Title: A Pair Of Shadows
Setting: Post Series 4 for Merlin, G.O.F for Harry Potter. I cannot stress how AU this will be.
Summary: Resurrected and on the run, Morgana is hidden by Aithusa where no-one will find her… in a cave in the Scottish highlands 1500 years in the future. A cave already shared by another fugitive, a fugitive named Sirius Black…
The wild eyed man snarled at Morgana from the Wanted poster flapping in the cold winter wind. With quick fingers she reached out and snatched it from the wall it was pinned to.
Sirius Black. Here was the son Walburga so clearly despised. The heir disowned. Her mysterious man in the cave. She read through the details listed on the poster and felt her mouth curling into a grim little smile. A wanted criminal. A murderer. A fugitive. And she knew exactly where he was. Or had been.
She traced a finger across his jaw. The reward for his capture was large, temptingly so. Still, those grey eyes pierced hers and she felt something twinge in her chest. She knew what it was to be hunted afterall...
And then she felt the slightest of movements against her hip. Her hand darted out lightning fast.
"I shall not be parting with my dagger," she spat coldly, gripping the wrist of the unfortunate would-be thief. "Even if I were not attached to it, its sentimental value is far outweighed by its usefulness. Like using it to cut off your fingers one by one for daring to pickpocket me."
"I wasn't trying to steal it. Honest, missus," responded the squat, bandy-legged man with long, straggly, ginger hair whose wrist she held in her painful grip.
"Why do I not trust a word that comes from your tongue?" she retorted.
With a sudden jerk he twisted his hand free and reached for his pocket, but Morgana was too quick. Before he could even close his fingers upon his wand she kicked his legs from under him, grasping his left hand and twisting sharply till the bone cracked. Dragging his other wrist back till he cried out she pressed her blade point to his neck.
"What would be appropriate for an odious little man like you?" she murmured softly to him. "Perhaps I'll take your eyes so you can no longer lust after what isn't yours. Or maybe I'll just hex off all your fingers- can't steal without those now can you?"
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry," the man whimpered.
"I should hope so. I've made better men than you beg at my feet." Barely masking her disgust as she contemplated the trembling man she finally retracted her knife and sheathed it. "I shall be generous this once. But speak of this to anyone and I will find you and make you regret what you say very much. And I am very good at making people regret things. I can be…most unpleasant when annoyed," she said softly.
The man nodded hastily and with a flick of her fingers she released his bent wrist.
A sudden crack of displaced air and the man disapparated.
She touched Arthur's dagger at her waist and then pulled her cloak around her more firmly, making sure it covered the sheath. Ironically, she almost felt better- defending herself had been instinct both during her time growing up in Camelot and later when she'd left. The violent encounter almost made her feel at home. As if a simple thief thought he could get the better of a woman who had bested the great and good of the Round Table. She snorted.
Folding Sirius' poster in quarters she tucked it into the bodice of her dress and turned on her heel, only to find a man watching her from the mouth of the alley. This one had long, smooth, silvery blonde hair, handsome, sharp features and carried a snake headed walking cane.
He inclined his head to her and she returned the greeting slowly, watching warily as he moved towards her.
"Forgive me," he said silkily when he reached her, "but I couldn't help noticing your exchange with Fletcher."
"What of it? He's not a friend of yours, is he?" Morgana asked brusquely, brows narrowed and fingers twitching by her side.
"By Merlin's beard, no. The man's a petty criminal and a half-blood to boot. My name is Lucius Malfoy," he replied, but though his tone was honey, behind his eyes there was flint.
Morgana met his assessing glance head on, her own eyes sharp and calculating. "Ana Grey," she offered, presenting him her hand and the new name she'd created in the weeks she'd spent at Grimmauld Place.
He bent and kissed her knuckles lightly, and at the old gesture of greeting she felt herself warm. It had been too long since anyone had greeted her with anything so respectful as a kiss.
"Malfoy- I've read your name often in The Prophet," she said carefully as he straightened.
"And yet yours is not one I know," he replied smoothly, but there was bite behind his question that Morgana wouldn't have recognised if not for her years of negotiating the maze of court politics. The newspaper had furnished her with all the details she needed to know about the man infront of her. He was rich, powerful, influential, friends with the Minister of Magic. And his magic felt dark and she knew all of his prejudices.
She smiled inwardly to herself. Anyone less would have been intimidated. But she was Morgana le Fay, daughter of kings. She knew exactly how to handle a man like this.
"I would be very much surprised if you had heard of me," she sniffed, drawing herself up proudly. "My family is an old one and we withdrew from this world centuries ago in an effort to keep the purity of our bloodlines untainted. It has only been quite recently that a few of us have ventured back into society. The curse of curiosity I suppose," she smiled wryly and watched as Lucius relaxed unconsciously at her lies. The way his eyes gleamed at the hint of power and old money and pure blood.
"And what do you make of it so far?"
"Well, the indigenous population leave something to be desired."
Lucius smirked and offered her his arm. "On behalf of the scum I apologise. Allow me to show you we are not all alike." Seeing her hesitation he added, "Come, you said yourself you've only recently arrived. Allow me to offer you a tour. I would add protection but you seem to be able to take care of that well enough."
She bit back a smile. The man was smooth as ice and twice as slippery but such a potentially dangerous foe could make a powerful ally if suitably tamed.
"I admit I am not familiar with these streets and your help would be useful," she acquiesced.
"And not unpleasant, I should hope?"
"That remains to be seen," she retorted, smirking, before slipping her hand into the crook of his elbow. "Now, I have urgent business to attend to at Gringotts, if you would be so kind as to show me the way."
"As you wish."
The bank was large, imposing and full of goblins.
Burying her revulsion beneath a mask of indifference, she firmly pushed away the memories of the goblin creature that had wreaked havoc in Camelot, subjecting them all to its own brand of mischievous humiliation. Afterall, these goblins only vaguely resembled the creature that had terrorised the castle's inhabitants for so many weeks. If she had to work with them to get what she wanted, she would bury any bad feeling she held until the time was right.
Steeling herself, she walked the length of the bank, feeling eyes watching her as she headed to where a goblin with a rather large nose was writing carefully on a large ledger as he balanced coins against a set of brass weights.
He looked at her from over his spectacles and in his gaze she felt as though he'd stripped the skin from her very bones and he knew all of her dark and inward parts.
And as the bank grew quiet around them the goblin suddenly bowed very low.
"My lady. Welcome back."
Before the thrice damned goblin could reveal who she really was she turned to Malfoy and smiled sweetly.
"Lucius, I'm not sure how long my business will take-"
"Then I will wait for you at the teashop next to Fortesques, opposite the bank," he interrupted easily, even as the curiosity burning behind his eyes flared bright and hungry at her unsubtle attempt to get rid of him. Good breeding prevented him from asking though, and she was instantly grateful for the strict pureblood protocols of etiquette that dictated his every move.
Really, it was no different to being in Camelot's court, and there she had been the queen of political manoeuvring. She had had Uther as a tutor afterall.
With a shallow bow Malfoy excused himself and Morgana waited until the wizard had fully exited the bank before she turned back to the goblin at the counter.
"My name is Ana Grey," she corrected, smiling through gritted teeth. "I'd like to open an account, please."
"You already have an account with us, Lady Pendragon," the goblin replied smoothly, lifting an eyebrow. "Though if you wish to set up another account with Gringotts under an assumed identity, we can of course accommodate your wish."
Momentarily wrong footed, Morgana felt the familiar mix of anger and fear claw at her chest and grip tight at her heart. "How do you know my name?" she asked coldly.
"You own our biggest vault and goblins have a long memory. We never forget a face connected with such wealth."
Confusion deepening, her mouth pulled into a scowl. "But how…how do I have such a vault?"
"You're too young to recall it but before Uther banned magic he traded with us quite freely. After the Queen's death he hoarded our gems and jewels and magical artefacts in the vaults below the castle," the goblin explained patiently. "After Arthur's death and before Emrys sealed the castle we simply removed the treasure and stored it here. According to human laws, as the sole heir of both the house of Gorlois and the Pendragon lines you were entitled to it, so we simply waited for your inevitable re-appearance."
"Where there is an inheritance to gain, humans predictably turn up to obtain it," the goblin explained grudgingly, his distaste for mortals clear in his tone. "You disappeared without trace…but we knew one day you would return to collect, no matter how long it took."
"Exactly how rich am I?"
The goblin closed his ledger and set his glasses aside. "Perhaps it would be best to show you."
The journey down in the cart was not what Morgana would have termed a pleasant experience. The twisting passages and the blinding speed with which the cart rattled along the tracks made her grip tightly onto the sides till her knuckles turned white, and there was a distinct roiling in her stomach at each corner they rounded.
Still, what turned her stomach the most was the great dragon they passed to reach her vault. They were deep in the belly of the earth now and not a chink of sunlight filtered down through the layers of rock so that the creature had become bone white, scales flaking and rough. Morgana's breath hitched as she took in the chains that wrapped around it's rear legs, the lack of room that prevented the beast from stretching it's wings properly, it's milky, half-blind eyes, and the deep gouges across it's snout from what she could only guess were swords. Her disgust deepened when the goblin leading her drew out a small bag and shook it, till the cave was full of the noise of ringing metal and the dragon was a trembling ball, pressed as far back against the cave wall as it could go.
Still, Morgana knew the value of waiting for the opportune moment, so she held her tongue as they passed by the dragon and followed the goblin deeper into the darkness.
Finally they turned a corner and she found herself in a circular room with branching corridors, each passageway holding a number of shining green doors, neatly numbered in pale gold in the centre of each entry.
"Well," she murmured impatiently to the goblin beside her. "Which vault is mine?"
"All of them."
"They're all mine?"
"We had to have them dug especially," the goblin explained proudly. "The interest alone necessitated the building of two corridors and in the end we've simply had to start melting the galleons into bars because storage was becoming tricky."
Morgana let out a low oath under her breath. The sheer scale of the wealth she now possessed was incredible, far beyond anything she had ever imagined possible. When she had walked into Gringotts she had coming looking to open an account- now she found not only did she have one already but that she had more money than she could ever spend in a lifetime.
"Open one," she commanded and the goblin hurried to fulfil her order, pressing his whole body against a door marked 289. He muttered something is a deep rasping language before slicing a finger open on one of his sharp teeth and pressing it against the green metal. The door shivered and there was a deep rumbling from inside. Then the door swung open silently and Morgana was blinded by a sea of gold.
Slowly she walked inside the vault, eyes narrowed against the glare of light after the darkness of the tunnels. Chests of jewels winked in the light, boxes of gold lay stacked all along the room, there were mirrors rimmed with silver, statues of bronze, and there, in the middle of the room, lying on a marble table was her crown.
Her trembling fingers brushed against the dark beaten gold, tracing the intricate twists and curls of the design before her thumb brushed over the ruby set in the middle. She swallowed and picked the crown up, fingers caressing the metalwork as she raised it up before her eyes. The temptation to wear it once more almost threatened to overwhelm her, but with cold, cruel logic she knew if she placed it upon her head she would have to remove it before she left again.
She had already been uncrowned once. She would not go through it again.
Regretfully, she placed the crown back on the table and continued her perusal, finding to her delight a box containing some of her favourite pieces of jewellery from Camelot, as well as her chainmail shirt and sword. She already had her father's ring of course, the signet ring of the House of Gorlois lying snugly around her middle finger and the jewelled dagger Arthur had given her, for she had been wearing both when she was transported through time, but to find her other belongings made her feel a little less alone.
"I'm going shopping," she stated abruptly, lips twitching in a smirk as the goblin who had accompanied her jumped. "Is there a way of simply putting things on my account rather than physically taking the money I need with me?"
The goblin nodded. "Before you leave we will speak to Transactions, who will be able to give you a Debit Purse, which will enable you to simply reach inside and draw out the exact amount required everytime. Of course, anything that requires a contract to be signed before purchase, such as a house or a large quantity of goods, will automatically transfer the amount required from your vault to the vault of the recipient upon signing of the contract."
"And if anyone asks about the vault?"
"Then it belongs to Miss Grey," the goblin replied solemnly.
"Excellent." She motioned to the casket of jewellery and her chainmail armour. "I require these to be moved here," she said, handing him a slip of paper with the address of Grimmauld Place written upon it in black ink. "And I expect nothing less than discretion."
"Of course, of course," the goblin murmured with a touch of impatience. "We have kept this secret for centuries; we shall have no problem continuing to do so."
"Very well then, I believe my business here is concluded."
She stepped once more into the darkened circular room and waited for the goblin to finish shutting the vault before he led her back to the cart. Once more they passed the white, imprisoned dragon, and with the barest wisp of magic she loosened the chains tethering its legs.
If the dragon stared hard at her as she left, blinking its great rheumy white eyes as it felt the chains slip slightly then the goblin did not notice and Morgana said nothing and kept walking.
She did not look back.
"I took the liberty of ordering us some refreshment."
Lucius pushed a cup of tea towards her as she sat down in one of the many gilt backed red chairs in Elixirs. The tea shop was large and opulent, full of dark wood panelling, marble floors and gas lit chandeliers. It smelt of cake and spice, tea and the sharp taste of lemon.
It was exotic and beautiful. Morgana instantly fell in love, but hid her smile of pleasure behind her china teacup.
"Was your business successful?"
"It was…satisfactory," she concluded, taking a sip of the richly spiced tea. She would have to ask Kreacher if he could create something similar as cinnamon and nutmeg danced along her tongue and she watched Lucius over the rim of her cup. She could see he wanted to ask more but good manners and even better breeding prevented him. What she knew for a fact though was that with the goblin bowing incident back in Gringotts she had firmly solidified herself in Malfoy's mind as someone to have as an ally. "So tell me about yourself, Lucius," she asked, placing her teacup down. "After all, I can hardly be escorted around by someone I don't know. You could be… anyone."
The implication against his blood type was hardly subtle but it worked for her purposes and just as she knew he would, he visibly bristled at her accusation.
"The Malfoy's are a very old wizarding family," he stated, pulling a photograph from inside his robes to show her a beautiful woman, with long blonde hair and cold blue eyes, arms around the shoulders of a young boy with the same pale hair as his father and his mother's eyes. "My wife, Narcissa and our son, Draco."
"You have a beautiful family," she agreed. "And your son, where is he now?"
"Hogwarts. I would have liked to send him to Durmstrang but my wife objected, didn't want the boy so far away. So now we have to put up with that muggle loving Headmaster who lets in all and sundry, pupils and staff alike. Did you know last year they let a werewolf teach? I mean, for Merlin's sake-"
Morgana flinched at the name but fortunately Lucius missed it, as an owl landed on the table between them at that moment. It stuck its leg out impatiently at Malfoy.
The wizard quickly unravelled the piece of parchment attached and scanned its contents, as the owl dipped its beak in his tea. Lucius scowled but didn't shoo it away, burning the paper with a small wordless spell between his fingertips.
"I'm afraid this is urgent. Ministry business. I do hope you'll forgive me for leaving."
"Of course. These things happen." She tilted her head and watched the owl stretch its wings and then take off lazily back into the sky.
Lucius stood and reached for his cane before turning to her once more. "My wife and I are holding a dinner party at Malfoy Manor at Yule; you'd be a most welcome addition to our company. I know you'd get on very well with my wife." At her hesitation he added, "The people attending are all from old pure blood families; think of it as an opportunity to expand your circle of acquaintances."
Morgana dipped her head. "Thank you, I look forward to it."
"8pm at our Manorhouse then. I'm sure Cissa will write to you before though." He kissed her knuckles. "It was a pleasure."
"Indeed. Until then."
She watched him walk away and then reached for her tea, sipping it slowly before picking up a copy of The Daily Prophet someone had left on the table beside her. She flicked over the front page where a large picture of a dark haired boy with thick rimmed glasses in Hogwarts robes was trying to get away from the photographer- twisting his face away everytime Morgana tried to get a good look at him. Of course she knew who he was- she'd never read a copy of The Prophet whilst she was in hospital that didn't mention the Boy-Who-Lived, but she'd learnt to take the paper's articles with a pinch of salt.
"I suppose I get my strength from my parents. I know they'd be very proud of me if they could see me now...Yes, sometimes at night I still cry about them, I'm not ashamed to admit it...I know nothing will hurt me during the tournament, because they're watching over me..."
She rolled her eyes and put the paper back down, reaching for her Debit Purse and heading for the counter to pay.
Only to find that Malfoy had already settled the bill.
Shopping was just as much fun as Morgana remembered it to be. Having borrowed one of Walburga's old dresses (still hanging in her wardrobes after all this time) she was eager to finally acquire her own clothes. The owner of Twilfit and Tattings had taken one look at the thick silver dragon clasp wrapped around her hair and the jewelled dagger at her waist and had practically fallen over himself to help his rich, but apparently decades out of date customer.
And his eyes had widened further in pleasure when Morgana had explained exactly how many items of clothing she needed and the amount of galleons she was prepared to spend to be outfitted properly.
The following hour had passed in a whirlwind of dresses, nightgowns, slippers, boots, robes, silks, satins, leather and lace. Expecting to be loaded down she had been pleasantly surprised when with a small flick of the owner's wrist all of her purchases had folded themselves up, shrunk themselves down and fitted into two plain black paper bags inscribed with Twilfit and Tattings in silver.
But she didn't simply buy clothes. Dipping into every shop, she found herself purchasing history books she'd never seen at Grimmauld Place, never-ending candles for night reading, parchment, quills and ink, a large leather travelling trunk and a tiny silver compass that pointed in the direction you required rather than North.
She'd just finished buying a foe glass from a shop in Knockturn Alley that smelled of blood when there was a loud blast from Diagon Alley.
Then came the screaming.
Racing back she was just in time to see the roof of the bank fall apart in a spray of tiles and exploding brickwork.
The white dragon burst out from the roof, claws scrabbling at the masonry before pushing off into the air, tail catching chimney pots and tiles, sending them crashing to the ground in a shower of deadly shards. Witches and wizards were running screaming from the beast and the falling debris, some casting shield charms as they ran, others dodging into shop doorways as the rubble rained down.
A sweet smile of victory crossed her face as she watched the carnage, even as her conscience tugged at her to do something. A large part of her wanted to leave- afterall, surely they had all known what Gringotts held trapped down in the bowels of the bank? None of them had thought to rescue the creature.
And yet. Coming here had been about new starts. No bloodshed. A fresh beginning.
Unbidden, Gorlois' face swam before her eyes and with a sigh she gave in to her better instincts and cast out a silent invisible burst of magic, careful to keep her eyes closed so no-one noticed the gleam of gold from her irises.
And as the dragon faded from view, lost in amongst the clouds, the falling masonry shivered and changed, wreathing the cobbled street in xeranthemums and snapdragons instead.
White and purple petals swirling through the air like confetti, Morgana allowed herself one final look at the astonished crowds from her place at the corner of Knockturn Alley. Then, before she had the chance to be spotted she slipped out of existence and re-appeared in Grimmauld Place.
Aithusa unwound herself from Morgana's hair as soon as they arrived back. With the barest ripple the silver hair ornament changed back into the snow white dragon, who sat on her haunches and regarded the sorceress seriously.
'I will be gone sometime- my kin needs my help,' the little creature murmured inside Morgana's mind. 'Perhaps a week or so. Can I trust you not to get into any trouble whilst I am away?'
"I'll be fine, mother," Morgana returned, rolling her eyes as the dragon snorted smoke through her nostrils. "Go. I have plenty to keep me occupied."
Aithusa looked as though she could have commented more but refrained, and when Morgana blinked the dragon had gone.
"You'd think I was an infant," she groused to herself before running her fingers through her hair, shedding petals to the wooden floor. A floor that she could see her reflection in she realised, which meant Kreacher had finally got round to cleaning the drawing room. The house elf had been spending every spare moment polishing and tidying the house and though there were still plenty of rooms to go, it looked less like a tomb than when she'd first arrived.
In fact, the drawing room was so well polished she almost slipped on the floor as she stepped forward and only managed to catch herself by clinging to what appeared to be a family tapestry hanging from one of the walls.
Straightening herself up, she was just tracing a finger over the many burn holes in the fabric when from the corner of her vision something gold and green caught her eye. It was a locket of heavy gold she realised moving closer, with a serpentine S in glittering green stone inlay on the front.
Dark curiosity suddenly rose within her and she wandered over to the glass cabinet that held it, glistening in the gas light. Something rippled beneath the gold and her hand reached out. The tips of her fingers grazed the surface of the glass. Something was whispering…
There was a small pop from behind her.
"Lady Fey is back… and smelling of flowers," Kreacher complained, bobbing his knobby head in greeting as Morgana blinked. "If Lady Fey wishes, Kreacher has built up the fire in the library and there is wine and cake if Lady Fey is hungry?"
Morgana smiled her thanks at the wizened bony creature as her stomach rumbled, and she was reminded that she hadn't had anything but a cup of tea since breakfast. "That sounds lovely," she agreed and turning on her heel she left the room, closing the heavy wooden door behind her.
The drawing room fell silent. The shadows shifted back into the corners from where they had crept.
And for the moment, the locket once again lay forgotten in its gleaming glass case.
Please Read and Review!
Thank you so much to everyone who has read and favourited, added to alerts or left me a couple of lines, it really does make a writer's day to know their stories are being appreciated.
Hope you liked this chapter, coming up next time Morgana makes life difficult for everyone (again), Harry attempts a very different First Task and Sirius worries. A lot.