You are currently viewing The Legacy of Merlin Chapter Twenty-Three

The Legacy of Merlin Chapter Twenty-Three

Harry sat at his house table, poking his food distractedly. He looked up at the teacher’s table, staring at the empty seat in the middle. Dumbledore was gone for the day, presiding over the trial of his father.

He expected there to be an article in tomorrow’s paper, but that wasn’t the only thing that had distracted. 

What really him worried was Andre and his study group. He thought about what he found out at the Daily Prophet, and also what Fred and George told him.

He knew the twins had a reputation for being pranksters, but this was well above even their pranking skills. It was genuine fear in their eyes. 

He had been thinking hard, trying to figure out the right thing to do. He knew he would turn them down, but what about Ron, Hermione, and Draco? What would they do? Would he be able to convince them to leave the group as well?

Harry sighed, coming to a decision. He had gone back and forth all morning on what to do, and how he thought they would react, but in the end, it didn’t change what he had to do. They needed to know what was going on. They needed to know the truth.

“Ron, Hermione, can I talk to you outside?” Harry asked.

“What’s this about Potter?” Hermione asked, looking up from her lunch. Since the flying class and what happened to Neville, it had forced her to reevaluate her opinion of him.

She may not like him, but he wasn’t like the kids that bullied her in her old school. He was at least using his wealth and fame to help others.

The real issue she had with Potter was the special treatment he received. It wasn’t fair that he could just leave the school whenever he pleased, and she didn’t like that he got to learn magic long before she even heard of Hogwarts.

“It’s important. Please, just meet me outside,” Harry said as he went to get Draco.

Draco overheard the conversation between Potter, Weasley, and Granger, and when Potter walked up to his table, he already had a good idea what this was about.

“Draco, can I talk to you outside?” Harry asked.

Draco nodded, following them out. 

“Ok Potter, what’s going on?” Draco asked after they made sure no one was around to overhear them.

“I want to talk to you about the study group,” Harry replied.

Hermione and Draco made eye contact. They both remembered what Andre said about him.

“I’m going to turn them down, and I think you should as well,” Harry said. 

“Why is that Potter?” Draco asked. “Bole has been nothing but helpful ever since I joined.”

“Beatrice was the same for me,” Hermione added.

“Something just doesn’t feel right about them,” Harry replied, trying to be careful with how much he revealed. He didn’t want what happened to Ron’s family to happen to them as well.

“I agree with Harry,” Ron added. After what Fred and George told him, he wanted nothing to do with them, either.

“Big surprise there,” Draco said snidely. 

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Ron asked indignantly. 

“You don’t see it, Weasley?” Draco laughed. “You’ve been following Potter around like a lost puppy ever since we got here.”

“That’s enough,” Harry said as he stepped between them. 

Ron glared at Draco, but stepped back, realizing they wouldn’t convince them if this devolved into a shouting match.

“Look,” Harry said. “I talked to Andre a few days ago. He said that he grew up alone, an only son, and his parents didn’t have time for him… but that was a lie. He has two brothers.”

“He told me what I wanted to hear, to manipulate me into joining his group, and I think he and the other members of the group did the same for you.”

Hermione thought about her conversations with Beatrice. She was the one that told her about the tutors the purebloods hired, and how the study group could help her become a top student as well.

Draco took a step back, sneering. “I see what’s going on, Potter. You don’t want us in the group because we’ll eventually catch up to you in the ranking,” he said as he thought about what Bole told him. 

Being the top student wasn’t just about having the highest grades, that was only one side of the coin. Bole explained the other side.

Sabotaging potions, making sure certain student’s tests and essays never made it to the Professor’s desk, costing rivals house points.

Subterfuge, manipulation, and trickery, they were also important skills to learn and master if you wanted to succeed in the real world.

Potter was trying to do the same thing to them now. He knew he wouldn’t have to work as hard to keep his spot if the study group wasn’t helping them.

“What? No!” Harry denied. “It’s nothing like that!”

Draco ignored him. “Weasley, Granger, you can do what you want, but I don’t believe a word of this,” he said as he walked back into the great hall.

Hermione stared wide-eyed at Potter as it sunk in what he had tried to do. Andre had even warned them. She followed Draco back into the Great Hall, annoyed with herself for thinking Potter could be different. 

Harry and Ron watched them leave, neither one of them sure what to do. 

“I talked to Fred and George,” Ron said after Hermione and Draco left. “They told me everything.” 

“I think they’re lying to us,” Harry observed. “They recruited us because they want something, but it isn’t to make the world a better place.”

Ron nodded in agreement. “I’ll talk to Hermione later. Maybe I can convince her after she has some time to think things through.”

Harry walked through the hallway, making his way to the library. He knew the study group was having a meeting today.

“Hello Harry,” Andre smiled when he saw Harry walk in. “You’re a little early. The others aren’t here yet.”

“I know,” Harry replied. “I wanted to talk to you first.”

“Oh? What about?” Andre asked.

“It’s about the study group. I’m sorry, but I can’t join. I have too much on my plate right now,” Harry said. 

He decided not to confront Andre directly with what he knew, at least until he understood what they really wanted.

“Oh,” Andre replied. “I can’t say I’m not disappointed to hear that. I think the others will be too.”

Harry nodded. “I’m sorry. The things my solicitor has planned for me, it won’t leave me with enough free time to do this properly.”

“Your solicitor? That’s right, you met him on the weekend. When you bought the messenger hawk,” Andre said. “You did an interview for the Prophet too.”

“That’s right,” Harry nodded.

“Be careful Harry,” Merlin warned. “He’s interrogating you. Don’t give away that you’re onto him.”

“It’s funny actually,” Andre observed. “Before you left that day, you were all set to join us, then when you came back… it was like everything changed. What could have happened in just a few short hours to change your mind like that?”

Andre observed Harry carefully as he spoke, looking for any kind of tell from the younger boy. 

“… Like I said,” Harry replied, trying to keep his voice calm. “I just realized I wouldn’t have enough free time to join a study group on top of everything else I’m doing.”

“Your interview at the Prophet… who did you do it with Harry?” Andre asked as he took a step closer.

‘He knows,’ Harry realized. “Sorry,” he shook his head. “I don’t remember.”

Andre paused, taking in Harry’s stance. His knees were bent, and he was watching him like a hawk. ‘He’s getting ready to draw his wand,’ he observed.

Andre smiled. It was at the Prophet. “What did you find out at the Prophet Harry?” 

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, Andre. I have to get going. See you later,” Harry said as he prepared to draw his wand.

“I think you know exactly what I’m talking about,” Andre said, taking another step closer. “I think… you learned something about me, or perhaps my family?”

‘There’ Andre thought, catching the slight twitch in Harry’s left eye. It happened as soon as he mentioned his family.

“I see,” Andre realized. “My brothers, you’re upset I lied to you about them.”

Harry said nothing as he stared back at the older boy, a bead of sweat forming on his forehead.

“I’m sorry about that, Harry,” Andre said, taking a step back. “I didn’t feel right about lying to you.”

“Then why do it?” Harry demanded, keeping his guard up.

“We’re doing something Harry, something amazing,” Andre smiled. “We’ve been preparing for this for hundreds of years, but we can’t do it alone. That’s why we recruited you. What you did with Merlin’s Vault will pale in comparison to this.”

“What is going on? What are you going to do?” Harry asked.

“He’s a fanatic, a zealot,” Merlin warned. “Don’t believe anything he tells you.”

“We’re going to create a new golden age of magic, Harry, the likes of which the world has never seen before.” Andre said passionately. “We won’t have any more need for politicians, or armies, or even live in hiding from the muggles. We’ll be able to live alongside them, creating a better world. Join us Harry,” Andre implored.

“How? How are you going to do all these things?” Harry demanded.

“I will tell you everything you need to do in time, Harry, but I need you to trust me, please. Take a leap of faith,” Andre said, extending his hand to him.

Harry looked down at Andre’s hand, then thought about what he was willing to do to Ron’s family in pursuit of whatever this was. Merlin was right. Andre was a fanatic, a dangerous one. 

“No,” Harry shook his head. “I don’t know what this is, but I know it’s not good. You wouldn’t be hiding in the shadows otherwise.”

“Harry,” Andre tsked. “I really thought you, of all people, would understand,” he said, drawing his wand. “You could have been at the forefront of something great, but now… you’ll just be a footnote in history.”

Harry drew his wand in the same moment that Andre did. “Think about this, Andre. We’re in the library. How long do you think before Madam Pince shows up? What is she going to do when she sees us fighting?”

“Come on Harry,” Andre drawled. “Don’t you think I was smart enough to think of that? I cast a silencing spell before you even got here, and Madam Pince never checks up on us. After all these years, she trusts us implicitly.”

Harry watched Andre wearily. “Even with a silencing charm, there’s only so much you can hide. When we start throwing spells around, it’ll be hard to miss. I don’t think that’s the kind of attention you want, is it?”

Andre laughed. “You’re smart, Harry, very smart, but you can also be a bit thick. I’m not going to hurt you. You are far more useful alive than dead, besides a simple memory charm will take care of everything. You won’t even be able to get a spell off before I have you.”

“It’s a shame I can only erase this conversation. Anything more and people will take notice,” Andre said regretfully, before he cast his spell.

Harry readied himself to move to the side, preparing to shoot off a spell of his own.

“No WAIT!” Merlin demanded, forcibly pulling Harry into his mindscape.

“What? What’s going on?” Harry demanded as he found himself back in the stone room.

“There’s no time,” Merlin answered hurriedly. “We only have a few seconds. Let Andre’s spell hit you. Trust me.”

Then, before he knew it, Harry found himself back in the real world, staring down the barrel of Andre’s memory spell. He had time to dodge, barely. ‘I trust you,’ Harry thought as he let the spell crash into his chest.

“Don’t move,” Merlin instructed. “Stay completely still. He thinks he’s in your mind, erasing your memories of the last few minutes. I’m re-directing his magic to make him think it’s working.”

“I’m really sorry to hear that, Harry,” Andre started speaking again.

“Pretend you’re confused for a second before you answer him.”

“… What?” Harry asked, doing his best to look confused and out of sorts.

“I said I’m sorry to hear that,” Andre repeated. “I know you have a lot on your plate right now. Maybe next year you’ll have more time for the group.”

“Oh… right yeah, I guess I should be going. I’ll see you later, Andre,” Harry said as he turned and left, doing everything he could to appear calm as he walked out of the library.

Harry quickly made a beeline for one of the empty classrooms, slumping against the wall as he dropped to the ground. How could Andre have known what he was thinking? He read him like a book. It was unnerving. What kind of magic was that, anyway?

“It wasn’t magic,” Merlin answered. “I know it felt that way, but it’s not.”

‘What is it then?’ Harry thought. ‘It certainly felt like magic when I was on the receiving end of it.’

“People did that even in my time,” Merlin explained. “He says words and then watches you for reactions. It could be a twitch of your hand, taking a step back, tensing your shoulders. Anything really. He just figured out your tells and used them against you.”

‘How do I stop him from doing that?’ Harry thought. 

“Occlumeny will help, but you’re still not ready for that. In either case, he believes he erased your memories, so he thinks you aren’t a threat to him anymore.”

‘He still knows I caught him in a lie,’ Harry pointed out.

“Not much of one from his perspective.” Merlin pointed out. “He also said you’re more used to him alive. That’s good. He isn’t planning on hurting anyone, at least not yet.”

“I have some sad news,” Andre said to the assembled study group. “Harry stopped by to talk with me. He said that he won’t be joining the study group, but he’ll consider it for next year.”

“Oh no,” Beatrice frowned. “That’s too bad.”

Hermione and Draco shared a look at what Andre revealed, silently communicating if they should tell them what Harry said, and why he was really leaving.

Draco firmly shook his head no, followed by a nod from Hermione.

“What about Ron?” Elspeth asked. 

“I haven’t spoken to him directly about it,” Andre admitted. “Maybe you can talk to him, Hermione? He’s in your house. I would hate to see him throw away an opportunity like this.”

“Oh, ok,” Hermione nodded. “I can do that.”

“Great. Why don’t we finish off our homework, and after that we can talk about this year’s project,” Andre suggested.

“What project?” Draco asked curiously. 

“Every year we do a group project,” Beatrice explained excitedly. “Last year, we researched enchanted objects and how they’re imbued with magic. It was amazing how resourceful witches and wizards were back then, before they had wands.”

“That does sound interesting,” Hermione smiled.

They broke off into pairs after that, working on their individual homework. After a little while, Hermione leaned over, whispering to Draco. “Why didn’t you tell them what Potter told us?” 

“Why didn’t you?” Draco whispered back.

Hermione had calmed down since their argument with Potter. She still thought she made the right decision, but there was still that nagging doubt. Potter had never lied before. What if he was telling the truth?

“You didn’t believe him, did you?” Draco scoffed.

“No,” Hermione whispered back. “Of course not.”

“Well, there isn’t anything to gain by telling them, is there?” Draco pointed out.

“… No, I guess not,” Hermione acknowledged. “It just feels a little dishonest.”

“Grow up Granger,” Draco replied. “That’s how the world works. Potter was probably betting on us telling them everything. He’ll find a way to turn it around on us and get us kicked out if we’re not careful.”

Hermione nodded reluctantly. It was true, Harry could easily hold on to his ranking if they didn’t have the study group to help them, but she still had a nagging doubt about all of this.

James arrived at home with a tired sigh. The trial itself and his meeting with his now former solicitor had exhausted him.

“James!” Lily rushed over. “How did the trial go? What happened?” 

“Well, I’m not going to Azkaban,” James said with a sigh. “That’s the good news. The bad news is they’ve dismissed me from the Wizengamot, and worse than that, they want the boy to replace me when he reaches his magical maturity.”

“The important thing is you’re not going to Azkaban,” Lily assured him with a hug. “We’ll get it all back, together.”

“Daddy?” Glory called out, walking into the living room. 

“Hello sweetheart,” James said, giving his daughter a hug.

“I heard you and mommy talking. Why does stupid Harry get everything?” Glory demanded. “It’s not fair!” She was so sick and tired of seeing him in the newspaper all the time. She was the one that saved everyone from the Dark Lord. Who cares about his dumb scholarship, anyway?

“I know, sweetheart,” James replied, rubbing her back. “But it will all work out, you’ll see.”

“What did Dodge say about the Potter family trust?” Lily asked. “He was looking into that too, right?”

“He couldn’t find anything,” James lied through his teeth. “I don’t know why he has the reputation he does. He wasn’t even that much of a help during the trial. I think we’ll need to find someone else to find out who’s managing it, or do it ourselves.”

“Alright, why don’t we have dinner now, and we can talk about it tomorrow,” Lily suggested. “You look exhausted, James.”

James nodded. He really was tired after everything that had happened. Maybe he would turn in early tonight.

Cornelius sat in his armchair, staring at the fireplace, and nursing a glass of fire whisky. It had been a victory for him, but it didn’t make him feel any better. They didn’t even punish Potter for what he really did. 

The message the Wizengamot sent was clear. They punished Potter for embarrassing them, not the attack on his wife. 

His punishment for embarrassing them was ending the punishment he devised for the animals that attacked his wife.

“It’s not all bad,” Rita said from the chair across from him. “The Wizengamot isn’t protecting Potter anymore.”

“That was my ace in the hole,” Fudge sighed. “It took me years to even get that much on him.”

“You didn’t have me on your side before,” Rita said confidently. “Besides, men like him don’t just have a single skeleton in their closet. It’ll take some time, but I’ll find another one.”

Cornelius nodded. Nothing had changed. He would still send Potter to Azkaban for what he did. It would just take a little longer than he originally planned.

James shivered, reaching down to pull up the blanket. After fumbling for a few minutes, he cracked an eye open in frustration. He hated it when Lily hogged the blankets, but when he opened his eyes, he wasn’t in his bedroom. He was on the living room floor. ‘How did I end up here?’ He wondered.

Then he tensed up. There was someone in the room with him, but he couldn’t see who they were.

“Moody?” He asked in shock when the man stepped into the light, “What the hell? What are you doing here?!” He demanded, getting to his feet.

“Shut up,” Moody growled, sending a hard punch to James’s face, sending him sprawling back to the ground.

“What are you doing?!” James demanded, slowly getting back to his feet again and holding his jaw.

“Do you have any idea how cold Russia is?” Moody demanded.

“What? What the hell are you talking about?” James asked, holding his throbbing face, thoroughly confused.

“I had to spend the last two weeks in Russia, tracking down the Aurors that went with us to Fudge’s house thanks to you,” Moody said, punching him again.

James groaned as he sat up again, reaching for his wand.

“Don’t bother,” Moody said, holding up James’s wand. 

James paled as he realized he was defenseless, and at the mercy of the former Auror. “What do you want?” 

“I want to know why it was so difficult for you to keep your mouth shut!” Moody demanded. “I had your mess all wrapped up, and taken care of, then you had to open your mouth.”

“It wasn’t my fault, it was Fudge. He’s the one that tricked me,” James replied desperately.

“You may have fooled me with that tripe once, but it’s not going to happen a second time,” Moody denied.

“It’s true!” James insisted. “You weren’t there. He had it planned out from the beginning!”

“STOP LYING!!!” Moody roared, bringing James to a stunned silence.

“You were the one that told me Fudge was a Death Eater! You were the one that insisted on going there and searching his house and you were the one that attacked his wife!” Moody shouted.

“You saw how Fudge was, always following Malfoy around by the nose. What was I supposed to think?” James asked.

“Always have someone to blame, don’t you?” Moody sneered. “Remind me again, who was the one that insisted on coming along, even though they had no formal training whatsoever?”

James’s face flushed in embarrassment, but he remained silent.

“Who was the one that said the house would be empty?” Moody continued.

“She was supposed to be out shopping,” James groused. “How was I supposed to know she would come home early?”  

 “This is the problem with you, James,” Moody said, shaking his head. “You’ve always thought you were smarter than everyone else, but you’re not!”

“We could have waited for less green Phoenix members to get there, and all of this could have been avoided. You told me that Dumbledore said it couldn’t wait, that we wouldn’t get another opportunity like this!”

James sighed. Everything had gone wrong that day. He had been so sure that Fudge was a Death Eater. Fudge’s wife wasn’t supposed to be back for hours. 

She screamed when she saw them, startling him. He shot off a spell, just to knock her out, but those idiots that came with them shot off their own spells, and she went down like a sack of potatoes.

“It was the other two that caused it, not me. I just knocked her out,” James defended himself.

Moody quirked an eyebrow, “is that really how you remember it?” He asked incredulously.

“That’s what happened!” James insisted.

“Unbelievable,” Moody said, shaking his head. “You lie even to yourself.”

“It was all three of you. You shot off half a dozen spells before I could stop you,” Moody revealed. “She was brain dead before she even hit the ground.”

“No,” James shook his head in disbelief. “That isn’t what happened.” 

“Keep telling yourself that. Maybe if you wish hard enough, you can make it true,” Moody mocked. 

“Why are you here Moody,” James asked again.

“I wanted you to know that I tied up the loose ends again,” Moody replied.

“What did you do?” James asked, not liking the menacing tone in Moody’s voice.

“What do you think? I killed them,” Moody said matter-of-factly. 

“What? Why?!” James demanded. “You changed their memories. They didn’t know anything.”

“I had to alter more than an hour’s worth of their memories,” Moody replied. “A trained mind healer could have easily detected that.” 

“Until you opened your mouth, everything was fine. They wouldn’t be able to connect the altered memories to either of us, and now you made that glaringly obvious.”

“They’re dead because YOU screwed up.”

“Let this sink in, James,” Moody glared. “Albus wants nothing to do with you after all your screw-ups. He isn’t going to step in to pull your ass out of the fire again.”

“You’ve lost your seat on the Wizengamot, so they’re not going to protect you anymore, either.”

“When you screw up next, you’re on your own.” Moody said, shoving him to the ground. 

“Do yourself a favor. Keep your mouth shut for once, and stay out of the public eye, because if I have to deal with this crap again, I’ll kill you too,” Moody said as he pulled out his wand menacingly.

James nodded his head slowly, keeping his eyes locked on the glowing tip of Moody’s wand.

“Then I’ll be on my way,” Moody said as he walked to the fireplace. “Oh, and by the way, James. When I brought your boy to meet Albus, he put up one hell of a fight. A damn sight better than you did just now.” With that parting shot, Moody was gone. 

James stared at the fireplace for the rest of the night. All the lies he told himself were completely stripped away, and he could finally see the person he truly was. 

He thought about his past actions, how he reacted, and saw all the mistakes he made clear as day.

He had always known what he had done to Fudge’s wife, why no one else had seen her publicly in the last ten years. He allowed himself to forget what had happened. He allowed himself to believe the lie that he and Moody fabricated to protect themselves. 

Two overzealous Auror’s following up on a tip took things too far, resulting in a tragic accident. It was so close to the truth, so easy to believe, so easy to forget what really happened.

Hi, I hope you enjoyed the latest part. What did you think about Harry’s confrontation with Andre and Hermione and Draco’s decision to stay in the study group?

This will also mark a big change in James’s character moving forward. I hinted at it in previous chapters but James has a always had a skewed version of reality. He no longer has that luxury.

I’m out of town this week, (no-internet access) but I really wanted to get this chapter out on time. I didn’t do my final edit before posting, but I’ll update it later this week.

Thanks for reading and supporting me,


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