THE LAST PRINCE II: The Pact and A Prophecy
Summary: see chapter 20.
Disclaimer: see chapter 20.
Warnings: see previous chapters. Additional: ANGST.
A/N: Thanks guys, I was blown away by the number of reviews I got for the previous chapter. I hope you enjoy this next installment. Thanks for sticking with me and this story. –C.
The Last Prince II: The Pact and A Prophecy
By: C.M. Oliver
Chapter 42: One and The Same
As quickly as they had come together for one emerald-eyed young man, those in the Peverell Manor dispersed to carry out their well-appointed tasks.
Ron and Hermione volunteered to coral the Weasleys and give them Harry's side of the story. They should be easy to talk to – they considered the young man as family. Harry needed them in his court now more than ever.
Gorbink and Gareth were tasked to handle the High Lord's security. Given the current state of affairs, even Amelia agreed that the Ministry security detail could not be trusted to do it job. The goblins will see to it that the High Lord would be well-protected from crowds of supporters and detractors alike.
Lucius went ahead to set up the public forum that was to take place later that day. As Minister, he was also tasked to issue a statement beforehand. It was to be short and simple; to the public: just wait and see.
Amelia's job was to organize the ruling court. She was to gather them for that afternoon's event and in the meantime, stall any uprisings that may surge from this unexpected hullabaloo. It wasn't easy to against the likes of Lord Parkinson or dowager Lady Longbottom, but she was in the best position to do it. As DMLE Chief, she was also to make sure that Robards and his people cause no harm to the High Lord if worse comes to worst.
Minerva was to go back to Hogwarts and alert her staff. Hogwarts was a bastion of knowledge and was home to the High Lord. They needed to back him up and present a solid front.
Remus, and by association Draco, volunteered to stay behind to offer comfort to the High Lord. They had a solid plan on how to go about, but no one was really sure how the public –and their enemies, most especially, would react to the impending revelation. The day could either move them one step towards their goal or end up in a complete disaster.
"You seem to be taking this all too well, Harry," Remus addressed the young man. They were alone in the sitting room. Severus left with Draco earlier to deal with 'stuff.' Harry shrugged.
"All thanks to Severus. You should have seen me right after I read the articles. The last backlash you witnessed was nothing compared to the first one. My magic just flared all of a sudden. If Severus wasn't quick enough to cast a containment spell, the whole house would have promptly turned into ashes.
Remus grimaced. "That bad?"
"Why can't they just leave me alone, Moony? Sure, I'd help them, I'd save them, but can they just please leave my personal life alone? I know it was wrong to keep my real identity a secret, but all my life, I've been bared, exposed –I just want something for myself. I hate being in the spotlight, you know that. I know and accept that I'm probably destined to be Fate's whipping boy all my life –but is a tiny shred of anonymity too much to ask for? Is this how Nile Peverell felt when he had decided to give up the Seat?" Harry's voice broke. "When I first took up the mantle of Lord Peverell, I just wanted to right a wrong, save the man I loved. The next thing I know, it all snow-balled to this stupid prophecy and poof! I have to play Gryffindor hero again."
"You're not alone in this, cub. Have you seen those gathered in this room just a little while ago? I think that I speak for us all that whichever persona you present to the world at large, we will remain by your side. It is a huge part of who you are, whether you're Tristan or Harry, it is your innate ability to draw people towards you and amass loyalty and devotion from them. Who else but you has acquired the support of the whole goblin nation? Not Voldemort. Not Dumbledore. You. And you know how goblins hate wizards. Same goes for the other magical beings you have helped give voice to via the Diversity Council –vampires, veelas, giants…"
"I know that, Moony," Harry sighed. "It's just –it all feels too much for me. They adored Tristan Peverell as he is: an enigmatic, mysterious nobleman with much political power. What more if they realize that he too, is Harry Potter, Chosen One? Harry Potter is retired, Moony. He's done his deeds and paid his dues. That was the very reason I hid behind Tristan Peverell's identity… and now…" His emerald eyes began to water. Remus stood up from his spot and enveloped the young man he had learned to love as his own son in a hug.
"It will be alright, cub," Remus shushed him. "You won't have the burden on you alone this time. Does this new prophecy not pertain to Severus as well? That man loves you whole-heartedly, if anything. I know he will not let you face this alone."
Harry pulled away from the older wizard. "I love him, Moony. I would not even be doing this without him." He then stood up and started to pace the length of the room. "I don't want him to get hurt –"
"Do you know what happened when Severus casted that containment spell the first time I lost it?" Harry chuckled darkly. "My magic tried to burn him alive. I never felt that much anger in my whole life, not even when fighting Voldemort." Remus bit his lip.
"Voldemort was something I considered inevitable. He was already there when I was born. He was a rite of passage. But this –" Harry gestured wildly. " –this was something I could have avoided. I did not have to be Lord Peverell! I did not have to be the Savior again! I did not have to drag everybody into another pointless fight! Don't you see it, Moony? This is my doing –it's my entire fault –"
"Harry, it's not –"
"No!" Harry screamed. "Don't tell me it is not! I'm in this by my own volition! Too many people have sacrificed their lives protecting me –and here I go gallivanting looking for danger!" The emerald-eyed man shook his head. "This is why I never wanted people to find out! Everyone that gets associated with me gets hurt… but I couldn't very well keep it all to myself can I? I have to answer to every single magical being on this planet!"
"Harry, stop it!"
"No Harry, stop it! Your magic is rising again!" The werewolf's eyes were wide in combined shock and awe as Harry's magic began to lash out again. His emerald orbs began glowing crimson and his skin was quickly tuning into a blinding white. The DADA Professor whipped out his wand, ready to cast a shielding spell, when the doors to the sitting room flew open again.
"Out of my way, Lupin!" It was Severus. The man's face was blank, but his eyes immediately zeroed –in on his lover. Without further ado, the Potions Master strode purposefully towards Harry and embraced him.
"Harry, it's Severus. I need you to breathe." Severus whispered in his ear, not seemingly minding the tendrils of warm, pulsating magic emanating from the young Lord's skin. Remus could only watch in awe. He must have missed something; magical backlashes as such were fatal to both the grounder and the one experiencing it. Harry's magic did not seem to hurt Severus anymore. The young man did say he almost burned Severus the first time. What had happened between then and now?
"Harry, love, breathe. Just listen to my voice and keep breathing." Severus still held Harry in his arms. Harry's magic seems to listen to the onyx-eyed man though. Remus felt the backlash gradually dissipate until Harry's form was slack against the Potions Master's. Severus threw Remus a look.
"Draco is in the dungeons, brewing an extra-strength Calming Draught with me when I sensed Harry's distress. As I left, he told me he would appreciate your company." Remus nodded as the sentiment of the words kicked in.
"I will see him then."
Severus shifted Harry in his arms. "Draco can take care of himself. But if you step one toe out of line –Lucius isn't the only one you need to worry about." Remus smiled as he headed for the door.
"I know, Severus. I hope you can appreciate the fact that I feel the same about you and Harry. Sirius was the one who had the worse bark between the two of us, if you catch my drift. Take care of him."
Cornelius Fudge looked smug since breakfast that day.
"Ah, see this gentleman and lady? This is the road to our success, paved right before our very eyes!" He brandished the newspaper. 'There is no way that we would fail –no bloody way! Peverell will pay, the Wizengamot and the Ministry would fall, Potter will come out and it will all come down in flames for them! We all get what we all want and more!"
Corvus frowned. "What if Potter claims the Seat of the High Lord? Won't that make it harder for us to destabilize the government though?"
"Potter will be dealt with by the Grandmaster, Port! You just wait and see. We do not need to worry about that brat anyway. He's uneducated, juvenile and hot-headed. He is not fit to be a noble, much less a High Lord! There will be public outcry!"
"And Snape?" Dolores asked.
"He will go down with Peverell, Dolores. Once he does, you will have your chance. He will –" Fudge's words were cut short however, as a nondescript owl flew in. The three exchanged looks. Corvus took the liberty of reliving the bird of its burden:
Do not rejoice yet. Be at the Ministry at 3 p.m. Another will join your number. Your foolhardy move to expose the king was ill-times. Another mistake like this and you will be taken out of the game. Do not make me deal with you personally.
It was not signed.
"But –what does he mean –this is the most brilliant plan we have!" Fudge exclaimed. What could possibly be ill-times –what does the Grandmaster want?"
"Another will join us?" Corvus mused. "I guess whatever it is that he perceived as error on our part, he had already arranges a back-up plan for. But what's with the Ministry at 3? Are we to use the goblin-made glamour necklaces he gave us when I took you two out of Azkaban again?"
"I guess they have to do," Fudge sighed. For the first time in his life, he was unsure. He glanced at the threat at the end of the short missive. Not knowing who you work for exactly could be dangerous –especially someone who appears to be as powerful and as twisted as the Grandmaster. "We have to play this right. We cannot afford another misstep."
Severus sighed as he glanced at the clock on the mantelpiece. It was already noon. He checked his lover's slumbering form in his arms. The young man's face was troubled. He was barely in his 20's and yet, it seemed that he had lived his lifetime twice over.
"My poor, sweet Harry… whatever can I do to shield you from this all?"
Harry would need to address the public in three hours, but he was in no shape to do so. The powerful young wizard had just experienced a total of four magical backlashes in the span of less than three hours. He was drained. The last thing he needed was another emotional breakdown, and revealing his identity to magical Britain was just going to be a catastrophe in the making in his current condition. If he did lash out in public, Severus would bet his island that instead of support, fear is what the people would give his young lover in return. The weak fear power and it was all too easy to further drag Harry's name into the mud when he tried to come clean. Harry would then be dubbed as the next Dark Lord. Severus would not let that happen, not while he was alive.
A quick floo-call and Gareth agreed with his plan. The golden ankh amulet passed from goblin to wizard and Severus was now carrying his still unconscious lover into the Lair. Three hours should give them about 3 days. The Lair held some of the good memories for him and Harry. A mini-vacation there would do them both good.
The Lair was unchanged from the time they last left it. Severus immediately headed for his quarters and deposited Harry gently on the huge four-poster bed in the middle. He quickly spelled both their robes into pajamas before climbing into the bed beside his lover. His arms found its way around Harry who stirred.
"Sev? What time is it?"
"Hush, love. We're in the Lair. Don't worry about time. You're stuck here with me for 3 days."
Harry chuckled lightly, his eyes still closed. "Merlin, save me."
Severus could not help but laugh along with him. "Brat. I bet my island that you're already thinking of ways to torment me." Harry turned to face his lover, his eyes now open. "Who, me? And what's this about betting your island?"
"Yes, you," Severus smirked. "And it's a new expression." He tightened his grip around the young man as Harry started to nuzzle against his chest.
"You're so warm, Sev." Harry breathed as he took in his lover's scent. "Is that lavender I smell?"
"I was brewing an extra-strength Calming Draught with Draco when I felt your distress. I left him with the wolf when I took you here." Harry's eyes brightened. "That's two for two! The Potter-Matchmaking Service is a success!" Severus frowned. "Potter Matchmaking Service?"
Harry chuckled. "What? Love makes everything worthwhile. Just look at how Lucius smiles more now that he's with Bill. Remus and Draco are perfect for each other." Severus stared at his lover before letting out a heavy sigh. "You do understand that they cannot end up together, don't you, love?"
"Why ever not?"
"Harry, Draco is heir to the Malfoy Seat. He is expected to produce an heir –"
"So?" Harry challenged. "They can use the Male Pregnancy Potion you created, just like we will do."
Severus flushed at the mention of the pregnancy, but quickly recovered. "That –is possible, love. However, no matter how fair the laws concerning werewolves have become in your rule, the fact still remains that lycanthropy can still be passed onto offspring –"
"Lucius may have mellowed, but he still has the Malfoy pride in him. He will not be happy to have heir with the lycanthropy gene. It won't be fair for the child as well –"
"But that's not –just because Remus is a werewolf –"
"Calm down, Harry. Remus knows this. He knows that whatever he has with Draco cannot end up like ours or even Lucius and Bill's"
"That's not right," harry murmured against Severus' chest. "Remus deserves to be happy,"
"But he is, love. You can see it in his eyes." Severus said. "But he will not be happy if he learns that you are worrying about him incessantly. He is a grown man. And you, my Lord, are supposed to be recuperating from your earlier ordeal with your magical backlash." Harry sighed resignedly.
"Distract me?" he looked up to meet his lover's obsidian gaze. To which, Severus rewarded him, with a kiss.
"Whatever can I do to hold your attention for 3 days, I wonder?"
Harry grinned knowingly.
A confident Tristan Peverell walked alone into the Ministry atrium door at exactly 3 p.m. that day. The doors immediately closed behind him. Every step he took was determined, reeking an aura of power and regality. He was wearing his usual royal blue, with the Peverell Crest prominently displayed on his back. However, the familiar Cost of Arms was not the only thing on it.
Right below the bronze doe –blue background crest was one with a gold lion on crimson, followed by a silver snake on green, then a white leopard on azure and finally, a black panther on scarlet; Peverell, Gryffindor, Slytherin, Black and… Potter. Those who recognized them, especially the last one could only furrow their brows in confusion, now the 'traitor' was also claiming the House of Potter?
The cordoned crowd's reaction was mixed –some were radiating outright animosity and open hostility, others were apprehensive, still others seem doubtful. But they were all tied together with one emotion: anticipation.
Tristan reached the podium that was set up in the middle. The silence as he did so became deafening. He was poised to begin addressing the crowd, when the Ministry main doors where he had come from opened yet again.
Witches and Wizards gasped loudly upon seeing a battalion of goblin soldiers in full battle gear marching into the Atrium. They immediately surrounded the crowd, effectively blocking Tristan from any attacker. People have not even recovered yet from being corralled by vicious goblins when a clan of day-walking vampires came in and did the same. Next came in a pack of werewolves. Then, the Fiama –visible for everyone to see. Tristan gave a grateful smile to the beings that leant their time and effort to support him.
"I told you, you would not have to do this on your own," Severus said, coming from behind the High Lord. Behind the appointed Lord Prince were almost all of the members of the Court of Wizengamot, with varying smiles of support. The dark wizard turned to the leader of the goblins next. "I see you've brought the cavalry with you Gareth." The goblin returned his grin.
"Gathering them was not necessary my Lord. They came as soon as they heard."
"Honestly, the Prophet thinks that we're that stupid." Lord Davies said, shaking his head. "I mean, we saw you take that oath when you revealed yourself. You said you were who you claim to be –and you did not lose your magic."
"It was simple deduction," said Lady Longbottom. She addressed Tristan. "You have some explaining to do, young man," she said sternly. Eventually, she smiled. "My Neville and I were worried about you."
"Charlie told me. Apparently, Oliver figured it out," said Lord Prewitt. "Ron and Hermione explained why you did it, and I want you to know that you should not feel bad for keeping it a secret. We're behind you, little brother. Although expect a howler from mum for making her worry," he finished sheepishly.
"Guys," Tristan breathed, his eyes moistening from the overwhelming show of support. "Thank you. I could spend an eternity showing you how much your word and presence means to me, but I believe we are on schedule." He then turned to Lucius who was with the Wizengamot party. "Isn't that right Minister?"
"Are you ready, my Lord?" Gareth asked him. Harry replied with a nod at his trusted liaison.
"As I'll ever be." Tristan took the spot that was set up for him behind the podium. It was now or never. For a few moments, the High Lord stood unnaturally still. All eyes were on him.
A blink later, he was gone.
In his place stood Wizarding Britain's wayward savior.
The crowd collectively gasped at the sudden appearance of one Harry James Potter.
-END OF CHAPTER 42-
A/N: So? How was it? Up next: Chapter 43: Sanctuary –pandemonium at the Ministry! Don't miss it! In the mean time, why don't you send me some love?
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