|The Pocket Watch that Changed the World
Author: Athey PM
While running through the Dept of Mysteries, Harry touches a small pocket watch. Suddenly a Harry from many years in the future finds himself in his body in the past and is faced with an opportunity to change everything. dark!harry plot bunny haitusRated: Fiction T - English - Supernatural/Drama - Harry P. & Voldemort - Words: 20,677 - Reviews: 146 - Favs: 609 - Follows: 653 - Published: 06-03-11 - id: 7048321
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Welcome to the first installment of Aya's Plot Bunny extravaganza! I did a poll asking people if they'd like to read any of my unfinished plot bunnies that may or may not be continued, and I got enough 'Yes's that I figured I'd go for it.
I'll preface this with a warning, that I will quite likely never finish this story. If you are the type of person who just HATES to read unfinished stories, then you'd may as well pass this one by.
Now, I will also say that this is one of those ideas that just sort of came to me one day and I wrote it all out in one sitting (it's 40 pages long, btw). I really like the idea behind it and would actually really like to keep going with it... however I have NO IDEA where to take it. I didn't plan out a plot, just a premise for how it would start. And it really would need a plot. If you've got some great idea, feel free to throw it at me. If you would like to adopt it and write it yourself, just throw me a line and we'll talk.
Timeframe: Very end of Order of the Phoenix
Tags: Time-travel, slash, dark!Harry, Dumbledore-bashing, Weasley-bashing, Hermione-bashing.
Warnings: Soooooo cliché with the 'my friends were paid to spy on me'-schtick, but whatever, yeah?
Rating: This story, as it presently is, is a T-rating. The worst thing it features is some swearing. If I found the inspiration to continue, it would likely end up featuring some sex and probably some violence that would warrant an M rating.
Disclaimer: I am not J K Rowling and I am making no profit from this.
While passing through the Room of Time in the Ministry's Department of Mysteries, Harry touches a small pocket watch that will change everything. Suddenly a Harry from many years in the future finds himself in his body in the past and an opportunity to change everything.
The Pocket Watch
Harry and his friends had raced through the Ministry of Magic until they came upon that black door on the lowest level, that he had seen so many times in his dreams as of late. The door to the Department of Mysteries. He now knew what this door was, and what he had to expect behind it, but the prophecy was not the reason that Harry had come here today with his friends. He came here to save his godfather, Sirius Black.
Harry had had a vision of his godfather here, in this place, being tortured by Voldemort. It already felt like it had been ages since his vision. There had been so many things that had gotten in the way of his rescue attempt. Umbridge, Snape, the Centaurs, and eventually having to resort to flying all the way to London on thestrels. He didn't even know if Sirius was still here. If he was too late. But he had to try.
Harry pulled the black door open and the group stepped inside. It was a circular room with a highly polished floor that almost made it appear as if you were standing in water, and around the room were twelve handleless doors.
Harry took a step forward, hesitating for a moment as he desperately tried to figure out which of the doors would lead him to Sirius. He tried one at random and the others followed behind him. He stepped into a long, rectangular room that was filled with beautiful, dancing light that sparkled like gems. All kinds of time-related devices filled the chamber, such as clocks of every description, and what Harry instantly recognized as Time-Turners.
Down at the far end of the room was the door that Harry knew was the entrance to the Hall of Prophecy where he had seen Sirius being tortured by Voldemort in his vision. Harry quickly began to step forward but his pant leg got caught on a metal coil that was sticking out of a large damaged looking clock and he stumbled slightly. He caught himself against a table that had an assortment of objects, each vaguely reminiscent of pocket watches, all resting on it. Harry felt the skin on his hand tingling and he found his eyes drawn to the table, even after he had regained his balance and detached his pant leg from the metal spring coil.
He looked over at the objects and found his eyes drawn to one in particular. His hand stretched out and his fingertips came to rest upon the face of the clock. The next thing he knew was darkness.
Harry blinked once but instantly shut his eyes again as the bright glittering light that filled his vision shocked his senses. His hand instantly came up to his head which was pounding with such an intensity that he had serious trouble thinking straight for a good few seconds. He hesitantly opened his eyes and his vision slowly came into focus. He realized he was laying on a floor of some sort. It was cold and hard, and the room he was in was apparently very brightly lit and filled with... what is that? Clocks? There was so much ticking! It was mind-numbing! Tick, tick, tick, tick! Where the bloody hell was he?
Slowly he acknowledged that several faces were hovering over him, filling his vision, all looking down at him with worry, etched into their features. He furrowed his brow in confusion as recognition first began to dawn.
Is that... Granger? That enormous bush of brown hair... definitely looks like her... but Granger wouldn't look at me with worry. Fuck, if Granger were standing over me, she'd... oh holy hell... Weasley's? Fucking Ron and Ginny! Holy mother of Merlin, what the shit is going on?
Harry began to scramble a bit, attempting to push himself off the floor and out of the insanely vulnerable position he found himself in. He could not allow himself to be caught off guard with these people! Hell, he was surprised he was still alive!
Wait... What the... Neville Longbottom? But Neville was dead! He'd been dead for nearly five years! And.. Luna? Harry honestly had no idea what had happened to Luna Lovegood, but he had assumed ages ago that she was either dead, or had run off to some long lost foreign land on some insane quest to track down a Crumple-Horned Snorkack, or a Wookalar, or a Blibbering Humdinger or something.
The last bloody thing that he would have expected was to suddenly be faced with fucking Granger, any of the Weasley's, let alone his least favorite two, and bloody Neville and Luna! But wait... there was something decidedly off...
"Wha?" Harry jumped as the sounds of ticking clocks suddenly rushed to the background and he realized the group of people that had no place being seen together, let alone seen anywhere near him, were all yelling at him.
Harry flicked his wrist to activate his wand holster's automatic ejection but nothing happened. He looked down and his eyes went wide with the sudden realization that his wand holster was missing! He hadn't gone anywhere without it equipped for years! He –
"Harry are you alright?" Granger was saying in a desperately concerned tone. He turned his head towards her voice, furrowing his brow in additional confusion.
"Yeah, mate! You scared the hell out of us! You just dropped like a weight! What happened?" Ron Weasley said, also sounding decidedly concerned.
"Perhaps the watch he touched has some sort of curse upon it," Luna suggested in a light, unaffected tone.
"Watch?" Harry echoed as he looked at her and blinked.
She looked so... young. Like a little girl...
They all looked so young. Like when they were all in school together. But still sort of healthy... before the war. Before Neville got the shit beat out of him on a regular basis by the Carrows that last year while Harry was idiotically hunting down fucking Horcruxes with the traitor bitch and the ginger bastard.
And suddenly something clicked in his mind.
He had touched a watch. His men had raided some old storehouse full of junk scavenged from the old Ministry building. They had been going through boxes looking for any magical artifacts that could be useful. Harry had come in, walking down between the boxes with his hand stretched out lightly over the open boxes, feeling the threads of magic in the air for anything discernibly powerful when he'd felt a tingling in the tips of his fingers.
He'd looked down into the box and inside he'd seen several broken time-turners, some old jewelery, a couple books, and an oddly familiar pocket watch. He somehow knew he'd seen it somewhere before, but he couldn't quite place where or when. He'd also felt the oddest compulsion to touch it.
Harry was usually one to know better than to do something he felt 'oddly compelled' to do. Compulsion magic was generally a very bad sign. People often put compulsion spells on cursed artifacts. And he would usually notice something like that instantly, rip the magic to shreds and destroy the offending object before it could do any harm, and yet for some strange reason, he didn't do that this time.
He'd reached out and touched it... and everything had gone dark. And now he was sitting on the floor with younger versions of two of his enemies, and two people he had expected to never see again.
Harry pushed himself into a sitting position with his back pressed against some sort of cupboard and quickly took in his surroundings. He felt horribly defenseless without his wand. Where the fuck was his wand holster? Where was...
He paused as he felt something poke him in the side and quickly reached his hand into his inner robe pocket... his wand was there. In his robe pocket? What an idiotic place to put it! He hadn't been that careless in years! He glanced down, bewildered beyond words and suddenly he felt his chest seize up from yet another shock. What the fuck was he wearing? Where those... Hogwarts school robes? And the bloody Gryffindor crest was on his chest!
And now that he realized it, all of the others were also wearing school robes too!
He finally took in his surroundings to find that he recognized the room he was in. This was the Hall of Time in the Ministry of Magic's Department of Mysteries! But the Ministry of Magic's London building had been leveled to the ground years ago, and the Department of Mysteries had been destroyed with it! This was all gone!
The group was still spouting out concerns in worried voices; asking him questions and trying to get his attention. His mind was racing with to many questions and overloaded with confused denial. He couldn't possibly be where he was, surrounded by the people he was surrounded by. It was simply impossible!
Was he dreaming? His head hurt too much for this to be a dream... Although he certainly had had plenty of painful dreams... Perhaps he had finally lost his mind? That seemed like a rather likely possibility, actually. It certainly seemed more likely than the other explanation his mind was supplying him with at the moment.
"Harry! Answer me!" Hermione bellowed with a panic stricken tone.
Harry snarled back at her, overwhelmed and confused beyond words, and her shrill irritating voice was not helping him sort through his thoughts. "Shut the hell up!" he bellowed. "Back the fuck off! I can't hear myself think over all your yammering!"
The bushy-haired girl looked stunned and took a step back as if she had just been slapped. The others seemed equally shocked and did the same.
Harry shakily pushed himself to his feet, still finding that he felt rather dizzy from whatever the hell had happened.
"What happened to me?" he asked in a shaky voice as his left hand came up to massage his temple, while his right kept a firm grip on his wand. These people didn't look like they were about to attack him. They'd had plenty of time to do it before now, but he still wasn't going to let his guard down again.
"You touched that watch, or whatever it is. Then you just collapsed." the young-looking Neville said, looking shaken and perhaps a bit ill.
Harry glanced in the direction that Neville had indicated and saw the watch he had spoken of resting on a table to his right.
It was the same watch. The same watch he'd seen in that box... but... he remembered this... the Hall of Time back when he, and those he had thought were his 'friends', went into the Department of Mysteries to save Sirius. He'd seen the watch then too! That's why it had seemed familiar! And he'd felt that same strange compulsion to touch it back then as well. He remembered back in the Hall of Time that he had touched it and felt a brief surge of something indescribable but as soon as the feeling had filled him, it had left and he'd promptly forgotten all about it in his rush to save his godfather...
Surely he hadn't been pulled back in time by whatever the hell this damn watch was? Such a thing wasn't even possible!
But what if it was? What if he really had gone back in time? Back to... what was this? This happened in his fifth year, right? That made it... 1996? Bloody hell... 1996... fourteen years. He'd gone back fourteen year? But this was before... before everything. Hell! Voldemort's return wasn't even public knowledge yet! He'd spent the whole of fifth year being badmouthed by the press for having claimed the Dark Lord's return. This was the night everything had changed! The night Voldemort and his Death Eaters were exposed!
He could change it.
He could change everything. All of the mistakes he'd made. All of the things he'd done because he was too ignorant, gullible, and so easy to manipulate... he could undo it all. Or, rather, just not do it in the first place. He knew now all the things that they'd kept hidden from him back when he'd been forced to live through all this bullshit the first time around. He knew the truth now. About the lies and the deceptions. About the fake friendships, and...
Bloody hell... the prophecy hadn't been destroyed yet! He could finally get to see the real prophecy!
Harry shook his head, looking again at the group of confused and worried-looking children that surrounded him.
He needed to get them out of here. They couldn't be here if he was going to do what he wanted to do.
He took another quick look around, taking in the youthful, worried looks on each of their faces. Maybe this was a dream. Maybe he was insane. But maybe it was real. Maybe he really had gone back in time and he had a chance to change everything he'd come to regret so damn much over the years. And if it was just some elaborate delusion, what harm would it do to move forward? If it was real, then it was an undeniable opportunity and he wasn't going to let it slip through his fingers by hesitating.
"Harry...?" Granger said in a hesitant, worried voice. It took a lot of will power not to sneer at her. Lying bitch. Acting like she cares. Acting like she's... Harry shook his head. He didn't have time to be thinking about that shit right now.
"I'm fine," Harry said, quickly, trying to sound reassuring. "Whatever it was, I shook it off. I'm fine now."
They didn't look convinced. Resignation seemed to fill Ron's face. This was Harry, after all. Harry didn't ask for help with weird little things like this. Hermione's flashed momentarily with annoyance, but it was quickly gone.
Harry's gaze stretched down to the door that he knew lead to the Hall of Prophecy. He knew that the Death Eaters were already in there. Waiting for him. But he couldn't go in there with these idiots. He needed to get rid of them first.
"We have to get out of here." Harry said with a resolute tone.
"Out of here. What do you mean?" Ron asked, looking even more confused than before.
"I... " Harry hesitated as an idea formulated in his mind. "That watch. I think it gave me a glimpse of the immediate future, or something. This whole thing... it's a trap."
"I think we already established that, Harry," Granger said with a pointed look. Right. She'd been all uppity about this being a trap.
"I know that," Harry snapped. "But Sirius isn't even here. The whole thing... it's just a trick. We have to get out of here."
The group looked shocked, and they shared a look between them, clearly wondering what the heck had happened to cause such an instant shift in Harry's priorities.
Harry growled in impatience at their slow response and instantly spun around and made his way back towards the entrance hall of the Department of Mysteries. The others scrambled to follow. As soon as the last of them entered the large circular room, the outer wall began to spin wildly, causing them to loose track of which door they'd come through. As soon as the wall came to a stop Harry called out in a calm, clear voice, "I need the exit."
A door materialized out of blank wall and opened, revealing the way out. The other's shared another confused look, and quickly made to follow Harry out. They almost ran into his back as they found him standing perfectly still in the hall, removing his wristwatch.
Harry pointed his wand at the watch and focused his mind on the image of the outside of Hogwart's gates. He pulled at his magic, but it was hesitant to respond quickly. He could feel the restraints placed upon it, holding it back. He scowled angrily, having almost forgotten that Dumbledore had placed all those blocks on his magic. They'd started to dissolve naturally about a year after the war ended – when he'd first started delving into the Dark Arts. Once he'd realized they were there, he'd begun the brief, but painful process of pulling them all down by force... Damn it. He was going to have to do it all over again.
He huffed in annoyance but still managed to muster enough magical power to perform the desired spell. Once the focus and the power was at his ready, he opened his eyes, staring at the simple wrist watch and spoke, "Portus."
The watch glowed slightly for a moment before fading and looking like nothing more than a normal, boring, watch.
Granger gasped. "Harry! How did you do that! Where'd you learn –"
"I just knew how, okay?" he snapped at her again, finding it hard to reign in his temper anytime he had to look at her. "Now, everyone hold onto it, alright?"
"We can't port-key out of here," Granger said with a furrowed brow. "You can only portkey or apparate from the atrium. The rest of the Ministry has wards over it."
"It'll work, alright?" Harry said, exasperatedly. "Just hold onto it!"
Everyone still looked confused and hesitant, but they each reached out and placed their hands on the watch's wrist strap. Once everyone was holding on, Harry brought his wand up to it, ready to activate it. "This will take us to the gates of Hogwarts." Harry said just before bringing his wand down. The second it touched the watch and activated the portkey Harry released the watch from his own grip. The portkey activated and took the other four children with it with a quiet pop.
Harry took a step back and found himself grinning. Well, that had been easy.
Harry turned on the spot and headed right back through the black door that led to the Department of Mysteries. Upon entering the room, he pointed his wand at the doors, silently called for the appropriate door, and suddenly one of the plain, nondescript doors, flew open.
Harry quickly strode through it and back into the Hall of Time. He continued his quick stride through the room but slowed and came to a stop by the table that still housed the strange pocket watch that had seemingly started all of this. He no longer felt a compulsion to touch it. Nor did his fingertips tingle as his hand neared it. He hesitated with his hand, outstretched, floating a few inches above the watch, resting on the table.
He still felt some magic in it, but it was quiet. Dormant. He waited for only a moment longer before grabbing it in his hand and swiftly slipping it into one of the deep inner pockets of his robes.
He soon resumed his fast pace down the long hall that stretched through the center of the hall of time, down towards the door at the end that he knew would lead to the Hall of Prophecy. His strides slowed as he drew ever closer to it. He had to admit that at least part of him actually was hesitant. He wasn't suicidal... okay, actually, he was suicidal. But perhaps that was part of the reason he wasn't nearly as fearful of what he intended to do as he knew he logically should be. If this all went to hell and the Death Eaters or Voldemort just straight up killed him, then so be it. Things would still be better this way than the way they'd actually turned out.
Ideally, however, he wouldn't die here, today. He had an opportunity to truly exact his revenge. To make a legitimate difference. It had been too little, too late before. He'd already done so much damage in his gullible ignorance...
He reached the door, took a deep breath and felt a dark grin curl his lips. He would work this.
He pushed the door open and quickly began to make his way down the center hall between rows and rows of shelves, all lined with small prophecy globes, each labeled by a small tag. His fast pace slowed as he neared the area he was fairly sure his prophecy had been stored. He wasn't positive though. It'd been so many years, and that night was a blur in his mind. So much had happened later in the night to overwhelm his memories of the early calm before the storm.
He could feel several magical presences in the room with him, as well as the magic that accompanied standard disillusionment charms. He didn't acknowledge them, but instead began to scan the shelves to pin point exactly where his prophecy was.
His chest tightened for a moment as his eyes fell upon his goal. There it was. A small prophecy orb attached to a small tag that said in simple neat handwriting: 'Harry James Potter; Lord Voldemort'.
Harry wondered for a moment why Voldemort had never come here in person and collected the damn thing himself. Only those whose names were on the tags could take a prophecy from this place. Anyone else would be driven mad if they tried to remove it from this shelf. He supposed it made sense that Voldemort would not risk exposing himself by coming here in person; especially with the Order standing guard all the time. It was, after all, his decision to come to the Ministry in person that had resulted in his return being publicly acknowledged and accepted.
But if he hadn't been willing to come, for risk of exposure, before, why the hell had he come this night? Or, at least, he had in Harry's original timeline. He wouldn't be doing that this time though.
Harry's hand began to stretch out towards the prophecy but his hand hesitated mid air, just inches away. He could almost feel the tension in the air. The Death Eaters were just waiting for him to make his move. To take the prophecy so that they could pounce and take it from him.
He needed to make a preparation first.
He retracted his hand and took a step back. He put his left hand out in front of him, palm up, and pointed his wand in the air above his exposed palm. He focused his magic and began to quietly mutter a long incantation under his breath. The air above his hand shimmered and distorted and he felt a light fabric-like weight suddenly materialize in his hand, but nothing was actually visible to the naked eye.
Finally he finished and heaved a small breath. That little bit of magic had taken a lot out of him. Damn bloody blocks. Fucking Dumbledore!
Harry sneered into the empty space before pushing his anger down into the pit of his stomach. He smirked slightly as the thought crossed his mind that Dumbledore was alive still, at this point in time. He hadn't even been cursed yet by the resurrection stone ring. Harry could have the honor of doing the deed himself, this time. Fuck Snape. Harry would finally get his revenge.
A dark, sinister grin spread across his face as his twisted imagination conjured several different things that he would more than enjoy doing to the old bastard, but he quickly wiped it away as he refocused on his task.
He examined the invisible object he conjured in his hand. By touch, a person could discern that the small object felt like a tiny leather draw-string pouch. But it was much more than that.
Harry opened the invisible pouch and held it at the ready in his left hand as his right prepared to dart out and grab the prophecy from the shelf. Finally, with a quick motion, initially developed by his years of playing Seeker in Quidditch, and then honed over years of almost constant battle, his hand shot out like lightening, grabbed the prophecy from the shelf and instantly deposited it into the bag. A moment later, the bag itself vanished completely.
Just in time, for the gathered Death Eaters to cancel their disillusionment spells and reveal themselves.
"Hand over the Prophecy, Potter," a familiar smooth drawl called out from behind him. Harry smirked as he slowly turned around to face Lucius Malfoy. The elder Malfoy was fully concealed in Death Eater robes, but bits of his long aristocratic, platinum blond hair could be seen slipping out from beneath his black hood.
"Hello Lucius," Harry purred with a grin. "Wondered how long you'd wait to finally reveal yourself. Glad I didn't have to wait long. We really haven't got much time."
The man seemed slightly unnerved by Harry's unexpected behavior, but seeing as how his face was covered by a mask, and the man was a skilled pure-blood aristocrat, he kept most of his reaction concealed.
"It is you who haven't got much time, Potter. Now, if you know what's good for you, you'll hand over the prophecy this instant!"
"Yes, ickle Potter, aren't you worried about my filthy blood-traitor cousin?" the voice of Bellatrix Lestrange came from the robed and masked Death Eater to Harry's left.
"Oh, no. I know he's not here. Besides, we're just wasting time. I've got the Prophecy, the Dark Lord wants the Prophecy, and I would be willing to bet that the Dark Lord also wants me, so why don't we just skip all the bullshit, and you just take me to him."
"Take you to him?" Malfoy echoed with an air of incredulity to his voice.
"Yes, Lucius. Take me to him. Can the Dark Mark apparate you out of the wards in the Ministry or do we need to return to the Atrium? I can make a portkey that'll take us through the Ministries wards, but since I don't know where to make the portkey take us to that does us less good."
Bellatrix burst into disbelieving laughter. "You can make a portkey? Don't be ridiculous, Potter! What game are you playing at here? And where'd your ickle friends go? We know you arrived with a group of your filthy little Gryffindor friends."
"Those filthy traitors and fools are no friends of mine!" Harry hissed angrily. "And as for where'd they go? I sent them away. Tricked them, really... but it doesn't matter. Every moment that we spend here is a moment wasted. The Order already knows that I'm here, and since I sent my friends away, they've no doubt tracked down a teacher or something to send even more urgent word that now I'm here all on my own. So if we want to get out of here without getting interrupted, we'd really ought to go right the fuck now!"
"You... want us to take you to the Dark Lord?" Malfoy asked, in a clearly disbelieving tone.
"What sort of game are you playing at brat?" Bellatrix spat.
"Stop wasting time! The stupid little fool is willing to come without a fight, I say we give Potter what he wants and take him to the Dark Lord!" another Death Eater yelled. Harry thought he sounded like Dolohov, but he wasn't sure. It had been a damn long time since he'd last seen the man.
"Hand over the Prophecy first, Potter," Lucius said, taking a step closer and looming over Harry, menacingly. Harry grimaced internally as the realization of just how short he was. How irritating.
"Sorry Lucius. Not part of the deal. You take me to the Dark Lord. I give him the prophecy."
"You're in no position to bargain, Potter. You're out numbered and outclassed."
"And I've put the prophecy into my own personal nonspace and not a single person alive would be able to retrieve it but me, and I I can throw off the imperius so you can't even force me to do it that way. If you want it back, you'll have to go along with my demands."
"You're own personal what?" Bellatrix sneered.
"We are wasting time!" Harry hissed angrily. "The Order is going to be here any fucking minute and I'd rather not have to pretend to be trying to escape when I'm actually not. They can't know I'm coming willingly!"
"What the hell are you on about, Potter?" Bellatrix spat, sounding more and more like a broken record. Harry wondered if it was because of all that time in Azkaban.
"Don't you get it, you stupid, mental bint? I'm switching sides! Now take me to the Dark Lord before I curse you for being so thick!"
"How dare you!" she screeched and before anyone could even blink, her wand wand was drawn and she screamed, "Crucio!"
Harry dodged to the side and the curse blasted into the shelves, causing a bunch of prophecy orbs to fall crashing to the ground. Harry's wand was already in his hand and pointed right back at Bellatrix.
"Crucio!" Harry growled out, and Bellatrix did not manage to dodge. She instantly fell to the ground, shrieking as he put forth a mountain of his well-honed anger and rage into the spell. Her back arched off the ground and she howled in anguish as Harry continued to hold her under the spell. His eyes flashed green, glowing the same powerful color of the killing curse and a maniacal grin spread across his face. The other Death Eaters seemed too stunned to witness the Boy-Who-Lived – the Light's Savior – casting one of the unforgivable curses, and casting it well, to do anything about it.
They knew it took a lot for Bellatrix to scream under the cruciatis. Only the Dark Lords most anger-filled torture curses were enough to illicit such screams of pain. Rudolphus Lestrange was the first to make a move. He took a few steps forward, aiming his wand at Harry and began to scream at the boy to stop.
This was enough to jolt Lucius to his senses and his eye snapped to Potter. He flinched in shock at what he saw there. Potter was... enjoying it. He was completely lost in the power of the Dark torture curse. What's more, it was more than clear that Potter had performed this spell before. No novice could possibly perform it with such masterful execution.
What did this mean?
Lucius Malfoy took a few quick strides forward and he pointed his wand, right into Harry's face.
"Stop it, this instance!" he bellowed.
Harry's crazed glowing eyes dimmed and he seemed to return to his senses. He flicked his wand in a bored gestured and canceled the spell with a disinterested shrug. "Fine, but she threw the curse first."
Lucius looked at Potter with newly opened eyes, and stared the inexplicably surprising boy as Bellatrix slowly climbed to her feet. Her husband rushed to her side and attempted to help her up, but she pushed him away forcefully, clearly angry at the suggestion that she might need help.
"So can we leave, now?" Harry said with an impatient drawl and a raised eyebrow.
Lucius observed Harry through narrow speculative eyes for a moment before giving him a curt nod and pulling a small object out of his robes pocket.
"Why you filthy little halfblood!" Bellatrix began to scream as she shakily came to stand a few feet in front of Rudolphus.
"Bella!" Lucius bellowed, sending the witch a hard glare. "The Dark Lord ordered us to bring Potter to him, and that is what I will do!"
Bellatrix looked as if she were about to protest, but she held her tongue, much to Harry's surprise. Rudolphus, wisely, stayed back.
"I have a portkey that we can use to leave here." Lucius began, refocusing on the young wizard standing defiantly before him. "It will only take me and one other I bring with me. The others will have to return to the atrium and apparate."
Harry nodded his head. "Sounds fine. Let's do this. We haven't got much time left." Harry paused and looked out at the group of Death Eaters, circling around him from all directions and different aisles of prophecy shelves. "The Order is on their way, so be careful when you leave."
"We don't need your help, Potter," Bellatrix spat.
Harry shrugged. "Suit yourself."
He turned back to Lucius and held his hand out expectantly.
Lucius turned to the other Death Eaters and spoke in a commanding voice. "I will take Potter to the Dark Lord. The rest of you return to the Atrium and apparate back to the manor." They all nodded or spoke quietly their assent as Lucius turned back and reached out for Harry's hand.
Lucius opened his hand to reveal an old rusted skeleton key. Harry smirked at it as he placed a finger on the portkey. Lucius muttered the activation word under his breath and the next thing Harry knew, he felt a powerful tugging sensation at the back of his navel, promptly followed by the feeling of being in the center of a madly spinning vortex of light and color.
They reappeared with a flash and Harry managed to land gracefully on his feet, a feat he recalled he would not have been able to accomplish when he was actually fifteen years old. Still, he noticed he had stumbled a little at the start. He wasn't accustomed to his smaller body yet, and his balance was a little off still.
As soon as he'd completely regained his senses from the magical form of travel, he became aware of a powerful magical force behind him. He spun around gracefully and found himself looking into the bright red eyes of Lord Voldemort, who was sitting in a throne-like chair, on a raised dais, to one end of a large hall of some sort. The man actually looked mildly surprised for the briefest of moments before his lipless face curled with a wide, wicked smirk.
"Lucius, you please me. I had anticipated it taking you longer than this to deal with Potter. I am most pleased..." he drawled as he slowly stood to his feet and dramatically drew out his wand and began to stalk towards Harry.
Harry gave him a mock-pout. "Oh, come now... are you really going to give Lucius all the credit? He didn't lift a finger. I came on my own."
Voldemort's pace slowed and he stood a bit taller. His eyes narrowed and he looked at Harry curiously. "Came on your own?"
::I'm not the Harry Potter you think I am,:: Harry hissed at the Dark Lord in Parseltongue as he smirked at him.
Voldemort froze mid stride and narrowed his eyes even further, clearly taken off guard, both by Harry's use of the snake tongue, as well as what he had actually said.
::And what exactly is that supposed to mean, brat?::
::How rude. I've come here, all on my own, baring gifts, and you call me names?::
::Baring gifts?:: Voldemort echoed, raising a single, questioning, hairless brow.
Harry's smirk grew. He began to move and it was at that moment that Voldemort realized that Harry still had his wand.
"You allowed him keep his wand?" Voldemort roared at Lucius who appeared to be in a state of shock at having heard Potter conversing with the Dark Lord in Parseltongue. He'd heard from his son that Potter was a parselmouth, but to witness it with his own eyes...
Lucius jerked out of his shock and gasped at his own stupidity. He instantly had his wand drawn on Harry who just looked back at him with bored disinterest. Harry rolled his eyes and gave an exaggerated sigh. He let the wand slip in his fingers so that he was holding it by the wrong end and held it out in offering to Lucius who looked at it with bewildered shock for a moment before quickly snatching it away.
Harry chuckled lightly under his breath before extending his left hand, palm up, and began to mutter a quiet chant under his breath while he focused his magic. Voldemort's attention was instantly drawn to Harry and he pierced him with his bright ruby eyes, curious as to what the boy could possibly be doing. There was no way that Potter was capable of wandless magic... could this be some sort of trap? He had said that he brought himself here. It appeared that there had been no struggle. But Dumbledore would have had to put him up to it, and Dumbledore would never risk Potter...
Voldemort had to stifle a gasp as he suddenly felt a powerful ripple in the magic in the air, and something seemed to materialize in Harry's outstretched hand. Despite everything his senses were telling him, nothing appeared to actually be there. It seemed that whatever it was, was invisible.
::What magic was that?:: Voldemort hissed menacingly.
::I summoned an object from my own personal non-space. It hasn't been discovered yet at the moment, but even in my time, not many could do it.:: Harry answered nonchalantly as he began to fiddle with the invisible object in his hand.
::In your time? Brat, stop speaking in riddles and explain to me the meaning of this! What did you mean when you said you weren't the Harry Potter I think you to be!::
Harry snorted, but opted not to voice the joke that went through his head in reference to Riddles. ::I'm not entirely sure how it happened, but I appear to have been pulled into the past. Fourteen years, into the past, by my estimation. This is 1996, correct?::
Voldemort's eyes flashed for a moment before they narrowed with suspicion. ::You expect me to believe that? Do you take me for a fool? Time travel of such a level is impossible!::
Harry shrugged and reached into the invisible pouch. His hand disappeared as it entered, and when he pulled it back out, he was holding the Prophecy. His left hand flicked and the pouch was banished back to non-space.
::Believe what you want. I had always assumed it to be impossible as well, but what I've experienced during the last hour seems to disprove that. Either that, or I've finally lost my mind and this is all some elaborate delusion concocted by my mind. I have no qualms with admitting that my sanity has been slipping in recent years, but –" Harry shrugged, "what are ya gonna do, yeah?:: he chuckled and it came out rather hissy.
The sound, combined with the slightly crazed look to the boy's eyes, sent a shiver down Lucius' spine. He had no idea what they were saying, but wished desperately that he did.
However, Voldemort had eyes only for the Prophecy now in Harry's hand. His eyes darted to Lucius and flashed red with fury. "You allowed him to keep the prophecy?" he hissed angrily.
Lucius flinched, surprised by the sudden transition back to English, and his Lord's angry tone as he was addressed.
"I'm sorry my Lord! He –"
"Lucy didn't allow anything, your Lordship," Harry said with a smirk. Lordship was said in a slightly mocking tone and Voldemort turned his angry red glare on Harry instead. "When I took the prophecy I was already prepared with my pouch. I put it into my non-space before Lucy and the other Death Eaters even had a chance to cancel their disillusionment spells. And I'm the only one that can access my non-space. Even if you had any idea how to do it, you'd never be able to get it. No one would. That's how it works. That's the charm of the thing."
"What is this 'non-space' nonsense you keep spouting?" Voldemort spat.
"Like I said, it's something that hasn't been discovered yet. I'll show you how to do it later. But we've got more important things to deal with at the moment. Namely, this," Harry said as he held the prophecy up and grinned mischievously.
::In my time I played my role like a good, ignorant little weapon and destroyed this thing before any of your Death Eaters could take it from me. Smashed it on the ground because – after all, if you wanted it, I couldn't allow you to have it. You're the enemy, right? So whatever value it had, it was better off destroyed than in your hands.:: Harry scoffed and shook his head before sighing quietly. "So stupid..." he said quietly under his voice.
::So even I never got to see it. Dumbledore ended up showing me a fake prophecy later. Another lie. Another deception. One more little trick so he could sink his claws further into me. But years later... after I'd finally woken up and became fully aware of just how deeply he had fucked me over, I came to learn that there really had been a real prophecy. Dumbledore couldn't tamper with the real thing that was stored here at the Ministry, so this one had to be it. Had to be real. If only I hadn't smashed it. If only I'd watched the damn thing. I always wondered what it said... apparently even the thing Snape overheard had been staged. Dumbledore had witnessed the real prophecy months earlier. Whatever it said, it had somehow given him the idea to send you after me. Why? What had it said? But I'd given up. I'd accepted that I would just never know. But now I seem to have been given a second chance... want to watch it with me?:: Harry ended with a smirk.
Voldemort was looking at him with speculative eyes and an indecipherable expression.
::Why should I allow you to witness it with me?::
Harry chuckled. ::Come now. Both our names are on it. It only seems right that we both watch it, don't you think? Besides, I could have easily left the Ministry with this tonight. But I didn't. I came here to share? Wasn't that nice of me?::
Voldemort actually snorted lightly at that before narrowing his eyes again. ::You honestly believe that my Death Eaters would have allowed you to escape?::
Harry grinned. ::I'm sure they would have tried to stop me. But they would have failed.::
::Awfully sure of yourself, aren't you, brat?::
:Still with the name calling? Come now, your Lordship, don't you think that's a rather rude way to treat your guest?::
::Mind your cheek, Potter! I have already tolerated your insolence beyond the norm! You should be grateful that you still live!::
::My cheek? You've got to be kidding me! I've been all sorts of polite over here! If I wanted to piss you off, I could be calling you Voldemort, or worse yet, I could even be calling you Tom, but I haven't! I said 'Dark Lord' and 'Your Lordship', I think I've been doing pretty good over here.::
Voldemort's eyes glowed bright red and Harry could feel his anger flare.
::How dare you speak that name!:: Voldemort hissed as he raised his wand.
"Ah, ah aah," Harry said waving his wand back and forth with each syllable as he raised his left hand, still holding the Prophecy. "If you curse me, I might drop this, and I really would rather not allow history to repeat itself."
Lucius watched the scene unfold with carefully disguised interest. Their entire conversation up to this point had been unintelligible hissing except for the last bit. The insolent gal the boy had to taunt his Lord, was obscene. Did the stupid fool have a death wish? Well, that mattered little, since he was likely to die this day anyway. But what he had said earlier had sparked Lucius' interest. He had said he was switching sides. And his flawless performance of the cruciatis curse gave Lucius pause. There was clearly much more to Potter than he had ever suspected before.
::You would dare to threaten me? If what you say is true, then you have just as much an interest in what is contained within that sphere as I do. Your threat is empty. You would not destroy it.::
Harry shrugged. ::You're probably right. I won't smash it. So why don't we stop with the games and just go watch the damn thing? If when we're done watching it, you still have the deep seeded desire to kill me, then we can duel then. How about it? Temporary truce?::
::Truce?:: Voldemort responded in a tone that almost sounded amused, but also slightly intrigued. Voldemort paused a moment and cocked his head to the side, scrutinizing the young raven-haired boy standing before him. But if what he was saying were true, he were hardly a boy... ::From the future, you say?::
Harry cocked an eyebrow. ::Just now catching on to that one?::
::Do not mock me, boy!:: Voldemort spat.
::I'm hardly a boy. Granted, twenty-nine doesn't compare much to... what are you – seventy? Something like that?::
::Weren't you the one that suggested we stop wasting time?::
::Ah. Interested in moving forward now, are we? Alright, so lets do this. I would assume that Lucy here isn't invited to the show?::
Voldemort narrowed his eyes but Harry just grinned wolfishly.
"Lucius, leave." Voldemort ordered suddenly, causing the wizard to jump the slightest bit in surprise at the sudden use of English again. Lucius Malfoy hesitated for the briefest of moments, his eyes darting from his Lord to the mystery that was Harry Potter, before promptly bowing low and then leaving the hall.
Once Lucius was gone Harry turned back and grinned at the Dark Lord who, in response, scowled back.
"You are in no position to be acting so cocky," Voldemort spat, but Harry's grin only grew wider.
"Oh come on! This is fantastic for me. I mean, two hours ago I was living in a ridiculously shitty future that had become so abysmal that I had to spend an hour each night just trying to come up with enough reasons not to simply fucking kill myself and be done with it all. Now I seem to have been presented with the most magnificent opportunity for revenge against one Albus Dumbledore imaginable. I, personally, am in a pretty damn good mood."
Voldemort observed Harry for a long silent moment. His expression revealed nothing, but Harry could see the cogs turning in the Dark Lord's purportedly genius mind.
"I cannot quite imagine any scenario in which your words make any sense." Voldemort finally admitted after a long silence.
Harry chuckled. "Okay, here's an abridged version for you. Lets start with tonight, shall we? In my original timeline, I showed up at the Ministry with my little friends in tow with the hopes of saving my godfather Sirius Black. You'd sent me a vision... you torturing him to get information on the prophecy, or something, right?"
Voldemort merely rose an eyebrow in response.
"Right. Well, I was going to run off to the Ministry and save him and they all insisted on coming with because they were such good, dear, caring friends." Harry sneered. "In reality, my so-called friends are all an act. Dumbledore hired the Weasley's back before I even started Hogwarts. He's been paying them to keep me close, keep me ignorant and keep my views and opinions as biased and stupid as theirs. Oh, and to spy on me, of course. After I befriended Granger he got to her too. All these years they were spying on me. Feeding me false information for him, and keeping me from looking into things that weren't deemed appropriate for me to look into.
"So they tagged along so that they could keep tabs on me. We headed to the Hall of Prophecy but passed through the Hall of Time on the way there. While there, I stumbled and came across this strange pocket watch. I think it had some sort of compulsion magic on it because I felt the strangest need to touch it. I did, but nothing much seemed to happen. Thing is that about two hours ago – or rather, fourteen years into the future – I came across that watch again. I touched it, and it was that moment that I found myself back here... but I'm getting ahead of myself. In the original timeline, nothing much seemed to happen when I touched the watch and we just kept going. The five of us entered the hall of prophecy, I grabbed the prophecy, Lucius, Bella and the rest came out from their hiding places and a big battle ensued. We ran, mostly, and in the end we were basically defeated. Since all hope seemed lost, and I was the hero of the story, I smashed the damn prophecy to keep it from getting into your evil clutches," Harry said with a dramatic flair and an obvious air of sarcasm.
"It was at that point that the Order showed up and they started dueling with the Death Eaters. Long story short, my godfather showed up as well, ended up getting himself killed by Bella, and she took off running. I chased her down in a fit of rage and followed her all the way to the atrium. That was the first time I ever cast the cruciatis..." Harry paused and got a fond, sentimental expression on his face. Voldemort rose a single eyebrow, intrigued.
"I was so conflicted over that moment..." Harry mused. "I liked it, you see. It was incredible, but I couldn't admit that to anyone. But I digress. Anyway, I tried to curse her. I'd never done it before so I sort of sucked at it." Harry chuckled. "And then you showed up. You were obviously furious that I'd smashed the prophecy, and you were about to attack me when Dumbledore showed up. The two of you dueled and it was this big huge dramatic battle that lasted for quite a while. While this was going on, the Order, unfortunately for you, was successfully subduing your Death Eaters down in the Department of Mysteries. Towards the end of your duel with Dumbledore Fudge showed up with a bunch of Aurors in tow and they saw you. You left with Bellatrix but the rest got apprehended by the aurors and ended up in Azkaban... until you broke them out some months later. But the damage was done. You got seen and Lucius could no longer claim imperius. He was caught in the act.
"The war really started up that following summer, since you no longer had any reason to lay low. That July Dumbledore went to Little Hangleton and found the Peverel Ring in the Gaunt hovel. I –"
"WHAT?" Voldemort bellowed.
"Let me continue, will you? Oh, is this room secure? If you'd prefer, I can resume speaking in parseltongue. We're going to be covering some very sensitive topics."
Voldemort's eyes flashed with barely contained fury and his nostril slits flared slightly. ::I would prefer the added security.:: Voldemort finally hissed.
Harry nodded his head.
::Fine with me. I'll cut to the chase, I know about all of your horcruxes. I know that you intended to split your soul into seven pieces, I even know that you had planned on making your seventh one with my murder, but since that seemingly failed, after your return you used the death of a Ministry witch to make your snake Nagini into the final horcrux.::
::How could you possibly know all this?:: Voldemort snarled angrily.
::I'm getting to that,:: Harri said with a pointed look. ::Like I was saying, this coming July, Dumbledore found the ring. The thing is that it's more than what you realized, I suspect. To you it was a family heirloom, but it's also a powerful, ancient, and highly sought after magical artifact that Dumbledore has spent his life searching for. It's called the Resurrection Stone, and as soon as Dumbledore saw it, in a moment of idiocy, he managed to forget that you had made it into a horcrux with layers upon layers of protective curses. He put it on, and only just barely managed to stop the curse from killing him by enlisting the help of Snape. His hand ended up shriveled and dead, but he knew he wasn't saved. He had one year left to live and out of desperation, and the simple fact that he had no alternatives, he spent the next nine months preparing me to fill in his shoes, and finish the deed of making you mortal again.
::Being the stupid, brainwashed little puppet I was, I lapped up every pensieve memory he showed me, every twisted, skewed bit of history he told me. Of course he never told me or anyone else that he was dying. Only Snape knew. He made Snape promise that he would kill him in the end. That way Snape would get credit for finally ending Dumbledore's life and you and the other Death Eaters would trust him unconditionally.::
Voldemort's eyes flashed an angry red, but he remained quiet and waited for Harry to continue.
::Of course I wanted revenge for my dearly loved old headmaster and swore to kill Snape.:: Harry chuckled sadly and shook his head. ::The next year I didn't return to Hogwarts. I spent the year tracking down and destroying every one of your horcruxes. The locket from the cave – by the way, it's not actually there anymore, it got moved by someone – the diadem from the Room of Requirement, Hufflepuff's cup from Bellatrix's vault in Gringotts – that was particularly tricky to get – and eventually killing Nagini.::
Waves of fury were rolling off of Voldemort as Harry listed all of this off and Harry could tell the man was exerting a significant amount of will power to keep from killing Harry at that moment. But Harry realized suddenly that there was more than just fury to it. There was a very real and legitimate spark of fear in his eyes as well.
::All that time, I had been led to believe by Dumbledore that if I destroyed the Horcruxes, made you mortal, and killed you, that everything would be fine. I'd get my happily ever after. I could finally live a normal, happy life.:: Harry scoffed and rolled his eyes. ::At the last minute, Snape gave me a memory. He was dying, and I wanted nothing more than to be the one to finish him off, but he... I don't even know... something about it made me pause. I took the memory and viewed it. It turned out that there was one more horcrux. One more that no one besides Dumbledore himself knew about. One created by accident. That night you tried to kill me back in '81. You had intended to use my death to split off a piece of your soul, and even though I didn't die, you actually still succeeded. Without you consciously there afterwards to direct the soul piece into an object, it ended up latching onto the most attractive thing in the room. The one and only living thing in the room. It latched onto me. I'm one of your horcruxes. It's why we're connected. Why I can feel your emotions. Why you can send me visions, and why I can speak parseltongue. There is a piece of your soul, lodged in me.::
Harry stopped and tapped his finger to his lightening bolt scar.
Voldemort's eyes were wide with disbelief for a moment before they took on a calculating look.
::So you see, I couldn't kill you yet because you weren't mortal yet. And you wouldn't be mortal until I was dead. And Dumbledore had done such a good job of sculpting me into the perfect little martyr that I took this bit of information and walked right out into the forest where you and your Death Eaters were waiting and stood there, unarmed, just to let you end me. When you shot off your killing curse at me, it didn't kill me. Instead it only destroyed the bit of your own soul that resided within me. I didn't expect that at all, but I certainly didn't mind. I mean... I may have been willing to sacrifice myself for Dumbledore's Greater Good, but that didn't mean I wanted to die.
::So later on we dueled and when you threw the killing curse at me, it rebounded off... again – and I only barely theorize why it happened – and hit you instead. So you killed yourself. That all happened when I was only seventeen. Without you at the lead the Dark movement fell apart. The light and neutral wizards that gained control in the aftermath went on a rampage, trying to punish not only those who had followed you, but anyone who could be tied to the Dark at all. This crazed zealot named Matthew Connors climbed the ranks in the new Ministry with great speed using fear tactics and manipulations and started a campaign to hunt down and wipe out any and all Dark wizards, Dark artifacts, Dark Books... anything, you name it. If it was Dark, he wanted it gone. He got the people's support using fear to control them and gained a mountain of power because of it.
::In that early stage, when it was still so recent after I'd 'defeated you', I probably could have done something. People had this huge worshiping respect for me, but I didn't act. I was almost entirely blind to everything that was going on in the world of politics and governing, and I wanted nothing to do with it at the time. I was too busy buried deep inside my own hole of depression. After the final battle I felt like something huge was missing from me and it took me ages to figure out what it was. It was your soul. I'd lived with it as a part of me, my entire life, and suddenly it was gone. You'd think it would have been a relief. That I would be glad to be rid of something so dark and evil,:: Harry snorted, ::but I wasn't relieved. It didn't make me feel better, to be without it. I felt empty. Hallow. I felt like I was utterly broken. Add to this the fact that I suddenly no longer had a goal to move towards and I felt as if I had little reason left to live. I'd completed my supposed 'destiny' and yet nothing was better. The world was in turmoil and a new tyrant was gaining strength, and I had never felt more aimless and empty in my entire life.
::I was living at Grimmauld Place – the Black Family Home in London, since Sirius had left it to me when he died – after the war 'ended'. At some point I ended up going through the Black Family Library and by some fluke, I ended up looking into the Dark Arts. When I cast a Dark spell I felt more alive than I had in more than a year. Dark magic was the only thing that could fill that aching hole left by your absent soul. I started reading more and more, and began to learn about what the difference really was between Light magic and Dark magic. What it really meant to be a Dark wizard. The history, the traditions, the culture. It was beautiful. I found it fascinating and enticing. The magic made me feel alive again, and the more I delved into it, the greater effect it had on me. I came to love it, but that really only made me feel even worse, knowing that I'd played such a crucial role in bringing the Dark sect to it's knees, and ending the life of the one man who had fought for their rights and the protection of their values. It was during that time that the magical blocks that Dumbledore had placed upon my magic when I was just a baby began to dissolve.
::But the blocks weren't the only things that started to fall away. The web of mental compulsions, subliminal legilimency modifications, and hidden memories all began to come to the surface. I finally became aware of just how extensive Dumbledore's manipulations of me had been. The things he'd done to my mind. The things I'd witnessed that he'd tried to wipe away but that my magic had held onto despite his efforts.
::I'd discovered the truth behind my friends motives several times, apparently. They were just children when recruited, after all, and Ron Weasley was never a very good actor. But each and every time, Dumbledore would apply another layer of compulsion magic, and another memory charm and get me back under his wing...::
Harry sighed and carded his fingers through his hair, scowling for a moment at how short it was.
::It's almost funny that I was the one responsible for bringing down the Dark in the second war, when I was the one who ended up leading the Dark in the third,:: Harry said with a humorless chuckle. ::I suppose it was a part of my 'saving people thing'. The people who gained control of magical Britain were mad. They were ruthless and while they spouted ideals about pure, righteous, Light magic, they were slaughtering entire bloodlines of Dark wizarding families. Children, and people who had never taken sides in the wars. People who had never done a thing to warrant the persecution they were left to endure... and so I stood up for them. I led them and fought back against the Light wizards who I had once stood beside.
::But we were always outnumbered. Decimated, time and again. It was too little, too late, and I, personally, had caused too much damage to the Dark sect's cause in my youth with my ignorant rampage in Dumbledore's name.:: Harry hesitated and sighed. ::So that's the jist of it. The rest of the details matter little. There was war and fighting and destruction, but we were fighting a losing battle. The Dark probably would have won the first war if it weren't for my actions. For my so called 'defeat' of you. But really, it was Dumbledore's ultimate achievement. That he was able to bring about your death, even after he himself had died. I was his weapon. His puppet.:: Harry shook his head and sighed again. ::So that's it.::
Voldemort look at him long and hard, his glowing red eyes piercing him, searching for lies, but finding no indication of any.
"That is quite a tale..." Voldemort said in a quiet voice. "You would have me believe that you led a war against the Light wizards, after my demise?"
Harry chuckled. "Sounds a bit out there, doesn't it?"
"A bit?" Voldemort echoed with an air of incredulity. Harry just snickered in response. After a pause, Voldemort spoke again. "You are truly from the future?"
"I am. Either that, or I've finally lost it and this is all a figment of my insane little mind."
"I am a figment of no ones mind," Voldemort drawled, causing Harry to snicker again.
Voldemort paused and again, he pierced Harry with his ruby red slitted eyes for a long, silent moment. "You claim to possess a piece of my soul?"
Harry blinked, a bit surprised by the sudden question but then he felt a tiny smile turn up his lips. He nodded his head and even a small contented sigh escaped his lips. "Yes... I do. I... I can feel it," he whispered and the smile grew wider. "You know... I had thought I'd stopped feeling that emptiness. I think all I really did was grow so accustomed to it, that I forgot what it felt like to feel whole. But I can feel it now. I feel it inside me. I never realized it was there, when I had it, but that was only because I had lived with it my entire life. It was all I'd ever known."
Harry's hand came up and his fingertips grazed his scar. "I know what to look for now. Where the emptiness was. And it fills it now. I missed it... so much..." Harry whispered to himself before slowly lowering his hand. He looked down at his hand and gave a small, humorless chuckle.
Voldemort unconsciously took a few slow steps forward, coming to a stop just before Harry. His hand was raised, as if to touch Harry's forehead for himself before he registered what he was doing and paused. His red eyes met Harry's green ones and a moment of silent communication seemed to pass between the two of them. Harry suddenly gave a curt nod, seemingly giving his consent and Voldemort's hand resumed it's path. His fingertips came in contact with Harry's warm flesh, but the scar itself was mildly cool. Harry felt a strange, powerful shudder run through him at the touch. It was nothing like the searing pain he'd experienced when Voldemort had touched his scar in his forth year after the Dark Lord's rebirth. Harry had accepted his own Dark now. Accepted the soul piece. He had always assumed that it was his mother's protective magic that had caused the pain he had experienced in his youth. That it was fighting, desperately against the Darkness, and that battle was the cause of his pain. But his mother's protection should still be in him now. He was not yet seventeen in this body. He didn't know what could possibly be the reason he felt no pain, but the truth remained the same.
If anything... it felt good.
Harry sucked in a sharp breath and took a step back. Startled by how strong the feeling was growing inside him as contact continued. He looked up and met the startled eyes of the Dark Lord, who seemed to be equally taken aback by the intensity. They stared into each others eyes for a long moment and the silence grew thick.
"You truly propose a truce?" Voldemort asked, suddenly.
Harry blinked but then gave the other a half-hearted grin and nodded his head. "I do. Maybe even a partnership... But don't misunderstand, because I don't want to lead –" Harry added quickly at the flash of mild anger that went through the Dark Lord's eyes. "I already did that, and, honestly? Not my thing. I led out of obligation more than anything else. I suppose I felt like I needed to make up for my stupid, incompetent, mistakes as a child. I'm not asking to lead the Dark with you. That's not what I want. But I'm not much of a follower either. I'm certainly not gonna become just another Death Eater.
"But let's face it, I'm still the Boy-Who-Lived, and that still means something to some people. Although, if I recall correctly, my reputation is a bit marred at this point in time because of all the Ministry's and the Prophet's slander... meh, oh well. I still know things and have access to things. I can still help you. And when the time is right, we can reveal to the public just who's side I'm on, and it'll destroy their confidence. It'll shatter their spirit to realize that you really are back, and that their savior has joined your side. Just imagine it."
Voldemort couldn't help the small sadistic grin the graced his features in response to the wide, mischievous smirk that was crossing Harry's face, and the intriguing words that were coming out of the younger wizard's mouth.
"How about I give you a peace offering. Some as a sign of my sincerity." Harry said, taking a step back.
"Bella has been in communication with Sirius Black's house elf, right? Can she call him here? The elf, I mean?"
"I believe so... why?"
"There's something at Grimmauld Place we need for him to collect for us," Harry said with a smirk. "Call Bellatrix in."
Voldemort gave him a narrow glare at the subtle order but apparently chose not to draw attention to it. With a wave of his hand the door to the hall opened. The head of a Death Eater peered past it, inside.
"Inform Bellatrix that she is needed," Voldemort called out in a cold, commanding tone.
"Yes my Lord," the nameless Death Eater replied with a quick bow before running off to fetch Bella.
As they waited, Voldemort returned his scrutinizing gaze to Harry and observed him closely. Harry just stood there, perfectly calm and not showing even the slightest bit of discomfort or fear. Voldemort would usually find such behavior infuriating, but at the moment he was finding himself more intrigued than anything else.
Finally the door opened again and Bellatrix came rushing in. Her eyes filled with fierce anger as they caught sight of Harry and lingered on him for a moment before she refocused on the Dark Lord and her demeanor instantly switched to awe and reverence. She bowed low and crawled forward the last few feet before kissing the hem of Voldemort's robes. Harry snickered quietly, earning him another hateful glare from Bellatrix when she raised her head.
"You called, my Lord?" she said, once again reverently focusing on the Dark Lord.
Voldemort turned his gaze onto Harry and rose a single eyebrow.
"We need you to call Kreacher here and then have him bring something from Grimmauld Place Can you do that?" Harry said, earning him another furious scowl from Bellatrix.
"Well, Bella?" Voldemort said, in a slightly annoyed tone, drawing her attention back to him.
"Yes, my Lord. Of course, I can." she said, quickly.
"Good, good," Harry said. "Okay, when he gets here tell him to bring you Regulus' Locket. If he refuses, tell him that you're going to destroy it, so you'll be helping him to complete Regulus' final order to him. Once he comes back with it, take it, but don't let him see you give it to the Dark Lord. Just dismiss him and tell him that you promise to destroy it for him or something."
Bellatrix's eye twitched and fury burned behind her eyes but she held a stony expression as Harry spoke. Once he finished she turned her gaze on the Dark Lord.
Voldemort nodded his head. "Do it."
Harry spoke up quickly after that. "Can you disillusion me or something? I don't think it'd be good for Kreacher to see me here. I wouldn't be surprised if Dumbledore or Sirius were to interrogate Kreacher after this, and it wouldn't be good for them to get the impression that I was helping you from him."
Voldemort nodded his head slightly and turned his wand on Harry again. He tapped it upon Harry's head and cast a silent disillusionment charm. Harry felt the oddly uncomfortable sensation of having an egg cracked on his head, and slowly became invisible. He moved to stand against the back wall and stood still. "Okay, you can call him here."
Bellatrix scowled again for a moment before focusing on her task. "Kreacher!" she called out, and a moment later a pop sounded in the hall and a old, decrepit house elf appeared. Voldemort eyed the elf with curiosity for a moment before recognition slowly dawned upon him. He recognized this elf!
"Mistress Bella called for Kreacher?" the elf croaked out.
"Yes, Kreacher. You've done me a great service already Kreacher and you've made your Mistress so pleased but I need you to do one more thing for me." Bellatrix said in a simpering voice.
"Kreacher will do anything Mistress Bella asks of Kreacher."
"Kreacher, I need you to go back to Grimmauld Place and get something for me. I need you to bring me Regulus' locket."
Kreacher's grayish-green skin paled considerably and his face looked horror stricken all of a sudden. What followed was several minutes of wailing, screaming, and attempts of the elf to inflict punishment upon himself while Bellatrix attempted to calm him down and convince him that he wasn't a failure and that if he would just retrieve the damn locket, she would help him fulfill his master's final order. Finally Kreacher popped away and as soon as he was gone Bellatrix turned her attention on the blank space of wall where she knew Harry was standing and glared angrily.
She had to cease her glares as Kreacher popped back into the room and presented his Mistress with 'Regulus' Locket'.
Voldemort's eyes flashed brightly with rage as he caught sight of the locket but he remained still until Bella had managed to dismiss the elf and it popped away. As soon as Kreacher was gone, Voldemort was beside Bellatrix and snatching the locket from her grasp. He spun to face the wall where Harry was standing and bellowed. "What is the meaning of this? How is this possible!"
Harry took a few steps forward and managed to wandlessly cancel the disillusion spell – which was probably only possible because a finite is one of the most simple bits of magic, so even with all of his magic blocks still in place, he had enough control over his magic to accomplish that, wandlessly.
"Why was this at the Order's Headquarters?" Voldemort continued to bellow, apparently ignoring Harry's display of wandless magic.
"They didn't realize it was there," Harry said in a calm voice. "Dumbledore was completely ignorant of it's presence there. It's actually a bit humorous when you think of it.
"There is nothing humorous about this!" Voldemort hissed angrily as he shook the locket in the air in Harry's direction.
Bellatrix looked bewildered, but since the Dark Lord appeared angry at Potter, she couldn't help but look upon the boy with a smug gloating expression.
"Did you recognize the Black family house elf at all?" Harry asked suddenly and his question caused the Dark Lord to pause in his fury and narrow his eyes speculatively.
"He appeared familiar," Voldemort conceded.
"He's the same elf that you 'borrowed' from Regulus in order to test out the cave's security measures." Harry said. "Thing is that you neglected to take into account the fact that house elves aren't contained by wizard anti-apparition wards. After you left him there to die at the hands of the infiri, he popped away and returned to Regulus. Told Regulus everything. Apparently at some point later on, Regulus got disillusioned with your cause or something because he turned on you. He ordered the elf to take him back to the cave. But he didn't make the elf drink the potion, he decided that he would drink it himself and ordered the elf to take the locket, leave, and to then destroy it. Then he drank the potion, and got taken into the lake of infiri while the elf popped away with the locket. Thing was that Kreacher had no idea how to destroy it and everything he tried failed. Lucky you."
Voldemort was practically vibrating with his fury.
"So, is this a suitable gift?" Harry asked, smirking slightly. His odd question managed to interrupt Voldemort's enough to draw his attention back to Harry.
"Suitable – ah... yes, Potter... I suppose it is."
"I could have easily held onto this one as some sort of back-up plan," Harry said dismissively as he examined his nails. "You never would have found it, especially since it was behind a fidelius. Oh, and while we're on the subject...", ::I highly recommend you relocate the ring because in my original timeline, Dumbledore had recovered it at some point during early July of this year. I know because his hand was still fine at the end of term on June 30th, but when he came to collect me from my muggle relatives' home in mid July, his hand was already all fucked up.::
Voldemort gave him another analyzing look before he gave Harry a curt nod. ::Thank you. I will take you up on your advice.::
Harry almost blanched at the response. Did Voldemort just... thank him? Maybe this wasn't the past. Maybe it was actually the Twilight Zone. Or maybe this was a sign that he really had simply gone insane...
::Er... you're welcome.:: Harry replied hesitantly.
"Bella, you have pleased me." Voldemort said, turning his attention back to Bellatrix who glowed instantly with his praise. "Leave now and return to your duties."
Her face dimmed but she continued to look upon the Dark Lord with awe. She bowed, thanked him, although for what, Harry had no idea, and quickly left the room... but not without pausing for another brief scowl and glare aimed at Harry.
"She did not seem very fond of you." Voldemort said as soon as she was gone and Harry could detect a hint of amusement in his voice.
Harry almost did a double-take as he looked at Voldemort and found the man smirking at him with obvious amusement. It didn't look nearly as odd upon his reptilian face as Harry would have expected it to.
"Well, I imagine the fact that I held her under the cruciatis for a couple minutes back at the Ministry didn't exactly put me on her good side."
Voldemort frowned then and his look shifted. "And why, exactly, did you do that?" he asked with a sharp tone.
"She tried to curse me! She threw a crucio at me first," Harry said defensively. "There I was, trying to convince Lucius to just take me back here to you – they seemed a bit confused by the fact that I wasn't trying to fight or get away from them – and Bellatrix was getting all uppity. I may have been a bit snarky with her, but I knew the Order was on their way and we were wasting precious minutes arguing over something absolutely stupid. I mean, you ordered them to collect me and the prophecy, and there I was willingly offering myself without a fight, and they were getting all confused and wasting time! Next thing I know, she's got her wand drawn and is sending a cruciatis my way. I dodged and threw one back. Simple as that."
Voldemort arched a single hairless brow before the corner of his lips turned up and that amusement managed to find its way on his face again.
"I see..." he said slowly and another brief moment of silence passed. "Shall we watch the prophecy then?"
Harry blinked and then rolled his eyes. "Wow. I'd actually forgotten. How crazy is that? Right then. Let's do this." He concluded with a grin as he pulled the prophecy orb out of his pocket where he'd stored it some time ago during his explanation of his 'future history'.
Harry examined the globe in his hand for a moment before looking up at the Dark Lord with a slightly apologetic look. "I have no idea how this thing works." Harry admitted with a smirk.
Voldemort rolled his eyes in exasperation and walked forward, sticking his hand out, silently requesting that Harry hand it over; which he did without any argument.
Voldemort grasped it and a look of triumph graced his features for a moment before he paused to examine it more closely. He held it in his left hand and began to wave his wand around it a moment later. He seemed to come to some sort of conclusion because a moment later he took a few steps back, bent down and set it on the floor before pointing his hand and performing whatever spell he had determined would activate it.
Harry trained his gaze on the prophecy as it slowly began to glow. Suddenly a sphere of light and images expanded from the orb, extending out into a ball about eight feet in diameter. Inside the ball a scene suddenly began to play out. Dumbledore was there, in a room that Harry did not recognize, standing before a woman that Harry had never seen before. She had a bowl sitting on a low table in front of her filled with various herbs that were slowly smoldering, causing small wisps of smoke to curl into the air.
Suddenly the woman's eyes glazed over and she began to speak in a low, gravely voice.
"A child of power approaches. One half to complete a whole. Born with the Sun and Moon in Leo, while Mercury resides in Cancer still. His life and death will be linked irrevocably with the life of the Dark Lord Voldemort. He will be born of those who have thrice defied his elder half, and yet lived. The forth defiance will mark their doom. With this child's birth, comes opportunity for great power, as, with the child by his side, the Dark one will finally be whole, however should he defy the gift of the gods, death will be returned upon him. As Sigynos Laiba, the approaching child and the Dark one are destined to find each other in this life and the next, but the Dark one's defiance in the face of nature's path may break the chain, forever casting his other half into despair. Never again to be whole."
Dumbledore was looking both stunned and bewildered, and he waited patiently for the fog to clear from the seer's eyes.
"What does it mean?" he asked, as soon as she seemed to have returned to her senses.
"The Sigynos Laiba number twelve. Six pairs, destined to meet again and again as the Earth ages. Each half of a whole." she said, her voice still sounding strangely mystical, although it was no longer low and gravely.
"I've never heard of it..." Dumbledore whispered.
"If you search for the knowledge, you will find it. That is all I can tell you."
And then the image faded into mist and the sphere of light and image shrunk back until it had receded back into the prophecy globe.
Harry and Voldemort stood in utter silence for several long seconds before Harry spoke and broke the tension.
"Okay... well, that was nothing like the piece of shit Dumbledore tried to feed me. What the hell is a... a Sigynos-whatever?"
"I must admit I am at a loss. I have never heard of it," Voldemort said in a quiet voice. "It's not Latin or Greek... I believe I've heard the word Laiba from some ancient Macedonian writings I've read, but I don't recall what it meant... I will have to investigate this further," Voldemort continued, almost as if muttering to himself.
"Ancient Macedonian? Yeah, no clue from me." Harry said, shaking his head.
After a moment of thoughtful silence Voldemort turned his attention back on Harry. "You said that Dumbledore showed you a false prophecy? What was it?"
"Oh, let's see... it went something like 'The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches. Born to those who have thrice defied him. Born as the seventh month dies. He will have power the Dark Lord knows not... uhh... what was the next part. Or did... wait – The Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not.' Dumbledore actually tried to sell me some bullshit line about it being Love." Harry snorted and rolled his eyes. "Then it went on to say something like, 'either must die at the hands of the other for neither can live while the other survives.' So basically he told me that I had been prophecized to defeat you, or else you would kill me. He basically made it out to look like I had to kill you, or else you'd kill me. Stupid lying bastard..."
"The first few lines of that match the one that Severus overheard the winter before you were born." Voldemort said in a thoughtful voice.
"Yeah, but since he never heard the rest of it, and Dumbledore never told anyone else, I think he had some wiggle room to made adjustments between Snape's little spying, and him telling me the prophecy when I was fifteen. I suspect he added the bit about you marking me as your equal so it would sound like it fit closer. The whole scar thing, and all. That's my theory anyway."
"Plausible." Voldemort said with a small nod.
"Well... it would seem that Dumbledore managed to figure out something from the real prophecy that made him decide to use me against you." Harry said.
Voldemort nodded, looking thoughtful. "The line, 'should he defy the gift of the gods, death will be returned to him.' seems noteworthy. When I attempted to kill you, when you were but a child, my spell was rebounded and 'returned to me'. From what you tell me, in your future timeline, I threw the killing curse at you two other times and you did not die either of those times either."
"That's right. That second time – the time when your killing curse destroyed the bit of your soul inside me, it also knocked you out, so even that time it was sort of 'returned to you'. But you didn't die. Only the soul piece in me was destroyed."
"And during the final confrontation, you said you did not have a viable explanation for why my killing curse rebounded again?"
"Yeah, I mean, I cast bloody 'expeliarmus' and you cast the killing curse. And yet you were the one who died."
Voldemort scoffed. "Expelliarmus... stupid boy..."
Harry chuckled. "You don't have to tell me. I'm more than aware of just how horrifyingly stupid I was in my youth."
Voldemort rolled his eyes lightly. "With this child's birth, comes opportunity for great power, as the Dark one will finally be whole..." Voldemort said, quoting another line from the prophecy. "It mentioned halves and wholes several times..."
"And afterwards when Dumbledore asked the Seer what it meant she said that the uh... Sigynos things were six pairs, each half of a whole."
"And we, apparently, are one of these pairs." Voldemort continued.
"Yeah, but what the heck does that even mean?"
"I will have to investigate. I will begin to search through my books in the morning."
"I can help, if you want." Harry said with a shrug. "As long as I'm here, I'd may as well do something of value."
"Yes, but I don't imagine I should keep you here long." Voldemort said.
Harry grimaced. "Ugh... I know your right, but the idea of going to bloody Hogwarts and pretending to be the old me is almost horrifying. I'm not even sure I'm a good enough actor to pull it off. It took all the willpower I had just to keep from killing Ron, Ginny, and Granger, when I first came to in this time and saw the lot of them staring down at me."
"I'm sure you will manage."
"Yeah, I suppose," Harry said with an exaggerated sigh, earning him a quiet snort from the Dark Lord. Harry smirked back. "Oh... oh wait..."
"If I recall correctly, it's like... one week from the end of term, right? I mean... I remember you sent me that vision when I was in the middle of one of the OWLs – I failed that one by the way, thanks a lot."
Voldemort smirked defiantly back.
"That is correct. Term ends next week. But that should only make it easier for you."
"Theoretically – yes, but it also means I have to go back to my relatives for the summer. Now them I honestly don't believe I have the will power to refrain from killing. I can say with almost perfect sincerity that I will kill them this summer."
"Your guardians? Aren't they muggles?"
Harry sneered. "They're filthy disgusting bastards, is what they are. And yes, they are muggles. I never got to have a proper revenge against them in my time. They were taken away into hiding the summer before the war really broke out and I never found out where they went. I gave a few half-hearted attempts at finding them a few years later, but I had no idea where they were, and had decided at that point that they weren't worth the trouble. But now that I've got them nice and neatly packaged before me, I'm not going to pass up an opportunity to make them suffer."
Voldemort rose a single, vaguely interested, eyebrow, giving Harry an appraising, and approving look.
Suddenly Harry's eyes lit up with delight. "Oh, that could be perfect!" he exclaimed. "You could attack my muggle relatives house! It would be a Death Eater attack! I could do whatever I wanted to them, and it would just get blamed on your Death Eaters!"
Voldemort's brow rose again, but the approving look from before was now gone.
"Oh come on!" Harry replied with what he honestly would admit was a bit of a whine, but mostly he was sort of kidding. "I mean, I did just recover one of your horcruxes, and I'm offering my willing participation in making sure you win the war. The least you can do is help me kill my shitty relatives."
Voldemort actually snorted mildly at this statement and a look of mild amusement crossed his features. "I suppose I could concede that point. It may not be that simple though. Dumbledore has placed a mountain of wards around whatever residence you get secreted away to each summer. Or did you honestly think that I had made no attempts to find you?"
"Yeah, but what if I tell you where it is? The wards that Dumbledore put up prevent the place from being found, but if you already know how to find it, the only thing keeping you out are the blood wards fro my mum, and I would be willing to bet that those aren't even a problem since you've got my blood running in your veins. Right?"
"That may be so for me, but it does nothing for my Death Eaters. I don't see how you can blame your muggle relatives deaths on my followers if my followers cannot get to your relatives."
Harry scowled mildly and huffed. "Yeah, maybe. But I'm sure that if we work on it together, we can find a way around it all."
"Even if we do find a way around it, I wonder how exactly you expect to explain away your survival of the incident. I imagine it is already going to be difficult to explain away how you're going to walk away from this alive, but for you to escape from me twice? Not even you are that lucky."
"Well, I could always make it look like I wasn't even there. Like you all got there and I wasn't there, but you killed off my muggle relatives anyway. Or I could claim that I escaped right at the beginning... no... people would wonder why I didn't try to save my stupid family." Harry mumbled, sneering the word family.
"And what about the Order, hmm? They do guard your home, do they not?"
Harry took on a thoughtful expression for a moment. "I think... what was his name... oh! Dung!"
Voldemort's upper lip curled in mild disgust. "Excuse me?"
"Mundungus Fletcher! The man was absolutely worthless, but he was assigned guard duty over my relatives home several days a week. Usually late at night."
"And what exactly is the significance of that?"
"He was always bailing early. Or he'd get smashed and fall asleep under his invisibility cloak. We plan the attack for one of the nights that Dung is on duty and we can take him out, easy, before he's able to alert anyone else in the Order."
Voldemort gave an exasperated sigh. "I suppose we can make something work. I'll leave you to work out the initial details."
"Speaking of which, we're going to need to establish a way to communicate after I go back... Do you suppose I could get my wand back?"
Voldemort rolled his eyes and made another exasperated noise in his throat. He flicked his wand and the door to the hall opened again. The same nameless Death Eater from before once again turned to look inside, obviously awaiting whatever order he would be given. Voldemort told the man to summon Lucius and to tell him to bring Harry's wand back.
While they waited Harry turned his attention back to Voldemort. "Do you have much experience with removing magical blocks?"
Voldemort narrowed his eyes. "I'm familiar with the process."
"Dumbledore placed a mountain of them on me at some point – I would assume he did it when I was just a baby, but for all I know he did it once I got to Hogwarts and I just never recovered the memories of the incident. In any case, they're still on me right now and they're suffocating. The sensation of having them locking down my magic is downright stifling and I'm really rather inclined to remove them. Thing is the last time I did it, it was very very... painful, and that was when they were already starting to deteriorate on their own."
"You're asking me to perform magic on you that will make you more powerful?"
Harry snorted. "Well, yes, I suppose so. But honestly, seeing as how I'm on your side, isn't it better if I'm more powerful? If I was aiming to attack you, I wouldn't have given you the damn locket."
At that moment, the door to the hall opened again and Lucius walked proudly in, knelt down in front of Voldemort and presented him Harry's wand. Harry just rolled his eyes at the action, crossed his arms and waited, admittedly with an obvious air of impatience, until Voldemort had taken the wand from Lucius, and then dismissed him again. The man didn't seem to be all that thrilled with being nothing more than a delivery boy, but he certainly wasn't going to speak out on it to the Dark Lord, so he bowed his head again and quickly left.
"Here," Voldemort said with a mild sneer as he handed Harry his wand.
Harry grinned and gave a curt nod of his head. "Thank you, your Lordship."
Voldemort snorted at Harry's mocking tone, which he supposed was better than the man cursing him.
Harry took his wand and with a few quick flicks and jabs he had conjured a set of small compact mirrors. He plopped down, rather unceremoniously onto the floor, sitting cross-legged, and began to mutter quietly under his breath while he pointed his wand at the two mirrors sitting on the floor before him.
Voldemort turned and watched with closely veiled interest as Harry continued to work. Finally a surge of light shot from the tip of Harry's wand and a glow grew to encompass the two mirrors. A moment later it dimmed away. Harry heaved a deep sigh and ran his forearm over his brow that now showed signs of some perspiration.
"Fucking blocks," Harry grumbled under his breath as he made to stand back up and picked up the two mirrors.
He closed one, held it in his left hand while he held the other open in his right. Looking into the right mirror he said "Harry Potter". The closed compact mirror in his left hand started to glow and pulse slowly, and it vibrated and made a little buzzing noise, in time with each pulse. Harry grinned. He flicked it open with his thumb. After confirming that the two mirrors were, in fact, displaying the image sent from the other, he closed them both and handed one to Voldemort.
"Permanently conjured objects, spelled with some sort of advanced variation on the Protrean charm?" Voldemort said, only barely concealing the fact that he was impressed.
"Oh, come on. Despite appearances, I'm not actually a fifteen year old kid who just took his OWLs. You've obviously been doing the Dark Lord thing a lot longer than I did, but I did fairly good job of it while I held the post. Do you honestly think anyone would have followed me if I couldn't manage a spell like this?"
"They called you a Dark Lord?" Voldemort asked, incredulously.
Harry gave an exasperated sort of noise. "The Light-run press started it. You know – trying to paint me as the ultimate evil and all that. But I will admit that once my followers started saying it too, I didn't exactly put forth a huge effort to get them to stop. But I never let them do all this idiotic robe kissing crap you have your lot do. I never was really into demeaning my followers like you seem to get such a kick out of."
"They simply know how to show me the proper respect I am due," Voldemort sneered lightly. "Unlike some people."
Harry snorted. "Yeah, whatever. Anyway, these mirrors will allow us to communicate. All you have to do is open it and say my name and mine will start to glow and buzz. If I'm available I'll answer it. If I miss your call, it'll just pulse with a light until I open it again. That way I'll know you tried to contact me and I can call you back."
"You make it sound like a muggle telephone." Voldemort sneered.
Harry shrugged. "I based some of the functionality off muggle cell phones. The size and shape too. It's like a clam-shell phone, sort of. I've made some before that were connected to a network of them, instead of how these two are only connected to each other. Gave them to all my inner circle followers so we could all remain in instant contact. Went all out on those. You could even leave a voice message if the person you were trying to call couldn't answer it. I can probably add to these two later on after I get rid of my blocks, but with such short notice this is the best I can do."
Voldemort seemed to be sneering in disgust, but Harry just rolled his eyes.
"Look, you can despise muggles all you like – and believe me, I'm not particularly fond of a great many of them myself – but some of them are bloody incredible when it comes to how inventive they get with their technology. The things they manage to accomplish, without the use of magic, is downright insane. You know in my time, they've sent unmanned probes all the way out to Saturn? I mean, as in, it went down into the planets atmosphere and sent back photos and data and all sorts of stuff. The probe was sent off by this bigger craft that orbited the planet taking in samples from the rings and sending information back to Earth. Bloody Saturn! And there's been a bunch of probes sent to Mars, and China was talking about building a base on the moon; although that's probably all talk.
"But there's an International Space Station orbiting Earth and the Americans and the Russians make trips up there every few months or so to swap out the crew. I mean, no matter how useless, and quite honestly, insanely dangerous, the Internet might seem to a wizard, the fact that we've got human beings out in space is still pretty mind boggling. I mean, sometimes I'd think about it and how big the universe is and it'd really make me stop and realize how stupid and pointless our petty squabbles are, and how much energy we're wasting on all the wrong things..."
Harry sighed heavily and ran his hand through his hair.
"You seem rather familiar with the muggles and their technological advances." Voldemort observed.
Harry scoffed. "It was necessary in my time. For that matter, it'll be necessary for you in the coming years too. It hadn't happened yet in my time, but I can say with quite a bit of certainty that the muggles are going to find out about our world in the next few decades. There's just no way for us to keep everything secret from them with all their advances in technology. I mean, fucking GoogleEarth had a satellite scan of Diagon Alley until we managed to get the American Wizards to get a few men on the inside of Google and start modifying their satellite image database."
Harry shook his head and chuckled. "It's a muggle company. Going to be huge. Oh hey... maybe I should tell the Goblins to invest... Hmm... not a bad idea, actually... anyway, with the advent of video-camera phones and internet everywhere, and shit like bloody Youtube, having squads of obliviators just isn't enough anymore, and things were only getting more and more complicated and dangerous each year. Hell, having a bunch of tech savvy muggleborns helping the cause was about the only thing saving our asses the last couple years."
"All the more reason to wipe them out," Voldemort sneered in contempt.
Harry snorted. "Yeah, great idea you got there. I never was able to figure out exactly how you intended to pull off that little miracle. Especially seeing as how it would require 5% of the worlds human population to wipe out the other 95%. And while we may have magic, they've got genetics and germ warfare. All it would take is for a group of muggle scientists with questionable ethics to capture a few of us and go about their little experimenting ways, to isolate some crazy way to kill us all off with a modified retrovirus or something, designed to target only people with the biological propensity for magic. Considering the other things I've seen them accomplish in my years, I don't doubt for a second that they could pull it off."
Voldemort took on another speculative look as he silently scrutinized Harry. "We will definitely need to set aside some time for discuss your knowledge of the muggles, in the near future. For now it would probably be best if we focused on our urgent concern of what to do with you."
Harry sighed and nodded. "Yeah, I suppose so. Well, you'll probably need to curse the shit out of me before sending me back. It wouldn't look convincing at all if I was somehow able to make it out of here unharmed."
"We could enlist the aid of Severus to return you to the school, but from what you said earlier, I question whether or not it is wise to involve him in anything."
"As you should. The man was definitely loyal to Dumbledore in my time, but I think that was mostly the result of him being manipulated, just like me. Dumbledore has been using Snape's love for my mum, and his guilt over the role he played in her death. He doesn't believe that you actually gave her a chance to live like you said you would, but even without that, he still blames himself for her death. Dumbledore made him swear an oath that he would always do everything in his power to help 'Lily's son', so, theoretically, if we allow him to know about my switch in loyalties, and expose some of Dumbledore's dirty dealings, and his manipulations, there's a chance that we could get him to switch back to our side. But at the same time, no matter how much Snape loved my mum, he despised my dad and hates me too. Like seriously loathes me."
"Severus has definitely expressed his distinct dislike for you in the past," Voldemort said with a slightly amused smirk.
Harry rolled his eyes. "I don't doubt it."
"Well, until we can determine Severus' true loyalties, we could always arrange for him to have the opportunity to save you on his own. If he has sworn an oath to always try to protect you, then he will have to make a legitimate effort."
Harry frowned slightly. "Hmm... it could work. But, what could he do? Surely you've got anti-portkey and anti-apparition wards around this place, right? I mean, Lucius had a portkey that was able to come in and bring one unmarked person, but I'm guessing that you had to personally make that portkey. Without being able to manipulate the wards, neither Snape nor Dumbledore would be able to craft a portkey that could take me out of here... right? And besides, if Snape helped me escape, it would be obvious that he had betrayed you. He couldn't come back."
Voldemort hummed in thought for a moment before he turned his gaze on Harry and smirked. "There is another option."
"There is little chance that Dumbledore will not realize that we have taken the prophecy. We can, of course, let them believe that I was successful in tricking you to take the prophecy from the Ministry and then once you were captured, I took it from you, seeing as how that was the original plan."
Harry nodded his head. "Right."
"Dumbledore knows what the true prophecy says, since he witnessed it. He will know that I now know what Severus witnessed all those years ago was a hoax, or that I will suspect he lied to me, and this new, legitimate prophecy gives me absolutely no reason why I should want you dead, as the previous one did. If anything, it sounds as if I can become more powerful with you by my side."
"Thus, you wouldn't want to torture me too much..." Harry said.
"Actually... under normal circumstances – had you been captured and brought here as your 'old self', minus inexplicable time-travel, and I had witnessed the prophecy, I would likely have kept you prisoner, but in the best of circumstances. I would have employed tactics to try and gain your trust and loyalty over time, so that you would cease your attempts to fight against me. Whatever power it is that this prophecy speaks of, it is something that I would be unlikely to be able to tap into if you were unwilling, and you've already demonstrated a propensity for throwing off the Imperius."
"Ah, I see what you're saying here. You would try to intentionally induce Stockholm syndrome. So you'd aim for subtle mind manipulation to try and get me onto your side voluntarily."
"Precisely. And it is imperative that, in developing Stockholm syndrome, no abuse is used."
"None at all?"
"Let's see... as I recall it, 'research has suggested that hostages may exhibit Stockholm syndrome in situations that feature captors who do not abuse the victim; there is a long duration before resolution of the situation; there is continued contact between the perpetrator and hostage, and a high level of emotion. In fact, experts have concluded that the intensity, not the length of the incident, combined with a lack of physical abuse more likely will create favorable conditions for the development of Stockholm syndrome."
Harry blinked at Voldemort for a moment before a wide, amused grin spread across his face. "Was that quoted from a book you read, or something?"
Voldemort rose a single hairless brow, and challenging expression as he glared down his non-existent nose at Harry.
"Do you have a photographic memory, or something?" Harry asked, completely unphased and still grinning.
"It's called an eidetic memory, Potter. And yes; I do."
Harry snorted. "I shouldn't be surprised."
"No, you shouldn't," Voldemort shot back, pointedly.
"So – no violence. The Death Eaters wouldn't have brought me here without a fight though, and they probably would have roughed me up a bit before you got to see the prophecy. I could use that – saying that I was tossed in some dungeon cell after being cursed a bit my Bellatrix, then I was alone for a while. Dumbledore could assume that, during that time, you watched the prophecy. After that, I was brought up to one of the really nice, fancy, rooms, and given clean robes and my wounds were healed."
"Now you're using your brain, Potter. Earlier you expressed doubt in your ability to lie convincingly to your peers. Will it be a problem, trying to lie to Dumbledore? He will likely attempt to use legilimency on you. How is your Occlumency?"
"Impenetrable," Harry replied with a sharp nod. "He won't be able to get in."
"That's a considerable difference than you prior to this evening. Your sudden development of suitable Occlumency shields may look suspicious."
"I can say I've been working on it on my own since Snape dropped me from my lessons and I progressed a lot better without him there to rip my mind to shreds with his spells. There's really no legitimate reason to believe that Occlumency – the defense against Legilimency – would actually keep you from being able to send me visions across a soul link. I could have developed perfectly suitable Occlumency shields and you still could probably send me visions or something. We can argue that, at least. Our connection is unprecedented."
"It's reasonably arguable. It should work. But what about my other concern? Your acting ability?"
"I can act when I need to. I just have to control my temper, which tends to be a bit more difficult."
Voldemort smirked slightly. "Well, we seem to have developed the foundation of a plan. You will stay here for a few days and we shall do some research into this prophecy during that time. Obviously, we'll have to find a reasonably believable way for you to 'escape' – perhaps Severus will be of some use in that task."
"Obviously, you'll need to tell Lucy and the others that were there to night that they can't reveal my behavior to Snape," Harry pointed out.
Voldemort gave him a pointed glare that clearly said 'I don't need you to tell me the obvious'. Finally, he shifted his attention to the door and it opened with a wave of his wand. Once again, the same faceless Death Eater looked inside, awaiting his latest orders. Voldemort once again called for Lucius and the door closed as the wizard left to complete his task.
"I'm curious," Harry said, drawing Voldemort's attention back to him. "What would you have done if I hadn't started to develop any signs of empathizing with your cause? Stockholm syndrome isn't guaranteed to happen, even under the best circumstances."
"If that method had failed, I would have moved onto the methodologies of coercive persuasion used under the Maoist regime of China."
Harry's rose a single brow. "And you expect me to know what that was?"
Voldemort scoffed quietly. "Not really. They developed techniques that would break down the psychic integrity of individuals with regard to information processing, retention and values. They would dehumanize people by keeping them in filth, sleep deprivation, sensory deprivation, psychological harassment, and using guild or group social pressure among other things."
"Yeah, you definitely deserve the title Dark Lord more than I ever did," Harry replied giving the man a deadpanned expression. "I'm damn glade I'm on your side now," Harry mused with a snicker before pausing with a thoughtful expression and then pinning Voldemort with a smirk. "For someone who despises muggles so much, you seem to know a lot about their psychology and mind control methods."
"Know thy enemy."
The door to the room opened and he and Voldemort both turned their attention to it as Lucius once again strode inside with conceited pride, oozing from every step, until he felt down to one knee, bowling low, directly before Voldemort.
"You may rise, Lucius," Voldemort said, drawing out the 's' longer than was necessary. The blond aristocrat stood and gave a quick, sideways glance at Harry before refocusing on his Lord and Master.
"Potter will be joining us for a few days until we can arrange a believable 'escape' so that he can return to Dumbledore. He will require quarters. Preferable on the third floor in the eastern wing near the library."
Lucius looked mildly surprised, but masked it well. "Yes, my Lord. Is there anything else?"
"He is to be treated with respect and civility. No one is to attack him – should they do so, they will answer to me directly. Also, no one is to communicate with Severus. Should he initiate contact, you will reveal nothing of what has really happened with Potter today. Should the topic be unavoidable, since I know he may be inclined to ask you specifically, you may tell him that you and your team were able to trick Potter into taking the prophecy, you then took it from him, captured him, and brought him and the prophecy directly to me. Nothing more."
"Yes, my Lord."
"Inform the others."
"Of course, my Lord."
Harry mock mouthed 'my lord', several times, from Voldemort's side, earning him an angry scowl from Lucius. He quickly masked it as Voldemort gave him a pointed look.
"I will be in the library shortly. Show Potter to his rooms and then show him the way to the library. He and I have matters to attend to," Voldemort said, choosing not to remark on Harry's immature behavior, nor his minion's reaction to it.
A few minutes later, after Voldemort had retrieved the prophecy from the floor and left, Harry found himself being led by Lucius Malfoy out of the large meeting room he'd found himself in, towards a central staircase, and up several flights of stairs.
Malfoy called a house elf and instructed it to begin preparing the 'blue room' for a guest, and it quickly popped away. A track down a long hall brought them to one among many nondescript doors that Malfoy pushed open and ushered Harry inside with obvious distaste on his proper face.
"You will stay here," he spoke as Harry took a look around. The room had off-white wainscot moulding along the lower three feet of the walls that was intricately carved. The walls above the moulding featured periwinkle-blue wallpaper with small flower patterns. The floor had a deep blue, plush carpet, and all of the furniture was upholstered in various shades of blue, or white-painted wood.
It had a queen-size bed in the center of one wall with bedside tables framing it. There was a desk and office chair in one corner, and in another there was a small round table with two plush chairs around it. To the back was another door that the house elf from before was just emerging out of.
"The toiletries have all been restocked, master," the small elf squeaked timidly.
Malfoy turned to look down at Harry with an obvious sneer, marring his perfect features. "Am I to assume that you will be in need of clothing?"
"Yes," Harry replied simply, still looking around the room. It was just as opulent as he would have expected from some random guest room in Malfoy manor. He wondered how much bigger and more posh Draco's room was.
Malfoy turned back to the elf and instructed it to collect a selection of clothes from where Draco's old wardrobe was stored. He specified the clothes from his son's fourth year wardrobe since Potter was about the same size Draco had been a year ago.
Harry rolled his eyes but ignored the elder wizard subtle attempt to insult him on his small stature.
The elf popped away and Harry quickly found himself being led away again. The library was just down the hall, so it was a short journey. When they entered, Voldemort was there, already with several books pulled out and stacked on a round table near the entrance. Harry noticed the prophecy was sitting on the table as well, and next to it was a piece of parchment and a quill. Harry walked over and glanced down at the parchment. Voldemort had already transcribed the prophecy in full on the sheet. Harry wondered when the hell the man had had the time to do all this. It's not like he and Lucius had spent a lot of time in 'the blue room'.
Shrugging, Harry re-read the prophecy, making note of what terms he thought would be necessary to search for. He turned back to Lucius and asked him to explain how the library was laid out. The man sneered at him in disgust but just before he could open his mouth to speak, Voldemort called Harry over and told Lucius he could leave.
As soon as Harry had gotten to the Dark Lord's side, the man was already mid-sentence, explaining to him where things were located and what he'd found so far. Harry had to admit he was having a bit of trouble keeping up, but once he did, he easily slipped into research mode and began searching on his own.
He was more than accustomed to digging through books on his own now, and had long, long ago, outgrown the crutch that Hermione Granger had once served.
He had to admit one thing – the Malfoy's had a damn nice library.
Harry woke the next morning extremely comfortable, well rested, and utterly confused, for all of one minute before he recalled the events of the previous night. He'd gone back in time and he was at Malfoy manor. Talk about a head-trip.
– – –
AN: And that's it. (Wait – that's it? Yes. That's it. Sorry.) The only 'planning' I really had was in relation to the "true" prophecy, and I suppose I'll share it here:
Voldemort would research and discover some ancient text on the Sigynos Laiba that described them as six pairs of magical beings from thousands upon thousands of years ago that had been bound together by powerful soul magic gifted from 'the gods' so that they could fight in some enormous battle against some great foe. By binding them together in pairs, they significantly increased their power so that these 6 pairs (12 witches/wizards) would have the power to take on an armies-worth of opponents and save their people/country/whatever.
The binding was permanent though, so even after they died from those lives, they would be reborn again and again into new bodies in different places across the world, but still be bound together on a powerful level. Being separate prevented them from reaching their full potential and would leave them miserable and unfulfilled. Only when the two halves of one pair come together, do they reach their full potential and power capabilities.
Additionally, since the two people are basically two halves of one power, should one ever attempt to kill the other, death is instead turned upon them by the wrath of the gods that originally bestowed the power or something along those lines to explain why every time LV tried to kill Harry, his curse rebounded on himself.
So that's that. If I find the inspiration, or if someone suggests something that sparks an idea (I'll give you full credit, of course) and I find myself writing some more on this story, I'll post it.
If someone else approaches me and adopts it, I'll post a link to their continuation when it gets posted.