Grazhir :: Harry Potter :: Forsaken :: 05 :: Consorts

05 • Consorts

Later on Brand cornered Draco and led him up to his father’s study, sealing the door behind them. He dropped onto the desk in a casual pose, gesturing for Draco to take the visitor’s chair.

He focused on the icy blond for a few moments before speaking. “Draco, there’s something we need to discuss.”

Draco nodded, though it was clear to Brand he didn’t have a clue what this was about.

“Regardless of how you may feel about the prospect, you will need to produce an heir for your line. However,” he said, holding up one hand to stop Draco from speaking, “that does not mean the union will be anything more than what you want of it. So I need you to tell me, what is it that you want?”

“My lord, I. . . .”

“Don’t worry, Draco. I’m not going to take offense at anything you might say. Just talk to me.”

Draco took a deep breath and tried again. “I understand the necessity of an heir, my lord, but I don’t particularly see Pansy that way. I’ll do it if it’s required of me, but only because it is. She seems to think that given enough time I’ll feel about her the way she thinks she feels about me. Well I won’t.”

“Understood. Is this about Pansy, or about women in general?” he asked, trying to force the issue into the open.

Draco frowned and dropped his eyes.

“Would it help you to answer if I told you I was gay?”

Draco’s head snapped back up with a look of open shock in his eyes.

“Yes, I am. That’s one of things we don’t give a damn about, father and I. I can only assume your father said nothing about that last gathering, when I was introduced. In fact, you could say the realization for me was a turning point in my life. The rest of the wizarding world might consider it disgusting and vile, but we understand that it happens, and it wouldn’t happen if it weren’t a part of nature. So, I’ll ask again: Is this about Pansy or about women in general?”

“Women in general,” came the subdued voice.

“I’m glad that’s out in the open. Pansy will either accept her role in this, or be dealt with. I won’t allow her to continue this obsession any longer. Don’t get me wrong, Draco. I’d like her to be happy, since she can be a valuable asset to us. If I thought, and I’ll have to check, that she’d be happy with another woman, then things would end up a great deal simpler, but that would be too much to hope for.”

“I’m not sure I follow you, my lord.”

Brand pushed off the desk and leaned against it instead, looking deeply into Draco’s eyes. “That’s up to you, Draco.”

“My lord, I don’t understand.”

Brand snorted and gripped the edge of the desk with his hands. “I’m not made of ice, you know.”

After a few minutes of silence Brand sighed and straightened. “Fine. There’s more than one way to handle things. You trust me don’t you, Draco?”

The blond nodded, once again mystified.

Brand raised his left hand and gestured, eliciting a gasp from Draco as a incandescent sphere appeared in his hand. Muttering under his breath, Brand pushed it toward Draco, watching as it impacted soundlessly on his forehead and sunk in.

“What was that, my lord?”

“Simple. It’s not unlike the fidelius charm, except that it’s limited to a very specific set of circumstances, under the control of the caster. Whatever we say or do after this point, up until I unseal the door, will be something you will not be able to speak of with anyone except me. Ever.”

“For what reason?”

Brand threw his hands up in the air in exasperation. It was obvious that regardless of what was lurking in the blond’s mind, he would never actively step past the fact that Brand was Voldemort’s heir and make a first move.

“As I said, it’s up to you. And as for the reason, I’ll show you.”

He stepped closer to the blond, then straddled him, pushing his hands into the silky mass of hair. Slowly, so slowly that Draco could draw away, he lowered his head and brushed his lips against his prey’s, then darted his tongue between them teasingly.

After nibbling the young man’s lower lip he traced a line of soft kisses across his face and down onto Draco’s neck, where he began nipping and savaging the young man’s soft skin with remarkable restraint until a moan broke loose from his prey. He carefully pulled away and stood, then walked to the door.

“Like I said, I’m not made of ice. Think about it, Draco. Take your time, let me know.” Then he unsealed the door, opened it and left.

*

“Father? There’s something I want to talk to you about. Well, show you actually. May I?”

Voldemort nodded and sat back.

Brand closed his eyes and concentrated for a moment, then sent his father a copy of the memory he had of the conversation with Draco. Voldemort was silent for several minutes.

“I see the dilemma. Miss Parkinson needs to be spoken with either way. I suggest having Severus talk to her. He seems to be coming along quite well. If she fails to see reason, manipulate her memories to make sure she’ll behave. If the boy is what you want, and he’s agreeable, then you shall have him.”

Brand grinned and brushed back his hair, then sobered. “Oh. I’m such an ass. With all that’s been going on, I completely forgot to tell you.” He smiled sheepishly. “The Chamber does have an outside entrance, and I’ve got the whole area mapped out.”

“Excellent work. If nothing else it gives us a way to check how the wards are constructed. It isn’t often that the old fool leaves the school.”

“Mmm. There’s something else I should take care of first, though. A little present, shall we say.” The red flecks in Brand’s eyes glittered for a moment. “Perhaps Severus will assist me with that task. He’s the only one who can, actually.”

“By all means, see to it. Incidentally, I’m pleased that as many non-Slytherin students are here.”

“Yes, though it seems rather odd. I’ll have to do a little sifting to see what’s really on their minds and what kind of people they are.”

Voldemort nodded again. “Do so, then. Keep me informed of anything interesting. When the summer dies we’ll start our new campaign, so get any of the incidentals out of the way.”

Brand rose and dropped a kiss on his father’s head, then left.

*

“Severus, follow me,” Brand said as he walked by, headed toward the garden. He lowered himself to the grass and laid back, placing one arm across his eyes to shield them from the brightly shining sun.

“What is it, my lord?” came the question.

His voice tended to make one think of luxurious fabrics dusted with exotic spices. Maybe it had something to do with the man’s strengths, who knew? “I need your help. Willing help, that is. There’s a certain place I wish to destroy.”

“This has to do with. . . .” Severus began before trailing off uncertainly and glancing around.

“Don’t worry, I already warded this part of the garden. No one will hear us, or even come here. Rather like muggle-repelling charms in a way.”

“Noted, my lord. Does this have to do with headquarters, then?”

“Indeed it does. What do you think of that?”

“If you or your father think it necessary, I would be glad to assist, my lord. Though, I still have no idea how you know of the place.”

Brand rolled onto his side and propped his head up with his arm, staring directly into Severus’s eyes. “Well, give me a moment and I’ll explain,” he said lightly. In his free hand he created another ball of incandescent light and pushed it toward his companion, muttering under his breath until it impacted.

Once Severus opened his eyes he continued, “For one, what we speak of or do now, until I release the wards on this area, is something you’ll never be able to speak of or share except with me, ever, which allows me now to include you in a little secret. And, to simplify things, stop calling me ‘my lord’ while we’re talking for now. Once this conversation is over, it’ll have to go back to the way it was.”

Brand smiled for a moment. “For two, I know you witnessed a very dead Harry Potter because I was there. What you don’t know is that I have every memory of that boy, and I know why he was captured, and why he was killed. You also didn’t know that it was planned for you to rescue the boy’s friends from the start. Granted, we did assist, but your execution of the accomplishment was quite cunning. My compliments.”

“I don’t understand.”

“Of course not. You see, I was Harry Potter. I helped to orchestrate his death.” Brand smiled again as the professor’s face blanched more than he’d thought possible.

“You can see how I know what I know. That’s why I’m asking for your assistance with a little mayhem and destruction, Severus. And I do mean asking. I won’t force you into something you’d rather not do. That simply isn’t my way and it wouldn’t bode well for people’s trust in me if I did. If all you ever want to do is teach, or make potions for us, or whatever, then that’s what you’ll do. I cannot force people into doing things I’d rather not do myself, so to each his own. Do you understand?”

“Yes, I think I do. I think for the first time I’m beginning to understand that appearances mean nothing and that I’ve been a fool for far too long.”

Brand grinned engagingly and brushed his hair back. “Will you help me?”

Severus started to open his mouth before snapping it shut again and frowning.

“You want to know why, correct?”

Severus nodded.

“When that old fool found out I was gay he placed a charmed bracelet on me which tried to force me to compliance with so-called ‘normal’ desires.” Brand rolled his eyes. “I knew then that I really was nothing more than a pawn in his particular game to win out. The pain wasn’t so bad, I suppose. I was used to pain, after all.”

He smiled again at the look on the other man’s face. “After being notified that if I didn’t plaster a fake smile on my face and play the happy hero, I did a lot of thinking and came to a decision. Luckily, father was curious enough to go along with my plan, and now here I am, so to speak. Basically, I found a way to sidestep the prophecy about me and father. Anyway, back to the real topic at hand. Will you help me?”

“Yes,” Severus replied somewhat ruefully. “How could I not after you tearing the blinders from my eyes?”

Brand smirked a little and patted the other man’s knee reassuringly. “We all have to grow up sometime, Severus. Speaking of which, have you talked to Blaise?”

“A little. How do I know he’s even interested?”

“Oh, but he is. I don’t need spells to sift people’s minds,” he said, then held up his hand at the look on Severus’s face. “Though that doesn’t mean I poke around where it’s not needed. Occlumency won’t help, by the way, though you can try if you’d like. You remember Professor Archer, I presume?”

Another nod followed by a suspicious look.

Brand flicked his eyes toward the sky for a moment, then looked back at Severus as Archer. He gave a jaunty wave and switched back to his normal form, laughing.

“I ghost surface thoughts when necessary, as I did during the year to receive reports from the contacts I had within the school. However, when I must I can dig much, much deeper. Suffice to say, I saw more than a report on a few occasions from our dear young Blaise, so I suggest you try, if you want to, to drop a few hints around him and see how he responds. That’s all. And for the record, after I made my offer to you, I never once ghosted your thoughts to see what you were thinking at the school. “ He smiled genially.

“I’ll take that under advisement.”

“Since I need you to be aware of certain things, there’s more I need to talk to you about. Even if you do decide to betray us at some point in the future, nothing and no one will ever glean this knowledge from your mind. No, don’t protest. It could happen, and I’m not so naïve as to think it couldn’t. I don’t believe it will, but one must be prepared nonetheless.”

Brand rolled over onto his back again and shielded his eyes. “Destroying headquarters would be nothing more than a warning. The only problem with doing it is that it will bring down suspicion on current Order members as to one being a traitor. Unfortunately, as you’re a known spy, that suspicion may fall on your head alone with people thinking you’ve double-crossed your allegiances. I’ve been trying to figure out how to get around that.”

A few minutes of silence ensued before Brand rolled back onto his side. “I’ve got the most scathingly brilliant idea.” 

“Oh?”

“Oh, yes,” he said before laughing maniacally. “Oh, yes, I do indeed. Dumbledore must die. By my hand alone. The old fool may have tricks up his sleeve that caused father annoyance, but what I have in mind. . . . Even if I can’t trap the bastard, I will have ruined his reputation and eroded public trust. I’m not much for killing people, Severus, but this is one time I would.”

“What is it that you have in mind?”

Brand laughed again and reached out to pat the other man’s knee. “No, I don’t think I’ll tell, but only because I want to see your true reaction when the time comes. Consider it another present, if you will. Hmm, perhaps I should not bother with headquarters, then. I’m still not sure the risk is worthwhile.”

“It is likely that should headquarters be attacked, then yes, suspicions will rise, and I would not put it past Dumbledore to subject everyone to truth serum.”

“It can wait, then, if at all. I’m much more interested in a little well deserved retribution anyway. Well, obviously it will have to wait until the summer is over at the earliest. I can’t very well destroy the man without an appropriate audience, now can I?”

Severus unbent enough to grin, causing Brand to laugh again merrily.

“You need to smile more often, Severus. Oh, yes, before I forget—I need you to find time to speak to Pansy about her obsession with Draco. If she can’t be convinced to back down, let me know. All right, I’ll let you go for now. Try not to terrorize the students too much.” Brand pulled himself to his feet and gestured, then jogged out of sight.

*

It was several weeks before anything interesting happened aside from training sessions with the students, some of whom had already been sent home with memory modifications for what lay hidden in their minds, and others for their ineptness or lack of ability. Brand had finally worked out a new spell, if one could call it that, which would allow him to completely shield the minds of their people from betraying secrets and restricted their unguarded speech off the estate, and then constructed a contracted version of an obscure language to be used in the field.

Naturally, the first people to be so blessed were the inner circle, which included Severus by then, along with the three top students. As it took a lot out of Brand to perform, people who had proven loyal were handled in batches of three until everyone was protected. None of the students returning to Hogwarts were marked.

After a short conversation with Severus, Brand went to deal with Pansy, which took up all of the remaining morning and well into the afternoon. He sent her on her way when he was done and dragged himself to his favorite place on the estate, laying down on a bed of thick, springy moss in the shade of a massive oak tree, and fell asleep to the gentle sounds of the babbling brook nearby.

The sun was setting when he awoke to the feeling of fingers combing through his hair. He shifted slightly to see what would happen, but the fingers kept moving slowly.

“I know you’re awake, my lord.”

Brand opened his eyes to meet those of silvery-grey.

“I thought about what you said, and I appreciate that you’ve never pressured me in any way, my lord.”

Brand smiled and shifted again, this time moving so that his head was resting in Draco’s lap, and closed his eyes again and purred, “I took care of Pansy for you today.”

A slight hitch in breathing was the only response, and the fingers never stopped in their movements. “I’d like to be with you, my lord,” Draco said softly a short time later.

“Are you sure?”

“Yes, my lord. Very.”

Brand slowly pulled away from Draco and rose to his feet gracefully, extending a hand to help the blond up. “Come with me, then.”

Keeping his hand clasped with Draco’s, Brand led the way to his personal suite, adjusting the wards as he neared them. Once in his sitting room he had Draco sit in a comfortable chair and then sat on the arm.

“I’m going to mark you, but not with the Dark Mark. It’s a special mark, meant for a potential consort. I won’t make it permanent until we’re both ready for it. Are you comfortable?”

The blond nodded decisively.

“Before I start . . . do you want the mark in a noticeable place, or one that can easily be hidden?”

“I leave it up to you, my lord.”

Brand nodded and placed his hand on Draco’s neck, barely touching the skin, then concentrated on placing the image in his mind into the flesh beneath his fingers. A single silver point appeared and began to trace a thin line, gradually completing a depiction of an oak tree with a crown nestled within its foliage. He drew back his hand and stood, looking down at Draco with a gentle smile. “All done. That’s it.”

“I didn’t feel anything, my lord,” came the confused reply.

“You weren’t supposed to,” he said, grinning.

“May I go look, my lord?”

“Of course. There are mirrors just through there. While you’re admiring yourself, I’ll create a connecting door to the next set of rooms. You’ll be moving there shortly. We’ll talk in a few minutes, okay?”

The door was easy enough to make. Barely a moment’s thought, really. Summoning a house-elf to transfer Draco’s belongings took far longer. By the time the blond returned to the sitting room, everything had been arranged.

Brand gestured to the new door and said, “Through there is your suite. The third floor is off-limits to anyone except myself, father, you, and of course the house-elves. Anyone else and . . . well, you saw what happened to that fool last summer. You’re welcome to decorate in any way you please or request anything you’d like to make you more comfortable. I suggest you contact your father to make arrangements for any belongings you want from Malfoy Manor. Dinner will be soon, so why don’t you get changed and meet me back here when you’re ready.”

Once alone he shrugged on a set of robes that almost matched his hair, being several shades darker and slightly iridescent. He hadn’t missed the look on Draco’s face when he’d explained the new living arrangements, but details would have to wait until later. After a quick glance in the mirror he kicked off his trainers and slipped into a pair of expensive Italian shoes, and was just finishing lacing them when Draco reappeared.

“Please follow me,” he said, standing and exiting the room, then leading the way to the dining room down the corridor.

*

Brand collapsed onto his sofa gratefully and closed his eyes, patting the spot beside him. Dinner had gone well enough; Draco had been only a little nervous, otherwise masking his emotions well. He’d perfect that in time. It hadn’t helped Brand that his father kept making salacious comments into his mind at the worst possible moments, causing more than a few quickly hidden looks of puzzlement from the blond.

He felt Draco’s weight displace the cushions and snaked an arm around him, pulling him closer.

“My lord?”

“Draco, when we’re in here, or your rooms, you have permission to drop the formalities. Well, unless father is present. He might get testy otherwise.”

“Why are there separate rooms?”

Brand could almost feel the frown marring the blond’s perfection and he chuckled.

“You said you’d like to be with me, but I don’t own you. You have your own rooms and the mark is temporary because we’ve yet to find out if there’s more to us than . . . wishes and desires. If I fall in love with you, and you with me, then we’ll take the next steps.”

He opened his eyes and looked over. “You didn’t really think I’d drag you into my bed immediately, did you? I have more respect for myself and you to do that. If I didn’t pressure you before, I sure as hell won’t do so now.”

“All right. Why were you muttering the whole way back here, then, and making such odd faces at dinner?”

Brand snickered. “My father has a perverted sense of humor. He was teasing me on and off the whole time.”

“Not to sound stupid but . . . how?”

Brand tapped his forehead and shrugged. “Call it telepathy. It’s rare.”

“How did you. . . ?”

“Do?”

The blond squirmed uncomfortably.

“Draco, I can see into your mind, but I’d rather not. Just ask. I won’t answer if I can’t, okay?”

“How did you . . . change him?”

“Hm. Hold on a moment.”

:Father?:

:Yes?:

:He wants to know how I changed you, affected you. You’re different now, obviously. Do I have your permission to explain? I’ll prevent him sharing any of it.:

:If you think it will help. Just be cautious.:

:Thank you, father.:

Brand created another sphere and impacted it on Draco’s forehead. “The limits to this one are peculiar, Draco. But that’s beside the point. I’ll try to answer your question.” Brand shifted sideways, bracing himself against the arm of the couch, and pulled Draco back against him in a loose hug.

“Father, back when he wasn’t, orphaned me a number of years ago. Then again, he orphaned many in those days, even up until fairly recently. The change comes in when we started talking and I shared my story with him. It’s hard to hold fast to certain ideals and actions when you realize that what you’ve essentially done is replicate your own upbringing for any number of others. Since that’s what he had managed to do to me. . . . Well, let’s just say he started to see things a little differently, especially when he saw how unlike him I was in certain values and morals.”

Brand moved his fingers in lazy circles on Draco’s chest. “If you can’t be honest with yourself, how can you be with others, especially your son? So he changed some. It didn’t have to be that way, and there are more ways than one to, as muggles say, skin a cat. Don’t get me wrong, the essentials are still a part of father’s character. Certain aspects are just . . . tempered by a different outlook. He wouldn’t hesitate to kill, maim, or torture if the situation called for it.”

Brand trailed one of his hands upward to stroke the soft skin of Draco’s neck. “He trusts me because I allow him full access to my mind. I trust him because he hides nothing from me. How about we leave it at . . . I’m a good influence on my father?”

He smiled, placing a kiss on the blond’s silky hair. “Does that help?” he asked.

“Yes, actually. I won’t pretend to entirely understand, but it helps. I’m sure more when I’ve had time to assimilate what you’ve said.”