Grazhir :: Harry Potter :: Control Issues :: 18 :: Sturgis Podmore

18 • Sturgis Podmore

Sturgis Podmore, a man who had been sentenced to Azkaban for six months after having been forced to try to get the prophecy sphere. Voldemort knew from his investigation of Moody’s mind, and therefore Harry too, that Podmore had become embittered by his imprisonment, eventually placing the blame on Harry rather than where it belonged, either Dumbledore or Voldemort himself. His mate had every reason to wish to kill him personally.

Harry snapped his fingers; Lucius hastened over a second later. “My lord?”

“You will reserve that male with the straw-coloured hair,” Harry said quietly, “the one at the far left.”

Voldemort added, “And the one next to him.”

“Yes, my lords,” Lucius said, then bowed and strode toward the squad. Within a few moments one of the men had separated those two victims out and caused them to stand off to the side, with him behind as guard.

That having been taken care of Harry said to those assembled, “Given that there are a dozen lives here to be taken, the top twelve from our review process shall have the delightful opportunity to play with them and show us all just how creative they can be. Those people are. . . .” Harry reeled off a list of names, of which Lucius was one, then said, “If any of those named would like to gift their plaything to another, that is acceptable.”

Then he turned and murmured to Voldemort, “Should we go first, or let them?”

“Custom normally dictates that we go first, but you can do whatever you damn well please,” Voldemort murmured back.

Harry nodded thoughtfully, then turned back to face the assembly. “Lucius, bring my chosen to the center,” he ordered, and waited until the man had complied before pushing up from his chair and approaching, his scythe appearing in his right hand while the left gained a wand. Then he cast the imperius curse, watching impassively as his victim quickly stripped, revealing his somewhat flabby body to the amused Death Eaters.

Harry twisted his scythe and swung it in an arc, shattering Podmore’s shin and causing him to collapse to the ground, then put away his wand. “I think I’m going to enjoy this,” he said, then bashed the handle into the man’s other shin, shattering that as well, and causing Podmore to howl with pain. “And now, unless you feel up to dragging yourself off in a desperate attempt to escape, you’re not going anywhere, my plump little pigeon.”

The next bones to be shattered were those in Podmore’s left arm, followed by his right. “Oh, too late,” Harry said with mock regret, then jammed the butt of the scythe into the man’s chest, breaking at least one rib. Podmore’s breathing became very labored at that point, so Harry shook out a wand and cast several spells on him, then used it to heat the blade of his scythe until it glowed red; the wand disappeared again.

“You’re just as weak-willed now as you were then, darling. How quaint. Well, let us see just how much noise you can manage now, or if you have the brains and fortitude to remain quiet.” Harry swung his scythe again, almost like a pendulum, and sliced off the man’s right foot, scoring the floor deeply as he did so. Podmore let out a strangled howl, then seemed to seize up, his arms trying to move to his chest but unable to do so.

“Oh dear, I’ve damaged the floor. Terribly sorry, Lucius. Be a good fellow and levitate our friend here a bit so that won’t happen again. I shouldn’t like to dull my weapon so quickly, either.”

Lucius obeyed with celerity, and Podmore was shortly hovering a few inches above the ground.

Harry nodded his approval, then swung again, slicing off more of the man’s leg above his initial cut, the heated blade cauterizing the wound again. He took his time, slicing away until he was only a few inches below where the man’s thigh joined his torso, then started in on the other leg. He had quite a pile of cross-sections by the time he had them both removed.

“Hm, I don’t suppose you’ll ever walk again. How sad, darling.” By then Harry was forced to reapply the heating charm to his blade; that last cut was bleeding sluggishly. And of course, Podmore had been reduced to a not-quite state of shock, unable to do more than jerk in place and moan each time Harry sliced off another section of his limb.

The arms were next, Harry working quite methodically with a look of concentration on his face. When he paused he gave Podmore an intense look, taking in the tears streaking out of the man’s eyes to fall off to either side and puddle on the floor. “I really must wonder. Tell me, pigeon, is your master aware of me yet?” When Podmore didn’t respond immediately Harry nudged him with the butt of his scythe. “I don’t think you’d appreciate the cruciatus in your condition, so perhaps you’ll answer me.”

“Yes,” Podmore gasped.

“Yes what?” Harry said impatiently, nudging him again.

“He knows of you,” Podmore forced out.

“And does he know my name?”

“Thanatos.”

“That’s Lord Thanatos, pigeon,” Harry snarled, then bashed Podmore in the ribs, cracking more bones. “Well, well, well. Interesting. In that case, I don’t need to concern myself with keeping you alive. I was considering sending you back, still alive, with all your bits and pieces and a nice note. But if your master is already aware of me. . . .” Harry positioned himself and readied his scythe, then swung it so fast and forcefully that it whistled before it bit into the man’s flesh and sliced him clean in half from crotch to head.

Podmore fell apart and hit the floor, Lucius’s spell no longer able to keep him aloft under the circumstances. “Brilliant,” Harry murmured. “Lucius, get someone to box up this mess. I might decide to send it back later anyway.” Then he turned and slinked back to his chair, the scythe disappearing, and took a seat.

“You have way too much fun with that toy,” Voldemort murmured teasingly, causing Harry to give him an amused look.

“It was your suggestion,” Harry murmured back.

Voldemort smiled at him, then barked, “Lucius!”

“Yes, my lord,” was heard as Lucius signaled for the other victim to be brought forth.

Voldemort did not bother to rise. Instead, he lazily produced a wand and conjured two snakes, hissed at them to wait, then used the imperius to cause the man to strip. Another spell locked him in place, his mouth somewhat open, and then Voldemort hissed instructions to his temporary pets after casting several spells on them for their protection.

They slithered off toward the frozen victim, winding up his legs once they arrived. And while one began to burrow up into the man’s ass, the other continued upward to slide into his mouth and disappear. It did not take long before blood began seeping out of the man’s ass, and dribbling from his mouth.

And it was not much past that that peculiar bulges appeared, distending and distorting the man’s abdomen. Voldemort conjured a third snake, spelled it, then hissed instructions, watching as it spiraled up and went into the victim’s mouth like the second had. That one, however, rather than descending entirely to the man’s stomach, burst out through his throat as the other two managed to rend an opening through his stomach.

Only then did they strike, sinking their fangs into his soft flesh, then slithered down his body and back onto the floor, whereupon Voldemort banished them. The man started shaking and foaming at the mouth within thirty seconds, crashing to the floor to begin convulsing in his own blood, finally stiffening into a grotesquely contorted position of death.

“Lazy sod,” Harry murmured with a smirk, flirting his brows up briefly before licking his lips.

Voldemort felt his cock stir; in all actuality he was beginning to wonder if his rebirth had afforded him any number of advantages over his original body. One would think a seventy-five year old man—even a wizard—would not be so quickly aroused again. A teenager he was not, after all. He waved his hand at Lucius, who immediately ordered someone to clean up the mess.

“They’ll sort themselves out from here,” Voldemort murmured. “We simply watch and appear vaguely interested.”

“I should think the manner by which a person kills another says something about their character. For instance, I have trouble seeing Lucius getting all bloody, whereas I would have to wonder if Goyle might decide to bludgeon someone to death. Speaking of which, we seem to have a loose-lipped minion, cosire.”

Voldemort paused before speaking, appearing to show interest in Lucius’s use of a flagellation curse on his chosen victim, who had been suspended spread-eagled. “It could be any of them,” he murmured. “We would be digging for ages trying to find the culprit. I am more concerned with what connections the man may have drawn.”

“What, you mean like my identity?”

Voldemort nodded and glanced over. “It’s almost even odds between two names, or a possible unknown.”

Harry frowned faintly. “I don’t care now if the one reputation is shot to hell, not really.”

“He is more likely to suspect your secondary,” Voldemort pointed out. “He has no evidence on the primary aside from knowing that he is not dead. What evidence he does have cannot be said to point at him as a culprit.”

“True. Still, I don’t like the fact that someone has been indiscreet. Do we start digging, or do we wait until we have the . . . white king?”

“We attempt to set tails on the white king, and perhaps catch sight of someone meeting with him. Then again, it might simply be rumor passed on to him in a roundabout fashion.” He glanced over to note that Lucius had moved on to flaying his victim from a safe distance.

Harry shrugged almost imperceptibly. “Tails it is, then, with the hope that none of them are the problem.”

Much later, though before they actually returned to the compound, Harry had Lucius produce the boxed-up remains of Podmore. And while Voldemort went ahead and made sure the contents were placed in stasis, Harry dashed off a quick note to go with it.

DIY Order Member Kit
  Easy to assemble!
   (Pins not included.)

That was tucked into an envelope, which was then addressed to Albus Dumbledore with a return of Wizarding DIY, 666 Knockturn Alley, and attached to the outside of the box.

*

“Have a seat, Lucius.” After a pause Voldemort said, “Your son may not live for much longer if he’s not careful.”

“Yes, my lord.”

“A shame he is your only heir, really. Should I be concerned that you have managed to raise a son who is so oblivious, Lucius? So . . . foolish? Perhaps I should ask Lord Thanatos to rearrange his thinking patterns.”

Harry listened from his office as he went over training lists and reports, wondering himself just exactly what he should do to punish the Malfoy heir. He could certainly crucio him on a daily basis for a while, but generic pain was not really much of a lesson giver even though a human could make the proper associations.

No, he needed something to make Draco think twice about gossiping like some silly girl. And then a rather malicious smile twisted his lips. Harry rose and slinked into his lover’s office in time to hear, “. . . Ministry laws. You may go.”

Lucius rose, bowed, and left swiftly but quietly.

Harry perched on the edge of the desk and grinned. “I think I know what I’d like to do to our dear Draco. But, I’d like to see what you think of the idea, first.”

“Should we return home for this?”

“Yes, probably. I know you’ve wards up here, but. . . .”

Much later on, just a bit past four in the afternoon, a knock came at Harry’s office door, followed quickly by Draco, who prostrated himself once the door was shut. Harry quietly cast a few spells to ensure their privacy, then said, “So, Draco Malfoy, you seem to have far too many questions. That would not be something I particularly cared about were it not for the fact that your tongue wags at very inopportune times.

“I am going to share a little something with you. Several things, in fact, in the hopes that this will give you the proper motivation. After all, I’ve no doubt your father will be quite annoyed at having to beget a new heir should you cross the line again and have to be killed. Unlike a certain personage who walks in Light, I am not inclined to give endless second chances.

“What you shall see today should get that fact straight in your mind. So, Draco Malfoy, do stand up and approach my desk,” he ordered, and gave a half smirk when his erstwhile rival did so, then took a moment to release him from the spell that kept him silent. Harry opened a drawer and withdrew a pensieve, placed it on his desk, then touched his wand to his temple and removed a memory.

He had, with Voldemort’s help, managed to watch a copy of his final encounter with Severus Snape (starting from just prior to Snape’s awakening and ending before they left the dungeon), then produce a copy of that experience. Testing revealed that he appeared in it twice, once as Harry Potter, and once as Lord Thanatos, and the entire time he had stayed in the shadows, next to where Voldemort had watched from.

The silvery strand went into the pensieve and Harry gestured at it casually. “Within you will find one of your answers. Enter, Malfoy.”

And Draco did, emerging some time later with very wide eyes. Harry simply sat there waiting to see if the man was smart enough to figure things out, even with the added obfuscating factor. He didn’t at first, murmuring incredulously, “Potty killed Uncle Sev?” That was shortly followed by, “But then our lord—? Feed? But—” Draco looked up at him almost fearfully.

Harry arched a brow and flipped back some of his hair, then said, “There are none so important among your number that they cannot be killed, Draco Malfoy, and traitors do not deserve to live, wouldn’t you agree? Betrayal is something that should be dealt with as promptly as possible. Dark lords do not take kindly to their people seeking to play both sides of the chess board.”

He retrieved the memory and put the pensieve away, not entirely surprised that Malfoy was still in the dark. A portkey was produced next; Harry rose and twirled his wand between his fingers, then stepped around the desk. “We shall move on to your next object lesson, Malfoy,” he said, holding out a dog collar with a faint smile.

Draco touched it, instigating their removal to Moony’s park. He landed fairly gracefully, but that was to be expected of a Malfoy, right? “Keep a firm grip on that tongue, Malfoy,” Harry warned, then tucked the collar into his pocket and called out, “Weatherby!”

A head popped up from a lush cluster of long grass; seconds later Percy scrambled over and plopped down in front of Harry, then barked. “Hello, Weatherby. Have you been a good boy today?”

“He has,” came a soft voice from off to the side.

Harry turned and smiled; Lupin was just exiting the dog house. “All right, Moony. You may stay or go back to what you were doing, it makes no difference to me.”

Moony nodded and sat not far away, obviously curious.

Harry turned to Draco, who looked to be on the verge of doing something undignified, like gaping unattractively. “Weatherby here is an example of what can happen to those who annoy me greatly, Draco Malfoy,” he said in that dead tone. “You might think it a shame were it to happen to you, though Weatherby is very happy with his present lot in life, being the bitch of my admittedly small kennel. So, you can see what may befall you should you decide not to guard that wicked little tongue of yours in the future. As it is, I already have one of brown and red. If I added you I’d have blond, and need only black to complete my set.”

Malfoy looked at him, eyes wider than normal, then took a step back. “You’re—you would, wouldn’t you?”

Harry had his former rival pinned to a tree by the throat within seconds, his face up close and personal. “You forget yourself, Malfoy.”

“My lord,” Draco whispered, flicking his gaze away briefly.

“Better, Malfoy. No matter what thoughts might be swirling around in that head of yours, you should never forget that I am your master, and deserve your respect. But to answer your question, trust me when I say I would have no qualms about giving you to Moony for a week if the whim struck, nor would I suffer any distress in killing you.”

“You’re . . . him. You . . . killed Sev, my lord?”

Harry laughed softly and released his prey, stepping back several paces as Malfoy rubbed his throat gingerly. “So, you are not so stupid after all. I wondered if you would figure it out. Perhaps there is hope for you yet, peacock. To answer your other question, no, I am not fully human.” And just when Malfoy was beginning to relax, even slightly, Harry stunned him.

“It must suck,” Harry drawled, “to have come to certain realizations, and to understand just exactly who it is you’re dealing with, peacock. Of course, I shall ensure that your tongue will stay firmly in line.” And with that he tucked his wand away and produced a vial instead; that was forced down Malfoy’s throat.

While he was waiting for it to take effect Percy scrambled over and stuck his face into Draco’s crotch and snuffled. Malfoy couldn’t move, but his eyes could certainly express his feelings on the matter, a mixture of horror, indignation, and involuntary arousal. To be sure, a stunner did not prevent the young man’s cock from stiffening in response to Percy’s mostly innocent activities.

“Interesting,” Harry commented, and simply watched as Percy continued to snuffle and push and rub his unprotesting target. He made no move whatsoever to call off the redhead, not until the drugs had taken effect, anyway. And then he did so, and used his wand to arrange Malfoy on the ground and release him from the effects of the stunner.

An hour or more passed as he worked over Draco’s mind, meticulously setting up a reaction trigger. Should Malfoy ever attempt to communicate his knowledge of who Lord Thanatos was, or even how Snape had met his end, he would be forced to endure a memory of being subjected to the cruciatus curse. Speech, writing—charades, even—any attempt would see him writhing in remembered pain. And for that matter, so would attempts to communicate what Harry was actually doing to him, though he did take the time to obliviate the specifics without disarming his little mental trap.

All in all, Harry was feeling quite satisfied by the time he had finished tinkering with Malfoy’s mind. And that meant it was time for the actual punishment. He smiled wickedly as he began transfiguring Draco’s clothing into the mental image he held. The man might be forced to suffer in private, but this would ensure he would suffer in public as well, and certainly not dare to step foot out of the compound until the week had been endured.

As a final step Harry spelled Draco’s hair longer, then called Moony over. “What do you think, pet?”

Moony eyed Malfoy for a while before responding. “Why this?”

Harry smiled and reached over to ruffle Moony’s hair. “Because, pet, he’s been acting like a gossipy girl. I decided he may as well look like one, too, at least for a week. An approximation, anyway.”

Draco looked, to all accounts, like he had stepped out of the realm of hentai. His pleated skirt was quite short, barely long enough to cover the essentials, his socks were knee high and almost sheer, and his shoes were of a style referred to as Mary Janes. His pants were thin white cotton, his short-sleeved shirt crisp and white, and his tie was a striking shade of green that matched his skirt.

And best of all, Malfoy couldn’t reverse or remove any of it. Harry had added charms to keep everything looking perfect, even after being slept in. The only thing he would be able to do was drop his pants in order to use the toilet.

Draco slowly came to full awareness on being released from his condition, his expression one of growing horror and humiliation, so Harry decided to help him along with a bit of understanding.

“I’m feeling generous, Draco Malfoy, so instead I have simply made you appear to be what you play at already . . . a gossiping girl. Unless, of course, you would like to be Moony’s second bitch for a week?”

Draco swallowed and shook his head violently. “No, my lord.”

Harry smirked and said, “Such a pretty girl you make. Ware your virtue, for I think some of the more lacking Death Eaters may mistake you for a tasty tidbit to wile away an hour with.” He rose to his feet and ordered, “Get up,” then removed the dog collar from his pocket; a tap of his wand reset the destination. Harry held it out without speaking and Malfoy touched it after a moment.

“Do not bother to report each day,” he instructed. “You will return to me at the end of a week’s time instead. I’m sure the intervening hours will do you well in terms of lessoning. You will not leave the compound.” He removed the privacy spells and pointed at the door. “Now get out.”

“Yes, my lord,” Draco said, and Harry had the satisfaction of seeing the man’s face flush red in anticipation of his upcoming public humiliation. Malfoy slipped out, almost reluctantly, and closed the door behind him.

Harry slinked into the adjoining office and grinned at Voldemort, then sidled over to the door and tilted his head in invitation. His lover rose gracefully and followed him out. As they were walking toward the house their attention was caught quite handily.

Draco was shuffling along with his head down, no doubt mortally embarrassed, trying to make it to the barracks without being noticed by too many people. He had not made it far, however, when he was violently pushed up against the wall of a nearby building, and squeaked in a seriously undignified manner. A mouth pressed up against his, and Harry could see the assailant reach down to clamp a hand to Malfoy’s ass and squeeze.

Draco struggled and finally managed to turn his head slightly, then said in a shocked voice, “Goyle?”

Goyle grunted and tried to kiss Draco again, clumsily. “Pretty,” he said, then yanked Draco closer.

Harry was briefly distracted by the sudden scent of brimstone and whipped his head around, wondering what the hell was causing it, and caught the merest flash of flame-red hair disappearing around a corner. He shrugged, then turned back to see Draco desperately trying to push Goyle off, only succeeding in pushing his skirt up higher toward his waist. He stifled his laughter; he had certainly not imagined that one of Malfoy’s cronies would latch onto him in such a manner.

Beside him, Voldemort was shaking slightly, obviously repressing his own amusement at the scene before them. And then Lucius arrived, striding toward the pair with purpose. Whether or not he realized it was his son being accosted was in doubt, but surely that striking shade of blond hair had caught his attention alongside the fact that the owner was clearly not happy to be in that situation.

Goyle was detached with a few sharply spoken words and sent on his way. A mortified Draco was also sent on, but not until Lucius had cast the odd charm over him. And then Lucius approached his two masters rather diffidently.

“Is there a problem?” Voldemort inquired innocently.

“My lords,” Lucius greeted them. “Is this . . . necessary?”

Harry was nearly floored at the gall it must have taken for the man to be so forward, though he took care not to show it. Voldemort looked at him, so he answered, keeping in mind that his lover did allow this man a certain amount of leeway. “Lucius Malfoy, what a shockingly forward question. It is questions like that that brought your adored son to his present condition. However, you have a quality he does not possess, and that is a respectable amount of humility.

“Consider this strike one, Lucius. The consequences of strike two I shall not bother to mention, but know that strike three will result in you needing to beget a new heir.” He cast a meaningful look at the man, arching a brow.

Lucius nodded his acceptance, not that there was much else he could unless he wished to invite pain, bodily harm, or death. “Yes, my lord.”

“I trust you will excuse us, Lucius,” Voldemort said with an edge to his voice. “Further interruption is not welcome.” Then he turned and continued on toward the house.

Harry followed, glad that Voldemort had made it plain in his understated way that the subject was not to be raised again, and entered the house in fairly good humor. He grabbed his lover’s hand and dragged him off to the kitchen, where he provided a decent dinner, then dragged him upstairs for his own.

*

Voldemort spend a great deal of time over the following week laughing privately at the younger Malfoy’s fate. Whatever Lucius had done had prevented anyone from trying to force his son, but it did not in the least prevent people from attempting to seduce him. Harry was right; Draco did make for a very pretty pseudo-girl.

And he had also seen evidence that his beloved’s other goal was being met. There was at least once instance where he had witnessed Malfoy going stock still, then begin to shake in a very characteristic manner. Almost as quickly as the incident was over Malfoy made a beeline for the infirmary.

Lucius had delivered up to him a complete listing of every single law in effect within the British wizarding community. Naturally, he had not bothered to state why he wanted the information, not wishing to clue his minion in to his actual goal in terms of knowledge. Harry was very pleased to return to the house with him, a large trunk floating along behind them.

And as much as Voldemort wanted to investigate the laws himself, he was far more interested in appeasing his desire. They never got through the day without at least one round of lovemaking, frequently two or three depending on how active his mate was. He was blessing whatever deities there might be that he could keep up.

Harry was easily persuaded.

Voldemort didn’t bother to go past the front hall. He began undressing his mate on the spot, then shucked off his robes and pressed Harry up against the wall to begin savaging his neck. Without even touching his back his mate melted under his assault, lifting up one leg to wrap around Voldemort’s waist and sliding his hands up under the shirt his lover was still wearing.

“I’m going to take you here,” Voldemort whispered into his beloved’s ear, “up against the wall. I might even decide to remove the charm from the door and its sidelites so that anyone walking by might see in, see us making love.”

Harry moaned loudly and arched, rubbing his cock against his lover’s still clothed body. It was totally beside the point that no one ever came near the front door, probably expecting to be violently thrashed if they dared, or perhaps beheaded. His hands scrabbled around to the front, between them, to work on freeing his lover’s cock from his trousers.

Voldemort licked the edge of Harry’s ear and sucked that delicately pointed tip, then whispered, “That would be horrible, would it not? I could even cast a charm to echo your cries of pleasure to the outside and draw them in by their curiosity. They would all see you writhing in ecstasy at my touch, as I thrust into you, and hear every moan and sharp breath, see the blood trickling from your lip as you tried to be quiet.”

Harry hissed and finally released his lover’s penis from its confines, uncharacteristically awkward due to their positioning. The sound set Voldemort aflame. He sank his teeth into Harry’s neck and reached down to push his mate’s hands away, then wrapped an arm around that raised leg and pulled, drawing Harry’s hips away from the wall a short distance. Another few moments had the head of his cock in position, and he thrust, sheathing himself smoothly.

“You are beautiful, Harry,” he whispered against his mate’s mouth, then kissed him, taking the instant invitation and sliding his tongue within parted lips to taste again that unique essence of his beloved. Harry tried to lift his other leg but Voldemort prevented him, wanting the security it afforded, so Harry twined his arms around his lover’s neck, resting one hand at his nape.

For once Voldemort did not reach between them; he undulated as he thrust into his mate’s warmth, providing a great deal in the way of friction, which Harry seemed to be pleased with judging by the way his body kept contracting and arching. And then he did reach back with his free hand, just barely able to slide his fingers over lower reaches of his mate’s scales, and Harry responded by attacking his mouth with fervor.

It did not take long; he could assume—that is, had he bothered to take the time to wrench his mind around to such consideration—that his words had made Harry so unhinged. His sweet mate was rubbing against him desperately as he came, his mouth slack, so Voldemort kissed the corner of it and across his jaw, even while thrusting almost violently as he began to orgasm himself.

Several minutes later he felt a gentle kiss pressed to his cheek. He lifted his head to see a set of soft emerald eyes staring at him adoringly, and smiled. Then he said teasingly, “I think you love me.”

Harry affected shock, then grinned. “Yes, I think I do.” He glanced quickly toward the door, then back, his eyes sparkling. “You wouldn’t, really.”

Voldemort shook his head. “And deliberately share you, even in such a distant way? Not bloody likely.”

Harry smirked and kissed him quickly. “And now your clothes are all messy. What a shame. I can’t say I feel any regret, though. That’s part of why clothing is such a bother, though I suppose in this case I can be grateful, for they helped me along to be sure.”

Voldemort shook his head slightly and disengaged, casting his gaze down to see Harry’s semen liberally smeared all over his shirt. He trailed one long finger through it, then licked it clean. “Much as I might enjoy your taste, my sweet, this is not an adequate dinner for me. Dare I hope you will cook for me? You know how useless I am in the kitchen.”

Harry eyed him appraisingly. “Well, all right. I suppose I could be persuaded.” Then he dragged Voldemort off toward the kitchen without bothering to clean up.

He was treated to yet another exquisite meal before they both retired upstairs, the briefly forgotten trunk trailing along behind them. Investigation showed that Lucius had divided everything up into categories, and once they found the set pertaining to magical creatures it was excavated from the whole. But before he had a chance to begin reading any of it, Harry diverted him.

“I was going over the schedules earlier and something . . . I don’t know, struck me as being off. I know that not all of the staff lives within the compound, and that’s fine, but. . . . Well, I started to do some comparisons against past behavior when it came to signing in and out. One of the training staff members has changed his patterns. I don’t know if he’s found a bit of fluff on the side or if there’s even anything to be concerned about, but. . . .”

“I can set a tail on this person if you wish,” Voldemort volunteered.

“The tail will have to be very discreet. Remind me the next time we’re in office and I’ll show you the pattern. I’m sure your man would appreciate an idea of when to be on the alert.”

*

The next morning Voldemort sat down to have his breakfast and read the paper. Their investigations had turned up a number of interesting laws concerning part-breeds, most of which were designed to limit their rights in whatever way was possible, and that included incubi. Harry had been angry, but not surprised. However, it did reveal that Dumbledore had probably approved his mate’s induced transformation for reasons other than were previously obvious.

Granted, he wasn’t aware of any members of the species in the United Kingdom aside from Harry, but they were restricted from holding any positions within the Ministry. There was also a requirement of registration, much like there was for werewolves. That made him wonder if Dumbledore had done so on Harry’s behalf, or if he had been holding that knowledge as a trump card.

Either way, an incubus was nearly considered property, a bonded one only a little less so. Whoever had drafted the laws seemed to believe that incubi were capable only of living and breathing sex, nearly mindless creatures who lived to seduce and beguile, and therefore required keepers with a strong determination to rigidly control them. He scoffed at the very idea, but realized on reflection that the books did not have information he and his mate did regarding the results of trying to beat an incubus into submission.

Voldemort gave a mental shrug and turned his attention to the Daily Prophet, his toast falling out of his hand in surprise when he read the headline. He couldn’t know why, though it might be true that Harry’s last gift to Dumbledore had angered the man greatly, but there was no denying the fact that a picture of Lord Thanatos was boldly presented on the front page along with a headline revealing his mate’s new name and occupation.

And for a wonder, it had not been Rita Skeeter writing the story.

Harry breezed in and took a seat, giving him a smile as a greeting, then frowned. “What’s wrong?”

Voldemort passed over the paper for an answer, then watched as his mate’s eyes widened. Harry spent a minute or so scanning the text before looking up, an unfathomable look on his face. “Well, I did say I needed to work on my reputation, now didn’t I. This wasn’t quite what I had in mind, though, and not quite so early. I love how this slides around the issue of my actual name yet manages to imply that I do actually hold a position at the Ministry. I suppose that means Dumblefuck thinks Justus Bane is his new, second enemy.”

“It appears so.”

Harry sighed and ran a hand through his hair. “You’re going to get really upset if I go out in public as Bane, aren’t you.”

He arched a brow, feeling that words were unnecessary.

“This is really fucking petty of him, you know? To accuse me based on his missing little auror?” Harry snorted and traced the design on the tabletop with a finger. “Well, I guess I need to give some serious consideration to the idea of capturing him, and the remaining Order members on the list, and getting rid of them, eh?”

“And do you have any ideas as to do so? Capture and kill?”

Harry looked up with a grin. “Yeah, but all of it will take some doing. I’m not so concerned about the Order members. Their deaths, I mean. As for Dumblefuck, though, I have something very special in mind for him. You might say it’s an oldie but goodie.”