Grazhir :: Harry Potter :: CIA :: 11 :: Merrymaking

11 • Merrymaking

Harry was just getting out supplies for dinner one night when he gasped and turned around. “I can’t believe it hadn’t occurred to me before now. I forgot to kill someone!”

“Who might that be?” Voldemort asked.

“Aunt Marge. Well, and her damn dog Ripper.”

“I wonder if the imperius curse works on animals,” his lover mused.

“Ripper?” Moony asked quietly.

“Mm, yeah,” he said, turning back to handle dinner. “A bulldog. Marge is my aunt by marriage, Uncle Vernon’s sister. She adores that dog, spoils it rotten, and used to let it terrorize me as a child. I was trapped in a tree one time until midnight by that damn beast.”

A low growl caused Harry to look over his shoulder. “It was a long time ago, Moony. And technically, it wasn’t the dog’s fault. It’s hers for improperly training it, for encouraging it to be vicious.”

Moony snorted. “And what do we do with mad dogs?”

“And Englishmen?” quipped Armand.

Marius rolled his eyes and said, “Generally speaking, we put them down.”

“Exactly,” Moony said.

Harry turned around again and delivered a tray to the table with salads and so forth. As Marius handed one down to Moony, Harry said, “I am considering killing the beast, yes. Besides, it would drive Marge insane, which would suit me fine. I used to cringe every time I knew she was coming to visit, because I knew it’d just be more of the same shit where I got yelled at, hit, denigrated, my parents insulted, you name it.”

“Well, Harry,” Voldemort said, “she doesn’t exactly fit your usual criteria, but then neither did Figg. Christmas is coming up, so. . . .”

He grinned. “Somehow . . . I don’t quite think that’d be the gift she was after, but I’d certainly enjoy it. I think I need to speak with Lucius first, so I can have a little chat with Vernon about where his sister lives. And, I think, to see if I can borrow my adored relatives for part of the fun.” He paused, a finger to his lips briefly. “I’m pretty sure they’re still alive, at least.” Then he returned to making dinner.

It was several days later that Harry and Voldemort made a little visit to a somewhat sleepy little town in the country, dressed as local law enforcement. Specifically, two men that Marge knew thanks to her little business of breeding bulldogs. She answered the door, her face reminding Harry unpleasantly of his uncle, and it was all he could do not to shudder as she smiled broadly at them.

“Hopkins! Finch!” she barked. “Why’re you here?”

“There has been news,” Harry said. “Regarding your brother.”

“What!? Come in, come in. I’ll make some tea, or . . . something stronger?”

Harry passed inside as she stepped back, his lip curling at the site of his other old nemesis, Ripper, though thankfully out of Marge’s sight. They were shortly settled in with tea and Marge was looking at them expectantly.

“We think,” Voldemort said, “that your family has been located, and would appreciate if you could come to identify them.”

She stared at him, then frowned. “They’re not dead.”

“Oh, no,” Harry assured her. “Seems they went on an impromptu holiday and ran into some trouble. Their memories are quite fuzzy still, so it would be very helpful if you could arrange for someone to watch over your dogs while you’re away for a while.”

“I’ll get Colonel Fubster right on it,” she declared. “Pack a bag, and. . . . I can bring Ripper, right?” She glanced over at the dog, who was old enough to find more enjoyment in snoozing than investigating the visitors.

Harry almost felt sorry for the beast. Almost. “Of course. Would you like us to wait, or shall we return this afternoon?”

Marge hauled herself up with some effort. “Let me go ring Fubster,” she said, then trundled off into the hall to use the phone.

While she was gone Harry vanished the contents of his cup, then smirked when his lover did the same. Marge was back a few minutes later, long enough to ask them to wait while she went up to pack a bag and some things for Ripper. Harry would have preferred to just knock her out then and portkey her, but her neighbor was close enough to notice if she was never seen leaving her home. It was an hour later that Marge had finally managed to pack a “small” bag.

“Let me take that for you,” Voldemort said considerately.

She handed the suitcase over without a word and went over to Ripper to attach a leash to his collar and tug him to his feet. And then they left, with Marge not bothering to clean up the tea set, though she did lock her door. Thankfully, Voldemort knew how to drive a car, though it went almost without saying that its appearance was a sham. Not long after that the car was returned to the house it had been “borrowed” from, with no one the wiser.

*

“That is a seriously ugly woman.”

“Yeah. I don’t even want to think about what their parents looked like. Hardly a surprise that she never married.”

Voldemort nodded and glanced over at Lucius, who was settled into a comfortable chair. He had been given leave to watch as three of his servants would be involved, even if only peripherally. And speaking of them, each was strapped into place on a rack, still clothed in their house-elf-style gear, ready to be woken up for the festivities. A peculiar sort of Christmas, to be sure.

“Well, I suppose I should get started,” Harry said. “It’s just too bad that the full moon has already happened. The way Moony was acting the other day, he might have welcomed the option of dealing with Ripper himself.”

Voldemort chuckled and went to take his own seat, pouring his usual glass of wine once settled in.

Harry produced a wand and cast the spells to wake everyone up, including the dog, which was kept to a short run by a sturdy collar and chain. And while they were swimming up toward consciousness Harry did a spot of decorating, conjuring up antlers to place on the servants’ heads and sparkly swags to adorn the walls of the room.

“Boy!”

Harry rolled his eyes. “Do you people never learn?” he asked, turning toward Vernon. “I’m surprised your master hasn’t cut out your tongue yet, actually. Hello, uncle. Happy Christmas and all that. Oh, and you, Aunt Petunia, and Dudley.”

“Vernon?” asked a gruff voice.

“Marge!”

He wandered over to perch on Voldemort’s lap while the family called back and forth to each other in a reunion of sorts. Eventually, though, Vernon noticed and produced a sneer, then declared, “Freak!”

Voldemort arched a brow as Harry murmured, “I wonder which of us he’s talking about.”

“With one word. . . .”

Harry nodded and stood, but stayed close long enough to murmur, “Yes, but he doesn’t belong to me. And, with you here, he hasn’t any power, you know?”

Voldemort smiled faintly.

Harry decided it was time for the show; his wings appeared with a snap, fully extended. “Funny you should use that term, Vernon. It’s all you’ve ever said, really. Everything comes back to your fear of my kind. I hope you’ll pay attention to the fact that your master happens to be sitting here. The man I gave you to? You remember him, right?”

“Boy!” Marge said.

“Oh, do shut up, you fat cow,” Harry said. “Nobody cares what garbage you spew.” He chuckled when Vernon blanched, having finally sighted Lucius, who had a very superior look on his face, not to mention one that promised pain.

“Now, Marge,” he said, “it’s time to let you in on a little secret. You see, I happen to be a wizard. And you happen to be in my control right now, you and your adored dog.”

“Ripper?” she said, trying to angle her head enough to sight the dog. “Ripper!”

The dog barked and lunged, brought up short by the chain, then tried stupidly to go after Harry with much the same results. It landed in a heap on the floor, panting madly.

“You sad old thing. It’s really not your fault your mistress is a cruel woman who taught you all the wrong things, but that won’t alter the fact that your life is about to change.”

“You wouldn’t dare,” Marge said with admirable smugness. “Ripper will tear you apart.”

He snickered. “Sure, whatever. Now, it’s Christmas, you’ve all had your reunion, so it’s time to get started.” Harry skipped over to the table next to his lover and picked up one of the waiting vials, then turned and stunned the dog, smirking as Marge started shouting.

“She rather reminds me of Nymphy, actually,” he said to Voldemort, “what with all these useless threats.” The contents of the vial were forced down Ripper’s throat, and Harry regained his seat on his lover’s lap after vanishing the vial.

As they all watched, the dog seemed to become . . . younger.

“Happy Christmas, you old cow. Your beloved dog will now live for another ten years, barring a bad diet and a massive heart attack.” After removing the stunner from Ripper, Harry grabbed the other vial he had placed there and rose, then pranced over toward his aunt, staying far enough distant to avoid any potential projectile spitting.

“As for you, it’ll be the same, with a slight twist,” he informed her. “After all, I wouldn’t dream of setting things up so that you died sooner than him, not when you love him so, so much.” He stunned her, too, long enough for the vial to be dumped down her throat, and a short time later the clock had turned back for her, as well, complete with rather a lot of protests of pain.

“Fabulous,” Harry said. “I remember, ages ago, you once told your family, and by default me, that if there’s something wrong with the bitch. . . . Well, we’re going to find out. You see, I have something special in mind for you, something that will undoubtedly make you very happy, since you’ll become extremely attractive to your beloved menace of a dog.”

Harry stunned her a second time, then released her from the bindings, smiling as she hit the floor with a thud. A few waves of his wand produced a fair-sized cage around her, at which point he released the spell holding her still.

“Any ideas, folks?” Harry glanced at his family inquiringly. “Any? No? I’ll tell you, then. Or better yet, show you.” He brandished his wand at Marge and cast. And before all eyes, similar to what had happened to a certain other lady of questionable looks, she began to transform. Harry unleashed a dazzling smile once it was complete, quite proud of his accomplishment.

Ripper was also interested.

And then the shouting and screaming started (or in the case of Dudley, whining because he was hungry), for it seemed that Vernon and Petunia were not at all happy that Marge was now a true bitch, and no doubt in danger of losing her virginity to her most favorite pet.

Lucius eventually became tired of the noise and crucio’d his servants into silence.

“Now,” Harry said, “as you can all see, Marge has become the perfect love interest for Ripper, and I think I shall keep them together long enough for them to mate, thereby seeing, eventually, if the puppies that shall come to pass are just as nasty and vicious as she is. Doesn’t that sound grand?”

Lucius cleared his throat, then said at Harry’s nod, “If you like, my lord, I can provide space for them at the manor. That way, these three servants will be able to visit them, even if they can never get near enough to attempt anything foolishly heroic.”

Harry grinned and inclined his head. “That sounds lovely, and terribly thoughtful of you. I expect you’ll let me know when Marge here goes into heat.”

“Of course, my lord.”

“In that case, you’re free to take them all home.”

*

Having Lucius over for dinner once per week had become a normal sort of thing. Harry had produced yet another masterpiece, and those who ate actual food were well pleased to tuck in and enjoy.

It was a shock, therefore, when Lucius abruptly dropped his fork and stood up, clutched at his hair (mussing its perfection), then said in a tortured voice, “I can’t stand it any longer!”

Four sets of eyes looked at him quizzically, then blinked when Lucius went on to say, “I can’t stand it! Sex, sex, sex! Everywhere I turn is more sex! Death Eaters stopping by for a quickie at Weath’s, my son getting buggered by a werewolf. . . . And I’ve not been laid in twenty years!” He slumped back down in his chair and buried his face in his hands.

Voldemort went so far as to gape.

On the other hand, Armand and Marius exchanged a naughty little look. “Would you be terribly upset if. . . ?” Armand asked.

Voldemort shook his head, still unable to actually form words. He’d had no idea his most valuable minion had remained celibate since word of Narcissa’s pregnancy. A glance at his mate showed that Harry looked absolutely stunned.

Marius got up and moved to stand next to Lucius’s chair, then placed a hand on the man’s shoulder. “Lucius,” he said gently, “why don’t you let Armand and I ease your suffering.”

Lucius didn’t respond, really, but neither did he protest when Marius urged him out of the chair, nor when Marius and Armand led him away.

“Holy fucking snikes,” Harry finally managed to say, still bearing an incredulous expression. “Tom, I don’t want you to take this the wrong way, but Lucius is a very handsome man. How on earth is it that. . . ?”

“I have no idea, love. And I confess, until this moment, it never occurred to me to wonder.” He blinked a few times, absently realizing that it was usually his mate doing that sort of thing, and added, “I’m quite sure our friends will . . . take care of the problem, at least temporarily.”

Harry nodded and cast a quick charm on the plates, likely in case either Armand or Lucius returned at some point to finish their meals. “If we see Lucius again before morning, I’ll be freshly surprised.”

When morning rolled around Lucius drifted in with their two friends and took a seat. He smiled easily, fulsomely praised Harry’s cooking, and stifled many a yawn. And once he was finished he drifted off to see to his duties with a jaw-breaking yawn and a little wave.

Nobody said a word until the faint sound of the front door closing could be heard, at which point Voldemort aimed a suspicious look at the two Frenchmen. “What on earth did you do to him?”

Armand and Marius began chortling. “Did you know,” Marius said in a stage whisper, “that Lucius is a kinky bastard, too?”

“Well,” Armand said, “aside from shagging him silly a number of times, it seems that Lucius’s fondness for that cane of his extends into the realm of kink.”

Voldemort shook his head violently. “I do not want to know.”

Harry, however, looked intensely curious, and leaned over so Marius could whisper in his ear. He began giggling maniacally as he pulled away. “Oh my god. I never would have imagined that.”

“And just in time for the wedding,” Armand said with a grin.

Now, that had slipped his mind. Young Malfoy was getting married that weekend. Lucius had gone to a great deal of trouble to not only personally tailor the terms of the contract, but arrange for the marriage to take place when the girl would be at her most fertile. Voldemort gathered that he wished for news of a grandchild as quickly as possible.

And that made him wonder about his own child, safe within his beloved and growing daily. Would it be male or female? Was it important to him? He rather thought that despite which, he would very likely urge his mate to at least one more in the hopes of having one of each. Unlike many pure-bloods Voldemort was not inclined to stop if the first child proved to be male, and therefore a suitable heir.

He pondered things over the next few days, then finally pulled Marius aside. “Perhaps I am missing something. Perhaps not. Is there an actual ceremony of bonding among incubi and succubi?”

Marius blinked at him and furrowed his brow. “You mean . . . aside from when Harry and I actually bound ourselves to you and Armand respectively? Like a human wedding?” Voldemort nodded, so Marius continued, “No, there isn’t. We don’t feel there’s a point. It’d be redundant.”

“I can see that. Then is it that you changed your surname to match Armand’s to affirm the bonding, or is there some other reason?”

“Just an affirmation. Some do, some don’t.” Marius shrugged. “Actually, Armand took on mine, not the other way around. He really wasn’t fond of his.” He paused to grin. “I wouldn’t concern yourself, because you’ve not actually skipped over something important due to ignorance. And even if you had, I can’t imagine that Harry would fault you for it, as he’s just as ignorant in many respects. We frequently just don’t think to mention something because it’s common knowledge, and a part of our minds says you two must already be aware.”

Voldemort left it at that.

*

The wedding went off without any obvious hitches. If Draco embarrassed himself in any way, he did it in private; in public he appeared to be his usual self. Armand and Marius were wearing different faces, and they were all only there because Harry had professed to a desire to watch, hoping to see Draco’s mask slip at some point.

He thought the entire affair was overblown and ostentatious, especially given that it was purely an arrangement of convenience. Harry would not have been the least bit surprised if Lucius slipped in a few spells to quietly make the odds of conception that night rise exponentially, though he rather doubted it had anything to do with a desire on Lucius’s part to ease his son’s duty to the family.

Still, the Malfoy family was very well known, and a great number of people would have counted it coup to marry into it, despite their suspected associations and affiliation. Harry was so annoyed, however, as time went on, that he briefly stole the glass from his lover’s hand and had a sip of wine, just so he could roll it around in his mouth to finally see what it tasted like.

Everywhere he looked people were knocking back glass after glass of wine or champagne, and his envy finally got the better of him. Of course, that necessitated a quick trip out of sight so he could spit it out, but at least he answered a long-standing question of his.

“And?”

Harry pursed his lips in thought. “I’m not sure, really. I didn’t dislike it, but I’m not sure I like it, either.”

“Well, if you wish to sample the champagne, I suggest you go steal Armand’s glass, as I do not care for it.”

“Mm.” Harry flashed his lover a grin and wandered off for a couple of minutes, then returned and said, “I didn’t like that at all, though I suppose I can understand why that one fellow likes to bathe in it. It’s pleasantly ticklish.”

A somewhat peculiar expression flashed over his lover’s face, prompting Harry to say teasingly, “Hm, I wonder. . . .”

He was instantly pinned with an intense look. “And how,” Voldemort said, “did your pet take the news that he would not have his playmate this week?”

Harry smiled at the change of subject and replied, “Disappointed, but already dreaming up new ways to show his dominance to make up for this little holiday.”

As Voldemort snorted softly, Harry’s attention was captured on seeing Lucius drift past his son and adroitly swap the glass in Draco’s hand for another, prompting him to say, “Aw. I suppose that means Draco shan’t be getting smashed prior to a weekend of domestic felicity.”

Their two friends wandered over a second later, and Marius said, “I think we may need to ease that poor man’s suffering again. That’s at least the fourth time he’s taken alcohol away from Draco.”

“I’ve had enough,” Armand said. “I just want to go home.”

“Let me go get Lucius briefly, then,” Marius said, then headed off.

Harry realized that his lover was eyeing him and nodded. So it was that when Marius returned with Lucius in tow, all four of them said their good-byes and returned to the compound.

*

As a result of so many hunters going missing, and people being unwilling to volunteer for the duty of Harry Hunting, Scrimgeour resorted to hiring mercenaries, which sparked off an article by Skeeter (appropriately prompted) about the misuse of Ministry funds for what appeared to be a purely personal ambition.

It was shortly after that that the Daily Prophet received and printed a very short and to the point letter to the public from one Harry James Potter, which gave support to Skeeter’s article based on the fact that he had not been a citizen of the United Kingdom since 1998, thus making Scrimgeour’s efforts an illegal attempt to extradite a non-criminal and bring him under the jurisdiction of a country no longer his own.

And as they had hoped, that touched off not only an ongoing argument between the British and French ministries, but an avalanche of popular support for the supposed savior. Skeeter then added to the fires with the sly suggestion that all Scrimgeour was doing was providing He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named with an excuse to amuse himself at the Ministry’s expense.

Harry snorted at how quickly the public rallied to his defense, then seemed to remember he even existed and began to wonder just when it would be that he could come to save them from the evil dark lords presently terrorizing them.

To ease his bad mood he decided to take care of a little problem that had been placed on hold for other, more important things. But before he did that, Harry sent off a letter to Luna Lovegood, inviting her to a little get together; Rita Skeeter was also invited. Voldemort supplied yet another house in France, and the wards were as tight as they could possibly make them.

Harry waited just inside them, experiencing a moment of déjà vu, and smiled when both ladies appeared a short distance away. The usual checks were made and warnings given, and he invited them in for a chat.

“Luna, it’s good to see you again,” he said. “You as well, Rita.”

Luna smiled dreamily as Rita leaned forward and said, “Sure. Now what’s this all about? Nice house, by the way. Do you rent or own?”

Harry snorted and shook his head. “An interview, naturally, written by you, to go in the Quibbler if Luna thinks it’ll be all right with her father.”

“Of course, Harry. Daddy will be happy to print it.”

Rita stared at him intently, then sighed. “No fancy quills, huh?”

“That’s right, just like the last time. You can ask whatever questions you like, but I reserve the right to refuse to answer. Besides, you’ve had a lot of success lately, so there’s no particular point in twisting what I say. People are going to read it regardless.”

Rita sighed again, looking mournful, then nodded and got out her supplies as Harry poured tea for everyone and invited them to enjoy the pastry selection. His own cup was spelled to vanish a small portion to a sink in the kitchen each time he lifted and tilted it as though to drink.

Skeeter, a shark even when she was pretending to be nice, jumped right in with, “Are you an incubus?”

Harry smiled. “According to the British Ministry, an incubus is a creature that lives and breathes sex, and is barely controllable. That being so, I cannot fathom how I could be sitting here enjoying tea with you and acting like a perfectly normal human being. However, should I suddenly decide to pounce like a crazed beast, you have my permission to stun me.”

Luna laughed in delight and reached for something to nibble on.

Rita narrowed her eyes at the non-answer, but nodded, smart enough to realize that was all she was getting. “Why did you change citizenship?”

He shrugged. “Because I no longer wished to live in a country that held very little respect for the person they helped force me to be, nor be subject to their laws, many of which are unfair in the extreme.”

“Would you care to expand on that?”

“The way I see it, what happened when I was a toddler had very little, if anything, to do with me personally. It was beyond my control that I lived whereas all others died from that curse. That incident does not miraculously make me the sole being capable of defeating that same dark lord. If you were in my shoes, you might come to understand my point of view.

“The public has a responsibility. As a whole they are responsible for supporting a government that is in place to guide and protect us, and to make sure that government stays on track. They are also responsible for seeing to their own safety, not handing it off to a boy who happened to live, and expecting that he alone will make everything better, make the bad man go away.

“I realize that not everyone is capable of fighting, or even good at defending themselves, but it’s rather a bit much what the public was whipped up into believing. It is disheartening in the extreme to realize that the wizarding community was perfectly willing to at one moment sing my praises and the next to vilify my existence. And for what?

“The Ministry is responsible for any number of things, part of which is to see that aurors are properly trained, and are capable of tracking down and subduing criminals, or suspects. The Ministry is also responsible for giving those captured fair trials. There are also those paid to be hit wizards.

“Frankly, I am not an auror, nor a hit wizard, and I have very little say in the workings of that government, nor did I ever have the unwavering support of the people. It is, as you know, extremely easy to sway the public with a few choice words and a lot of rumor. Even Albus Dumbledore’s name was dragged through the mud when he supported me in my efforts to make Fudge realize and admit that Voldemort had returned.”

Rita interjected with, “Rumor has it that there was a prophecy involved, that you were named as the only one capable of defeating the Dark Lord. Why else were you in the Ministry that night?”

“Because I had every reason to believe that someone I cared for deeply was being tortured there and in danger of dying. I admit, I was young enough to be foolish, and charged on in without a thought for my own life. As it turned out, I was tricked. I did find those waiting for me in the Hall of Prophecy, though, but as anyone who went could tell you, not only was the sphere Voldemort was after destroyed, so were many others.

“And frankly, I don’t have a whole lot of belief in them, especially when I know that many prophecies never come to pass. In fact, that whole evening was an awakening to just how bad the security there is. How else could a bunch of children get so far into the Department of Mysteries, as well as a handful of Death Eaters?”

“Unfair laws?”

“I wonder,” he said, “how many citizens take the time to see how other countries regard magical creatures. My father was best friends with a werewolf, a man who later became a friend to me. And yet, he was persecuted for his affliction, a curse he never asked for. Many other countries recognize it for what it is, and some even go so far as to subsidize the making and distribution of wolfsbane, and also provide safe places for werewolves to transform.

“After the accusation that I was an incubus, I did some research on that as well. Unlike the UK, many other countries take a much different approach to them, and species like veela. They are not treated as dangerous animals. They are given representation. They are recognized as the sentient, intelligent beings that they are. I haven’t looked at vampires yet, but I tend to think it would be more of the same.

“It seems to me that Britain is incredibly backward in some respects, given to specious rumor and unfounded fears. There is very little tolerance to be had in the UK, and I find that to be a very sad thing. Just because one of a type might be a vicious rogue, doesn’t mean they all are. And hey, if we were to go by that reasoning, the fact that any witch or wizard can be evil probably means we should all be in Azkaban, right? I mean, anyone holding a wand can be deadly.”

Rita chortled, knocked back half her cup, and started in with more questions.

An hour later Harry was ushering his two guests out, after receiving a promise from Luna to pass along his well wishes to her father. A week later the interview was published, and as expected, the people of the United Kingdom couldn’t quite decide if they had been insulted, and if so, how badly.


Associated Snapshot: Ease