Grazhir :: Crossover :: FeS2 :: 15

15

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“I took a day job amendment, I took a liking to you, I took a page out of my rulebook for you.” — Scritti Politti, Perfect Way


Narok gestured at an underling, who hastened off and was back with a pensieve before Potter had a chance to finish opening a packet of biscuits he had pulled from one of his pockets. After the pensieve was in place, Voldemort produced his wand and looped a memory away from his temple, and gently placed it in the device.

Narok took a fairly well-concealed deep breath and activated the pensieve. The projected memory showed them using a linking book, appearing at the nexus, using another book, Potter first each time, and appearing just in front of the manor in Serpens. They walked away from the house rather than going in, mainly to show the work they had already done in terms of planning. Eventually they returned to the house and went inside, heading to the highest level. At that point the memory ended and he reclaimed it.

“While they may bear some superficial resemblance to portkeys, those books are nothing of the sort,” Narok stated.

He quirked a brow. “They are not.”

“What was that place?”

“The infant form of the city of Serpens.”

“Why?” Narok breathed.

He quirked a brow again. “Why not? Can you honestly tell me you like living on this planet, surrounded by billions of muggles? With no true home of your own?”

‘At least he’s smart enough not to ask how,’ Potter commented, then popped a biscuit into his mouth. ‘Want one?’

‘What kind?’

‘Chocolate chip, of course.’

‘Sure.’

Potter handed a biscuit over and had another for himself, eventually offering the open packet in case he wanted another. Even without Potter’s abilities he could tell they were confusing the hell out of Narok with their suddenly homey, entirely silent behavior. He took another, dunked it in his cooling tea, then had a bite, wondering where Potter had gotten them; they were quite good. So he asked.

‘These? Oh, I make them myself. The ones the elves make never come out right.’

“Why was there an interim step?”

Voldemort replied, “There is a limitation in the method. While in the case of the memory it was not strictly necessary, it would be moving from one point to another on the same world.”

Narok looked mildly confused again. “Why not just apparate?”

“Children cannot.”

“Floo?”

“Dirty, nauseating, possible to arrive at the wrong grate.”

“Are you proposing to do away with those two methods of transport?”

He shook his head slightly. “Hardly. If adults prefer to apparate, assuming they are capable of mastering the skill, so be it. The floo is still useful for communication purposes. As for the books, they would allow the Host to transport quantities of materials without having to rely on ground transport or other, potentially less stable methods. Any materials brought from Earth would require the use of the books.”

Narok nodded thoughtfully, his eyes shifting to look at the surface of his desk, which had an angled rest on it, much like a podium would for holding notes or a book in the right position to read from.

‘It’s a communication device, runic in nature,’ Potter supplied. ‘He’s getting instructions from Ragnok.’

Voldemort finished his biscuit and accepted a third, finally noticing that the muscles in Narok’s arms would twitch minutely, almost entirely hidden by the set of his clothing, and made the assumption that he was replying in some fashion.

Eventually Narok looked up and said, “About this trip?”

“The purpose of the trip is to one, give you an idea of the architectural style we desire, and two, show you the actual site where construction would begin. Then, after you have had a chance to contemplate things”—‘and speak with your superior,’ he thought—“we would return and begin negotiations regarding the magnitude of construction we require in exchange for the island. Also, so you could, in theory, choose a location to build a new Gringotts. We would also have to negotiate a treaty for the operation of said bank. Unlike the fools at the ministry, we believe that the Host are imminently suited to continue with administering the banking system.”

Shortly thereafter they were ready to take Narok and his underlings on a trip. Due to the logistics Potter would go last so he could, in fact, simply take the book and shift to their room at the palace. After that was dropped off he would link to Nexus and shift inside the goblin column to join them. Narok looked mildly suspicious at that, but Voldemort simply said, “Surely you do not wish to convey the impression that you are such a fool as to believe we would leave a book behind?”

He went first, knowing that Potter would be in no danger, and was shortly joined by the six goblins at the nexus. As soon as his partner shifted in he said, “This is the nexus designated for the Host. This way, should you use the books to shift materials, either in-world or from Earth, such as for construction, you will never have to deal with other races using the same facility and having to dodge around them. Note that there are many alcoves here set to receive books. Assuming we come to an agreement books will be provided which will link you to each site. The architecture of this structure is one example of what we wished to show you. Feel free to look around for a few minutes before we move on.”

When it was time he indicated the first of the books they were to use, then linked through to the top of the grand stair in Ae’gura. When they were all assembled he said, “This is Ae’gura, a city deep underground. More importantly, this will give you a very good idea in terms of examples. We can pause here for an hour or so if you would like, or we can move on to Ophiuchus so you can investigate Serpens and begin your calculations.”

‘Wow, these guys are like . . . aroused or something. It’s really creepy,’ Potter commented.

He had to rigidly clamp down on his reaction to that, and the images that unfortunately came to mind. The goblins elected to stay so they could look around, or, as Potter commented further, ‘to burn the images into memory so they can have wank dreams about the place later’. It was all he could do not to burst out laughing or glare, he wasn’t sure which.

He called a house-elf to him and instructed it to keep an eye on any wanderers, recruiting others if necessary, so they knew where everyone was (without revealing the map) when it was time to move on. He and Potter had lunch right there with the view of the lake’s orange glow and Kerath’s Arch to appease their eyes.

Finally—they were ready to go. Potter produced a linking book back to the goblin nexus, and they all returned there. He then indicated the next book and linked through, shortly followed by the goblins. They arrived in that same initial point, in front of K’veer, and as Potter joined them he swept his hand and arm out to the side to indicate the markings they had worked so hard on.

Narok’s head swiveled to followed the gesture, nodded to himself, and said, “My faith is confirmed. This world is virgin. The air is so clear and clean it is patently obvious it has never suffered the weight of generations of humans. The earth resonates in a way which tells me it has never felt the rapacious hand of a miner. We shall investigate.” But before he walked away he looked back at him and added, “I believe we will be able to come to an agreement that suits us all equally.”

‘Okay, I didn’t actually realize they had that kind of relationship with the rock and soil, but whatever, it helps our case,’ Potter remarked gleefully.

‘Indeed. Now that we have them here I expect they will seduce themselves into an agreement. They will, I imagine, quickly enough think a bit more about that mining reference, as well.’

‘Yeah. Well, shall we amuse ourselves while we wait? Maybe get an elf to bring out a table and chairs for us and we could go over the minions. You said Lucius first, but we may as well work on the list. I don’t know about you, but I’m thinking that Crabbe and Goyle are too damn stupid to be of much use aside from muscle. Can’t say I know them very well, though.’

‘Macnair, Pettigrew, and Rowle are useless. Two are psychotically sadistic and, well, Peter is spineless and only really served because he was too scared not to. That and I was more dangerous than his so-called friends. Dolohov, Mulciber, Nott, and Rosier are likely passable.’

Potter’s brow furrowed slightly. ‘Those are from the original set, yes?’

He nodded. ‘The remainder will also likely pass in terms of loyalty and intelligence—eh, not Crabbe and Goyle—but may or may not present issues on the muggle-born and half-blood side of things.’

‘It’s a shame Rookwood was caught. Having someone in the Department of Mysteries still would be nice, but I don’t know how much any of them know about one another in terms of political views so maybe it wouldn’t matter anyway.’

‘You mean as a vector for recruitment,’ he stated.

Potter nodded. ‘You know, there’s a part of me that says track down Pettigrew, turn him over to the authorities with a compulsed note, his Dark Mark clearly showing, and see if the ministry does the right thing and releases Black because he’s exonerated. A part of me, in addition to a kind of swan song to our former “relationship”, would hope that Black would completely crack up at that point because I’ve gone missing. It might also have the effect of Lupin coming out of the woodwork and feeling like shit for having suspected Black—even though Potter and Black were eyeing Lupin suspiciously for being a were—and falling apart again. Actually, I can’t believe it only just now came to mind. If Potter is still in the country and takes the paper—oh . . . I see. I understand now.’

Voldemort watched as his partner conjured up a set of targets and some knives, and began practicing his aim. Rather than press for information he conjured a chair and sat down, then began to try to puzzle this behavior out. Pot—no, Harry. Harry had brought up Potter and had an epiphany. Potter would not have come forward to secure Black’s release because then everyone would know of their duplicity. Dumbledore had done nothing, which meant he was in the dark on the actual secret keeper, or had decided it was more to his advantage to keep Black away from Harry, or that he knew of Harry’s sexuality and how Potter and Black had reacted and decided that Black could not be trusted to raise the boy savior.

Black had obviously not pressed the issue of custody, and indeed, had spent two days tracking down Peter only to be framed for multiple murders and tossed into Azkaban. And of course, the only reason Harry inherited the Black estate was because the dementors had shredded parts of Black’s memories. Even if Potter was keeping an eye on the news it was unlikely he would come out of hiding, not because his eldest son went missing, not even to help his alleged best friend and “brother”. If Black was released Potter would still remain in hiding; as a Gryffindor his choice must have covered him in shame, and the longer he stayed hidden the higher the magnitude of his duplicity. Potter, the brave Gryffindor who had thrice defied the Dark Lord, was a coward, and would leave Black and Lupin to twist in the wind.

It was utterly beside the point that this James Potter was not Harry’s father, but rather the father of the boy Harry replaced. He was still of the same basic character, even if this one had done far worse things. He supposed he could understand why Harry was flinging those knives with deadly accuracy, and that his friend was most likely imagining his sire’s face pierced by those blades.

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His fucking father was a piece of shit who did not deserve to live! He hefted another knife in his hand, drew back, and threw, feeling a sense of malicious glee as it embedded itself dead center. It made him wonder if you could cleave a person’s skull in twain with a mere knife, supernatural connections to Death aside. There had to be some manner of death he could conceive of that suited such a self-important, cruel, entitled, cowardly bigot. And then it hit him, just as the knife he threw split the previous one.

But that could wait a bit. Yes, he would see about arranging for Peter to be captured and interrogated, to see about Sirius being exonerated and released. To see if James would do as expected. He was also curious about the potential reunion of Sirius and Remus. It pissed him off all over again that Sirius had not bothered to break out on his behalf, even after the dementors had altered his memories, and that Remus had not bothered to contact him in any way, even through three and a half years of Harry being visible in the “wizarding world”.

He would have to be clued in to where James was, but not just yet. He would have to consider his mother and siblings, and whether or not he should induce James to alter his current will to shift the balance of power far more to his mother’s side over that of his twin. He would even have to consider whether or not he could convince his mother to emigrate with his sisters. His twin was likely a clone of James—though he would check—and as such utterly unsuited for this new world.

He also wondered how Dumbledore would react, or if the man even cared, either about James or Sirius.

Fucking bastards, the lot of them.

A thought hit him so hard he gasped, attracting a sharp-eyed look from Voldemort. “Oh, shit,” he breathed.

“What is it?”

He pressed the back of his hand to his mouth, knife slanting up across his face, and stared at Voldemort wide-eyed. ‘I have a twin. What if he’s identical?’

Voldemort paused for a moment, then blinked in consternation, obviously getting his meaning. ‘Oh. Oh, that would be a bold move.’

‘Luna would never be taken in, but with the right story most people would.’

‘Still, you already absconded with all the money, so if that was any part of a motive to make a switch it would be wasted.’

‘True, but a part of me is thinking James wouldn’t at all mind the idea of getting that trust back, plus the money all those nice people left me in their wills because I’m the Boy-Who-Lived. And the money mum left me. Because hey, guess what? Dumbledore would be my magical guardian and have the right to dip his sticky fingers in, so the goblins wouldn’t necessary get a chance to verify “my” identity. Never mind that the goblins already know I’m not as missing as people believe.’ He turned, flipped the knife in his hand, and threw; it thunked into the target loudly.

‘Have you decided?’

He turned back slowly as he figured that one out, then nodded. ‘Yes. Just not when. I am curious to see if my twin pops up first. I am also wondering if, after we get these goblins properly signed up and under treaty, I should mention this possibility to them, or at least that I emptied my trust vault. It’s not technically their business, but a warning might be fair.’

‘Warn them now. It goes toward extending trust and alerting them to the possibility of someone trying to trick them.’

Harry took a deep breath and exhaled.

When the goblins were done puttering around and making calculations he produced a linking book for them to use. They had no need to route through Nexus so he placed the one to return them to their inner sanctum on a pedestal. “We will be contacting you in a week’s time, after you have had a chance to think over this exchange, and to consider terms for a banking treaty. But before you go there is something I feel the need to mention, on the off chance that you at Gringotts UK are affected. It has come to my attention that my mother and father are not, in fact, dead, and that I have a twin brother, though I am not presently aware if this twin is identical. The reason I bring it up—”

He paused, seeing that at least Narok was starting to nod thoughtfully. “I bring it up because it occurred to me that my shameful coward of a father may choose to try to send in my brother to access my account. Or it might be Dumbledore behind it. Either way, I wished to point out that I have already very quietly emptied my trust vault, so there is no gold there for them to plunder. And while I have no doubt you have your ways to verify a person’s identity to prevent fraud, if Dumbledore should step in as de facto guardian of Harry Potter, the true identity of whoever is posing as myself may not come into question.

“And back to the other matter, if you wish to contact us early, before the week is up, you can send post to the box I maintain at the Diagon Alley owl office: 21A. Do you have any questions before you depart?”

Narok shook his head, so Harry opened the book and gestured. “We will speak again soon enough.”

Surprisingly none of them showed any suspicion or reluctance to link through, even though Voldemort was not going first as usual. He could only imagine their reaction when they realized where they had ended up.

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Apparently, his little “joke” on the goblins did not incline them to contact him and Voldemort early, which was fine. After a consultation with his elves Harry went to the ministry’s Office of House-elf Relocation to purchase what they had available. He was using an almost random face for the deal and coin from both his and Voldemort’s fortunes. Depending on how things went they would do the same at ministries around the globe, and all of them would be transferred to Ophiuchus.

He returned to Ae’gura, his newly purchased elves following him, and he set them a task of boxing up every section of D’ni books. When that was complete he linked them through to Serpens with instructions to take the boxes into the manor and await him. After he rejoined them they were bidden to bring the boxes along and stack them outside his and Voldemort’s personal linking room.

“Saen. Cael,” he called and was rewarded with his two original elves appearing. “I need you two to take charge of this lot. I want you to go ahead and start setting up the farms, warding first. Sort out how many elves are needed to help here at K’veer and how many can work the farms. Later on I’ll need some of you for the fencing, but Voldemort and I need to finish marking those estates out first. Any questions?”

“No, Master,” Cael said after a brief pause. “We will begin immediately.”

“Good. Thank you.”

As soon as they all left he began hefting the boxes into the linking room so they could be transferred to Vault. One area inside could be made into a repository. He absolutely did not want to chance anyone ever getting their hands on the sheer amount of descriptive and linking books the D’ni had abandoned. Heaven help them if some unscrupulous whackjob managed it, deciphered them, figured out too much. . . . Barty still had the primers and that was fine; he could duplicate those so that immigrants had copies to study from if they wished to learn D’ni. Everything else, though, was simply too dangerous.

He finished up in a reasonably short amount of time and linked through to № 12 Grimmauld Place, having expanded the number of linking books in the vault for their convenience. Parchment was pulled from a desk in the bedroom he had taken for his own and a fountain pen was taken from his pocket.

Dear Luna,

I saw that the second task was a little more exciting than most people would have expected. I wouldn’t doubt that most of them will never quite know what happened. Between the saen and the insaen there is a gulf of understanding.

I expect we will see each other again, you and I.

布施雪

After staring at it for a while he nodded and folded the letter, placed it in an envelope, and addressed it. A quick notation in the upper left corner denoted his box number, and then he set off to post it from the place in Diagon Alley. He would have to let Saen know about the letter next he saw the little fellow, just in case.

Next he shifted invisibly to check in on Lucius, the first of those they would be interviewing. He wanted a look into the man’s mind to see how he might possibly react to what they would be asking of him. Once he was done he tracked down Voldemort to discuss his findings.

“I’m going to give a qualified yes on Lucius,” he said, sitting back in his chair. “I think if he were to be left entirely to his own devices he would eventually become frustrated enough to attempt a coup of his own, but given what we’re doing I think he’ll fall into line. Yes, he does rightly fear you, but he also honestly believes you are generally in the right. We give him a task he’s suited for and he ought to be fine. I also think he’d be a bit prideful that we approached him first, and gave him the first option on an estate there.”

Voldemort looked thoughtful at that.

“In addition, Narcissa has already produced two children and is working on a third. It seems having their only son go out in a blaze of stupidity has brought home certain truths to them.”

Voldemort smirked. “What, that raising Draco to be a strutting peacock with no sense of personal responsibility was not the best of ideas?”

Harry offered a matching smirk and nodded. “They blame each other, of course, but that just underlines the whole bit about personal responsibility. Maybe at some point they’ll figure out that whole ‘growing up’ bit themselves. In the meantime, they’ve every intention of being more strict with this lot.”

“Either way, it’s not as though we have to worry about the effects of Lucius pulling his son out of Hogwarts and sending him to live on Ophiuchus, which might make Dumbledore wonder what’s going on. It will be an issue with others.”

“Yes. We may have to set vows on the adults to keep the information from their children until it’s time for the exodus. Then we can all disappear and leave the Light to wonder. I finished moving the library from Ae’gura to Vault, so that’s safely away.”

“No word from the Host?”

He shook his head. “I expect they’re feeling very confused, though, suspicious to a degree, and possibly a bit frightened.”

“All to the better,” Voldemort replied, another smirk appearing. “Where is Lucius right now?”

“Malfoy Manor. I take it you want to get things rolling?”

“Rather.”

Voldemort stood and offered his arm, so Harry took hold of his wrist and shifted them to the manor’s foyer, then vanished from sight just before a house-elf popped in to see who had managed to enter the house.

“Inform your master to receive me,” Voldemort said.

The elf—whom Harry knew to be Dobby—looked a bit frightened. Dobby nodded and popped away, and was back shortly to escort Voldemort to Lucius. The man was still in his study-cum-library, but had moved to a grouping of chairs and a loveseat, obviously knowing that staying at his desk would give entirely the wrong impression—such as provoking his lord and master with a posture of assumed power over him.

Harry stood behind the seat Voldemort chose after Lucius had risen in greeting, according Voldemort a bow of respect (and fear) before resuming his seat.

“Things have changed, Lucius,” Voldemort began, then stopped when Dobby reappeared with a tea tray.

Lucius offhandedly diverted his attention long enough from his master to berate the elf for taking so long and order him to punish himself.

Harry, however, literally saw red, as though a translucent film of blood had trickled down to taint his sight. The next thing he knew he was visible and leveling the cruciatus curse at the blond, even before Dobby had had the chance to pop away. “How dare you treat the elf that way, you disgusting little worm,” he all but hissed. “You should be grateful he serves you so well considering your base disregard.”

He heard a sigh, partially breaking his concentration and dulling his unexpected fury, and then, “Harry, really.” He released the curse and looked down, seeing Voldemort looking up at him from his seat. “While I certainly do not mind your actions, we have much to do here and it will become quite irritating to watch him twitch like that. You obviously didn’t think to temper that curse.”

His eyes narrowed as he stared at his partner. ‘Okay, I apologize—to you, that is, not him. I have a history with Dobby and just, ugh, flipped my shit when I saw—fuck.’ He noticed that Dobby had not actually left, against orders, and turned to the elf. “Will you please do me a favor?” he asked quietly.

“Sir?”

“Fetch a potion, please, for Lucius, to ease his pain. Then you may return to your duties.”

The elf hesitated, his large eyes widening, then nodded. “Dobby will.” He popped out.

Harry turned to Lucius and said, “If I ever catch you treating an elf like that again I will make you regret it, right after I force you to transfer ownership of every elf you own to me.” Shortly thereafter he had roughly shoved a potion at Lucius and taken a seat next to Voldemort on the sofa, two cups of tea had been poured and prepared, and he sipped his while waiting.

Voldemort closed his eyes briefly, probably an expression of mild frustration, and returned his focus to Lucius. “As I was saying, Lucius, before you just had to invite punishment for yourself, things have changed. After a great deal of considered thought I have come to the conclusion that trying to fix the British Ministry’s corruption is pointless and we shall simply start anew. To that end, I have a task for you.”

“Yes, my lord?” Lucius said quietly, almost warily.

“You will compile for me a list of all laws of this government. Once that is complete you will begin with the laws of other countries. We will see after that.”

‘He doesn’t get where you’re going with this, but that’s not so surprising,’ Harry commented.

‘Then I assume he thinks I mean to continue with efforts to tear down and rebuild the British government.’

‘Yeah. Still not seeing any problems, either.’

“In addition to that task, there is something of even greater import,” Voldemort continued. “We are moving.”

Lucius’s brows rose in an understated display of surprise and confusion.

Harry got up and went over to Lucius, then bent down so he could whisper the secret in the man’s ear. After straightening he stepped back and waited.

Voldemort also rose and gestured to the blond, who quickly stood and moved to his master’s side. Voldemort apparated them to № 12, while Harry shifted to get a linking book before joining them. He laid the book on a side table and opened it to the linking image.

Voldemort gestured to it and said, “Touch the image, Lucius.”

The blond looked as though he would rather do anything but, yet complied, almost prissily, and warped away; Voldemort followed moments later. Harry grabbed the book and shifted it back to its home before using it as well.

Lucius was staring up at K’veer with a confounded look on his face, utterly shattering his usual cold and haughty visage.

Harry bit back a snort and looked at Voldemort in amusement. ‘I just love seeing people like him lose all grip on his mask.’

Barty came through the main doors and hastened down the steps to greet his lords, and, as an afterthought, Lucius.

“How are you progressing, Barty?” Harry asked kindly.

“I think I’m doing all right,” Barty replied. “I’d like to spend more time conversing if that’s all right. It really helps.”

“Sure, it’s not a problem,” he said, noticing that Voldemort had pulled Lucius a bit away to speak with. “In a bit you can help with marking out estates, town homes, and so on. I want to get as much done as possible before we speak with the goblins again. And, of course, you can choose where you’d like to live.”

Barty blinked. “I admit, that never even crossed my mind.”

Harry shrugged. “Do you want an estate? A town home? Think about it.”