Courts of the Sun

BY : Lomonaaeren
Category: Harry Potter > Slash - Male/Male > Harry/Lucius
Dragon prints: 2179
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter and I am making no money from this story.

Title: Courts of the Sun

Disclaimer: J. K. Rowling and associates own these characters. I am writing this story for fun and not profit.

Pairing: Harry/Lucius (mostly pre-slash)

Warnings: Mild angst

Rating: PG-13

Wordcount:  3200

Summary: It certainly was a lovely place to be trapped with Lucius Malfoy, Harry had to admit. Pity that didn’t help them at all in deciding how to get out of it.

Author’s Notes: This is another of my July Celebration fics, written for the following prompt by nia_kantorka: As I love how you write Lucius/Harry and your magical theories and creations I'd love to see a little story about them stuck in a magical trap and how they got stuck in it and what it takes to get out of it. 

 

Courts of the Sun

 

            “Well done, Mr. Potter. Or I suppose I should call you Auror Potter, since only an Auror would have the combination of luck and stupidity to get us involved in this situation.”

 

            Harry snorted. Auror training had had at least one good effect, he thought, turning around to study Lucius as he slumped against the golden wall of their prison. He no longer wanted to push Malfoys through the nearest wall. After the lectures that some of his instructors had given him, Harry was inured to insults.

 

            “You should,” Harry murmured, letting his fingers explore the faceted ceiling above their heads. One minute, he and Lucius, a representative from God-knew-what group—probably “Stuck-Up Pure-bloods For Keeping Their Comfortable Lifestyle”—had been pretending to admire the fist-size topaz that the Unspeakables had chosen to present to the Ministry. The next instant, they were trapped inside it.

 

            It was a very pretty prison, Harry had to admit. Not only did it look like the inside of a jewel, it was comfortably warm without being stifling. Shafts of light as bright as the sun played over them as they tried to find a way out. Well, as Harry tried to find a way out and Lucius gave up before anything was even decided.

 

            “This is a cunning trap, Auror Potter. You will not find a way out.”

 

            “What do you know about it?” Harry turned his head alertly, letting his fingers continue to rest against the ceiling on the off-chance he would find a hidden latch there. “I thought the Unspeakables said no one knew anything about it.”

 

            Lucius sighed. Yes, the weight of the world is on the shoulders of a stuck-up pure-blood man, Harry thought, as he watched shadows chase themselves across Lucius’s face. His hair looked more like gold than ever with the light playing on it.

 

            “It seemed a mere carved jewel until it trapped us here. They all do, until they function. But this is a prison specifically designed for making sure that one’s enemies are never heard of again. I have never seen this particular one, but my ancestors used to own two of them. One a ruby, one a sapphire.”

 

            “Of course they did,” Harry said, rolling his eyes. He had stopped being surprised at what Dark wizards considered necessary after the fifth raid on a manor formerly owned by Death Eaters. “And they probably took a lot of pleasure in wearing them, knowing that the spirits of their enemies were right next to their necks or wrists, right?”

 

            “Correct,” said Lucius, with a faint trace of surprise. “Sometimes you surprise me with your ability to think like one of us, Mr. Potter.”

 

            “It’s Auror, remember?” Harry crouched to knock on the floor. Nothing there, either. He did have his wand, but given how perfectly the walls curved, he was hesitant to cast a spell that might be instantly reflected back on them. “And I don’t know which one of you you mean. Dark wizard, Malfoy, pure-blood?”

 

            “Certainly not Malfoy.”

 

            Harry made sure that his face was turned away as he grinned. He had learned to absorb insults in training, sure, but since he became a full Auror, he was accustomed to dealing with people who grovelingly deferred to him, even when they had a lot more experience with the problem in question than Harry did. It was refreshing to see someone who had clung to their pride. Lucius sounded like an Unspeakable.

 

            “Do you know why the jewel would have reached for you and me specifically? Who would have done something to trigger it?”

 

            “I thought I felt a push behind me as though someone was trying to maneuver me close to it at the last minute.” Lucius let his head fall back again. “And thus ensure that I was in front of the jewel at the same moment as you.”

 

            “Someone who wanted to get rid of both of us, then. Maybe even someone who assumed we would murder each other before discovering the way out.” Harry paused. “What’s the way to disarm a trap like this?”

 

            “The Unspeakables will have figured out their mistake by now,” Lucius murmured, his eyes falling shut. “Of course, since their number includes at least one person anxious to see us gone, they may not be much help.”

 

            “What’s the procedure?” Merlin, I am so patient, Harry congratulated himself.

 

            “They need to figure out the correct order of pressing the gem’s facets, and the correct incantation to speak at the same time.” Lucius sighed. “Each gem had a unique combination, rather like a strongly warded lock. I know what the combination would have been for our ancestral ruby and sapphire, but I never even knew a topaz would be considered to create a trap like this—one reason I didn’t recognize it for what it was in time. I’m afraid that I have no idea.”

 

            “Could we somehow communicate with them from inside the stone?”

 

            Lucius gave him a withering glare. “What would be the point of a magical trap that allowed such communication?”

 

            “Right, of course,” Harry muttered with a little roll of his eyes. “All right. Is there something else we can do that might affect our chances of getting out of here?”

 

            “Nothing acceptable.”

 

            Harry opened his mouth to question what Lucius meant by that, but then grimaced. “You mean it would take a sacrifice that neither of us would appreciate.” His mind swam with the thought of performing blood magic or something similar.

 

            “Yes.”

 

            Lucius had turned away and leaned against the side of the topaz. His eyes were closed, and his face looked wasted and drawn. Harry narrowed his own eyes in speculation, wondering if there were spells on the topaz that made them more likely to die of starvation or accelerated the aging process.

 

            When he asked, though, Lucius shook his head, which made a rustle like autumn leaves against the sides of the jewel. “I’m only weary with thinking of how much useless effort you’re wasting, Potter,” he whispered. “Leave me be.”

 

            Harry rolled his eyes a little and turned to cast a few careful spells at the topaz. There might be weak points where the facets met. Harry had sometimes been in buildings that had similar architecture, and all of them had their weak points.

 

*

 

            “Wake up, Lucius. I need your blood.”

 

            Lucius started out of sleep as if the words had been an Alarm Charm, his wand raised. Harry backed a step away and stared at him.

 

            “So you have finally decided you’d like to arrange the disappearance of the last traces of the Malfoy line?” Lucius stood up, only to fall into a dueling crouch a second later, while Harry continued to stare at him. “It won’t work, you know. Draco survives. And if you were incompetent enough to try to trap me in here, only to be trapped in turn—”

 

            “You said blood sacrifice was the only way to get us out of this jewel,” said Harry slowly, and wondered what kind of dreams Lucius had on a regular basis. Dreams of assassination attempts? “Well, I’m desperate enough to try that. I’ll give more blood than you. After all, I need you well enough to tell me where the ritual points should go and what kind of spells we should do. I’ve never studied anything like that.”

 

            Lucius dropped his arm as if his wand had suddenly become lost its core. He rubbed his eyes and breathed out slowly, his fingers opening and closing. “You stupid child,” he whispered. “That is not what I meant when I said that we would both have to make a sacrifice we wouldn’t like.”

 

            “Oh, of course,” Harry saw after a moment of thinking about it. “Because you wouldn’t mind blood sacrifice in the same way I would.”

 

            Lucius opened his mouth, then snapped it shut. He sat down again and wrapped an arm around his face. “Think about it that way if it pleases you, you stupid child,” he said. “The Ministry is wiser than you. They would never have trusted me around an important magical artifact if I was still tainted by the Dark.”

 

            Or they’re more susceptible to bribery, Harry thought, eyeing Lucius contemplatively. “All right. Then what was the sacrifice?”

 

            “You think I want to talk about it any more than I want to do it?”

 

            Harry sat down and laughed. It was the first release of tension he’d had since they became trapped inside the topaz, and he leaned back and laughed and laughed and laughed, while Lucius finally dropped his arm so he could stare at Harry like he was mad.

 

            “Talking and doing are different things,” Harry finally said, wiping the tears away from his eyes. “If you were an Auror, you’d know that.”

 

            “Yes, I’m sure that you defend our country with your mighty deeds every day, and think the words of diplomats are as nothing.” Lucius rolled his eyes. “That doesn’t change the fact that I won’t talk about this with you, Potter.”

 

            “All right,” said Harry, after he’d thought about it again. “Is it killing yourself?”

 

            Lucius stared at him, and this time his face looked as though it was frozen into a snarl.

 

            “Since talking about killing me wouldn’t distress you in the same way,” Harry finished, with a shrug.

 

            “No.”

 

            “It’s not blood sacrifice, either, we’ve established that.” Harry kicked up his heels and lay on his stomach. He almost enjoyed this, in a way, trying to figure out what could make Lucius Bloody Malfoy so touchy. “Or disinheriting Draco—not that you could do that from inside a magical jewel—”

 

            “You’d be surprised.”

 

            Harry hid a grin. That challenging glint in Lucius’s eyes was better than despair.

 

            “Or marrying someone Muggleborn, since they’re not in here and you can’t do that either.” Harry was about to continue listing things that Lucius couldn’t do, but he saw the slight movement Lucius made and stopped. “Can you marry someone Muggleborn from inside a jewel?” He was starting to think that trap jewels should be his next topic of research, once he was out of this one.

 

            Lucius turned to the side and stared into the distance. “No. But then, two people are not usually trapped inside a jewel.”

 

            “Men can’t marry men,” Harry reminded him.

 

            Lucius gave him a glance so withering that Harry started. “Do you imagine that, when we can create jewels to trap our enemies, we could not come up with a ritual that would bind two men together if we wanted?”

 

            Harry tilted his head. “Fine. But explain to me how a marriage ritual would help get us out of the jewel.” He could feel laughter bubbling up in his stomach. He honestly wasn’t too worried. If a ritual existed to bind them together, it probably existed to unbind them. He just wanted to see what would happen.

 

            Can we even do a ritual in a place like this where we have nothing but our robes and our wands?

 

            Lucius kept his head turned away, and it took Harry a few minutes to realize that he wasn’t trying to gather his wits, he was just refusing to answer. Harry narrowed his eyes. “I am speeeeeeaking to you, Lucius,” he said in a singsong tone.

 

            “I don’t want to do a marriage ritual with you,” Lucius said precisely.

 

            “I know that, but that wasn’t what I asked you for. How would a ritual like that get us out of the jewel?”

 

            Lucius turned back to study him. His eyes were strong and searing. Harry could still stand up under them. They were no worse than Voldemort’s eyes, come to that. “The marriage ritual would create a new entity that didn’t exist before—the bonded couple we would become. The jewel can only trap the people, or more often person, that was designated to be here from the beginning. We would essentially become one, or three as it can be seen, and the jewel would have to expel us.”

 

            “That does make sense,” Harry said approvingly, and ignored the tight-lipped smile that Lucius sent him. “You said there are rituals made specifically to bind two wizards. That argues they can be pretty adaptable to circumstances, doesn’t it? So if we got bound only to get out of the jewel, there should be another ceremony that would recognize that later, and unbind us because we had the will to become—divorced?” That wasn’t the right word, he thought, but he had the feeling he’d already said “bound” too much.

 

            Lucius sat up and studied him in silence for some moments. Then he said, “I had been led to believe that you were considerably less intelligent than this.”

 

            “I live to confound expectations.” Harry sat up again and added, “Well?”

 

            “There are rituals like that,” said Lucius slowly. “And there is nothing that would specifically prevent me from becoming tied to you with one marriage and then dissolving it when I left the jewel.”

 

            It was on the tip of Harry’s tongue to say that he ought to be used to that, since he’d divorced Narcissa Malfoy not many weeks after the war—something about the stress they’d both been compelled to live under and how it had rotted the bond between them. But he didn’t think Lucius would appreciate the same kind of joking that worked well with his friends, so he added, “What about it?”

 

            “I do not want to.”

 

            Harry rolled his eyes. “I know, I was on the opposite side of the war and all that. But when you think—”

 

            “That has nothing to do with it,” Lucius interrupted, which made Harry stare at him and Lucius sigh in response. “Perhaps a little. But, in truth, Potter, I simply wish to choose who I kiss and who I bond with.”

 

            Harry paused. Then he nodded. “I can respect that.” And he could. With the amount of love potions and so on that people tried to force on him, he had to be constantly careful if he caught himself thinking about someone romantically. It might or might not have been his idea.

 

            But he couldn’t rid himself of the idea that they should do something now so they could get out of the jewel and go on making their own choices.

 

            “But I wonder…”

 

            Harry turned to Lucius. If he was ready to give up his opposition, then Harry was willing to listen. “Yes?”

 

            Lucius was eyeing him in a strange way that made Harry think of how he had looked at Ginny Weasley the first time he saw her alive after the war. “You are more intelligent than I thought,” Lucius said, in the voice of someone trying to talk himself into something. “And no report has ever exaggerated your handsomeness.”

 

            “I see you don’t keep up with Witch Weekly.”

 

            Lucius paid no attention to that, but got up and moved slowly towards Harry, staring into his eyes the whole time. Harry felt a flutter in his stomach, but he maintained his eye contact with Lucius. Just because he was nervous didn’t mean he was going to vomit all over Lucius. He hoped.

 

            “There is another ritual that would essentially be a—promise to consider bonding in the future,” Lucius said. “Not as easy to dissolve, since we would have to wait until the next solstice instead of proceeding immediately, but it would not restrict our free choices as much, either.”

 

            Harry immediately stood up and peered straight through the light playing through the topaz, which shone as brilliantly as sunlight. “What’s that?”

 

            “Handfasting,” Lucius said, and abruptly caught Harry’s hand and held it so tightly that Harry knew he couldn’t have withdrawn it if he wanted to. “Are your bones strong enough to bear my grip, Potter?”

 

            “My wristbone? Of course it is.” Harry met him glance for glance and cocked his head. “Do your worst, Lucius.”

 

            “What a promising beginning to a handfasting,” said Lucius, with a slight roll of his eyes, but bent his head and kissed the side of Harry’s mouth, then his cheek, then his forehead. “I promise to consider Harry Potter for marriage until the next solstice.”

 

            “And I promise to consider Lucius Malfoy for marriage until the next solstice,” Harry said obediently, after a moment when Lucius had stared at him in silence and Harry had waited for what he thought was a more complicated sort of ritual. He wreathed his fingers around Lucius’s, somewhat awkwardly clasping his wrist the same way.

 

            There was a sudden burst of white light so powerful that Harry shouted, which led to a snicker from Lucius. But it had startled him, and the world around them was suddenly gone, dazzling, a warm tumble of real light that changed to sunlight—

 

            And for a moment Harry felt as if he was burning, a single blot of light wreathed with more light, and some of that light was Lucius—

 

            And then there were the more subdued lights of the Ministry room where the Unspeakables had shown off the topaz, and amazed shouting, and the snapping of cameras. Of course there would be, Harry thought, sitting back in resignation and letting go of Lucius’s wrist.

 

            It felt as though part of him didn’t let go, though. As though part of him was left behind, snagged like a trailing thread on a doorknob, and he couldn’t move too far.

 

            Harry turned his head and saw Lucius watching him. He nodded slightly and then stood, casting a Shield Charm that covered the exits from the room.

 

            “Someone intended that the two of us be imprisoned in the topaz,” he said, not loudly. “I request the help of the Unspeakables in finding the culprit—”

 

            And then, of course, one of the grey-hooded wizards started running, and Harry got the excitement of dodging the Minister and casting a Stunner at them to make sure they didn’t get away.

 

            The interesting thing was that both his Stunner and Lucius’s hit the fleeing person at the same time.

 

            Harry turned to stare at Lucius. He looked slightly ruffled, as though he’d had an interesting conversation that had turned into a debate, but he bowed a little to Harry—it was distinguishable from a nod—and then joined the other Unspeakables in converging on the one who’d tried to flee.

 

            Harry leaned back against the wall and ignored the reporters and flunkeys trying to talk to him. He’d turn to them in a minute. Let them assume for a second that he was still dazed by the way he’d got out of the topaz, or by the flurry of action.

 

            But he let his eyes linger on Lucius, and if no one understood the smile that curved his lips now, that was all to the good for his own privacy.

 

            It will be interesting to see what happens at Midsummer.

 

            The End.                   



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