Grazhir :: Crossover :: FeS2 :: 17

17

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“Have you got it, do you get it, if so, how often? And which do you choose, a hard or soft option?” — Pet Shop Boys, West End Girls


Lucius hosted a dinner party. Avery, Crabbe, Gibbon, Goyle, Jugson, Nott, Rosier, and Selwynn were invited. Narcissa stayed safely away, keeping an eye on her children. Harry was there to rifle through all their minds.

Voldemort was ensconced in Lucius’s study-cum-library, browsing through the man’s selection of books, though in truth there was nothing of particular interest present. He was very widely read, after all.

‘Hn,’ Harry sent. ‘They’ll do. Some of them will get pissy over the half-bloods and muggle-borns, but once we point out to them that none of them have to marry any of those people, and that we’ll all be pure-blood after a while, they’ll settle down. Besides, they all expect to be crucio’d should they show that displeasure too obviously. Aside from the fact that their Dark Marks returned and they know you must be around somewhere, they’re a bit suspicious of Lucius having this little get together.’

He snorted faintly and nodded. That sounded about right. ‘And what are their thoughts on you?’

There was a long pause before Harry replied. ‘They think it was all a fluke. They can’t believe I had anything to do with it. No, some bizarre confluence of orbits, Samhain, and so on, resulting in a wholly unexpected and unfortunate occurrence—a freakishly bizarre accident, if you will. I’m a kid with an undeserved reputation and nothing approaching a threat.’

Voldemort laughed at that, shaking his head at just how hilariously wrong his people were in their assessment of Harry’s level of threat. ‘All right. I am on my way. We shall see how long it takes before one of them notices I’m even there.’

‘Okay. See you shortly.’

He got up and slowly made his way toward the dining room. It took a full ten minutes before any of them noticed him, or the fully visible Harry standing to his right. The two of them were sharing another packet of Harry’s homemade biscuits in companionable silence. Avery happened to glance over and choked on his wine, causing the other Death Eaters to notice and look their way, eyes wide with surprise and confusion and apprehension.

“For being some of my best,” he drawled, “you seem to be seriously lacking in situational awareness. Too busy eyeing Lucius suspiciously, were we?”

A chorus of “my lord” arose and all of them stood so they could bow to him. He waved them back to their seats and strode over to the foot of the table. He conjured a second chair and rearranged them, then took a seat. Harry took the other.

“As I am certain that Lucius has held his tongue I will inform you all of the real reason for this gathering. We are moving. To that end, and to avert potential complications by Dumbledore and his ilk due to an upcoming event, all of you will do the following. After you return home you will inform your wife, should you have one, that you have been hearing disturbing rumors and feel the need to take a holiday. You will be in touch with them later. Pack your belongings. Then you’ll return here.

“You will not speak to anyone else, nor will you say anything more than I have suggested, nor will you dawdle. I expect you all back here before midnight. You will then be transported to your new, temporary home. If you have copies of the blueprints for your homes, bring them. If you do not you will be expected, after you are settled, to draw some up from memory as best you can.

“Any children will have to be looked after by your spouses for the time being, but as some are currently at school it should be a very minor point of consideration at this time. The less any of them know the less they can possibly share should aurors come seeking information. Is there any part of my instructions which needs clarification?”

Rosier almost smirked. “My lord, should we take them to mean it will be unlikely we will be seen in public again for months?”

“Correct. Pack for an extended stay.”

Nott, who looked rather disturbed at the idea, asked, “My lord, what of our funds?”

Voldemort shook his head. “You will not need any.”

Goyle glanced at Harry, started to speak, and thought better of it. Instead, Selwynn decided to ask, “Are we allowed to bring a house-elf with us, my lord?”

He narrowed his eyes, sending, ‘What do you think? I don’t see the harm in it.’

‘Me neither. And I’d prefer not to designate the ones we have to wait on this lot, not when they’re already so busy with other tasks. They would have to liaise with ours for supplies, though, as I don’t really want them going back and forth between Earth and Ophiuchus.’

He nodded faintly. “One only for each of you. You will be further instructed once we’ve arrived. Now, if there are no more questions, you may all go and I will expect you back here prior to midnight.”

Either none of them could think of any or the ones they had must have been deemed too minor to raise. His Death Eaters all rose, thanked Lucius for dinner, bowed to Voldemort, and took their leave.

Lucius then crinkled his brow. “My lord?”

He nodded, inviting the question.

“Am I to move with them?”

“No. But you will carry an emergency portkey on you at all times, set to the Black house. In the event that—”

‘He’s going to ask about his wife and children,’ Harry interrupted.

“—you are in any danger you will use it. If you wish, Narcissa and the children can be moved either to the Black house or installed on Ophiuchus, though I doubt she would have much of a social life. It would be easy enough to spread a story about her taking the children on holiday so that no one will think it odd that she has not been seen out and about.”

Lucius’s brow crinkled faintly as he took that in, and Harry sent, ‘He’s concerned because she’s six months pregnant and it’s not as though we have a hospital set up yet.’

‘I should think you could deliver her if necessary,’ he replied. ‘You do seem to have a handle on all sorts of knowledge.’

‘I suppose so. Still, Fudge is still in office and easily bribed, so I’m not all that concerned about Lucius being hauled off to Azkaban. I would say give Narcissa the secret, a special portkey, and if anything happens she can retreat to the Black house. And if it somehow becomes really bad their elves can pack up the house and we move them all to Ophiuchus.’

He considered that and said, “For now, Lucius, she can remain here. She will be let in on the secret and will need a portkey capable of transporting herself and the children should it become needful.”

The blond’s expression cleared immediately and he nodded. “Yes, my lord.”

“Send for her now. I expect you will take care of the portkeys by tomorrow at the latest.”

Lucius nodded and called for an elf. A short time later Narcissa glided into the room, so Harry got up, crossed to her position and whispered in her ear—which occasioned a look of surprise from her—and then returned to his seat.

“That is all,” Voldemort told her, and watched as she bowed and quit the room. “We will be in your library, Lucius. Have me informed when they’ve all returned.”

“Yes, my lord.”

Alone again a few minutes later, just the two of them, they took seats on one of the sofas. Harry produced his biscuits again after a quick spell was tossed at the door. “Suppose we can get Barty to ride herd on this lot. Avery, Nott, and Rosier ought to be all right, having been with you for so long.”

“We can set them to choosing their new estates and getting them scheduled for construction,” he said, taking a biscuit. “We need to make the rounds, however, for as many house-elves as we can get. The initial farms are one thing, but we need produce of all kinds. These lovely biscuits of yours would be difficult to do without cocoa, for instance.”

Harry shuddered. “So, the serious basics, such as hospital, school, estates, and then back around again to infrastructure?”

“Yes.”

“Do you have any craftsmen amongst your minions?”

Now that was an interesting question. It was all very well to start the farms, round up livestock, find and mark places to acquire certain goods, but much of it would be of little use without craftsmen. He ate his biscuit thoughtfully while running through his mental list of Death Eaters.

Surprisingly, Crabbe was a fair hand at fashioning robes and armor. Avery had a metalworking hobby, though he wasn’t sure of what use that would be. Selwynn was all right at potions, though not in the same class as Severus had been. Still, while he could see setting Crabbe up with a craft, Selwynn was too intelligent to be wasted on something he was only moderately good at.

He could, however, set them to making lists of their own to aid the overall effort. The exodus would make more sense done in waves. Government, hospital and education, craftsmen, and then the general populace. His older Death Eaters were not, in general, hot-headed, and should do well enough to start as part of the government. He could give them the fruits of Lucius’s labors and set them to hammering out a basic set of laws; the exceptions would come after and they already had several in mind.

“Not really,” he finally said, and gave Harry a quick summary of what he’d just been thinking.

Harry nodded through his recitation, nibbling a biscuit in a way that made Voldemort’s groin react. “Well, what’s the sense in having minions if you can’t delegate to them?” he commented.

It wasn’t yet ten when an elf popped in to inform him that all his minions were present. He nodded a dismissal and stood, waited until Harry was also ready, and swept off to the dining room. There Harry produced a linking book and laid it on the table, open to the image.

“Lucius, you first. You others, do as he does. Your elves, as well,” he ordered and was pleased to see speedy compliance. As soon as they were gone Harry tucked the book away, shifted them to the palace linking room, and they linked through to K’veer.

Harry called his two elves to him and said, “I need you to see to suites for each of these men. They will be living here for the time being. For Lucius you will need to set aside a larger suite in the event that his wife and children need to come here, but for now he will not be in residence. More on that later. Take these elves with you and get things set up, then they can return to escort their masters.”

Saen and Cael nodded, looked to the unfamiliar elves, and led them away.

“Gentlemen,” he said, “you are on Ophiuchus, in the infant form of the city of Serpens. This building is K’veer, my and Harry’s home. And yes, because I know you’re curious, my companion is Harry Potter. He is my partner.”

Harry suddenly laughed and shook his head. “No, no, no. I am not a catamite, Jugson. Though really, considering your fondness for that very subject in your very private fantasies, I am hardly surprised it was the first thing you assumed.”

Voldemort arched a brow, staring coldly at Jugson. ‘Seriously?’

‘Oh yes. He’s never actually acted on those fantasies, but he has them and made an automatic assumption that you keep me as some kind of sex toy.’

Jugson looked surprised, angry, and apprehensive.

“Jugson,” he said coldly, “as you can see my partner is not without his talents.”

The man bowed, lower than normal, and murmured, “My lord.”

‘He thinks I’ve used an aging potion, of course,’ Harry remarked. ‘Because, you know, one of us thinks it’s otherwise too kinky for cross-gen, pedophiliac sex.’

He just couldn’t help himself. ‘Even with your real age it would be cross-generational. I am just shy of seventy years old, after all. But something tells me a thing like that wouldn’t bother you.’

‘. . . As much as this line of conversation amuses me, we should probably deal with this lot first,’ Harry sent slowly.

“Follow me,” he ordered, then swept off to one of the meeting rooms, asking Harry, ‘Can you please linger a bit behind and have one of the elves send Barty in?’

‘Sure.’

He continued on and had them take seats around the table while he remained standing at the head. Harry arrived within a minute and Barty shortly after that, and Barty said a bit breathlessly, “Yes, my lord?” He had obviously come at a run.

“Good,” he murmured. “Barty, you’ll be overseeing these gentlemen, with the exception of Lucius, of course. They have each brought an elf to see to their needs, and those elves will obviously need to liaise with mine and Harry’s. You can start tomorrow by taking them to one of the estate areas and helping to get construction scheduled after explaining the deal. After that they can start going over the information Lucius has been collecting for me and putting together some equitable laws, subject to my and Harry’s approval. Any questions?”

Barty looked down for several seconds, something he often did when he was thinking, then shook his head. “No, my lord. But if any arise I can contact you the usual way.”

‘Hey.’

‘Yes?’

‘You going to chuck a wobbly if I punish Jugson?’

After a moment’s pause he replied, ‘No. Go ahead.’

Harry looked over at Jugson and smiled. “If I ever catch you thinking things like that about me again, I’ll do more than just fry your nerves,” he said calmly, then produced his wand and breathed, “Crucio,” his eyes starting to glow eerily.

Jugson dropped to the floor with an aborted scream and writhed, biting his lower lip into a bloody mess. A psychotic smile—for effect, Voldemort thought—appeared on his partner’s face and Harry held the curse for a full minute before releasing it and letting his wand disappear. He broke the mood just a moment later by going, “Mwua ha ha.”

Voldemort could see in his peripheral vision that Barty was desperately trying to stifle his amusement and nearly rolled his eyes himself. He nodded and swept out, almost choking when Harry reminded him of how Snape had always ‘billowed’ everywhere. They eventually ended up in the library they shared and took seats. He rubbed his face, thinking about Jugson. Well, the man could fantasize all he liked about buggering young boys, so long as it never came up again; he really did not need to know things like that about his followers. “All right. Now that they’re here you can go ahead and capture Peter. They won’t have access to the linking books yet so. . . .”

“So it’s not as though they can do something monumentally stupid and pop back home for a quick visit only to get hauled in for questioning and then arrested, right.” Harry gazed up at the ceiling, eyes unseeing. “I need a believable scenario for Peter’s capture.”

“Where is he now?” he asked.

Harry blinked once, his head tilting slightly in a listening posture, then said, “He’s been living in Snape’s house in Cokeworth, using magic to steal from the muggles to afford food from the shops. It was warded against muggles, and nobody magical ever did anything about it, assuming they even knew where it was.”

At first he could not see any particular resolution to that need, but after a great deal of thought an idea began to coalesce. “I think I may have something,” he said slowly.

Harry perked up and stopped staring at the ceiling.

“We do not want Peter dead, but, if we were to find some unrepentant muggle criminal there—”

“Oh,” Harry interrupted. “I think I see where you’re going with this.”

“Yes. We arrange for the aurors to be alerted to a large magical discharge that Peter incurred during a confrontation while trying to steal from this unrepentant muggle. Say, perhaps, that the muggle takes great exception and attempts to fight back. As Peter is casting a killing curse, the immediate cause of the muggle’s death, he is pushed back in some way which causes him to knock himself unconscious. The aurors would be alerted as it’s in a muggle area, arrive, haul this magical person in for questioning. . . .”

Harry started nodding halfway through the explanation. “It’s just a question of wording, basically. Peter could try other spells first to up the magic, as well. My biggest question is how long does it typically take aurors to respond to something like this? I’ve heard one too many stories about how they’re a bit lax. Also, do you have any sleepers in the DMLE, because they may try to help Peter and end up hindering us.”

“Excellent points. Let me think a moment. Macnair is at the ministry, but you already know he’s not DMLE. Still, being in the building he might attempt to cause problems. I do have a few minor people in that department. I’m just trying to think how I can signal them to ignore Peter entirely without. . . .”

“Would it be too obvious to have Lucius do it? I mean, he’s kind of a poncy git, but he’s also fairly smooth when he’s being, you know. He’s always been your man inside the ministry, hasn’t he?”

“Yes,” he said slowly. “Though more for giving generous gifts to people like Fudge to get the fools to do what I wished. Still, it is not at all uncommon for Lucius to be seen there, and not always in meetings with the minister. I think we can swing that, yes. And while he’s there he can distribute more than a few pieces of parchment with compulsions embedded in them—maybe for Wizengamot members, too, but you already dealt with most of the bad ones.”

“Fudge will have to get something, then. He’ll flip out over Peter being found. Never mind that it was what’s-her-face as minister when it happened, he’ll assume it’ll reflect badly on him.”

Voldemort nodded. “Yes, you’re probably right.”

Harry snorted. “I know I’m right. It’s what he did last time when it came up.”

“Fine, whatever,” he said with a roll of his eyes. “But Fudge can probably be handled by you going in and twisting his mind. Doing so for the entire auror department and Macnair is something else entirely.”

“So we have a plan. I just need to go do a few things before I write it up. Shall we head back?”

“Let’s go,” he agreed.

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They were in an excellent position to watch the first part of the plan, on the roof of a nearby building. Right on schedule a rough-looking man walked down the alley and behind him crept Peter, who was very much surprised when his imperius attempt failed. The thug turned around with a frightening expression and advanced. Peter threw out several more spells in a flurry, becoming panicked when they did not slow the man down. Just as the thug lunged forward to head-butt Peter the rat completely lost it and snapped off a killing curse, not in time to prevent being hit, then knocked himself out as he cracked his head against the brick of one of the buildings walling the alley.

Shockingly (or not considering the meddling they had done, which included inducing a number of persons to feel the inexplicable and ineludible urge to take a holiday), the aurors showed up within thirty seconds and made quick work of assessing the scene, not to mention taking Peter and his wand into custody.

‘Beautiful,’ Voldemort commented. ‘That was lovely.’

‘I have acquired a flair for choreography,’ Harry replied. ‘There was nothing at all about it that should stink of manipulation.’

‘No, just incompetence on the part of Peter,’ Voldemort agreed, then smirked.

They returned to № 12 and settled in to wait. Lucius was lurking at the ministry that day and would be keeping an ear out in various spots, while Harry had placed some undetectable eavesdropping charms. The aurors were a hive of activity once one of them realized their captive sported a Dark Mark and Amelia Bones was very much in evidence in directing her department’s people. With Fudge out of the way (he was visiting ‘friends’ in Papua New Guinea) she could get on with things.

“What do you think might happen after we leave? I mean. . . .”

He glanced over, one brow raised. “Between the muggles and the Light?”

“I guess. I mean, if a bunch of Light-minded fools stay behind, along with the scared or complacent neutrals, and even the Darks too dangerous to bring—what happens when something finally happens that the ministries can’t stop? When some nutjob makes a big bang in front of the muggle cameras? When their technology finally gets to the point where they can see our enclaves? I just wonder if the muggles will go to war. Yeah, sure, the British PM knows of magic and I’m sure other top-ranking members of muggle government do too, but. . . .”

“Yes, well, if we end up with more of them joining us they will have to understand how the rules have changed. I have lists upon lists of names I think will suit, but there are plenty more who I expect to waver and remain here out of, as you call it, complacency.”

Harry shrugged carelessly. “Is there any way you know of to reach out to people not on the lists, such as with enchanted parchments that are only accessible to those of the right type?”

“. . . I would have to think that over,” Voldemort admitted.

“I mean, once we have the initial exodus done we can scatter around something, such as references to Ophiuchus and our system of laws. Maybe have a—an embassy? Warded to the teeth, of course. Lord knows how fun it’d be to have Dumbledore stroll on in.”

“He might anyway,” Voldemort pointed out. “He does so like to meddle and he’ll end up being ridiculously curious as to what happened to thousands of people.”

“Eh, true.” Harry blew out his breath, puffing hair away from his face, then gave him a speculative look.

He arched a brow in response and waited.

“I’ve been wondering, idly, if you’re feeling okay. You haven’t . . . tortured or killed anyone lately, and I was just wondering how you’re holding up.”

Voldemort just sat there, brow still arched, though it was slowly deflating, feeling a bit stunned. He wasn’t sure if he was stunned over this display of concern or because he hadn’t actually done anything particularly evil of late. Harry had tortured people, killed people and beings, but. . . . “I’m fine,” he said eventually. “I think I’ve been having too much. . . .” He could not possibly say that word.

“Fun?” Harry offered, a crooked smile on his lips. “Interested, challenged, focused, fulfilled, amused. . . ? Okay, good. But let me know if you get twitchy, yeah? I’ll find someone—or multiple someones—for you to, er, play with.”

“And if I want to play with you?” he asked.

Harry blinked at him slowly, almost as if wondering if his friend really was that stupid. Then he said, “Well, I could dash off to a shop and grab some muggle games, I guess. Twister might be fun.”

He snickered. So clueless at times.

“What?” Harry sounded distinctly annoyed.

“Aren’t you ever curious?” he asked, reaching out to briefly run his fingers down Harry’s cheek, letting his thumb glide over his friend’s lower lip.

Harry’s eyes went wide. “Are you—are you propositioning me?”

“And if I am?” he asked smoothly.

“Are you even gay?” Harry asked incredulously.

“And if I am?” he repeated.

“I, er, well—what the hell? This is so very Gryffindor of you! I’m supposed to be the bold one!”

He chuckled softly; Harry was actually blushing in his confusion.

“You had better not be saying this just to mess with my mind,” Harry growled, his brows drawing down fiercely and his eyes beginning to glow.

“You have yet to answer my question,” he reminded his partner. “Aren’t you ever curious? Don’t you ever want to find out?”

Harry scowled and stood up—for a moment Voldemort honestly thought he might end up cursed—then came over and sat on his knees, facing him. “Well?” Harry practically demanded.

So he reached up and wrapped a hand around the back of Harry’s neck and drew him down, gently forcing Harry’s head to tilt even as he tilted his own, then kissed him. Harry’s lips were amazingly soft and felt plush, despite the fact that they were a bit on the thin side. He pulled back so he could look into Harry’s eyes, then heaved into a twist. Harry’s back hit the sofa cushion and he followed, slipping out from under his friend’s legs, until he was straddling Harry. “Do you want to find out?” he repeated.

Harry looked at him in shock, and slowly a faint smile curved his mouth. “Absolutely. I’d like to know what I’ve been missing.”

Well, then,” he purred, a bit in shock himself at how fast things had escalated and with how unlike himself he was being. “How much are you curious about?”

Harry blinked at him, the smile sliding off his face, expression conveying a sense of being lost.

Oh. He nodded slowly. “Some, now,” he said quietly, and leaned in to begin kissing Harry again, this time being rather insistent on gaining access with his tongue. He took his own sweet time exploring Harry’s mouth and listening carefully to the sounds his partner was making, how his body was responding. One hand he kept planted firmly on the cushion, the other with his fingers around the back of Harry’s neck.

It was only when Harry began straining toward him that Voldemort changed position and began to go after his neck, being careful not to mark the skin, though that is not to say he didn’t bite. He kept himself rigidly under control. Harry was a virgin as far as he knew and could, at any time, backpedal on his earlier bold assertion, with uncertainty creeping in to smother curiosity and excitement. When it still seemed that Harry was very much into things he shifted again long enough to bestow a thorough kiss and then moved south.

A half hour later Harry was breathing heavily and Voldemort could almost feel just how fast his partner’s heart was beating. Harry had one hand still gripping the back of the couch and the other was thrown over his head. His eyes were closed and his lips parted slightly. He looked alluring to Voldemort’s eyes. So vulnerable, dewy with sweat, enticing, inviting more. But not yet.

He was startled out of his ruminations when Harry’s eyes flicked open to stare first at the ceiling, then at him.

“It may take a few times,” Harry said a bit breathlessly, “until I know for sure if I like that.”

He snorted in amusement. “Really now?”

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In a gratifyingly short amount of time the Daily Prophet was screaming about the capture of Pettigrew, marked Death Eater, and any number of lurid details about his testimony. And, of course, that Sirius Black had already been removed from Azkaban and interrogated in front of the Wizengamot, just as Peter had been. Shock! Awe! Black was innocent of everything! Off he was shipped to St Mungo’s.

Harry rolled his eyes and tossed the paper on the table. “The sheeple are milling in confused circles, as expected. Either way, I can shortly go take care of my delightful sire.”

“You plan to wait until after Dumbledore acts, or. . . ?”

He shrugged. “Do you think it matters?”

“If you kill James now you’ll never know his reaction,” Voldemort pointed out, “unless you plan to use the ring.”

He shuddered at the idea of actually talking to his father and shook his head. “I’ll wait, thanks. I’ve only ever used the ring once and I’m in no real hurry to do so again.” After a split-second hesitation he added, “It was when I was going to my death, the one Dumbledore conditioned me to accept, at your hand. I called my parents and Sirius. Surprisingly, knowing what I know now, James was awfully kind. Maybe that version of him did actually regret some things.”

“I doubt this one will,” Voldemort said quietly.

Harry heaved a sigh. “I rather doubt it myself. It’s okay. He’s a right wanker and even my mother doesn’t like him. I will enjoy his death. We just have to wait until Narok gets in touch to share his encounter with Dumbledore.” Then he started laughing. “I wonder how my brother will react when he realizes he’s alone, with no real name, no money, and only Dumbledore to look to.”

“Or Black, once he may realize that not only is his childhood home but a vague wisp of memory and that the family fortune is missing?”

He shrugged again. “It’s a crying shame. He still has Alphard’s money so it’s not like he’s poverty stricken. Anyway, once we’re finished breakfast do you want to hang around here or go check progress in Serpens?”

A week later Saen popped in with Harry’s post and handed over a letter from Narok. A quick scan showed that Dumbledore had shown up and that Narok had attached a vial to the bottom of the parchment filled with a silvery liquid: a memory. “Well now,” he said. “I sincerely hope this is amusing.”