Title: The Anointed Prince
Rating: R (for later contents)
Setting: Set in a time barely ten years before the birth of magic within humanity.
Summary: Faced with his upcoming crowning, a war, and a royal ball, Prince Draco Romulus Gabriel Malfoy is forced into finding a spouse, someone of the proper breeding and etiquette.
Disclaimer: All character belong to J.K. Rowling, unless stated other wise (i.e. Clarisse).
Warning: SLASH (DM/HP); Draco will be dominate in the relationship.
Chapter One: An Invitation
An ultimatum. It was disgusting to see the king of one of Europe's oldest and most powerful kingdoms lower himself into forcing his only son and heir into such a despicable form of betrothal. Prince Draco Romulus Gabriel Malfoy growled softly as he stormed down one of the many twisting hallways that led to his bedchamber.
If anything, father should allow me my choice no matter what; after all, I am his only son and heir. As such, he should be desperate from my happiness, Draco thought as he brushed past his godfather without a single word of greeting.
"Draco, what in heaven's name has gotten into you?" Severus Snape, the prince's godfather, drawled as Draco attempted to slam his door into his godfather's face.
"Nothing." Draco muttered as he moved fluidly across the spacious chamber that constituted his sitting area and through the double doors that opened into his actual bedroom.
"Obviously, because no one goes on a rampage through the royal palace, ignoring diplomats and professors and lords and ladies for no reason." Severus said as he followed his godson, watching as the youth collapsed onto his king sized silk covered bed.
"Obviously." Draco mumbled, his face buried in one of his many pillows.
"I take it you spoke to your father?" Severus asked cautiously.
"And he informed you of the change in plans involving your future spouse and the kingdom's future queen?"
"Grrr." Severus raised an eyebrow at that response.
"And you have been made aware of the ball that is to be held in your honor for you to hopefully meet your spouse?"
"I do not understand why father is demanding this of me now!" Draco cried as he sat up. He wrapped his strong arms around his pillow and hugged it to his chest as he glared at his godfather. "I am almost eighteen, last year he promised me that when I found someone, of proper breeding and etiquette that I loved, that I would be wed to them. He said I would be wed when I was ready and was sure that my intended was the right one for me, and now he makes this...demand of me. It is not justified."
"Draco, I do not think you are seeing the reason behind your father's actions." Severus began, watching in amusement as Draco's grip on the pillow tightened as if he were looking to choke it to death. "Your father understands that you are not ready to marry yet, but Draco, Noir is on the verge of entering a war. In the event the war escalates in the way our intelligence has predicted it to, your father will become one of the major targets of the enemy, as will you. In order to preserve your family's line and your family's right to rule, there must be an heir. In the event your father dies, he wants you wed and with a son on the way to ensure that the kingdom will remain stable and sure of the stability of the throne and the royal family."
"I did not ask for war." Draco whispered.
"Nor did Lucius, but he is dealing with the hand fate has dealt him." Severus said.
"I have to find my spouse soon, huh, Severus." Snape did not answer, as the question was really more of a statement.
"Perhaps it would help if we reviewed the qualifications of the spouse to the prince of Noir?" Severus suggested, pleased that Draco was ready, if not willing, to accept his destiny. Receiving a slight nod, the elder man calmly crossed his arms and began to pace back and forth at the head of the large bed as he recited the specifications.
"1. The intended must be capable of bearing an heir." Severus paused. Draco nodded absentmindedly. He never really paid much attention to the first rule of the qualifications. Over the centuries, during which they ruled, the Malfoy family had been married to various magical creatures, both ensuring their continued good looks and strengthening each new generations' magical energy. One of the most common marriages among the Malfoy family was into the various Veela clans; it was from these clans that the Malfoy family received its pale looks, platinum blond locks and silvery eyes, and their almost ethereal glow. It was through the intermarriage of the Malfoy's and Veelas that Draco, almost two-fourths Veela, was able to impregnate both genders. Thus, the first rule did not apply to him. However, Draco himself did not follow the natural laws of Veela, for Veela were magical creatures, and Draco himself was not of magic at all.
One must understand that, at the time of Draco Malfoy's birth, wizards were not in a great abundance. Indeed there existed, at most, five wizards and two witches capable of performing magic. One of which, and the most powerful, was Albus Dumbledore, the magic advisor and protector of the royal family. The known world, at the time, knew of the existence of magic, but it was not completely accepted by men and as such, their race was not gifted with magical talents. After all, how could magic thrive in such a community when the inhabitants of the area did not believe in it? No, magic would not appear in the race of men for almost another decade.
"2. The intended must be of the proper breeding and upbringing so as to be able to perform the necessary tasks required of the queen of Noir." Severus continued, pausing to wait as Draco mentally ran down a list of decent youths about his age who could fit into both rules. Finally, Draco nodded for him to continue again.
"3. The intended must display the proper etiquette of a Malfoy." Draco rolled his eyes. Before Lucius had been crowned, this rule had not existed. It was because of Narcissa Gwen Malir Malfoy, Draco's mother, that this rule had been created. Narcissa expected perfect etiquette and quite frequently became upset over a breech in said etiquette.
"4. The intended must display the proper loyalty toward the heir of Noir as befitting his/her station." Severus smirked. "That will be the most difficult rule for you."
"5. The intended must meet the Malfoy and Noir expectations of physical appearance." Severus almost grinned. "In other words, your intended needs to be beautiful."
"Of course." Draco drawled, grinning. "I cannot seem to think of a single person who meets all of the qualifications."
"The qualifications or your own specific qualifications?" Severus asked with a raised eyebrow.
"Both." Draco answered honestly. "Help me."
"What about that friend of yours, what's his name, ah yes, Blaise Zabini I believe. You seem fond of him." Severus said.
"Fond of him in a one night stand sort of way. Honestly, Severus, Blaise may be drop dead gorgeous, but there is no loyalty in him. He would marry me soon enough, but just as soon sleep around behind my back. My spouse will be mine and mine only." Draco growled.
"Ah, well then, how about that Parkinson person your mother adores so much?"
"Severus, please be so kind as to repeat rule number five." Draco sighed.
"5. The intended must meet the Malfoy and Noir expectations of physical appearance." Severus paused for a moment, and then winced. "Yes, I can see how she would not work for your wife."
"It is hopeless, Severus. There is no one who meets my specifications."
"There is a Lord Finnegan who lives in one of the towns about seventy miles from here, I here his son is quite fetching." Severus remarked.
"Seamus, yes, I have heard the same, but I here he is courting the young Potter heir." Draco's face displayed his disgust at the idea. "The Finnegan family far outranks the Potter family, why on earth would Seamus lower himself to courting someone who is obviously beneath him?"
"One can only imagine." Severus drawled, growing impatient with his young charge. "How about the young Weasley lad...no, no that would never do. How about that Oliver Wood chap?"
"Oliver was quite attractive, wasn't he?" Draco sighed. "It is a shame he is engaged to Katie Bell, they are to be married at the beginning of next year."
"Very well, then what about Dean Thomas, he lives barely fifteen miles from here and is quite wealthy and pleasing to the eye-" Severus began.
"Straight, as straight as they come." Draco grumbled. "Honestly, one would think that if the prince of the kingdom came to you and asked you would jump on the opportunity, but no, not Thomas. Let's not invite him to my wedding."
"Fine, those are the only people I can think of currently; make your selection, though every available Lord and Lady will be invited to the ball. Tomorrow at first light we shall send out invitations, and within the week, your courting shall begin officially." Severus growled.
Draco mumbled under his breath as he considered his options, which were quite limited. It was disappointing, still, he understood, reluctantly, why this had to be done. He was unhappy about it, and yet at the same time, the idea of finding someone whom he could confide and trust in seemed wonderful.
Someone I can love, Draco thought with a slight smile.
"Very well, I shall start with the young Seamus Finnegan." Draco said with a glint of determination in his eyes. Severus blinked in surprise.
"Finnegan? I thought you said he was courting the Potter heir?" Severus questioned, confused.
"He is, but, given the option of the prince of Noir or the Potter heir, who do you think he will choose?" Draco smirked at his godfather.
"Very well, Draco, we shall send off the invitations at first light." Severus moved toward the door.
"Do we really need to hold a ball?" Draco asked desperately.
"Are you mad, boy?" Snape demanded as he paused. "Your father has decided it would be better for you to host a grand ball, though none who are invited shall know of your true reasons behind the event. He believes it is important for the citizens of our kingdom to recognize that the threat of war does not stop the royal family from attending to everyday life."
"Ah, very well," Draco said with a weary sigh of resignation. He picked up one of the books that lay beside his bed. "Good night, Severus."
"Sleep well, Draco." Then, Severus was gone, and Draco was left alone to ponder exactly how he would go about courting young Finnegan.
It was cold. It was one of those unbearable colds that seems to seep into ones' bones, where not even a pile of blankets could reach it. Rolling onto his side, Harry Danovan Potter released a tired groan. It was the middle of the night he was still struggling to capture the ever-elusive warmth he knew was there.
I will never understand why girls are always whining about being skinny, it is nothing but a bother, he thought as he slowly sat up and pushed his covers down.
Glancing around the darkened bedchamber, he slide to the edge of his bed and gingerly lowered his naked feet to the cold wooden floor, then with only a moment's hesitation he rose and made his way to the door that connected his room to that of his friends'. He quietly padded his way across his friend's room and paused beside the bed. Harry smiled softly as he gazed down at his closest companion. Seamus Finnegan lay sprawled on his back, twisted up in his blankets, obviously fast asleep.
Seamus Finnegan, though only eighteen summers old, was a confident young Lord in training. Quick to lend a helping hand and slow to catch on to the rather inappropriate words often sent his way from his many female admires, Seamus was the ideal man to run a city. A year older than Harry was, Seamus had been there at the time of Harry's birth due to their parents' fast friendship. Since that time, the pair had become inseparable. Growing up together, Seamus disregarded the expectations of his peers among the royal court and ignored Harry's low status ranking. To Seamus, Harry was a friend, and no amount of increase or decrease in status could change that.
As the years progressed and the two boys were allowed to see each other only during the summer due to Seamus going away to finishing school during the rest of the year. It was during that time that Harry began to notice the differences in their Lordships. While Seamus was sent to the most prestigious private schools for his instructions on etiquette and decorum, Harry was home schooled by his mother. It was in the comfort of his own bedroom that Lily Renee Potter taught Harry of the hierarchy of the royal court and family. It was there that Harry learned that even though he was to be a lord one day, he would never hold the power that Seamus would hold. Despite such news, Harry merely smiled and said that Seamus was his friend and that was the only important thing.
It was during the summer months when Harry was fourteen, that the Potter family was submitted to the worst sort of betrayal and Harry and Seamus' relationship was forced to change. One of the Potters' friends, or believed friend, Peter Pettigrew, sold many acres of the Potters' land to a small kingdom that rivaled Noir. It was Lord Voldemort of the kingdom Malus who purchased the Potters' land from Peter. In an attempt to retrieve their land, James Phillip Potter requested audience with King Lucius, begging him for his help. Aid was denied as at the time the king was struggling with negotiations with another kingdom in an attempt to prevent war. So James had gathered what little money he could and set out to buy back his family's' land. Voldemort refused, claiming that he liked his new land and intended to keep it, unless he could get something in exchange that was equal in both price and emotional value. Knowing that James would never be able to raise enough money to buy back the land, Voldemort offered a trade. James' son for his family's land. Even knowing that the land had been in his family for centuries, James refused and returned home. Desperate to help his friend, both gain the money needed and to be free of Voldemort's affections, Seamus requested permission to begin his formal courtship of Harry. It was with great reluctance that Harry agreed.
Since then, Harry was always requested to visit Seamus at his family's home during the summer months. And when Harry was not visiting, Seamus was visiting the Potter home. This was Harry's last year to refuse Seamus as his husband, if he did not, then when Harry turned eighteen in seven months, then he would be wed to Seamus Finnegan.
With a small sigh, Harry reached down, pulled back the covers, and climbed into his friends' bed. Cuddling down beside Seamus, Harry curled up and closed his eyes, relaxing in the heat that rolled off Seamus in waves. He knew that Seamus would not mind, in the past the two had shared a bed, as friends, nothing had happened.
Long black eyelashes fluttered as they slowly opened to reveal weary emerald pools that gazed at the raftered ceiling as they waited for sleep to leave them. Sunlight danced through the crack in the curtains and cast shadows upon the wood floor. Harry lay there, completely relaxed, refusing to think of the tasks that needed to be taken care of in a couple of hours.
After a moment, Harry rolled over to face his companion, only to find Seamus gone. Harry smiled. Seamus had always been an early riser, though Harry could never figure out why. Stretching, Harry noticed that the room was warm from the fire that Seamus had lit before he had left, that just showed that Seamus had been up for a couple of hours already. Slowly rising from the nest of warmth and comfort he had created, Harry ambled into the hallway and rang for a servant. Half an hour later, Harry sat relaxing in a tube of warm water, washing himself with vanilla scented soap that his mother always bought for him. Dozing lightly, Harry was unaware of the amount of time he spent sitting in the bath. When he woke again, at which time his mind was unable to focus properly, Harry imagined, for a moment, that the water had turned cold, but when he was able to clearly understand, he found the water still warm. With a faint shiver, Harry rose, quickly dried, and dressed himself, mentally berating himself for not rising earlier to greet his hosts. No doubt, by this time the lord and lady were off in the meeting hall discussing business with the locals.
Running a pale hand through his raven locks, which hung about his shoulders in wet clumps, Harry pulled on his boots and strode from his room in search of Seamus.
Seven more months, Harry thought sadly, as he carefully descended the curved staircase, and then I shall cease to be Harry Potter and become Harry Finnegan, and the Potter name shall vanish forever.
"Harry, you are finally up." Seamus laughed as he quickly crossed the elaborately decorated entrance hall. "I was just about to come wake you. I feared you had taken ill."
"And then what would you have done, Seamus?" Harry asked, emerald eyes watching as he suitor came to a stop before him. "Would you have gone into town without me?"
"Heavens, no, Harry. I would have sat beside your bed and read stories to you that would have you laughing so hard that you would forget all about illness and proclaim yourself well again." Seamus said as he offered Harry his arm. "Might I escort you to the carriage?"
"I suppose, though I do not know why I put up with you, your antics are insufferable and often times crude." Harry smiled as he allowed Seamus to lead him out of the hall and down the flight of marble steps to the carriage bearing the Finnegan crest on it. "Seamus, I have not had time for breakfast and-"
"Fear not, for Seamus has procured a basket containing delicious breakfast foods, sweets, and snacks." Seamus proclaimed as he assisted Harry, quite needlessly, into the carriage before joining him. "Now, let us enjoy a fun filled day of shopping and eating and being admired by my people, who frankly, adore you."
Harry blushed as he gazed out the window. He knew it was true, but it was still embarrassing at times, the way Seamus and the people of the towns and city doted upon him.
"Why exactly are we going to town today? I could have sworn your father had plans for you…" Harry asked, eyeing Seamus suspiciously. Seamus smiled and reached across the carriage and took Harry's left hand. Seemingly, absently, Seamus gently stroked Harry's left ring finger, studying it, as he remained silent for a moment.
"We are going to visit the jeweler to have your finger measure determined and to have my grandmother's wedding ring fitted for you." Seamus said, tightening his hold on Harry's hand when Harry attempted to pull away.
"Seamus-" Harry began.
"And to get you a new wardrobe. I am sorry Harry, but you must be blind, because you never match." Seamus said softly, trying to joke, but neither laughed.
"I am sorry, Seamus, for this burden I have caused you." Harry said.
"I am only sorry, Harry, that I am not a better man who deserves to be wedded to you." Seamus replied as he moved to Harry's side and wrapped protective arms around the small youth.
The many cobble stone streets of the city of Aglaia was crowded with men and women attending to their daily errands when Seamus and Harry reached the market area. Trying to ignore the numerous guards that were scattered about, Harry gazed at the people in wonder. It always amazed him, the endurance of men and women who would never know the comfort of a private bath and would never know the security of the finest medicines available. That they still rose each day and continued about their lives was often times incomprehensible. Still, Harry assumed that many operated in such a way because at some level they still believed that one day they would be equal to the lords and ladies that danced within the royal ballroom.
All around them swarmed men and women of every social rank beneath that of lordship. Dressed in rags, hunting tunics, and silks of the merchants, the people smiled and waved to the young lord who had graced them with his presence. Many stopped over to bid Seamus a warm greeting, and even more greeted Harry with fond smiles and gentle touches. Indeed, many of the citizens of Aglaia hoped that Seamus would marry Harry. It seemed almost surreal that someone, gifted with the title of lord could speak with such gentle words and kind offers. It was almost as if Harry were one of them, for he did not dress above them, nor did he condescend them with haughty words. Yes, if Seamus was to marry, the people wished for him to marry Harry.
"Here it is, Harry." Seamus said as he cut across the street to a relatively small shop whose sign was chipping. "This is where my father brought mother to have her ring fitted properly. I know it does not look like much, but the owner is the best there is."
Harry tried to smile, he knew that Seamus was trying to put him at ease, but if the truth were told, Harry felt like screaming. He loved Seamus dearly, but as a brother, he could not see himself married to his best friend. He understood that Seamus was merely trying to protect him, but in so doing, Seamus was giving up a lot. In seven months, Seamus would never know true love, or the joy of having children, for Seamus was pureblooded human, there was no magic within his blood. If Seamus married Harry, there would be no heir and when Seamus died, the control of Aglaia and Delos (the tiny farming town that the Potter family governed) would pass on to Harry's cousin, Dudley Dursley, until Seamus' cousin came of age to inherit the two cities.
It was a hopeless situation, in Harry's mind, for he could see no way out. His ancestral land meant the world to his parents, and Seamus would not allow Harry to be forced into a marriage with a stranger. As Seamus began conversing with the shop owner, a middle-aged man a bit round about the middle, Harry wondered amongst the various displays of rings and necklaces. Diamonds, emeralds, rubies, garnets, every type, shape, and color of stone rested behind the glass cases. Together they cast beautiful colors upon the white walls of their confines as the light was reflected and took the color of the stones with it. For a moment, Harry paused to gaze at a lovely emerald necklace that lay upon a satin cushion. It seemed so fragile in its beauty that Harry was reminded of his mother. Absently, he thought it would match his mother's eyes perfectly.
"Gorgeous, isn't it?" Seamus asked softly as he wrapped his arms around Harry's slender waist and rested his chin upon his companions' shoulder.
"Yes," Harry said, and then he moved on down the case, pulling away from Seamus' embrace. Seamus sighed and followed his soon to be husband.
"It matches your eyes perfectly." Seamus said. Harry paused, thinking back to his mother again. People often told him that he had his mother's eyes; this was just another proof of that theory.
"My lord, may I see the ring that I will be fitting?" The owner asked as he moved over to where the two young lords were standing.
"Of course, forgive my thoughtlessness, kind sir." Seamus said as he pulled out a tiny box. Inside, resting upon a tiny little cushion, much like the emerald necklace, lay the wedding ring. It was simple in its elegance, for the late owner of it had despised all extravagant jewelry. It was just as well, for Harry also disapproved of gaudy objects. It was a simple gold band, with garnets set in all the way around. Seamus smiled as he offered it to the owner.
"My grandmother was a magnanimous lady. Everyday that she ruled beside my grandfather, she refused to be beneath him, instead she was his equal in all things. She was kind and wise beyond her years; she protected the interest of the citizens from the injustices often offered by merchants that pass through." Seamus raised his pale blue eyes to gaze into Harry's emerald eyes. "I have no doubt that the next owner of this ring will continue where my grandmother left off."
Harry offered his companion a soft smile; he had understood what Seamus was saying. When they married, Harry would be Seamus' equal. In everything that Seamus did, in his every order and every law, he would allow Harry the same power as he himself wielded. Harry knew that many lords refused to share their power, even with their spouses. He appreciated the gesture, but still wished for a way to over come the problem.
Together, the three men sat, with Harry closest to the owner of the shop. Over the next hour, Harry watched as the ring size was increased only slightly, and with the utmost care, so that it could easily slid over his left ring finger. In the end, it fit perfectly, and as he gazed down at the gorgeous band, he silently prayed for a solution to be found within the next few months.
"Seamus, you received a letter during your trip into town." Clarisse Finnegan, Seamus' mother, said by way of greeting the two returning lords.
"Who from?" Seamus asked, believing it to be from one of his friends.
"It bears the royal family's crest." Clarisse said. "It must be important, the post mark says that it was sent yesterday, and to arrive here barely one day later, well, the poor carrier must have been riding all day and night. Do hurry and open it, I have had it since just after tea time and have been pondering over its contents for a couple of hours now."
Harry smiled, for she sounded like a girl many summers younger than he knew her to be. Indeed, she seemed as excited as Lady Pansy Parkinson when she received new gossip.
"Very well, mother, but do calm yourself." Seamus laughed as he broke the seal and opened the letter. Inside, written in flowing, beautiful penmanship was the following message:
If it suits you, you are requested to attend a weeklong ball in honor of the young heir of Noir, Draco Romulus Gabriel Malfoy. The ball is scheduled for the following week and guests are asked to arrive early in preparation of the event. Your peers, the other lords and ladies of the royal court will also be in attendance, and formal attire is required, as well as informal. As word has reached the palace of Lord Harry's visitation to your ancestral home, you are asked to inform him of the ball in the hopes that he too will make an appearance. Please send a formal reply by messenger if you are unable to attend, otherwise Prince Draco awaits your presence,
King's Advisor, Potions Master,
"Oh, a ball, how lovely." Clarisse cried, clearly delighted in the news.
"A ball," Harry whispered to Seamus. "…how boring."
Seamus smiled. It was well known that Harry despised formal functions of any sort beyond charity, and where the prince was involved, there was no charity. The last function held by the prince, had not been open to the lower ranking lords and ladies. And, if rumors were to be believed, the prince placed a higher value in physical appearances and personal wealth than in the truly important qualities of a person.
"Come, now Harry, the prince is not as bad as that. He is charming and polite." Seamus said, rereading the invitation.
"To you perhaps, but I have never set foot inside the royal palace, due to the princes' prejudice nature." Harry huffed.
"And because you refused to attend the functions you were invited to." Seamus reminded.
"I had nothing to wear." Harry muttered, blushing.
"You know you can always borrow my clothes…or at least the ones from when I was fourteen." Seamus chuckled as he dodged Harry's fist. He delighted in teasing Harry about his short stature. Standing at five foot six inches, Harry was the smallest lord in the royal court, as it was, many of the ladies towered over him as well.
"Oh you are just too funny, Seamus. Perhaps you can get a job as court jester if you love these functions so much." Harry said, smiling to show he was teasing.
"Yes, and then who would you marry, for surely you could not leave your lordship title in favor of marrying a jester." Seamus said in mock seriousness.
"I would marry a peasant if he truly loved me for who I was." Harry said in full seriousness. Seamus smiled at him and gently touched his cheek.
"I know Harry, and because of such offers, you are unique beyond all other lords. You outshine them all with the kindness of your heart alone. However, your wit does leave something to be desired." Seamus smirked.
"Come, Harry, you must model your new wardrobe for me so that we may begin preparations for your departure this coming week." Clarisse said, halting any more banter between the pair.
"Yes, Harry, model for us, for we all know you have no sense of fashion beyond drab." Seamus said as he followed his engaged and his mother up the stairs and down the hallway to Harry's room. The servants had already taken both lords' clothes up to their rooms.
Thus, Harry spent the next three hours trying on and taking off the clothes he had been forced to purchase during the trip into town. Needless to say, Harry was less than pleased with the constant turning and posing he was forced to undergo so that Clarisse might better understand the way the cloths contributed to Harry's honeyed skin or his handsome emerald eyes. Still, it gave Harry time to think, as he ignored Clarisse and Seamus' comments, about the upcoming social event. He hoped he managed to represent the Potter family respectfully; he was often clumsy when he was nervous, no doubt that by the end of the ball he would have fallen down at least one flight of stairs.
As he pulled on a lovely set of forest green robes, Harry silently prayed for some kind of heavenly intervention that might somehow prevent the ball from occurring, and thus, his untimely humilitation.