Chapter 1: House Visit
"Lucius, Severus, Stay behind. The rest of you are dismissed," Voldemort watched as his followers trickled out of the ballroom before turning to face the two members of his inner circle and allowing the glamours to fade away into nothingness.
Only five people at Hogwarts would recognize his revealed features for all that he still sported the ruby red eyes, Dumbledore, McGonagall, Hagrid, Harry Potter, and Ginny Weasley. A wave of the Dark Lord's hand conjured seats for the two other wizards and melted away their masks into white smoke. He gestured for them to take a seat before settling into his own conjured chair, ignoring their wary exchange of looks.
"I have a task for the two of you and young Draco. Bring me Harry Potter," Voldemort told them flatly. A raised hand aborted the objections he could see on the tips of their tongues. "I must have answers to certain questions. Answers that must come straight from Potter. To that end we will need the brat and a vial of Veritaserum. Depending upon when he is brought to me and in what condition will partly determine how he is questioned. For some reason I am disinclined to question him in front of a full meeting for all that the answers may be illuminating enough to require sharing the results."
"My lord, if I may ask? What brought this on?" Lucius asked softly, a hint of concern in his eyes.
"A... ghostly visit," Voldemort said with a smirk, his enjoyment of their discomfort with that answer was like a child with a secret until he relented a moment later. "I stumbled across an heirloom that has some... unusual properties. A temporary ghost formed and she took the chance to ask me a few questions, completely ignoring the fact that I had killed both her and her husband."
"Lily," Severus breathed, dismay and longing clear to both of the others.
"She's gone back across the veil," The Dark Lord said almost gently. They sat in sorrowful silence as they all contemplated the repercussions of having Lily Potter accidentally visiting Voldemort, even if she was a ghost at the time.
"What.. what questions did she ask my lord?" Lucius asked softly, breaking the moment of contemplation and earning a pained grimace from his lord.
"One of them was why no one had bothered to check on her son even if it was only to try and kill him. Another was why we were allowing Dumbledore to control the war and treat it like a giant chess board," Voldemort admitted grimly, the gobsmacked looks he got from the other two wizards earned a flicker of amusement from him. "She also asked me to tell Severus that he is forgiven for the original incident but that she's also displeased by how he's been treating Potter. There was something about him actually needing to learn the facts of the situation in her tirade. She ended her tirade by offering me a deal. I am to protect her son from all comers until such time as the three of us can honestly say that he is capable of protecting himself and functioning in society."
"What did she offer in return?" Lucius asked, intrigued.
"A full explanation of the prophecy and what happened the night they died as well as removal of the death curse the two of them cast. Curiously, she also offered to give me the location of where to find him if we retrieved him from her sister by the end of the week. She indicated that should I choose to fulfill my end of the agreement honorably her protection of her sister, nephew, and brother-in-law is to be exactly equal to how they've treated her son," Voldemort informed them an odd look in his eye.
"You agreed," Lucius said flatly. They ignored the quiet scoff that came from Severus, both of them fully aware of his opinion on the matter of how Harry was treated at home.
"I did. The woman was never a Slytherin, there are several ways of using the agreement in my favor and the brat can always die in an accident or I can out right kill him after we've trained him," Voldemort admitted. "She explained that she had previously found a blood ritual that would alter her son's bloodline, giving him a single trait of the new family bloodline, and providing a certain amount of protection from the family and person of the one to kill her. The fact that this required a willing sacrifice on her part to be killed in his defense and actually made him my heir isn't the really interesting part, what is is the way the ritual boosted an already existing curse. Apparently Salazar Slytherin cursed his own line, anyone involved in attempting to subvert or otherwise purposefully alter the succession of the Slytherin Lordship is punished for the attempt. As I had no heir the moment that Lady Potter died her son became my heir, as a result I was punished for trying to kill him. I became a wraith for 13 years mostly because the punishment magic is completely aware of all circumstances involved. She rather gleefully informed me that had I not tried to kill him again in his first year at Hogwarts the magic would have provided me with a new body the moment I made my way into Gringotts under my own power."
"Salazar truly is a great wizard," Severus said appreciatively, a hint of sadness in his eyes as he remembered the death of his childhood friend.
"Did she give you the address? Come to that what heirloom did you find that allowed the conversation at all?" Lucius asked thoughtfully, wondering if he should arrange for a cell or an actual room to house the Potter Heir.
"I looked it up before the meeting and even owled the Goblins for more information. Suitably its called Deal with the Dead and changes form to be noticed or received by the one that a particular spirit is trying to reach. The Goblins were quite adamant about buying it from me. Naturally, I declined," Voldemort informed them smugly.
Snape paled as the implications of the entire situation finally hit him. Lily had forgiven him but she was not happy with how he had been treating her son. A chill ran down the potion masters spine as he wondered exactly how upset she was for his callous actions in an attempt to keep himself both separate and close to the son of his childhood nemesis. Lily was going to kill him!
"Just worked it out did you?" Lucius asked in amusement as he saw the look on his friend's face. "When will we be retrieving the boy my lord? And where is he to be retrieved from?"
"Number 4 Privet Drive, Surrey as soon as Severus assures me he has Veritaserum on hand," Voldemort informed them smugly, having changed his mind to personally pick up Harry now rather than later, Severus could always provide the Veritaserum later. He quickly stood and headed for the arrival hall, both men easily following behind him. "After all I have to determine how much protection they have granted my Heir over the years."
"Then we should be on our way. I happen to know that he has a bad habit of carrying a small sample of it everywhere with him," Lucius teased, causing the Potions Master to flush in embarrassment. The light-hearted teasing set Voldemort in a good mood as they made their way out of the manor, transfigured their robes into muggle business suits and apparated to Surrey.
A loud crack signaled their arrival at the end of the street. Unconsciously Lucius began heading straight for Number 4, without even looking at the area. He felt something pulling him toward the utterly mundane house. He could not for the life of him figure out what was so important that he had to leave his lord's side to approach this utterly muggle residence. The blond never saw the look of concern exchanged between his two quickly following friends, nor did he hear their calls of concern as he reached the front door and instinctively rang the bell.
Harry had just finished making supper and hadn't managed to finish the long list of chores that his relatives routinely gave him whenever he stayed with them over the holidays. As a result he was hoping that the Dursleys weren't as ravenous as usual and would leave some scraps for him to devour as he cleaned up the meal they had forced him to make. Judging by the way they were demolishing the food with the occasional glower or malicious smirk sent his way that scenario wasn't exactly likely.
His mournful prediction turned out to be true, by the time the Dursleys were done there was almost nothing left. Aunt Petunia had decided to watch him like a hawk while Dudley and Vernon got to enjoy pie in front of the television in the family room with a second pie waiting for them on the kitchen counter. He was just finishing up washing the last of the dishes, unable to avoid soaking his overly large clothes, when the door bell rang.
"Boy!" Vernon yelled, causing Harry to grimace as he finished drying the last plate before putting it aside to be put away later.
"Coming Uncle Vernon," Harry called back a little breathlessly, his ribs still sore from the beating that Dudley and his friends had given him earlier. He flinched when Petunia smacked his bruised collar bone, caused by Vernon dragging him from the cupboard the previous morning.
"Show some respect!" Petunia scolded, a scornful look on her face as Harry quickly made his way to the front door. Taking a deep breath the young wizard quickly rearranged his features into that of teenage boredom rather than pain and opened the door, careful of his sprained wrist.
"Yes?" Harry asked, the word leaving his mouth before he registered who was standing in front of him.
For a moment the four wizards were frozen looking at each other. Then the tableau shattered, Harry stumbled backward away from them with a curse and tried to simultaneously shut the door in their faces only for it to be caught by Snape with a sudden snarl on the dour man's lips. That's when Harry registered the ruby red eyes of the second dark haired wizard and his magic reacted to his spiking fear. The second pie went flying from the kitchen and Snape stepped right into its path, ending with blueberry and whipped cream streaming down his face and front.
"Potter!" Snape yelled in fury, drawing the attention of the Dursleys.
"Shitshitshitshit," Harry said scrambling further backward into the house in an ungainly crab walk, unable to take his eyes off of the three wizards who quickly made their way into the house, past the entry hall, shutting the front door behind them.
"What is all this then?" Vernon demanded before seeing where their second pie had gone and turning on Harry in a fury. "You ungrateful whelp!!"
"Perhaps we can all calm down and discuss this?" Voldemort suggested almost hopefully as Lucius restrained his friend from trying to murder a slightly cowering Harry.
"Let me go Lucius, I'm going to kill the disrespectful brat!" Snape snarled, scaring Harry further and drawing out a flinch as he stayed out of arm's reach.
"No, you are not. You know perfectly well that was accidental magic," Lucius scolded as he drew his wand and cleaned up the mess. "Besides, its not like its hard to clean up and its certainly better than the time Draco set your robes on fire while you were in the middle of brewing a complicated potion."
"Freaks! Out! Get out of my house!" Petunia screeched almost to the point of hysteria and opting to attack them with the marble rolling pin. Voldemort sighed heavily but also cast a sheild between the three new comers and the Dursleys, which Petunia promptly ran into, falling to land painfully on her butt.
"What the hell have you done to my wife!?" Vernon bellowed, as he lumbered up out of his chair in an attempt to evict the intruders only to find himself knocked back into said chair and stuck there. Dudley had barely squeaked as he sat terrified in his own seat, vainly hoping that if he kept his rear firmly planted on the couch they couldn't give him a pig tail again.
"'Tuny do you really think we would be here if we didn't need to be?" Severus asked in a long suffering tone, shaking off Lucius' hold as he banished the rolling pin back to its place in the kitchen and magically dumped her into the floral patterned chair in the corner. Using his wand he directed Harry to get up and toward his family, with Harry reluctantly obeying at the barked command. "Up, Potter! Where the devil is your wand? You know better than to be without it."
"I will not have magic in this house!" Vernon thundered as he struggled to get out of his seat for all the good it did him with the sticking charm in place.
"Locked away with my school things, Professor," Harry admitted reluctantly as he carefully got to his feet and stood near the couch, out of everyone's reach, tense and ready to bolt if the chance arose. He hoped that admitting he didn't have access to his things would be enough not to get detention for the rest of his school days for not having his wand on him to defend himself with. Harry ignored the shortness of breath and the pain from his various injuries, refusing to let his guard down.
"Sit down boy. We're not here to kill you," Lucius said with his trademark Malfoy sneer as he casually silenced the still protesting Dursleys.
"Frankly, I very much doubt that," Harry said boldly, eyeing the wands in the hands of three men that he was absolutely convinced wanted him dead. That's when they noticed the bruise on Harry's shoulder where his over large shirt had slid down his shoulder.
"How did you get that?" Snape asked with a careful intensity as he stared at the yellowing, almost hand-shaped bruise.
"I fell," Harry said quickly, unable to stop the flash of fear that skittered across his face and caused the wizards to stiffen at the obvious lie.
"Potter, come here," Snape ordered with a heavy sigh. Harry shook his head no, earning a light glare from the potions master before he eventually caved and warily approached the older trio. Snape gently directed him into the adjoining kitchen/dinning room area before having him sit at the table, back to the living room. He ignored the privacy charm that went up between them and the living area in favor of visually examining the Gryffindor. "Have you eaten?"
Much to Harry's embarrassment his stomach answered for him giving off a loud demanding growl for food, causing him to blush. Snape snorted in a combination of disgust and amusement at teenage priorities before raiding the fridge and placing a sandwhich accompanied by a glass of milk in front of the green-eyed menace. Harry eyed the food suspiciously until he again caved under the silent glare of his Professor and started to eat, only managing to consume half of the sandwhich and three quarters of the milk before feeling sick.
"That's hardly enough to keep a child your age going. I've seen you eat more at Hogwarts. Are you ill?" Snape asked with a frown. Harry remained silent and refused to meet the man's eyes, unwilling to admit that he hadn't eaten anything in a day or two and that was a slice of stale bread chased down by a stolen apple.
Just then Lucius came through the privacy charm ostensibly to retrieve the truth serum, having watched the interaction with no little bit of worry and confusion. Harry seemed to be far too passive for the spirited youth he heard so much about from both his friends, his son, and lost his temper with at the end of Draco's second year. Something was very wrong with the Gryffindor and Lucius suspected that before the evening was done all three of them were going to be upset if not downright furious over whatever was bothering the young wizard.
"Lucius," Snape said in acknowledgement, his tone carrying an inquiry. Harry flinched away from the blond wizard, as if he hadn't known the man was there until the potions master mentioned it, earning an unseen frown from the man.
"We may have a problem," Lucius said quietly. At Snape's raised eyebrow he elaborated. "There are tracking and compulsion spells littering both house and residents. The only reason we haven't had a howler from the ministry about underage magic is because I'm listed as someone authorized to investigate such things. The fact that two of my friends chose to accompany me in visiting an underage wizard in this dreadfully muggle area makes no real difference and probably helps since our magical presence is confirmed by the trace and thus we can reverse anything that goes awry."
"Anything else?" Snape asked with a light sneer gracing his features and Harry stubbornly kept his gaze on the remains of his meal.
"The magic and wards that Dumbledore invoked when he left Mr. Potter here will make it hard to transfer custody and would be nearly impossible if Lady Potter had not struck that deal with our Lord," The Malfoy Lord admitted worriedly. "I keep finding more and more enchantments. I wouldn't be at all surprised if Dumbledore, or one of his people placed bindings on his core simply to keep him manageable."
"What deal? What spells?" Harry demanded, his gaze snapping up from his food to the two wizards as he stopped pretending not to listen.
"We will have to work through the goblins in any case," Snape said thoughtfully, ignoring Harry's questions. "If necessary we can pay for the goblins to help purge him of any spells or potions, though I doubt there are any with how difficult he tends to be."
"I'm not going to like this, am I?" Harry asked warily, eyeing both older wizards as he once more tensed to flee.
"I doubt it but its less embarrassing than having one of your more famous victims return simply to berate you on how you've not bothered to check on her son, even if the check was simply to attempt to kill him again," Voldemort pointed out with a grimace as he joined the three of them near the table. Harry risked a look toward his relatives and saw that they were mostly unharmed if obviously fuming. "Incidentally, the agreement I made with the spirit of Lily Potter prevents me from trying to kill you until you are fully trained and able to function easily in our world. It also granted me the right to become your guardian. That being said, one of the first things we'll be doing after getting your guardianship transferred is a medical exam and elimination of any potential weaknesses such as those glasses. I very much doubt that you will be sufficiently trained to release me from protecting you until you are well past your majority."
"I don't get a choice do I?" Harry asked miserably, thinking he was going to be in hell until he completed whatever nightmarish training that his three enemies had come up with, not really believing them yet.
"The seven of us will be making a trip to Gringotts to sort this entire situation out and make the arrangements both magically and legally binding. After which we will be burning your current wardrobe if it is anything like the rags you are currently wearing and buying you a new one," Lucius said primly, giving said rags a look of obvious disgust that Harry misinterpreted as being aimed at him rather than his clothes.
"At least its something," Harry snapped back before instinctively cringing as he waited for the blow he would normally receive from his relatives. All three of the older wizards exchanged grim looks. This was not a normal reaction for someone Harry's age.
"Why am I suddenly resisting the urge to walk over and either torture or kill them? Aside from the obvious?" Lucius asked with a frown.
"You also knew exactly where the house was," Severus said thoughtfully, absently yet gently pushing Harry back into his seat as he tried to sneak away.
"The only thing I can think of that might be causing this is... Oh," Voldemort said softly. "Now how did that happen?"
"What?" Snape asked sharply. He really wanted to know what put that dumbfounded look on his friend's face.
"Abraxas Malfoy magically bound himself and the rest of his bloodline to me, against my original wishes," Voldemort explained. "If the magic somehow believes that Potter is a part of me then it would compel everyone who is of Malfoy blood to try and protect him. However, since we've been attacking one another up until now the magic could have become confused and tried to decide if I or Potter needed the greater protection or had the greater loyalty. It could, conceivably have blocked or subsumed parts of the bond that formed when Abraxas gave that oath of allegiance for his bloodline."
"Which would explain why I couldn't order Dobby to ignore him when I accidentally put the school in danger during his second year," Lucius said with a gusty sigh.
"Severus? Have I found an appropriate punishment for that unending act of stupidity?" Voldemort asked as he looked over at a sheepish Lucius thoughtfully.
"No my lord," Severus said with a wide grin that had Harry distinctly unnerved.
"Right," Voldemort said with a decisive nod. "Lucius I sentence you to... take Narcissa shopping in Paris for a new wardrobe for her, you, Harry, and Severus."
"What?!" Both men practically squawked drawing a giggle from Harry at the horrified expressions they were sporting, then the fact that his name had been part of the list registered.
"I don't need anything," Harry said as he looked down at his half finished meal.
"Finish your milk at least," Severus said in exasperation. Harry just looked uncomfortable and started to fidget as he mumbled something.
"Speak up, no one can hear you if you mumble," Lucius scolded lightly.
"I can't, I'm too full. I'm also not allowed new clothing," Harry admitted, refusing to look any of them in the eye.
"Gringotts?" Severus asked, fighting to keep his temper over Harry's obvious mistreatment in check.
"Gringotts," Voldemort confirmed before waving a hand at the still restrained Dursleys, transfiguring them into three mice and dumping them into a conjured cage for transport to the bank.
"This is going to set off so many of the alarms. The paperwork is going to be a nightmare," Lucius grumped but still led the way out of the house, trusting Severus to bring Harry and quiet happy not to have to deal with the muggles as they finally apparated away.
Chapter 2: Gringotts and Memory
Stubborn memory clip.
They landed on the front steps of Gringotts only for Lucius to stagger as the alarm spells on the Dursley residence that were associated with the Ministry went off in his head, being the last ministry representative who had been in the area. Moaning slightly Lucius did the appropriate counter charms indicating that he knew what was happening and that it wasn't something to be concerned about. Harry looked over at him curiously but decided with the way they were arranged around him making a break for it wouldn't work, and they had actually brought him to Gringotts like they had said.
"Sev? Can I have a headache potion?" Lucius asked pitifully.
"That bad?" Severus asked with raised eyebrows as he dug out and handed over the requested potion.
"Worse," Lucius said with a grimace before knocking back the liquid with a shudder of revulsion, absently returning the vial to the potions master who pocketed it.
"Come on, we haven't got all day and we still need to buy at least one outfit for Harry before heading back to the manor," Voldemort said in obvious amusement as he ushered the group into the bank.
"What about Hedwig? And my school stuff?" Harry asked quietly, wondering to himself if he should have even mentioned them in the first place.
"I will send a house elf to retrieve them. You are never going back to that... hovel," Lucius told him haughtily. The indignant squeaking from the trapped Dursleys had the blond man tossing a sneer at them as he stalked forward to speak with one of the unoccupied tellers. Harry decided to look around at one of his favorite places in Diagon Alley, spotting Griphook almost immediately.
"Griphook! How are you?" Harry called as he waved at the obviously surprised goblin, knowing better than to get out of Snape's reach when he was so obviously escorting the smaller wizard.
"You recognize him?" Voldemort asked in hastily concealed surprise.
"Yeah, he took me and Hagrid down to my vault the first time I had to get money to pay for my school things," Harry said happily, completely oblivious to the fact that he shouldn't have needed to be the one to pay for his necessary school things.
"Come Harry, the Dark Lord doesn't wait for many people," Severus said gently as he steered the younger wizard towards the impatiently waiting goblin and Dark Lord.
The quartet followed their goblin guide down a number of hallways before being shown into an office that would easily qualify as decadent. The lush carpeting, rich oak furniture, displayed weapons, and multiple dark heavy bookcases loaded to overflowing had Harry looking around with interest as they each took their seats. The older goblin behind the desk glanced up momentarily before finishing up the last few sentences of what he was writing and setting aside his quill to address them.
"I am Frank and I will be assisting you today," The Goblin informed them with a sour expression.
"Frank?" Harry asked, trying not to laugh.
"Yes, my mother had an odd fondness for human names. I have been told that her childhood name for me is easier on Wizards than my adulthood name," Frank told them stiffly, obviously not happy with using a human name over a properly goblin one.
"And what is your adulthood name that we may call you by?" Severus asked smoothly, sending a warning look at the snickering Gryffindor sitting next to him.
"Bogkar," Frank or rather Bogkar said relaxing.
"I'm sorry for laughing but it just seems silly to make a goblin use a human name," Harry said apologetically causing the goblin to relax even further and give him a small smile.
"It is well that you recognize that youngling," Bogkar said, calling Harry by the goblin term for child.
"Unfortunately young Mr. Potter is part of the reason we are here today," Severus said with a touch of melancholy.
"I see," Bogkar said reservedly, eyeing the quartet with interest as Harry suddenly looked uncomfortable.
"They just showed up and things went tits over arse," Harry told the goblin only to get a light smack from both Severus and Lucius for his choice of language.
"Language," Severus growled and mentally noting that Harry had flinched a little too much both from the movement and the smack its self as if it had caused real pain. Harry on the other hand sorely wanted to rub at the bruise they had both managed to nick with their love taps.
"I contacted Gringotts about a particular artifact several days ago and agreed to a deal with the ghost of his mother. I am to take guardianship of him and press charges against his previous caretakers," Voldemort said with a smirk placing the cage with the indignant mice on the desk with a flourish. "I was hoping that Gringotts would be willing to assist in this endeavor and I am quite willing to supply pensive evidence in addition to whatever you extract from the muggles in front of you."
"This is highly irregular and will require investigation," Bogkar said as he studied Voldemort over his half-moon enchanted glasses that he had donned to examine the transfigured Dursleys.
"I figured as much which is why I didn't get much out of them when I questioned them. I didn't want to potentially scramble their minds which was a distinct possibility with what little I found and even more with what I suspect." Voldemort admitted, scowling fiercely at the now cowering mice. "What I did manage to learn was.. unpleasant at the very least and easily warranted Lady Potter's concern, making me far less surprised at the deal she offered earlier this week."
"Is the Lady Potter not dead?" Bogkar asked carefully, wondering if he had an insane wizard on his hands or simply one who had stumbled over some rare and uncommon magic. Harry's sudden laser-like stare at his arch nemesis reminded the Dark Lord that they had talked about a change in custody in front of him but not about why they had actually been at the muggle abode.
"Its a touch complicated, perhaps everyone would be willing to view the events in a pensive? I am afraid I was remiss in failing to even partially explain it to Mr. Potter and my friends only know part of the matter at hand," Voldemort offered apologetically. "I presume that Gringotts has at least one for such incidents?"
"We do," Bogkar said slowly, almost suspiciously. "We charge 100 galleons per session with an additional charge of 5 galleons for every hour after the first."
"The Malfoys will pay the fee," Lucius said graciously. "In fact we may wish to make use of it at a future time as well. Lets say 150 galleons for this session and any time we don't use can be the service charge for taking up so much of your valuable time."
"My thanks Lord Malfoy, with such a generous payment we will be happy to include the memory authentication and refreshments as needed," Bogkar said toothily.
"If we somehow go beyond the ten hour mark feel free to withdraw an additional 200 galleons from my own account but I believe that the first memory may be more beneficial to the Host and Gringotts than one might first suspect," Voldemort offered smoothly.
"If it is as you say then we will be happy to assist you in solving the situation for a fee of course," Bogkar said clearly pleased at the exchange thus far before tapping what Harry had thought was a paperweight and speaking a short Gobbledygook phrase.
"Professor?" Harry asked warily, wondering what the hell was going on even if he did recognize the strange bowl from somewhere.
"Calm, Potter, the pensive is so that we all will have a better understanding of the situation," Severus explained as he absently set one of his hands on Harry's leg in an attempt to keep him calm and in his seat. The pensive arrived without much fanfare as well as some basic refreshments, everyone took some tea and drank at least some of it before Voldemort moved to provide the memory. They entered the memory one at a time and watched as the scene played out.
"How the hell did that happen?" Harry asked into the dumbfounded silence.
Voldemort was moving quickly through one of his old estates having retrieved the books and artifacts that he had come for. His robe flared out before snagging on a small decorative statue on a side table only for the statue to tumble to the floor, briefly drawing his attention. What held his attention was the fact that some sort of ghost was falling upwards out of the small statute. The fierce glare she almost immediately focused on him had him taking a step back in a combination of open mouthed shock and uncertainty as he recognized Lily Potter.
"You!" Lily cried in outrage and Voldemort looked around obviously and vainly hoping she was talking to someone else.
"What do you have to say for yourself?! Killing me and my husband and not even bothering to check on my baby?!" Lily scolded furiously, forcing the living man back a step through sheer force of personality.
"Uh, that is," Voldemort stuttered, shifting nervously like a guilty little school boy before regaining his equilibrium. "Shouldn't you be scolding the light side idiots?"
"Unfortunately they're out of my reach and I wouldn't trust them with my little Harry again after what I've seen," Lily informed him sourly, going from enraged mamma bear to sulky teen in an instant and giving the man before her a false sense of security before dropping the bombshell on his head. "That's why you're going to go get my baby and raise him until he's all grown."
"And why would I do that? In case it as escaped your notice I've been trying to kill him since he was born," Voldemort asked cautiously, not used to dealing with unstable females aside from Bellatrix. The way she scanned him up and down with a doubtful look saying "you're not much but you'll have to do" had him wanting to bolt.
"I'll lift the death curse from both mine and James' deaths, tell you what we knew of the prophecy, tell you what happened that night and where to find my son. I'll even reduce my protection of my sister and her family to exactly equal how they treated my little Harry. If you swear to raise and protect him until you can honestly say that he can protect himself and function in society, tell Severus that I forgive him and am not pleased with how he's treated Harry so far, and retrieve my son before the end of the month." Lily informed him, an evil smirk gracing her ghostly features that made him think that her earlier reactions had been part of a trap to make him agree. Her eyes, on the other hand, were what told him he was facing down a protective and hungry predator that he had no hope of escaping.
"And if I say no?" Voldemort asked, just to be clear on the consequences. The way her evil smirk grew into a bright malicious grin did not reassure him, making him distinctly nervous and prompting his retraction. "Never mind, I don't think I want to know."
"Then you agree?" Lily asked sweetly and Voldemort nodded vigorously before listening to her recount the full prophecy, the events of that night, and was told where exactly to find this demon woman's spawn before escaping quickly. The last thing that she told him rang in his ears as he ran from the property was to make certain their wills were read.
"I know how to do parts of it but with something that old and powerful? I honestly don't know," Voldemort admitted with an awkward shrug as he carefully watched the younger wizard's reaction to what he had just learned.
"Huh, so mum would rather you raise me than if I stayed with Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon... Is anyone else bothered by that or the fact that Dumbledore keeps sending me back?" Harry asked as he blinked stupidly while staring at the slowly swirling memory in the pensive. "Was she always that scary?"
"More so," Severus admitted with a shiver as he mentally relived some of their more heated arguments, suddenly very glad that she had given him a second chance to correct his damaged relationship with her son.
"What a woman. You should be proud of the warrior spirit your mother had youngling. She would have done well for herself among the clans," Bogkar said blissfully.
"Is he alright?" Harry whispered to Severus carefully, eyes never leaving the enraptured goblin.
"Yes, I'll lend you a book on their culture later," Severus told him quietly, earning a satisfied nod before Harry sat back in his seat and nibbled on the refreshments that had arrived while they were inside the memory.
Chapter 3: Legal Confirmation
For those who were wondering I update randomly. I am also seriously considering the Sev/Voldy/Harry/Lucius pairing or my usual Sev/Voldy/Harry that was requested by sota115, opinions on the pairing and any other suggestions would be appreciated.
Once Bogkar stopped mooning over how Lily had completely blindsided Voldemort they got back to business.
"We need to establish how much care these muggles have given Mr. Potter as per the deal my lord made with his mother," Lucius prompted. The blond aristocrat wondered idly if the rags that Harry was wearing was for playing, doing overly dirty chores, or if his normal clothes had accidentally gotten ruined and they hadn't had a chance to replace them yet. He never suspected that these were some of Harry's best clothes aside from his school uniform which was meticulously taken care of and hidden from his relatives whenever possible.
"That's not necessary," Harry said with a blush of embarrassment. Lucius could feel along the recently remembered bond that if he let that lie stand it would put the Potter Heir in danger at some future time.
"Yes, it is. My lord the bond that lead me to the house is strenuously objecting to his answer," Lucius pointed out, eyes narrowed in thought as he tried to figure out how such a comment could put Harry in danger.
"Bond? What are you talking about?" Harry asked with a frown, inwardly panicking about what they might discover should the Dursleys be questioned completely ignoring what the three other wizards had walked in on.
"My father magically swore all Malfoys to serve my lord and his line as we told you earlier. I'm afraid I don't know the exact wording and thus the full extent of the vow but the bond that accompanies it led us to you when we came to get you. It also told me that your earlier lie, which was obvious in any case, could potentially put your life in danger should it not be addressed," Lucius explained patiently. Unfortunately for Harry that was the moment his shirt slipped to reveal the bruising on his collar bone, drawing Bogkar's attention.
"How long has Heir Potter been in your care?" Bogkar formally asked in a grim tone, his eyes never leaving the healing bruise.
"Less than an hour before our meeting started," Voldemort said quietly, noting where the goblin's gaze had fallen. "From our observations at his current residence the muggles have more than enough to easily take care of both him and his cousin. There was also the possible concern from enchantments and potions affecting the four of them. We had hoped that Gringotts would review the full situation and administer a cleansing ritual to purge Heir Potter of any potions and enchantments. After the legal situation is resolved we have plans to have him examined by a certified healer. The transfiguration was performed purely for travel convenience and so that I wouldn't be tempted into simply killing them."
Bogkar quickly agreed casually pointing out that a medical review would naturally be included before whisking the Dursleys away to be questioned. They spent the next three hours waiting on results as the trio of older wizards observed the quiet Gryffindor while they talked in low voices. The grim goblin that fetched Harry part way through the wait had them wondering exactly what the Dursleys had told the goblins. A tired and subdued Harry returned to them soon after hesitantly curling up in his chair watching them warily eventually dropping into an exhausted nap.
"Heir Potter is immediately remanded into your care and elevated to adult status in regards to working magic. The Dursley family is being charged with a number of crimes and will be facing goblin justice. Here is the summary of Heir Potter's condition as well as the treatments performed. Many of the goblins involved in this case nearly made a call to arms, their hands were only stayed by the fact that he was in the process of being removed from the situation," Bogkar informed them grimly, looking over towards a sleeping Harry in some concern. "As a courtesy, due to the standing marriage contract between Heir Potter and Ginevra Weasley, signed by his former magical guardian Albus Dumbledore, we ran a check on Heir Potter's marital standing and bloodline. There appears to be several dormant marriage contracts between the four of you. It is unknown why they went dormant or what will re-awakend them. By wizarding law due to both his age and the late change in guardianship should a relationship develop between any of you and Heir Potter the appropriate paperwork must be filed to dissolve the Potter-Weasley contract. There is no conflict in any of your bloodlines mingling with his. It was also discovered that Heir Potter is also Heir Gryffindor by blood, Heir Slytherin by magic conquest. The appropriate paperwork has been filed for the change in status, change in guardianship, and the confirmation of his prior abuse. Sign here, that will be 2,000 Galleons."
They wordlessly signed the paperwork, silently receiving their copy of the summarized information, doing their absolute best to keep their tempers in check. Severus was the one to tenderly gather the still sleeping Harry into his arms before they left Gringotts, apparating straight to Malfoy Manor. Harry never woke while they got him ready for bed and slipped him under the covers in the guest bedroom, his room not yet selected and outfitted. The green eyed Gryffindor slept like the dead while his new guardians got very little sleep that night, plagued by nightmares.
Chapter 4: Breakfast and Marriage Contracts
*blinks in surprise* And the majority vote goes to Harry/Sev/Voldy/Lucius.
The really interesting part of your voted choice is that this is almost perfectly set up for that fairly rare paring. *cackle*
Harry was left to sleep in while the three tired men gathered in the dining room to go over the summary of what the goblins had found, including a copy of each marriage contract active or inactive. The way their imaginations of the horrors Harry had run rampant keeping them awake the night before it was almost a relief to discover the truth written out undeniably in front of them. The first thing they noticed was the creation of the Horcrux in Harry's scar and the goblin's correct identification of it.
"No wonder the vow recognized the brat as a part of me... Damn, I'm never going to be able to recognize him as ready to leave my protection. First she stops me from killing him as a baby, now she's conned me into protecting him for eternity!" Voldemort moaned as he slumped in his chair, barely missing his plate as his head dropped down to thump on the table.
"We told you. You never should have done those rituals," Severus pointed out acerbically, taking a sip of his morning ambrosia more commonly known as coffee.
"At least we convinced him to do the reversal on the earliest three, even if it did have to wait until he had a body again," Lucius countered with a heavy sigh before setting aside his copy of the morning Daily Prophet to start in on his own copy of Harry's paper work.
"Actually I had to do it for the first four since I didn't physically have them for the ritual and I still want to physically retrieve the objects," Voldemort pouted earning an eye roll from his two breakfast companions.
"If Potter truly is one of your Horcruxes what would be the soul ratio? Come to that how much of your soul are you missing?" Severus asked speculatively.
"Roughly..." Voldemort paused to reverse calculate how much of his soul was missing, provided he didn't somehow manage to start healing it. "I have 121/128 or ~94.5% and Potter is carrying 1/64 or ~1.5%. So I'm easily past the minimal half mark for sanity and am only missing about the same amount that being forced to kill a loved one would likely tear off, possibly less than that really, provided my original Arithmacy on the matter is still accurate."
"I still think using Van Halen's Metamorphic Transcendental Matrices as a baseline calculation was a mistake. Though I am dearly glad that you aren't running around with barely 3/4 of a percent of a soul," Lucius complained only to spit take when he read the next line in Harry's paper work. They both looked up to see his blood draining from his aristocratic features, causing them to worry.
"What?" Severus asked in concern.
"They... they kept him in a cupboard and treated him like a house elf. They starved him!" Lucius said in a mixture of fury, horror and utter shock.
A moment passed for them to comprehend what their friend had said before they were hastily drawing their wands. Both of them knowing first hand how cruel people could be and that Lucius had a protective streak a mile wide. It only took them a split second to cast a spell to tie him to his chair, tossing up magical suppression wards to contain the damage his rage fueled magic was sure to cause as Severus summoned their friend and lover's wand. They took full advantage of Lucius' shock to keep him in place, the wards barely holding against his magical fury as he physically and magically fought to get free and break something, preferably the fools who so abused a wizarding child. Twenty minutes later his tirade of magic, profanity, and general fury abated in favor of slumping down into his magical bonds in exhaustion.
"If they were not already facing goblin justice..." Lucius growled, his anger still burning his stomach like acid as he weakly struggled back into a sitting position in his chair.
"Alright?" Severus asked warily.
Lucius gave him a stiff nod, indicating he was once more under control. Voldemort and Severus carefully undid their hasty spell work, always watching Lucius in case he was lying about his control over the sudden understandable need to murder the Dursleys. Returning his wand was the last test to see if he had himself under control and they both breathed a sigh of relief when they realized he wasn't going to go storming towards the door in a righteous fury.
"Now, why did you stop me?" Lucius asked sternly as he fiddled with his wand and leaned back in his chair like an old time movie villain, eyeing both of them with a combination of predatory intent and restrained vindictive anger.
"Because the brat would not appreciate the attack on his relatives. We probably pushed it turning them over to the goblins," Severus said with a snort, inwardly relieved that the reaction wasn't worse as he turned back to his breakfast.
"One thing you need to realize is that when someone has inflicted damage like this the victim needs to be part of the retribution or punishment if they are ever to feel true peace about the situation," Voldemort explained softly. "Its one of the reasons why I always include those who come to us seeking protection or vengeance in the resolution of the problem. Closure is important and has been denied to many of us or we wouldn't be who we are. The more the person needs closure the more they need to be watched because that need will drive them to the point of insanity and beyond. However, I suspect that Harry's reaction to his abuse will be the wish to forget it ever happened. This is a form of denial if it occurs to early in the healing process and may mean that he has internalized certain "truths" regardless of actual veracity that may cause him harm."
"I know all this," Lucius snapped in irritation. "Get to the point."
"Let me put it to you this way, if someone thought to periodically starve and torture Draco would you deny him the chance to at least watch as his abusers were punished? Would you ignore the pain to Draco caused by an Auror arresting you after watching you exact vengeance, unable to get out of the charges?" Severus asked pointedly.
"No, of course... not. Ah, if they are dead he would have to accept possibly never seeing an end to the situation in his memories and the possible removal of one of his rescuers because they took action against his aggressors would unduly distress him," Lucius concluded, gaining an inkling of understanding and grumpily accepting their actions. He put away his wand and returned to his own breakfast, going through the papers with more grim determination than anything else.
"Where is your wife and son?" Voldemort asked, having wondered why they weren't at the table with them.
"Paris, Narcissa is still deciding which properties she wants when we finally separate. The final contract will be up in less than a year and she will be free to pick a lover or proper bonded husband without being burdened to provide me another heir," Lucius answered readily. "We could honestly dissolve it as being fulfilled now but she wanted to wait for Draco to nearly reach his majority first. She wanted to be sure he understood that we both love him but were only in an arranged contract marriage to have him. We've always been friends and I've never tried to enforce my will on her so the parting will be amicable. I will have to send them an owl and explain the current situation. No doubt Draco will be relieved to discover his odd rivalry and reactions to said rivalry have an actual reason behind them."
"Speaking of contracts, perhaps we should look at the contracts attached to Potter," Severus suggested. "We might as well know what the contracts all entail and see if any need to be formally dissolved. I doubt he would want to enter into a bonding so soon and he may object to even a contract marriage for all that it would probably net him an heir."
That was about when Harry stumbled into the dinning room, damp from his shower and wearing some of Draco's old clothes as he followed an elf who quickly popped away. The scent of food had him hesitating, unsure if he was even allowed anywhere near it despite not being at the Dursleys. All three of them were pleased to see that he was mostly reacting like a sleepy teenager rather than a newly released prisoner.
"Sit down," Severus growled gruffly. "And be sure to eat at least half a plate full. If you cannot stomach the heavier fair then you need to drink at least a glass full of milk, and eat some dry toast."
"Yes, professor," Harry said warily as he joined them at the table, absently noting how comfortable they all seemed to be in each other's presence.
"Why are you restricting his food?" Lucius asked horrified, thinking of the starvation part of Harry's health report.
"Because if I don't and he eats the wrong food too fast it could kill him," Severus said with a sigh, mentally reviewing what he had read of the health report. "His magic might be able to limit the damage to simply being violently ill. I have no doubt he's already discovered the results the hard way or I would be insisting on a special diet to help him recover from his near starvation. As it is he is going to need far more food and calories to even get to a safe weight and he needs to become comfortable with us before we start insisting on the more difficult things. Milk, for an example, is about to become a very large part of his diet."
"I like milk," Harry mumbled with a shrug as he dug into his small breakfast, knowing from experience that the other wizard was right about eating too much too fast.
"You will also be kept warm and eat in several small doses until you can handle the larger meals," Severus said severely, eyeing the Gryffindor critically looking for possible signs of shock.
Harry blushed in a combination of shame and embarrassment as he ducked his head and focused hard on eating his small breakfast. He wanted more, gods how he wanted more but he knew if he took much more than what was on his plate it would hurt him, hopefully they would be having some sort of soup for lunch. He was still in a bit of a daze and thought that the entire situation was a very weird dream. The fact that he was blissfully in no pain practically proved it in his mind as he fought not to be drawn into the obvious trap, dream or no dream.
Everyone's attention was drawn when Voldemort started cursing vehemently, running through what Harry considered to be an impressive range of languages, including parseltongue. How someone would accomplish that with or without magic boggled the mind, though his emerald eyes narrowed as he heard words that he knew were completely and utterly new to him.
"I'm not dreaming am I?" Harry asked quietly almost resignedly.
"No, you are not," Severus confirmed as he watched Voldemort warily, wondering what new disaster was about to be dropped into their lap.
"What's wrong?" Lucius asked softly, ignoring the by play between the two younger wizards.
"The active marriage contract the goblins warned us about? With Ginevra Weasley? Dumbledore signed it and made it nigh on impossible to break it," Voldemort fumed. "If we do break it, with or without cause then the compensation is ridiculously steep even accounting for the fact that the girl is the only female of the family in several generations."
"Ma-arrige contract?" Harry stammered suddenly wide awake and believing in the unreality that had once more become his life. After all only his luck seemed to be so fickle as to finally get him away from the Dursleys just to turn around and be forced to marry his best mate's sister without any way out of it. Even if he was currently in the hands of those who were supposed to be his enemies. Admittedly they had treated him better so far than his so called family not to mention paid more attention than most of his friends.
"What are the conditions of the contract and does the Weasley chit know about it?" Lucius asked grimly already calculating what might need to be done to break the contract.
"Possibly as she has been attempting to seduce Potter since early in his fourth year. The chit switches boyfriends frequently, presumably in an attempt to make him jealous," Severus said thoughtfully. "What page is it on?"
"Is that what she's doing? Ron and the twins wont like that," Harry said in astonishment.
"And you? How do you view her?" Severus asked shrewdly.
"She's Ron's little sister and follows me everywhere. She can actually beat the twins with her Bat Bogey hex and is hard to get rid of. She's... less stalkerish than in second year but I think part of that was being possessed by Mr. Evil's diary and needing to be rescued from the chamber before it killed her," Harry admitted candidly, nodding towards Voldemort at his Mr. Evil comment.
"Why aren't you panicking?" Voldemort asked suspiciously before answering Severus' question. "It should be the 3rd one in the stack with a purple corner."
"And react in a way that's going to get me killed?" Harry asked sarcastically, inwardly panicking about having to fight off most of the Weasley males for something that wasn't even his fault and probably lose their friendship in the process. "I learned a long time ago if you don't move you die or at least receive a nasty beating for your trouble. I'll probably freak out later and maybe get Hermione to help me figure out what to do once we've researched all of this..."
"Are you going to mope about the mutt?" Severus asked cautiously, finally finding the marriage contract between Harry and Ginny only to pull it free of the stack of papers.
"Strangely no. I was all depressed about his death before we went to Gringotts but after I woke up this morning I felt lighter and wasn't ready to try killing myself anymore," Harry said with a frown, willingly embracing the distraction even as his words caused all three of them to pale. "Of course the one time this summer I managed to snatch something sharp I literally couldn't bring it to my wrist or throat, which made it worse and I'd try again until Aunt Petunia found me trying and took the glass shard away. It earned me a few days to myself with some actual warm soup so it wasn't a total loss."
"Not.. a total loss?!" Lucius choked out, feeling sick to his stomach. Severus frowned hard as he shuffled through the rest of the paperwork from the goblins looking for the medical report and skimming it quickly looking for something he only half remembered seeing.
"Oh good," Severus breathed a sigh of relief.
"What is good about attempted suicide?!?" Lucius practically snarled at his friend, itching to curse him over his apparent lack of caring.
"The fact that the feelings were magically induced along with any affection for the mutt. The suicidal aspect triggered later as a part of Black's death and that the goblins managed to remove it. Which is why he's no longer morning the mutt so fiercely," Severus said with obvious relief, quickly showing them both his copy of the paperwork, pointing out the notation in the mess of medical jargon as they calmed down.
"That would make sense," Harry admitted reluctantly, more than a bit mournful at the loss of what little family he had left that was even remotely deserving of the name. "I only spent time with him a couple of times and only this past Christmas were we actually safe to talk without worrying about the Aurors. Dumbledore practically had him trapped in his own home... sort of like me and the Dursleys. It also makes me wonder who cast it..."
"Who would do something so ghastly?" Lucius asked aghast, shuddering at the thought of Draco facing the same kind of blatant manipulation.
"It was in place too long, the brat's own magic overwrote much of the signature," Severus informed them as he skimmed the surrounding text on the medical report. "The very fact it has been in place for so long and the subject of the spell narrows it down to anyone he might have run into since Black's original escape. The likelihood goes up drastically if the person was in the order, an uninformed Death Eater, or Dark sympathizer who believed the published tripe."
"I'm not a brat," Harry said indignantly, falling to Severus' insulting distraction easily.
"Enough, we'll continue this after breakfast," Voldemort ordered forcing them all to finish eating before the discussion got even more heated. They quickly finished eating and moved to one of the many sitting rooms. Harry found himself bundled up in a pile of blankets and firmly seated near the fire by Lucius as they all pulled out the goblin paperwork on him once more, settling down for a long discussion.
Chapter 5: Draco's Return
Harry was more than a little put out to be settled next to the fireplace like an invalid despite paradoxically enjoying what he considered to be a large amount of positive attention and caring. The other three wizards eventually became so absorbed in reading the paperwork that he had no trouble slipping from the increasingly warm pile of blankets and disappearing from the room in search of somewhere private. He eventually stumbled upon the library and promptly hid himself near what he guessed to be the back wall. Taking stock of his situation and the new information his... hosts had revealed, minus the marriage contracts, Harry concluded that he was stuck.
The marriage contract on the other hand was a whole other ball game that sent his mind reeling. Yes, he had planned to eventually get married and hopefully have children one day. Plans that had been put aside when he was eight and realized that his relatives would rather see him dead than happy. Those same plans that had been revisited at age eleven until he learned about the death sentence that Voldemort had supposedly issued on his mop of a head.
Deciding he needed to review everything he knew to put things into prospective he began running through his memories. The Dementor triggered one about his parents death... were Voldemort's muscles twitching? Almost like he was fighting puppet strings or had muscle spasms. His first memory of the Dursleys, trying to make breakfast at age 4 only to be purposefully knocked to the floor by Vernon and for Dudley to dump a cup of juice on him for which he was punished. Age 8 when he slipped up and told a teacher who believed him about his cupboard and the punishment that came with it. Age 11 when he learned that nearly everything he'd been taught by his family was a lie. Making friends with Ron and Hermione, Malfoy's poor attempt at friendship on the train, the mystery of the third floor, being relieved that Snape at least treated him normally. Trying to obey the rules that had been practically beaten into him yet still asking not to go back to the Dursleys, Dumbledore telling him not to exaggerate. Returning to the Dursleys and once more getting used to little food spiced with lots of pain. His rescue by Ron and the twins followed quickly by the glory of returning to his true home, Hogwarts. The dueling club and everyone finding out he was a Parseltongue. The memories went on and on and on until he returned to the present day only to realize that he was crying, huddled in a dark corner of the Malfoy library.
Harry's conclusions were that yes, the fantastical change in guardianship was real, and yes someone was screwing with his life. Dumbledore had obviously screwed up and he was the only person that Harry could think of who would be able to ensure so many dangers got near him without putting anyone else at risk. Ron was a jealous prat and seemed to be keeping nearly everyone away from him. Hermione and the twins though, there was nothing that rang false with them or Luna or Neville. He would have to watch it when he went back to Hogwarts, if he was allowed back.
Harry was startled into flinching by the gentle hand on his shoulder, accidentally ramming his opposite shoulder into the bookshelf next to him. A quick fearful glance upwards told him it was Draco who had found him. His blond classmate was actually looking concerned as Harry instinctively forced himself into an even tighter huddle, trying to wedge himself between wall and bookcase.
"Are you alright Potter?" Draco asked carefully, not bothering to remove his hand from Harry's trembling shoulder. "Should I call my father or Uncle Sev?"
Harry simply shuddered under his touch, crying silently as he tried to make himself as small as possible in between wall and bookshelf.
"This isn't right, aside from you being in my manor you never act like this," Draco said worriedly, chewing briefly on his bottom lip. He decided that he couldn't leave the Gryffindor alone, not with the state he was in so sending a house elf after his father or Uncle was the best course of action. "Pip?"
"What cans Pip bes doing for young master?" A young elf barely out of elflinghood asked happily as he popped in not 5 feet from them, startling Harry into shoving himself even harder into the nonexistent crevice.
"Get either my father or Uncle Severus, tell them that I found a schoolmate in the library crying and that I need one of Uncle Sev's calming draughts if they can't come right away," Draco ordered, quickly sending the elf off before slowly lowering himself to the floor next to Harry. His hand resting on Harry's shoulder gradually moving into a soothing/petting motion in an attempt to calm the other wizard.
It wasn't long before the silence was disrupted by the door to the library slamming open and against the marble wall accompanied by a trio of foot steps. Harry was still crying by the time Lucius, Severus, and Voldemort hurried around the end of the aisle. Upon seeing the state he was in Severus stopped the trio dead, the other two crashing into his suddenly unmoving body. The sight of Lucius and Voldemort bouncing off of Severus and into a tangled pile on the floor behind him earned a brief flash of smile from Harry.
Severus ignored the quietly cursing mass of limbs that were his lovers to carefully approach the two in front of him. Joining them on the floor he studied the silently crying Gryffindor before deciding to treat him like one of his snakes and opening his arms in offer of a hug. Harry stared in disbelief but he found no mockery when he searched those obsidian eyes. That lack of mockery, hatred, or disdain allowed him to accept the heartfelt offer and bury himself against the potion master's chest, letting out a ragged sob of pain and despair. Less than a second after letting that heart-rending sound past his lips and he found himself in a group hug, the other four surrounding him in a comforting embrace. The flood gates opened and he cried and cried and cried until he no longer had any tears left. They sat their drawing comfort from one another and giving it in return for more than three hours.
"So, not that I really mind but why?" Draco asked, eyes narrowed at his father as he finally broke the comfortable silence that had developed.
"You remember that blood oath that your Grandfather gave to our lord? It appears that Potter falls under it. He must have needed you extraordinarily badly for it to have driven you to seek him out on the train instead of waiting long enough to know how to speak to him as I instructed," Lucius said wryly. "Of course after seeing what those muggles put him through I'm not exactly surprised. We gained custody of him just last night and the goblins were far from pleased at how poorly he has been treated. I wasn't any better pleased when I saw the report of his injuries and history."
"Oh," Draco said with a dumbfounded look that had Harry stifling a giggle. Draco lightly messed with his hair in retaliation but was careful not to get near the face or ears. He remembered some of the reactions of Slytherin students his Uncle Severus had needed to remove from their families.
"So what did the Marriage contract say?" Harry asked, changing the subject and poorly feigning disinterest.
"The active one between you and Miss. Weasley or the dormant ones between us and you?" Severus asked airily, earning a look of widening horror from Draco as he realized the ramifications of the question. Harry just huffed half in amusement and half in resignation.
"Does it matter? With my luck I'll probably have to find some way of fulfilling all of them," Harry pointed out, more than a little put out at the thought.
"Wait wait wait, we have an inactive marriage contract with Potter? I don't want to marry him, I'm not gay!" Draco said in a virtual panic only to be brought back to reality by a tired shove from Harry that knocked him into one of the bookshelves. "Oi!"
"Lets find out what the contract says before you go haring off into la la land you prat," Harry said with a snort completely ignoring the blond's indignant look.
"You have no idea how adorable you are," Lucius said fondly, resisting the urge to kiss away the green-eyed imp's sudden pout.
"Uh oh, um father? Aren't you er, seeing someone already?" Draco asked tentatively, eyes suddenly wide in worry over his father's switch from worry to flirty fondness.
"Yes, he is," Severus said with an odd look in his eye as both he and Voldemort watched the elder blond closely. Lucius was practically cooing over Harry and they could tell he was fighting himself not to pluck the smaller wizard from the potion master's grasp.
"Lucius, tell me the truth, did you ever go through the second Veela maturation?" Voldemort demanded quietly.
"Of course I did but I couldn't tell you since you were insane and I'd already felt the pull of your dominance," Lucius said absently, still cooing over Harry and not paying one whit of attention to anything he said. "I could tell that if I managed to bond with you and Severus we would still be incomplete, killing us within a couple of months unless our missing mate was under a certain age. My little dragon was already on the way and I couldn't leave him so I waited and ignored the bond. I knew neither of you would notice for all that something inside me died when you didn't. Then you fell, Severus hid away at Hogwarts, until finally you gained a new body and you both approached me about starting a relationship. I couldn't ignore you again, couldn't feel myself die like that again, so I said yes."
"Lovely, my father has been denying his Veela blood. Which is probably the reason he can't feel anything about anyone except me, Mother, Uncle Sev, and our Lord. Which also means that the fist fight and outbursts about the Weasleys were either for show or his Veela trying to burst through and keep him alive," Draco muttered huffily as he mentally started rearranging his life and how to fix his father's nearly fatal screw up. He sent another look at his father only to stop dead at the look of adoration aimed at his thoroughly weirded out school rival. "Oh come on! Potter? Potter is what you've been missing!?"
"So it seems," Severus murmured, finding himself unwilling to let the green-eyed brat out of his embrace.
"Why now?" Draco pondered before he scrambled to his feet and went dashing off into the rest of the library in search of something.
"What is that boy looking for?" Severus asked in sudden irritation, his grip on the imp in his lap still unbelievably gentle and soothing. They soon heard the thuds of various books falling from the shelves first in one area then another.
"Be careful of the older Tombs," Lucius called out never looking away from Harry who was starting to both clutch harder at Severus and trying to inch away from Lucius. His warning was met with a muffled cry of triumph followed quickly by Draco dashing back around the end of the shelves and over to them with a small pile of various books.
"What are those on?" Harry asked, trying not to focus on Lucius' obvious leaning towards him only for Voldemort to roll his eyes and yank the blond backwards into a proper sitting position. He had to admit that Lucius' petulant pout was kinda cute before he realized what he was thinking and mentally slapped himself.
"Creatures, wards, and associated spells," Draco answered absently as he hastily scanned through the books. When he finally found what he was looking for the youth gave off a pleased hum, running the symptoms/effects through his mind and calculating how likely he was to be right. "Okay, father's Veela has obviously been searching for Potter. That said he hasn't been able to find him for all that he's been within a few feet of the prat. It wasn't much of an issue because his Veela senses were totally cut off from Potter making the Veela think he hadn't been born yet. The blood bond or bloodline vow, for lack of a better term, on the other hand knew that he was alive and probably in danger considering how often I woke up with a headache at school and found out later that Potter had been in danger. This, along with it being Potter, tells me there must have been a lot of blocking spells on him. Especially since the draw wasn't powerful enough to keep us near him yet the circumstances and magic of the bond should have kept one or both of us practically glued to his side. Did you take him to the Goblins? What am I thinking! Of course you took him to the Goblins and you probably had everything that was cast on him stripped away in a cleansing just to be safe. Which would have obviously dropped the blockers and allowed father's Veela to actually notice Potter."
"Er, what does all that mean?" Harry asked tentatively having followed the diatribe with interest.
"It means my father has been waiting a very long time for you and that the spells that were on you were actually keeping you from people who would love you unconditionally and always keep you safe," Draco said bluntly. "If you were thinking about actually marrying the Weaslett then you need a refresher on Veelas. My father would kill her before she got near you and the only other people he might let you date are his other mates, specifically Uncle Sev and our lord. If anyone else tries now he will try to kill them as a threat to his place as one of your mates. Father just barely isn't strong enough to need more than one mate so it has to either be you or our lord or both that need the extra grounding."
"Oh," Harry said faintly. "Guess its a good thing I don't seem to be attracted to girls like that then. Can't we just break the contract? I'm fairly sure I know you four well enough that you'd rather trying to kill Ginny and anyone else who might take me away, that is if you all are serious about all of this."
"Oh we are very serious about keeping you," Voldemort practically purred, pulling Lucius back again so as not to allow the part Veela to overwhelm the Gryffindor.
"You're still planning on killing Ginny," Harry accused after a moment's study of his features. Voldemort just shrugged casually not bothering to deny it.
"Why do you even want to associate with them? Much less protect them in such a futile fashion?" Draco demanded huffily. "Its not like they're powerful or anything and I bet that Dumbledore set you up to become friends with them. I bet he's paying them."
"Maybe but the twins never betrayed me, neither did Mr. Weasley. Ron's a jealous prat and yeah, okay I probably shouldn't have become friends with him. I don't know enough about any of the others except that Ginny follows me everywhere and is really annoying," Harry said stubbornly. "Why would he pay them to be friends with me anyway?"
"I'll accept that if they're willing to be questioned about their loyalties and actions under a strong truth serum," Draco countered, distinctly unimpressed. "People are willing to do some of the weirdest things for money, its called greed and the people are usually called gold diggers."
"Fine," Harry admitted to the point grudgingly before refocusing on getting out of the Weasley contract. "What are the exact conditions any way? I want to try and figure out any loopholes now. If I decide later I want to try dating someone I don't want to be forced into something."
"I don't know what caused the other contracts to go inactive but some of the clauses in contracts and inheritances can get really weird," Draco admitted. "The only thing I can think of off the top of my head aside from you accepting the mateship with father, Uncle Sev, and our lord is invoking a life debt. Life debts are really weird though and its rare to earn one at all so earning one before graduation is practically impossible."
"What causes a life debt?" Harry asked with a frown. "Obviously it has something to do with living and with owing someone something, so probably something to do with saving someone else's life."
"Exactly, your father earned a life debt from me when he stopped Lupin from eating me, I've been trying to pay it back ever since," Severus explained "Since I am still alive and your father is not the debt is still active but I now owe it to you rather than your father. Life debts are triggered by our magic when someone is saved from a dangerous situation they could not have gotten out of on their own and the savior has no thought of repayment at the time. If a repayment of some sort is agreed upon and within six months a life debt can be prevented from forming. Especially since the necessary binding magic builds slowly and will recognize that forcing repayment is no longer necessary before dispersing. If a life debt goes unfulfilled for too long there are consequences, fewer if the original holder dies before using it or it devolves to the first child and on down the line."
"A life debt is the highest form of magical contract and can supersede or break all other forms excepting soul bonds. In the cast of soul bonds it works alongside of them with results depending upon what is agreed upon and acknowledged as fair payment between the debtor and debt holder. Bear in mind that a life debt will not form if the potential debt holder is not risking their life or something valued as equivalent to save the other person," Voldemort elaborated, enjoying watching the light of understanding fill Harry's eyes. "It can also be naturally canceled by the formation of a life debt in reverse between the debtor and debt holder such as saving each others lives. They do not exist between spouses or family whether that family is chosen or by blood and the familial bond must be at a certain level of intensity before the magic will acknowledge it without a close enough blood relation."
"Oh, then I know some people who I might have a life debt with," Harry said awkwardly. "Is there any way to check?"
"A spell," Draco said confidently. "I saw Uncle Sev use it on someone once when I was five. I think it was in Welsh."
"Yes, I remember that incident and yes, I did use the Welsh version rather than the Latin based one in part because of the difference in the detail that the spell revealed," Severus said thoughtfully. "The Welsh version is cerdd enaid which roughly translates to soul music while the Latin version is anima larva, soul mask. Both of them also use different wand movements and magical intentions to trigger and fuel each spell."
"Why don't you tell us what incidents you think might have qualified for a life debt to form?" Voldemort asked quietly, observing the younger parselmouth closely.
"Is there an age limit?" Harry asked hopefully, earning odd looks that he never registered as he mentally ran through every death defying memory or event involving someone else.
"You can not possibly be telling us that you got into true danger during first or second year," Draco scoffed but the pensive look on Harry's face had his jaw dropping open in shock. "No, really? All those rumors..."
"Yes, there is an initial age limit but by the time you reach Hogwarts your magic has settled to form at least a weaker form of the life debt bond," Voldemort answered his eyes narrowed in consideration. "Tell us wont you?"
"Er, lets see in first year we fought the troll and Ron didn't want to help me rescue Hermione. We saved each other when we went after the stone so we weren't thinking of nothing but we also could have gotten out of danger... technically. Second year though Ginny was helpless in the chamber when I fought the Basilisk and Ron had trouble against the Acromantula nest but we were rescued by the wild flying car. Third year... I kept Sirius and Remus from killing Wormtail but I wanted to give him to the Dementors instead so I don't know if that counts. Fourth year I rescued Fleur's little sister Gabriel from the lake in the second task when she didn't make it to the Mer village. The third task and maze was just plain weird but I saved Cedric, who Wormtail killed, from the Acromantula and Fleur from Viktor Krum's crucio... Last year in the Department of Mysteries we worked together so I don't really know what counts with that one," Harry admitted, running through each year he'd been to Hogwarts and providing a very potent reminder that he always seemed to be in danger.
"I actually received the memories of that mess in the chamber," Voldemort said with a grimace. "You definitely earned a life debt from the chit in the chamber, possibly twice. The flying car and Acromantula nest don't count, nor do the incidents during the Triwizard tournament unless verbally acknowledged by the other party involved because it was a competition. Instead it forms, if it forms at all, as more of an honor debt than a life debt. Wormtail owes you a life debt, the troll incident was too soon and manifested as your deep friendship instead accounting for your wish to remain friends with Ronald despite his various insulting and hurtful actions. The Dept. of Mysteries mess doesn't qualify since it was a cooperative effort and there were no one on one saving of lives such as bodily shielding one of your friends at cost of your own safety, just like when you chased after the stone in your first year."
"There you go, we don't have to look for a loophole just have Potter use one of the life debts," Draco said smugly, trying not to think of all the danger that Harry had been in with each set of incidents.
"And how exactly would you expect for him to use those life debts?" Severus asked sarcastically. "May I remind you I owe him one as well?"
"No you don't," Harry said with a frown. "If anything I owe you one, more than one if I'm right."
"List them," Voldemort requested, not bothering to settle for a yank on Lucius this time but instead pushing him flat with his back against the cool marble floor they were all still sitting on.
"My first Quidditch match, when Remus turned were without his wolfsbane after we caught Wormtail... Actually I think that was it," Harry said in self consternation. "Or at least those are the only ones I can pin down proper."
"And do you know who lit my robes on fire at that Quidditch game?" Severus asked in amusement. Harry didn't say a word, still doing his best to protect Hermione despite the lack of actual need to do so. "No, they don't count. As a teacher it was part of my job to protect you while you are/were one of my students.
"Irrelevant," Lucius pointed out from his position still flat on his back. "The four of us are mates and the life debts will automatically nullify once we are mated and properly married, as will any feuds that exist between us."
"You're forgetting about mother and the marriage contract you have," Draco pointed out ruefully.
"Not really, he insisted on an escape clause in case he ever found his Veela mate(s) before his first maturation," Severus explained in mild amusement, finally giving into his instinct to cuddle Harry close and resettle the smaller male in his lap from his half escaped position. "It was the one thing Lord Abraxas couldn't get him to budge on and they argued about it up until Narcissa actually married him. He also insisted that any children would be taught about any creature inheritances from either side."
"I saw how some of the other pureblood children were blindsided when this or that part of their creature heritage decided to blossom and never want that for any of my children," Lucius insisted finally managing to slide just out of Voldemort's reach but having stayed close enough to reach out and start petting Harry from his once more vertical sitting position.
"So is Potter going to be my brother or my Uncle? I'm not calling him father," Draco asked with feigned idleness as he wrinkled his nose at the thought of calling his long time rival father. Harry just stared at the blond, not having thought that far ahead nor having considered that these men might be willing to take it that far.
"Uncle would likely work though in truth any children we have will be your siblings," Lucius answered the question casually as if he were asked such things every day.
"Or you could stop freaking me out and just call me Harry," said green-eyed wizard insisted nervously. "So, I can use Ginny's life debt to get out of the marriage contract with her but you also said something about inactive contracts? What are they about and does inactive mean I can ignore them or is it just a matter of my random bad luck that might mean I have to fulfill them?"
"Several depend on there being a female Potter to marry into one of our families, which would become null and void if you marry us since you are the last Potter. While some of them depend on you being of a certain status in various areas of study, society, or some other area. In the strangest case you would be required to still be a virgin by the age of 70 having never magically bonded with any living thing, familiar, creature or sentient being, in any fashion. This covers familiar bonds, and any wizarding marriages with a special clause including the presence of life debts. I believe it is safe to say that one will never activate for you," Lucius practically cooed his answer and had to be pulled back away from Harry again by an increasingly aggravated Dark Lord.
"Why does he keep doing that?" Harry asked nervously, eyeing a cute Lucius with eyes at half mast trying to slip past Voldemort again to touch him.
"Its the Veela blood," Draco said with a dramatic heavy sigh giving Harry a remorseful "pity me" look. Harry snorted in amusement and decided to bury his face and laughter in Severus' still slightly damp chest.
"The bond is already forming brat or you likely wouldn't be so accepting of our presence," Severus explained calmly, almost fondly. "As to the contracts they are dormant because you don't fulfill the requirements for any but the Weasley contract, or at least not yet. We can deal with them as they become active and contact the Weasleys about dissolving the active contract so that you do not waste the life debt."
"I don't want Arthur and his brood in my home," Lucius whined as Voldemort grabbed him in a hug from behind, partly restraining him and partly hugging him.
"Do you want them to try and take the imp away? No? Then we need to talk to them and at least at the manor we are assured of privacy. If we wait to long then someone at the prophet will get ahold of the situation or some idiot in the ministry or Dumbledore's little club will try to make him go elsewhere where heaven knows what they might do to him," Severus practically snarled at the part Veela. Lucius was suddenly wide eyed and scowling, his eyes taking on a furious golden sheen as his hair lifted slightly mimicking ruffled feathers or fur half standing on end.
"They are not taking him! I'm only this comfortable because Draco is my son and the two of you are my mates," Lucius hissed, his fingernails extending into miniature claws. Voldemort never let go but was still thankful that Lucius obviously trusted them enough not to fight his grip and try to forcefully protect Harry, treating them as potential threats rather than fellow protectors.
"Calm down, you're spooking him," Draco said in annoyance. Harry shot him an indignant look but the tactic worked to trick Lucius into reigning in his protective instincts. "Besides we need lunch. We can talk about the Weasels and if Dumbledore could even legally sign the contract later."
They all agreed on the need for lunch and Lucius insisted on carrying a very annoyed Harry to the dinning room as the others snickered in amusement at his predicament.
Chapter 6: Twin Terrors Cornered
Draco enjoyed watching Harry squirm in his father's arms as they entered the dinning room for. There was absolutely no way he was going to let the Gryffindor live this down. Of course convincing the rest of Slytherin house to accept him might be a bit of a challenge, a challenge that Draco very much looked forward to. Still, before he even contemplated his fellow Slytherins he needed to know more about the Headmaster's potential and actual influence over his new uncle/stepfather. They were half way through the meal when a house elf popped in to inform them about visitors.
"Pip must bes informing Master and Master's guests that there bes someone on the Floo. Same faced redheads bes asking for Master Harry," Pip told them nervously, knowing that no one was supposed to know Harry was there yet.
"How the devil did the twins even know I was here?" Harry asked in bafflement, getting ready to leave his delicious soup and milk in favor of talking with the menaces.
"Ask them to come through, Pip, then bring them here," Lucius ordered, keeping Harry in his seat with a hand on his thigh. Pip nodded rapidly and popped away to do just that.
"If they prank me or leave traps around the manor they may not leave alive," Draco growled in warning. Harry just rolled his eyes and ignored the comment in favor of eating more of his very yummy soup.
The twins barreled into the room past the squeaking Pip only to snatch Harry up away from the table into a fierce joint hug. Lucius, seeing this as a kidnapping attempt, lunged after them. His eyes pure gold his hair standing on end in an intimidating ruff as he screeched at them. Their moment of brief startled immobility as a human sandwhich was just barely long enough for him to knock the twins flying as he snatched Harry back, tucking the smaller wizard behind him protectively. Draco had moved a split second after his father with Severus and Voldemort following suit, placing themselves protectively between Harry and the now stunned twins.
"Ah, yeah, apparently they're protective since they met the Dursleys," Harry offered sheepishly from behind the thick wall of protective wizarding flesh.
"Oh," The twins said in obvious relief as they relaxed on the floor where they landed.
"We couldn't get anyone to believe us when we said something about how we had to rescue you that summer," Fred explained in disgust.
"They thought it was a prank or Dumbledore would tell them that not only were we exaggerating but that you were too," George added in equal disgust. "I'm not sure but I think he Obliviated at least one person to keep you with those foul..."
"Mum and Dad took Dumbles at his word but at least they kept asking you over during the summer hols," Fred interrupted with a frustrated sigh.
"So, who's protecting you? Obviously you've got the little Malfoy and maybe even Papa Malfoy," George asked with keen interest, neither twin willing to aggravate Harry's protectors by actually getting up and looking so soon after being knocked away from him.
"As long as you stay on that side of the room away from our imp you can get up," Severus growled out impatiently. Fred and George immediately climbed back to their feet only to be met by the sight of a blushing Harry still stuck protectively behind everyone else in the room.
"Cor Harry, you actually got Professor Snape, the Malfoys, and whoever this handsome devil is to protect you," George said in awe, leering a bit at Voldemort not yet noticing the red eyes.
"Uh, George? I think we need to take Harry and go," Fred said nervously staring right at Voldemort remembering what red eyes generally meant in the wizarding world.
"What? Why? We just got here and haven't even laid any pranks yet," George demanded, turning on his brother only to double take at his better half's obvious fear. He looked again at the group in front of him and the red eyes finally clicked making him want to grab Harry and run.
"You are not taking Harry," Voldemort spat angrily, a twitch away from casting a crucio at the pair.
"I doubt we could if we wanted to," Fred said with a shaky snort of half strangled hysterical laughter. "Not with you here your darkness."
"We can also see how he's clinging to Daddy Malfoy and the obvious signs of a protective Veela. We're not stupid, just prank oriented," George pointed out, not even bothering to go for his wand and desperately ignoring his own fear.
"Can we at least talk to our brother?" Fred asked with a deep sigh, gesturing at Harry and using the knowledge that they might need to fight their way out to force back his fear along with George's via the twin bond.
"You can talk from where you are," Severus snarled, earning what the twins thought was a suspiciously fond eye roll from Harry.
"How did you guys even know that I was here?" Harry asked, attempting to slip around the protective wizards only to be grabbed up into a protective cuddle by Lucius before getting far.
"Er, you know the map? Well we sort of enchanted a muggle version of England, charmed it to keep track of certain people and their health then keyed it to you with a drop of blood?" Fred offered sheepishly, doing his absolute best to ignore the sudden wall of glares at the unauthorized use of Harry's blood in a potentially harmful experimental magic.
"You were our test subject partly because we knew that those blasted muggles never treat you right and partly so that we could try and kidnap you if you got too bad or were trapped for too long. The zoom feature allowed us to check if they put you... in your old bedroom. We still haven't figured out how to key it so that we can receive sound, or how we would trigger it. So far the health feature either doesn't really work or..." George explained only to trail off at the glares for even mentioning Harry's old cupboard.
"Or you've been in shite condition and we've got the display colors wrong," Fred said grimly, easily figuring out why they were getting glared at. "When we saw you here we remembered that Malfoy Manor was around here and decided to take a chance. If nothing else we would have been told to sod off and gone to innocently ask dad why you were in Wiltshire according to our new charm that tried to take our heads off after giving us a general location. We actually have a spell like that but haven't worked out all of the kinks... yet."
"And you didn't ask for the blood why?" Harry asked archly. "You know I would have given it to you."
"If you'd figured out that we would follow you and drag you out of danger or prank you then you wouldn't have," Fred retorted, George grinning widely and nodding next to him. Harry sighed in clear exasperation but silently admitted to himself that yeah, he wouldn't have given it to them if they were going to get themselves killed trying to rescue him or turn him into a prank target.
"I'm not worth your lives and you bloody well know it," Harry said with a scowl, only to get clutched tighter by Lucius as the expression of everyone else in the room darkened at this clear reminder of his low self-esteem. Lucius growled low, his hair flaring back into a ruff from where it had fallen in a semblance of normal hair in its dormant state as he had calmed down.
"Never say that again," Severus ordered in a low snarl, causing Harry to send him an unseen startled look.
"So why did Dumbledore sign a contract saying Harry had to marry the Weaslett? And why'd he make it ridiculously hard to get out of?" Draco asked abruptly in a very obvious attempt to change the subject as he mentally reminded himself to bring up Harry's confidence in normal things later.
"What contract?" They chorused, completely stunned at the thought of Harry marrying their precious little sister.
Voldemort continued to watch the situation as calmly as he could manage, not wanting to aggravate it further by trying to take control. He was enjoying the way Harry was successfully handling the situation. The comment about not being worth the same as the twins had him frowning but it hadn't been as unexpected as he might have wished with the damage that the Dursleys had done over the years.
"It wasn't my idea! I only found out this morning," Harry said indignantly, half afraid they would blame him for it like he knew that Ron would when the jealous prat finally heard about it.
"Is this what dad meant? About fulfilling the life and honor debt?" Fred asked George, decidedly ignoring the others in favor of furiously conferring with his brother.
"I dunno, but probably. Harry did save dad from that awful big snake at the ministry just before Christmas," George admitted with a frown, completely unaware of how Harry finally gave up squirming to get free and tugged on Severus' robe to try and get help getting free of Lucius. Severus just shot the smaller male a smirk and turned his focus back on the twins leaving him exasperated and fighting the urge to deck the overprotective blond.
"But why would Dumbledore even be the one to sign the contract and why wouldn't Harry have known about it?" Fred wondered his own frown matching that of his brother.
"Yeah, I mean is he even allowed to do that? I thought that they could only be signed by parents or guardians and only until the poor sap hits 17," George agreed, only for both of them to yelp and look up at the stinging hexes that a scowling Severus sent their way.
"For your information Magical Guardianship of muggle-borns, including orphans, devolves to first their Head of House then to the Headmaster. Any marriage contract must first be approved by the muggle guardian and counter signed by both Head of House and Headmaster before being again counter signed by the Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot. If the orphan, magical-born or muggle-born makes no difference, is of an international concern or acclaim then the Supreme Mugwump is also required to sign the contract for it to be binding. Harry is treated as a muggle-born orphan of international concern," Severus told them icily.
"But Dumbledore fills three of the five signatures," George said slowly as realization dawned.
"McGonagall listens to him blindly and his relatives don't give a shite about him," Fred finished his brother's thought with a grimace.
"The head of a pureblood family owes you a life debt and you forgot to mention it? Are you insane? Do you have any idea the value of such a debt?!" Draco demanded rounding on Harry and backing off only at his father's hiss of warning.
"Calm Draco, calm. All it means is that we now have three life debts from the Weasley family to work with in getting out of the contract, one from Arthur and two from Ginerva," Severus pointed out softly.
"Ginny owes you two life debts?" Fred asked sharply. Harry just shrugged still not understanding the whole life debt thing.
"Once for retrieving her from the Chamber of Secrets and once for facing down a 1000 year old Basilisk and allowing it to bite him to kill it," Voldemort said almost nonchalantly. "I'm still not certain how he survived the bite as my copy of the memories ends when the diary died, though there was a phoenix present which could have presented a solution."
"IT BIT YOU!?" The twins practically roared turning on Harry in an attempt to check him as any worried older sibling would only to be faced with three wands and a loud rumbling growl of warning from a pissed off part-Veela. Harry had flinched violently backwards away from them and into Lucius, suddenly greatful that the man was being so protective. The twins immediately backed down, deciding to very carefully go and sit near the doorway in case they had to bolt out of the room.
"Yeah, it did," Harry said sending a glare at his protectors for their continued suspicion of the twins and doing his best to hide his own momentary fear. "Fawkes gave me the Sorting Hat so I could pull Gryffindor's sword out of it and he cried on the bite after I woke Ginny up. I didn't like killing it but it was trying to eat me so I didn't have much choice."
"Maybe we should get dad," George suggested as he eyed the obviously upset wizards with drawn wands nervously.
"Yeah," Fred said as he started to inch towards the door only for it to slam closed in their faces, startling a squeak out of both of them.
"Oh, you aren't going anywhere," Lucius practically purred, much calmer as he cuddled Harry one last time before handing him off to Severus and stalking over to the twin idiots who had scared his youngest mate. "Draco send an elf to the ministry for Arthur Weasley. Have him told that his twin menaces are here and have offered insult, that both he and his wife are expected within the hour if they want any chance at ending the blood feud this generation or the return of their sons alive."
"Yes father," Draco said quietly, moving off into a corner and obeying as he decided he needed to stay out of whatever was happening. Less than ten minutes later Arthur and Molly were announced by a house elf and escorted into the room.
"What have you boys done now?" Molly demanded almost immediately upon setting eyes on her wayward sons.
"I'm terribly sorry, Lucius. I... Harry?" Arthur stared in shock as he caught sight of the young man who was practically his seventh son being held by Severus.
"Hi Mr. Weasley," Harry greeted giving the man a weak smile. Molly whirled around in shock at the sound of his voice to stare at him for a moment before trying to bustle over and hug him only to be met by the point of a wand with a snarling red-eyed Dark Lord on the opposite end.
"Touch our mate and we will kill you, woman," Severus informed her coldly, holding Harry close as he kept the two of them at the back of the group and behind the protective barrier of their two unbonded mates. Arthur, recognizing the danger, quickly pulled his wife back towards the twins as he faced the other group.
"What is this about Lucius? Why are three of my sons here?" Arthur asked in a low dangerous tone.
"Only two of them are of your blood," Draco countered with a snort only to quail under his father's glare.
"Being blood related does not always make one family nor does the lack of a blood connection automatically exclude one as family," Arthur responded coldly, unintentionally bringing the Dursleys to mind to everyone there.
"Then you stand as the father of Harry Potter?" Lucius asked carefully, starting a ritual dance of words unknown to Harry.
"In all that I am able I stand as the father of Harry James Potter," Arthur said firmly, pride in his eyes as he looked at Harry who swallowed hard as he fought back sad/happy tears.
"Then you will have no problem with dissolving the marriage contract to your daughter in favor of another for your son not of the blood," Lucius practically purred. The twins stared in open mouthed shock as the two powerful family Lords began negotiations, even Molly knew better than to interfere for all that she badly wanted to protest.
"In what capacity is the contract offered?" Arthur asked, graciously nodding his thanks at the conjured seat as house elves quickly provided seating for everyone else, refreshments, and the appropriate special ink and parchment for a formal contract.
"The mate of a Veela with two other stabilizing mates to help ground your son's power," Lucius offered, Voldemort and Severus sitting to either side of him with Harry placed protectively between Lucius and Severus.
"Do these others also offer contract?" Arthur asked, following the formula with Lucius having started it he took the lead in starting each part of the negotiations.
"The House of Prince offers contract alongside the House of Malfoy for the hand of your youngest son not of the blood," Severus offered formally.
"The Houses of Slytherin and Gaunt offer contract alongside of Houses Malfoy and Prince for the hand of your youngest son not of the blood," Voldemort offered formally. All of them held their breaths to see if formally admitting to Voldemort's presence would break the precarious balance that had existed since the moment the older redheads had entered the room.
"Houses Slytherin and Gaunt have offered grievous insult without amends to both the House of Weasley and my son's original House of Potter," Arthur pointed out quietly, choosing to deal with this through pureblood tradition and ritual rather than emotionally.
"The Houses of Slytherin and Gaunt offer our deepest sympathies but no apology to weaken the recognized sacrifice committed by James Potter, Lily Potter, Fabian Prewett, and Gideon Prewett," Voldemort said quietly, doing his best to ignore the in drawn breaths of Harry, Molly, and Severus as he faced down a stone faced Arthur. "The Houses of Slytherin and Gaunt offer contract both in the hope that such a joining will mend what has been broken between our families but also in recognition of the soul mate status that the four of us share. A bride price of 300,000 galleons as well as 3 favors of moderate value or 1 favor of great value for the hand of Harry James Potter, heart son of Arthur and Molly Weasley."
"The House of Prince offers 100,000 galleons and 5 potions of any complexity or value brewed without question as bride price for Harry James Potter, heart son of Arthur and Molly Weasley," Severus put in, recognizing that the ridiculously high bride price from Voldemort was partly in compensation for the lost family members and partly because Voldemort apparently really did value Harry so highly.
"The House of Malfoy offers 200,000 galleons, two breeding pairs of Abraxan winged horses, two breeding pairs of Griffins, three modest properties and five house elves with various skills as bride price for Harry James Potter, heart son of Arthur and Molly Weasley," Lucius stated his own offer calmly, knowing that it had to cover the ending of the blood feud as well as show how much Harry was valued as a partner.
"To which member of the House of Malfoy would our son be wed?" Arthur asked cautiously, knowing that since it had yet to be formally stated there was no telling whether the contract with the House of Malfoy meant Draco, Narcissa, or Lucius himself.
"Myself. My previous contract came to an end the moment that I admitted aloud who my mates were while in their presence," Lucius admitted, not one whit ashamed at having still been married to Narcissa less than 48 hours before hand.
"Does my son offer any objection to these offers?" Arthur asked looking straight at Harry questioningly.
"Um, No? I mean I like Ginny but she's my sister and... they just feel right. Its like my magic kept trying to reach them before but couldn't and it hurt all four of us. Now... now it can and they make me feel safe," Harry explained awkwardly. "I didn't even know about the contract until this morning and they wont let me see it to try and figure out what it says."
"Might I view the previous contract?" Arthur asked formally. Lucius nodded and summoned his copy, immediately handing it over to be checked. Arthur started reading through the Gringotts copy and came across clause after clause that he hadn't seen on the original contract, making him angrier the further he read.
"This is not the same contract I was talked into signing, also Harry was to be informed immediately and it should have only become legal upon his verbal and written agreement. I added that clause myself," Arthur said angrily, slashing it with his wand thus rendering it null and void.
The magic reacted to the knowledge of false representation and the rightful renegotiation in progress to instead focus more intently on the current contract creation. A burst of magic was sent to the goblins via their records recognizing one of the original signatories of the contract and accepting breech of both contract and faith by Dumbledore. This triggered the goblin designed penalties installed in all Gringotts filed and accepted contracts dealing with marriages and inheritance fining Harry 50 galleons as the subject and Dumbledore 75,000 galleons as signatory for the filing of a false contract. Had Harry signed the contract in any way or form, as was standard for anyone 14 and up, the contract would have stood and the Weasleys would have had to pay the penalty for breaking the contract. Arthur knew of this clause and, unknowing that Dumbledore was the one fined, didn't care that they would need to pay the steep contract penalty. He was determined that they would find some way of paying the penalty for breaking the contract and that his son's happiness was more valuable than any amount of Galleons.
"Do you know what those penalties are?" Severus half choked out as they stared at him in shock.
"No, and I don't care. I'll deal with them when they arise, if they arise as this was definitely not the contract I signed," Arthur practically spat. "I will not have either of my children as practically slaves to anyone else, muchless in the form of such a vulgar marriage contract. For my part of the contract I insist that you don't hurt or abuse him, nor try to control him. That said what are your requirements and restrictions?"
"The House of Prince would require the birth of at least one heir, complete fidelity within the joint union, and the sharing of a residence," Severus offered quickly.
"The House of Malfoy would require fidelity and regular contact as well as sharing a residence," Lucius added. "Though any more children will be gladly accepted."
"The Houses of Slytherin and Gaunt would require fidelity, sharing of residence, and at least one heir with a preference for more than one," Voldemort put in. "I would like to add that he not put himself in undue danger but I doubt that would be followed so I will simply state it as a request. In addition I require active communication throughout our marriage to minimize miscommunication or the chance of unresolvable issues arising."
"That's it? That's... incredibly generous," Arthur said in shock. The implication that they would be coming together as complete equals with complete freedom was not lost on him and was more than most would offer. There was no way to forcibly control Harry nor deny him access to anything the other three owned.
"If we're going to get married I'm not going to share them," Harry put in shyly, realizing that this was where they stated what they wanted and decided on what would be part of their marriage regardless of anything else. "I also want lots of kids."
Arthur blinked in surprise as Severus quickly took advantage of the situation to sweep Harry up into his lap and kiss him deeply, leaving a happily dazed green-eyed Gryffindor in his lap. Harry was passed from mate to mate being cuddled while they each took turns signing the contract until finally it was Harry's turn. Harry signed it gladly before realizing that if what Severus had explained earlier was true they still needed Dumbledore and McGonagall's signatures. Noticing his down look Severus whispered in his ear.
"Don't worry imp, I know just how to get that interfering tabby and old goat to sign it," Severus whispered into his ear, mischief dancing in his eyes before raising his voice and looking straight at Arthur. "I trust this will be kept between us?"
"I want to help plan the wedding," Molly informed them forcefully.
"We can't have a large public wedding, at least not yet. As I, a part-Veela, am involved we don't need as many signatures or rather only one more signature is actually important to make it all legal and it is not Dumbledore's or Professor McGonagall's," Lucius informed them smugly. They all watched as he handed it to a patiently waiting elf. "Give this to Madam Delacour to sign and then ask her to please file it with the French Ministry and French branch of Gringotts."
"I's bes doing!" The elf said happily before popping away.
"So we're filing it under the Veela laws?" Draco asked hesitantly.
"I have enough Veela blood to qualify and they are all my mates. It was my creature side that triggered the escape clause with your mother's marriage so that I might claim my mate or in this case mates. Thus the marriage contract will be filed with the Veela and Gringotts as per Veela law and the law of the Ministry of Magic. The Royal Veela family will send a memo to the Department for the Regulation and Control of Creatures which will automatically be filed and legalize the contract among both the Veela and the wizards," Lucius informed them all smugly.
"Impressive," Voldemort said appreciatively, resisting the urge to kiss his lover.
"Was there any other business?" Arthur asked, deciding not to comment on the sneaky way his son was getting what he clearly wanted and wondering why the hell Harry's magic had been blocked in the first place.
"Not as long as you take those... dunderheads with you and leave our green-eyed imp behind," Severus told him, lacking the usual bite to his voice as he took his turn cuddling Harry close. The Weasleys said their good byes as Harry dozed in Severus' nice warm lap and they waited for the confirmation to magically appear on the table. Less than an hour later the floo flared again to disgorge Fleur Delacour and her family, with her mother demanding to see Lucius immediately.
Chapter 7: Veela Visit
I really hope I got the writing of a french accent right...
*cringe* Yeah, I know I'm not the best at writing accents.
EDIT: Thanks to Phoenix5 for the french correction!
"What iz this? Explain yourzelf!" Madame Delacour ordered flatly as Fleur approched Harry. Before he could answer there was a cry from her eldest as she sensed something from Harry at the same moment that Voldemort snatched him away snarling at the Veela.
"How iz this possible?" Fleur asked in amazement as she stared at Harry, not trying to approach again.
"Fleur?" Her mother inquired cautiously, also making no move towards the wizards they had come to see.
"He feels like a Veela mate," Fleur said in wonder. "I felt nothing of this during zee tournament nor, I think, did Gabrielle when he pulled her from that ghastly lake."
"He is my mate along with Severus and Marvolo," Lucius said squaring his shoulders stubbornly.
"That iz zee law under which you have zent this to me," Madame Delacour said judiciously. "You know that my daughters and I owe him much, but that he also falls under English law."
"As a recently discovered Veela mate he falls under Veela law. I could not acknowledge Severus or Marvolo when I found them for fear of their deaths so I held myself back, yet I broke when they came to me this past year. None of us could feel Harry until the goblins performed a cleansing. Someone had nearly covered him in blockers probably matching them with bindings on his magic," Lucius explained, his anger at the situation evident.
"They hurt him," Severus said softly, gaining immediate attention from the Veela family as Harry buried his face in Voldemort's chest not wanting to face what had happened now that he was safe. "I am uncertain who placed the blockers but I have my suspicions. His muggle family used the excuse that he has magic to hurt him badly. The mating bond has been forming almost from the moment that the blockers were removed yesterday evening. The contract in your hand, Madame, is replacing one that would have practically enslaved him in a marriage to a young woman he considers to be only a sister. Many of the clauses within the original contract were abominable and would have had him treated worse than any slave."
"Fleur, they make me feel safe. Until yesterday all I ever heard was that they were trying to kill me and that I needed to kill them first to protect the wizarding world "for the Greater Good". Yesterday that changed, something happened and they rescued me from the Dursleys before taking me to Gringotts. When I woke up this morning I could feel their magic and it didn't scare me or hurt me like before, it made me feel warm and safe," Harry explained as best he could, ignoring the horrified looks of realization to once more bury himself in the chest of his closets mate, Voldemort.
"He iz zee zubmissive and zey hurt him," Fleur said with horrified realization. "Zee English stopped his magic from drawing strength from hiz mates to help protect him. Hiz magic has believed he waz alone with no mates."
"Sacrebleu," Madame Delacour breathed as Lucius nodded a stiff confirmation.
"There is a reason such blockers and bindings are illegal across the magical world except where concerning certain crimes," Monsieur Delacour practically snarled in perfect English as he pulled his wife and daughter to him into a protective and comforting hug. "English treatment of magical creatures and their mates is abominable."
"Thus you see the reason we are filing the contract through your majesties and as quickly as possible," Lucius pointed out. "The laws allow confirmed Veela mates to be treated as full blood Veela until such time as they fully reject their Veela mate, if they ever do so. As a result we are able to file the contract through you and ignore the need for Dumbledore to sign it which incidentally prevents him from trying to enforce the practical slave contract he did sign on Harry's behalf. There were unknown clauses so the other party declared it void, taking the penalty for themselves without thought. If we can file this with Gringotts quickly enough they will be able to use the bride price we are paying to pay the penalty if the filing its self doesn't prove the previous contract false simply by its very existence."
"They don't know yet that I'm not at the Dursleys. No one does except the Weasleys or it would have been in the paper with people scrambling to find me," Harry grumbled, safe in Voldemort's arms and keeping the Dark Lord calm so that their visitors wouldn't find themselves being crucioed for getting to close to him.
"The goblins were the ones to decide our claim of custody was valid. They also sublty encouraged us to form a relationship with him, mentioning the dormant contracts between each of our families," Voldemort informed them flatly, desperately cuddling Harry close in an attempt to stave off the fear that the Delacours would try to take Harry and possibly Severus and Lucius from him.
"Monsieur Malfoy called you Marvolo, who are you?" Fleur asked, eyes narrowed as she wondered about the red tint of his eyes.
"I am Lord Voldemort and my mates have healed my insanity," Voldemort told them bluntly, his grip tightening even further around Harry. He finally gave into the urge to rock the two of them back and forth in a comforting manner in their seat.
"You fell because you attacked one of your mates," Monsieur Delacour verbalized what his family was all thinking, receiving a curt nod of acknowledgement from Voldemort as Lucius and Severus quickly moved to flank him showing their support.
"I honestly had no idea he was one of my mates and I was to insane to care at the time," Voldemort admitted. "Dumbledore tricked me quite effectively into attacking the Potters. I have no earthly idea if he knew that Harry was my mate but I suspect not since he also set up the Longbottoms as bait using the same trap. He has turned my attempt to gain equality and safety for all magicals into a deadly chess game that has cost thousands of lives and further risks our discovery."
"What is your birth name?" Madame Delacour demanded as she gently broke the family hug. Voldemort hesitated before telling them.
"I was born to the name Tom Marvolo Riddle. I am a half blood and my mother died giving birth to me. My father... is dead. I am the last Riddle, the last Gaunt, and as far as I know the last of Slytherin's line," Voldemort told them, not wanting to go into the mess of a situation that was the demise of his closest blood relatives.
"When did your inzanity start?" Fleur asked, curious.
"When I was sixteen just after my birthday and shortly after I discovered certain Dark Magic texts in the restricted section of the Hogwarts library," Voldemort answered wondering where this was going.
"Were Lucius or Severus alive?" Madame Delacour asked suddenly understanding what her daughter was getting at.
"No, they weren't born yet," Voldemort answered with a frown of confusion.
"And 'ogwarts does not check for creature inheritance," Fleur said softly. "What did your father look like? I know there is no Veela or creature blood in zee Gaunts except for Slytherin's gift of zee parseltongue."
"He was said to be handsome to the point of extreme beauty, not that I saw it myself when we briefly met. What does that... you think my father was part Veela," Voldemort said in sudden understanding.
"If you are of a Veela and able to attend 'ogwarts l'ambiance magique would have strengthened your Veela side to help you look for your mates. Zee dark magic of zome nasty tomes would have brought on the madness early only to be calmed when most or all of your mates were known and near. Any attempt to fight for zem without zem by your side or without a clear set of tasks zat would physically bring you to zeem would have strengthened the madness as your magic tried to reach them." Madame Delacour explained gently. "I will file the appropriate paperwork now zat we have confirmation and suggest to the Veela council that all magical schools be required to test incoming students for Veela blood in search of lost members of Veela families. Your birth name will be cleared but I can not clear the name your madness took for it would put us all at risk from panicky peoples who do not bother to understand. If we had known we could have helped and you would not have had to suffer for zo long. Now zat you have your mates you are if not healed then healing and you know better zan to mess with nasty tomes, no?"
"I know how to handle them now," Voldemort grudgingly admitted burying his face in Harry's hair as he finally slowed their comforting rocking to a gentle stop.
"Ock, zat is close enough. You will report to zee council in Paris once you have bonded. Zend word if you cannot come because of meddlesome wizards," Madame Delacour told him flashing a dangerous smile. "You are one of mine and we have failed in our duties. We will let the silly wizards who caused zee mess to believe that their folly was fixed. We may need your little mate to say a few words to help us keep thiz from happening again. No children should be treated as zuch but especially Veela for it changes us. No, zay nothing. I can zee clearly that only Lucius had the childhood filled with happiness that all little ones deserve. Even in your madness you kept your mates zane. It is one of our very special secrets. We must record this zo that we may help others but zee silly wizards will not zee the records."
"Thank you," Lucius offered their heartfelt thanks with feeling on behalf of all of them.
"Take care of him or I will find a way to make you pay even if I can not kill you for hiz sake," Fleur warned just as they were leaving, glaring mainly at Voldemort before joining her parents in flooing to the international floo concourse.
Lucius took one look at how upset his mates were and decided they needed cuddle time. So while Draco took himself off to work on his summer homework Lucius transfigured most of the furniture in the room into a giant mattress with lots of blankets. They spent the next hour simply cuddling together as they all soothed and calmed each other, needing the time together after the stress of the meetings and the implied threat of separation. Not a one believed that they wouldn't have fought to stay together after having finally found each other but all of them were very aware of what could have happened.
"Can they take me away if we've had sex?" Harry asked into the silence more than an hour after they had all finally calmed down. The three older men looked at him blinking in shock.
"No, but that's not a good reason to rush," Voldemort explained softly. "You have to be very sure that you want to stay with us for the rest of eternity. The mating will not only wed us but make it so that if one of us dies the others will follow him into death unless one of us has a child under the age of mating to anchor us to this world."
"We also don't want to hurt you little one. You would have to take each of us in turn and with the physical damage that your relatives caused it could not only badly hurt you but the fact that we wont be able to stop might even kill you," Severus pointed out, taking the chance to cuddle Harry close as they all seemed to curl around the green-eyed imp protectively and in instinctive offer of comfort at the obvious worry.
"The first time with this sort of bond can be violent," Lucius admitted with a deep sigh of regret. "We've each been with each other so there would normally be less danger, the real problem right now is your ill health. We want you so very badly but it isn't yet safe to take you."
"Between wanting you to be comfortable with us and your current condition we can't allow ourselves to take you to bed. Our instincts recognize that you have been hurt and, while still pushing for us to complete the bond, aren't as powerful as usual. As Veela mates we take on some of the characteristics of Veelas in addition to any other naturally inherited creature traits we may have," Severus told him softly, kissing his lightning bolt scar tenderly. Harry opened his mouth to ask something but it transformed into an incredibly cute yawn drawing chuckles from his mates. "Go to sleep brat. We can talk more after your nap."
Harry muttered a sleepy protest before succumbing to the feeling of warmth and safety as he allowed himself to fall asleep in their arms.
Chapter 8: Signed and Sealed
Lucius, Severus, and Voldemort gazed down almost adoringly at Harry as they moved him to their room, unable to bear the thought of him sleeping in the guest room again. Once he was safely ensconced in their shared bed they gathered in the attached sitting room of the suite to discuss what had happened and how to keep anyone from even threatening to take Harry away from them.
"Its clear that we both have Veela blood but you've never smelt like just another wizard Sev," Lucius commented idly once they were all seated and sipping various drinks. Severus flushed darkly and refused to look at his two lovers even as he thought of what the three of them would be doing once their little Harry accepted them.
"What was that display in the library then?" Severus asked trying to divert the conversation.
"That was me fighting not to send Draco away and secret the four of us away until I managed to either get all of you pregnant or one of you got me pregnant, consummating the bond and establishing the hierarchy. As much as we've been together almost since Marvolo's return we never bothered with establishing a firm hierarchy. Not to mention that with the missing member of our bond being to young as well as blocked from our senses the need to keep you all to my... ourselves wasn't as overwhelming but I've denied it for too long," Lucius admitted with a flush of embarrassment, having known this would come up sooner or later. "I suspect the only reason I didn't get unreasonably aggressive if not violent with all of you was the fact that our little Harry is badly hurt and needs to heal. Narcissa knew that something like this might happen and has tried to convince me to take the blood test at Gringotts so that I would be better able to handle myself and more prepared to accept whoever was my mate(s)."
"Interesting but you didn't answer about your own inheritance Severus. I suspect my recent return to sanity and the physical healing that came with it suppressed my own hidden Veela responses if what the Delacours concluded was true," Voldemort pointed out. "I also presume you sent a message to Narcissa?"
"Oh its true alright, at least the Veela heritage is. I could smell it on you as a teenager, though the horcrux rituals obviously made it seem slightly sour for some reason. I thought you knew or I would have said something, provided I could get over my general awe and terror," Severus said with a snort before taking a drink of his tea. "As to my own heritage... I'm not ready to share it with you yet, perhaps in time but not yet."
"I did send a message to Narcissa. She was ecstatic not only for us but also because she apparently found someone she want's to possibly bond with. She had apparently been planning on bringing up dissolving the contract the next time we had a few moments together. Draco has already met the suitor and given his blessing," Lucius told them before addressing Severus' concerns about his own bloodline. "And Sev? Just because you smell like darkness, shadows, and powdered potions ingredients doesn't mean we'll reject you nor that we'll be surprised when you finally tell us which dark creature you are. As you yourself pointed out the mating bond is already forming, rapidly even. We already have a partial bond and know each other decently well which will make it nigh on impossible to reject each other, provided we even wanted to. I simply don't see it as a cause for concern since its clear we want this to work. Harry was the last unknown variable and he turned out to be someone we could accept."
"I... uh, yes, of course," Severus said completely flustered as he downed the rest of his tea before nervously pouring another cup and fiddling with the preparation.
"Leave Severus alone," Voldemort scolded lightly. "He has every right to decide when to tell us regardless of if we've figured it out or not and if he proves to be too reticent we can always make him explain it and the various implications of our mating to Harry."
"Ah, yes, I had not thought of that," Lucius said wickedly as he took a sip of his rather expensive cup of wine. Severus just glared at both of them half heartedly before deciding to ignore them in favor of going through more of the paperwork about Harry.
A few hours of contented silence passed as they simply enjoyed one another's company and Severus worked his way through more of the medical jargon in Harry's health report. The potion master's involuntary cry of shock alerted them to the change as the various marriage contracts from each of their piles dissolved. The contracts stopped disintegrating once they reached the dust stage only to float over to the small table nearby en-mass and reform into a pristine contract with gold leaf gilt embossed on heavy parchment. The very official parchment held the Royal version of the Delacour family seal and the seal of the Veela Council, declaring the four of them engaged. The magic permeating the parchment made it very clear that it was enchanted to adjust once their marital status changed and in the case of any official name change such as Voldemort might need to use in the near future. Lucius was the one to finally pick it up and skim it before breathing a sigh of relief, slumping in on himself in a release of tension he wasn't aware was even there.
"They added a clause about Harry and any children always being granted sanctuary with the Delacours should he ever wish it and charged us as his protectors but it isn't anything we weren't planning on doing any way," Lucius summarized for his lovers. "The way its worded can even extend it to help protect us against the use of truth serums as well as being upheld as a legal secrecy contract. If it could hurt Harry we would have to divulge it willingly and only Harry has the right to demand the explanation from us. The clause that magic added is that Harry can demand complete information about anything we are sworn to keep secret without consequences to himself or us."
"Thank the gods," Voldemort breathed, slumping low in his chair in relief.
"We can't hide anything from him unless he lets us but at least no one will be able to interfere with the mating bond or our custody of him, not legally at least," Severus said in equal relief. "Dumbledore will still challenge this and if I'm not mistaken Fudge will either see it as a way to get back at him or gain control over our little mate."
"Something we will not allow to happen," Voldemort said with conviction. "If I have to I will do whatever is necessary for us to keep him, for us to stay together."
"You mean that?" Harry asked in a vulnerable voice from the doorway that separated the sitting room from the bedroom.
"Harry, you should be resting," Severus said in concern as they each abandoned whatever they had been messing with in favor of surrounding their little mate.
"Did you mean it?!" Harry demanded, drawing on all of his courage simply to ask.
"Of course we mean it," Voldemort said as Lucius and Severus nodded their agreement.
The most feared Dark Lord since Grindelwald took a suddenly shaking half starved Harry Potter into his arms, cooing soothingly. Harry for his part started to cry, not in sadness but instead in relief, allowing himself to accept their comfort and wash away his fears that this was a trap or deception of some sort. It had been a long 48 hours and he was insanely grateful that it wasn't a dream, a spell, or a hallucination regardless of the chaos he knew was about to unleash because of it. That was when he caught sight of the new marriage contract and gently pulled free to look at it. None of them tried to stop him but all of them were wondering if he would accept this final version that they had been insanely lucky to receive so quickly.
"All that's left is for us to finish signing it, accepting the changes," Lucius said softly when he looked up at them in confusion and hope.
"All four of us?" Harry asked hopefully, deciding he wasn't going to pretend not to trust them. They had been more caring and honest with him than anyone else aside from the Weasleys. He had already been told why there were differences between the redheads and his mates so he wasn't particularly worried, especially after how they had all negotiated the marriage contract earlier.
"After you've had another cup of milk, its nearly supper time," Severus said sternly, noticing how chilled Harry was he hastily summoned a blanket to wrap around Harry and placed the smaller wizard between himself and Voldemort on the small couch while Lucius hovered.
"You don't have to treat me like a baby," Harry scolded with a blush.
"Ah, but we like pampering you," Lucius said lightly. "Expect far more of it in the future."
"I really need to brew you some nutrition potions to go along with the milk but I'm not sure your stomach would handle the potion well yet," Severus muttered, fighting with himself as to whether he would cuddle the smaller wizard or not.
"I can eat solid food, it just can't be heavy," Harry said with a frown at them.
"Ah, yes, you didn't have much trouble with the sandwich, but can you honestly tell me that what you've had here was not easier to eat?" Severus asked softly. Harry looked at his lap and shook his head no, what they had been giving him in the short time since they had rescued him had been a lot easier on his belly.
"It will take time and effort to get you back to the correct weight and being as healthy as possible," Voldemort said softly. "Magic will drastically speed up the process but it does need something to work with before it can heal you. Right now you need to focus on getting healthy. As for the contract, we all need to sign it but we won't unless its something you really want."
"I want it," Harry said fiercely, accepting a proffered never-out quill and signing the contract right away. His mates quickly followed suit and watched as it rolled its self up before disappearing to file its self with both the Ministry and Gringotts.
"We have a day perhaps two before Dumbledore might get wind of the contract and even less before he is likely to discover Harry's removal from the Dursleys," Severus pointed out softly.
"The elves know by now that someone may try to take Harry and that all three of you are to be my husbands. They are loyal and will try to help us escape if it comes to that," Lucius said softly, absently running his hand through Harry's hair as the smaller wizard happily drank his milk.
"What about Dobby?" Harry asked curiously. He really wanted to know what was going on with that elf.
"I couldn't openly protect you from Dumbledore's machinations nor against any attempts to poison you. Dobby was a gift to you to try and help keep you safe, though he got a scolding when I found out how much damage he'd done in trying to openly help. That elf still hasn't learned to properly regulate his power and what actions are appropriate. I'm afraid that he was also showing off, trying to make it more likely that you'd accept him," Lucius explained with a shrug. "He knows how to play a part and was one of the ones more willing to pretend I was hurting him so that some of the other more vicious Death Eaters didn't think I'd gone soft or turned to Dumbledore."
"Reviewing my own memories of the incidents, it also distracted me while I was insane and helped people to escape," Voldemort explained after a quick trip down memory lane to confirm it.
"Dobby kept sending 'Mione off on rants about slave labor," Harry told them with a giggle, far more happy about his small friend now that he knew some of the more disturbing things had been an act or showing off.
"House elves are being punished for treason against the rulers of their race," Voldemort explained. "We accepted them as servants partly to keep them from being tortured to death or stripped of their magic, which also would have killed them in a very painful fashion. By now they can not live without being bonded to either a wizard, a wizard family, or a sentient magical building such as Hogwarts. They aren't slaves so much as criminals being punished but still allowed some freedoms."
"Someone needs to explain that to Hermione," Harry said seriously, the light of understanding making his features practically glow with comprehension and more than a little happiness. They talked companionably until supper time.
Chapter 9: Attack on the Manor
It had been a week since Harry had been rescued, a week of peace and healing as his fiances cared for him, pouring their own magic into him. When asked what they were doing they had told him that they were just helping him heal. Harry rather doubted that but couldn't deny that he always felt better afterwards and enjoyed the cuddles that were part of sharing so much of their magic with him. It was one of the things he would miss when his bad luck finally forced them apart.
Harry had no idea that his fiances had also been plotting with their Slytherin cunning and personal stubbornness how to keep him by their side regardless of what Dumbledore tossed their way. All three of the older wizards were both surprised and saddened that it had taken so long for someone to notice Harry's removal from the Dursleys. As far as they were concerned the fact that Harry had effectively been missing for a week and they only just now started looking for him was a bad sign that also told them no one had been protecting their little mate, at all.
The headlines that morning proudly proclaimed Harry's missing status and the more surprising fact that the goblins were pressing charges against the Dursleys. They had even flatly told the papers and ministry that they were not happy to discover the muggles had been enchanted to keep them from experiencing goblin justice. The picture of a smug Vernon ranting about freaks and proclaiming that they were perfectly within their rights to treat his freak of a nephew however he saw fit had Harry bolting from the table and hiding in their rooms.
"It appears we may need to invoke Kin Right," Lucius pointed out grimly as they watched Harry flee the room, his eyes having taken on a gleam of gold while he struggled with the Veela protective instincts.
"Or we could invoke Balanced Retribution," Severus suggested calmly, his own heritage allowing him to track their mate through the shadows and build a wall of protection around their nest/rooms with barely a twitch.
"That would necessitate you telling us what your own heritage is," Voldemort pointed out with the quirk of an eyebrow, somehow able to feel the power Severus was sending to protect their mate and thus less concerned than he might have been.
"I am a submissive Shadow Daemon," Severus admitted with a deep sigh. "We generally bond with other Shadow Daemons or a group of non-Daemons. The only time we are the sole submissive is when we bond with another Daemon. I am dominant enough to be above our little Harry and can take on the tasks of a full Dominant if we loose both of you but it only happens if we actually loose both of you since it falls under parenting skills in my species."
"That explains how you were always able to tell I was sneaking around in the shadows," Draco said in a mixture of disbelief and crowing triumph.
"Yes, little dragon, that is why I always knew you were there," Severus said in fond amusement, taking another sip of his drink.
"The paper says that many of the enchantments place on that tub of lard actually draw from our little mate's power and only slow him down enough to keep Harry alive," Lucius summarized in displeasure having gotten about half way through the article.
"Thank god there's an enchantment that kept them from sexually abusing him," Severus said, relieved and having skipped down the article to the list of enchantments, potions, and spells that had been on Harry's relatives.
"It looks like everything was geared to put him in as much discomfort as possible while still keeping him alive," Voldemort said grimly. Moments later they heard a distinctive cackle and a soft scolding voice.
"No Bella. Lucius, Severus, and our Lord know he's here, you can't touch him without their permission!" Narcissa said sternly as she led her insane sister into the breakfast room.
"What did you do?" Voldemort asked ominously.
"Cissy wouldn't let me play with baby Potter," Bellatrix pouted.
A commanding glance at Severus had him bolting for where he could feel Harry was using his shadows as Voldemort and Lucius stood from their seats, drawing their wands thunder in their faces. Narcissa recognized the protective fury for what it was and quickly made her way over to stand beside Draco. Bellatrix never even saw the spells fly. She definitely felt when they hit though as the magic slammed her into the marble wall with a shout of pain and the snapping of at least one rib.
"Touch our mate again and we will kill you without a seconds thought," Voldemort hissed at her.
"So... drop the insane act and don't touch him, keep anyone but you three from touching him," Bellatrix said, completely calm and very obviously more sane than she had been letting on.
"Draco can get near him without triggering our instincts because he carries part of my scent, but essentially, yes," Lucius confirmed, his Veela only so calm because Bellatrix had already proven her protective nature with Draco as an infant.
"I didn't like acting the insane bitch around him any way," Bella admitted, using her magic to set and fuse the broken rib with a wince and an audible wet snap. "I'm still not quite sure what happened to my dog of a cousin in the veil room. I hope he doesn't blame me for it. Come to that he was far too ready to chase me when it happened, there wasn't any shock or denial, just rage."
"Because he was spelled. He probably didn't know Sirius Black all that well and isn't mourning him at the moment," Lucius said with a grunt as he sat back down, still eyeing the witch.
"How long do you think I need to stay on the floor?" Bella asked airily, not all that concerned with being trapped near two overprotective part Veela after having threatened their mate.
"Until Harry is assured that you won't actually harm him or we leave the room," Voldemort said with a low growl.
"I miss my baby," Bella said sadly.
"We know, but the only way to find her would be by forcing it out of the order idiots or through blood testing all of Hogwarts," Lucius said softly, the lament over Bella's long stolen child calming his Veela with a sympathetic understanding.
"Why can't we just pay the goblins to blood test everyone at Hogwarts? Have them say that they're tired of the Ministry trying to steal dormant vaults and that everyone needs to be tested to get them re-opened?" Draco asked with a scowl. "It would get them more business, find Aunt Bella's baby, and prove the light is stealing kids."
"That's not a bad idea," Voldemort said thoughtfully. "Why don't you go owl Gringotts about it and we'll decide between us how we are going to pay for it. We can discuss the charges they're laying against the Dursleys while negotiating the testing. Harry will have to be tested publicly due to his status or at least have some of his results published but we can work this to our advantage and it will distract him from the upcoming trial. I have no doubt that Dumbledore will either try to have the charges dismissed, or try to force Harry to do as he wishes. It is also likely that Harry will have to testify."
"Lets go see him, I doubt that only having Severus will be enough right now and we should have followed him immediately," Lucius pointed out with some regret.
"You felt the low level compulsion to just let him go and have some time alone from his accidental magic the same as I did," Voldemort pointed out with a snort of derision and self disgust, leading the way out of the room as the two quickly joined Harry and Severus in their rooms.
When they arrived they found Harry bundled and shivering in Severus' lap, practically terrified out of his wits that he would be returned to the Dursleys. Both Voldemort and Lucius immediately felt guilty for obeying Harry's compulsion charm when they realized it had been in reaction to the possibility of him being taken away immediately. The glare from Severus at their tardiness didn't help either. Both submissives still allowed the two dominant Veela onto the bed to curl around them but neither spoke to the other men. They cuddled until lunch time, occasionally offering soothing words and wordless crooning to help sooth Harry and each other.
"Little one, try not to compel us not to follow next time, hm?" Severus scolded lightly with a deep sigh as they finally got up for lunch. Harry blushed and gave a weak smile as they moved to the dinning room for a family lunch.
"Heir Potter," Bellatrix greeted cordially from her seat at the table as they entered the room. Harry stopped and stared at her, trying to figure out what was going on before looking at his mates in confusion.
"She's not actually insane, its just a way to get her dueling opponents off balance," Voldemort explained, a smile dancing about his lips. "We still cursed her for spooking you this morning on the way to our rooms."
"So, she missed on purpose?" Harry asked innocently. Immediately three laser-like glares were aimed at the sheepish witch, who had failed to inform them that she'd thrown at least one spell at their little mate.
"You move fast," Bella said with a shrug, doing her best to brush it off. "I never liked acting like that around you and we had more cause to go after the Longbottoms than just that our Lord went missing. I was always a bit sad that Barty pushed it far enough they wouldn't be able to take care of their own little one."
"Dumbledore and his lackeys took Aunt Bella's baby," Draco explained. "She was born in September 1979 so she's probably in our year if she even got to go to Hogwarts."
"Draco, that assumes they kept her birthday or something close to it," Lucius pointed out softly almost gently as they maneuvered Harry into a seat and started lunch.
"I'm sorry," Harry said, feeling a pang of deep loss at the thought of his own baby being taken away.
"Its been a long time but we're still looking," Bella said sadly, turning to her own bowl of soup as they quietly ate lunch together.
"I know Hermione was born in September but I don't know anyone else," Harry offered hesitantly as they finished their food. "I'm not sure but she might have been adopted."
"That would explain the weirdness of her hair being both frizzy like Aunt Bella's and straight like Uncle Rudo," Draco said with a moan. "I can't stand how she wont just tame it."
"Diva," Harry accused with a small smile.
"Hey, you can't blame me because I look good," Draco said, very obviously preening.
"This means you have to be nice to her you know," Harry pointed out only for Draco blush deeply, making Harry think that the blond had a crush on his sister in all but blood or at least respected her.
"I've just been maintaining appearances," Draco admitted. "And before you get the wrong idea I don't have a crush on her, she's just frustrating and actually managed to be your friend."
"You were a prat and have been a prat the whole time," Harry shot back stubbornly.
"Yeah, alright, so I'm a prat," Draco admitted, a deep blush of embarrassment staining his cheeks. "Oh! The goblins said yes but that we have to get the board of governors to agree because every time they've tried to ask Dumbledore about it he tells them no. They've tried once every five or ten years but part of it would update the wards and Dumbledore keeps saying the wards are fine."
"Fine? Fine! They let in a troll in first year, didn't stop the basilisk in second year, let the dementors in during third year, last year there was that pink toad and her stupid detentions writing lines in our own blood, even the little firsties had to! Don't even get me started on fourth year!" Harry ranted, fuming with rage the entire time. "I always seem to be the one drafted to stop it."
"Which is why they will comply with a complete repair and restructuring of the wards if you are to attend your sixth year," Lucius said tightly. The thought of Umbridge trying to bind Harry using repeated use of a blood quill terrifying him to his very soul. A glance at his other two mates easily told him that they really wanted to kill the bitch and hadn't realized that their little lion had been routinely tortured during his last school year. Before they had a chance to say anything more the wards went off in his head causing him to swear viciously.
"Lucius?" Severus asked cautiously.
"I'm sending the manor into lock down, we have an attempted breach at the gates," Lucius told them with a growl, gripping the edge of the table in a white knuckled grip as he fought to force the attackers back enough to trip the siege magics. Both of his lovers-turned-mates drew their wands, collecting Draco and Harry as they ushered them towards the master bedroom.
Lucius followed seconds later having managed to trip two of the three sets of siege wards, with only the outer wards having been destroyed by the attackers. Narcissa and Bellatrix had opted to try taking the floo in an attempt to summon help both legal and illegal while the men holed up in the most heavily defended suite in the house, complete with escape tunnel. Without discussion Severus, Voldemort, and Harry quickly entered the hidden room at the start of the tunnel while Draco and Lucius set up a game of chess for the intruders to ostensibly interrupt, delaying them as much as possible.
Before they could properly settle into their various locations someone slammed the wards with a massive amount of power, alternately rupturing and crumpling them. This latest attack sent Lucius to his knees as he tried to rapidly deflect or drain the power pounding the wards as needed, dragging a cry of alarm from Draco. Less then twenty minutes later the two blonds were surrounded at wand point by a mixture of Aurors and Order of the Phoenix members. Severus had to muffle Harry's cry of dismay as Voldemort faced the hidden entrance, wand drawn, ready to defend them.
"What are you doing here?" Draco demanded as he knelt next to his semiconscious father. "This is my home, you have no right!"
"Return Mr. Potter and you'll not have to suffer our presence for much longer Mr. Malfoy," Dumbledore said pleasantly, a hard gleam in his ice blue eyes.
"Pothead? This is all about Pothead? We don't have him! Look for him where you left him last," Draco spat. "Or can't you even keep track of one little Boy-Who-Lived?"
"Now, now, there's no need for that," Dumbledore chided gently. "Defending him is very commendable but I'm afraid that your father didn't have the right to remove Harry from his relatives. Just tell us where he is and we'll quickly be out of your way."
"Talk to the goblins. The last time I saw him he was at Gringotts," Draco said angrily. "He's not bloody well here!"
"Our sources say otherwise boy!" Moody growled menacingly.
"What the hell is going on here?!" Amelia Bones trailed by a very pleased with herself Narcissa demanded, stormed into the room.
"All I know is that they attacked our manor and now my father is barely breathing!" Draco told her snootily, exaggerating Lucius' condition. "They keep asking for Potter."
"Markus check the bloody Death Eater. He's no good to us dead," Moody snapped at the only person with healer training to accompany the raid.
"He's fine," Markus, one of the Aurors, grunted after tossing a few diagnostics at the fallen blond.
"The transfer of guardianship is completely legal, gentlemen, and I have the paperwork to prove it! You are all trespassing and in violation of more than half a dozen laws. Every single Auror here is on probation, one slip up and you'll be out on your arse! Dumbledore you are called to testify in the trial of Vernon, Petunia, and Dudley Dursley. Be prepared to defend your actions in placing the Potter Heir with those monsters. Mr. Malfoy, if you would be so kind as to deliver this summons to Mr. Potter and anyone else who accompanied your father in retrieving him? Thank you and I apologize for this unauthorized intrusion. I will file the appropriate paperwork to have the repair of your wards charged to their accounts at Gringotts," Amelia Bones said as formally as her fury allowed, handing over the two summons, one to a very frustrated Dumbledore and one to Draco who gave a grave nod of acceptance. "Should there be any healer bills they will also be payed by their accounts. I will handle this personally."
"We will be pleased if you would, Amelia. This was clearly not your fault but to have our home invaded like this..." Narcissa's appalled expression was priceless.
Amelia nodded tightly and practically dragged everyone else out of the room behind her. With a hang dog expression on most of them they followed the Head of the DMLE(Department of Magical Law Enforcement) out of the manor. She berated each of them with a turn of phrase and voice that rivaled Molly Weasley. Nearly the moment they were gone, Draco used his heir status to reseal the room and release the three of them from the hidden room. Lucius was quickly levitated onto the bed and Severus checked him for damage while Harry hovered anxiously until Voldemort snagged him and cuddled with him in a nearby chair.
"He's going to be fine," Severus breathed a sigh of relief as he told them. "He's just knocked out from controlling the wards as they collapsed."
"Well that's something," Narcissa said in relief. "You did well Draco."
"The acting lessons came in handy," Draco said with a shrug, much happier now that he knew his father was going to be alright.
Harry just ignored the exchange and dragged both of his other mates up onto the bed with him to lay next to Lucius. Neither of them had the heart to say no so Narcissa and Draco reset the chess board and played a game while the quartet cuddled together on the bed. Less than an hour later Harry moved to curl around Lucius' head and started pouring magic from his hands into the blond. Voldemort and Severus instinctively latched on to both of them and grounded the power he was using to heal their mate with, intent being the only thing guiding the power. Thirty seconds into the instinctive healing session Lucius groaned and groggily opened his eyes to meet Harry's impossibly green ones.
"Hello little imp," Lucius greeted. Harry giggled, loosing control of the bit of magic only for it to be grounded by Voldemort and Severus.
"Idiot," Severus told him as he snagged Harry into a fierce cuddle. They filled him in on what happened as Harry took a nap nestled in between them. He never heard them promise to hurt anyone who harmed him, only feeling the warmth of their presence as he dreamed happily, secure in the knowledge of their protectiveness.
Chapter 10: Trial by Fire
Sorry this took so long. I got stuck and then 20 minutes ago I got a burst of inspiration that let me finish the chapter.
"The trial is going to be hard on him," Severus said softly, watching Harry sleep several hours after having healed Lucius.
"We need to contact the Delacours," Voldemort said with a grimace. "The magic of the summons latched onto us the moment we got near it. I have no doubt the meddling old coot is going to force the revelation of my identity the moment he sets eyes on me. I won't be persecuted because of the magical infirmity law and I might be able to turn the tables on him but he could still try to separate us. It will turn into a trial for me the moment I take the stand and our imp will still be at some risk."
"My barrister training will come in handy," Lucius added, completely agreeing with Voldemort's assessment of the situation even as he sent off a quick missive to the Delacours informing them of what had happened. Less than ten minutes later they had a reply via return house elf, the Delacours had promised to be present and had authorized the revelation of Voldemort's heritage in the defense of his submissive mate.
"Severus... is it normal for him to be sleeping so much? Even with all of the magic we've been giving him?" Voldemort asked with some concern.
"Its far more healthy than the nightmares and complete lack of rest I've heard he's been getting for more than a year," Severus said with a rough bark of despairing laughter, clutching at the too small form sleeping in his lap. "I didn't care before but now... now I know he's nothing like his father and he's my mate. I had thought they were lying, that he was trying to get more attention. I had no idea he was hurting like that."
"We know you would have tried to help had you realized, even if he had still been an enemy," Lucius soothed, coming up behind him and rocking both of his mates in an attempt to comfort.
"We will not let either of you be taken away and you will have your chance to apologize to our green-eyed imp," Voldemort said sternly, forcing Severus to meet his gaze. "You think we don't know that you don't teach by your own choice? You think we don't know that we're not just pulling the imp from Dumbledore's clutches? If I have my way by the end of the trial Dumbledore will be facing his own trial and you both will be free of him, free of the prisons that he's kept you both in. We will unravel his plots and burn him."
"Its okay, I understand," Harry said softly, turning to sleepily burrow into Severus' chest, proving that he'd been awake for at least part of the conversation.
"Imp," Voldemort said fondly. "Were it not for the trial tomorrow I would trap you both in our bedroom until we could make you believe that you are worth all of this, that we will do everything in our power to protect you."
"We would prove that you are very wanted, again and again," Lucius purred seductively into Severus' ear, sending a shiver of want down the other man's spine to coil around his sex.
"Dumbledore has put a very large dent into his own credibility with the stunt he pulled today," Voldemort pointed out with a dark chuckle. "If he insists on pushing anything we can throw it back in his face. We can also use what he has done to our imp and to you my dark serpent to force him into backing off. If done right it might even destroy him and we will be able to care properly for the two of you without having to worry about the old man's threats."
"I look forward to seeing you both round with our children dear Severus," Lucius hissed before swallowing Severus' low lustful moan.
Voldemort just chuckled and enjoyed watching Lucius try to ravage their stoic Shadow Daemon without knocking Harry from his lap or waking him. An uncomfortably strong surge of lust targeted at all three of them told him that Harry was getting closer to being well enough to accept them as his mates. The fact really didn't surprise him with how much raw magic they had been pouring into their little mate in an attempt to heal him. It was, however, inconvenient timing what with the trial and the attack on the manor. Voldemort knew with absolute certainty that none of them would feel safe taking Harry for the first time in a nest that had been compromised once already. They would have to find somewhere else to live or find a new way of securing the manor.
A low whimper from Harry had them all freezing, trying to determine what had upset their little mate. It took a few moments for Severus to realize that he had a shaking bundle of still sleeping wizard in his lap. Harry fought through as much of his nightmare as he could without giving away his distress just as Vernon had taught him with his various punishments. Eventually he gave off the barest whimper which resulted in him being bundled into the middle of the bed, Severus underneath, Lucius and Voldemort to either side, cuddling him protectively between them through the night.
When they woke the next morning there was a minor scramble to get ready. Harry had to be coaxed into the set of formal robes that Lucius had insisted they get with the rest of his replacement wardrobe. They could all tell that he hated the robes but they also knew that the better impression they made the less likely someone would be an idiot and try to separate them.
"I know you don't like them any more than I do," Severus consoled softly. "But we need to look our best for this, to show those beasts that you are far better off with us and that they were in the wrong, to show that you belong with us. You have no need to fear their wrath with us at your side and we will always love you no matter what is said during this mess or any other mess that may occur. You are our mate and no one can take that from us."
The brilliant smile that Harry gave them was more than worth exposing his own insecurities by Severus' reckoning but the sweet hug that accompanied it was blissful. The trial turned out not to be all that horrible. There were arguments and Dumbledore tried to weasel out of responsibility but Voldemort turned that around on him and forced the use of Veritaserum. In the end Dumbledore was striped of his illegal magical guardianship over Harry and Voldemort was officially declared as having been under undue influence when he'd acted as a Dark Lord. Since he'd not only admitted who he was and then proceeded to pin the blame for his insanity on a cursed book that Dumbledore had told him about things worked out rather well. The secret of his Veela heritage and the madness that he'd been driven to through it was safe. Dumbledore was heavily fined for his negligence and Harry's guardianship was properly acknowledged as belonging to his mates.
The only downside was that Dumbledore got the Dursleys off as being falsely accused and arrested because someone had managed to loose the paperwork and proof needed for their arrest to be legal. Director Bones was absolutely furious but wasn't yet willing to ask Harry for copies of his memories to try and force the issue since Harry was out of danger. She explained to them, privately, that she needed to find and arrest the spy before she could risk it again unless Harry came forwards himself and pressed official charges.
"I just want to forget," Harry told them all quietly, in obvious distress.
"We know," Severus consoled, cuddling Harry close.
"If Dumbledore hadn't spoken for them we could have demanded the use of muggle safe truth serum and used their own testimony. But with the way he countered and the missing files on the entire situation I couldn't even get them into court, as you saw. It would be considered a gross misuse of power and I would be up on charges. It would also put Harry at risk of being sent back, legally this time. Fudge and his toady Undersecretary Umbridge don't like creatures. In fact I think that woman would rather have all creatures and hybrids killed at birth despite the untold damage it would cause," Amelia Bones explained bitterly.
"She made us use a blood quill in detention when she was the Defense Professor. The only one's who got away without using it were purebloods or Slytherins or someone with a powerful relative," Harry explained, showing his scarred hand. "If she gets to be too much just make clip clop sounds. We tricked her into the Forbidden Forest and she got on the wrong side of the centaurs."
"Good to know. Thank you for informing of this, I will have it investigated immediately," Director Bones informed them, a hard light entering her eyes. She personally escorted them to the floo in the atrium to avoid any... accidents. There were going to be long days ahead while she gathered and re-gathered evidence against Umbridge, Fudge, and the Dursleys.
Chapter 11: Closed Loophole
Happy 4th of July, people! Sorry this chapter has been so stubborn that I finally gave up on the bedroom scene. I'll have proper ones later.
"He's going to try and control me before forcing me back. Hell, he might not even wait for control before trying to force me back," Harry said quietly once they were all home at Malfoy Manor.
"Something that we will not allow," Severus said with a growl.
"If he gets his hands on our Harry then we may not have a choice," Lucius pointed out sourly. "His actions today have definitively proven that he's no longer playing by legal and illegal only by what he decides is reality. Dumbledore will not forget our actions today nor the blow that Marvolo dealt him through his testimony."
"Everything I said was true. I simply left out a few bits," Voldemort pointed out. "We'll have to either act as Harry's guards or hire someone to do so and Dumbledore can counter that by banning whoever takes up the duty from the grounds."
"We've effectively blocked any legal way for him to take our little mate but the only way to enforce it further without looking like it is... to complete the bond as soon as possible," Severus admitted with a deep sigh of resignation.
"Is Harry strong enough for that?" Lucius asked in concern. "We can get around him going to Hogwarts by either having him home schooled or sending him to another school if he needs more time."
"I'll need to be, won't I?" Harry said stubbornly, making it clear that he wouldn't be backing down any time soon, completely ignoring the comments about Hogwarts being Dumbledore's domain.
"Health wise? Just barely and only because we've added our magic to his healing since we rescued him. We would have to be as gentle as possible so as not to hurt him," Severus admitted, looking Harry straight in the eye. "Our joint creature and mate status actually restricts what laws are beneficial to us and protect us verses the laws that are dangerous to us. As part Veela the two of you have more protection than I or Harry does. He hasn't been tested but I suspect that his creature traits are from his partial mating bond with us and would fall under the murky legal area of fully human mates. If my creature status came to light there are people who would try to kill us outright and under some of the more recent laws its legal. They can't touch us once we're bonded because I'm a submissive and the only one who would be classified as a dark creature. It would be presumed that the three of you could control me as needed. It would also make me legally little better than a pet in some situations. Which would also give you three the right or even the obligation to kill me unless I'm pregnant. Pregnancy covers a great deal of unstable behavior no matter the species."
"So the only way to keep you safe once they find out is for you to be pregnant all the time," Harry whispered in a combination of horror and deep sadness. As much as he wanted a family he didn't want to be used solely as a broodmare, nor did he want that for his mates. It was at that moment that he decided to find a way to change some of those horrible laws, or at least kill whoever was stupid enough to put them in place.
Dumbledore, Umbridge, and Fudge all felt a cold chill creep down their spine before passing it off as nothing and getting back to whatever they had been doing.
Looking at his patiently waiting mates he made a decision that made him shudder inside but he wasn't willing to risk loosing them. Even if he had to step in front of a Dementor or an Avada Kedavera to keep them safe.
"Can one of you contact Rita Skeeter? I think I need to do an interview and publicly ask what else Dumbledore and the Ministry are willing to do if they are willing to let me be abused and threaten my mates," Harry's voice was suddenly hard. The granite in it left no doubt as to why he'd survived the nightmare of both his childhood and the tests he'd been forced through at Hogwarts.
"I'll submit a request for a copy of all laws then, shall I?" Lucius asked a smile flitting about around the edges of his mouth.
"It will be a nightmare to wade through but we might as well find everything that might be used against us," Harry pointed out with a grimace of agreement.
Harry's mind was working overtime just like when he and his friends faced the yearly challenge. He would be damned if he'd let them be harassed and threatened like this when his children were born. They already had Draco to think about and he wouldn't risk any future children on the fickleness of the wizarding public. It was time to start looking under rocks and pulling down pillars. People were going to throw screaming fits well before he was done applying his Slytherin-Gryffindor-Ravenclaw-Hufflepuff nature that had so confused the Sorting Hat before Dumbledore's manipulations had kicked in. Yes, his Hogwarts nature was going to make a powerful showing as he utterly destroyed... The light tap on his nose from Severus broke up his train of thought as his attention was gently redirected towards his fiances.
"You are thinking much too hard," Severus admonished with a gentle smirk. "I will accept the interview with Skeeter but if you try to seduce us into taking you while you are still healing you will see exactly why I'm able to act as your dominant if these two louts are unavailable."
"Oi!" Lucius and Voldemort immediately protested the label and quickly pinned the pair of them with playful glares. With exaggerated movements they began to stalk their submissives around the room. Harry and Severus both wound up laughing and were eventually captured by the two dominants only to be cradled protectively and given kisses as a forfeit.
Their playful game of chase was interrupted by two owls, one bearing a letter with the Gringotts crest and the other that of the school board of governors. Lucius and Severus accepted the letters, politely sending the owls off to the owlery before opening them. Apparently, Draco's proposal for the heritage blood test idea went over fantastically with the updating of the wards being of keen interest. The letter from Gringotts was a commission for Severus to brew the needed potion and a separate confirmation of the testing being accepted. With this new information they happily continued to plot the downfall of one Albus Dumbledore as they waited on the literal copy of the complete laws of magical Britain, preferably a self updating version.
That night something inside Harry changed, triggering a similar response in Severus and sending them both into a mating heat, preparing their submissive bodies to take their dominant mates. Both men woke to find their submissives writhing and mewling, begging for something and unconscionably hot to the touch.
"Apparently, Severus was wrong... Harry is ready to take us," Voldemort said with a breathless laugh before they pounced on their whimpering mates. By morning they were bound together in a way nobody could break.
Chapter 12: Catnip for Beattles
Lucky you lot! Two 4th of July chapters! Enjoy!
"Morning," Harry said sleepily, pleasantly sore from his brief bonding heat and being deliciously filled by all three of his mates the night before.
"Morning brat," Severus said softly. His voice set off a serious of neurons firing in Harry's brain as things connected. Harry bolted upright, startling his mates, as he scrambled to get to parchment and ink. There was a sleepy protest from his mates as they grumbled and sat up to watch him frantically scribble down his conclusions.
"What *yawn* is going on?" Lucius asked sleepily. All four of them were still naked from the bonding of the night before but the room was still pleasantly comfortable against their bare skin.
"The bastard has been using my seats and most of the dangerous creature laws happened while he had control of them!" Harry exclaimed. "We can literally overturn every single one of them by exposing his actions against us, truthfully! I bet he's done this to other people too. When's Rita coming?!"
"After breakfast," Severus said with a smirk, thoroughly enjoying watching their Harry work and gleefully looking forwards to the chaos Harry's actions would cause. The nice fit yet naked backside this morning was simply a bonus. Voldemort's wandless charm that had them all quickly dressed in at least sleep pants startled them and had both of his mates pouting at him while Harry continued his frantic search, unaware of his new attire.
"We went over this before," Lucius said cautiously. "As a triwizard champion you were legally declared an adult yet he failed to inform you and continued to act as your proxy."
"But I knew nothing about lordships or the Wizengamot or anything until the last couple of years. He also left me with the Dursleys and has been trying to brainwash me into a mindless puppet without using magic. We can argue that you four saved me from becoming a Dark Lord for him to hold over the heads of everyone so that he can keep controlling everything. Its classic evil overlord tactics! But he's never had full control over me, my luck is too weird and I've got too much of each house for it to work right even if at the sorting the Hat primarily wanted me in Slytherin," Harry shot back excitedly. "Voldemort is supposed to be Lord Slytherin so why isn't he part of the Wizengamot? How many people has he stolen the seats and inheritance of? I'm a very public figure and can start pointing fingers, asking questions! It will make them look at it instead of saying its Dumbledore so it must be for our good. And what does he mean by Greater Good?! What greater good does it serve to have kids beaten, starved, and treated less than a house elf?"
The low growl of angry agreement abruptly brought Harry back down to earth as he instinctively sought out both his mates and what they were angry at.
"Those are all very good questions Mr. Potter!" Rita said gleefully, turning back into her human form from the beetle that had crawled in through the crack between bedroom door and jam. Harry gave a small yelp of surprise before scrambling to the other side of the bed and thus behind his mates.
"So that's why," Severus muttered, eyeing both reporter and smug Dark Lord warily.
"Why, prey tell, did you not wait in the sitting room to which you were undoubtedly directed?" Lucius drawled imperiously. Both dominants instinctively shielding their two submissives at the near manic look in her eye.
"Dumbledore has been making sure I'm abused and using my seats without even telling me I had any! I'm pretty sure he's been stealing my stuff and money too," Harry informed her, his Gryffindor brashness deciding to make a showing.
"Sit down Rita, we have a scoop for you," Voldemort ordered, giving her a dirty look for the stunt she'd just pulled.
"Of course my lord," Rita said impishly, conjuring a seat and quickly setting up for a proper interview.
"Wait? She's one of yours?!" Harry said in shocked confusion.
"Yes, dear. I'm simply not marked so that I have a better chance at being left alone by the light idiots," Rita said smugly. "Now what would you like my adoring public to know?"
So they told her. They told her about their less than pleasant pasts, about how Dumbledore repeatedly sent them back into abusive situations, about how he tried to take Harry from them. They even told how they thought that most of the dangerously restrictive laws passed in the last 15 years were because of Dumbledore usurping Harry's seats and how the man had likely done it. Then they told her how Harry had come to the conclusion that Dumbledore was illegally stealing the political power of his students. Next they pointed out their own thoughts that it implied Dumbledore had arranged for guardianship and possibly the deaths of various powerful members of the Wizengamot.
"Oh, you four always give me absolute gold!" Rita squealed excitedly, still taking notes. "Now, I can probably get this issued all at once in a special edition or I can do a series. The series would be better for the paper but it would also give idiots a chance to demand it not be published. Either way the front page is going to be your mating, there's really just no way around that.
"There's also a chance that Dumbledore was the reason Voldemort went crazy," Harry informed her, phrasing it so that it didn't sound like a fact. This was especially important since Voldemort was going to be listed by his birth name in the paper. "He's already planning to force me back and he's hurt my mates. What else is he willing to do to stay in power? What other kids has he hurt and helped abuse?"
Rita stopped dead at those questions, finally registering not the glory of the story but the implications of the information they wanted released as fast as possible.
"If you want the special edition I need someone to give the editor a bribe so that he'll look the other way," Rita told them seriously. "He'll be shocked at all of this but if he doesn't know its going out he can't be arrested for treason and sedition. I'll have to disappear for a while once its out. I can claim at the end that I'm searching for you to get your take on all of this and write it up like I found documents. If we pay a nice fee to the goblins they can even make the documents or find them if they already exist."
"Take it to the goblins first then. I will send a note with you authorizing the necessary payments," Voldemort said seriously.
"No, not all of it. I'll pay for the bribe to the prophet. I routinely give away money to various businesses. Admittedly, its been some time since my last charitable donation but I can make one to St. Mungoes at the same time. It can be called an after thought for such prompt reporting or such," Lucius said with a dismissive wave of his hand.
"You don't have to," Harry said anxiously.
"Brat, don't argue. I learned long ago that if they decide to spoil us we aren't getting out of it," Severus said with a smirk. Pulling Harry into his lap he effectively cocooning the imp in the middle of the three of them, leaving their true dominants to guard either side.
"I can ask questions about the old goat punishing the entire creature community to try and enslave our Savior, spin it so that he's the evil Dark Lord. Could even ask uncomfortable questions about his past and why he was so familiar with Grindlewald," Rita said thoughtfully, back in her dangerous yet powerful reporter headspace. The notes were quickly written up and the woman sent on her way. Harry discovered that they had missed both breakfast, lunch, and Supper during the exhaustive interview. They ate and immediately went back to bed, vowing not to leave it for a whole week if they could manage it..
Chapter 13: Extra! Extra! Read All About It!
Someone asked for at least one of Rita's articles... and I couldn't resist!
Enjoy the fireworks!
DAILY PROPHET SPECIAL EDITION!!!!
Savior finds Mates!
Dumbledore attempts to Kidnap Savior for Nefarious Purposes!
You-Know-Who Victim of Jealous Dumbledore
Dumbledore Secret Dark Lord?!
Dumbledore Encouraging Child Abuse!!!!!
Is Dumbledore Punishing All Creatures to Control Our Savior?!
Why Doesn't Harry Potter Know About Our Laws?!
Why Has the Chosen One Not Been Told About His Lordships and Wizengamot Seats?!
How Many More Inheritances Has Dumbledore Stolen from His Students?!
Are Wizengamot Seats and Vital Knowledge the Only Things Dumbledore Has Stolen from Our Children?!
It is with shock and horror I come to you now my dear readers. I was contacted for an interview with our beloved Savior. I was greatly hoping that we would discover more about him and the rumors of his having found not one but four men to satisfy him as potential husbands. While it was confirmed that he had not only found love but that he'd actually gone and done a creature marriage, termed a mating, with all three of them that was not what they wanted to discuss with me.
No, my dear readers, what they wanted was to see about informing the public of was something far less joyful than their impromptu marriage. It has come to light that Harry Potter, Our Savior was not in fact being treated like the prince he is while growing up. He did not receive instruction in our ways or magical training of any sort, nor did he even know magic existed! Instead he was being treated like a badly abused house elf! A House Elf! His muggle relatives wouldn't even treat him like a human being! He was forced to cook and clean for his bed and barely fed, nor was he aware his parents were murdered until after he'd turned eleven and was informed by Rubius Hagrid and Ronald Weasley of his own story!
Is this the sort of loving care and devotion that Dumbledore promised us he was receiving?! If the Headmaster is willing to not only allow this but repeatedly, yes I said repeatedly, send him back to continue being abused what is he willing to do to our children?!
Sadly, I also discovered that this is not the first time Dumbledore has arranged for such horrible treatment of a child. Both Potions Master Severus Snape and Defense Master Tom Riddle had the exact same thing happen to them no matter how often they begged not to be returned to their respective summer homes. Both men along with the surprising Lord Malfoy are now bonded to young Harry. All three of our mistreated boys asked what I meant when I asked if they were going to press charges. I was in tears when Lord Malfoy had to carefully explain to his new husbands that there was no statute of limitations on crimes of child abuse. He also went on to explain that they could still press charges against not only their abusers but against Dumbledore for accessory before, during, and after the fact.
I was heartbroken to find out that not only had Dumbledore arranged for their return to abuse but that he had threatened them with Azkaban and the Dementor's Kiss if they didn't comply with any of his wishes. Is this the man we want teaching and guiding our Children?!
Rita Skeeter, Special Correspondent
The flurry of chaos the special edition of the prophet caused was glorious in her mind. Rita took a moment to relish the furious printing and shuffling of paper marked only by growls of outrage by her colleagues as they occasionally read a passage that she had written. Explaining exactly why their editor did not want to be present for this printing had been tortuous but oh so worth it. The fact that she didn't have to rag on Potter any more was a bonus, he really was a sweetie. It made her a little jealous that he'd been claimed by her lord and two of his Elite. Lord Malfoy's generous donation had been enough to get the paper into every single hand in Britain, Adult and Child alike. The goblins had been kind enough to offer her an emergency portkey in exchange for bringing the lapse in the accounts to their notice. She had also promised not to lay blame at their feet if they could come up with the documentation. Oh boy had they delivered! The first bits of the paper trail had sparked a full investigation of everything Dumbledore had any sort of connection to. The goblins were pissed.
Humming jauntily Rita slipped the last article for this rushed Special Edition into the correct printing box, gathered up her purse and slipped out the front door. A quick bite to eat at the Leaky Cauldron and off to Morocco for a month!
Chapter 14: Victory
I am sooo sorry it took me so long to wrap this up but its finally finished. Enjoy!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
"She exaggerated a bit but I was threatened with Azkaban for an incident where I was not only the victim but still a student. He also routinely used it as a stick and when that didn't work he would throw Lily or Harry in my face. Its one of his specialties, the guilt trips," Severus commented when he saw what Voldemort was reading at the table the next morning. He quickly joined them at the breakfast table and collected a hearty selection of foods.
Voldemort hummed his agreement but quickly returned to avidly watching the damning words roll across the page. Dumbledore would wake to find a nightmare as his political power crashed down around his head. He shouldn't have threatened their family.
Harry was apparently hungry because he not only took his usual serving but an additional half serving of eggs, toast, and fruit pastry. His husbands also noticed how he seemed to be avoiding looking at the Prophet like the plague.
"I bet we could walk down Diagon Ally naked and no one would say a word against us," Lucius said thoughtfully. The way Harry's head whipped around to stare at him in shock had them all smirking and effectively ended the imp's attempt at self isolation.
"Did you really think we'd settle for you hiding from us?" Severus asked in a deceptively mild tone. The deep blush told them that yes, he had planning on hiding not only from the world today but from them as well.
"For being so foolish you get to stay with us all day," Voldemort said with a smirk. He was trying to hide his disappointment that his mate wanted to be away from him so soon after their bonding. It was something he'd long since decided he wouldn't allow.
Harry made a grumpy sound but didn't actually object. He didn't really want to be away from his mates but was still unsure if they would try chasing him away, even temporarily and how to avoid that. Harry had figured if he stayed out of their way they wouldn't ask him to leave. He knew it was mental after all that they'd promised that they wanted him but he'd never had a home before aside from Hogwarts and he only rarely felt accepted even there. The mating bond in the backs of their mind sparked and tugged at his mates telling them that he needed reassurance. Without a moment's hesitation they left their food and descended upon him to cuddle and reassure him that he was wanted, reassuring themselves in the process.
"Perhaps a trip to Diagon Ally is a good idea all around," Lucius suggested softly. "Maybe buy a few trinkets for our submissives?"
"If he's insecure enough to trigger the bond then we have to make sure they both understand that they are wanted," Voldemort agreed with a rumble.
"You don't have to buy me anything," Harry objected shyly.
"And what did I tell you yesterday about their habit of spoiling us as their submissives? Once they have their mind set to it we won't be able to dissuade them," Severus shot back. "Just be happy about the gifts and if you really don't want something we'll figure out a way to make them listen... later."
"Okay," Harry said dubiously.
"Definitely more than trinkets," Voldemort muttered with a wince. Lucius whole-heartedly agreed. If their submissives didn't feel safe and accepted they would have to court them again, or properly in Harry's case.
They spent the day shopping and accepting the protection of the concerned wizarding public. In the coming days, weeks, and years they would help wash away the poison that was Dumbledore's legacy while raising their family and ensuring the protection, both legal and otherwise, of their children.
I apologize for the poor ending but musey refused to come back to this. I hope to return with a better ending one day.