Plan B

BY : SickPuppy
Category: Harry Potter > Slash - Male/Male
Dragon prints: 2039
Disclaimer: Harry Potter characters and universe belong to JK Rowling. I make no money from this.

So, um, hi. This is very different from Changes and Advances. It's not fun for Harry for a lot of the time. Sort of set in an AU universe as there is an anti-gay prejudice, and the MoM is very corrupt.

This may require some serious Suspension of Disbelief (SOD) on your behalf. I've tried to explain everything, but if you think I've mised something, let me know. I'll either tell you it's covered later, or fess up and tell you SOD! Hopefully I'll then go and change it.

Chapters are fairly long for me and although there is a main pairing, this is in general slash as there is a lot of Harry having sex with random guys. (Always as the bottom) and occasional implicit sex with women (never written).

As always, please review. SP

Chapter 1

Entering the acting Minister for Magic's room, Harry felt nervous. There were piles of documents on every available surface and he began to understand why it had taken Kingsley nearly a week to fit him in for this appointment.

The older wizard smiled tiredly at the younger one and waved him into the only seat. “If I'd realised just how much work this would take, I would have said no!”

“Is it so bad?” Harry asked, feeling sympathy despite his own troubles.

“Hunting Death Eaters? Investigating corruption? Searching for missing witches and wizards? Arguing for new laws? Believe me, saving the wizarding world is going to be much harder than any of us thought.” He paused, eyes a little frantic as they scanned over the piles of parchment. For a moment, Harry faded from Kingley's mind as he considered all the problems he had faced during the previous seven days – discovering that one department had used a loophole in a badly written law to ignore Muggle baiting; finding out another was headed by a 'lapsed' Death Eater; giving his personal attention to distressed widows and widowers; as well as trying to broker peace talks with the many magical creatures that were part of their world. It was exhausting, and, Kingsley realised, only the very tip of the iceberg. It frightened him, the depths that people could sink to when power began to corrupt. He worried, most of all, about what this new power would corrupt in him. One man who had never seemed to be corrupted y the power he held sat opposite him. Harry had been almost as busy as Kingsley himself recently – fighting to get certain Death Eaters treated less harshly. Shacklebolt wondered who Harry had taken on as his latest 'rescue'. “But you're not here to listen to my woes. What is it?”

“I told Ron and Hermione something last week and they both reacted like I was insane.” He saw the other's patient look and went on, “I'm – I'm gay and I want to have a relationship with a man, or, at least, try and have one. But Ron and Hermione both seemed to think it would be impossible. 'Against the law' is how Ron put it. But he's wrong, right? Me being gay isn't illegal?”

The dark eyes staring into his had gone curiously blank.

Oh Merlin, he has got to be kidding me! How do I deal with this?

“Harry. Weasley puts it a little harshly, and being … what you are isn't a crime in itself, but what you want is. Our society has been under threat for a long time, not from Dark Lords, but from falling numbers. The ministry's position is clear: we need every man and woman to reproduce if they can to ensure we don't one day die out. It's crucial Harry. You won't know how close we came to extinction at one point. That law protects us all from a few people's selfishness.”

Harry stared in disbelief at Kingsley. “So, you're telling me it's not enough that I put my life on the line for seven years, now I've got to spend my whole life fulfilling other people's expectations? Never being happy?”

The acting Minister for Magic looked down at the shorter man. “The law is quite clear. And more than just the law, Harry, think about how it would affect our world, affect everything we're trying to re-build if you decide to ignore centuries of wizarding tradition to pursue this doomed romance. You can't ever have heard of the war that took place between us and the Muggles, but believe me when I say that it truly nearly wiped us all out, and it is the source of much of the basis for Pure Blood hatred for Muggle borns and half blood witches and wizards. Even if I changed that law, which I don't think I could, you would never be accepted for what you are. People would never accept you for what you are, not when you have always been the one we counted on, perhaps unfairly, to save us from the Dark Lord. Someone like you could never be allowed to disregard our community like that. Perhaps you don't care about the legacy you leave behind now, but one day you might, and being 'The Boy Who Fucked Other Men' is not something you want others to say of you. Now or in the future.”

Unable to bear sitting a moment longer, Harry stood up and paced the office. “How is this fair, Kingsley? Tell me! So, I save the whole fucking world from Voldemort and now I can't go after the person I love because he isn't a girl? I have to marry some witch and breed brats on her?!” He stopped and thumped the desk, “Why the fuck did I bother if this is what I was saving?”

“Sit down,” said Kingsley in his deep voice. He frowned as the younger man seemed to be wasting his time when he had so very many other things to do. It wasn't that he resented Harry being there, but that he felt an edge of panic as he thought about all the things he still had to achieve that day, and comforting a distressed man had not been on the list. And most especially dealing with an issue like homosexuality. “You may feel upset but you are the one who is not in line with the wizarding world. You want a relationship that can never bear any children and are ignoring centuries of wizard tradition in doing so. Worse, far worse, you are risking the stability of our way of life, risking the end of the magical world altogether if you persist in this and refuse to have any offspring. ”

He paused, but held up his hand when he saw Harry about to burst out. “I'm sorry, Harry. Were you anyone but who you are, perhaps it would matter less, but you are you, the man who saved us all, and you must be seen to be promoting our accepted ways, not indulging in a frankly unwanted and disgusting relationship.” He opened his mouth again but there was no way Harry was going to let the insult go.
“Unwanted and disgusting?! So there are no gays in our society?” Harry butted in, “That I don't believe for a minute! Some of those wonderful heroes out there right now who are busily getting married were quite happy to fuck me senseless at school! They didn't find me unwanted or disgusting!”

“What happens during the adolescent years we do not concern ourselves with. And, truly, Harry, you keep forgetting just how important you were – are - to our world. Of course people would have shown willing to be involved with you, even if only for a short time. But when a witch or a wizard becomes an adult, they must respect our ways.” He paused before saying, “I could allow you to remain single if you claimed you had not yet found someone, or the person you loved had died – like in Severus Snape's case – but even then, the Ministry would push you to move on as you are young and a symbol of hope for our community. But not to a man. I am sorry, Harry, but the Ministry needs you to continue to save the world, and you need to respect what we've fought for.”

“Well I don't!” Harry snarled. Hearing Snape's name had shaken him. Had that man been pressured into a relationship? Even now, after nearly dying, was Snape being 'encouraged' to move on? And where did that leave him, Harry? He was frowning, unable to believe that just because he wanted to aim for a relationship with a man he was being threatened with having to leave the wizarding world. And it was even worse because he was Harry Potter. Never had he cursed his fame more than in this moment. He clutched his head as an idea came to him. “Wh-What about if I married a witch, had some kids but had a lover on the side?”

He couldn't believe he was openly discussing the idea of infidelity with the Minister for Magic, but he was desperate.

Even that idiotic idea was denied with a firm shake of the head and an angry look.

“You were not raised as a wizard, as part of our world, so I realise there is much you have never been told.” Kingsley sighed and settled back into his chair. “Long ago, back when our problem of falling numbers became known, one of our most gifted witches was determined to ensure our continued survival. She wove some magic so complex and powerful that even now we don't fully understand it, but it means that a marriage in our world is more than a marriage in the Muggle one. There can be no true infidelity once a pair are bonded.”

Harry's mouth gaped open. “B-But … never?! No-one ever divorces in our world? There are no affairs?”

“Divorces can and do happen on occasions, but infidelity is rarely the cause. By that I mean that one or both can engage in sexual intercourse with, say, a sex worker, and it not affect the bond. If, as in your case, they wanted to sleep with someone they truly cared about, then the magic would prevent that. Of course, people can change and it can mean a couple who were perfect at one time are no longer so. Then they might request an end to their bond. Once a divorce is completed – a difficult thing as it means breaking the magic created by the bonding – then each person is free to move on.”

“T-the magic can be broken?” Harry grasped at that hopefully.

“By those who have been taught, over many centuries, the secrets of undoing it, but I could not do so. I doubt even Dumbledore could have undone the magic without being told how.” Kingsley threw Harry a stern look. “And, have you not considered your wife in all this? Even if the bond could be broken, you would have married a woman who believed your claims of love; she could, quite rightly, refuse to allow the bond to end. But, even worse, think of the hurt you would cause this witch who had borne your children.” He paused. “And surely, if you can tolerate the thought of lying with a woman, you can bear never indulging your unnatural desires.”

Sagging, Harry felt sick. “Unnatural desires?” he growled, furious at the Minister's words, but he felt ill too, and only part of that was due to the idea of having to sleep with a woman; he had utterly ignored the feelings of his mythical wife, and that was unfair. But, still, he wanted something that was so simple, and yet somehow seen as so wrong. “So, it comes down to this: I lie and say the woman I love is dead, which everyone knows isn't true, and still get pressured into marrying; or I marry and never have the chance to be with the person I truly want; or … what happens if I refuse to do either of those things?”

“You cannot be part of our world. It may sound cruel, but there is nothing to be done. I could never do so, no more could you. It may be unfair, but think of this as just one more sacrifice. We've all sacrificed so much, and I would hope none of us ever has to again, but I'm not so naïve. Perhaps you are. Our society has been fractured, no torn apart, and the job of knitting it back together will take every last one of us, probably for the rest of our lives, regardless of what we ourselves want. Think this through, Harry, if you refuse to follow our ways you will lose everything.” He peered into the younger man's eyes, trying to make him see that the only way to survive was to do what was expected and accepted. “Your vault will be seized, you'll lose the house Sirius left you. We'll even take your wand, and you'll never be welcome in any magical place ever again. If seen, you risk arrest and Azkaban. You risk all of that by admitting to being homosexual.” He forestalled the complaint, “I know it isn't illegal in itself, but by refusing to marry, and openly defying us, you would be seen as breaking the law. It's a hefty price to pay for self indulgence. The magic would make you … content with a woman.”
“Self indulgence?!” Harry screeched the words. “I don't want to shag women, Kingsley. The thought makes me ill! That's not self indulgence!”

“It is when you have a duty to propagate.”

“So, I donate my sperm to some witch and there, I'm done. Then can I have the man I want?”

“I wish that could be the case, but it is not so. We are fighting to stabilise our society, so any child must be bound within a marriage, and cared for fully by both parents (where both are alive). I wish there were some way for you to have what you want. I truly do, but the Ministry will act as soon as I file my report of this meeting. Harry, I can give you, at most, three days. Then I will have to share what has taken place here, little as I want to. Think about whether what you want is worth it.”

“Are you seriously trying to tell me that no wizards in our society ever want to screw another man?”

Kingsley's expression soured. “We have sex workers, of course, as I said, and other than being carefully regulated to ensure no STMDs are passed around, we don't ask what a worker might be asked to do. I understand that people might have needs that can't be met other than in those circumstances which is why we haven't stamped out the sex industry. It allows men, like yourself, to deal with those urges you feel you have that threaten our world so that they can take their proper place. Consider that approach. Marry and sate your urges with a prostitute.” Shacklebolt glanced at the clock behind Harry's head. “Now, I'm sorry, Harry, but I have a meeting with the representatives of Gringotts and I'm already ten minutes late for it.” Giving the younger man a sad look he said, “It feels unfair at this moment, but you must see how fragile our very existence is! So, please, Harry, make the correct choice. At least say you'll consider marriage. Just, give up this notion of being with a man! Or, find comfort with a sex worker, but do your duty to our society.”

Harry kicked the chair he had been sitting on. He glared at nothing in particular. “Forget it!” he huffed, “Three days, you said? I'd rather live a Muggle for the rest of my life than bow down to this shite!”

***

He strode out of the Ministry building and stalked along the alley towards Gringotts, every muscle tense with fury. His head whirled remembering the conversation. His choices were being narrowed ridiculously and he felt a deep bitterness that everyone had been quite happy for him to die for the wizarding world, but no-one seemed happy that he wanted to live in it. Before he reached the door to the bank he ran into Luna who was holding hands with a pleasant young man Harry didn't recognise. Somehow he gave her a half smile rather than the snarl he felt like.

“Harry! This is Rolf.” She blushed prettily. “We've just got engaged.”

Genuinely happy for them, Harry hugged the woman and enthusiastically shook hands with her fiancé. Seeing them he felt cold and alone. This was what he wanted – to be able to walk down a street with the man he wanted and no-one to make anything of it. Although, in truth, he knew he would never be able to do that. The man he obsessed over would never have allowed it. He stayed and chatted with them for a few moments pushing down the feelings of anger, but then the panic closed in and he excused himself to go inside the bank.

For a few moments he stood in the atrium and took in the marble halled splendour of the bank. Could he give all this up? Was Kingsley right? If he married a witch would he be 'content' with her? It made him shudder. He didn't want contentment, he wanted happiness. After so many years of fear and fighting, that wasn't so damned much to ask, surely?

His whole life had been about other people and what they expected of him. He refused to live like that forever. And if it cost him everything then maybe, just maybe, the wizarding community would see how wrong they had been. He had never liked his fame, but if, just because he was who he was, he could force a change in attitudes, he'd even accept having to live like a Muggle. But, that would mean he'd never get to be with the man he wanted. No matter how he looked at it, he would end up alone. But then, if he was honest, he didn't believe he stood any chance anyway.

What do I do?

He wandered up to a counter. There he asked to speak in private to an account Goblin and was led down a luxuriously carpeted hallway to a door. Every moment spent on niceties and manners made him chafe as he was all too aware that Kingsley might have decided to lie, and maybe had already filed the report. Maybe it was already too late! So, he really didn't want to exchange small talk with some goblin.

Once inside he explained that he needed to open a second vault, one that the Ministry didn't know about, in a different name. Garnook, the goblin he was speaking with, gave him a shrewd glance. “Want to keep something out of the Ministry's possession?”

Still fuming after his meeting with Kingsley, Harry unwisely snapped, “No! I'm about to have everything seized so I want somewhere to move stuff to before that happens.”

Garnook scrutinised him. “We at Gringotts don't associate with law breakers. The Ministry might not be as strong as we are, but we know better than to openly defy them over a matter of such small profit to us. If you are about to lose everything, I doubt we can help you.”

Feeling desperate, Harry asked, “What about I empty my vault now? Then I could open a new one some other time, right?”

Garnook stroked his chin. “We have a strict policy of forty-eight hours' notice to empty a vault, other than in the case of transferring contents from one account to another. And first we have to alert the Ministry to any such request. That can take up to a day to go through.”

“Is there no way to hurry it up?” Harry asked, feeling his options narrowing.

“Of course. Gold eases all things. But for each hour before the full notice, we charge a thousand galleons. If you want your vault closed now, it will cost you 48,000 galleons, after we notify the Ministry.”

Harry felt his face pale. He knew there was a lot of money in his vault, but not that much that he could cheerfully lose nearly fifty thousand galleons and not notice. “But I can withdraw money now, like I always have? And incur no charge?”

“Yes, up to the daily maximum of five thousand galleons.”

“Okay, I want five thousand today. And I'll come back tomorrow for another five, and maybe the day after too.” That way, at least, I have some money when I have to vanish!

Garnook nodded and indicated that Harry should make his way back to the main hall to await an official who would guide him to his vault.

Harry jigged from foot to foot, feeling the time ticking by and knowing he was in real trouble this time. He could withdraw, at most, fifteen thousand. And that was assuming Kingsley did wait three days to file the report. If he filed it early, Harry would only have ten. And that wouldn't keep him. Even with the prices in the wizarding world, ten thousand wasn't enough to let him have any semblance of life. Especially as he'd be forbidden from actually being part of it.

Despite only being given the news a short time earlier, Harry had already dismissed appealing to his friends to hide him. He couldn't just cower behind them and let the Ministry do this to him and to others like him who wanted something different. Besides, they had their own lives to lead, and harbouring him was bound to put them in opposition to the Ministry. It seemed, with Voldemort gone, all the abuses that had been in place were again flourishing, and people like Arthur – who was finally being treated decently - would hardly risk it all again after having had years of being ignored and degraded because of his views.

The mass of gold in his vault was reassuring, but at the same time damned irritating – this was his, the Ministry had no right to seize it! He also felt annoyed that he'd combined his inheritance from Sirius into this account. Had he not, he might have been able to withdraw five thousand from both. As it was, he just had access to his family vault. At the doorway he felt weak: how would his parents have reacted to his news? Would they have been filled with disgust that he wanted to make a life with a man? Considering the man in question, he thought his mother would have been surprised, and his father furious.

He swept heaps of coins towards him and began counting, the goblin at his side helping. Once he'd magically extended his money pouch and filled it with five thousand galleons (making a sizeable dent in the pile), he felt less vulnerable.

Out in Diagon Alley, he wandered into Flourish and Blotts, and went to a section he'd never really looked at before – Magical Law. He browsed the shelves, trying to keep his expression clear of the rage he felt, and pulled out a text. It looked hefty and dull but he needed to read up on the laws governing same sex relations to see if there was any loophole at all. With his funds so low, he couldn't buy the book and would have to find the correct section and read it, hoping he remembered enough.

The laws were boring and badly written, but luckily each one was summarised in a box that gave the key points:

Same sex relationships are illegal because they mean there is no chance of a child being born. No persons of the same gender can marry, nor be recognised in any way in law as a couple.

Well, that was clear (and depressing) enough. Harry shut his eyes, feeling tears threatening at the back of them. Was what he wanted so wrong? He'd done everything people had expected and wanted – destroyed the Dark Lord, saved the wizarding world, even managed to get Snape help in time to save his life – but when it came down to his needs, it was illegal? It wasn't self-indulgence, whatever Kingley said. Harry remembered that he would be 'content' with a woman. But he wanted more. He damned well deserved it after all the shit he had gone through. Feeling angry, he thought about his few options: somehow remain as part of the magical world, but stay out of sight and dodge the Ministry, or give up on magic altogether, never see his extended family again, and live like a Muggle. Which he might have been able to bear, except the man he wanted was a wizard. If he chose the Muggle world, he was giving up on that too! And, if he chose to live as a Muggle, he had no qualifications, no experience (that they'd recognise). What kind of life would he ever have?Worse than that, though, was the very thought of living without magic for the rest of his life. He recalled all too well how awful he had felt every summer at the Dursleys – knowing there was a world out there that he belonged to, but which was denied him, even if only for a few weeks. To live like that forever made his stomach churn.

He flicked to the section on sex workers. It wasn't something he'd really thought much about in the magical world, but he supposed sex was as much a turn on for magical people as for Muggles. The laws were confusing, but the summaries were quite helpful:

Ministry approved sex workers can charge higher rates for their services as they are guaranteed STMD free and have to abide by the strict Ministry guidelines. Sex workers who are not Ministry approved are not guaranteed STMD free. Sex workers can set limitations on what they are willing to do, and these must be respected by their clients. Sex workers cannot have non-paying clients, but can be in a relationship. Any sex worker in a relationship must declare it so that the partner can be checked for STMDs as well.

Well, that was clear, and even more depressing. Harry liked sex. A lot. He liked being fucked. What he wanted most – the man he wanted most – would probably never come to be, but if he decided on this route, he would at least get to have sex with men. It was maybe his only way of defying the Ministry. If he became a sex worker (and Harry hated that he was even contemplating it), he would have to submit to Ministry testing before he could be approved. Given the examples in the book, he would have to be approved, as he was not spreading his legs for one galleon, which was all non-approved sex workers could charge. Mind you, he also wasn't willing to do some of the things that commanded higher prices – bondage was out as far as he was concerned! He'd also never understood the desire to be beaten to within an inch of your life for fun. He'd had it happen too often and be real for it to arouse him.

However, maybe he didn't have to earn a living like that; he did have some money. Maybe, if he found a building and bought it, he could rent out the rooms or floors and earn enough to pay for some polyjuice potion so that he could at least walk amongst the world he knew. It might even help. After all, the man he wanted had some rather preconceived ideas about him. Perhaps if they met as two strangers they'd grow to like one another. He wished he could find some witch who was gay, and arrange a marriage with her so that they could both be with the people they wanted. But the damned magic prevented even that solution that would have made four people happy. If only he could somehow break the magic. It really didn't seem likely, so it was become a property magnate.

That, he decided, was Plan A. Plan B was become a sex worker and somehow search for the man he wanted while getting fucked by strangers. He felt nausea curling in his stomach. How was he supposed to go through with this? Surely it would be easier and less degrading to just be a Muggle. But how could he? How could he turn his back on all the things he knew existed? Either way he had to deny something crucial to his very soul – either his magic, or his sexuality. So, he had to find a house and get hold of polyjuice potion. He really didn't want to have to resort to Plan B.

He trudged out of the shop and into the apothecary. There he could buy pre-made Polyjuice potion, but the price took his breath away – a galleon a vial! If he bought the ingredients separately they would cost a little over five galleons but would make at least thirty portions. He told the shop assistant what he wanted and the girl set about fetching and weighing out the items. Shifting from foot to foot, he ignored her gentle probing as to why he wanted polyjuice potion and instead got caught in his own head, thinking himself in circles and getting nowhere.

Just before he paid he remembered to add a request for fifty containers to hold doses. He could hardly leave the potion just bubbling away non-stop! Bottling it would make far more sense.

Once he had the ingredients, he made his way down Knockturn Alley. The street was far emptier than it had been during the Dark Lord's reign, and he trod quickly to the end, hoping that Borgin and Burkes was still open. It was. Pushing open the door he went in and looked around.

“Can I help you?” a croaky voice asked as Harry leaned close to a shelving unit piled high with odd items.

He spun around and saw the man's eyes flick up to his scar then settle on his face, expression speculative. “Do you have any wands available?” he queried, thinking in panic that his own might be confiscated at any time if he were found by the Ministry.

Eyebrows raised, the man sneered but led the way towards the rear of the shop and to a wall display hidden in shadow that held a variety of chipped and worn looking wands. “Lost your own?” he asked, seeing the outline of the item in Harry's jeans. It was clear to the assistant that the wonderful Harry Potter had somehow got himself into the kind of serious shit that demanded a second wand, and it delighted him.

“J – just think a spare would make sense,” he stammered and began inspecting each piece of wood. He held each one and flicked it, but they didn't give him the same warm feeling his own wand did, and the magic he cast with them was weak. Feeling the same clenching in his stomach that he had had during his meeting with Kingsley, he asked, eyes wide and desperate, “Do you have any others?”

The man went into a back room and left Harry hating himself for not hanging onto the damned Elder Wand. As little as he had wanted it, at least he had had the right to the thing, and it had obeyed him. Instead he was stuck in this dingy shop, completely dependant on a man who was probably an ex Death Eater, or, if not, someone who had been in sympathy with Voldemort.

Grumbling, the assistant returned holding three wands that looked as though they were each about to expire. He put them onto a flat surface and ironically waved at Harry.

The youngster stepped forward, eyeing the three battered sticks dubiously. But when he picked up the first he felt a slight tingle in his fingers, a tiny amount of warmth in his hand as his magic channelled through the item.

“Fifty galleons,” the assistant said before Harry could ask, and enjoyed the dismayed look on the bloody 'Chosen One's' face. The seller could charge what he wished; after all, if Potter were able to buy another wand openly, then he would have done so. However, they both knew that if a wand were sold by the good and boring legal types, it would be reported to the Ministry. Only dodgy types would sell a wand without declaring it. And people had to pay for that discretion.

“F – forty,” Harry choked out, thinking of his bag of gold and all he had to do with that money.

“Fifty.”

“Forty five?”

“Fifty.”

Almost crying, Harry dipped into his pouch and drew out fifty of his precious galleons.

“Pleasure doing business with you,” the assistant jeered as Harry tromped dejectedly out of the shop.

With a box full of potion ingredients and a battered wand, he apparated back to Sirius' home and called for Kreacher.

“Master?”

Harry sighed, but he really didn't have time to argue – yet again – with Kreacher about what the human should be called. “Kreacher, the Ministry is likely to seize all my stuff soon. I don't know if that includes you or not. There was talk a couple of weeks ago about Kingsley altering the House Elf laws, but I don't know if he bothered.” Feeling bitterness well up, Harry forced it aside, “But, if you don't count as my property, get out of here and I'll find a way to contact you, okay? For now, though, could you pack up my cauldron, cloaks, and odds and sods as quickly as possible?”

Kreacher gave his master an alarmed look. “Master has upset the Ministry?”

“In a big way.” Harry answered glumly.

Ears wobbling, the elf considered. “Kreacher serves Harry Potter and is said to belong to Harry Potter, so the Ministry may take me? If they do not, just call me, Master. Kreacher will always answer.”

Feeling tears threaten again, the young man choked out, “Thanks, Kreacher.”

***

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