Bonded Consort

BY : Lomonaaeren
Category: Harry Potter > Slash - Male/Male > Harry/Draco
Dragon prints: 19527
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter. I am making no money from this story.

Title: Bonded Consort
Disclaimer: J. K. Rowling and associates own these characters. I am writing this story for fun and not profit.
Pairings: Harry/Draco eventually, one-sided Draco/OFC, Lily/James, Lucius/Narcissa, mentions of Pansy/Blaise
Content Notes: AU, courting, weird marriage customs, bonding
Rating: R
Summary: Nineteen years ago, the Potters betrothed their firstborn child to the firstborn Malfoy child. Eighteen years ago, Voldemort was defeated for good. Seventeen years ago, the Potters changed the contract so that their secondborn child was substituted for their firstborn. Now, Draco Malfoy is trying to work out what happened.
Author’s Notes: As you can probably see from the summary, this is a massive AU, some of the background of which will be explained as the story goes on. The most important facts to know are that Voldemort was vanquished for good in 1981 and thus the Potters are still alive; Harry did not attend Hogwarts; and Harry and Draco have never met. This story should be between eight and eighteen parts long, and will update on Tuesdays.

Bonded Consort

Chapter One--Refusal

“She’s your betrothed. Make the most of it.”

Draco tilted his head towards his mother. He knew as well as she did that the whispered warning oughtn’t to have been necessary. Draco should have been across the room already, standing beside Dahlia Potter, admiring her dress robes and her rich red hair and the brown eyes that beamed up at him trustingly.

He would have been, if he could stomach it.

Instead, Draco turned away, accepted a drink from a floating tray carried by an invisible house-elf, and joined Blaise and Pansy in a corner. They both wore dress robes with matching lace at the cuffs, and Pansy wore Blaise’s bonding bracelet (silver with an obsidian dragon on it, very nice) on her left wrist. They smiled up to welcome him, not seeming to resent the fact he’d broken their whispered conversation up.

Draco resented it, for himself.

“Enjoying the party, Draco?”

“Ha-ha, Zabini,” Draco said, and swallowed most of his drink.

“But your parents have planned this for months, and your betrothed is here.” Pansy could sound innocent and far stupider than she really was, and Draco glared at her suspiciously before he replied.

“I had nothing to do with the planning. I had nothing to do with the betrothal. And look at her.”

“I have been. I envy her those robes.”

“She’s pretty enough, if you like gingers,” Blaise volunteered. Since Draco had seen his head turned by the Weasleys’ youngest a few times before he got actually interested in Pansy, he only answered with a snort. Blaise persisted. “No, seriously, Draco, I’ve always wanted to know. Yes, of course she’s a Light witch and a Gryffindor and we must all scorn them for the good of our reputation in the Slytherin common room, but what’s actually wrong with Potter?”

Draco paused, his fingers forming a ring around the stem of his wineglass. He tilted it back and forth, watching the colors swim in the drink. Blaise leaned forwards.

“I’ll try to explain it,” Draco said. His parents had certainly never wanted to know.

Pansy nodded in exaggerated fashion, which got her a scowl before Draco sighed and said, “She’s too immature.”

Pansy said, “Well, she is only fifteen. But by the time she’s seventeen and you can marry, she’ll have come of age.”

“It has nothing to do with age,” Draco said harshly. This was the point he had known they wouldn’t understand. “It has—do you know she told me once what her worst memory was?”

“What was it? Almost falling from a broom?”

Draco greeted that with another snort. He might not approve of Potter, but she was graceful enough to be Gryffindor’s reserve Seeker. “She told me that she had an argument with her sister…”

“Yes? Arguments among family can get pretty savage,” said Blaise, who would know.

“They argued about ice cream.”

There was silence for a moment. Blaise and Pansy blinked at each other. Then Pansy said, “At least ice cream is a cheap taste?”

“She has no worse memory than that,” Draco said. “She told me she hasn’t ever been jealous of her sister, even though lots of people say Lilac is prettier than her. And she doesn’t have any conflicts with her parents. And she doesn’t ever get detention, not even from Professor Snape. And she’s looking forward to marrying me. She hasn’t ever had a crush on another bloke, or girl. She’s perfectly happy to live where I want to live and have as many children as I want to have. She’s never entertained a doubt about the betrothal contract.”

Blaise and Pansy again looked at each other. Than Pansy began to giggle. “So your problem is that she’s too perfect?”

“Too bland.”

That stopped her giggling, and from the thoughtful expressions that took over their faces, Draco thought he might have convinced them at last.

“I see,” Blaise said slowly. “What kind of music does she like?”

“The Weird Sisters—but not all their songs. Celestina Warbeck—but not much.”

“Food?”

“Oh, a lot of things!”

Blaise smiled. Draco liked to think it was because he’d got Potter’s tone exactly right. “What does she like to do?”

“Fly. Dance, but only if she has an absolutely willing partner and not someone her parents talked into doing it. She’s never ridden an Abraxan, but she’d like to try. Watch the Muggle telly, but not so much that she would object to giving it up if I didn’t want her to. She thinks most of their programs are silly anyway.”

Blaise, who had a secondary Muggle house without magic in it specifically so he could have a telly, looked offended. Pansy said, “So you think she’s making herself sound perfect for you whether or not she really is?”

“No one can possibly be that free of opinions. Especially someone raised by James and Lily Potter.” Draco rolled his eyes a little. He didn’t much like the Potters, but they were formal allies of his family, and had been ever since James had promised a marriage contract if Father would help rescue Lily from the Death Eaters who had taken her in the first war. And he could respect them for saying what they thought.

Dahlia never said what she thought. She smiled at him and curtsied and seemed to have no hidden depths. Either she did and they might burst out horribly after marriage—in which case Draco knew he would have a miserable life—or she actually was as shallow as she appeared and Draco wouldn’t have a miserable life because he would die of boredom first.

“Maybe she thinks she has to be like that to attract you.”

“She’s been like that since she was seven years old, Pansy,” Draco told her in exasperation. “And I’ve made it clear that I wanted to hear what she thought, not what she thought I wanted to hear. I’ve begged and pleaded for her opinion on different models of broom, and different activities, and Father’s politics, and everything. I should have found at least one place we disagreed! Instead, nothing.”

“I didn’t realize you’d told her that.” Pansy toyed with her bonding bracelet as she frowned. “That does make it seem more like she’s lying because she thinks you’ll hate her otherwise.”

Blaise shrugged. “Or she doesn’t have a thought in her head.”

“I have to have a spouse I can trust,” Draco finished. His parents didn’t always get along, and sometimes spent whole days in frigid silence, but they always knew each other, and that meant they could trust that at some point the silence would turn back into words, and not angry ones. “I could never trust Potter. Maybe she is completely shallow, but it’s so unbelievable anyone could be that way all the time, she could also be the best liar I’ve ever seen. It’s not like I could know unless I get her under Veritaserum.”

“Do it.”

“Unlike some of us who have parents that flout convention,” said Pansy, with a small frown at Blaise, “Draco can’t do that any more than he can simply break the betrothal contract because he doesn’t like her. It would violate honor.”

“Wait, I thought…” Blaise stared at Draco in a way that said he was as appalled as he had been whenever Draco displayed less than impeccable table manners. “I thought your parents liked the Potters, or owed them a debt, or otherwise had reasons for encouraging you to pursue your betrothed. Are you saying it’s just a matter of honor?”

“Not just,” said Pansy and Draco at the same time. Pansy fell silent and made a little encouraging motion with her wrist, and Draco nodded tightly to her and focused on Blaise again. “The betrothal contact was made to honor a debt and create a mutually advantageous bargain.”

“Obviously.”

“But the contract is serious, in the way a life-debt is. If we didn’t want something binding and serious, we would have chosen something else—I mean, my parents would have, seeing as I was a few months old at the time. So the only way we can end the betrothal is if Potter turns out to be unsuitable, or if one of us finds a more suitable candidate to substitute for it.”

“She sounds pretty bloody unsuitable to me.”

“But not liking each other isn’t enough,” Draco finished with a sigh. He pretended to ignore the way he could feel his mother glaring at him across the ballroom for not going over to spend time with his fiancée. “And she’s not going to prove herself unsuitable now, not if she hasn’t so far.”

“You still have two years.” Blaise tried to squeeze his shoulder.

“She’s either completely shallow and trying to be everything I want or an excellent actor,” Draco reminded him. “Why would she mess up now?”

“And you’re not going to find a better candidate, not when your parents already found one once,” said Pansy, with a nod.

Draco stared at her. “What? I wasn’t under a betrothal contract before the one with the Potters! They would never have broken it!”

“I didn’t mean—of course your family took no dishonor,” said Pansy, and twisted her bonding bracelet hard enough that Draco thought she was going to break it for a second. “I only meant that the Potters said you were originally going to marry their firstborn, and Dahlia is their second-born, so.”

“What the hell are you talking about, Pansy?”

Draco made sure to keep his voice low. Dimness was settling into the ballroom as the hired musicians began to play and Father led Mother out for the first dance. The last thing he wanted was to attract attention.

“You didn’t know your betrothal contract was originally for the Potters’ first child?”

“Dahlia is always the one I was meant for!”

“No, she isn’t,” said Pansy. She was pressing back against Blaise now, who had an arm around her shoulders and was glaring at Draco for frightening her. Draco ignored that. “You remember they had a son? Harold, or something. His name started with that ‘Har’ sound. Born just a few months after you. And then the Dark Lord attacked them, and something happened.”

“He vanished,” Draco said tightly. Father had tried to pretend he was under Imperius in the war, but Draco knew better. It wasn’t something he liked to talk about much.

Pansy nodded. “And the next year, your contract was changed. I know Dahlia wasn’t born until two years later. You didn’t think it was strange that your parents betrothed you to someone who didn’t turn seventeen the same year you did?”

Draco shook his head, dazed. “I just thought that my parents were holding out for a Potter daughter, not a son. A—wife, not a consort.” Consortships were much rarer now than they had been two generations ago, because not many wizards paired to wizards or witches paired to witches were powerful enough anymore to create a child from pure magic and pure desire. Or not enough in love, some people whispered.

“I’m sorry,” Pansy said in a small voice that let Draco know she really meant it. “My mother told me all this two years ago. I just thought you knew and didn’t want to talk about it. Something was wrong with Harold, or whatever his name is. You know because he didn’t go to Hogwarts, and the Potters hid him away for a while and then sent him abroad. They changed your contract to Dahlia.”

Draco stared at Potter again across the ballroom, watching the way she laughed and smiled as people talked to her. She never flirted, even when a handsome young Hufflepuff eased up and looked at her hopefully. She never said anything scandalous, or inappropriate, or funny. It was no wonder Mother approved of her so much.

“That’s one thing I could do,” Draco heard himself saying. “I could find this—Harold, and substitute his name for Potter’s. My parents could hardly object to me bonding someone they originally decided on.”

“I seem to know more pure-blood tradition than either of you, suddenly,” Blaise drawled. “There’s only one reason they would have decided their second child was for you, Draco. Especially a child not born until two years later.”

“What?” Draco demanded. He honestly couldn’t think of a reason for changing a betrothal contract like that. It wasn’t done.

“If it turned out he was a Squib.”

Draco hesitated. He might complain about Blaise and Pansy to himself, and envy their happiness, but when it came down to it, there weren’t two people he trusted more. That was one reason it had been such a blow to find out he didn’t, couldn’t, trust Dahlia Potter.

“My family would never have betrothed me to a Squib.”

“It’s not like they would know until he was at least a few years old, Draco—”

“No.” Draco took a deep breath. “They would. One of my ancestors got a Squib consort pawned off on her, long ago. She invented a way to tell when a child was a Squib at any age, even right after birth. She was determined the Malfoy family would never be tricked into that kind of marriage or consortship again.”

And if it had sometimes been used for less savory purposes by his ancestors, on their own children…Draco wasn’t ready to discuss that. But it was one of those darknessness he had always had to live with, and which Potter didn’t have, as far as he could see.

“What?” Blaise hissed.

“I wouldn’t joke about something like that.” Draco shook his head. “My parents would never have accepted the contract for a Squib son. The least they would have done is insist that the Potters wait and see if a second child have magic before they signed the contract at all. And much more likely, they would have arranged the marriage for me with some other family and had the Potters pay something else for the debt.”

Blaise looked deep in thought, frowning. “But there is nothing else that could make someone change the wording like that.” He glanced at Pansy. “Did your mother tell you whether it was the Potters or the Malfoys that made the change in the contract? That at least might give us a hint.”

“I think it was the Potters.”

Even less sense. James Potter wasn’t the sort to condemn a child to a loveless marriage, Draco was sure. He probably thought Dahlia loved Draco and that was just fine, and he couldn’t see past Draco’s mask of politeness to the indifference he felt—or maybe he assumed no one could be indifferent to his lovely, Quidditch-playing daughter. Even after having been around his prospective in-laws for a good portion of his life, Draco couldn’t claim he always understood them.

But what about a two-year-old could have convinced James Potter that some unknown child in the future would be a better match?

Frowning deeply, Draco tapped his fingers on his wineglass and watched as Potter got led out by her Hufflepuff. She liked to dance, he supposed, and there was no reason to wait. Or—oh, no, wait, Mother was looking with total obviousness from him to Potter. She must have advised Potter to do this because she thought it would make Draco “jealous” and force him to intervene. Draco would have to, but only because honor demanded he not show how much he despised his betrothed.

Draco sighed and pushed off from the pillar he’d leaned against. “I have to go do the social,” he muttered to his friends. “But if you think of any reason it could have been changed, let me know.”

“Sure, Draco,” Pansy murmured. Blaise nodded, his eyes alight. He always did enjoy a good minor mystery.

Draco smoothly cut Potter apart from her Hufflepuff and danced with her for a few minutes, watching her smooth forehead and shining eyes. Nothing ever troubled her. While Draco didn’t want a jealous betrothed, at least a spiteful glance or so in Pansy’s direction would have reassured him she did have feelings.

“Enjoying yourself, Dahlia?” he did ask.

“Of course! What’s not to enjoy?”


That was it, Draco decided abruptly as he spun Dahlia through the movements of a waltz. That was absolutely bloody it. He wasn’t spending the rest of his life with someone who didn’t even have compliments, only enjoyment. He would find this Harold or whoever he was, and ascertain what went wrong, and if there was the slightest chance of doing it with honor and if Harold was the slightest bit willing, Draco would bond him as his consort instead.

If there wasn’t a chance and Draco had to dishonor himself and his family to break the contract…

Honestly, he was almost at the point where he could think, Fuck honor.



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