Disclaimer: I own nothing. JK Rowling owns it all. I am but a mortal quaking before the immortality of her idea.
"We could not fight the devil and the demons he commanded no more than we could fight the dark god that they served without question. We all died that day, even me. It is why my ghost haunts this place in this life and the next."
Auror Captain Alastor Moody, Enticing the Dragon
Harry slept for ten hours and did not dream a single dream. When he woke, Miranda stood near his bed, waiting patiently.
The Gringotts goblins had furnished him a room they kept on hand for visiting dignitaries. It was large and spacious with a massive four-poster bed done in plush red. Light poured in from windows that did not actually view the outside but were charmed to make the viewer believe they did. It reminded him of Hogwarts. A memory he did not want.
He didn't want to remember anything about that place and the people he had called his friends. The sting of betrayal was too painful.
"Good morning, Majesty. Clothes and armor have been prepared for you," Miranda greeted with a warm smile and a curtsy.
Harry looked at the beautiful brunette. Her hair was looser today than before. It fell freely in waves that went to mid-back. She wore similar clothes, a white button-up and a black skirt. Harry felt a stirring inside him when he looked at her. The way she stared at him, the way her eyes lit up with adoration when he was around, all but calmed the anger raging within him; yet, that anger was replaced by another feeling that was just as potent. He could not help but enjoy the attentions of a woman. He was, after all, a man who had been locked in prison for ten years. He had never had a girlfriend, and his hormones were making up for it.
He did not realize that his eyes were lingering in certain spots as they traced the curve of her body, stopping at each button of her shirt. He blinked and shook his head.
"Are you well, sire?"
Harry's eyes darted to her face. She was staring at him with a look of devoted adoration. Her eyes promised to do anything to please him. Her full lips parted slightly under his scrutiny as though she would speak again. He did not give her the chance.
"Very much," he said, rising from the bed, noting as he did that he had been bathed and cleaned. His clothes were gone. He stood naked. Who had undressed him? When?
Miranda's eyes widened. A deep blush tinted her cheeks.
Harry's stomach clenched in knots. "Forgive me," he whispered, pushing the disappointment from his voice. He grabbed one of the bed sheets and pulled, bringing it around his waist and tying it off. It shouldn't be surprising that a woman acted that way when looking at him. It's not like he had been good with girls before Azkaban. Add on ten years of prison driven emaciation, and he couldn't blame anyone for being disturbed. His cheeks grew warm, the cold power that had covered him yesterday chased away by shame.
Miranda shook her head and pointed behind Harry. He turned, following her finger, to a mirror that hung on the wall. He stared into the glass.
It wasn't him that looked back. Well, it was his face, but the body beneath it wasn't his. It couldn't be. It was tall, muscled, and sculpted. He shouldn't look like that! He hadn't looked like that ever. Just a few hours earlier he had been a malnourished convict with stringy, greasy hair! Now, he was a bronze Adonis with long, full black hair that looked as if it belonged to a veela and not a wizard. The only thing that hadn't changed was his eyes. They were as green and vibrant as ever.
"What happened?" he whispered and turned back to Miranda.
Miranda blinked, cleared her throat, and managed to recover. "Forgive me, lord. I knew that this could happen. The moment you ascended, your body had to change to compensate the power going through it. Only, I expected that to happen before you came to us. The magic should have altered you the first time you rested."
"Well, other than a brief moment of unconsciousness at the prison, I did not rest until last night. I had to stay awake to escape the prison and fight my way here," Harry told her simply, casually mentioning the magical feats that should have been impossible.
Miranda's eyes widened again. "Sire, that is ridiculous! No one is capable of going so long without rest!"
The temperature in the room dropped, and the witch knew she had made a mistake. An icy chill blew between them. Harry let out a low growl. His skin rippled as the muscles beneath it tensed. "You accuse me of lying?" he asked, his voice low and full of venom. The magically induced light from the windows flickered.
Miranda took a step back, suddenly very afraid of the man in front of her. She should have known better. She had seen him blow through the magically impervious doors at Gringotts. She had seen his magic knock the mighty Orian Throathammer to the ground. But she had not understood. Until then, the thought of a king who had been repressed in Azkaban had, on some level, disgusted her. The Moridunum needed a strong leader, not one who had been stunted before having a chance to mature.
In that moment she knew better, and that knowledge terrified her. Her magic responded against her will as he stared at her, the storm in his green eyes so intense that it alone could have forced her to her knees. She backed away until she hit the wall.
"M-my lord, I-"
"Do not speak," Harry snapped, cutting her off. "I did not give you permission to speak." His voice was laced with the power of command and authority that he should not have known how to access. He raised a finger and pointed it at her. "I have been accused of lying too often to let you do so. No one will ever question my honesty again. Do you understand?"
Miranda nodded. She didn't trust herself to do anything else, because in that moment, her body simply crawled with desire. She knew it was a reaction to his strength, but that didn't change anything. Between her legs, she could feel a wetness building uncomfortably between her legs. Her nipples hardened beneath the fabric of her thin bra. A sudden longing boiled in her chest. Butterflies fluttered in her chest. Her breathing sped up, excited and inconsistent.
Harry's eyes drifted down to her chest, focusing on the outline of her hardened nipples. A smile crossed his lips though it did little to warm the coldness of his features. "You are excited," he said, a laugh in his voice. "I admit, my education on the female body is limited, but I do remember picking up a few things from the speculations of my dorm-mates."
He took a step towards her. Miranda tensed in anticipation. Her body yearned to go to him. Her instincts had regressed to the more animalistic part of her nature. The desire she felt then was just that: bestial. But behind all that, in the place where logic still maintained a feeble grasp, her mind screamed for her to refuse. It told her that the magic was affecting her. To give into such a desire would cheapen anything she could one day have with the king. It would make her a whore, a slut.
His slut. The thought made her even wetter.
Harry closed the gap between them. His shoved her hard against the wall. Pain swept up her back, but it was quickly replaced by other situations. Any resistance caved. She wanted this. She could feel his erection against her stomach as he pressed his body against hers. The famous Boy-Who-Lived, a childhood hero, leaned down to her ear. His tongue swept over the edge, flicking against the skin. A shudder went down her body. His hands clasped either side of her waist and flexed against the feeling of her in them. She gasped at his strength.
"Please…" she heard herself beg.
His hands found the buttons of her shirt. He fumbled for a moment and gave up, deciding to rip the shirt open. His muscles barely flexed in exertion as the fabric ripped, revealing the creamy flesh beneath and the lacy white bra. She gasped. Unable to hold back any longer, she found his lips with her own, initiating a deep kiss that made her toes curl. Waves of magic spread off his body, filling hers, driving her to push harder.
Then it stopped. The magic ended, and she felt her senses return to her. The foggy haze of lust cleared. What happened? She couldn't remember. She only remembered… No. She hadn't stopped it. He had. Harry had ended the magic on purpose. And now he was standing there, holding her against the wall.
They stood in silence. Minutes passed filled only by the sounds of her deep breathing and his calm, collected breathes. A tiny whisper of a voice spoke to her in the silence. "I will kill them, Miranda. I will destroy them all for doing this to me and daring to call me a liar. You do not know what I have seen and heard, what was done to me. Any society that can stand idly by while such torture is condoned is a stain, and that stain shall be burned from this earth and their ashes salted so that nothing shall grow in their place."
Miranda was too afraid to respond. Her shirt in tatters, she leaned back against the wall, lost in the endless void of his gaze. Suddenly, she felt very small.
Dumbledore sighed. The Minister of Magic was an idiot. Why would anyone think the best way to respond to a threat would be to go running madly into enemy territory without any intelligence on the enemy's capabilities? An utterly ludicrous idea. Yet, that was precisely what Fudge ordered his men to do the very moment the report had come that the goblins had attacked Draco Malfoy and thrown him and several other wizards from Gringotts.
Dumbledore attempted to point out that the witness reports stated that the goblins had not actually attacked so much as simply appeared in the bank and sealed the doors. The Malfoy heir had been the first to actually attack, violating the ancient treaty that protected the bank as sovereign territory of the goblin nation.
"Do I look like I care, Dumbledore?" the Minister had responded. "Gringotts is a wizarding institution. We will not have those beasts think they can harm decent magical folk without repercussion."
Arguing with the Minister at that point would have only made the matters worse. Fudge was terrified that Harry Potter would destroy his precious Ministry and his reputation. The man clang to power, but more than that, he clang to the power he did not have to work hard for. Fudge had done little real work since getting elected. The majority of the tasks that should belong to the Minister of Magic were delegated to a board of undersecretaries that were over paid and as bigoted as the influential families who held Fudge in the palm of their hand.
Dumbledore watched from the special spell-screen in the Minister's office as a team of thirty aurors approached the goblin fortress that acted as a bank for the wizarding world and knew that those men and women quite possibly marched to their deaths. The Headmaster shook his head.
"Cornelius, I beg you, end this fallacy. The aurors will not be able to withstand a goblin battle host."
The Minister scoffed. "Dumbledore, you give them too much credit. Thirty of our finest duelist against a bunch of stunted creatures who don't even have wands? The goblins will surrender before the fight even begins, you wait and see."
Wait. Did the Minister think that the goblin warriors were the same one who worked in the bank? How could a man be so ignorant of the larger magical world around him and get elected? Dumbledore could understand how the general population did not know about the true nature of the magical community, but the Minister of Magic should know better! It was the Ministry who authorized the youth of Britain to be left significantly uneducated on the subject of the outside world. Supposedly, it ensured that few ever left the wizarding world for the larger opportunities awaiting those who ventured outside it. With a few exceptions, it had worked. But this time, that ignorance could get several good wizards and witches killed and start a war in earnest against a foe wizarding Britain was not prepared to face.
"Minister, you've got to recall the aurors. Those are not the goblins you think they-"
Dumbledore didn't finish. His stomach rose into his throat at the image that filled the spell-screen. It was too late. An auror was stepping out from the rest and stepping up to the doors. He read the name that appeared above the auror's image. His eyebrows rose. Perhaps the Minister was wiser than he thought.
"No, Dumbledore," the Minister whispered as he watched the screen. A piece of parchment was half-crumbled in his hand, but the word that burned on it in vibrant red ink was clear: Surrender or burn. "We cannot let threats go unanswered."
Orian watched the wizards approach from one of the observation points above the bank lobby. They did not move in any particular formation. Confident in their presumed superior abilities, they casually approached the doors of the bank, or what bit of the doors the goblins managed to replace in the eleven hours since the new king had destroyed them.
"Arrogant aren't they?" said the voice of the First Lord of the Moridinum from beside Orian.
The goblin lord grunted. "All wizards seem to have that tendency." He met the Boy-Who-Lived's eyes with a look just as intense as the chilling green gaze that watched him. "It would do well for you to remember that, Majesty."
Harry didn't reply for moment. His eyes searched the goblin lord before they filled with a glint of genuine mirth. The wizard threw his head back and laughed. The effect on the battle host below them was instantaneous. The reassurance of Harry's calm confidence bolstered their resolve and morale. Subtle waves of encouraging magic wafted from the wizard and warmed them.
"I shall do my best, Lord Orian; though, I hope you will be there to knock me around a bit should I forget it."
Orian smiled, a rather grotesque action for a goblin considering the shape of their faces. Yes, this new king might fit in just fine.
Then, the aurors made their move.
"Hey, you lot in there," cried a witch with striking bubble gum hair. "Open up in the name of the Ministry of Magic."
On Orian's other side, Miranda turned and faced the goblin lord and her king. "My lords?"
Harry nodded. Orian seconded the gesture.
Miranda cleared her throat, cast a charm with her wand, and called back: "The Goblin Nation does not recognize the organization to which you refer. The Ministry of Magic is considered an illegal government with no authority to discuss any agreements or issue any orders to the beings of the Goblin Nation."
The aurors looked amongst themselves, clearly confused. Most drew their wands. Others shuffled about, already bored with the exchange they felt to be beneath them. Orian frowned at their obvious lack of discipline. There would be little resistance.
"Listen up, lass," called out a severely scarred wizard with an eye that roamed around and around without any discernable rhythm. "We are the Ministry of Magic. You lot signed a treaty with us and swore magical oaths. Now, I can tell you are a witch by your voice. Surely you don't want to get mixed up in this. Why don't you come down and open the door?"
Harry snorted a laugh. Orian barely held one back himself. "See what I mean, Lord?"
Miranda cleared her throat again, ignoring their side conversation. "By order of His Majesty Harry, the Lord Merlin, by the Grace of God King of the United Kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland, King of the Franks, Right Duke of Normandy, First Lord of the Moridunum, and Prince of Corinth, the Ministry of Magic is hereby ordered to disband until such a time as the King sees fit to restore it. His Majesty's Royal Army will enforce this directive. Aurors, stand down and remove the uniforms of your station."
The wizard with the spinning eye cast an unsure glance over his shoulder to another wizard that stood taller than the rest. The darker skinned man shrugged and held up his wand. The wizard with the spinning eye followed.
"Aurors, ready to fire!" he called out.
Orian drew his sword and called out to the battle host in the lobby below them. "Moridunum!" Then he brought the sword against his breastplate.
Without speaking, the battle host did the same.
Spells flew at the doors of the bank and barely made a dent against the superior magic that held them closed. The aurors looked down at their wands and readied to fire again. They did not have to.
Slowly, the doors to Gringotts creaked open as if guided by an invisible hand.
"That's more like it," the bubblegum-haired witch called out. She and the others strode forward confidently. Only the wizard with the spinning eye stayed back. The eye had stopped and was focused on the dark shadow that was beyond the doors, then his other eye – a normal one – filled with panic.
"No!" shouted a voice from the aurors.
Harry froze. The voice was deeper, louder, but he knew it. The sound resonated him almost as strongly as the magic that flowed through him.
The pink-haired auror's head snapped to the group of aurors behind her. A wizard stepped out, walked past her, and stepped up to the open doors, not bothering to pay the armed host any mind.
"Harry, I just want to talk to you!"
Harry felt as though he had been slapped. He traced the lines of the wizards face. The pale skin. The tall, lanky body. The freckles. The red hair.
A/N: The response to this has been fair, but the story has reached the turning point. Here, the real action begins and things start to develop quicker. Are many people actually reading this and enjoying it? Should I keep going?