Title: Redemption Reborn
Fandom/Genre: Harry Potter, Merlin(BBC)
Content Rating: M
Warnings: All the standards for me & the Harry Potter Universe
Fifteen hundred years was a long time to way for history to line up and behave. Even for the Lady Magic. Time enough for the world to change beyond all measure and her place in that world to be reduced and mostly disregarded.
The gifts she had given the people who had come to her were fading. And even when she had worked hard to bring about a way to slowly, naturally strengthen the people she had chosen as hers, they still died. It seemed that pride, arrogance and insanity were the things driving some people forward.
When war came, as it always did, she watched. Was this the time that she would allow her greatest weapons to live again? Would she let them out into a world that was so different from what it had been when they had gone to sleep in her arms? She didn’t know. She just didn’t know. And so, she settled down to watch, and wait.
Time passed the children of her heart, her fire, cleaned up their own mess and started to explore again, started to live. And Magic tucked her warriors away, safe and sleeping. The years rolled by until she felt the universe rip. Somewhere, someone had found knowledge that had been hidden, that was supposed to be lost forever and used it.
She watched in horror as the knowledge was used four more times. After the fourth use, she determined that the time had come. If that cursed knowledge was out where it could be found, then the couple she had guarded for so long were needed. It was the work of only moments to manipulate the events she needed to slip her warriors into their new lives.
Her king went into a family that was far darker than she wanted, but there was no other choice. To make the differences he needed to make, he had to be nestled into the worst of the darkness. All the things that made him great, she set guards on, tried to give him the tools he would need to allow him to grow into the king he would need to be. She could only hope it worked out.
Her mage went into a loving family that would care for him with all they had. Too bad she already knew what Fate planned for him. But the foundation of their love would keep him as safe was possible until he met and bonded with his King again. As dark as things would be for him, she knew that somewhere along the way, things would get better.
She watched as the Fates plucked the strings of their Seers, letting the world know that great changes were coming, events were unfolding. Magic laid out her plans, set forth her players and waited. All she could do now was wait. And watch.
Draco had been born early and he had always known why. Given what he had heard around corners, it was probably for the best. The hints all stated that his father had arranged for his birth to be almost two months early. The blond had known that he had been a ritual birth, gestated in a very special dverger made sphere that had been passed down his family line for more than a thousand years. He had even seen the bauble right before he had celebrated his eleventh birthday.
At eleven, he hadn’t been all that impressed with it. It was fairly pretty and shiny which was nice, but it looked like nothing special. Every year that he could remember, his mother had looked at it and run her finger across it before turning away. He was certain that the tradition remained unchanged after he went to Hogwarts.
Five years later, and Draco woke up on the morning of his 16th birthday and cursed. His language was coarse, rude, and unapologetically foul. His eyes blazed with the fire of magic that hadn’t been seen on the shores of England since before England existed. Reaching out, he carefully set up a silencing ward around his bed and screamed out his anger to the only being that had a chance of hearing him.
Magic ignored him as she had done for centuries. For all that he had slept away the years while the country outside of Avalon moved and changed, as the Once and Future King, he had needed to know what was going on. And the spell, curse, whatever the fuck thing that kept him tied to Camelot, Avalon, and England, kept him informed of what was going on in the world at large.
So, waking up with the knowledge of what had happened and who he was, was less than thrilling. If he ever got Lady Magic in his hands, he would roast the bitch. And do the same for the Fates. Hadn’t Uther been Dark enough? Did they have to drop him into a family that made Uther look like he could pet a unicorn and live to tell the tale? For fucks sake, his father was a Death Eater, his mother was hell on wheels and the less said about his aunt, the better. Even as mad as Morgana had been in the end, she had been better than Bellatrix.
Draco Artorius Malfoy ran a hand over his face and shuddered at the thought of his aunt. There was no way that he wasn’t going to deal with that woman right away. As mad and morally lacking as his aunt was; she was even more dangerous when she was bored. He really hoped that there was something to do at the Manor. Because it could be dangerous for his mother if her sister got bored.
“If I die before everything is taken care of, I will come up there and shave you bald, make sure to replant every sign in your garden in the wrong spot after scattering weed seeds far and wide, then I’ll get the Fates to find you a damn date,” the Once and Future King muttered softly before casting a wandless tempus charm. It was just after two am the morning of his birthday. Blowing out a deep breath at the sight of the date, the teen nodded. “Maybe if you get laid, you won’t be such a bitch.”
He didn’t hear anything, but that wasn’t unusual. Magic had never bent to his will like she had for Merlin and he wasn’t upset in the least that she wasn’t looking at him. As bad has his fate was and had been, his soulmate had had it worse in those days. He had been constrained by both his station and Arthur’s, the inability to actually act by using his magic until the last few years before their deaths and a war that they had fought at the worst time imaginable.
Draco had no idea who his mate actually was in this new time, but he had a hunch that he was going to want to hunt down the Lady Magic and follow through on his threats. Sighing softly, he pushed the thought aside and ran a hand through his hair. Dismissing the tempus spell, the teen pushed himself into the wards of the castle and settled in to examine them. He had hours until he had to be up and he could take his time.
Four hours later, the young wizard pulled himself free of the wards and sat on his bed and seethed. What in the hell had Dumbledore been playing at for the last few years? The wards, when he had first slid into them, had more holes than Muggle Swiss cheese and they had all, to a one, been deliberately set. Holes to let animagus’s in, holes to let Death Eaters in, and holes that let trolls in. There were holes that had allowed a basilisk to move through the walls and ones that allowed those who were disguised to walk the halls. There were enough holes in the wards that Draco had no idea how they still stood.
Well, he had been determined to close as many of the holes as he could. He was too far away from the main heartstone of the school to do more than sew shut the major holes, and even then, his repairs were tentative. As Arthur, he had never taken on the task of working with the castle wards, that task had fallen to Merlin. He had helped of course but the main heft, the main mind behind the wards, had come from his wizard.
Speaking of wards… He was over one hundred leagues from his castle and there was no rational way he could feel the wards that had protected it. But as soon as he closed his connection to Hogwarts, he could feel the ones to his castle, his land, awaken in his head. Over fifteen hundred years’ worth of status reports were condensed down to what amounted to a single page and he wanted to scream again. When he got a hold of Merlin, he was going to shake him until he was dizzy.
Arthur had wanted him to live. Live, see their child grow up, watch Gwen and Lance have a dozen babies and make sure Camelot prospered. The bastard had been supposed to have lived. He hadn’t wanted his mate to hold on just long enough to make sure their son could be born safely before dying on the shores of the same lake he had died at.
What made it all worse was that as Draco, he recognized the method that had nurtured their child. Fifteen centuries later, the same damn thing had seen to his own rebirth. The circle of circumstances there was confounding. He was going to be checking into how that little device had made it into Malfoy hands, he really was.
His wards were letting sound in now and he could hear his dorm mates waking up. Yawning slightly, Draco pulled everything but what should be on his bed at Hogwarts back into himself. He could tell his eyes had lit up in the small space and he wondered what they looked like how. When he had been Arthur, his eyes had been blue and they had lit up with a pale blue color that had actually blended enough that he had been able to use his magic easily.
As Draco he had eyes that were a grey/blue color that tended to look almost silver in the right light. It would be interesting to see what he got this time around. And to see what Merlin got. His wizard had been less than thrilled to have his eyes light up like gold every time he used his magic. If it happened here too, Draco knew that he would laugh his arse off.
“Draco! Time to get up!” Blaise rapped a fist against the post of bed and carefully avoided the curtains.
The Once and Future King smiled grimly. He had charmed those bits of fabric years ago to snap like a mouse trap at anyone he didn’t want touching what was his. Since he slept in only one bed while at Hogwarts, the charm stayed on and he added layers with every year. It would be interesting to see if he was able to remove them at the end of his seventh year…
Waving his hand at the curtains, he allowed them to open. Blaise was standing at the foot of his bed, looking as impatient as the other boy ever allowed himself to be. “You’re going to be late for breakfast if you don’t get moving.”
The motions to grab his wand were habit and Draco was careful to follow it. There were a number of things he was going to be changing, as soon as he got up, but that wasn’t going to be one of them. “Thanks. I think I overslept.”
“No, shite. Well, better hurry if you want to get any breakfast,” Blaise told him softly after looking down the row at the rest of the beds. Draco was unsurprised to see that the rest of the dorm was up and he slid out of bed, gathering his morning supplies with a careless wave of his wand.
“I’ll see you at breakfast. Spread the word that I want to talk to everyone in the House tonight before dinner. And that no one is to step out of line all day. Avoid any and all confrontations with any of the other Houses. Have them follow the actual rules of Hogwarts, not the shite that Umbridge is spouting.”
Blaise looked at him; eyebrow raised and shook his head. “That won’t go over well.”
Draco pulled the mantle of who he was over him and let it shine through him. He could tell his friend noticed when he stood straighter and grew as pale as a man of Blaise’s complexion could. “I really don’t care.”
“I have no idea what’s gotten into you, Draco, but this had better be good. I’ll pass the news around,” his friend muttered before heading off.
“It’s pretty damn good, I think,” the teen muttered as he used a quick wandless cleaning spell that Merlin had used on him when they hadn’t had access to water on himself before getting dressed. Brushing his teeth and dealing with his hair and other events took only moments and he grabbed his school bag before heading down to the Great Hall.
The whole of Slytherin looked at him when he walked in and he nodded at the table before sitting down and pulling together a decent breakfast. As soon as he got his plate together, he cleared his throat and carefully projected his voice down the length of the table. “Yes, there will be a meeting tonight. Yes, I want you all to obey actual the rules of Hogwarts as if the shite that Umbridge has put out was never written. The Inquisitorial Squad is fucking disbanded and if I catch any of you doing anything that is illegal, I will make damn sure you live long enough to regret it. I’ll explain why tonight.”
Everyone looked at him and then up at the staff table. Draco didn’t even bother to look at Umbridge. She could turn pinker than her moronic clothes for all he cared. He started eating and as he worked his way through his meal, the rest of his House picked up their meals as well. The Once and Future King nodded. There was still something satisfying about getting people to bend to his will.
He was finishing the last of his tea when Potter stumbled into the Great Hall. Draco kept a wary eye on the kid but didn’t make it obvious. If ever there was a kid with a destiny almost as bad as his, it was Harry Potter. The Boy Who Lived bullshite was enough to make him vomit and if he thought about what he had put the kid through before today, he just might.
When Potter sat down at the Gryffindor table, Draco met his eyes and tried not to choke. He knew those eyes! Admittedly, the last time he had seen them, they had been blue, not green, but he knew them. His mate, the other half of his soul was Harry Fucking Potter.
Merlin was going to kill him.
Draco paused on his way out of the Great Hall after lunch. There was a very large part of himself that wanted to keep on walking, but he couldn’t afford to. Not yet. He needed to do some actual research. Who and what he was might cause unexpected consequences depending on where he went. Already the changes he had made to the wards of Hogwarts were echoing through the day.
At any rate, as a Prefect, he couldn’t just walk off and ignore the pink toad. He needed to try to deal with her in a manner that would cause her to leave the student body alone. Draco was reasonably certain be wouldn’t succeed, but he had to try.
“Madame,” he said, voice even. From the corner of his eye, he saw the ‘Golden Trio’ pausing to stare at the scene before them. He didn’t blame them. Yesterday he had been sucking up to Umbrage like the worst sort of sycophant. Today, he was treating her as if she was an enemy of the House of Malfoy.
“My office, if you please!” Umbridge tried to sound imposing, but to his ear, she just ended up sounding overblown and shrill.
Looking down his nose at her, he tried to figure out what in the hell he had been thinking when he had thrown his hat in with her. Reviewing the previous five years of his behavior, Draco was coming to the conclusion that he hadn’t been thinking at all. He kept his face neutral with an effort and raised an eyebrow at her when she huffed. “After you, Madame.”
Umbridge walked off towards her office and Draco followed behind. He could tell that she was trying to seem imposing as she walked down the halls, but she was coming off as petulant more than anything else. Everyone still moved out of her way. Not that he could blame them. None of them knew about his change of heart, yet, so they were wise to remove themselves from the line of fire.
Draco used the walk to figure out a way to explain his change of heart to the school at large and Umbridge in particular. He wanted something good, something other than that he had woken up and remembered that he was the Once and Future King of England. While that might work on the purebloods, it wasn’t something that he wanted gadded about. Not yet.
That left him a puzzle and he picked at it as he moved through the hallways. Finally, he shrugged. He was going to take advantage of his ancestry and use that. The Malfoy’s had no seers at all in the lineage, but the Black’s had a good dozen or so, with one only two generations removed from him. At sixteen, he was almost too young for the gift to wake, but war had been known to bring unusual gifts and skills to the surface. And they were at war, no matter what the Ministry tried to say.
Decision reached, Draco let his face smooth out, no longer even bothering to show a hint of annoyance in his expression. When Umbridge slammed the door to her office open and whirled to face him, he had to work to keep that non-expression from melting into amusement. She was trying her very best to be intimidating and it wasn’t working. It helped that the pink toad pointed her wand at him.
“Pointing that thing at me won’t win you any favors,” Draco told her as he spread her hands. “Remember, even if the current Patriarch of my House is in dire straits, the House itself is still a going concern.”
All she did was snort at that and smile. “You will tell me what I want to know, Malfoy, or I will make that ‘going concern’ of yours gone,” Umbridge hissed as she moved to stand behind her desk.
The teen gazed at her, keeping his eyes level and focused on the Inquisitor. “What did you want to know?”
“What did you tell your House at breakfast? Why are my Inquisitors not reporting events to me! I know the events are related!” Umbridge demanded, her own eyes lit with an inner madness he had never noticed before.
He held his peace for a moment before he let his hands fall back to his side and shrugged his shoulders lightly to reset his bag. Umbridge was as mad as a hatter and nothing he did was going to change that. If she went off the deep end, he wanted his hands at the ready to defend himself.
Draco kept his voice even as he let her know about the new order. “They are obeying me, Madame. As of today, Slytherin is no longer your private army.”
“Slytherin House had better be,” Umbridge retorted. “I would hate to see how many of your parents I can throw into Azkaban for being Death Eaters. Or how many can go for being suspected of that crime. I’m sure once I announce that, I will have my army back.”
“Try it,” Draco told her without a hint of a quaver in his voice. Azkaban was an abomination and if he had to, he would raze the damn place to the ground, taking every Dementor out with it. After all, his gift was fire and the fire he could summon could burn even stone. Add in a Patronus that was powered by that same fire? Her threat was useless.
“Don’t think I won’t. Cornelius won’t hesitate,” she told him, her grip on her wand going white around the knuckles.
“I don’t doubt that he would try. And that he might be able to find some aurors that would go along with him. Getting all of that past Madame Bones, however, would be interesting. I wonder what she would say about your abuse of authority?” Draco asked her, his voice conveying his curiosity and his willingness to do exactly what he had said.
“Do you think that she will believe you? You are a Death Eater’s son! Perhaps even a Death Eater yourself! I am the Undersecretary for Magic!”
The teen pushed the sleeves of his jumper up and unbuttoned his shirt to fold the linen up as well. His forearms were extremely pale and totally unmarked. “Whatever my father may be, Madame, I am no Death Eater. As for belief? I will take my chances with Madame Bones. You have no army.”
Umbridge drew a deep breath and he could see the fingers of her wand hand flexing. If the pink toad tried to hex him, he would blast her through the damn wall. “Get out,” she spat at him.
Draco took the time to roll his sleeves down and tidy his appearance. Tilting his head in a measured nod, he slipped out the door and started making his way to his next class. Thinking the whole confrontation over, he was pleased that he hadn’t had to use the seer excuse. He needed to work on it a bit more before he used it tonight with his House.
Blaise blatantly sat next to him as he slid into his place in class and looked at him. “What did Umbridge want?”
“To find out why I restricted our House from doing her bidding,” Draco told him as he pulled his self-inking quill and notebook out, along with his assigned essay.
“Shite. Well, I want to know too.” Blaise muttered as he set up his desk for the class.
“This evening, Blaise.”
The muttering that reached his ears was rich with questions about his intelligence and even his ancestry, but Draco didn’t care. He hadn’t gotten to go to a magical school in his previous life and he was going to take every advantage of the one he was in. Plus, the library. He had a lot of research to do. The little entitled shite he had been before he had awoken hadn’t taken advantage of Hogwarts at all. He was going to change that.
From the sharp looks Potter was aiming at him, Draco was sure he was listening to what was happening with Slytherin House. Well, he could at least hope that if Potter worked his way into the common room tonight, the other man would actually listen to his words. Even if some of them had only a little to do with the truth.
Maybe he would get lucky and Magic would actually give him a vision he could talk about. Draco shook his head slightly. Yeah, no. Better to not ask for something like that. She might just do it.
Dinner was, charitably, tense. He was feeling uptight after a day of being stared at by what felt like the whole school. The kids in his House were tense from a day of trying to act normal, trying to obey his edict on the rules and deal with the curious stares of the student body. The faculty were watching everything with an eye to managing any fallout and Umbridge was drinking.
Draco kept an eye on the Inquisitor and watched as she gulped a fifth goblet of something amber. Since there were no flames or smoke, he was reasonably sure it wasn’t fire whiskey. Still, it wasn’t the best sign that Umbridge was trying to reach oblivion before dinner was over. Professor McGonagall out of everyone was watching the whole affair with what looked like amusement.
As soon as he finished his meal, he rose, intent on getting to the common room and setting the stage. The eyes of the whole room focused on him, but all he could feel were a green set that was looking at him extremely speculatively. Apparently, no one in Slytherin could keep a secret from the sounds reaching his ears. Oh, well. Better to have everyone aware of what was going on. It might lead to less tragedy later.
When it looked like the whole House would follow him, meals all abandoned, Draco shook his head and waved at them to finish. A full stomach would help with what was to come. And if someone puked? Well… puking on an empty stomach hurt. Best to avoid that, if they could.
The trip down to the Slytherin common room was the first time he had spent alone all day. Weirdly, it almost felt like a gift. Happy birthday to him. Draco settled into one of the chairs by the fire after turning it to face the room and then settled into his head to think things over. He watched as his House slowly filled the room, all of them silent and staring at him.
Draco reached out to touch the wards when the last student walked in and smiled grimly. Slughorn was making his way down the hall towards Slytherin and he closed and locked the door with a charm that Merlin had come up with to protect their room. Old Sluggy could beat on that charm for years and never get it. Prof. Flitwick as well.
Blaise, Pansy and Pike all looked at the door and then at him. He gazed back at them and shrugged. He wasn’t going to explain.
Draco used his innate tie to his magic and applied a mild sonorous charm to himself. “This meeting is just for us. Slughorn, Umbridge, or McGonagall were not invited. We need to talk.”
“Who are you to tell us that we need to talk, Malfoy? And why in the hell are we listening to you on anything?” one of the seventh-year students asked. “After all, the House of Malfoy isn’t doing too well. Your influence is… waning.”
“Really? And yet, you did exactly what I wanted you to do today. I wonder why that is?” Draco asked with a raised eyebrow. Thank Magic for morons, Draco thought briefly. Now how to pull this off without sounding like a preaching nutter? Right.
Draco stood up and set his wand on the table before him. Every single one of his Housemates leaned forward at the gesture. Disarming yourself in front of someone was practically unheard of on a day-to-day basis. Let alone in front of the whole house. To a person, Slytherin wasn’t nearly as deadly as the other Houses would expect, but they were deadly enough. In years gone by, there had been a form of culling practiced by the students of those who hadn’t measured up. The lucky ones got through with no obvious scars.
Draco took a deep breath and held out his right hand, palm up. He wasn’t going to summon Excalibur, but he was going to do something rash. The fire he pulled up out of his core was similar in appearance to fiendfyre but far more focused. Glowing a brilliant blue/white, it was unlike any fire that had been seen in England for over a thousand years.
“I’m very certain that none of you know what this is by looks alone. And I can’t say I blame you. But before tonight is over, you will,” Draco looked around at his classmates and tried to imagine fighting any of them on the field of battle. The thought was revolting, but he was certain that if tonight went badly, he would be seeing at least a few of them on the other side of his wand or his sword. And he would kill them.
“What is it?” Pansy asked as she walked over to him, hand outstretched to touch.
“If I was a lesser person, I would let you do that Pansy. But if you come any closer to this thing, you will be short a hand,” Draco told her, eyes on the rest of the room.
“What are you holding?” Blaise demanded as he stepped up.
“Fire as hot as the heart of a star. Stella Ingis,” Draco told him bluntly.
The talk that had been moving softly in the background shuddered to a halt. In a House of purebloods, he had managed to shock them all with something that they all knew hadn’t been seen in centuries. The last time someone had tried, the fire had spun out of control and taken London with it. But he had a ball of it, sitting calm and controlled, resting on his hand.
His friends all looked at him and then at the fire before sitting back down and waving at him in invitation. Pansy glanced around the room and then nodded. “You have our attention.”
Right, time to pull it all out. “Today is my 16th birthday. My familial magic and Magic herself woke me up last night. I woke up knowing that the things that I accepted without a qualm when I went to sleep were all wrong. That the goals certain parties espouse will only get us all killed. The knowledge I now hold shows me that the path we are on will lead to our destruction and the destruction of our whole people.”
There was an explosion of sound and one voice could be heard shouting above all the others. “I don’t believe you! You’re just showing your true colors and wanting to go hide with all the other traitors. The Dark Lord has called for your service and this is how you repay him?” Pike screamed at him.
Well, it had been a long shot. Draco let the ball of flame float on its own and picked up his wand. Pointing it at his chest, he drew a deep breath. Time to be very careful with his wording. “I, Draco Artorius Malfoy, scion of the House of Malfoy, do solemnly swear that every word I speak tonight is the truth. Magic has given me information that directly impacts myself, my Family, Slytherin House, Hogwarts, and Magical England in the war to come. So, mote it be.”
The oath settled onto him without a problem. Everyone looked at him and then looked at the fire that he had left burning in midair. Draco stared back at them and then cast a wandless lumos maxima charm. The flash of bright white light had to compete against the star that was burning brighter as his magic struggled to get free.
Draco clamped down on the ball of flame and reabsorbed it back into his core as the last flare of the charm faded out. It seemed that he had the full and undivided attention of every one of his Housemates. Time to get down to the reason why he had been called back. He hated giving speeches on the fly. But he was good at it.
Once and Future King.
The next morning, he saw that there seemed to be several people missing from the teacher’s table and scattered through the House tables. The Golden Trio, Longbottom, and Lovegood all seemed to be missing. Draco kept a careful eye on everything as he ate his breakfast.
Umbridge was looking a bit delicate that morning and he kept his eyes lowered slightly as he sent a mild breeze to blow the scent of breakfast in her direction. She was turning a lovely shade of green and he kept an eye on the progression. When Merlin was awakened, Draco wanted to share the view.
The morning owl migration visited them all and Draco took his copy of the Prophet with a murmur of appreciation and a slice of bacon for the delivery. He had his subscription on retainer. Unfolding the paper, he took a sip of his tea and read the headline.
YOU KNOW WHO has attacked the Ministry!
Boy Who Lived Clears Sirius Black!
What in the fuck had Merlin been up to last night?
The last few weeks of school were defiantly calm. Umbridge had been recalled by the Ministry and Madame Bones, the head of the DMLE had come to Hogwarts to talk to everyone about her. It had been very weird to have an adult actually believe him and when she had found the words that had been etched into his skin, Harry had been surprised to feel her magic slip. Apparently, that was just not right in her world.
Dumbledore came back and reinstalled himself as the Headmaster of the school. Harry just nodded and ignored the old bastard. He was done with him. Done with his manipulations, done with the half-truths and lies, and most of all, done with being his weapon.
He was also done trying to hide his light under a fucking bushel. When it came time to test for his OWLs, Harry made damn certain to test to his very best level on each and every one that he was allowed to take. He got through them all about as quickly as Hermione and he didn’t care what Ron thought. The redhead was sulking slightly at his behavior, but Harry didn’t care.
At almost sixteen, he was now old enough for the adults in his life to actually try and talk to him about the things he and his friends had found out over the years. If he was lucky, some changes would even be implemented. There were more letters going between Grimmauld Place and Hogwarts than there had been all year and Harry was delighted. He and Sirius were actually talking about all the things that they had pushed aside in their haste to get to know each other.
It was painful, and enlightening. And a bunch of other descriptive words that he didn’t have the energy to think about. He was, however, learning about a great number of things that Dumbledore and his other teachers hadn’t bothered to mention. He had books that Sirius suggested he read and a list of things he was learning about from them. Like his Family’s history. Like his place in the Wizarding World. Like the fact that he should have had an advocate to look after his interests when his Godfather had been thrown into Azkaban.
If he found out that Dumbledore had declared himself his advocate, Harry was going to scream. And then break things. Possibly the Headmaster himself. Because he had not had anyone look after him at all.
When he got called up to the Headmaster’s office after the last day of testing, he winced. He was having enough problems holding onto his temper and the adults in his life were pulling this? Drawing a deep breath in through his nose, Harry got up from his seat in the Gryffindor common room and started towards the door.
Fifteen minutes later, he found himself wishing that he had blown the whole thing off.
In every letter they exchanged, Sirius had kept telling him to calm down, to not let things get to him and in truth, Harry had tried. But with his godfather at the mind healers until after his birthday, certain parties were weighing in like they had a right to. The current topic was where he would stay when he got off the train later that afternoon. The choices were; he was either staying on his own, with the Weasley’s or with his relatives.
The suggestion of staying at the Leaky or Headquarters on his own had been knocked down by everyone. Harry hadn’t really contemplated staying at the old Black residence while it was being cleaned, but he wasn’t going to tell anyone that. Sirius had contracted the dverger to go in and clean up the place while he was isolated with the healers. The contract between the House of Black and the Horde was very thorough. Every single Dark object in the house was to be recorded, and researched and if a danger to any species (human, dverger or house elf) it was to be destroyed. There was no wriggle room for anyone in that contract and they were all the safer for it.
The adults, other than Sirius, passed judgment and deemed the Leaky out since it was so public. Or so it was declared by the Headmaster. Harry had a suspicion that certain parties weren’t happy with the amount of freedom living at the Inn would offer him. Harry was keeping the idea in reserve, just in case. He was done being a puppet.
He didn’t even want to contemplate staying with Ron’s family and said so. As much as he adored Molly, Harry had an ugly suspicion that she would try to take him to task for letting Ron and Ginny follow him. Not even for the love he had for her, would he let himself be screamed at, so that left the Dursley’s. Harry was not fond of that option. Not at all. He was even less fond of it when Dumbledore expressed his support for it.
“Headmaster, is it your preference to return me to a situation where I am regularly exposed to verbal abuse, limited rations and backbreaking toil?” Harry asked as he stared at the adults in the Headmaster’s office. “Where if I am lucky, I get to sleep in a bed that has sheets? Or be given enough water to drink, let alone bathe in? Am I to think that you want me to be abused every summer by my relatives?”
McGonagall at least had the decency to look appalled at his words, while Flitwick looked murderous. Dumbledore just stared at him and twinkled his eyes at him. Harry stared right back and slammed his mental barriers in place. He caught the slight wince that crossed the old man’s face and bit back a bitter grin. Yeah, he had thought so.
“I did not give you leave to look into my mind, Headmaster. Now, stay out of it. Do you really want me to go to my aunt’s home where I have no guarantee of safety? I think not. My plans are to stay at the Leaky, wait for Sirius to be released, and settle in with him for the rest of the summer.” Harry told him. “I will be safely in public where the whole of the Wizarding world can stick their noses in my business. Just like they do every bloody day.”
The look his head of house was now giving the old man made the fine hairs on the back of Harry’s neck stand on end. For all that cats were sweet, purred, and snuggled with you, they were some of the best and most vicious hunters around. See Crookshanks as an example. Or Professor McGonagall. She had proven exactly how good she was in the previous war and he had no doubt she was as good now. “You tried what, Albus? Also, if even a tenth of what he says is true about his relatives, he should never have to go back there.”
“I’m sure Harry was mistaken,” the Headmaster mid to smooth things over. “Now, my dear boy, I think it far too dangerous for you to stay in such a public place as the Leaky.”
“I really don’t think I am, Headmaster,” Harry returned, voice even and hard. “Also, you are not my grandfather, my godfather or my guardian, so I am not your dear anything. As for my staying at the Leaky? Sirius has already authorized it, having been confirmed as Lord Black by the Horde and officially installed as my guardian. Seeing as how you really, truly weren’t.”
He got up out of his chair and stared at the people in the room. “I won’t be called back here to be condescended to as if I’m three, professors. Either you acknowledge that I’m growing up and start treating me like an adult, or you can leave me alone about everything. That includes the war I am apparently fighting with Voldemort. If you don’t have information on what’s going on and how to fight him, all I can assume is that you are more interested in me dying for you than living through this nightmare.”
Harry finally looked at the Headmaster and let his feelings for the man rise to the surface of his mind. If the old man got past his barriers, he would get a mind full of focused anger. Harry almost hoped that he did and that he choked on it.
Dumbledore was staring at him as if he was some weird potions ingredient. Maybe the old man would actually see him for once, instead of the weapon he was forging. But Harry wasn’t holding his breath on that. From his experience, Dumbledore held onto his convictions, no matter what.
Harry made his way down to the Great Hall and sat at the Gryffindor table. When a house elf popped in to see why he was there, he quietly asked the little guy for a pot of hot tea. He made a personal bet with himself and wasn’t surprised when he got a one-person High Tea.
Unlike every other public place in Hogwarts, the Hall was empty. He was certain that his fellow students were in their common rooms, getting a last gossip in before the end of the year. He was just as happy to be where he was. Harry slowly savored his meal and enjoyed the silence.
Even as isolated as he often was, he was rarely alone. Something in him relaxed at the lack of people demanding something of him. He was sipping at his last cup when his quiet was broken by a very unexpected visitor.
Harry deliberately took a sip from his cup and then cradled it in his hands as he stared at the blond. “What do you want?”
The smile that crossed the narrow face was understanding and that made him twitchy. Malfoy was not a bloke known for bothering to understand what was going on with Harry. If the other boy got any weirder, he was going to hex him. Just in case.
“Malfoy, what do you want?”
“Right now? Nothing you can give me Potter. Just want to remind you to keep an open mind and remember, this wasn’t my idea.” Malfoy told him. The other boy tapped the table twice and left.
For fuck’s sake, Harry groused to himself as he finished off his tea. The message was odd, but he wasn’t too worried. Not after Malloy had cracked down on his snakes right after his birthday and none of the Slytherins had stepped out of line for the rest of the year. It would be interesting to see if the good behavior held with the next school year.
Harry set his cup in his saucer and made for the carriages that would take him to the train. He had all his most important possessions on him and he even had a book for the trip back. For some reason, he had gotten a hankering to read up on what the Wizarding world thought of Arthur, Merlin, and his knights.
The book held his interest through the carriage ride and into the train compartment that he normally shared with Hermione and Ron. Harry waved an idle wand motion at the lock and sealed the door with one of the spells that the Marauders used on their own gear. He wanted to be alone and there were enough carriages that the other two could settle in away from him.
Snug in his own quiet haven, Harry continued to read as the miles were eaten by the train. He didn’t set the book down until they got to the station and even then, he made sure to shrink it and tuck it into his pocket. Dobby would be taking his trunk to the Leaky and he already had his compartment cleared. If he wasn’t sure he would splich himself, he would try to apparate into Diagon.
The trip off the train was as painless as possible and thankfully, the Weasley red hair was easy to avoid. He ducked around a mass of people and headed into the train station proper. His clothes were close enough to what Muggles were wearing that he blended in well enough, and he wasn’t that far away from his destination.
Tom just handed him his key when he walked in and Harry smiled at the discretion. He was going to have to add a nice tip to the price of the room that Sirius was paying for. Once he was settled in, Harry made ample use of the ensuite bath and indulged himself shamelessly. Clean, sleepy, and very hungry, he ordered room service and stayed awake just long enough to eat.
Sleep pulled him under as soon as his head touched his pillows and he slipped into the arms of his dreams with barely a ripple. It was the best first day of summer he had ever had.
June had given way to July and Harry had spent the month exploring the Alley, reading a great many books, taking private lessons with some very odd tutors, and, most important of all, healed. He had been in and out of the offices of the same mind healers that were helping Sirius and he was feeling a lot better.
His physical health had also improved and he had even managed an impressive growth spurt. Harry was never going to be the tallest boy in his class, but he wasn’t going to be the shortest either. From what his Healer said, he was on track to being just about 178 cm tall. Which would give him a bit of height over his Godfather. And he could live with that.
He had gotten some owls from Hermione and Ron, with one each from Neville and Luna to round things out. He had been right about how Molly had reacted. She had raised one hell of a stink when Ron hadn’t come off the train with him in tow. Ron actually congratulated him on giving everyone the slip and told him to stay missing for the summer. His mother was, in his words, pretty damn barmy about the whole mess.
Hermione had been sending him owls on every subject that caught her eye and he could honestly say that some of her enthusiasm had infected him at times. He had a number of books now on subjects that he had never even thought to look for. The whole thing was enjoyable and he hoped that he could continue to share a book habit with his friend. Well, as long as she didn’t try to dominate every conversation about the books they were reading.
Neville and Luna had just written to let him know that they were okay. There really wasn’t much else they could tell him and he had written back the same. He was looking forward to seeing more of both of them. Both had struck him as being far braver than he could ever have guessed. Good friends, the both of them.
Harry settled into his room the night before his birthday and sighed in contentment. Sirius was getting released from the mind healers around noon on his birthday, they were going out to lunch right after and he had an appointment with the bank at three. A full day and he was actually looking forward to it. Something was telling him that the day would be like no other.
When Harry woke up on the morning of his 16th birthday, it wasn’t like the others he had faced when he lived in the Dursley home. For one, he was actually in the Leaky Cauldron, it was only a few scant hours after midnight and he was unprepared to wake up at that time. For the other, he hadn’t expected to wake up to a ‘gift’ from Magic herself.
He had expected that the day would be mostly normal. After all, while he had reached a milestone that in days past had been deemed adulthood, that wasn’t the way of the Wizarding world of his day. Seventeen was adulthood and Harry was fine with that. He wasn’t expecting to sue for a trade, marry, and or be fully counted a man yet, but he was hoping to be seen as more grown up.
Lucky him, that wasn’t what happened at all. He woke up, changed in ways that the magical world was going to be shaking from forever.
Green eyes opened and stared at the ceiling. Blinking, the formidable intelligence behind them started to wake up. Taking a deep breath, the teen opened his mouth. Instead of the long sigh of yesteryear, it was a long drawn-out hiss. If any Parselmouths had been in range, they would have been shocked to hear the Boy-Who-Lived cursing the Lady Magic as he did.
“You evil cunt. May the waters of your lake get choked with algae, may the worst garbage fish ever crap all over everything. May every stupid human find someplace pretty come to visit your lake and want to live there. May your eternal essence always smell like a rotting, wet garbage dump. You bitch.”
Magic grandly ignored him. Well. She giggled. Harry wasn’t amused. Then again, he had a large number of reasons for being pissed off at the Lady Magic. Because with his 16th birthday, his magic had unlocked something that had slept in him from the moment of his conception. While he had slept, he had dreamed, had lived and had remembered. He had lived before. In a land of beauty, danger and high Magic and a love that crossed every boundary that every existed between two men. For he had been and was Merlin Emrys. His King was Arthur. And Draco Malfoy. There were reasons he was less than pleased with Magic.
To say nothing of what he wanted to do to Arthur. The dollop-headed prat had known exactly what was going to happen on the night before his birthday and hadn’t warned him. Green eyes flashed gold and Merlin reached out to touch everything around him.
His King, his mate, his moronic spouse was nowhere nearby and that was the only thing that was keeping him from shaving all that blond hair off. See how he liked it when things itched. Muttering under his breath, Harry tried to ignore the actual area he wanted to shave. He wasn’t up to thinking about Malfoy that way yet. Not before tea.
Extending his reach, Harry ran into the wards on Gringotts and winced. Oh, yeah. Walking into the bank tomorrow was going to be less than fun. The whole place was going to vibrate like a gong. If Arthur showed up, they might overload the wards enough to pull them down. Not the smartest thing to do to a group that held their accounts in trust.
Rubbing a hand over his face, Merlin sighed. He had, all unknowing, been researching what had happened after he had died. Their son had been adopted by Gwen and Lance and had lived out a long life, taking on the use name of Gryffindor, and his only son, Godric, had gone on to help found Hogwarts. It was wonderfully ironic that the place he felt most at home in, was indeed a home that his family had founded.
The Potter’s had been independent of the Gryffindor family tree until a few generations past Godric. The heir had married a daughter of the line and that was that. So as Harry, he was descendant from himself as Merlin. The thought was nauseating. He wanted to go back to Avalon so he could… talk to Lady Magic.
If he found out that the Malfoy’s were his descendant’s he was going to go back to Avalon and stake the bitch to an ant hill after ripping all her hair out. She’d forgive him. Eventually.
Harry settled in to catch a bit more sleep before he had to get up. He wanted to make sure that he sent his King a note when he got up. If he was going to the Bank, Draco was going to either meet him there or he was going to show up. They had some things to look at. And, Merlin acknowledged, he needed to apologize for not doing what he had been told to.
Morning brought its own challenges. Harry was used to doing certain things with magic. He used his wand to help to channel and control his innate abilities as he did them and all the training he had had up until the day before supported that. As Merlin, he was also used to doing things with magic, but without a wand. He had used a staff or occasionally potions to assist his innate abilities when things had gotten complicated.
Now living in the body of a sixteen-year-old, he was trying to blend two radically different magic systems and it wasn’t working. The conflict between the two forms of magic had caused the wood of his wand to groan and then split down the length. Harry stared at the exposed phoenix feather and added a trip to Ollivander’s to his morning. So much for having a lazy hour or two after his meal.
Breakfast was a quick affair and Harry went to post his note. Short, to the point, and written in the language of their previous lives, it would get Arthur to the bank. No matter what or who he had to get through. Hedwig however, was less than happy he was using a commercial owl. Treats and attention seemed to soothe her before he sent the other bird on its way.
As he watched the other owl fly away, he figured things were going to get very interesting soon. Just to be on the safe side, he added a powerful anti-tamper ward to Hedwig and made a mental note to research a more permanent solution. Something that wouldn’t or could be lost or canceled.
He gave his owl one last scritch before leaving the owlery and heading down to Ollivander’s. He had to admit, he was curious. After all, the old wizard had been the one to tell him that ’the wand chooses the wizard’. Would his wand choose him now? After all, Merlin Emrys was once one of the most powerful mages to shake the planet and Harry Potter had the potential to be much the same.
Both halves of him working together in one spot was a recipe for insanity.
As he stepped over the thresh hold of Ollivander’s shop, Merlin let his mage sight slide to the fore. There were wards and runes covering every inch of the inner surface of the crowded room and all of them were blazing. Indulging his curiosity, Merlin formed a mage light in the palm of his hand and the wards started to pulse. The wand-maker had turned his whole shop into a way to test his customers and make sure they got the wand that best suited their abilities. Clever.
“I have never seen them do that before,” Harry heard the old wandmaker mutter as he made his way out of the depths of his shop.
“That might be because they’ve never come across someone like me,” Harry/Merlin told him with a cheeky grin.
Garrick Ollivander looked up at him and stopped, silver eyes trained on Harry for several heartbeats before flicking over all the diagnostic wards and runes coating the walls. “Apparently not. Holly wand, phoenix core. But that’s not quite why you are here. Is it, Mr. Potter?”
Harry smiled and let the ancient part of himself come to the fore. The wand maker’s eyes seemed to glaze for a moment before looking straight up. “Oh, dear. I did not see that coming when I sold you your wand.”
Merlin smiled ruefully. “I don’t see how anyone could, given the givens.”
“No, I quite agree. So, how can I help you?” Ollivander asked.
The young wizard pulled his wand out and placed it on the counter. The split he had noticed that morning was even larger and they both eyed the gleam of red and gold before looking at each other.
“Most unusual. When did this happen?”
Merlin poked the wand with a careful finger. “This morning. I was trying to use the charms I learned from a housekeeping book to clean up my room. It groaned and then I felt it split.”
”Ah,” Ollivander prodded the holly wand with a careful finger before staring at his customer. “Do you have another magical focus? Something that could have taken the place of this wand? Because lad? That wand no longer fits you and is actively fighting against your magic.”
“Hence the splitting.”
The silver head nodded. “Hence the splitting.”
Merlin ran his hands over his face and tried not to curse. He knew exactly what had taken the place of the holly wand. He had even held it in his second year and Dumbledore had barely managed to get it back from him.
Holding out his right hand, he wordlessly called his sword to him. From the way the older man’s breath caught, he was seeing with more than what was in the room. Harry stared at the sword for moment before he let his mind follow the twists of magic that he and Arthur had laid into it so long ago and pulled. Long unused magic shivered and then there was a burst of light.
Instead of a sword, he held in his hand the branch they had originally transfigured the weapon from. A second tug and he was holding his staff. Capped at both ends with cold forged iron and inlaid with a silver metal it was as much a weapon of war as the sword was. One last tug brought up the wand he had used as his everyday focus. Made of oak, iron, and fire it was bound by a mithril ribbon. Overall, the wand was eye-catching in the extreme and the most visually impressive of his focus’s forms if the sword wasn’t counted.
”Well now. Isn’t that a neat trick,” Ollivander breathed as he looked at the wand in Harry’s hand. “May I?”
Harry nodded and carefully handed the wand over. Like the sword, the wand had taken the two of them to forge, and even then, they had needed to gather the materials to add to it. The wand-maker seemed to like their work since he was going over every inch of the surface and from what the younger wizard could see, was probing the core.
“I really wouldn’t mess with the core, sir,” Harry/Merlin told him, eyes studying the wards and runes surrounding his wand. “It might bite.”
“Bite?” confused and distracted, the older wizard looked up at him before he was blasted back into his shelves. “What in the world is in there?”
“A wild salamander that agreed to live in it,” Merlin told him as he picked the wand up and ran a careful finger up and down the grain of the wood. Actually, the little fire elemental had crawled into the wand when they were working on it and refused to come out. It even showed traces of itself in all the other forms the staff turned into. He had no idea what the basilisk’s venom would do to the little thing and he wasn’t going to try to force it out to see.
He would leave that chore to Arthur since the salamander liked the fire elemental more than him anyway. Coaxing the little darling to do things was something his King had always managed to do without sounding like a complete prat. He had never learned the knack.
Ollivander was staring at the wand in fascination. “Is it bound to the wand?”
“No. It isn’t.” Bind it? The Arthur of his first life would have reacted badly to that idea. He deeply hoped the Arthur of his new life would act the same. If Draco Malfoy was actually still the pompous, poisonous jackass that he originally met in Madame Malkin’s, he would take the chance at disappointing Lady Magic and see if their fire elemental would set the burk on fire. Knowing his luck, the little thing would love on the prat just like it had before.
“Amazing. Well, this whole thing is uniquely suited to your magics. Even the oak branch vibrates in tune to your magic in such a way that you could use it as a focus object,” Ollivander told him. He carefully handed Merlin his wand and turned his attention to the holly wand. Studying it closely, the wand-maker ran one wrinkled digit up the length of the split and the wood wove itself back together. The older man held out a hand and an empty wand box slammed into it and he slipped the now inert focus into it.
Merlin found himself as impressed with those little feats of magic as he was with the wards. If he had ever managed to make it to Londinium, he might have been able to acquire a wand from the store as it had stood then. Since he hadn’t bothered on his way to Camelot, and then rarely left the kingdom until his death, there had been no time for him to try.
Arthur hadn’t gotten one either, but it hadn’t mattered. His King had never needed a focus to hone his abilities and it had been better that he hadn’t. Once he had gotten Excalibur, too many had thought the sword had been some form of talisman, denoting his right to rule. While it had come from Lady Magic, the King had never used it as a wand and in the end, while it had been a symbol of his office, it hadn’t been enough to save him.
Shaking off his mussing, Merlin stared into the silver eyes of the old man before him. They were smiling and seemed to be offering him the chance to share in a joke. Cocking an eyebrow, he silently asked him to share. Ollivander’s grin got a bit bigger, and he shook his head slightly.
“Do they,” he waved his hand at the world outside his shop. “Know what’s happening?”
The being once known as Merlin Emrys shook his head. “No, they really don’t.”
Garrick Ollivander, one of the last of the Sidhe still living in England leaned back against his counter and laughed until he cried. When he wound down, he looked at his customer. “Well. Won’t this be interesting?”
Harry barely made it to the healers in time to pick up Sirius. The older man was saying his goodbyes to the team of people who had made sure that he was as healed as was physically and psychically as possible from his years in Azkaban and on the run.
That whole time had done a number on his godfather and it had only been after the whole mess at the Ministry and his innocence had been declared that he had collapsed. Harry hadn’t been surprised at it all and as soon as he had been able to, had slapped Sirius into the hands of the best team of Healers he could. When Sirius had woken up, he had raged at him and they had had a screaming match that neither wanted to remember.
It had taken Harry agreeing to see his own team of Healer’s for his godfather to agree to his treatment. That he was in slightly better shape was a given since he had been at Hogwarts all year and actually eating food that was good for him. But when the Healers started looking at him, they had found all sorts of long-term problems that could be laid at the feet of his relatives, Dumbledore and even Pomfrey.
While school had been in session, his sessions had been restricted to when they could get him out of school. They had been short and mostly concerned with his physical health. He had even brought his personal Healer to visit Madame. Harry had been shooed out of the room and the adults had had a discussion. It had lasted hours. When he had been allowed back in the room, Pomfrey was looking haggard, but happier.
Protocols were in place now to make sure that every student had the medical care they needed. And Pomfrey wasn’t going to let a relative or one of her superiors determine when she would ignore her Healer’s oath. She had sworn it to him.
At any rate, Harry was happy that his godfather looked more like the older pictures he had of him with Mooney and Prongs. He was finally healthy, looked it and was dressed in as dapper a fashion as any fop walking the Alley.
“Hey Harry! Looking good there, pup.” Sirius told him as he swept him into an enthusiastic hug.
Harry returned the embrace with interest. The last time he had held the older man, he had felt as fragile as a bird. Now, after six weeks of intensive healing, he felt much more substantial. He sighed happily and sank into the feeling.
“So, I’m ready to go pup. Let’s get lunch, then our banking done, and then go see what’s been done with that hellishly dark place my family left me.” Sirius murmured in his ear.
Harry nodded and pulled the older man out of the office and into the Alley. Unlike the last time Sirius had been in Diagon, no one seemed to recognize him. The younger man had a hunch that the weight he had gained, the haircut, better clothes and just generally caring more about himself was making him look like a totally different man.
Lunch was good. He was mildly distracted throughout the meal, but from the way Sirius was acting, he didn’t notice. Conversation moved between them without a hitch and each of them managed to enjoy their meals and even dessert. Only with that done did they contemplate heading out to the bank.
Gringotts was as imposing as it always was and Harry hesitated slightly as he approached the edges of the dverger wards. He hadn’t set foot onto their ground yet that morning, and he had a hunch, things were going to get very interesting when he did.
“Pup? Something wrong?” Sirius asked as he turned around to face him.
Harry took a deep breath and tried not to wince. This was not going to be subtle at all. Damn Magic for being a bitch. What he was going to do to Lady Magic when he got his hands on her didn’t bear thinking about.
Harry shook off his mood and smiled at Sirius. “Let’s just say that I apologize in advance, it wasn’t my idea and I have no idea what will happen next.”
The Marauder gazed at him and then the bank before looking down. The white marble of the bank was inches from his feet and Harry had yet to step over onto it. The edge of the stone was the edge of the dverger wards and he had stopped just short of them. “Pup, if you’re thinking about pranking the Horde, don’t. I mean it. Don’t prank them, don’t steal from them and don’t dirty deal them. Your life wouldn’t be worth spit if you tried.”
He shook his head. “Nothing like that. Just… I’m really glad you’re here.”
Sirius nodded once and reached out a hand. Harry took it gratefully and stepped across the barrier.
Draco had been very careful since school was let out. All the instincts he had developed as Arthur in Uther’s court were screaming at him. He was surrounded by enemies and there were no obvious allies.
As much as he would love to rely on his mother, Narcissa was under constant scrutiny from her sister. There was a part of Arthur that wanted to deal with his mad Aunt, but he wasn’t ready to duel with her yet. Then there were the other Death Eater’s skulking around, plus the werewolf that was sniffing after him in far too sexual a way.
Lucius had it worse though. Potter had done everything he could to kill the Death Eaters he had been fighting, that night at the Ministry. The battle had exhausted everyone and most had come back with some type of injury. None of the heavy hitters that had gone had died, but that couldn’t be said of everyone. Nott was maimed for life and Mulciber had died of his wounds.
His Aunt had tried her best to take their cousin out but Sirius had just barely avoided the stunner she had sent his way. Weeks later and Bellatrix was still unhappy she had missed. She certainly hadn’t appreciated his comment about being glad she had. If she had connected, Draco had no idea what Magic would have done to the crazy bitch. Given that Sirius was Lord Black, he was sure that it would have been nothing good.
Lucius had made it through the whole battle unscathed but had been recognized by several people and there were warrants out for his arrest. No one had come to the Manor in search of him, but everyone knew it was only a matter of time before that happened. The Malfoy Patriarch was shipping all manner of Family treasures over to their holdings in France. Their money had been moved at the start of his second year, so there were no worries about the Family going broke.
Draco was contemplating what he would have to do to cash in on some of the warrants issued for the people he was living with when a public owl tapped on his window.
Given that it was August 1st, Draco thought he knew who it was from. And if he was right, the other would avoid using his own, highly distinctive, owl in any exchanges. Using his wand, he carefully opened the window to let his mail in. One imperious feathered demand to be relieved of its burden later, he had his missive.
As the owl munched on its treats, the blond unfolded his letter and nodded. The first was a very bland and general advertisement to purchase a complete set of cauldrons and he set it aside. Interesting, but not helpful. Useful camouflage though. The second piece of paper was the important bit.
With careful fingers, Arthur unrolled the missive and broke into a broad grin. Merlin was in fine form and was still a demanding bastard.
I have no idea how in Tartarus you got reborn as Draco Malfoy, but we need to talk. Get your blond arse down to Gringotts at three today. I’ll meet you there.
Be prepared for things to rock.
Arthur nodded slightly as he finished the note. Merlin must have been quite upset when he wrote the note, he thought. There were no comments on him being a prat, or a dollop head. He’d have to work on that.
He had just tucked the second missive away and picked up the advertisement when the door to his study was opened. He kept his eyes on the paper before him as his father entered the room and prowled towards him.
“The wards say you got an owl, Draco. Exchanging notes with someone?”
Draco flipped the paper around and set it in front of his father. “I put in a request at Potage’s Cauldron Shop to let me know when they had a complete set or two of cauldrons for potions. Since I will be graduating Hogwarts in two years, I thought it prudent to start acquiring the tools I need for my Mastery.”
Lucius ran his eyes down the paper and sighed. “Son, you don’t have to go this route for the supplies you need for your Mastery.”
Arthur held his tongue on that. With Lucius’s very public involvement in the battle at the Ministry, he wasn’t sure. And the transferring of their possessions was no guarantee that he would have immediate access to them. The Malfoy star was waning rapidly and he wasn’t hitching his horse to the cart the elder Malfoy had chained himself to.
His father sighed again and tapped his finger against the paper before exiting his room. Draco/Arthur knew that his father loved him. It came through the familial bond they shared, but he also knew that Lucius was pragmatic to an appalling degree. After all, the man had made the bed he was lying in over twenty years before and he was still working to make the best of what he had.
If that demanded that he pull his son into hell with him, he would. If it looked like doing so would get them out the other side, alive. Everything after that could be worked with.
Arthur was determined that there would be no chance of him ever taking the Dark Mark. He had taken the time to examine Mulciber’s Mark after his death and had spent the night shuddering at all the spells embedded in the putrid thing.
The most obvious was the brand that declared that whoever wore the mark belonged to Voldemort. In addition, every single twist and turn of the Mark pulsed with compulsions, mental and physical control measures, power shunts, drains and even more things that he had no names for were woven into it. Once someone got it, there seemed to be no conventional way to get rid of it.
Well, no conventional way now. Arthur had seen something similar to the Mark when he had marched out to confront a magically controlled army not long after he had taken the throne. While his troops kept the enemy army busy, Merlin had blasted the warlock that had enslaved them into paste. As soon as the bastard had died, the army had dropped their weapons and surrendered. They had been freed of his influence on the warlocks’ death. The mark he had laid on them had faded not long thereafter.
Examining the dead Death Eater’s Mark with his wand just showed the total saturation of Dark magic that everyone knew to associate with Voldemort. It had even resisted the various conventional diagnostic spells that he had run. The ones that had allowed him to see the spell work had been ones Merlin taught him. And they were unknown in his new life. The body itself, however, had given up a number of secrets.
Draco had no idea if it was the Mark, the man’s lifestyle or something more, but Mulciber had been in very bad shape when he had died. Besides the wounds that had killed him, he had shown the damage of someone suffering under the Cruciatus. Long term damage. While it hadn’t been enough to drive him mad, it sure hadn’t helped him make rational decisions.
The teen picked up his advert and tucked it into the pocket of his robes. His eyes flashed silver and everything that he wanted to keep was placed in his school trunk, and that was shrunk. There was no way to shrink and pack his mother, and what he was planning on doing was too dangerous to leave her a note.
He looked around the room and sighed. Depending on what his father did when he left… He might never see the inside of Malfoy Manor again. Snapping his fingers, the scion to House Malfoy went down to the room where his mother carefully preserved important treasures and stood before a certain piece.
Using all his talents, new and old, Arthur scanned the dverger made bauble and everything around it. The whole place tested clean. There wasn’t even an entailment spell on it or the tome it sat on. Draco picked up both and tucked them into his belt pouch.
Mind on his goal, he headed out to the gardens. There was a way off the estate and he had found it when he was twelve. He had used it every day of that summer and every summer since. This summer, instead of using the path to go on adventures, he had used it to get some time away from the snake pit that was his Family home.
His only regret as he slipped as he slipped through the wards was that he hadn’t had time to say goodbye to his mother.
Draco apparated into Dragon Alley and patted himself down. Nothing was missing and he didn’t seem mussed when he peeked in the shop window.
A quick tempus check and he saw he had ten minutes to get to Gringotts. Draco made his way down the thoroughfare and tried not to meet anyone’s eyes. He didn’t want to be distracted from his purpose. When there was a flare of anger through the bond to his father, he sped up his pace. He needed to be behind the bank’s wards quickly.
Eyes down to check the street before him, he let his magic push out, skimming the wards that protected the bank. Draco swallowed heavily at what he could feel. None of the wards were Dark, but they were all active and punitive if needed.
If he didn’t have to go through them, Arthur/Draco would have found the whole edifice impressive. In his present circumstances, it was enough to make his hair curl.
He pulled everything back inside his own shields, and locked down his mage sight as he did so. Merlin had been right. What he was going to do was going to rock the Bank, the Horde and the Wizarding world on their respective axis.
Muttering slightly in irritation, Arthur Pendragon, the Once and Future King of England stepped into the sovereign nation of the dverger.
There was a moment of complete silence while everything continued like normal before every alarm in the place went off. Draco rolled his eyes slightly and refrained from clapping his hands over his ears in a futile bid to cover the noise. The wizards and witches doing their business looked around in a bid to determine what was causing the ruckus.
A second alarm began beating against the first and he just barely refrained from covering his face with his hands. Of course, Merlin would arrive at the same time as him. A quick glance showed his soulmate was dragging his Godfather behind him.
Draco threw up one hand and Harry rocked to a stop just before he would have run into the blond. “We are not doing this out in public, you nutter,” he told his soulmate with a severe glare. “Do you remember what happened before?”
Harry threw up his hands and then nodded. “Fine. So, a shielded room?”
“Yes.” Draco turned and headed towards the area where personal bankers were located. As the scion of an Ancient House, he had one handling his accounts. But more importantly, as Pendragon, he had always had one. No matter what his father did after this, he was safe.
“Are you going to tell me what’s going on, pup? Or am I going to guess?” he heard Sirius ask as he stepped up to the window for Ancient and Noble Houses.
The goblin at the desk looked up at him and nodded before pulling out a blank parchment and a small dagger. Draco picked the dagger up and ignored the prickle of telling spells to cut a small area on the ball of his thumb. Flipping his hand over, he let three drops hit the parchment and closed his eyes slightly, shielding them from the magical flash as his identity was confirmed. The flash wasn’t commented on by the bystanders behind him, and Draco breathed a bit easier.
When his eyes cleared, there were two dverger standing by the gatekeeper. One was the familiar figure of the Malfoy account manager. The second was a complete unknown. Draco raised one eyebrow and waved Potter forward. “Before we go any further, I think someone else needs to do this as well.”
Turning to stare at Harry, Draco made sure to thoroughly clean up every trace of his blood. “All you need to do is prick the ball of your thumb and get enough for three drops of blood. Then drip them on the parchment.”
Harry picked up the knife and let it rest in the same spot Draco had used. He slid the edge across his skin and didn’t wince as the blood started to pool. “So, this is used to confirm a person’s identity?” his mate asked right before he tipped his hand.
The flare of magic was just as bright as it had been for him, but was just as unnoticed. The explosion of magic should have attracted attention, but it was only perceptive by a specific type of mage site. When he used the mage sight he had been taught as a child, he picked up nothing. It was only when he used the version he had been taught by Merlin that he saw the echoes of it.
Merlin cleaned his blood off the blade and his hand before offering the tool to his godfather. The flash was much more subdued for Black and Malfoy nodded. The House of Black was Ancient and Noble, but it wasn’t Royal. And the blinding flash had declared their status.
“Gonna tell us why we did that lad?” Sirius asked as the three of them were led down a hallway as soon as the last notes of Black’s confirmation cleared.
“Yes, we will,” Potter reassured him, before looking at the lead figure. “We need to be in one room for this.”
There was no overt acknowledgment, but both of the dverger moved to one of the doors lining the hallway and entering it. Draco kept a careful eye on his party and smiled when Harry kept Sirius from taking the senior position. By age, Sirius would have been correct. But as the Once and Future king of England, Arthur/ Draco had the precedence.
“Thank you for your time, honored sir,” Draco very carefully pronounced. “May this day bring gold to your vaults and confusion and poverty to your enemies.”
The old dverger before him smiled at his greeting and Draco tried not to blink at the sight. Dverger were not made to smile like that. Everything he’d ever read has said that they were warriors and that smile had been a shade too bloodthirsty for someone working in a bank should be able to express.
“May your enemies walk unknowing into your traps and their gold line your vaults, Britain,” the unknown dverger told him. “I am called Battle.”
As he bowed slightly in acknowledgement of the dverger’s name, he saw Harry was doing the same. Sirius was standing by and had placed himself in the junior position without a fuss. Draco had a suspicion that his cousin had seen far more of the light show than he really would have wanted.
Waving a hand lightly, he drew Potter forward until they were standing side by side. The urge to turn and see if his Merlin was standing there was overwhelming, but he fought it off. Potter was still Potter, even if he was also his Wizard.
“It has been many years since I was told the story of the vaults that my clan guards. Do you have any idea why that would be, young wizard?” Battle asked, clawed hands folded before him.
“I have a very good idea of what you and your clan guard Elder Battle,” Draco told him. Straightening his spine, he revealed a bit of the hand they held. “It has lain dormant and undisturbed for more than 1500 years.”
“It has. But 6 weeks ago, we perceived a change to those vaults,” Battle told him blandly.
“A very large change,” Draco agreed. “And last night?
The look the dverger gave him was very dry. “The whole bank shook, lad.”
Draco could see the wince that crossed Harry’s features and suppressed a small smirk. Merlin had been very… definite about the strength of his spells on the vaults they had entrusted to the bank. That level of power, echoing so far into the future, didn’t surprise him at all.
“I think we can lay some light on that subject, Elder Battle,” Draco pushed all the assurance he was feeling into his voice.
“I dearly hope so.” the dverger told him with a shark’s deadly smile.