Title: Gathering the Troops
Fandom: Harry Potter, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
Warnings: Canon typical for Harry Potter
Word Count: 2000
Thursday Picture Prompt: 06/27/19
Summary: Getting the truth is uncomfortable. But he needs to know before he starts his counterattack.
Related Post: A Once and Future King
Harry apparated to a spot in the Forbidden Forest and tried not to shudder as his expanded magical senses took the place in. He had noticed that his magic had gotten stronger and more sensitive since he had taken up his three Lordships. Add in the connection he apparently had to Hogwarts are her wards and it was all he could do not to crawl out of his skin.
“By Zir, what have they done to my forest?” Arthur asked.
“Lemme guess, it didn’t look like this when you were alive?” Harry asked, his voice quiet as he picked his way forward. His goal was the culvert that the basilisk had used to get out into the forest to hunt. No matter how gross the passage turned out to be, it was a way into the castle that was utterly ignored by the wards.
“No, it didn’t, lad. I hunted for boar and stag in here, not giant spiders and cursed snakes,” Arthur bitched as they moved forward.
“That’s the least of what’s in here,” Harry muttered as he moved into the culvert. The whole thing smelled like cess and snake. He was going to need to be boiled in a bath with lye soap to get clean. “But we aren’t dealing with that stuff right now. We need to concentrate on the castle.”
“Hogwarts will let you take control of the wards,” Arthur reminded him.
“I’m not actually worried about that,” Harry admitted. “I can already feel them shifting and trying to connect with me. I just don’t want her to warn Snape that he’s lost control. Or alert any of the Death Eaters that might be hanging around.”
Arthur snorted once. “She won’t, lad. She’s fed up with the whole lot of them and wants them gone.”
Harry rolled his eyes at that. He was sure the castle was as fed up with the whole Death Eater infestation as he was. “We’re just here for information, Arthur, not taking things over. That will come soon. I just want to get the lay of the land first.”
“Then you had better call Terrance,” Arthur suggested as they entered the Chamber of Secrets.
Harry looked around and frowned. “Where the hell is the snake?”
“Good question,” Arthur said. Harry had the impression that the spirit in the sword was peering around, taking in the empty space.
“Let’s see if Fawkes or Terrance can let us know,” Harry said grimly. “Fawkes!”
The phoenix flamed into existence in front of him and flapped his wings once before squawking indignantly. “Hello, Fawkes,” Harry said as he offered the bird his arm. “Can you bring Terrance down for a conversation.”
The noise the phoenix made sounded put upon, but he obligingly flamed out and then back seconds later. Harry quickly transfigured a rock into a stand for him as he landed with Terrance clutched in his talons. “Hello Harry, Arthur.”
“Terrance,” Harry transfigured a plinth for the hat out of more stones and set him on it. There was a vague impression of a face in the folds of the hat and he stared at where the eyes would be if the hat had any. “What’s been happening in my castle?”
“So, you took up the Lordship, eh lad? Good to know. I can see that Arthur is making an impression like always,” Terrance nodded once as if to bow. “The castle is full of scared students and pushy Death Eaters who are terrorizing them. The teachers are doing their best, but they’re hampered by not knowing if there’s any hope outside these walls. If they know that you are still alive and fighting, they will be able to go on.”
“Well that’s something,” Harry said as he stared at Terrance. “The teachers are prepared to finally stand up?”
“Lad, the only reason Minerva hasn’t killed all the Death Eaters besides Snape currently in the castle is she can’t be certain worse ones won’t show up,” Terrance admitted. “And she knows, for painful fact, that there are worse ones than Snape and the Carrows.”
“Right,” Harry agreed with a frown. There was one Death Eater that hadn’t been mentioned. “What about Malfoy?”
“That boy’s no more a Death Eater than you are,” Terrance declared. “Eh!” The tip of the hat shook itself at him like a finger. “Who’s the one who’s been on the head of every child in this castle? Some more than once? Draco has been coming to visit me since the start of your sixth year in an effort to get that damn Mark off his arm.”
“Why?” Harry asked. He wasn’t going to touch how he felt at being scolded by the hat.
“Why what? Why did he take the Mark?” Terrance asked. At Harry’s nod, he sighed. “Tommy-boy gave Narcissa to Greyback. Draco stopped resisting when he was told that she wouldn’t be hurt if he took the Mark. He stopped resisting then. He’d basically been ignoring what Bellatrix was doing to his father though.”
Harry suppressed a wince. If it had been his mother on the line, he was sure he would have done exactly the same thing. No one deserved to have Greyback anywhere near them. “And the shite he did last year? Was Voldemort threating Narcissa if Draco didn’t do what he wanted?”
“Yes,” Terrance said simply.
“Jesus Christ,” Harry leaned over and braced his hands on his knees as he drew in deep breaths. “Why didn’t he come to me? As much as we gave each other shite, he had to know I would do anything I could to save his mum. Or go to Dumbledore?”
“He went to Dumbledore,” Terrance admitted. “And the headmaster sent him on his way, saying he had made his bed. I don’t know why he didn’t go to you.”
“Let’s find out,” Harry said, voice grim. He reached out to Hogwarts and silently asked her to send him the head elf.
“Mater Gryff wants Pumpernickel?” the elf asked. Harry was relieved to see that he was wearing a clean smock and pants instead of the rags he had often seen other elves dressed in.
“Yes, there are a few things I need from you,” Harry stared down at the little being and then shrugged. The floor of the Chamber was clean enough to sit on without grossing himself out. Position changed to something more comfortable for conversation, he started outlining what he wanted to happen to the castle.
“Master Gryff wants elves to get information from the nasty Death Eaters?” Pumpernickel asked.
“I want to know their orders, I want to see whatever mail they get and if they have anything like a journal, I want copies of it,” Harry said. As bad as it was for the students, he and Hermione weren’t in a position to be able to take them out yet. “Do any of you remember what the diary Ginevra Weasley had in her first year felt like?”
He was taking a stab in the dark that one of them might have brushed up against the damn Horcrux, and remembered it. At Pumpernickel’s nod, he sighed. “Check the school to see if there are any more of them. If so, take them to Ragnok at the Bank. He’s been informed to expect them.”
“Nasty things,” Pumpernickel agreed with a wrinkled nose. “Is Mater Gryff wanting anything else?”
Harry thought about it for several seconds. “I’ll need groceries for three and to meet with Draco Malfoy.”
Pumpernickel tilted his head to the side as he considered that and then snapped his fingers. When the flash of light cleared, Malfoy was standing in front of Harry, clad in his pajamas.
“This wasn’t what I was expecting when I got ready for bed,” Malfoy sighed as he dropped down in the lotus position.
“Trust me, it wasn’t what I was expecting either,” Harry said dryly. “Why aren’t you trying to kill me?”
“I don’t want to kill you, Potter,” Malfoy admitted. “I never did. Now, I did want your attention, but you seemed to give most of it to the red-headed menaces you associated with. Them, I can’t stand.”
Harry shrugged at that. Not like he was all that thrilled with the Weasley family either. Well, three of them at least. “Even the twins?”
Malfoy looked conflicted for a movement and then nodded. “They’re funny and willing to work across house lines. I don’t really have an issue with them. Well, other than them being Weasley’s.”
“Fair,” Harry agreed. “Still haven’t explained why you aren’t trying to kill me.”
“How much do you know about pureblood traditions?”
“He knows basically nothing. Neither does Hermione,” Arthur cut in. “We haven’t actually had a lot of time to get him up to speed.”
Malfoy looked at the sword slung over Harry’s shoulder and raised an eyebrow at it. “I wasn’t aware that you were talking to anyone, sir.”
“When one of my descendants manages to pull me out of Terrance and use me to good effect, I start paying attention,” Arthur said. “And really, sitting in a case on display, is painfully boring. I would far rather be out and about, causing mayhem.”
“Why am I not surprised?” Malfoy asked the air and then tapped his left forearm. “This was forced on me for several reasons. The biggest at the time was to keep my family tied to the Dark Lord. If we are all marked, we’re all under his control. The next reason made that bastard laugh, which is horrific. I have soulmates. With this on me and corrupting my magic, there’s no way for me to bond and thus, no way for them to bond.”
“Oh, fuck me,” Harry breathed out as he realized what Malfoy was hinting at.
“That would have been on the agenda if you had been willing,” Malfoy confirmed. “Or maybe have you fuck me. But with this on my arm and in my magic, it won’t happen.”
Harry growled slightly and pulled his wand. He fired off a silent Patronus and gave it the message to tell Hermione the way was clear. “When Hermione gets here, I’m going to take a look at that damn thing because Riddle is an arrogant twat and I deserve to get something good out of this mess.”
“Not going to ask who the other soulmate is?” Malfoy asked.
“I already know who it is. Hermione. And she’s going to give you the lecture of a lifetime for not coming to us when we were younger,” Harry snapped.
“To be fair, I went to talk to you, but every time I got close, Weasley and his sister got in my way. And then it was too late and I went home between fifth and sixth years,” Malfoy said with a shrug.
“And the shit Umbridge did our fifth year didn’t help,” Harry reminded him. “Although that squad she put together…Why did you join it?”
“More like got sucked in against my will,” Malfoy admitted. “Umbridge made certain I was going to be involved, no matter what I wanted. To keep from getting killed by my housemates, I did my part.”
“Good to know,” Hermione said as she walked in. “Where’s the damn snake?”
Harry looked at Pumpernickel and raised an eyebrow at him.
“Headmaster Dumbles had us harvest it and send it to the dverger,” Pumpernickel admitted.
“That thieving bastard,” Harry breathed.
“Considering that was a full-grown basilisk? He stole at least a million galleons from you,” Draco said.
“I’ll get it from him later,” Harry said. “Hermione, meet the other third of our trio. We need to figure out how to get that damn Mark off of him so he can be ours.”
Hermione raised one eyebrow at him and nodded. “At least he’s cute. And has manners when he wants to use them.”
Draco blushed and shrugged. “Plus, I can talk about something other than chess, quidditch, and food.”
“Good point,” Harry admitted. “Let’s get started then.”