Freely Given, in Full Co-operation - RegretfulPrince - Harry Potter (2024)

“This is a ridiculous waste of time. Mine, yours, some poor intern at the Ministry’s—”

“That’s not really up to you to decide,” Harry drawled back from beside the fireplace, poking his wand at the ornamentation on the mantle, “But if you really feel that way, forfeiting dark artefacts to an Auror willingly does look a lot better on paper than having them seized.”

Lucius paced the parquet floor with his hands tightly gripping the shaft of his cane, agitated by the intrusion. “Then it’s a shame there’s nothing here to fatten your quota.

Green gaze peered at him over round rims as Harry inclined his head. “Right. Wouldn’t want to keep you from enjoying your house arrest.”

“Of all the Aurors I have had the misfortune of being investigated by, Potter, not a one of them has yet had the crassness to mock me in my own home.”

“Pity.”

“Finish your search,” Lucius hissed through an aristocratic sneer, “And get out.”

The Auror sucked his teeth, squinting at the chandelier. For a very brief moment, he imagined it crashing down upon the Death Eater’s head and sending shattered crystal everywhere.

He was getting nowhere fast. If it were not for the tip-off they’d received— that Lucius had placed a special order for an object that would potentially allow him to leave the property without alerting the Ministry— he’d have been able to pack this in already.

If Lucius did not turn over something for Harry to work with today, a formal sweep of the property with a specialised team would be coming next. The terrible thing of it was that Harry knew, from his guts to his kneecaps, that Malfoy Manor was still packed to the gunnels with all sorts of unspeakables. Even turning up one of them would be enough cause to send Lucius back to Azkaban.

Something Harry was trying to avoid, if only as a small mercy to Narcissa and Draco.

“You realise I carry a vial of Veritaserum on me.” The Auror threatened casually.

This gave Lucius pause, halting him mid-step to offer a steely eyed glare. Affront twitched across his prematurely ageing features. After a moment, pointed chin lifted.

“Without an interrogation warrant or my consent, Potter, using it would be highly illegal.”

“A bit like using dark magic to skip out on your confinement, yeah. But in for a Knut, in for a Galleon.”

“Any spell you cast to restrain me will confirm my lack of consent, and render any such confession entirely impermissible.” Lucius punctuated this with a sharp tap of his cane against the polished floor, scowling darkly. “Paperwork at best, suspension for you at worst.”

“My cousin Dudley was always a big boy, Lucius,” Harry tucked his wand into its belt holster, now pocketing hands in his duster coat, “Heavy hands. I guarantee you, I can get that potion into you without a wand.”

“And still, you would claim Muggles are civilised.” Lucius clicked his tongue flatly.

“Unlike you, at least he’s trying to improve.” Harry grimaced. “But point being, I don’t need to submit a valid confession. I just need that Shackleslip, and you and I both know you’ll tell me exactly where to find it.”

Lucius’ pallid features drew tighter, and Harry could see the former Slytherin’s thoughts slithering behind cold grey eyes. Weighing his options, turning over the words said-- opportunistic and cunning, cautious intrigue tilted blond head.

“And if I were to possess such a thing, I presume my free surrender of it to you would elongate my term of imprisonment?”

“Better than a busted lip and Azkaban.” Harry noted dryly. “But it’s your call.”

“I don’t suppose you would be susceptible to a good, old fashioned bribe?”

“Not when punching you is on the table, no.”

Lucius’ eyes closed, and an irritated sigh rolled slowly from his nose. He strode stiffly towards a particular section of the flooring, tapping at the patterns in the polished wood with his cane, and murmured a word under his breath. Green runes briefly shimmered across the surface, before the parts began to shift and rearrange themselves, not unlike a self-solving puzzle.

A small chest slowly pushed its way up out of the floor, no taller than Lucius’ knees with a lock shaped like a coiled snake. He took to kneeling beside it, offering his finger—a drop of blood drawn by the lock’s fangs—to open it. After a few moments, he pulled a small velvet bag forth to hold out towards the Auror.

“Freely given, in full co-operation.” Lucius’ voice was like ice.

After a flick of his wand to check it over, Harry nodded to take it. “Fantastic. I’ll be off, then.”

Finally.”

“But in the spirit of truth-telling,” the Auror grinned, “I made it up. I don’t have any Veritaserum.”

He did not fully hear the nasty thing Lucius shouted, as Harry quickly Disapparated.

Freely Given, in Full Co-operation - RegretfulPrince - Harry Potter (2024)

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