The chief justice begins. “We hereby sentence Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore to Tartarus until death. In addition, his estate will be seized including any account under any name that belongs to him. Any stolen goods or gold will be returned to their rightful owner and the remainder will be used to offset the cost for an ICW healing and disaster management team to help correct all the potions and curse damage Albus Dumbledore has wrought on our world.” The man pounds his gavel three times. “Hit wizards, remove that man from my sight.”
“There goes Albus Dumbledore,” Cherry comments. “Former Headmaster of Hogwarts, former Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot, and former Supreme Mugwump of the International Confederation of Wizards.”
There are a few moments of near silence as Dumbledore is escorted out and then-
“The next order of business is Tom Riddle’s Death Eaters. Miss Potter, you have the floor.”
“Thank you, your honor.
“I believe that there is no truly good choice for us to take on the matter of Death Eaters going forward. Everyone in magical Britain has been affected. If there were not affected by Tom Riddle, also known as Lord Voldemort, then they have been affected by Albus Dumbledore. Everyone -from the healer that sought the advice of a man he saw as a learned and respected elder to the Lestranges who arguably put that healer’s patients in their bed- has either done horrible things or stood back and been complicit as horrible things were done by others.
“If we were to punish people based on what they have each personally done, there would be precious few witches and wizards over the age of 30 left in Great Britain. And while I imagine my school chums and I could put together a decent Ministry, we’re children and we shouldn’t have to.
“However, none of these older people’s’ actions have been entirely their own. Albus Dumbledore has been poisoning our thoughts and our actions from before we were even Sorted, he’s been up to his tricks so long.
“No, the only right thing to do is clean slate for everyone. Everyone.” There are some grumbles from the audience but Harry carried on regardless. “Unless we can verify that Albus Dumbledore had absolutely nothing to do with shaping a criminal into the person they have become, he is truly -at least partially- to blame.
“Now this doesn’t mean I want us to free everyone in Azkaban right away. We need to verify who Dumbledore shaped and who managed to shape themselves.
“There is a uniquely violent subset of our society that perhaps even blanket forgiveness will not be enough to reintegrate into society. Tom Riddle called them his Death Eaters and as the new Lady of Slytherin they are now all bound to me. It is my intention to summon all Death Eaters to me, even those currently serving time in Azkaban. They will swear vassal oaths directly to me and the House of Potter. Then I will see them healed and bind them as well as their families to a life lived by the Merlinic Principles.
“Should they refuse the arguably quite generous opportunity I am offering them, Riddle’s Mark will kill them for disobeying the Will of their rightful liege lady. If they’re lucky perhaps one of my goblin allies will put them out of their misery before the Mark actually kills them. I understand it to be a rather terrible death, designed by Voldemort himself though I’ve yet to see it myself.”
Silence reigns for several minutes until a man clears his throat.
“Will you swear on your magic to serve the Light?” The infamous English ex-patriot Lord Justice Crane asks.
“Oh. She looks mad,” David Jordan interjects in a hushed tone.
“No,” Harry says with annerving finality. “You forget, Lord Justice, that no matter what else I am or become within the House of Potter or Slytherin or Gryffindor or Black, I am First Daughter. Through vow and treaty and a strange cumulation of unexpected circumstances, I am and always will be Harri, daughter of Ragnok the Stormbreaker, also called Stonefoot, also called the Sunderer, High Chieftain of the Goblin Horde. As such I am a sworn and confirmed acolyte of the Seven. The vow you ask for would violate the Will of the Seven and kill me the moment it left my lips.
“And, before you say anything against the Old Religion, I would remind you that all three Dark Lords of our times have done their very best to wipe out the Old Religion. That alone would be enough to get me to convert even if I hadn’t personally seen the Face of the Purple Dragon just three days ago.
“Finally, the Marks Riddle’s Death Eaters bear make them mine. My sworn followers, my vassals. No government on this planet has the right to separate a vassal from their liege without the leige’s permission. Had Tom Riddle known as Voldemort been alive at the time of their arrest the government never would have been able to keep them. His Death Eaters would have faced only whatever punishment he consented to or doled out.
“What I am asking the Court to do is to obey the law. To honor my rights as their liege so that I may stand for these that no one else will defend.
“Because that’s the thing that I find absolutely infuriating. There is no doubt in my mind that hundreds of people will stand up for Minerva McGonagall and Poppy Pomfrey no matter the horrible things they witnessed or participated in or just let slide. They were Dumbledore’s right and left hands and yeah they were likely potioned or cursed into doing whatever they’ve done but what about Bellatrix or Rabastan and Rodolphus Lestrange? Do you think they will get the same courtesy? From the courts or the magical public of Great Britain? Albus Dumbledore just admitted that their greatest crimes were his idea. That he picked their target, that he manipulated them into doing what they did. And yet I know not a single person will stand up for them, so I will. Because it’s my duty and because it’s my right. Because they are defenseless and ill and I am sworn to the Melinic Principles.”
“The fact is that we have no legal right to stop you,” The Chief Justice admits with his thick Slavic accent. “How do you plan to retrieve your vassals?”
“Chieftain Maritok has a longboat full of goblin warriors and healers waiting to set sail.”
“Very well. As I would rather prevent the slaughter of the prison guards that would attempt to thwart the, shall we say, landing party in their sworn duty I will personally sign a Writ of Release and endorse it with all my authority as Chief Justice of the World Court.”
“Thank you, your Honor.”
“This is David Jordan of Wizarding Wireless News, currently reporting on location at the World Court in Athens alongside Cherry Abernathy. Joining us now is our very special guest Lady Harriet Potter! Thank you for joining us, Lady Potter.”
Harry laughs. “You should thank my god-father, actually. He thinks if I engage the media all the fuss will go away faster.”
“Fuss?” Cherry asks, sounding offended. “You don’t like being famous?”
“Why would I like being famous for the murder of my parents? That’s utterly ridiculous.”
“Harry,” A male voice says warningly, so low that the wireless barely catches it.
“Right,” Draco can practically see Harry nod in his mind’s eye. “We’re just here for some friendly conversation. How are you, Mr. Jordan? And are you any relation to Lee Jordan?”
“I am doing wonderful and yes, Lee is my son. How are you? What’s new?”
“My glasses are new,” Harry volunteers. “And I have an appointment to get an vision correction potion brewed on my sixteenth birthday. Apparently it’s going to require some special work because my eyes are going to mature into cat eyes. Or, well, snake eyes I suppose. The healer said it’s a parselmouth thing.”
“Most witches and wizards that can speak to beasts have the eyes of their animal, that’s pretty standard.” David Jordan assures her. “We probably all should have guessed, considering those changeling green eyes of yours.”
“Isn’t this all so exciting?” The idiot woman breaks in again. Draco rolls his eyes and looks across the table at Daph to see her frowning mightily in the direction of the wireless. “I mean, being here at the World Court and watching all these amazing things unfold! I can’t believe I for to witness this all unfolding with my own two eyes!”
There is a very pointed, rather protracted silence before Harry clears her throat. “You and Lee look quite a bit alike, Mr. Jordan. You definitely have the same smile. He’s such a great person, you must be proud of him.”
“I am. He’s third in his year, did you know? We’ve never had a Jordan do so well.”
“I did not know but that’s fantastic, congratulations. To him and to your family!”
“Thank you, Lady Potter. Speaking of Lee, though, he said you did amazingly well in the First Task of the Triwizard Tournament and that you’re even in first place!”
“I am, I am, but it’s still early in the tournament. Any of us could win it at this point.”
“Tell us about your fellow Champions,” The idiot -Cherry Abernathy- prods. “What do you think of them?”
“Alright,” Harry takes a deep breath like she’s seeking patience. “Well first there’s Viktor Krum, everyone knows about him. He’s an incredibly good, professional Seeker. Super famous. Whatever. Most people see that and sort of write him off as nothing more but he’s actually a really quiet, somewhat bookish young man. He is serious about his physical fitness, of course, and he’s crazy enough to swim in the Black Lake in December but the only time I’ve seen him really smile is when he’s had a book in his hand.
“We were chatting during the Yule Ball about various things and several of his answers struck as just- He is. I would say, he is the most Gryffindor young man to never be Sorted. It’s really quite fascinating.”
“What about the Veela?” Abernathy asks in snide little tone that makes Draco sit up and take notice.
Not good notice either.
He glances over to the Ravenclaw table to see the Veela in question frowning thunderously toward the Wireless.
“Fleur Delacour is one-quarter Veela, she gets it from her maternal grandmother. You might have heard of her grandmother. Her name is Isabelle Chevalier, she’s the Monarch of the entire Veela Empire. Miss Delacour is seventh in line for the Veela throne and that little tone you just used is enough to get you called on the Monarch’s carpet. And even executed, depending on what you say when you get there so show some respect.”
“I didn’t mean to be disrespectful.” The woman all but spits out in a way that says she totally did.
“Then I suggest instead of wasting your time here with me, you write Miss Delacour an apology and ask how you may make amends immediately. You really don’t want to wait long enough for her grandmother to get involved.”
“Of course, Lady Potter.”
Another glance at Delacour shows the Beauxbatons Champion smiling like the sun toward the Wireless.
“I don’t want anyone to think that the only thing special about Miss Delacour is the family she was born to.” Harry says after a brief hesitation. “Her family didn’t get their name called from the Goblet of Fire, she did. Fleur is brilliant, funny, and graceful. She’s clever with a good head for tactics. Did you know she’s captain of her school Quidditch team?”
“No,” David Jordan says honestly. “I didn’t know they played Quidditch at Beauxbatons. They don’t have Houses like we do at Hogwarts after all.”
“Right, they don’t. Instead the different departments each sponsor a team so they have like nine teams in their school league. She’s captain of the Charms team, they’ve been undefeated for three years now. She gave up her shot at a record breaking fourth year to come to Hogwarts for the Tournament. I don’t think I would have made that choice.”
Jordan laughs, “I can’t say I would have either.”
“You played Quidditch?” Harry asks, actually sounding interested in the answer.
“I was a Hufflepuff Chaser for three years before I became the school game commentator which lead me to where I am today.
“Talking about Hufflepuff, though. Cedric Diggory.”
“Cedric Diggory. Okay. Well, he’s first in his class. A sixth year, actually, not a final year like Viktor and Fleur but I wouldn’t be surprised if he could take his NEWTs tomorrow and utterly kick them in the face. He’s clever, that dog? The one he made out of stone to distract his dragon? I never would have thought of it.
“And he’s fair. Above everything, he’s incredibly fair.
“Last year, there were Dementors guarding the school and they knocked me off my broom during the Gryffindor vs Hufflepuff game. When he realized what happened he wanted to start the game all over because he said it wasn’t fair for them to win after the Dementors got involved. He was so mad when they wouldn’t and it just, it stuck with me, you know?”
“I can see that. That’s- I must say that’s shocking.”
“Yeah, he’s a really great person.”
“Let’s talk about the First Task.”
“What about it?”
“How did you prepare for it?”
“With about a month of mindless panic.” Both Harry and Mr. Jordan laugh but Draco can’t help but think that maybe Harry was being completely honest there. “Okay, it was actually closer to three weeks.
“About a week before the First Task, I’d seen a that man I know works as a dragon handler in Romania walking from the forest up to the castle. I asked one of his younger brothers that attends the school what he was doing there and they said he’d gone to the Infirmary to get potions for work.”
“Why would a man working in Romania go to Scotland for potions?” Mr. Jordan asks sounding baffled.
“That’s exactly what I was wondering! Because no one in Romania would go to Scotland for potions. Potions can be made practically anywhere so the implication there of course was that he was working not just in Scotland but at Hogwarts. Which was in fact terrifying, so I snuck out of the castle that night and backtracked the path I’d seen him walking.”
“And at the end of it?”
“Dragons,” Harry breathes and Draco can feel her horror. “Four ginormous, fire-breathing dragons. Nesting mothers, I heard one of the men say. And as I looked around I found both High Master Karkaroff sneaking in the bushes and Madame Maxime strolling bold as you please on the arm of a gentleman caller.
“Obviously, they were checking it out for their Champions.” Jordan grumbles.
“That’s what I figured so the first chance I got, I told Cedric. It just wouldn’t be fair for the three of us to know but not him, you know? But, of course, the second I blurt it out to him, I’m caught red handed by Professor Moody.” Harry huffs and Jordan laughs. “Seriously, my life is a soap opera. It’s ridiculous.”
“What did old Mad Eye do?”
“Oh, he assured me that cheating is a Triwizard Tournament tradition and not to worry about it.” Jordan laughs again. “But then he started pumping me for my plan. Spoiler alert: I did not have a plan. But he did get me thinking.
“I’m not a ‘come and take it’ fighter like Krum. And I don’t have whip-quick wand work like Delacour. And I’m not an almost-an-entire-year-ahead genius like Diggory, but I can fly and we were working on Summoning Charms in Professor Flitwick’s class. I spent the next day and a half practicing that stinking charm until I got it right.”
“And boy did you get it right. So we all want to know, what was in the egg?”
“Oh, it was a clue for the Second Task. You have to translate it into English or whatever your language is and then solve the riddle.”
“And have you solved the riddle?”
“Yes, of course, but mostly because Cedric paid me back by giving me the translation tip.”
“You didn’t know to translate it?”
“Merlin, no. I had no idea what it was. It was just terrible. I do still need to learn how to swim, though. I’m probably going to have to miss some class to find a muggle tutor.”
“You don’t know how to swim?”
“You got the abbreviated version of my childhood yesterday, did you hear anything about swimming lessons?” Harry scoffs. “Though that’s probably a good thing, my relatives would have probably tried to drown me.”
“Why a muggle tutor?”
“Well, I mean, saying a word or two out of context and hoping someone picks it up is one thing but I think having someone train me specifically for a task is probably crossing a line? I wouldn’t want to violate the Goblet’s Magical Contract and damage someone’s magic. Though, honestly, I don’t know what the Goblet’s Contract says and Dumbledore wasn’t inclined to share it with me. I have the Goblins looking into it for me, but in the meantime I sent a letter to Hermione Granger’s parents to see if they can help me out. Or if they know someone that can.
“Okay, I can see that but I, uh, actually have a few questions.”
“Yes, that’s rather part of the whole interview thing.” Harry says dryly.
Jordan laughs. “No, uh, I mean about your Goblin/First Daughter stuff.”
“Okay, I don’t promise to answer but you can ask.”
“I was reading up last night and the book I was reading said First Daughters are just arbiters, like mediators for the Horde to end infighting but you said, implied really, that First Daughters are priestesses?”
“I’m going to take a wild guess and say you read a book written by a human.”
“Yes, Everything You Need to Know About Goblins by Valerian Montague.”
“Everything you need to know? You don’t think that’s a little arrogant? No, don’t answer that. The problem with reading a book about goblins written by a human is that the human looks at goblin institutions with a human mindframe. Humans ask the wrong questions, or incomplete questions. They don’t follow them through like a Goblin would or would expect. Goblins do not have a human mindframe. They generally understand the human mindframe because it is -from their point of view- simpler but they don’t actually have one.
“If you actually want to know what you need to know, I suggest The Goblin Way by Master Wordsmith Alnok.
“I would also suggest the book Veela Heart for your friend Miss Abernathy. Its a book about Veela, written by a committee of Veela, half-Veela, and humans upon the request of the Veela Monarchy. It’s very clear and easy to read. I highly recommend it but Flourish and Blotts doesn’t carry it so you’ll have to order it from the Veela Foreign Ministry.”
“How did you hear about this book?”
“I was given a copy for Yule, actually. I was going to finish it this weekend but that’s probably not going to happen now.”
“No, probably not, but back to my question-”
“Question? Oh priestesses versus arbiters. We’re both. The Goblin Horde are ardent in their belief in the Seven. Every Chieftain offers his daughters to the Seven -it’s supposed to be done at the age of seven but obviously I was offered at the age of 14. When a daughter is accepted she becomes a First Daughter. There are eleven First Daughters in every generation, one for each of the ten clans and then one from the High Chieftain.
“The High Chieftain’s First Daughter is even more special because she will eventually become the High Priestess but goblins live much longer than humans, so I sincerely doubt I’ll ever be High Priestess.”
“What does the High Priestess do?”
“What every leader does, boss around her minions.” Jordan laughs but this time Harry doesn’t. “The High Priestess is the Voice of the Seven. She gives the Horde direction and she is the final voice on any internal disputes. No one argues with the Voice. She also leads ceremonies and rituals and stuff, but all priestesses can do that.”
“How does that translate into ten husbands though?”
“Oh. Well it’s spouses, not husbands. There is no gender requirement. The ten is so there’s one from each tribe, so that no tribe can claim to be favored by the current or a future Voice.”
“I’m not even sure where to go there.” Jordan hums. “Spouses?”
“Yeah, I have every right to a wife or two if I want them and the women are willing.”
“Do you have your eye on any witches?” Jordan sounds kind of doubtful.
“Not yet. It’s kind of frustrating because a lot of witches that are interested in witches generally don’t seem to want witches that like wizards too. And right now I’m exchanging letters with two wizards that may or may not someday choose to court me. So you can see how that attitude wouldn’t work for me.”
“I- That’s so strange, I’ve never met someone that liked both before.”
“Don’t be silly, of course you have.” Harry scoffs. “They probably just didn’t tell you so you wouldn’t tell them how strange you find them directly to their face.”
“Right, of course you’re right. I apologize.”
“Just keep it in mind and we’re fine.”
“Thank you, Lady Potter. Now I imagine many of our listeners would be interested in Courting you,” Harry snorts at that. “What would you tell them? How should they prepare themselves?”
“Well, first of all they have to get past the Goblins before they can get to me so I recommend reading Master Wordsmith Alnok’s work, The Goblin Way. It is literally the least you can do, to approach someone in a way appropriate to their culture when you want something from them.
“I would also advise them to take a serious look at the faith of the Seven. I will be a priestess and while that’s not a restrictive role like it is in many religions, it gives me rights and privileges that no spouse will ever be able to take from me. I’d also say, read Son of the Seven by Merlin Emrys if you want to understand my feelings on the faith. I found an original, hand-written copy in the Potter vault. I got the goblins to copy it so I could read it without, you know, having a heart attack. I’ve also asked them to make copies for distribution, so it will be available from the Potter Foundation within the month.” Harry sighs. “I don’t know. Severus, what do you think is important for people to know about me?”
Draco grins as he hears his godfather hum in a way that means some wonderful bit of assholery is coming. “They should know you are recklessly brave and impossible to deal with. I would warn them that you’ve recently decided that you will allow no one and nothing to tell you what to do and that you have both the Goblin Horde and a group of the world’s most talented witches and wizards to back this decision up. Not that you need us, of course, my Lady.”
Harry just laughs like the professor just complimented her, which he kind of did. “When I end up single for the rest of my life, I’m going to tell Ragnok it’s your fault.”
Professor Snape huffs at her. “You have 15 minutes remaining, Mr. Jordan.”
“Oh, thank you, Sir Snape.
“Okay, we’ve talked about the Tournament. And we’ve talked about the Goblin stuff. There’s only one topic on our listeners’ minds left for us to review.”
Harry groans. “The trial.”
“Yes, the trial. What do you say to the people that doubt all of this?”
“You mean the people that doubt that Dark Lord Dumbles did everything he’s already admitted to doing?”
“Yes, those people.”
“Nothing since they probably can’t tie their own shoes or feed themselves, they should probably just go back to playing with their toy blocks and not worry about it.”
Jordan laughs. “Seriously, Lady Potter.”
“I would tell them my family is dead.” Harry says sharply. “There were over a hundred of us when Bumbledore started hunting us for sport, now there’s me. That is a fact, no one can argue that.
“Dumbledore was my magical guardian. Again, that is a fact. No one can argue that. It’s not even considered private information, you can go to the Ministry and ask for proof and they will provide it to you. For a small processing fee, of course.
“I was abused under his guardianship, that’s a fact. Just look at me. I’m riddled with scars and I’m the smallest person in my year by over six inches. My father was 6’3″, the second tallest in his year. My mother was 5’10. I’ve just crossed 5 feet tall! I don’t even weigh a hundred pounds! I’m a Fourth Year and I’m smaller than some of the First Years! Think about that for a minute. Just let it sink in.”
“You know, you don’t seem that small. I mean, now that I look at it you come to just above my elbow but-”
“Pat me on the head and I will bite you.”
The man just laughs again. “Okay, fair. But I think what most people have a problem believing is that Dumbledore could potion or curse the entire country?”
“Why would he?” Harry asks, drawing Draco up short. “He didn’t have to. Think about it. At eleven years old, going to Hogwarts is many magical children’s first time around non-family really so they trust the adults around them. And muggleborns -Hogwarts is their first time on their own in a strange new world, they are dependant on the adults around them. And when these adults they are dependent on start whispering ‘don’t trust them, they’re evil’ children are going to believe it. And the fact that he picked the kids most likely to realize what he was doing just made it so that when they tried to do something about it -if they even so much as spoke up against it- it seemed to validate all of the whispers.
“And he did that upwards of 60 years ago, so those kids go on to have kids that they tell these whispers to from the cradle and he doesn’t even have to try that hard with the second generations. By the third generation, people have forgotten that it was ever different.
“If he engineers an incident or two every few years that seems to back up the situation, there’s no reason for him to potion or curse everyone. He would have had to be strategic about potioning and curing people or he’d risk being discovered.
“I imagine in recent years he’s been doing it to Minerva McGonagall and Poppy Pomfrey because they worked so closely together and Madame Pomfrey was the best placed person to figure him out but she didn’t. Maybe a few minor adjustments to the other professors but with his reputation and his generations of verbal manipulations all he would have to do is speak and people generally just go for whatever he says.
“I think the takeaway from this -what we need to do going for- is to think for yourself and don’t generalize. If you can see that every Gryffindor is different, or every Hufflepuff is different, or every Ravenclaw is different, why do you assume all Slytherins are the same?
“And I think a more well-rounded education would help young witches and wizards think for themselves. Beauxbatons and Durmstrang offer a number of subjects that Hogwarts doesn’t, classes that don’t focus on magic because we are more than just the ability to flick a wand or brew a potion. I think the Hogwarts Board of Governors needs to seriously consider expanding the curriculum. It didn’t used to be as narrow as it is, as its become since Dumbledore became Deputy Headmaster. There is historical documentation of this and I think it’s rather telling that he cut it out.”
“You have a serious dislike for Albus Dumbledore.” Jordan observes for the audience at home.
Harry laughs and it’s a little mean, “Have you ever despised someone so much every insult from their mouth suddenly becomes a compliment?”
“No, I can’t say that I have.”
“Okay but that’s where I am with Dark Lord Dumbles. It’s really liberating, actually.”
“Time,” Snape snaps.
“Oh, of course. Thank you both for your time today. We hope you have time for another visit with us in the future.”
Snape snorts and McGonagall rolls her eyes at taps her wand on the Head Table. Food appears and the entire Hall breaks out in discussion. Draco looks around significantly, there is much got Slytherin to talk about.
Even an hour after dinner that night the Great Hall of Hogwarts was still teaming with students. And teachers.
Most of their foreign guests had wandered off to do whatever they did at night in either their ship or their carriage but every single Slytherin was still in their seats, glued to the wireless. Every single Gryffindor too. Half of Ravenclaw and many a Hufflepuff was there too. Some managed to do homework or play a quiet game of chess but they were all waiting for the next truth bomb Harry Potter was going to drop on their heads.
Three of the four champions are sitting with Hermione Granger who keeps glancing anxiously at the door until, just before the clock stikes nine, the doors open. Standing in the middle of the doorway was none other than Harry Potter herself. Flanking her on her left and right respectively are Severus Snape and Draco’s own father, Lucius Malfoy.
Without a word of discussion every single Slytherin stands to show their Lady the respect she is due.
Most of Gryffindor follow a beat behind.
“Her Grace Harry Potter!” Severus announces. “Duke of House Potter, First Daughter of the Goblin Horde, Marquess of House Slytherin, Marquess of House Gryffindor, Heir Regent for the Earl of House Black.”
A Duke? A Duke? Draco doesn’t even know what to do with that. There are only so many ways such a thing could happen but, how? How did it happen this time? And why?
Harry silently regards them all for a moment before she nods and almost everyone standing sits once more.
Hermione Granger, of course, doesn’t. She sprints down the aisle to Harry and stops just out of arm’s reach looking anxious. Harry gives her best friend a small, almost pained smile and holds her arms away from her sides in the nearly universal signal of readiness for a hug.
Hermione is always doing things like that, Draco realizes as he moves towards his father. She’s always respecting Harry’s boundaries and waiting for permission to cross them. Seems it’s a lesson he’s going to need to learn quick as quick from what he’s heard today on the Wireless. They didn’t mention the Duke thing but the implication of a Potter-Malfoy alliance is now backed enthusiastically by his father’s mode of dress.
He’s seen his father’s Death Eater robes enough to recognize the enchanted black dragonhide body armor his father is wearing. And the gloves and knee high boots, rune inscribed and covered in black wyvern scales. Instead of the treated acromantula silk outer robe and stylized silver mask, though, his father is sporting a red-dyed basilisk hide battle robe. Severus and Harry, too. The only difference between them -other than the more than a foot size difference- is that their hems and fixtures are done in silver while hers are gold.
All three of them even have swords on their backs. The Sword of Gryffindor as mentioned on the wireless is peaking over Harry’s shoulder but Severus and his father too are each carrying a sword. Severus’ has an emerald for a pommel nut and his father’s a black diamond. If there was anyone to wager with he would bet he’s seeing the lost Sword of Slytherin and the ancestral Black Family blade, Black Guard.
His father nods to him with a bare twist of the lips that’s almost a smile as he stops at the older man’s side and he feels the thrill of unexpected acknowledgement dance through him.
“Your Grace,” A male voice calls from just outside the Hall doors and Draco turns to see somewhere between a dozen and twenty goblin warriors standing behind them.
“Ah, Chieftain Barluk, you made good time.” It’s a very goblin almost-thank you.
The goblin grins. “Of course, First Daughter. Do you have the miscreant?”
“He is there,” She points with the arm still wrapped around the crouching Hermione’s shoulders and for a wild moment Draco thinks she is pointing to Viktor Krum but then she continues. “The red haired once no one wants to sit by.”
“He didn’t stand for the Lady of Gryffindor, either,” His father practically growls in offense.
The goblin’s face twists in fury and he barks something at his minions. Everyone scrambles out of the way as Ronald Weasley is quickly surrounded by pike carrying goblins.
“I haven’t done anything!” He protests as two goblins other than their chieftain start to put him in manacles. “I haven’t done anything!”
“If I may ask what Mr. Weasley stands accused of?” Professor McGonagall asks politely. “He is a student at my school, I must know what he has done before I can allow you to take him.”
The chieftain snorts, almost sounding amused. “He’s been making purchases against another’s account using an illegally-obtained Gringotts key. He’s charged with grand theft from a Peer of the Realm and defrauding the Goblin Horde.”
Draco swallows, that- That’s a death sentence.
“I didn’t steal anything!” Ron roars. “It’s mine! She’s mine! I was promised!”
“Accio Potter Vault key,” Harry says softly but somehow it still carries.
As he’d begun to expect, a vault key practically tears itself from Ron’s front trouser pocket. Harry catches it deftly but then there is a second key flying past Draco towards Harry. He catches it before it can hit her on pure Seeker instinct and everyone turns to look at him.
Harry gives him a nod of thanks and holds out her hand. Draco nods back and drops the captured key with in it. She frowns and hands the key off the Chieftain Barluk, her gaze following the line back from Draco toward the wall.
Where Percy Weasely is standing, wide eyed and shocked, his waistcoat pocket turned almost completely inside out.
“Dumbledore gave it to me!” The former Head Boy blurts. “He asked me to run an errand! I was here this weekend to return it to him!”
Draco and Harry turn back to the goblin.
“It is a key to one of the Main Potter vaults,” Barluk confirms.
“I want them all re-keyed. Every single vault that is mine to claim, since the previous trustees were so obviously careless.”
“I will see to it personally, First Daughter.”
“I trust you with this task,” She confirms with a nod. Then she turns back to Percy. “You’ll have to go with them. Answer all of their questions with complete honesty and they’ll be gentle with you.”
Percy nods, looking pale and near tears. “Yes, your Grace.”
“That might be my brother in-law one day, Chieftain Barluk.” She says seriously.
“I hear you, First Daughter. And the other?”
“He is no family of mine. I would never see nor hear from him again.”
“As you will, First Daughter.” The chieftain pounds a fist over his heart and turns to leave. “Come!” He barks to his band and they follow, one is holding a silenced Ron floating above his head still shouting and carrying on, another with an almost courteous hand on Percy’s arm. Nonetheless, they all stop to pound their fists over their hearts as they pass Harry.
“Duke Potter, the staff would like to meet with you privately if you’ve a moment?” Professor McGonagall says gently.
“My retinue will accompany us.” Harry says in a tone that brooks no argument.
“Of course, your Grace.”
Draco blinks, belatedly realizing he is a member of said retinue when his father gestures for him to come as he turns to follow Harry.
“That was well done, my son,” His father says almost- almost warmly. “I know you will do our Family proud in your service to our Lady.”
Draco can hardly breathe, his eyes are stinging. Praise. For him. From Lucius Malfoy. After almost too long, he clears his throat and croaks, “I won’t let you down, Father.”
His father nods to him and takes a sentinel position just inside the door as another man -a youngish sort of cowboy that Draco has never seen before- secures the door from the outside. Draco moves to stand in his father’s former position on Lady Potter’s right. He’s mirrored by Hermione on her left instead of Severus who is now standing guard by the floo.
Once they are all settled, none of them actually sitting but standing in a fairly comfortable formation, Professor McGonagall starts. “First I would like to apologize, your Grace. I watched your relatives all day before Dumbledore placed you with them. I told him not to leave you there, that they were the worst sort of people. I should have fought for you, I don’t know why I didn’t. I am so very sorry.”
“You were his Apprentice, weren’t you?”
A light of understanding enters McGonagall’s eye but it quickly turns into a flame of fury. “I was.”
“As I understand the bond between Master and Apprentice is very special. I imagine your Master told you not to worry about me and you didn’t. That is the nature of the bond. Have you been looked over yet?”
McGonagall frowns but nods. “The staff have all been scanned by ICW Senior Healer Yash Tamboli. Poppy and Hagrid were hospitalized immediately, the rest of us expected to report to Saint Mungo’s with in the week.
“To that end, I have been in contact with the International Magical Education Agency. They will have a full staff of certified educators here on Monday to take over the school until all professors have been medically cleared of undue influence and had a counselling and retraining period of no less than 6 months. Only the Heads of House will be allowed on campus during that time to fulfill some, limited portion of our duties to our Houses but we will be required to attend the same counseling and retraining as the others.”
“While I appreciate the caution you are all exhibiting,” Harry frowns. “I must insist Severus be exempt. He has been cleared of influence by the gobins and has several duties I need him here to perform for me.”
“I will speak to Madame Delacour when she arrives. She has been assigned as Headmistress by the IMEA so it is her decision but I can’t see how you would be denied since you insist.”
“I am also going to need time off of school,” Harry reminds.
“Yes, and I have already discussed that with her. You have leave until the 21st of February as the task is scheduled for the 24th. Simply notify Madame Delacour of when you will be leaving and returning and she will take care of it.”
“Delacour?” Severus prompts with a single lifted eyebrow.
“Delacour,” McGonagall confirms. “She is Champion Delacour’s paternal grandmother and has sworn her neutrality in regards to the Tournament. That’s the reason the Heads are allowed on campus, so that Pomona may advocate on behalf of Mr. Diggory and myself for Lady Potter.”
Severus nods once and pointedly returns his focus to Harry.
“The next two days, I am renting a hall in Hogsmeade so that my new vassals may come and swear themselves to me.” Harry informs them. “I’ll need Hermione and Draco with me at least tomorrow and it’s likely many parents will come for their children so that their heirs may witness their oaths as is their duty.”
“I will advise Madame Delacour when she arrives and station myself in the Great Hall tomorrow to ease the process.
“Is there anything else you require?”
“I know my station requires I live in private quarters but can we delay that just one night? Can I have just one last night of normal?”
McGonagall’s face softens ever so softly, something Draco would never have believed without seeing. “The rules are quite clear, I’m afraid, but if you were to have private house elves arranging your private furniture in your new suite, a delay of a night would not be unseemly.”
“Of course,” Harry nods. “Dobby!” His father’s old elf pops into place in front of Harry and she wordlessly offers him both of her hands, her four House rings all becoming visible at once.
Dobby bounces once, looking ever so pleased, before he reaches out and touches the Potter ring. There’s a sweep of magic and Dobby is dressed in black trousers that look to be made out of a towel and a red tunic that might have once been silk curtains with the Potter Crest embroidered on the left side of his chest in gold.
A tiny elf Draco has never seen before pops into place wearing slovenly clothes and swaying slightly, a butterbeer bottle still in hand.
“Winky,” Harry chides gently.
The elf hiccups, “Your Grace called Winky?”
“We met at the Quidditch World Cup, Winky, do you remember? You were in the top box holding your master’s seats even though you were terrified to be up that high.”
The elf sniffles, hiccups again, and nods.
“I was impressed with your bravery, Winky, and I would like to offer you a place in the House of Gryffindor, if you are willing.”
“You want me to be your elf?” The tiny creature’s voice quavers.
“I do,” Harry offers her right hand, where the Gryffindor ring lays. “What do you say?”
The elf nods rapidly and reaches out, clasping her hand on the roaring lion’s face. There’s a sweep of magic and suddenly Winky is dressed in a red silk pillowcase dress with the Gryffindor crest embroidered in silver on the left side of her chest.
“Wonderful.” Harry nods and crouches to talk to the two elves. “I would like you, Dobby, to go to Master Brogkar -he’s my account manager at Gringotts- I want you to get both vault catalogues for the furniture in my holdings and a new furniture catalogue from him and bring them to me. I’ll pick my furniture tonight and then I need you to decorate my new quarters tomorrow.”
“Of course, your Grace.”
“Thank you. You may go, Dobby.” The little elf pops away and she focuses on Winky. “Miss Fauna Sprout is in Athens and agreed to pick up an order of clothes for me. I need you to go to her and fetch them as well as any catalogues or recommendations for a private tailor that she has, if you would.”
“Of course, your Grace!”
“Thank you,” Harry waves for the elf to leave and stands up straight when she pops away. “Is there anything else that absolutely has to be done tonight?” She asks the room.
“Have you decided about re-Sorting, your Grace?” The deputy headmistress asks.
“I haven’t but I don’t think this is the time for that anyway. Not with the tournament and everything else already looming before us.”
“Very well. Would you like to choose your quarters, your Grace?”
“There aren’t nobles quarters attached to the Tower?”
“Not for someone of your rank, ma’am. Nor would anything attached to the Tower or the Dungeons have room for your Security.”
“Okay, yeah, that could be a problem. What’s available that’s kind of neutral? Like physically between Gryffindor and Slytherin?”
Minerva McGonagall pauses to consider. “On the fourth floor there is a suite of rooms that may suit your needs. If you’ll follow me.”
They all follow her to, as far as Draco can tell, the middle of the castle. They stop in front of a portrait of a pleasantly plump little man in a silly hat.
“Let us in, Jacob.” McGonagall commands.
“Of course, Deputy Headmistress.” The portrait swings toward them like a door.
Draco’s father places a hand on Harry’s shoulder and gestures for him and Hermione to move behind him as Severus and the Cowboy sweep onto the chamber. His father makes them wait to enter until Severus comes back and nods.
The room they enter is about half the size of the Slytherin common room with a ceiling twice as high and enchanted like the Great Hall, reflecting the sky outside. There’s a bedroom with an attached full bathroom, a large but empty library, and a small kitchen corner.
“And through that hall,” McGonagall gestures to a small side door. “Are chambers for your security. The entire suite can be rearranged so that visitors have to go through your security before entering your rooms.”
Harry frowns. “While I wouldn’t be opposed to an antechamber for guests to get past my security to reach me, I would rather maintain my security’s personal privacy. I don’t want people just waltzing through their chambers or anything.”
McGonagall pulls her wand and focuses. There’s the rumble of grinding stone and another door appears on the wall perpendicular to the entrance they used. McGonagall opens it to reveal an empty room with a door on the opposite wall.
“This is your antechamber. Or perhaps Receiving Room would be a better term for it.” McGonagall tells them. “That door opens up just down the hall from the Great Hall. You’ll want to be seen going in and out of it to maintain the privacy of your other entrance.”
“That works. We can put a desk in here for whoever’s working and a sitting nook for visitors or whatever.”
“Of course, your Grace,” Lucius says with a nod.
“Now, what about my heir?” Harry asks. “I haven’t officially named them but once I do they will be considered a Marquess and have access to one of the largest fortunes in the world. Their security is paramount.”
“Your heir could be quartered with you should you both choose. Male or female?”
Harry raises a single eyebrow at the Deputy Headmistress, “That is not yet decided.”
McGonagall nods and grasps her wand once again. The doors to Harry’s bedroom and office disappear, seemingly folding back into the space. A new wall pops up with two new doors. “Two suites of an office, private sitting room, bedroom and bathroom. Yours is on the right, your Grace, and your heirs is on the left.”
“Can anyone alter these rooms or just you?”
“The Headmaster and Deputy can alter rooms like this throughout the castle. I can add Severus to be able to alter your rooms, if you like.”
“I would, thank you. Can you think of anything else you need from me right now?”
“A password for for private entrance.”
Harry smirks a bit, “Caput Draconis.” And Hermione barks a laugh.
McGonagall glances over to the portrait of rolling hills that the fat man -Jacob- from before is currently watching them from.
Jacob sweeps his hat off his head and bows, “The password to the private quarters of Her Grace Harriet Potter is ‘Caput Draconis’.” And his white, curly wig on his head slides off to land on the floor of the portrait with a plop.
McGonagall nods once and turns sharply. “I’ll show myself out.”
Once she’s out through Jacob’s portrait, Harry shoos the man with a, “I don’t feel like being spied upon.”
The man picks up his wig, nods once, and leaves the portrait. The second he’s gone Severus and Lucius both have their wands out, setting up privacy and security charms all over the common room they are in before sweeping off to the other rooms.
Harry turns to Hermione. “So. Heir. Uh, before you argue, my heir has to be female and with no other inheritances coming their way. While I am blood related to both Neville and Draco, they don’t hit either of those points.”
“What would you need of me?” Hermione asks with a frown.
“I have books on the matter, don’t worry.” Harry placates her best friend. “For now you just need to continue to be my loyal friend.
“But. If something does happen to me, you’ll need to take the Blood Adoption Potion Severus has already brewed for us. It will make you my daughter -which is weird, since you’re older than me- but otherwise all of my titles will go defunct, all of that family magic would die, and all the materiel inheritance I have will revert to the Goblin Horde.
“If I manage to have kids before I bite it, you’ll be their Regent and Magical Guardian until they are old enough to assume my titles.
“If I don’t bite it before my theoretical children are grown, you’ll get a nice trust fund, a fantastic dowry in case you decide to marry some stuff shirt, and a great deal of respect until the end of your days. And you can become a Goblin-backed Priestess of the Seven but I don’t think that would appeal to you?” Hermione shakes her head and Harry nods. “Didn’t think so. So, what do you say?”
“Do I have to take the potion?”
“Not unless I die or you decide you want some of my magical gifts. You can’t pick what you get though so you could get my parsel abilities or my ability to fly. Or anything else I have that I haven’t identified or activated yet.”
“And I would be your daughter?”
“Technically, magically, and legally, yes. My first born daughter but since we’re born under the same High Chieftain you would not be a First Daughter.”
“And I can think about it?”
“Yup,” Harry pops the ‘p’ and nods decisively before changing the subject. “How’s Viktor?”
“Furious, utterly furious. His grandfather was murdered by Grindelwald.”
“So he was murdered by Dumbledore, basically.”
Hermione nods, “And he’s been living under Dumbledore’s roof for months now. Like I said, furious, but he’s grateful to you for getting his grandfather justice. I honestly think he would be here on bended knee swearing himself as your strong right arm if we didn’t think the Goblet would take that as cheating and kill you both.”
“I’ll keep that in mind for the future. So is that a yes on the heir thing? Because if so I’m going to have to get you new clothes for tomorrow.”
Hermione rolls her eyes. “Yes, it’s a yes to the ‘heir thing’ but a no to the potion. For now unless something horrible happens.”
“Awesome!” Harry bounces on her toes just once. “We should have probably asked McGonagall for a layout of these rooms so we could plan our furniture and stuff properly.”
“I’ll get them from her tonight,” Severus promises as he comes back to the front room. “The three of you should get to your dormitories, it’s 10 minutes to curfew.”
“Of course.” Harry inclines her head. “Sev, could you escort Draco to the dungeons?”
“I will see to it, your Grace.”
“Up, up, up!” An offensively cheerful voice sings out -Hermione casts a Tempus- half an hour before breakfast even begins on a Sunday.
With a groan, she pushes open her bed curtains to see Narcissa Malfoy flitting around their dormitory.
The older woman stops and smiles at her. “Good morning, dear. We have quite a bit to do today. If you would dress in something casual, we will have breakfast and change into formal robes in Lady Harry’s suite.”
Hermione glances over to Harry to see her sitting on the side of her bed facing the nightstand between their beds. She fists her eyes and yawns before reaching out blindly for her glasses. Her hair is a disaster, pointing in no less than three different directions. Lady Malfoy, spotting the problem, pulls her wand and casts something at Harry only to have every single hair on Harry’s head stand on end like she stuck her hand in a socket.
Their roommates burst out laughing while Harry just gives the older woman an wide-eyed look.
“Naturally curly hair,” Lady Malfoy mutters. “Of course. Mipsy!”
A little elf wearing a black cotton dress with the Malfoy dress in white on her pocket appears in the room.
“Mipsy, if you would bring me the silver Unicorn hair brush from the box in my closet.” The elf pops away and returns with said brush. “Thank you,” and the elf pops away once more.
“What’s that?” Hermione asks.
“A magical solution to naturally curly hair. It dries, conditions, tames and can even grow your hair with a bit of magic and willpower. I bought it as a gift for my sister though she never received it. It has, in fact, never been used.” Narcissa gestures Harry to turn her back and starts to make use of the brush. Harry’s almost shoulder length bush of hair relaxes and for the first time on their acquaintance -outside of the nightmare that was getting ready for the Yule Ball- Harry’s hair relaxes and cooperates.
Once they are both dressed in a comfortably muggle style Hermione and Harry are hustled down to the fourth floor portrait entrance to Harry’s rooms. The public common room is lightly furnished with three couches and a dining room table with no chairs. Snape along with Draco and his father all already there waiting for them with food in hand.
Breakfast food is laid out buffet style on the table and the three of them make their selections before taking seats on the couches.
“Once we’ve eaten,” Narcissa addresses them all, delicately eating her hand selected strawberries with a fork. “You three must change before we make for Hogsmeade and begin the day’s meetings.”
“Did the clothing I ordered arrive?” Harry asks.
“It has. It was very well done and befitting your station. I have kept the name of the tailor for later use and I have two elves vetting the list of local tailors Miss Sprout provided.”
“Awesome, that means we can, in fact, change before we head into town.”
“What are we doing in town?” Hermione can’t help but finally ask.
“Just a bunch of pureblood-” Lucius Malfoy clears his throat pointedly and Harry rolls her eyes but corrects. “Just a bunch of noble nonsense.
“I’m the first magical Duke in like 500 years or so so a bunch of people are going to show up to kiss my bum and try to gain my favor. I also have to swear in all of my new vassals. And I’ll probably have to present the men that are maybe-Courting me at the end, I’m not sure about that bit though. It kind of depends on Sirius? Either way it’s going to be a long day with a bunch of sitting and bossing people around for me but you can just hang out and read until part where people start trying to kiss my bum so you can get all caught up on the protocols and stuff.”
“Why are people showing up to kiss your bum?” Hermione asks. Harry flicks a look at Lucius and pointedly takes a bite of honey-covered toast.
Lucius gives Harry an indulgent look and shifts forward in his seat to take the floor.
“For thousands of years the magical population of these islands were ruled by several kings. Eventually those were consolidated again and again until we were ruled by a High King and his four Duke-advisors. The line of Kings was broken a thousand years ago with the death of its most famous member, Arthur Pendragon, who had no heir.
“Upon Arthur’s death, he rose up a fifth duke, the House Emrys, and bid the Duke’s Council to rule these lands.
“That worked for about 300 years but in that time between deaths with no suitable heir or losing their peerage due to crimes, the Dukes were reduced. The last two, Emrys and le Fay, rose up all the lower ranked Peers into what we now call the Wizengamot. They kept several important powers in reserve for just Dukes. For example, they kept the right of veto to themselves. And the power of Ministerial appointments, and ownership of the Prophet and the Wireless to themselves but otherwise left our people with a decent if not terribly efficient form of government. That was almost six hundred years ago.”
“So now Harry has all those powers alone.” Hermione says to clarify.
“That’s right. And she has the entire Goblin Horde to back her up. At this point it would almost be more honest to call her a Queen.”
“I was offered that,” Harry chimes in, rolling her eyes. “I asked that Purple Bastard not to and he didn’t but that smile he gave me tells me he’s totally reserving the right to spring it on me later, the arse.”
“That Purple Ba-” Lucius falters. “Will you not speak of the Lord of Magic that way!”
“Why not? He thinks it’s hilarious.”
“Of course you said it to his face. Why am I not surprised she said it to his face?” Lucius puts his head in his hand in dramatic despair and Hermione rolls her eyes at the man. Now she knows where his son gets it from.
“Technically speaking, it’s even accurate. I mean, he doesn’t know his parent’s so,” Harry trails off leadingly and the Lord of Malfoy promptly has a cat.
“Do you respect no one?”
“There is a difference between fear and respect, Malfoy. You can’t do both to the same person. Trying is just fear putting on airs and, in my experience, human fear tends to end in attempted murder so I’ll pass.”
No one really has anything to say about that but more all the adults look just plain awkward. Harry rolls her eyes.
“What would be different if you were Queen?” Hermione redirects before it can completely devolve.
“I could disband the Ministry,” Harry tells her bald faced and honest. “Disband the old laws, make up my own. However and whatever I want them to be. I’d have the power to pardon and execute people without ever having to even think about a trial. I could promote my own Dukes to my Council and make them run everything. The sky’s the limit but the bottom line to me is that everything that happens in this country would be my freaking fault. No, thank you.”
“As things stand, with Harry being a Duke and you her heir, you hold the courtesy title of Marquess.” Narcissa puts in. “You will technically outrank every other Marquess. You actually outrank everyone in these lands but the Duke because you are considered an extension of her and she outranks us all.”
“Duchess. Shouldn’t she be a Duchess?”
“No,” Harry shakes her head. “We are going by older rules. Pre-patriarchy if you held the title yourself you were addressed by what is now considered the ‘male’ version of the title and your spouse would carry what is now considered the ‘female’ version.
“I chose for you to take Marquess of Slytherin for your courtesy title. Before you object! There are several reasons for this choice.” Harry waits for her begrudging nod before she holds up her first finger and begins to count off the reasons. “One, you will look amazing in green and silver. This dress I had designed for you, altered or I guess updated? From House of Slytherin traditions is going to be so awesome, you’re going to love it.
“Two, the House of Potter colors are obsidian and garnet which is really close to the House of Gryffindor colors -gold and ruby. Having us both in red in our first official whatever you want to call this thing would send completely the wrong message. To like, the world. I have to wear Potter colors so that means you can’t. And I can’t dress you in House of Black colors -black and silver- because Narcissa and Draco will be in Black colors and we’ll end up looking like a funeral. Which, again, is the wrong message.
“Three -and my personal favorite- it will piss all those blood purity bastards right off. Their fury makes my entire life.
“Four, every single Slytherin ever Sorted will be honor bound to defend you as their nominal ‘lord’. Even if they don’t vow themselves to me today their House pride will force their hand.
“And five, there is a Slytherin House Heirloom I have for you to wear that will keep you safe. From poisons, mind control, physical damage. It’ll portkey you to a safe location if you’re injured. You’re probably going to end up safer than I am really, which is kind of the point since my heir needs to survive my death. You know, being my heir and all.
“Alright!” Hermione holds up her hands and laughs. “I get it, Marquess of Slytherin. I’m totally okay with it.”
“Oh good, I didn’t actually have a point six prepared.”
Hermione playfully glares at her best friend. “I will hold out for ten points in the future.”
“Noted,” Harry grins. “Questions?”
“What do you need from me? Specifically what so you need today?”
“As my heir it is your duty to witness the vassal oaths. In this case that pretty much means you have to be in the room while they are made. You can read, if you want, all morning. I’ve got like four books with your name on them and Severus, he’s the Armsman of Slytherin, will be your guard so he can answer your questions and stuff. Got it?”
Hermione glances over to Professor Snape who stands, gathers something from the side of the breakfast table and returns to hand her a stack of books.
“Start with the Noble Protocols,” Professor Snape –Severus, she supposes– instructs. “As you may need to interact with petitioners this afternoon.”
Hermione nods and when the time comes, follows Harry and Narcissa into what will soon become Harry’s bedroom to change.
“How do you feel about wearing your hair long?” Narcissa asks her as they walk.
“Your hair,” Lady Malfoy confirms with a nod. “Harry has to strap on her sword and play the Warrior, that is her lot in life but women have more weapons than just swords and daggers. If you play the Maiden, no one will ever suspect that you are in fact one of the most dangerous pieces on the board.”
“Can we grow my hair before the meeting?”
“Perhaps, it would be easier for us to do it this evening. I was going to offer you a wig for now. Just put your hair up high and tight and I will do the rest.”
Hermione looks to Harry who just shrugs. Taking that to mean this is her decision, she nods, “Alright.”
“Great, clothes first.”
There are so many layers to what Hermione is supposed to wear.
First comes a knee length, long sleeved cotton dress of a soft silver. Spelled for warmth and cooling, and to remove sweat and body odor, and to give off a soft fragrance. In this case the scent of parchment and apples.
Second is a sleeveless dress of some metal chain that falls about two inches shorter than the silver dress. If she didn’t know better -which, it needs to be stated, she doesn’t- she’d say its of some kind of mithril. It’s enchanted so thoroughly is glows ever so faintly.
“What is this spelled for?” She asks her best friend and, technically, her lord.
“Comfort,” Is Harry’s prompt answer.
“Yes, I can tell that. What else?” But Harry just winks at her and turns away to grab her own next garment. Hermione rolls her eyes and does the same.
The third layer is a dress of Slytherin green with silver details. It has a lovely high but plain collar that somehow manages not to be stiffling around her neck. It’s floor length and is laced up the back but it’s only really solid the length of her mithril layer. About an inch below that separate panels.
On top of that she puts not one but two skirts of just panels in various green and silver fabrics. Some gauzy, some brocades, some that look like honest to Merlin woven silver, some from the same fabric as the dress itself. They’re heavy but they move with her in a fun fashion. The dress with all its layers make an aesthetically pleasing whole and it doesn’t actually restrict her movement in any way, something she’s certain Harry demanded of the dressmaker. Not that Hermione blames her, Harry’s life since coming to Hogwarts has been dangerous.
Harry is dressed much the same but with a red sleeveless undershirt under her mithril mail. Her dress is more like a shirt with fabric panels from hips to ankles and she has the black armored pants from the previous night on under her panels, as a part of her first layer. Her panel-ended dress is in Potter red and she has only a single skirt of additional panels -red, red and black brocade, and cloth of gold.
Over all of that she’s wearing the black chest armor, her battle cloak, and her sword is in the sheath that’s once again on her back.
At some point when Hermione wasn’t paying attention, Narcissa must have whipped Harry’s hair into shape because it’s coiled in a single tight line down the back of her head. Her head is studded with pretty red pins that Hermione would bet are actually real garnets. The overall effect is much like what they did for the Yule Ball but somehow more serious. It’s less messy that’s for sure.
She sits back on the couch in the main room for Lady Malfoy to tame her hair and add a wig. The wig magically matches itself to her natural hair, color and texture wise, while remaining the mid-back length Narcissa bought it in. Narcissa grabs a forelock from each side and being the process of twisting and pulling it back into something graceful.
“Have you taken the Heir’s Oath?” Narcissa asks her as the rest of their party gather and sit to wait.
“No,” Hermione begins, feeling confused, but Harry jumps in.
“There’s no reason for her to take the Heir’s Oath. Why should she? She’s going to fulfill it naturally just by being herself!”
Lucius Malfoy scowls at his liege. “The Heir’s Oath is essential. It prevents misunderstandings later, protects all parties from the kind of hurt feelings that could tear your House to the very ground.”
“And,” Severus drawls. “You are forgetting who else is currently inhabiting your family magic.”
Harry frowns in confusion before the light audibly clicks on. “Tom.”
Snape inclines his head. “The Heir’s Oath properly heard and witnessed will prevent him trying to claim not only what he lost to you but everything you have built for yourself as well, in the event of your untimely death.”
“I don’t want him in my family magic at all,” Harry scowls.
“Then after you’ve taken all the Death Eaters you want from him, cast him out.” Severus shrugs.
Harry raises an eyebrow, “Only the ones I want?”
“Not all of us are mistreated victims, Harry.” Severus says delicately. At Harry’s frown he huffs and explains. “Karkaroff is a rapist. And a pedophile. Were McNair not in the employ of the Ministry, he would have already been executed. He’s a sadist and serial murderer.”
“They have Karkaroff in charge of a school!” Harry objects. “He’s here and he’s- He’s-”
“You are exactly is type.” Snape continues ruthlessly. “A little old for him, perhaps, but you’re physically small enough for him to make an exception.”
Harry looks sick and Hermione can’t blame her.
“And if he’s still bound to Tom when I cast that arse out?”
“He will be much reduced magically and he could possibly die. It depends on the ritual you use to cast the Dark Lord out of your family.”
“You can put him off with talk of the Tournament,” Lord Malfoy offers.
Harry just nods. “Yeah, that’s what I was thinking.”
“You can’t just kill him!” Hermione objects, because really.
“Yes, I can,” Harry corrects in a flat, almost dead tone of voice. “And I even may but first I want proof of his crimes. Narcissa, remind me to bring it up with the Goblins.”
“Of course, your Grace. Now, the Heir’s Oath?”
“Oh, come on! If it’s going to happen anyway-”
“Then there’s no reason not to make the Oath,” Draco cuts in for the first time. “And Hermione doesn’t seem offended by the request.”
They all turn to look at her but she focuses on Harry and nods. “I’m not offended. I’m glad, actually. They’re looking out for your best interest and no one has ever done that for you before. I’ll make the Oath, I just need the wording.”
Snape pulls out his stack of books once again and flips through the top one. Finding what he’s looking for, he hands the book to her splayed with the page she needs ready and waiting for her.
She pulls her wand and stands. “I, Hermione Jean Granger, solemnly swear that I will stand as Heir to Duke Harriet Jasmine Potter of the House of Potter, from this day until the day her trueborn child reaches their majority. Further I swear that I will relinquish my place as her Heir upon her request and without rancor and should she pass from this world after the birth of her child but before their majority, I will stand as Guardian and Regent to my sworn sibling. I swear this upon my life and magic. So mote it be.”
Golden sparks fly from her wand as the oath settles and Snape and the Malfoys nod their approval.
Then Harry stands and pulls her wand with a scowl. “I, Harriet Jasmine Potter the Duke of House Potter accept and declare Hermione Jean Granger as my heir, conferring upon her the honorary title: Marquess of Slytherin. I swear to shelter her and provide for her. My House and my vassals will teach her and guide her. I will honor her as a member of my family and household from this day until her last day. So mote it be.”
Again golden sparks fly from the wand, sealing the oath on her magic.
“Heard and witnessed,” Lord Lucius says with a nod.
“Heard and witnessed,” The other three echo.
Harry huffs at them, “Can we go now? Is that going to be a thing? Like sometime today.”
“She gets a little grumpy when she doesn’t get her way,” Hermione stage whispers to Narcissa.
“Draco is much the same,” Narcissa nods sagely. “But if you let him throw his little fit he gets over his upset quite quickly.”
“I should hex you both,” Harry informs them with dignity before she turns and sweeps her way into the Receiving Room.
She leads them all past the Great Hall. The doors are standing open and those sitting close to them watch avidly as they go. Hermione does her best to ignore how they all start whispering as soon as she’s passed. Things have been that way for them pretty much constantly since First Year. She really should be used to it by now.
Right outside the main entrance there is a carriage in Potter Red with gold accents. It’s being pulled by a pair of Granians so dark a gray that it would almost be more honest to call them black with the man in the Cowboy hat from last night gripping the reins. He still has his hat but the rest of his rather muggle gear has been replaced with some sort of livery. Definitely for House Potter though Hermione’s never seen it before.
The door swings open and a woman steps out of the carriage as the approach. She looks rather like a younger Madam Sprout though she is wearing a uniform matching the coachman’s.
“Your Grace,” The woman greets as she sweeps her hat off of her head and bows.
“Thank you, Fauna.”
The woman stands with a grin and holds the door as first Severus then Harry, Hermione, and finally all of the Malfoys ending with Lucius climb on board.
She closes the door and the carriage rocks like two people are climbing on the back. The -well, Hermione supposes they are Harry’s Security- people shout back and forth for a moment and the carriage starts smoothly forward.
Almost the moment Hogwarts gates clang closed behind them, there are shouts and cheers coming from outside the carriage. At Narcissa’s poke, Harry pushes back the curtain on her left and waves at the crowd. The shouts get louder at the sight of her and Harry immediately drops her curtain to glare half heartedly at her lady-vassal. Pretty quickly they stop and disembark in the opposite order they boarded.
It occurs to Hermione then as Harry crunches down to the gravel behind her that this is her life now. She’s going to flit about and be pretty in what are no doubt slippers beaded with gems while Harry kicks her way through their world in scale-studded sabatons. She’d be angry about the very idea of having to be a ‘proper Lady’ if she wasn’t absolutely sure Harry would still expect her to hex first and to hell with what anyone else thinks about it. Her options aren’t so much limited by Harry’s request of her as her priorities have been rearranged.
The building they are in front of is a nice white little hall. In a muggle community it would likely be a church but that’s not the case in Hogsmeade. It’s just a plain, clean, boring little building.
If you don’t count the eleven banners of the Goblin Horde outside, that is. Or the dozen or so Security Goblins that she can see in full plate and carrying polearms.
“Brother,” Harry steps up to the goblin that appears to be in charge and they clasp forearms.
“Sister,” the goblin nods to Harry.
“How is Father?”
“Having a ball. He’s about to start fining humans through the nose for approaching him about you in the wrong way. You know fining humans always makes his day.”
“Well, as long as he’s having fun. You know everyone I have with me?”
The goblin turns to look at them and nods. “Yes,” he answers gruffly. “You chose Miss Granger as your heir after all.”
“I try not to deviate from my plans. When I actually make them.” The goblin laughs and Harry turns to her. “Hermione? This is Ragnorock, he is High Chieftain Ragnock’s first born son.”
“A shallow curtsy is appropriate,” Snape murmurs to her lowly so she steps forward and does as instructed.
Ragnorock nods to her and turns back to Harry, “Shall we go inside?”
“Will you be playing guard or assistant today, brother?” Harry asks as she stomps her way up the three little steps and into the hall.
“A combination, of sorts.”
“I look forward to it but first, can you tell me? I have heard that Igor Karkaroff is a rapist and a pedophile.”
The goblin Ragnorock hums briefly. “I know he used to do much of Riddle’s physical intimidation, particularly on those with family female and younger. What kind of intimidation that was exactly, I do not know for sure. We can investigate.”
“If you would, I can’t have someone like he’s rumored to be serving me. I’d rather father cut off his head.”
“I will find the truth for you, dear sister.”
“What about MacNair? Walden, I think his name is?”
“Walden MacNair is a harsh word away from losing all of his assets and his right to bank with the Horde. He murdered a boy fresh out of Hogwarts years ago. The Ministry refused to pursue the issue but the Bank saw the wergild paid when the family petitioned our court. Since then McNair stopped leaving families behind to complain.”
“If he shows up today, I would be glad if you would take any excuse to send him away. If I reject him outright, he’ll be free of me but if I just don’t address him before I remove Tom from my Family Magic,” Harry shrugs.
Ragnorock grins, “I swear you were born a goblin.” Harry just grins back like she’s pleased. “Any others?”
“Are there any others whose crimes we know for a fact weren’t dictated by Albus Dumbledore?”
“I’ll put our brothers on it.” Ragnorock gestures over his shoulder and one of the goblins guarding the door from the inside of the hall bows and leaves. “None they have not confirmed as being used will be allowed to see you today.”
“Allow Karkaroff through,” Harry tells him. “I have a plan for him.”
“Tell me what you’ve set up here.”
“Well, you’re going to need a table. We have paperwork you will need to review with each Death Eater before you take their oaths. The table we’ve set up can seat three to five. You need to remain in the middle of the table and have either two or four will sit with you. This is important for the wards on the room.”
“The petitioners will stand on this carpet in front of the middle seat. Over there we set up a study nook for your heir and her guard. She just needs to be in the room this morning but after lunch she’ll need to be at the table with you.
“Draco and Lucius will sit with me for now. Narcissa is going to play mum and deal with our guests. I need to Wizarding public to get used to my words coming out of her mouth and this setup is the most natural place for us to seed that idea for what comes next. She can sit at Hermione’s table when she’s not being the boss of everyone so that the numbers at my table aren’t in flux.
“What about the Press?”
“They won’t even be able to find the Hall until after lunch. Ministry personnel as well. We’ve heard from reliable sources that some of them plan to object to your title and you protecting Death Eaters.”
“Good luck,” Harry snorts.
“Are you ready to begin?”
“With the Azkaban crowd first, yes?”
Harry mounts the stage her table is on and they all take their assigned seats. “Let’s go.”
The goblin pulls a staff out of thin air and hits the end on the floor. Three rows of people, haggard and warn, wearing white and silver-runed hospital gowns appear near the door and a stack of folders appear on Harry’s right.
Harry pulls the top one and reads a bit. “Alecto Carrow,” She eventually calls.
A vaguely pretty woman with light brown hair shuffles forward from the middle of the pack with a man clinging to one of her hands. As she steps on to the petitioner’s carpet, her hospital gown transforms into a simple ankle-length dress of Potter Red. The man’s hospital gown transforms into simple pants, boots and a shirt with tie.
“You are a marked Death Eater. According to this you went to Azkaban when your father tried to report you as such but your brother, Amycus, killed him.” The woman nods, not looking at the man that is likely her brother, clinging to her hand.
“You- You’re betrothed to your brother?” Harry asks, shocked. The woman nods again.
“Is that something you want?” The woman, Alecto, looks up at her confused so Harry asks directly. “Do you want to marry your brother? Your twin brother.” The woman shakes her head.
“I need your words, Alecto.”
“No, I- I don’t want to marry my bro-”
“Silence woman!” The man clinging to her hand uses it to yank her backwards. “You will not- ack!”
Hermione looks up to see the man standing on his very tippy toes with his hands clawing at his throat. Harry is holding up her fingers in an honest to Merlin Darth Vader pinch.
“If you ever silence a woman like that in front of me again, I will maim you for life. You will not survive going beyond that point. This is your only warning.” Harry releases her pinch and the man falls to his knees. “Do you understand?” The man nods, not even trying to stand.
Harry huffs and gives a flat sort of smile. “I see here, Alecto, that you are the older of the two of you.”
“I am,” The woman hesitates. “Your Grace.”
“From these files, you have really nice handwriting.”
“Thank you, your Grace.”
“Would you like to be my Personal Secretary? You won’t be going to class with me or anything like that but you’ll handle my non-personal correspondence, receive guests for me, take notes when I attend meetings and the like. The position would come with some authority, obviously, with your direct connection to me but you’ll have security as well.”
“I would be honored, Your Grace.”
“Well then, Baron Carrow.” Harry holds up a ring box and pulls a ring from it. Hermione can’t see it very well from her seat but from how Lucius and Draco and several others choke on their shock, she’s going to assume it’s the House Carrow Lordship Ring. Harry just smirks as she wandlessly and silently floats it toward the woman currently called on her carpet. “We can count your brother as your heir for now but I want you to consider a female line of inheritance for your House. Your family magic apparently forces the birth of twins, this seems like a woman’s magic to me.
“Also, since he’ll have to take the oath for himself, that’s a second line of inheritance for your family so he’ll need an heir for himself. I imagine one of you will take Flora as heir and the other Hestia until you have children? Separately have children, I mean.”
“I will speak to my family and consider it, your Grace.” Alecto says as she takes a deep breath. She plucks the ring out of the air in front of her and slides it on. After a few moments of nothing happening, Alecto Carrow’s shoulders relax.
Harry nods firmly to her. “Very well, make the oath. To Potter, mind.”
The woman pulls her wand. “I, Alecto Minerva Carrow, Lady of the Ancient House of Carrow, solemnly swear the loyalty and obedient service of myself and my House to Harriet Jasmine Potter, Lady of the Ancient and Noble House of Potter. Further, I swear the House of Carrow will stand with and aid the House of Potter in every possible way, in War and in Peace, from this day until the end of days.”
Gold sparks fly and the oath is sealed.
“Amycus,” Harry orders sharply. She doesn’t have to expand or specify, the man just stands, plls his wand and takes a version of the oath that doesn’t say anything about his House.
“Good!” Harry grins. “Now this says you and your brother have already sworn yourselves to the Merlinic Principles.”
“Yes, your Grace.”
“Your first order if to personally take the Merlinic Oaths of each of your remaining family members. Your sisters are up at the school so I expect you to do this and return here before lunch.” With a wave of her hand, she sets both Carrows to hissing. They pull up the sleeves of their left arms in time to show the room their Dark Marks fading in a blood red rush. “Any questions?”
“The betrothal, your Grace?” Alecto asks.
Harry holds up a scroll and wandlessly sets it on fire. Lucius conjures a silver platter on the table and Harry places it there, still burning. “Done. Take a goblin with you so no one tries to get in your way.”
The Carrows bow and turn and leave.
“Bellatrix,” Draco watches amusedly as Severus pokes Hermione back to her reading and turns the the front in time to see his mother’s sister step forward. He fully expects this event to be boring start to finish but, then again, it’s already been pretty interesting.
“I thought telekinesis was a goblin-only ability,” He leans over to whisper to Harry.
She turns a positively bloodthirsty grin on him and says, “It is. It’s the first one I’ve manifested.”
Why in Merlin’s name is Harry manifesting Goblin gifts? “How long did it take?”
“Three days. Since, I was formally adopted by Ragnock and accepted as an acolyte to the Seven,” She explains.
“What about telepathy?”
Harry scrunches her nose. “I don’t want telepathy. Or empathy. I already know humans are shit, I don’t need to be constantly bludgeoned over the head with that knowledge.
Draco coceeds that that’s fair with a nod and leans back in his chair, trying to look like he’s not shocked down to his toes over Harry’s adoption by a goblin. She gives him an almost indulgent look that says she isn’t fooled by him in the least and turns to focus on his Aunt.
“We are at a crossroads here, Bellatrix. Lestrange or Black?”
Aunt Bella blinks up at Harry and asks hoarsely. “I get to choose?”
“You do,” Harry confirms.
“Black. I would be Bellatrix Black again.”
Harry nods and shifts her focus onto Uncle Rodo but he doesn’t say anything, he just starts turning purple in fury. Harry smirks at him and pulls what Draco assumes is the Black-Lestrange wedding contract and feeds it to the pyre that is –was- the Carrow contract.
“Lady Bellatrix Black, I understand you’re one hell of a witch in a fight. Fearless, vicious, and versatile, all of my favorite things.”
Aunt Bella gives her a small, pleased smile. “I am, your Grace.”
“My heir, the Marquess of Slytherin, needs personal security that can follow her everywhere she goes. I would like that to be you.”
“I would be honored.”
“Good. Our families are now firmly aligned as on top of everything else I am also Heir of Black and Sirius and I have exchanged the appropriate vows. However, in order to remove that Mark from your arm, I’m still going to need an oath from you personally.”
“Of course, your Grace.” Bellatrix pulls her wand and swears herself personally into Harry’s service.
“If you’ll wait to the side,” Harry gestures and a comfortable red and gold chair pops into place. Harry didn’t conjure it so Draco assumes Dobby must be listening in. “Some of your fellows will be joining you and then I’ll assign you all your training together.”
Harry turns her focus back to Bella’s former husband and brother in-law.
“Rodolphus Lestrange,” His former uncle steps forward, more to the center of the carpet laid as a courtesy for the petitioner’s comfort. “I understand you’ve refused to vow yourself to the Merlinic Principles.”
He nods silently. Harry works her jaw and raises an impatient eyebrow.
Note to self: Always use your words when working with Harry, Draco thinks amused.
“Care to explain why you refuse to swear yourself to the Merlinic Principles?”
“A wise wizard does not limit himself in such a fashion.” And then there is a clearly insulting pause that almost has Draco drawing his wand before he adds, “Your Grace.”
Harry’s mouth tightens, “And how exactly do the Merlinic Principles limit a wizard? I know many in our world hold up Merlin as a moral pillar but his principles are almost entirely neutral. The only behavior they speak against is excess, specifically seeking vengeance in excess.”
“They also forbid making war on children.”
“So you’re courting death for what? The ability to hunt children for sport? Do you honestly think I as your leige would allow such a thing?” The man doesn’t answer. Harry glares. “This is your final opportunity, Rodolphus Lestrange. Make the Oath to Potter or be declared breaker of your Oath to Slytherin.”
“You don’t hold my oath, mudblood.”
Draco is vaguely surprised he doesn’t spit at the end of that sentence.
Harry takes a deep breath, “Very well. I, Harriet Jasmine Potter, Lord of the House of Slytherin, declare Rodolphus Aiden Lestrange an oathbreaker in word and deed.” Then she hisses something low and hard. Rodolphus collapses to his knees screaming –shrieking– and clutching his arm.
After about two minutes Harry says, “Hermione, look away.”
“I am looking away!” Hermione confirms, her voice vaguely muffled.
Harry nods and the goblin she greeted as her brother pulls an axe and, well, cuts off the screaming.
“Box him,” Harry orders as the Lestrange ring all but jumps into her waiting hand. “Keep him on site but don’t display him, that’s just crass.”
Two goblins step forward. One takes his former Uncle’s head while the other levitates the body. They leave a puddle on the carpet and a trail of blood to the door but Harry doesn’t call anyone to clean it up.
Instead she focuses on the man’s brother. “Rabastan Lestrange.”
Rabastan takes a rather hasty knee in front of Harry, much to her obvious amusement. “This file indicates you joined the Death Eaters right out of Hogwarts and took no additional education or training of any kind.”
“That is correct, your Grace.”
“Do you want to spend the rest of your life as, what? A hanger-on? A groupie? A yes man?”
“No, your Grace.”
“Your father died in Azkaban so it is my place as your leige to get you on your feet and help you find your way. What would you like to do with your life, Rabastan?”
“I,” The so very young man chokes and bows his head, no longer able to meet Harry’s eyes. “I would like to apprentice in Charms and Magical Theory, your Grace. I want to be a spellcrafter.”
Harry once again floats a Lordship ring out to a soon to be and smiles as Rabastan slips it on. “See? That wasn’t so hard. Since you have taken the Oath to Merlin, I will find you an appropriate master, Earl Lestrange. Now, make your Oath to Potter.”
Rabastan does as ordered and stands with the blood of his brother still drying on his knees. When a chair appears beside Bellatrix, he bows once again to Harry and moves off to take it at her wordless dismissal.
“Antonin Dolohov,” A man that sort of looks like the generic brand version of Sirius steps forward from the remaining group. “Says here you were a member of Tom’s personal security.”
The man nods, “Yes, your Grace. Along with Nott, Rosier, and Mulciber.”
Harry pulls some more files and reads a bit. “My Brother killed Mulciber because he couldn’t keep a civil tongue in his head and Nott avoided Azkaban by claiming Imperius so he will have to present himself to me later but Rosier Senior is here.”
A man that looks like the human version of a puppy but is somehow rather sexy nonetheless with the most ridiculously floppy chestnut hair trying to make a play for his face steps forward.
“Earl Rosier, Sir Dolohov, I understand you have both taken the Oath of Merlin.”
“Yes, your Grace,” both men say and nod.
“Very well, make your Oaths to Potter.”
Rosier, as the higher ranking of the two, pulls his wand first and makes his vow. Once he’s finished he is quickly emulated by Dolohov.
Draco can’t help but wonder if his father’s family that disowned the man now called Dolohov for going to Azkaban is kicking itself for it now that their forsaken son has gained such a coveted connection to the Duke.
“The Goblins are setting the standard for my personal security,” Harry informs the two former Death Eaters as she waves their Dark Marks out of existence. She has them pull up their sleeve this time and there is no hiss of pain from either man. “Guard Captain Farguss will be overseeing your training. Or retraining as the case may be. You’ll find him in the antechamber.”
Bella stands to join both men as they bow at the obvious dismissal and leave the room.
“Augustus Rookwood.” The man that steps forward- This guy, Draco swallows. This man looks like premeditated murder incarnate. Draco’s never met a wizard the intentionally shaved their head before, it’s completely the opposite of what most wizards of rank do, and it’s utterly intimidating. “I understand you and Jugson used to work in the Department of Mysteries.”
Jugson, the last person waiting to be called, moves forward to stand beside Rookwood. He’s tall and muscular with arms as big around as Draco’s thighs. His hair is just past chin length, a solid red-brown, and he has his forelocks tied neatly back.
“Were the two of you just spies for the Ministry or actual researchers? These files don’t specify.”
“Researchers, your Grace,” Rookwood says in a deep and rumbling Scottish bur.
“I was also an Unspeakable,” Jugson adds with a nod.
“Good!” Harry grins at them. “I have like three research projects I need humans I can trust on. And that list is bound to go up the more I get into my various familial legacies. How are you with potions?”
“Mastery level,” Rookwood says. “But not as talented as Severus Snape, your Grace.”
Harry waves that away. “Some assignments are still in flux, though obviously he’s going to outrank you as vassals since he was sworn before you. In fact, he was sworn as my vassal first so he is the boss of all of you after me and my heir.”
“Of course, your Grace,” They agree together.
“Earl Rookwood, Baron Jugson, it indicates here that you’ve already taken the Oath to Merlin before the goblins.”
“Yes, your Grace.”
“Make your Oaths to Potter.”
Rookwood goes first, of course. Then Jugson makes his oath. When they stand a third chair appears beside Rabastan. The two men visually check with Harry and go to sit when she waves them over.
“Brother? Who do we have next?”
“A bit of pleasure for you, First Daughter,” He says after consulting a list. He walks over to the door and opens it, barking something in Goblin into the room beyond.
Three men walk through the door. Professor Lupin comes first, which makes Draco a little nervous because werewolf. Then comes Charlie Weasley and bringing up the rear a damn near feral looking man with a deep tan and white-blue eyes. All three are wearing formal robes. Lupin with the Black crest over his heart, Harry’s dragon tamer with the Weasley crest over his heart, and the wild man bearing a crest Draco has never seen before.
“Moony!” Harry grins and when she stands the whole room stands with her. Not that Harry seems to notice as she throws her arms around the freaking werewolf. “I figured you’d still be with Padfoot.”
“I was,” Lupin laughs as he lets Harry dart off to hug her Weasley. “But then we heard the Wireless going on about you riding through Hogsmeade in the Potter Coach and we decided you might need some assistance.”
“I have assistance come out my ears but you’re always welcome with me and experienced mischief management is hard to come by.”
Draco grins at his father as the older man groans under his breath.
Harry hugs the wild man and then turns back toward the dias.
“Hermione, Draco, you know Remus Lupin and Charlie Weasley, of course.” Draco nods and spies Hermione standing by the edge of the stage nodding as well. “This is Alexis Kealoha, son of MAster Cursebreaker Karguff. He is one of the poor souls that is attempting to Court me.” The man, Alexis, barks a laugh. “Charlie being the other, obviously.
“Alexis, this is my heir Hermione and Draco is Lucius and Narcissa’s son.”
“Narcissa? The woman out there?” Alexis rumbles, jerking a thumb to indicate back over his shoulder. Harry nods. “I’d say she’s a real lioness on your behalf but from what I know of your school, she’d probably take it as an insult.”
Harry laughs and Draco does too. Because the ridiculously sexy Alexis is right, his mum would take it as an insult but coming from these ultra-lion Gryffindors Draco can see the complement of it too.
“Alright, Malfoys,” Harry says turning around to face them once again. “One of you can stay at the table but the other needs to scoot and help Hermione. I don’t care who does what, just get a move on.”
Draco looks to his father who gestures him to stay as he stands. His father moves off to join Severus and Hermione and Draco looks back to Harry for further directions.
“Remus, if you will take Lucius’s seat on my left?” The werewolf nods and starts his way up the stage. Harry turns to her maybe-suitors. “I would invite the two of you up to the table but that would send the wrong message since nothing between us is officially official yet so if you two steal Rookwood and Jugson’s seats over there to the side, I’ll have someone summon benches for the soon to be growing crowd.”
Without waiting for an actual order, Rookwood and Jugson stand and summon two columns of plain wooden benches.
Harry doesn’t look too happy with the sight of them but then she plops herself down on the nearest bench. “Okay, these are a lot more comfortable than they look. Good job, both of you.”
Both men nod and move to take the aisle seats between the two columns. To Draco, its an obviously protective measure as it puts them in the best position to react the fastest if any petitioners show themselves a threat to Harry. Harry just rolls her eyes and ignores it.
The door in the back opens and his mum peaks in. “The Carrows have returned, your Grace. All four of them.”
“Very good. Let them in, please, Narcissa.”
His mum nods and retreats. A moment later, Baron Carrow enters with Hestia and Flora flanking her at a step behind and Amycus bringing up the rear.
“Are you ready to begin your duties?” Harry asks Alecto.
“I am, your Grace,” She replies with a curtsy.
“Take a seat beside Remus then. Call Dobby for any materials you need. Rookwood, if you would fill in beside Draco. I know it’s not really your style but just for now?”
The two nod and move to fulfill Harry’s very gently worded orders. Without waiting for instruction, Rabastan immediately moves to take Rookwood’s former guardian position at the head of his column of benches.
“The rest of you can sit wherever you like. We’re going to be here a while so if you decide to chat, be respectful about it and if you need to leave, do so when the doors are already open.”
“Yes, your Grace,” They all say and the few still standing find and claim seats for themselves in strategic spots around the room.
Harry comes back up to the stage and regains her seat. She pulls a couple letters that Draco didn’t see her get out from under her battle robe and sets them on the table, far from the gently burning contact fire. Harry nods at her brother and the goblin makes a note on the parchment in his hands.
Barely two minutes later the door opens once again under the hand of him mother.
“Marquess Avery and his heir are here to see you, your Grace.” She steps to one side to let an older man that honestly looks more likely to stab you in the face than smile step forward. At his side is a wide-eyed, baby-faced young man that Draco knows for a fact graduated for Hogwarts just last year. A Ravenclaw, he’s fairly certain. “Lord Langdon and his youngest son Rigel.”
Lord Langdon pays no mind to the blood trail left by the… care of Rodolphus Lestrange but Rigel definitely notices. He also definitely flinches when the petitioner’s carpet squishes under his father’s boots and Draco has to cough to hide his amusement.
Harry flicks him an amused look of her own and calls upon Dobby for, “Tea, if you would. Draco has a bit of a tickle. And if you can make this fire smell better, I’d welcome it.”
Two tea trays appear on the high table with an additional perfectly prepared cup in front of Harry and Dobby manually feeds applewood chips into the parchment fire. A file pops into place atop Harry’s already tall pile and she pulls it closer to review.
Harry hums. “One son murdered by Voldemort along with your wife, one son killed by Aurors during apprehension. You personally claimed Imperius during your trial, which makes you a liar. Why should I bring you into the House of Potter? What can you do for me?”
Before Lord Langdon can do more than open his mouth a hissing starts coming from within his robes. Specifically from his sleeve.
Harry blinks and gestures the man forward.
Remus pulls Harry’s little contract fire out of the way as she practically lays on the table to get a hold of Lord Langdon’s arm. He absently notes his father and Severus holding Langdon at wandpoint as Harry pushes back his sleeve to reveal his Dark Mark.
Harry talks to the snake very seriously for several minutes -handily killing anyone’s lingering doubt of her parsel status- before she pulls back just enough to start making notes on the folder of the man’s file. She keeps a hand on Langdon’s wrist to keep him in place while she does and the script she’s using? Is unlike any Draco has ever seen before. Somehow both rounded and jagged. Abrupt, like cuts on the page, but still sinuous and seductive.
Draco doesn’t know how the translate the look on Harry’s face when she finally gestures Langdon back. Which is really saying something, when you consider how deep of a study he made of his former arch-rival’s use of her face for the last three and a half years.
“Well, that was informative.” She says lightly. “Would you like to know what the snake spirit in your Mark had to say?”
“If it’s not too much trouble, your Grace.” Lord Langdon says with enviable equanimity.
“First of all, your Mark is different from all the others because you were one of the first he Marked. Back when you were going to school. With Tom Riddle.”
“Yes, your Grace.”
Harry nods, “He, Tom, learned pretty quickly to use the facsimile of a snake spirit. A construct, not an actual snake spirit, because the actual snake spirits just talk too bloody much.”
Langdon smirks amusedly but doesn’t verbally reply.
“That said, the spirit in your Mark doesn’t want to be parted from you. His name is Sekheth and he likes you. He also gave me a list of all the Death Eaters either of you ever knew about, which is sure to be useful, and he swears you are the most powerful of them all.”
Langdon waves that away. “I am, no doubt, the oldest Death Eater alive.”
“Magicals do get more powerful with age but that’s not what he’s referring too. Nonetheless. I have several good ideas for what I can use you for so if you’ll go ahead and make Oath to Potter. Sekheth says you took the Oath to Merlin as a young man.”
“My grandfather required it before he would allow me to inherit,” Langdon confirms with a nod and pulls his wand. His oath goes quickly and smoothly just like all the other Lords’ oaths.
When it’s finished, Harry turns to her right. “Rookwood, if you would return to your previous position. I feel Lord Avery would serve me best at my table.”
“As you will, your Grace.”
She looks directly at Draco, “Could you pop over one?”
“Of course,” He picks up his tea and moves.
Harry takes her tea in both hands and turns to face Avery directly. She goes so far as to throw her legs over the arm of her chair like she’s settling in for a bit of gossip. Draco catches the edge of an amused look as Avery fixes his tea and turns to mirror their liege lady. Without throwing his legs up, of course.
“Sekheth says you’re a very accomplished lawyer. And that once your family ‘shame’ became known you took your practice international.”
“That is true, your Grace,” Lord Avery nods.
“That’s very good news for me. Because everything to do with Goblins -and therefore everything to do with me– is considered international thanks to all those rebellions. I know you’ve more than earned a comfortable retirement but I need a man with your experience leading my legal team. Also I think all those young arseholes out there are going to see your age and assume you and therefore I am weak. Nothing makes my day more than being underestimated and winning anyway, so I can honestly say I look forward to watching you make a fool of them.”
Now Avery laughs. “I believe it is my duty to make your day whenever possible, your Grace.”
“Great! Now. How are you with finance? The Potters were merchants and inventors for generations and the Gryffindor and Slytherin estates are some the oldest and largest in the magical world. I need someone to dig into them and get them running properly for me. The goblins are going to help, of course, but the rules of Gryffindor and Slytherin require human account management as well.”
“I am not terribly gifted in the field of finance but my son,” He gestures to the man sitting nervous and pale beside Jugson. “He is quite capable in this area. He took over the House of Avery accounts for me before he even left Hogwarts.”
“Way to go!” Harry turns to Rigel who stands. “What about muggle accounts? Can you manage those as well?”
“I’m currently studying Economics at Cambridge.” He swallows nervously. “Your Grace.”
“Sounds like a solid yes to me. I’ll have Master Brogkar reach out to you from the bank. He is my Goblin account manager. The two of you will work out a schedule that works for you and he’ll probably agreed to formally train you in Wizarding finance, if you need it.”
“Yes, your Grace. Thank you, your Grace. I- i would be honored.”
“An apprenticeship directly from Gringotts is quite a boon,” Lord Avery agrees. Then he clears his throat. “About my son, your Grace.”
“What about him?”
“I would like your opinion on him before we go through the trouble of getting the High Chieftain’s approval. Informally, of course.”
Harry hums like she’s considering it and Draco desperately wishes he could veto this discussion. If there is one this a total bottom knows, it’s another total bottom. He can detect his own kind at 20 paces. But. It’s not his place to have an opinion for his liege lady on her possible love life. He tries desperately to send her the mental message nonetheless.
It seems to work despite Harry’s verbal scorn of telepathy because she asks almost absently. “Do you have a daughter?”
“Not among the living, I’m afraid.”
“I’m sorry for your loss but as I already have two men maybe-Courting me, I’m not interested in adding to that number until we’ve acquired our first female mate, if you know what I mean. I honestly hadn’t expected to, uh, recruit so to speak beyond Charlie until after Hogwarts but I’m pretty sure my gob-father deliberately sabotaged that.” Ragnorock barks a laugh from the front of the room. “My brother clearly agrees but, regardless. Female comes next. Well, unless your son has a functioning vagina? I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have assumed.”
“No,” Avery looks vaguely worried. “No vagina.”
“Okay. Well. Now that that’s done. Sekheth says you have blackmail material on every single person currently employed by the Ministry?”
Avery nods and then concedes. “Perhaps not for much longer in the case of Madame Bones. I believe she is formalizing her situation with a contract which would make it completely above board despite how it started.”
Harry waves that away. “I’m rather curious. What could you possibly have on Arthur Weasley?”
“Are you sure this is information you want? I understand you have a positive consociation with his family.”
“So you do have something? What could you possibly have? On Arthur?”
“He did not start out in the Misuse of Muggle Artifacts office at the Ministry,” Avery tries delicately.
“Where else would he have started? It’s not like anyone else would want to be there.”
“That is true but you underestimate his,” The aged lord hesitates. “Unpopularity at the Ministry back when Tom was just rising to power.”
“Where did he start?” Harry asks, straight up and without room for Avery to maneuver.
“The Wizarding Orphan Welfare Office.”
Harry blinks trying to figure out the implication. Ooh. “You mean he had something to do with my-” She hesitates to say it.
Avery doesn’t. “Your kidnapping.”
The world narrows and goes strangely silver-gray.
A big hand settles warmly between her shoulder blades and Moony orders her to, “Breathe Harry. Just breathe.”
She takes a shuddering breath and realizes she dropped her tea.
“Dobby,” Moony calls and the elf appears with a little pop. “A hot chocolate, if you please.”
Moony helps her to drink as Dobby magically cleans the tea up from her lap and the floor. And the table. And some of her parchments.
“I apologize,” Avery begins. “I understood you to be a woman that appreciates plain speaking.”
“She is but she’s only fourteen,” Moony growls. “She’s reaching her limit.”
“Completely reasonable,” Draco of all people defends her. “When you consider all that we all know has happened in the last two days.”
“That is true,” This time Avery sounds actually sincere. “I do apologize.”
“That’s fine,” Harry croaks. “I just hadn’t thought of it- I mean, that word-”
“You were forcefully taken from your rightful guardian and delivered illegally into unfit hands. There is no other word for it.” Then Avery frowns and maybe he’s put out on her behalf but she doesn’t quite think so.
“I can see that. Sort of. But Moony’s right. I need to stop with all the personal shocks. I’m ready from someone else to be on display.”
Avery offers a dry, “Then may I suggest taking a wife that is prettier than you.” And Harry barks a surprised laugh that almost makes her feel better. “One that enjoys being on display.”
She allows herself to giggle for another moment and then she looks up at her adopted brother. There’s a light in his eye that she knows means he’s added Arthur Weasley to his list but she doesn’t have it in her to object. Not now. Not today.
“Let us move on to the next petitioner,” Ragnorock intones.
She nods and he makes a note on the enchanted scroll he’s communicating with Narcissa on. Soon there is a knock at the door and Narcissa steps through.
“Mr. Diggory, your Grace. And his heir, Cedric.”
That is, Harry frowns, really unexpected. “This time if for Marked Death Eaters only, Madam Malfoy.”
“Yes,” The beautiful older woman agrees. “It is.”
Huh. “Let them in.”
A file appears on Harry’s table and she pulls it close to read.
“Tell us how you came to be Marked.” She orders without looking up.
Diggory clears his throat a bit and when she refuses to look up, he sighs and begins. “I fell foolishly in love with a witch. My family is well off but at the time not noble. When my son finishes school, we have the opportunity to Ascend so with the leverage of shaping a future noble house, I negotiated a marriage contract with Lord of the woman I loved’s House for her hand. She was a rather minor daughter of his House, the lord’s first cousin twice removed, and the contract was granted. But then when we left Hogwarts and the contract was to be filled, she ran off with a muggleborn!
“I was furious. I still get furious about it if I allow myself to think about it. Been that way for so long it feels almost as natural as it does foreign.”
Now Harry looks up at the ruddy faced man. “We have a bit of a quandary on our hands, Mr. Diggory.”
The older man blinks and nods to her.
“Your opinions of magical creatures are, quite frankly, vile. And you’re incredibly vocal about them. And yet you are bound to me, a goblin. What do suppose we should do about that?”
“You’re not a goblin!” He protests hotly.
“Yes,” She struggles to keep her voice even. “I am. I am the daughter of High Chieftain Ragnock. Adopted, perhaps, but his magic runs in my veins. I’ve already exhibited telekinesis. I speak, read, and write the language of the goblins. As you must know, it is a magical language just like parseltongue and cannot be learned. Magic gives it to the Goblins and protects the secret of it. Just minutes ago I called fire with neither word nor wand, something only goblin priestesses of the Seven can do.
“These are just the first of my Goblin abilities, it’s only been three days.”
The man goes pale as a sheet and rocks back on his heels. Only Cedric’s not-quite subtle support keeps him standing.
“Here’s what I suggest. I will have the goblins work on healing you of both Tom and Dumbledore’s -and anyone else’s- undue influence. I’ll pay for it all and I’ll order your Mark to release any curses Tom may have placed on you to fulfill his agenda within the Ministry. I will also order your Mark not to let you speak so you don’t offend my people. In a month, we can revisit this discussion and see about me taking your oath. What do you say?”
“That’s very-” The man blinks. “You would do all that for me?”
“No. I’m doing this for Cedric.” Cedric looks up at her with wide, grateful eyes. “This makes us even, Ced.”
“No,” Cedric croaks then he clears his throat and tries again. “No, this puts me back in your debt, your Grace.”
Harry rolls her eyes. “You need to put more value on your own life.” She ignores both Draco’s and Hermione’s soft snorts and points at her fellow champion. “You do anything less than your best for the rest of this bloody Tournament and I’m going to hex you bald.”
Cedric gives her a softly pleased look and nods. It’s charming and beautiful and Harry just doesn’t want to look at it anymore.
“Brother, will you see Mr. Diggory to the healers?”
“I have already called an escort for him, sister-mine. His Mark?”
“Right, may I see it?”
Lord Langdon watches with interest as Diggory pulls up his sleeve and the young Duke begins hissing. He’s not an expert, obviously as he wasn’t born with the gift, but he’d say Potter’s parseltongue is quite a bit different from Riddle’s. It’s lighter, less oppressive, but he’s not sure if that’s because her voice is higher or her intent is purer or simply an exhibition of difference between masculine and feminine magic. Something to research, he supposes.
“Are you ready to go?” Harry asks Mr. Diggory as a test. The older man opens his mouth, most likely to complain, but nothing comes out so he frowns and nods. Harry grins. “Good. You won’t be able to vocalize until I tell your Mark. This is to help you keep your life but it doesn’t give you carte blanche to be a non-verbal arsehole so mind your manners.”
Diggory nods and almost naturally turns that into a bow.
“Off with you. You too, Ced, I’m sure you want to say goodbye.”
“Thank you, your Grace.” He bows like he actually means it and turns to walk back out with his father. Cedric holds the door for Narcissa as she steps into the doorway. They nod to each other and Narcissa turns to her.
“Your Grace,” She calls across the small yet expandable room. “Lord Jason Prewett and his heir are here to present themselves to you.”
“I thought the Prewetts were on the Light Side of the war,” She asks, flabbergasted. Wasn’t- Didn’t Molly say her maiden name was Prewett? She glances over at Charlie to see him looking just as shocked as she feels.
“They were, your Grace,” Narcissa confirms with a nod.
Mystified, Harry shakes her head to clear the shock, “Send them in.”
Once again a file prepared -probably rather hastily- by one of her many brothers appears by her right hand and she picks it up to read.
“Marquess Jason Prewett and his sister and heir, Helen.”
Helen, at least, Harry recognizes. She’s part of the Beauxbatons contingent that came to Hogwarts for the Tournament. Now though her long red hair is unbound and she is dressed in formal attire of a slightly darker than Beauxbatons Blue with the crest of Prewitt on her chest in silver. The man walking a pace ahead of her might be ten years older than her though Harry would be surprised if the age difference was that great. He’s long and lean, taller than even Alexis, with curling hair in a dark, dark red and a neatly trimmed goatee and mustache.
And he takes a fucking knee. Right there. Right in the middle of the bloody fucking carpet. And then he bows his head to boot!
Helen takes her cue from her brother-Lord and curtsies all the way to. The. Floor.
Harry doesn’t even- She can’t. She just can’t because, “What?”
“My House follows the Old Religion, your Grace.”
Oh. Fuck. “So you know. That blabbermouth-”
“Only revealed that you are indeed Beloved.” The man lifts his head to regard her with really pretty blue eyes. “As evidenced by the fact that he has yet to strike you down.”
Harry sits back in shock, much to the man’s obvious amusement. She clears her throat and admits, “I am well loved -and I know that- but let me tell you the expectations are intense.”
“Thankfully, I can only imagine.”
Harry waves for them to rise. “How did a man on the Light side get a Dark Mark?”
“I took it to save my mother,” He admits. “I was 10, just about 11, when,” He hesitates. “When Voldemort tortured my older half-brothers Fabian and Gideon to death. He wanted my father to take the Dark Mark, you see. To spy for him on the Light and my father refused.”
“You were there?” She asks, to clarify. “When they were tortured?”
“I was. And when he turned his wand on my mother, my pregnant mother, I told him I would do it. If he left my mother alone, I would do whatever he wanted. So He Marked me and then killed my father and his first wife. To keep my Mark secret, He said. A month later, I went to Hogwarts. I got myself Sorted to Ravenclaw because a private room would make keeping my Mark a secret possible and because Ravenclaw was largely seen as neutral in what many considered a Gryffindor-Slytherin war. Then I set about making friends with everyone.”
“Everyone. And I sent Him every single detail from every single student that seemed either like it would interest him or like it was just out of place in the hope it would give him an advantage and keep my mother and sisters alive.”
“That’s a lot of work.”
“It was. Worse because I was betraying every single person I talked to every single day. After the war ended I immediately left Hogwarts and re-started my second year at Beauxbatons since they take January admissions as well as September. My family has lived in France since.”
“Did your mother at least have her baby?” Harry can’t help but ask.
“Yes. Beth is a Fifth Year this year at Beauxbatons.”
There’s that at least, she supposes. “What do you do? Like what is your job.”
The man blinks. “I’m a Lord.” Which Harry mentally takes to mean ‘not much‘. “I run my family’s holdings.”
“How is your relationship with the Goblins?”
“Amicable,” He answers immediately. “However, this morning I bought and read your recommended reading on Goblins, so I expect that to improve.”
“You did that this morning? That’s got to be 600 pages.”
He pulls a shrunk book from his robe and resizes it. “I bought the expanded, illustrated version so it’s closer to twelve hundred.”
“How?” Harry asks, squinting suspiciously at the man.
“The Prewetts are Mind Mages, your Grace. Speed reading and perfect recall are the least of our abilities. And to be completely honest I have about half of the last chapter left.”
“So that’ll take you, what? Five minutes?” Not even sure what to do with that, Harry shakes her head and moves on. “So you know our standards of behavior. Do you still like making friends?”
“If they are legitimate friends, yes.”
“Okay, wrong question. How do you feel about making acquaintances? Or just talking to people? You see, I need a sort of International Point-man for the House of Potter. You’re intelligent, you’re clever, you’re dedicated. You’re handsome and you dress well. And you’re a follower of the Seven, which I see as a bonus. You live in France which is a country that seems really interested in me right now so I can’t help but think you might be the solution to, you know, all that.”
“Strangers from outside of this country trying to contact me. Right now it’s all going to the Bank but that isn’t going to work long term because they’re, you know, a Bank. Not an answering service.”
“You want me to,” Prewitt hesitates. “Answer your mail?”
“There will be some of that, probably. I was thinking you would hire staff for that though. I’m thinking more like a House of Potter Ambassador. Talk to people. Go to parties either with me or for me. Rub elbows, make a good name for all of us.” She gestures at the group currently in the room.
“I can do that.” Prewitt agrees with a nod.
“Good. You’ll need to get to know Alecto.” Harry gestures to her secretary who blushes under the man’s gaze, it’s the cutest thing. “She’ll be your point of contact unless you come up with something I have to address right away and then you’ll reach out to her anyway and she’ll get a hold of me.
“Now, to serve my House I require you to take the Oath of Merlin.”
Prewett nods and pulls his wand. He swears the long, formal version of the oath without prompting which Harry appreciates. “I, Jason Ignatius Prewett, solemnly swear to uphold the Merlinic Principle of Mercy. I hereby swear that I will comport myself with compassion, I will defend the weak and aid the ill and the aged, I will stand as champion for the forgotten and abused.
“I, Jason Ignatius Prewett, solemnly swear to uphold the Merlinic Principle of Equality. I hereby swear that I will observe and uphold the equality of all sentient creatures regardless of gender, age, race, species, creed, magical status or any other demographic label on this good Earth.
“I, Jason Ignatius Prewett, solemnly swear to uphold the Merlinic Principle of Righteousness. I hereby swear that I will seek and uphold justice in all things. I sweat that I will always do what I know to be right regardless of what anyone else may say or do.
“I, Jason Ignatius Prewett, solemnly swear to uphold the Merlinic Principle of Loyalty. I hereby swear that I will serve my Lord fully, gladly, and faithfully. I swear the protect the Realm and defend my family.
“I, Jason Ignatius Prewett, solemnly swear to uphold the Merlinic Principle of Integrity. I hereby swear that I will keep my word, uphold my vows, and be consistent from this day forward.
“I, Jason Ignatius Prewett, solemnly swear to uphold the Merlinic Principle of Nobility. I hereby swear that I will make every effort to exhibit grace under pressure. I will not seek vengeance in excess, nor will I make war upon children.
“I, Jason Ignatius Prewett, swear upon my life and my magic that I will hold the Principles of Merlin as mine own sacred code from this day until my last day.” And golden sparks shoot from his want, signalling the sealing of his oath on his magic.
Without prompting he continues with the vassal oath on behalf of himself and his House and sparks fly again.
Harry points a finger at Prewett’s heir. “You have been a raging arsehole to my heir.”
The girl flushes and bows her head. “I sincerely apologize, your Grace.”
“I’m not the one you owe that apology,” Harry tells her succinctly. “But if you ever pull any of that shite again, I’ll hex you mute. And then, because I’m a spiteful little thing, I’ll curse you bald. How would you like to have no hair at all for a year, hmm?”
“I will send your heir a formal apology immediately, your Grace. It won’t happen again.”
“Good. See that it doesn’t,” Harry nods and focuses back on the girl’s lord. “Now, show me your arm.”
The man hesitates for just a moment before pulling up his sleeve to bare his Dark Mark. Prewett’s Mark is bloody around the edges, swollen like when it was first given, Lord Langdon notes. Just like his own has been since the night before last.
He’s shocked beyond words when Duke Potter banishes Tom’s own Mark -created through ritual and with arduous research- with a nearly negligent back-handed wave.
And yet his own Mark remains hot and heavy on his arm and in his magic.
Is it a sign? He wonders, that she is not as pleased with him as she seems? He tested her, not only by pushing her on what he was certain was a sensitive subject but by doing so in front of his fellow vassals.
He knows what Tom would have done after such a thing. Cruciatus on himself or his heir would have been step one of his revenge. And he likely wouldn’t have been satisfied until one of them was dead through one means or another. Usually in such a way that would embarrass one and technically be the fault of the other.
But Duke Potter had welcomed him to her table and she didn’t change her course even after his test.
Cautiously, he picks up one of the quills by the Duke’s right hand and behind the cover of her ever-growing stack of files he writes:
I am still Marked.
Potter turns away from where Nott, several of his children, and the grandson that is his current heir are coming up the center aisle. She pins him to his chair with a sharp look and raises a single eyebrow. There is something in her gaze that would make him shiver if he allowed himself the break in discipline. There is something utterly ruthless in her Avada-green eyes. Something quietly-
And then it his him. He’s seen that look before.
On the face of Arcturus Black.
The last time they debated Wizengamot strategy before the older lord, his equal and ally, had died. It had been heated, late into the night, after several rounds of Firewhiskey. He remembers, he would have feared for his life then, if Arcturus had ever allowed his temper to go beyond his eyes.
Too bad he doesn’t have the same assurance with the new Head of the House Potter because when she speaks her voice holds the chill of the grave.
“I am aware.”
Back to EAD 2018.