Chapter Ten: Tastes Like Coconut, Part Four
May 30, 2010
"Your supper, Muggle."
"Yeah, not eating anything you give me."
"Then starve; I care not. An elf will collect the tray in thirty minutes weather you eat or not."
Giving no indication that he had heard the voice outside their cells, Harry didn't move from his half-lotus position on the stone floor. He had spent the last hours studying his core, something Madam Racine had him practising as he tried to expand his wandless magic. It wasn't easy and the capacity of his core made it even more difficult to control the raw energies. Like every other Witch and Wizard, it was easier for him to harness and redirect the stored energy through a conduit: his wand. Except the length of sequoia was back on Campus.
His meditation had led him to the threads of the spell and he had felt ill when he saw how it clawed into the mental image of his core. Countless thin, black tendrils punctured into and through his magic, like someone would poke a skewer through a piece of meat, before coalescing into a large vine that circled the interior of the cell. He had tugged at the large tentacle of power experimentally, but the pain had stopped him almost instantly. If removed all at once, the tendrils would tear his core to shreds. He'd have to painstakingly remove the threads one by one, easing them from his core. It could be done but it would take time they may not have. He'd been at it for a couple hours now and only removed maybe a tenth of the threads.
He had heard the approaching footsteps and withdrew his focus from his core. Now, through the tiniest slit between his eyelids and from under heavy lashes, he watched as the dark clad wizard stood on the opposite side of the bars.
The man had shoulder length, shiny black hair and nearly as black eyes. He wore high collared, dark navy blue interior robes cloaked in a contrasting sleeveless, black outer robe. The only part of him that wasn't dark was the sallow tone of his skin. Even the elegant wand, that he was using to levitate a covered tray through a horizontal space in the bars, was a shimmering black wood.
Still not moving, Harry kept his breathing slow and even as the unknown Wizard paused to stare at him. There was something in the man's gaze that had Harry finally opening his eyes completely and staring back. Tall, Dark and Creepy inhaled sharply and floated the tray to a stop on the small table set up against the wall.
"What do you want?" Harry asked icily when the man still not to speak.
"I have been charged with you care while you are... a guest within the castle." the Wizard's voice was deep and silky and Harry could feel the power resonating behind it.
Grant snorted from the cell over. "Accommodations are a little lacking."
"Shut your mouth, Muggle," the Wizard turned his head with an impressive sneer to the other prisoner. "Unlike Mr. Potter here, you are expendable."
"I am not a Potter!" Harry leaped to his feet and he reigned in the angry pulse of magic.
Dark eyes regarded him with a frown. "Magic says otherwise."
"Magic can go fuck itself." Harry allowed himself a vindictive smirk when both he and Grant spat the declaration back.
"Are all American's so vulgar?" Their captor arched an unimpressed eyebrow at the teenager. "Thank Merlin the Blood Rite will rid you of such uncouth behaviour."
Harry's heart stuttered inside his chest and he involuntarily took a step back from the bars. "What Blood Rite."
"Magic claims you the Potter Heir, and Blood with follow the will of magic."
"Like hell it will!" Grant thundered and Harry could hear the bars rattle as the Agent threw himself against them. "Stay the fuck away from him."
Harry backed away further and shook his head fiercely. "I'm too old; my body's too developed. I would need to be a willing participant of the Rite and I will not cooperate!"
"You will if you want the Muggle to live," the dark haired man responded coolly, flicking his equally dark eyes to the prison cell next to them. "Like I said: he is expendable. Should you cooperate, come midday the day after tomorrow, he will be obliviated and returned to America none the wiser of the past forty-eight hours. You, Mr. Potter, will remain within the school where you will receive the necessary education to take your place as the ideal pureblood son. I'm sure if you ask him nicely enough, Albus will even insure you are disgustingly Gryffindor enough for one of James Potter's spawn."
The nameless Wizard looked at Harry closely before he uttered, "I look forward to having you in my class this fall term, Mr. Stark. You look very much like your mother at that age. You have Elizabeth's jaded eyes." And then, with a billowing of dark robes, he spun on his heels and was gone.
Harry stared into the dark beyond his cell, his mind spinning with fright and, strangely, hope.
"You won't cooperate with the Rite, Harry!" Grant insisted, worry clear in his voice. "It doesn't matter what they do or threaten to do to me; I don't want you cooperating."
"I don't think I'll have to," he muttered back, allowing a small smile to calm him and he chuckled. "Son of a bitch..."
"What is it, Harry?"
Harry answered, "He said 'Elizabeth's Jaded Eyes'. Elizabeth was the name my Dad knew my mother by and he always called her the one with the Jaded Eyes. In a letter she left for Dad, she told him that if we ever needed help in this world we should go to Severus Snape. I think - I think that was him!"
"Then why isn't he helping us out of here?" Grant demanded irritably.
"He did," Harry said. "He told us everything Potter is planning and who's helping him. We even know when."
Grant was silent for only when he grumbled. "Midday, day after tomorrow... son of a bitch! I'll let Hill know. You work on getting rid of the spell."
May 31, 2010
Los Angeles, California
"Got a minute?"
The tone was not one he'd been expecting, but maybe he should have. Tony offered the woman behind the desk a light smile as he took the chair across from her. "Come on, you just got off the phone. You're fine. Thirty seconds?"
She frowned and looked at her watch. "Twenty-nine, twenty-eight-"
"Okay, I, um," he said in a rush, realizing she was dead serious. "Here's the thing: I'm sorry. I haven't been entirely upfront with you about things and you're the one who's dealing with them and putting out the fires I caused."
"I'm doing the job you were meant to do." She snapped, though her eyes had softened a little around the edges.
"And you're doing it better than I ever could!" He insisted. "The second best decision of my life was to hand control of the company over to you."
He could tell she wanted to smile, but she kept her face stern as she arched her eyebrows and asked, "What was the first?"
A blinding smile lit up his face. "Keeping Harry." That won him the smile she was hiding and he cheered victoriously in his head. "I need you - I need him! Both of you make me better!"
"Then why have you been pushing everyone - pushing him away?" She demanded, her smile fading. "You've all but disappeared from his life, Tony, and if you keep doing that you're going to lose him."
"I know that," he admitted. "I, and this is somewhat revelatory for me, I realized this morning that I was turning into Howard. I was doing to Harry the very same thing I hated my father for doing to me. I have been treating him like a non-entity and keeping him at arm's length when I should have been holding him closer to me. I want to fix this; I want him to come home!"
"He can't, Tony," Pepper told him gently. "You destroyed home and it's not a good place for him to be."
"Again, something I know," Tony agreed, "but here's the thing: I tried calling him to talk to him and I can't get through."
"He's staying with Drew Olszewski," Pepper reassured him. "I spoke to Drew last night while Harry was cleaning up after a pick-up Quodpot game. He's more than happy to have Harry stay for the next few days."
"He says that, but I called Harry's phone and it gets transferred to Drew's." Tony frowned. "Why would it do that?"
"Maybe Harry's broke again," Pepper explained.
"And why haven't you or I talked to him ourselves?" Tony demanded, not realizing he had gotten out of his chair until he started pacing. "I've may have been an absent father these last few months, but something's not right here Pep. I feel it in my gut!"
The door opened, interrupting the pair. "Ms. Potts?"
Happy and Natalie - a.k.a. Natasha the spy - entered the office at Pepper's beckoning.
Practically stalking across the office, her annoyed gaze locked on Tony, Natasha said "Wheels up in twenty-five minutes."
"Thank you," Pepper acknowledged and began gathering her things. She stood and met Tony's eyes with a sympathetic smile. "Let Harry enjoy the next few days, Tony. Drew's leaving for school already at the end of the week and it's going to be a long time before they see each other again. Give him a little time before you pounce on him with your newfound desire for reconciliation."
He nodded half-heartedly, watching the S.H.I.E.L.D. shadow as she moved about the room. "Right, right. You're right!"
Pepper smiled. "I usually am." She walked passed her former boss and let her hand brush against his arm. "Go home, Tony, start cleaning up the mansion. We'll talk more when I get back from New York, all right?" She moved to join Happy by the door. "Oh, and Tony, while you're here maybe you and Natalie can discuss the matter of your personal belongings."
"Absolutely," Natasha confirmed with the woman.
When the door closed behind Happy and Pepper, Tony turned on the spy. "Where's Harry?"
"Staying with a friend, like we arranged." She answered gathering up a few loose papers.
"Why can't I talk to him?"
"Maybe he doesn't want to talk to you." She fixed him with an unimpressed stare. "I can't imagine why that would be."
"He wouldn't do that," Tony insisted. "I know my son; he'd never ignore me because he's angry at me. He's already ripped me a new on in Monaco. Where is he?"
"With his boyfriend."
"See, I don't believe you." Tony glared at her. "And you know why? Because you're too good! You are mind-blowing duplicitous. How do you do it? You just tear things... You're a triple imposter. I've never seen anything like you. Is there anything real about you? Do you even speak Latin?"
She had been visibly getting angrier the more he spoke, and with a rapid string of words in a foreign language she stalked to the doors.
Tony blinked and followed her progress. "Which means? Wait. What? What did you just say?"
"It means you can either drive yourself home or I can have you collected." She snapped and left the room with the click of high heels.
Alone in his former office, Tony frowned. He believed her when she said he'd be collected just as much as he believed Coulson's threat to taser him. He would go back to the house, he would do what S.H.I.E.L.D. wanted him to do and find the answer to the palladium problem.
Then he'd find out exactly what they weren't telling him about his son.
May 31, 2010
The summons came during lunch.
Severus had been anticipating that familiar burn in his arm ever since he allowed Draco to see him ascending from the depths of the dungeons; knowing the little spy would be unable to resist. The wards he had left behind in the corridor alerted him to the fact that Draco had remained at the far end of the prison for some time before departing. Snape had been pleased when the boy came back from the lower levels and headed straight for the Owlery.
He was aware that Draco had been tasked with watching Severus and to report any of his activities to Lucius who would in turn report to the Dark Lord. It was a check for Snape's loyalties and his continued value to Voldemort as a spy. Severus had counted on the fact that Draco would be curious as to why the Potions Master was down in the bowels of the castle and investigate.
With a telling look to Dumbledore, and subtle brush against the left arm, Severus rose from his place at the head table and quickly exited the Great Hall through the antechamber. Once passed the ward line of Hogwarts, the spy apparated, following the pull on his Dark Mark. Despite being one of the inner circle, no one knew the location of the Dark Lord. They could only apparate to his location when called and it was the reason Severus had allowed the Malfoy boy to find what was hidden in the lowest dungeons.
The room was large, elaborate, and empty of anyone else other than Lucius and the Dark Lord himself. Gliding across the marble floor, he swept to his knees a few meters from Voldemort's feet.
"Do you know why I have called you, Severus?" The Dark Lord did not sound happy and any other time it would have filled the spy with dread.
As it was, Severus had planned for this. "I believe I do, My Lord." He answered without looking from his bow of supplication. "I knew Draco was watching me and would report to his father. I knew you would want to know immediately what Dumbledore has done. The development has the old man watching me closer than usual and I could not inform you directly myself."
That seemed to surprise the men and after a moment of contemplative silence, Voldemort spoke again. "Rise and report, Severus."
Smoothly rising from his prostrated position, Snape looked up and met the Dark Lord's strong visage. Unlike the glamour he wore to terrify both his followers and his enemies, the face of Lord Voldemort was anything but the hideous snake-like façade. Chiselled chin, defined aristocratic features, silky dark brown hair and creamy brown eyes, the Dark Lord struck a charismatic profile. Only the inner circle of Death Eaters were ever privileged to see his true face.
"Dumbledore has the Stark boy." He informed his Lord and Master. "Potter accompanied Black on his journey to the American School and has succeeded in kidnapping the boy and one of his instructors, leaving Black to take the fall with the Americans."
Voldemort actually frowned. "The child did not go willingly?"
"No, My Lord. He and the other, a muggle, have been imprisoned in the dungeons of Hogwarts. Dumbledore has even anchored the Fetter Geas to the boy's core." Severus didn't bother hiding the disgust from his voice or his face.
"He Tethered an underage wizard?!" Malfoy sputtered. "It could damage the still developing core! Dumbledore's gone mad!"
"There is more to Dumbledore's interest in the Stark Boy, My Lord, than as the Heir of the Potter Family Magic." Severus admitted. "The Headmaster has been pushing and compelling Potter to find the boy since the night you eliminated Longbottom two years ago."
"The defunct prophecy," Voldemort murmured as he delved into thought.
Snape waited a moment, first to give his Lord the time he wanted and secondly to prepare himself for what he was about to do. Voldemort must have felt his growing anxiety as the Dark Lord schooled his features and raised an eyebrow at his servant, silently demanding an answer.
"I have kept secrets from you, My Lord." Severus swallowed thickly at the glare that was now levelled at him. "I knew of the boy. I knew his mother and aided her when she escape Potter while still pregnant. I gave her the tonic - one known only to the Prince family line - that would sacrifice her life and magic for that of her child. She died giving birth to the boy a full month before he was due. Before she passed, she told me of the father and made arrangements for Muggle Authorities to see the child given to him."
"When was he born?" The sibilant words sent a shiver of fear down the potion master's spine.
Severus chose his words carefully. "As the sixth month dies."
The Dark Lord snarled, instantly making to correlation. "He was the other child; the other potential child of prophecy!"
"It is my belief," Snape hurried to explain, "given Longbottom's mediocrity, that the Stark child was destined to be the one chosen by fate."
Seeing the Dark Lord's pensive look, Severus breathed a little easier. For all his madness, Voldemort was intelligent and would undoubtedly reach the same conclusion the spy had. If not, Severus had just condemned Lily's son to a lifetime of being hundred by Lord Voldemort.
"The prophecy orb was black." Vodlemort rose from his throne and, in a very uncharacteristic show of humanity, began to pace. "My informants inside the ranks of the Unspeakables told me that only occurs when the prophecy has been refuted."
"Lily's sacrifice defied prophecy." Severus continued carefully. "She knew of the prophecy and knew the child spoke of was her own. It was his already growing power that freed her from Potter's compulsions and potions. The elixir I brewed for her would bequeath a witch's magical core to a child that would be born without one. Bestowing that core to a child already developing its own and displaying magic even before its birth-"
"The boy's power would be unlike any other known in the history of magic." Voldemort actually looked stunned and gaped. It was only for a second before his stoic regality was back in place. "You said Potter."
"During the blood rite performed on his son, James Sirius Potter Jr., it was discovered that the Potter Family Magic did not recognize the babe as his Heir." Severus told them. "Dumbledore kept it secret from Potter until Longbottom's demise."
"And has now been compelling the man to find his wayward heir." Malfoy scowled. "But to what end?"
"They prepare to perform the Blood Rite tomorrow where Potter will bind the Stark boy to him. Once it's done, his magic is to be suppressed and Dumbledore will 're-educate' the boy."
"Erasing his mind and rebuilding a weapon he can throw at me and any other threat to his 'Greater Good'." The Dark Lord snarled.
"As I believe, my Lord."
Voldemort retook his throne and stared down at his servant. Snape felt the none-too-subtle probe and, for the first time in his service, allowed the man complete access to his mind. He was committed to a side now, one he needed to be on to save Lily's son from the fate she had given her life to prevent.
"You loved her; you love her still."
"I will love her until the day I die." Severus bowed his head and confessed. "Potter's spells and potions took her from me. Because my father was a Muggle, the Prince Blood Rite was never performed on me as a babe. My magic is not corrupted and any child I father would have been free of the plague of our people. Harry Stark, had Potter not interfered with Lily Evans, could have been my son."
Voldemort's voice and expression betrayed nothing. "What would you have of me, Severus?"
"Neither Dumbledore or Potter thought the Muggle of any consequence and did not search him or the boy before leaving them in their cells. They had a cell-phone, a muggle communication device, that allowed them to make contact with agents of the Muggle government. Apparently, the 'teacher' is a bodyguard assigned to the Stark boy for his protection and training."
"Draco has informed us as such," Lucius commented. "As well as that the Americans are preparing to march on Hogwarts."
Severus nodded. "With their muggle technology and the Wizards in their ranks, they will raze the school to retrieve their people. However, I have doubt that they will reach the boy before the Rite has begun."
"You wish me to release the Tether from the boy." Voldemort nodded. "You have not betrayed me, Severus, but neither have you been true to the cause. Even now, my slippery snake, you only give yourself to me completely for your own purposes."
"My life is yours, My Lord," the potion master proclaimed truthfully. "I only beg you spare the boy."
"I would do so, if only to stop a weapon of such magnitude from falling into Dumbledore's hands. But it would not be an easy task. To breech the ancient wards of Hogwarts and fight my way through Dumbledore's Order-"
"I can get you into Hogwarts." Severus interrupted boldly. "You, and as many Death Eaters as you would wish."
"Through the wards?" Malfoy asked incredulously.
The Dark Lord watched the professor for his answer. Snape shook his head and said, "Around the wards. I know of several secret passages that will gain you entrance. With the children still present until tomorrow morning, you would have the upper hand as Dumbledore and his people would strive to protect them. And, with Black gone from the castle Dumbledore would be needed to direct the school defences. He would be unable to stop you-"
"While I free the boy and let him stand against his abductors." Voldemort actually smiled. "Answer me honestly, Severus: Should I do this, would the Stark boy stand with me?"
"He would not stand against you."
"Acceptable." Voldemort rose again and reached for Severus' arm. Holding it aloft, the potion master withstood the pain as the Dark Lord pressed the tip of his wand into Snape's Dark Mark and summoned his followers to him. "We have much to plan, my dear Slippery Snake."
May 31, 2010
"What do you want?"
Grant's vicious growl had Harry coming out of his meditation quickly. He moved from his spot on the floor, his body protesting the sudden movement after being so still for so many hours. The tendrils were more than halfway gone, though the second half was proving much more difficult; as if the spell recognized what he was doing and was trying to fight him.
Harry was ready with a glare for the bespectacled wizard when he came to stand just beyond the bars. "Take it off him," the teenager snarled, letting his power flare and batter against Potter.
The man flinched and raised his wand. "I don't want to have to immobilize you, Son, but I will if you don't behave."
"I am not your son," he spat every word as if it was the foulest thing he'd tasted. "Take the spell off him, now!"
Potter conjured himself a chair with a muttered spell before sitting, leaning his forearms casually against his knees. "I will before I leave. I just want to talk with you uninterrupted, Harold; the muggle hasn't been harmed."
Harry forced a sickeningly sweet, and obviously fake, smile onto his face. "If I wanted to hear from an asshole I would have farted. You kidnapped us, asswipe; what makes you think I want to talk to you?"
The man sighed and visibly calmed himself. "A position I was forced into by the man who stole you from me. My family's magic runs through your core and it is my right as your father to ensure you know the ways of your people?"
"Oh god!" Harry rolled his eyes and crossed his arms over his chest. "Does your ass ever get jealous of the amount of shit that comes out of your mouth? Do you honestly expect me to believe you're doing this for any other reason than that fucktard Dumbledore wants you to? Unless there's someone else who has a phoenix that can conveniently get you through most wards undetected?"
This got the wizard angry and he leaped from the chair. "Albus Dumbledore is a great Wizard and a hero of the Magical World! He defeated the Dark Lord Grindelwald and is the only one the He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named fears!"
"Congratulations!" Harry jeered sarcastically. "You've just graduated from bottom-feeder to cocksucker! Tell me, how long have you had your head so far up Dumbledore's ass?"
Potter stalked toward the bars, his wand gripped tightly in his palm. "I have proudly and willingly followed Dumbledore against the Dark since before you were born, you ignorant little boy! He is the greatest wizard since Merlin and he is the Leader of the Light! Fawkes is his companion and a symbol of his dedication to doing what is necessary for the Good of our world!"
"Good god, where do you people get your 'facts'?" Harry shook his head. "The phoenix is an animal. It does not have the intelligence to follow more than its base instincts and what it has been trained to do. No animal on this planet is inherently good or evil; and that include the goddamn phoenix!"
"That you believe that just proves that Dumbledore is right. You will need to be re-educated." Potter said with no small amount of disappointment. "No son of mine will believe such lies!"
"Then I thank God and all power in the heavens that I am not your son!"
Potter actually looked hurt at his tone. "You are being unreasonable. I wanted to talk to you; to explain to you how I lost you sixteen years ago. I wanted you to get to know your father-"
"I know my father!" Harry snarled, taking great satisfaction when the Wizard flinched back from the venom in Harry's voice. "You're not him and you never fucking will be, you impotent, ball-less, steaming sack of Siberian horse shit! So shut the fuck up!"
The push of power into the words was unintentional, but Harry was glad all the same when Potter opened his mouth to speak again and no sound came out. Allowing himself a victorious leer, Harry watched the man's eyes go wide as he tried to dispel the 'accidental' magic. When it couldn't be done, he glared at Harry before turning and disappearing back into the dungeon's shadows.
Harry had taken great pleasure seeing the uncertainty and fear within the glare. It was only when Grant started clapping that he realized Potter hadn't removed the spell from the man. He was surprised when another set of hands joined in.
"Very impressive!" A cultured voice cooed from the direction Potter had gone. "I do not think I have ever seen such an extraordinary display of Intent Magic; especially from someone my age."
Stepping into the light just outside the bars was a teenager not much older than Harry. His hair was a sunny-blond and he had a long, elegantly defined face with pale ice-blue eyes. He wore the black slacks and sweater of a school uniform, his tie and robes accented with a forest green colour. The Badge blazoned on the breast of his robes was a silver embroidered snake on the same forest green shield.
He carried a light brown wand and waved it in an arc from one end of the corridor to the other. Harry felt the magic of a privacy spell fall around them. The boy approached the bars and actually stuck his arm between them, offering his hand to his fellow teenager. "My name is Malfoy; Draco Malfoy."
Harry narrowed his eyes warily at the hand but step forward and accepted it. "Harry Stark."
"The Wizard who apparates around the world," Draco purred and drew back his hand. "I've heard and read all about you and must say: I never expected to find you in Hogwarts, let alone a prisoner in its dungeons. Your pictures do not do you justice."
"While I appreciate the compliment," Harry drawled, eyeing the other boy cautiously, "something tells me you didn't come down here to flirt with me. By your lack of surprise, you knew we were down here."
Draco lost his amusement and nodded in all seriousness. "I found you here yesterday and heard you and your... teacher talking. I've written to my father; he has the ear of the Minister as well as a connection to someone with a great deal of Power and Influence in our world. I thought I would offer you what aid I can while I waited to hear back from him."
"Aid? How?" Harry motioned to the cell around him. "Even if you get the door open, a spell has been bound between this room and my core. I can't leave if I was capable of it."
The blond frowned and anger filled his eyes. "A Tether? What son of a bitch Tethered your core?! Not Potter, he doesn't have the power - or the balls!"
Wearily, Harry rubbed at his temple and motioned to the cell next to him. "Can you release my friend from the silencing spell? He should be part of this discussion, if you are in fact here to help us."
With an amused smirk, Draco aimed his wand to the side and incanted, "Finite Incantatem."
"Your father's powerful connection," Grant started in on the teenager as soon as he could speak, "would that be your Dark Lord Voldemort?"
Harry's eyes went wide, as did the blonde's. Draco gave a little glare and his voice held an air of danger to it when he spoke. "If you don't want my help-"
"We never said that," Harry said quickly. "But look at it from our position; behind these bars it's not that easy to trust just anyone. The 'good-guys' are the one who've put us here in the first place."
"All right then," Draco nodded and flipped his wand so he was holding it by the tip. He held it through the bars to Harry's cell. "I, Draco Lucius Malfoy, do swear on my Magic that any and all offers of aid to Harold Anthony Stark for the space of twenty-four hours are truthful and without ulterior motive. By the power of three by three, so mote it be."
Stunned, to say the least, Harry took the offered wand handle. "I, Harold Anthony Stark, do accept the oath as spoken to me by Draco Lucius Malfoy. By the power of three by three, so mote it be." Draco released his hold on the wand just as the tip flared and the magical Oath took.
"Shit kid," Grant breathed with apparent respect. "You didn't have to take an Oath."
"I did if you were going to trust me. "Draco bowed his head respectfully to Harry. "It's nice to see the old ways are known to the uncivilized masses in the Colonies."
Harry snorted and the corner of his lips turned into a half-smile. "English snob."
Draco returned the smile and gestured to the wand in Harry's hand. "I know you've been trying wandlessly to remove the Tether, but will using this help you?"
"Whoever cast it knew what they were doing; the tendrils of powering trapping my core inside this room are resisting my efforts. It would take at least another twenty-four hours to so it on my own."
"With our people on the way we don't have the luxury of that time frame," Grant told the other boy. "We can't risk anyone using Harry as leverage against our reinforcement because we can't get him out of that damn cell."
"Try the wand," Draco told him earnestly. "It won't be a perfect fit, but it may be better than nothing."
Gingerly letting a sliver of his magic flow into the wand, Harry frowned at the resistance he felt. "Unicorn hair?" He asked as he pulled back his magic carefully.
"And Hawthorn wood; ten inches precisely."
Turning the wand back around, the handle now once more facing its rightful owner, Harry shook his head. "My magic is incompatible with land bound creature cores. I'd most likely burn it out before I got off a single spell."
The other boy was scowling as he took it back and tucked it back into the sleeve of his robe. "I'm afraid there's not much else I can do at the moment. I can see what reference there is in the Library on the Fetter Geas -maybe even talk to Granger to help - but it'll take a few hours at least."
Harry's smile was self-deprecating. "Not like I'm about to go anywhere."
"Keep trying to rid yourself of the spell," Grant told him. "The more of it you can get gone the better you may have of snapping it all together."
"Can you take him with you?" Harry said suddenly, motioning to Grant's cell. "They plan on using him to make me cooperate with the Blood Rite they want to perform tomorrow. If he's not here-"
Grant interrupted him before he could say any more. "You won't cooperate whether I'm here or not, Harry. And I refuse to leave you here on your own. Besides, if I'm not here they'll know we had help."
"If you do somehow get rid of it before morning, make your way to the Slytherin dorms." Draco gestured down the corridor. "This way, first offshoot on the left, there's an alcove, about thirty meters down, hidden behind a tapestry of a beheading. One the back wall, press the third stone from the right corner on the very bottom; it'll open up a passageway that will lead to a spiral staircase that will take you to a large statute of a basilisk. You can look through the eyes and if the hall is clear push it open, then go to the left about ten meters. There will be a bricked up doorway between two large bookcases. Say the password 'draíochta fola roimh' and it'll lead you into a passageway to the dorms."
Harry repeated the directions back to the blond and when he was satisfied, Draco nodded. "I should go before Potter returns with Dumbledore to have you remove the Intent Magic. I'll head for the Library now, before supper, and come back if I find anything. Otherwise, I'll stay in the Common room tonight on the off chance you make an escape."
When the privacy ward was taken down and the other boy vanished back into the darkness, Harry moved back to his spot on the floor and took up the half-lotus positioned he'd been in for most of the day.
"I'm going to call this in to Hill," Grant informed him.
"Make it quick," Harry responded. "We don't want them knowing about the phone or that someone else removed the Silencing spell."
"Will you remove the Intent Magic?"
A wicked grin played across Harry's features before he schooled them and prepared to delve back into his meditation. "How can I? It's not like I've begun practicing Intent Magic with Madame Racine or that I've had some success with it. After all, the burst of accidental magic from a stressed out and frightened teenager is beyond my control."
Grant could only laugh.
"What are you doing?"
The parchment was spread out over the foot of his bed and thirteen year old Jimmy Potter was staring at it intently. "I thought I saw my Dad inside the castle again. Wanted to check before going down for supper."
Chewing on a licorice wand, his best friend, Dennis Creevy, climbed onto the mattress beside him. "He's spent as much time here this year as you did."
"I asked him at Christmas break why," Jimmy told the other boy absently. "He just says the Headmaster is helping him with something for the Family."
"Be he won't tell you what?"
The youngest Potter shook his head. "Mom doesn't even know and it's making her mad. If Dad's not at the Ministry, or at work, he's here with Professor Dumbledore."
Dennis pointed at a little flag moving out of the Dungeons. "There he is. What do you think he was doing down there?"
"Can't be visiting Professor Dumbledore," Jimmy mumbled, watching the flag bearing his father's name. "The Headmaster is in his office."
"Professor Snape, Maybe?" Dennis moved his finger to the label moving to intercept James Potter's flag.
With a derisive snort, Jimmy rolled his eyes. "If you think Snape hates me, he's a hundred times worse with my father. They loathe each other. I'd say he was here to see Uncle Siri, but I haven't seen Padfoot's name on the map at all tonight. And even so, Uncle Siri wouldn't be caught dead anywhere near Snape's domain."
"Well, Professor Snape's is the only other name in that part of the map." Dennis said around the last mouthful of licorice and laid back on the bed.
"No, I saw three other flags further down there. Look," Jimmy pressed his wand to the map and it shifted its focus. "Only two now - must have seen wrong. Grant Ward and Harold... huh. The last name is weird."
The other boy was fiddling with the pillow. "How so?"
"It's like there's two names, one written over top of the other." Jimmy narrowed his eyes and leaned down closer to the man. "Kind of hard to read but... looks like... Potter? That makes no sense; Dad and I are the last Potters."
"What's the second name?"
"Uh... Stark, I think."
Dennis bolted up beside Jimmy and stared with wide eyes at the stationary label. "No bloody way!"
Jimmy looked at his friend, surprised by the reaction. "What?"
"Harold Stark!" Dennis crowed with an excited smile. When Jimmy just shook his head in confusion, Dennis rolled his eyes. "Harry Stark? Son of Billionaire, and the coolest guy ever, Tony Stark? You know, Iron Man!"
"Sweet Merlin!" Dennis threw his hands up in the air. "You Purebloods have got to pay more attention to the Muggle World!" The incited muggle-born boy opened his mouth, and Jimmy prepared himself for one of his friends tangents, when Dennis suddenly frowned. "But what's Harry Stark doing here? And why is your family name showing up behind his?"
Jimmy looked back at the map and wore a frown of his own when he looked closer at the location. "I think there's a better question to ask. Why are Harry Stark and Grant Ward in the one area of the Dungeons that still functions as a dungeon?"
Dennis's frown deepened into an unhappy scowl. "What do you mean?"
"I explored the castle with Uncle Siri last year when he took on the D.A.D.A. position. He showed me everything on the map and a few things not." He jabbed a finger into the parchment at Grant Ward's name. "Look at how he's pacing; back and ford, never leaving that room. Harold Potter - Stark - Whoever! - hasn't moved at all. And that part of the Dungeons still looks like a prison. Bars and chains and everything. I had nightmares for a week after Siri showed me it."
"Circe's tits!" Dennis hissed, surprising Jimmy with the vulgarity from the other boy's mouth. "Harry Stark is like... like... like if Merlin was still alive and had a kid, he'd be that kid! He's like royalty! And his Dad is an honest to God Superhero! And you're saying-"
"I don't know what I'm saying!" Jimmy said quickly, shifting the map away from the two suspect names. He watched as his father's flag suddenly moved away from Snape's at a rapid pace, heading for the stairs to the Headmaster's office. The Professor's flag hovered for a moment longer before sliding down the corridor toward his office.
Reluctantly, Jimmy let the map scroll back to the dungeons and stared at the label with the double name. He couldn't understand why, if the person down in the depths of Hogwarts was who Dennis said he was, the Potter name was overlapping? He needed to know, but he already knew that confronting his father wasn't going to get him any answers.
Hopping off the bed, Jimmy tore into his trunk until he found the shimmering fabric of his cloak. "Cover for me, will you Dennis?"
It had only been about an hour after Draco left that Potter came storming back into the dungeon. He wasn't alone, not that Harry had expected anything different. It was the same aged wizard he had seen just after the phoenix had delivered them to their prison. The same wizard that had stunned him and was the likely candidate for the casting of the tether spell.
Harry hated Albus Dumbledore already. Hearing the man's voice, oozing with faux grandfatherly compassion and omniscience, just made him despise him even more. "Good evening, Mr. Potter." The old man wheezed, taking on the persona of a man hapless and incapable in old age. "We seem to have ourselves a situation."
Refusing to respond, Harry shifted where he lay on the stone floor and cupped his hands behind his head. Resting on the palms he stared up at the ceiling and continued to ignore the pair when Dumbledore cleared his throat again.
"It is common courtesy to speak when spoken to, Mr. Potter."
The name was grating but just solidified his resolve not to react to it. He wouldn't give them the satisfaction, and it seemed to piss the old man off which was a bonus in Harry's book.
"Mr. Stark!" the name snapped angrily.
Harry held back the smile and turned his head to look at the pair of wizards. He kept his face voice of all expression and still didn't speak to either man. He just raised an eyebrow, looking for all the world like a bored and annoyed teenager.
Dumbledore's eyes immediately began to sparkle and Harry narrowed his own into a vicious glare when he felt the brush of Legilimency against his Occlumency shields. As much as he wanted to, he couldn't let that slide. "It's common courtesy to keep your mind away from someone else's, dipshit."
The twinkle diminished and the old man frowned. "Such offensive language is unnecessary, Mr. Potter."
Rolling his eyes, Harry turned back to staring at the ceiling, once more ignoring the wizard.
The silence lasted for barely a minute before Dumbledore lost his cool. "Enough of these games. "
Harry was suddenly levitating off the floor and his eyes went wide as he was spun around to a pseudo-standing position and floated toward the cell's bars. He leveled a sneer at the old man and a second later he staggered to keep his footing when the levitation spell was suddenly dropped. "What next, you going to Imperio me too?"
Dumbledore actually bristled at the snide comment, though Harry noticed the wand was not put away. "We will have this conversation, Mr. Potter, whether you want to or not."
"I get that you're old and insane but my name is Stark," Harry scoffed. "And no matter how much you say to the contrary I have never been, nor will I ever be, a goddamn Potter!"
Behind the old man, Potter was fuming and stepped toward the cell threateningly, only to be halted by Dumbledore's raised hand. "I would like to know what spell you used on your father, Mr. Potter."
"Holy fuck," Harry snorted and shook his head, crossing his arms over his chest. "Somewhere out there is a tree, tirelessly producing oxygen so that you can breathe. I think you owe it an apology."
The bearded man wrinkled his forehead in confusion for a moment before he scowled. "Release the spell you cast on James Potter."
"I couldn't even if I wanted to." The teenager lied flawlessly. "He was pissing me off and I told him to shut up. Next thing I know, he's blessedly silent and leaving me the fuck alone. If only you would do the same."
With a heavy sigh, Dumbledore took on an aggrieved expression. "You disappoint me, My Boy. I had hope that we could cooperate and your stay with your true family could begin pleasantly." He flicked his wand toward the cell and all the furniture vanished, leaving behind the room's harsh appearance. Bare walls and floor, lined with chains and manacles, a prison designed to intimidate and foster fear.
"Careful, Dickwad, your true colours are showing." Harry gave the man a wicked smirk. "What next? Take away my meals? Go ahead; it's not like I've been eating the potion-laced shit your lapdog has been peddling."
"I assure you the food has not been tampered with." Dumbledore smiled indulgently.
"Like I'm going to believe that." Harry rolled his eyes and huffed. "I can't undo the magic. If that's all you wanted, beside trying to scare me with the big bad power of Albus Fucking Dumbledore, you can go fuck a goat, old man."
Scowling behind the beard, it disappeared a second later as Dumbledore regained himself and shook his head. "Such aggression is not necessary, My Boy. We are only wanting what is best for you-"
"Yeah, I call bullshit." Harry met the man's blue eyes and sneered. "Swear on your life and magic that this has nothing to do with any prophecy potentially pertaining to me taking out that pesky Dark Lord of yours." Dumbledore's eyes completely lost their twinkle and he gaped at the captive teenager. Even Potter looked surprised and glanced over at the old man questioningly. Harry smiled victoriously. "Didn't think I knew about that, did you?"
Dumbledore gathered himself quickly. "You are too young to understand what must be done for the Greater Good of our world."
"Is that what you said to your lover after you sucked his cock and then stunned him before imprisoning him in his own prison?" Harry jabbed, not having to feign the amusement he got when the man blanched. "That is what happened to Grindelwald, right? I know that European History writes it that you offed the guy, but you couldn't do it, could you? Does Nurmengard allow for conjugal visits? Or is he not the only Dark Lord you've been taking it up the ass for?"
Dumbledore lost all cool and stalked toward the cell, bringing his wand to bear on Harry with a cruel snarl on his face that was quite frightening. Or at least it would have been if Harry hadn't been pushing him to it.
Readied for the pain it would cause, Harry reached through the bars and grabbed on to the man's wrist. Yanking him forward, Dumbledore stumbled off balance and slammed face first into the metal bars. Keeping his hold on the old man's arm, Harry twisted and leveraged the arm against the bar until he heard the snap of bones.
The aged man cried out with the sharp pain as his arm broke and the wand fell from his grasp. Harry was snatching it out of the air before it could touch the ground. As soon as his fingers curled around the pocked handle of pale wood, he felt the rush of magic not unlike the first time he held his Sequoia wand. He disregarded it for the moment and fired off two quick stunners. Dumbledore and Potter hit the ground in a heap and Harry was swinging the wand toward the sudden gasp he heard. A third, silent stunner left the wand and another unseen body hit the floor.
"Harry?!" Grant called anxiously from his cell.
"Saw the chance and I took it," the teenager answered the unasked question. With the pain burning in his chest again, he reached through the bars and aimed the stolen wand toward Grant's cell. "Alohomora."
The prison door clicked and swung open. A rumbled looking Agent Ward rushed out of the cell and over to Harry's. His eyes ran over Harry, taking in every inch of him as he obviously searched for visible injuries. Satisfied with what he saw he smirked. "A little warning next time would be appreciated. Can you end the spell keeping you in there?"
"There will be no fucking next time," he muttered and turned the top toward his chest. "Dumbledore's wand is almost as compatible as mine. Only one way to find out if it'll work. Finite Incantatem." Pushing as much power as he could behind the spell he directed it toward the last of the tendrils binding his core to the room.
He groaned and his knees his the stone floor. He heard Grant yelling his name but the magic roared through his body until it felt like it was about to tear him apart. Then, with an excruciating 'Snap' the cord of power broke and the pain vanished. Harry fell to his hands, gasping to regain his breath. "I'm okay," he panted before pushing himself off the floor. "I think it worked."Grant stood back as Harry waved the wand and the door opened. He hesitated only a second or two before stepping over the threshold.
The agent was smiling and clapped the teenager on the shoulder. "You search them, I'll call in to Hill."
Harry nodded and stunned both wizards a second time before he headed for the area he had fired the third stunner at. Grant eyed him curiously when he started carefully sliding his foot across the floor. "There's someone invisible here." He explained. "I heard them and stunned them now I just-" He paused when his foot hid an unseen mass and he crouched down. "-have to find them."
Running his hands over his discovery, it came back with a shimmering of fabric unlike any he had seen before. He frowned when the cloth revealed a kid a couple years younger than him laying awkwardly and unconscious on the floor. "Shit. It's a student."
Grant was beside him instantly and was checking the kid over. "He's breathing okay, heart rate is steady; I don't think you shocked his system with your stunner."
Relieved, Harry was staring down at the boy and reached out to adjust the skewed glasses on the kid's face. He looked between the younger boy and the wizards unconscious in the hall. "I think this is Potter's kid."
Grant looked at them both and nodded. "I think you're right. Nothing to be done about it now. Let's get them into the cells and then we can meet up with the Malfoy kid and see about getting the fuck out of here."