Thou Shalt Get Kings
Disclaimer: The characters and places you recognize aren't mine, of course. I promise I'll put them back in J.K. Rowling's toybox when I'm through with them!
I've read a couple of stories with similar plots to this in the past, but I'm not sure with whom the idea originated, so I apologize if I'm stepping on any toes. It fascinates me though, so I had to try my hand at it—I hope you find it interesting and a bit original.
This picks up at the end of the summer before sixth year, with one significant change to the end of year five. I want to keep things as close to canon as possible through Book 5, but I couldn't bear to lose Sirius! This first chapter is mostly just setting the stage--stick with me at least through chapter two where things pick up!
THE DARKENED HOUSE at Number Four Privet Drive looked like a typical, well-maintained home. Petunia Dursley would have been horrified if it hadn't. She also would have been appalled to know that despite the best efforts of Vernon and herself, the neighbours had begun to think better of the polite, handsome young man that was her nephew than of her own mountain of a son, who terrorized the younger neighbourhood children. Dudley Dursley was a bully, but his parents ignored his flaws and pampered their son anyway, for their nephew was something they thought much worse: a wizard.
That nephew, Harry James Potter, was now in his small, sparse bedroom in the upstairs of Number Four packing his school trunk with things the Dursleys would have given their perfectly manicured lawn to keep hidden from those prying neighbours.
He had on only one small desk light to see by, and a raggedy T-Shirt was stuffed under the crack at the bottom of his bedroom door to stop the light from seeping into the hall. He didn't want his uncle Vernon realizing he was still awake and bursting in to find Harry sifting through Defense Against The Dark Arts textbooks, quills, and Quidditch magazines. That would just be inviting another lecture on the unnaturalness of Harry's life.
His relatives did not like magic.
Harry didn't need very much time to pack his meagre belongings; his school robes and classroom supplies hadn't even left his trunk all summer. His textbooks were strewn around the room as he had needed to do his summer homework, but all that was required to take care of that jumble was to gather them up again and dump them into a corner of his trunk. After that, all that was left were the few muggle hand-me-down clothes that he would take with him for Hogsmeade weekends and the things he had secreted under a loose floorboard.
Harry propped up the floorboard and drew out a stack of summer letters from his friends Ron and Hermione, a few sweets left from his sixteenth birthday packages, and a large cloth bag.
The bag contained those few things that were most precious to Harry: his wand, the mirror given him by his godfather Sirius Black, the Marauder's Map, the photo album of his parents that Hagrid had made him, and his father's invisibility cloak. Harry drew his wand out of the bag and tucked it up his sleeve, then placed the bag carefully in the trunk.
He was very glad to be getting ready to go spend the last two weeks of summer visiting with Sirius and his friends at Grimmauld Place before going back to Hogwarts. The best that could be said for this summer vacation was that it wasn't the worst he had spent. The Dursleys expected him to take care of his chores around the house, but certainly didn't expect any conversation out of him. Sirius had threatened them in person at the end of last term, and as a result, the Dursleys had chosen to ignore his existence in their home as much as possible. If Harry wasn't cooking or doing odd jobs for his aunt and uncle, he was confined in his room. Of course, this meant he only had to spend minimal time with his relatives, so he didn't really mind.
However, it also meant that Harry had plenty of time to worry about what Voldemort was up to.
He knew that Voldemort was angry that his plans to get his hands on the prophecy had been foiled. Harry had felt Voldemort's anger acutely after the dark wizard's duel with Dumbledore in the Ministry. He was only glad that they had figured out Voldemort's plan in time and no one had been hurt.
Harry now knew that his original plan to rush into the Ministry to rescue the supposedly kidnapped Sirius had been foolhardy. Luckily, being caught at Umbridge's fireplace had slowed him down enough that he had remembered the mirror Sirius had given him. Harry, Hermione, Ron, Ginny, Neville, and Luna had rushed to call Sirius in the looking glass, and it had been Kreacher's reflection that had answered in it at first. Luckily, Sirius had come upon the elf and the mirror and assured Harry that he was safe at headquarters.
Dumbledore's Army had notified the Order of the attempted trap, and a reverse ambush had been quickly organized. Harry and his friends had stayed safely at Hogwarts watched over by Sirius, while Aurors disguised as Harry and other DA members had gone to the Department of Mysteries.
The Death Eaters were taken by surprise when the small contingent of Hogwarts students had turned out to be highly trained Order-friendly Aurors. A full-fledged battle had broken out, ranging from the Department of Mysteries all the way up to the entry atrium of the Ministry. Voldemort had been furious, prompting Harry's scar to give him a vision of the Dark Lord about to descend on the Ministry in a violent rage.
It hadn't been hard for the small group of determined students at Hogwarts to convince Sirius to take them to the Ministry. When they arrived, the grand lobby was a shambles of broken glass and bits of crumbled stone blasted away by curses. Half the Aurors were unconscious or injured, and the other half were struggling to take down the remaining Death Eaters. Everyone looked like they were tiring, but the arrival of Sirius and Harry's group had turned the tide.
Chaos had ensued then as some Death Eaters were captured and others wisely apparated away. Sirius was stunned by Bellatrix Lestrange, but Harry stood over him and fended the crazed woman off until Voldemort himself had turned up in the midst of it all.
But Dumbledore arrived only a moment later, and the ensuing duel between the two was fierce.
The evil wizard tried to turn Harry against the boy wizard's courageous friends, but Harry overcame Voldemort's Legilimency attack with the help of Dumbledore's words of encouragement.
Cornelius Fudge had turned up in time to witness the tail end of it all, and after that Voldemort fled, taking the few remaining Death Eaters with him.
Dumbledore had later given Harry the explanation he had demanded, and Harry had learned of the prophecy. Dumbledore had personally taken Harry to destroy it in safety the next day.
Knowing the truth didn't entirely take away Harry's anger at being kept in the dark for so long. But after a lengthy conversation with Sirius in the Headmaster's office, Harry felt he could at least understand Dumbledore's reasoning. And he had to allow that it felt good to know that such a powerful wizard cared and was looking out for him.
It also didn't hurt that Sirius had promised to make doubly sure that Harry was kept informed of any Order business that impacted his life.
A flutter at his window made Harry turn. His large snowy owl, Hedwig, soared through the open window and landed neatly on Harry's shoulder.
"Hi, Hedwig," He smiled and petted her feathers. "Catch any mice?"
Hedwig hooted softly, then fluttered over into her birdcage with her beak in the air as if miffed that he would ever doubt her hunting skills.
Harry chuckled. "Course you did, girl. Dessert?"
He fed her a couple owl treats and she nipped his hand affectionately, mollified.
"I am glad you're back, Hedwig; we're going to Grimmauld Place tomorrow."
Finished packing, Harry shut his trunk, sat on his bed, and pulled a crumpled piece of parchment from his jean pocket. It was a letter from his former professor, Remus Lupin. Anxiously, Harry read the note again.
Sirius and I are eager to see you before you return to Hogwarts. We are sorry that our Order duties prevented us from bringing you to visit for your birthday, but I will be arriving Friday morning at ten o'clock to take you to Headquarters for the next two weeks. The Weasleys and Hermione will be arriving then as well.
Harry had the letter memorized; he had read it so often.
He couldn't say why, but he found himself very nervous about the visit. It felt as if something big was waiting to happen. His scar hadn't given him any warning pains beyond the very dull ache that had developed ever since Voldemort had returned—which he pretty much ignored now. Still, who could really say what the Death Eaters were up to lately? The skirmish in the Ministry had left him particularly on edge.
Harry lay back on his bed on top of his thin sheet, and, still in his clothes and with his wand next to him, attempted to fall asleep to make tomorrow come faster. He figured that he would feel better once he and Lupin actually made it safely though the door of his godfather's house.
Draco Malfoy watched dourly from over the top of the article in the Quidditch magazine he was reading, Falmouth Falcons: Favourites For This Year's League Cup? as a wizened house elf painstakingly sorted clothes and robes for packing his school trunk in the corner of the room. It was still a couple weeks before the Hogwarts Express was to leave for the start of term, but Lucius Malfoy expected his son to be prepared well in advance.
Draco hadn't had a particularly pleasant summer.
He'd spent most of it in his room or on shopping outings with his mother. While shopping trips in Italy and Paris could be a mild diversion, they really weren't especially interesting to a teenage boy to whom high-brow destination shopping had ceased to be a novelty years ago.
His mother hosted numerous luncheons and teas during the holiday as well, and Draco was of course expected to attend those, making dull small-talk with the pureblood elite. These were the sorts of events where, even among that society, the Wizarding war and the Death Eaters were a taboo topic, which killed most of the conversation that Draco would be interested in, and left nothing but bland gossip. Draco had managed to sneak Pansy Parkinson away from a few of those gatherings and into a dim corridor alcove for a little snog session occasionally, but that was the only high point.
Flying on the Malfoy estate Quidditch pitch was a better source of entertainment, when he could get away.
For years though, Draco's father had used the summer holidays to teach Draco things about Dark Magic that no professor at Hogwarts would dream of imparting. They had also shared long after-dinner discussions over the state of the Wizarding world, the Ministry's policies, and the dogma of Voldemort and the Death Eaters. Draco always had enjoyed getting to spend this time with his father, and hung on every word, preening when his father showed approval for one of Draco's thoughts. Now and then Draco would be allowed to accompany his father to the Ministry or to other appointments, after all, he would be the head of the Malfoy family one day, and it was important he should learn how to conduct their business.
That all seemed to be in the past now. Not once this summer had Draco been invited to join his father when he left the house. And even if Lucius was home at suppertime, he disappeared without a word afterwards to his private study. His father was sharing neither time nor conversation with Draco this summer, and Draco couldn't figure out why.
He understood that the Dark Lord was demanding of his father's time, but he didn't like it.
It meant that Draco had spent the holidays largely ignored. He'd never been so ready to see a summer end.
While he would be glad to get back to the relative freedom that being at Hogwarts would give him, that gladness was tempered, as always, by the simple fact that being at Hogwarts meant bringing Harry Potter back into his life.
The very idea of Harry tormented Draco. Not because of the threat the Boy-Who-Lived posed to his father's Master, as many, including his father, would believe, but because Harry Potter got everything.
The adoration of the Wizarding World, the unbeatable Quidditch skills, friends that cared about him and not status, Dumbledore's undivided attention, and Draco was fairly certain that if the blasted brat's parents had lived, they would have loved their son.
When Draco had offered Harry his friendship at the start of their first year, it had indeed been because the name Harry Potter meant influence, and Draco, as a Malfoy, had been raised to seek influence out and find a way to work it to his own advantage. Pressure from his father had played a part as well. The elder Malfoy had always harboured hopes for the Dark Lord's return and knew that to have the trust of the Potter boy would give him a great amount of power in Lord Voldemort's court if such an event occurred. If not, then it certainly couldn't hurt to be close to the saviour of the Wizarding World.
Feeling abandoned all summer had lead a bitter Draco to pay more attention to some things and re-think some others, and he knew now that his father's advice on the subject merely meant that he was using his son as a means to further his own power.
Still, Draco's anger over being rejected came from a secret, deeper place. He hated to admit to himself that he harboured a bit of hero-worship for the Boy-Who-Lived.
When he was very young and not old enough to be interesting to his father, Draco had thought the idea of besting a Dark Lord from within one's cradle a truly grand adventure. While the young Draco knew that his father thought of Voldemort as a boon to the Wizarding World and was being unconsciously steeped in these ideals, he was no stranger to the wonder his peers felt at the idea of 'Harry Potter.' And when other news was slow, he read the stories of a heroic young family retold in the Daily Prophet along with everyone else.
Draco supposed he couldn't blame himself; he had been very young then, and was obliged to have foolish childhood ideals.
It still had hurt to come face-to-face with his secret childhood hero and have him refuse to take his hand in front of their entire year. To have his friendship rejected by this legend of a boy was a sharp blow to his Malfoy-cultivated ego, and a firm hatred was born.
Draco was also his father's son, and by that time was well and truly indoctrinated in Lucius's ideas about Muggles and the absolute power of Voldemort. He was not one to refrain from voicing those opinions, so it followed that Potter and his Dream Team hated Draco right back.
Then Voldemort had actually returned.
Draco of course did not change the way he spoke in public—how could he? He had his father to impress after all, and besides, there had to be some truth to what Lucius Malfoy had been telling his son all these years, didn't there?
But now, after two summers of seeing how his father scuttled to obey the Dark Lord's every whim like some house elf, Draco wasn't as sure that he wanted to follow in his footsteps. Sure, Draco believed that purebloods were the Wizarding elite, and the Malfoys were at the top of the bunch.
But he wasn't quite as sure about a world led by Voldemort himself…
Draco looked up again, noticing that the house elf in his room had just finished packing and was slipping out the door. He watched it go, pushing down an illogical burst of jealousy that it had the run of the Manor in the course of its duties. He shook his head.
It did not do for a Malfoy to be jealous of a house elf.
He looked around his room. Accustomed as he was to the opulent surroundings, it seemed like a prison to him. Draco was never denied anything he asked for, and the room, exquisitely appointed to begin with, was filled with the latest and most expensive wizarding gadgets, playthings, and clothes. This was a fact of life to Draco. Naturally a Malfoy would only own the best, and so the room's luxuries made no impact on him.
He scowled at the door. He had heard it latch when the elf left, which meant that his father was "entertaining" this evening. Expected to stay out of the way regardless, Draco was locked in his room as an extra precaution on the nights that the Manor filled with Death Eaters. Even the son of one of Voldemort's inner circle members was not to overhear any of the actual plotting.
Draco was not permitted to have all the details, but he knew enough—from gossip at the end of last term and from overheard conversations at home—to know that Potter had once again slipped through Voldemort's fingers. The Dark Lord had apparently expected to lure Potter alone to the Ministry—for what, Draco did not know—but he knew that Voldemort himself had gone to the location and found Dumbledore ready to duel him in the middle of the Ministry entrance hall.
Somehow, Potter and Dumbledore had seen through Voldemort's trap. The secretly harboured admiration for Harry welled up again unbidden, and Draco squashed it down angrily with a thought of what his father would do if he knew what Draco had been thinking.
The boy smirked and removed a small wooden box from one of his desk drawers. His father wouldn't be too happy about this either.
Draco couldn't think of anyone that annoyed him more than Ron Weasley, Harry Potter's sidekick. Even Potter and the know-it-all Hermione Granger were second to the Weasel. Them at least he could understand—of course they opposed Voldemort; neither of them was a pureblood. The Weasleys were, and therefore ought to see the benefits of a Wizarding society that limited the participation of 'muggleborn elements' in the magical world. Yet there they were, crusading alongside Dumbledore. Thinking themselves so noble despite their poverty. Besides, it had been Ron that had gotten to Harry first; if it hadn't been for the redhead, maybe Potter would have accepted Draco's hand of friendship. Maybe that one thing would have gone right and he could have made his father proud of him.
No, Draco had no use for most of the Weasleys. Two of them, however, had earned the admiration of most of the Hogwarts student body, and Draco's grudging respect. The box now open on his lap was full of products from Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes.
He had to admit that the things the twins managed to create were pretty impressive, and could be dead useful if one wanted to cause trouble during the summer when underage magic wasn't allowed. Draco sifted through the small hoard until he found what he was looking for. It was a small round green sweet in a clear wrapper that advertised in orange lettering:
EavesDrops – Eat just one, and enjoy super-human hearing for up to one whole hour! Listen to the secret conversations of friends or foes from rooms away!
He'd never tell the Weasleys, but Draco thought it was quite brilliant. And much more practical that those ear-things they'd come out with last year. He'd been saving this thing for a few weeks now—he'd started the summer with three of them, and used the first two to listen in on previous Death Eater meetings. Both occasions had turned out to be dreadful bores, as Voldemort had still been stewing over his fiasco at the Ministry and no new plans or information had been forthcoming.
Maybe the third time was the charm?
With the decision made to commit espionage, Draco unwrapped the candy and popped it in his mouth. Just like the first two times, a moment after he had finished swallowing it, his sense of hearing exploded outward. He took a moment to adjust, and then directed his focus to the ground floor library.
A Death Eater was speaking, the voice not one he recognized.
"Lord Voldemort, Rimsteen is ready and awaiting your orders. Baddock and I will continue watching him until you are prepared to use him."
"Very good, Parkinson."
That voice Draco recognized. It was high and hissing and belonged to the Dark Lord himself. It never failed to make his skin crawl.
Nothing interesting again, He sighed. Nothing more than some new recruit eager to prove himself. Well, maybe later in the meeting they'll talk about something interesting.
No reason not to keep listening. This was his best way of getting information as long as his father didn't find out about it.
The sixteen-year-old jumped at a knock on his door, and for a moment thought that maybe his father did know and had arrived to punish him, but then the door opened and his mother stepped into the room. Habit—drilled into him by his father—made Draco stand in respect.
"Draco," his mother spoke with no emotion in her voice, but that was nothing new, "Your father requests your presence in the library on behalf of the Dark Lord. It is a great honour."
Draco gulped. This didn't bode well.