Author's Note: I was suddenly hit with a HP/LV craving. I like the idea of Harry leaving the Order and discovering some hard truths about those who he had considered family. It's mostly ridiculous and crack-ish, not to be taken too seriously.
Warnings: Romance, fluff, humour, m-preg, minor character death, some good old-fashioned torture, some insanity and a little bit of angst. Bashing and slashing, you know the drill.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything other than my own devious plot.
If someone has an issue with the pairings I have chosen or with the themes featured in this story, I can just advise you to not read it. It's not my problem if someone doesn't like how I write or what I write, no one is forcing anyone to read anything. Ignorant flamers will be ignored, so be warned.
Chapter One: Deliverance
Looking around in the busy main street of Diagon Alley, Harry Potter darted out of a darkened alleyway and made a run for it towards an average looking if not shabby building just near the end of the street. It was an unnoticeable bookshop that sold second-hand schoolbooks. It was dank and not much to look at but Harry wasn't really interested in the books. Upstairs, there were three flats. One of them was Harry's, the first time he had actually used his money for something.
The flat itself was small and mostly unfurnished, but that hardly mattered to Harry because he wasn't planning on staying long. Hiding from the Order was not something he had ever considered but there he was, trying to avoid getting captured by the very same people who had vowed to protect him. It had all started after Dumbledore's death. The old coot had made Harry a tool, a perfect Saviour of the Light. Too bad Harry saw things a bit differently.
To the teen's surprise, it had been Severus Snape who ultimately told Harry the truth; the real meaning of the prophecy, the link between him and Voldemort and even the old man's plan to have Harry sacrifice himself if the time was right. All that had been revealed to him during first week of the summer after his sixth year. Staying at the Weasley house had been unbearable, the Order had already been watching him more closely now that the war was almost at their door step. After being forced to stay in Grimmauld Place, many things became clear to him.
The only ones he still trusted were Snape and the Weasley twins. He hadn't had any contact with Hermione so he really had no idea if his best friend was on his side or not. Surprisingly, both Bill and Ginny had also been supportive, the latter finally realising that Harry wasn't exactly husband material. Bill had always been strongly against placing their hope in a teenage boy, so he too wanted Harry to get out of the mess that he had been involuntary placed in. Snape had been the biggest surprise, although Harry had never trusted the man and always suspected he was actually Voldemort's. Harry had been right, because Snape was no more light than Harry was a girl. Voldemort was his true master and he had been on the wizard's side since he was a teenager.
With their help, Harry had hightailed out of the Order's clutches and disappeared. Bill had gotten him the flat and warded it tighter than Gringotts, the twins kept him in the loop. Harry wasn't bitter about losing most of his supporters and friends; the Weasleys had always seen him as a charity case Dumbledore had instructed them to look after and Harry never quite cared for the other Order members. However, he was sad about losing Remus. He had no idea where the man stood but he hadn't tried to find Harry either, making the teen believe that the werewolf was firmly under the Order's thumb.
Harry had just reached his shabby flat and threw off his jacket when he heard someone Apparate behind his door. There was a moment of silence until he heard three even knock, a code for someone who was his ally.
Harry opened the door and grimaced when Snape strode in, his robe billowing behind him like a bat's wings. "Potter, I see that you decided to be an idiot once more."
"Did you come all the way here just to tell me that? You could have sent an owl, you know?"
Severus pinched his lips into a thin line and looked around the room. Finally he said, "Next time you decide to get some fresh air, use your cloak. There are Order members everywhere, they are still trying their best to find you."
Harry smirked and went to the little kitchen area, he put on the kettle and said, "So, what's old noseless been up to these days? Still plotting world domination?"
"Since when are you interested in the Dark Lord's doings? Surely going neutral would decrease your interest in the war."
"I don't play Quidditch anymore but I still read Quidditch Monthly," said the teen, "I mean, going neutral doesn't mean I'm suddenly not interested in Voldemort. The guy tried to kill me most of my school years, I'm entitled to know if he's still planning to torture me into insanity. I bet he gets off on it too."
Severus looked grim. "The Dark Lord has been made aware of your latest mood change. He is intrigued."
"You make it sound as if I'm on my period"
"You might run back to your Gryffindors once they get through to you." Snape said casually.
"I will never go back to being some sort of weapon for the Light. I've spent my whole life as someone I don't want to me, some kind of tool and a stupid prophecy on a shelf. I'm done with them." Harry stated angrily.
Snape didn't comment. He said in a more light tone. "I have a letter for you. Ginny Weasley managed to get it before it could end up in the wrong hands."
Harry perked up at that and went to grab it from the man. Severus only lifted his arm, making Harry stand on his toes. He still didn't reach and growled. "Give me my bloody letter."
"Don't be a bastard, Snape." Harry groaned. "Please, pretty please."
Severus wasn't a fan of Potter, but over the short period of time since he had told Harry the truth, the two had developed a somewhat normal relationship. The banter and snarky comments were all part of that odd relationship. Severus had been very much surprised when Harry had left the Order and started to think for himself. Not such a stupid Gryffindor after all.
"It's from Hermione." Harry breathed out as he read the writing.
"Granger has not had any contact with anyone from the Order since Dumbledore's death. She and her family went abroad just after school ended. I doubt she knows what has transpired."
Harry scanned the lines as he sank into the leather sofa. He felt his nerves ease up and a smile crept on his face. "She said that Ron wrote to her and said that I left the Order. He even said that I went dark and betrayed everyone. Hermione didn't believe a word of it and says that I should get my scrawny arse to her parents house and explain why Ron's being a stupid prat. She says that no matter what, she's my friend."
"Granger's house is out of the question, the Order has it under surveillance." Snape stated, "If you wish to meet her, I suggest you get her to come here."
"Fred and George could probably bring her." Harry mused. "Can you get a word to them or Ginny?"
Snape looked sour but said, "I might be able to deliver a short message. As you know, the Order doesn't exactly trust me after a killed their leader."
"Sarcasm isn't very endearing."
"I'll see what I can do." Severus said and turned to leave.
Before he could leave, Harry asked curiously. "Why are you really helping me?"
"I find it amusing."
"Are you hoping I would Voldemort? I might not be the Saviour of the Light anymore but I'm not joining his side either. Unless you have proof that the dark side really is the best possible option." said Harry.
Severus stood motionlessly for a moment, but then he said, "Despite what you might think, Potter, I do not wish to see you dead. Your mother was a friend and very dear to me."
"Did you love her?"
"Dearly." Snape said
With that, the man stalked away and Harry could hear the distinctive pop of Snape Apparating away. Harry's mind was muddled with thoughts of Hermione, he didn't want to lose her as well. Ron had shown his true nature when Harry had started seeing the bigger picture, the one that Dumbledore and his cronies had tried to hide from him. The redhead had been angry at Harry ever since the green-eyed teen had started socializing with students from different Houses. A few Ravenclaws and even a Slytherin or two. Once the blinders had started to come off, Harry had realised that Dumbledore was trying to keep him isolated and alone, he needed him to be miserable with nothing to look forward to. That had pissed Harry off and the wreckage he had caused in the old man's office had been extensive. But still Dumbledore had him under his thumb. In retrospect, Harry was very thankful for Snape's intervention. Not that he would ever tell the man, not on his life.
He summoned a piece of parchment and a Quill, fully intending to write a letter to the twins. After all, those two were Harry's closest supporters and friends.
Hermione was highly observant and there wasn't much that could sneak past her. So when she stepped inside the Burrow, she immediately knew that something was not right. Molly was busy in the kitchen and Arthur was casually reading a newspaper that Hermione recognized as Daily Prophet's week old edition. It was quiet and perhaps a bit too eerie for her liking. She was about to speak, when Ginny came down the rickety stairs and quickly pulled her into a hug. She whispered, "Just smile and come with me."
Arthur and Molly looked unmoved but the man offered Hermione a smile which had the younger witch smile back. She forced herself to look absolutely calm and friendly. Ginny dragged her by the arm and led her up the stairs into her room. The minute Ginny closed the door and put up a silencing charm, Hermione asked, "What is going on here?"
"The Order will arrive soon, the meeting will take place here since Harry banned everyone from Grimmauld." said Ginny.
"What about the letter Ron sent me, claiming that Harry's gone mad and now follows Voldemort?"
Ginny rolled her eyes and said, "Ron's just being an arse. Harry just did what he thought was right and that meant leaving the Order. Actually, he just went into hiding since the Order has been trying to capture him and bring him back. Even if that means locking Harry up and forcing him to fight in this war. It's been rather chaotic around here, you know. Everyone's gone mental, even Mum and Dad think Harry should do his duty and fight against the dark. Mum even said that Harry owes it to everyone."
Hermione gasped, "That's awful."
"That's not the worst part." Ginny explained. "Ever since Harry disappeared, the Order has been watching everyone. They're even watching your house, Mione."
"I asked Harry to meet me there." the girl said aghast. "I didn't know he would be in danger."
"There's something else." Ginny said. Hermione's mind was already reeling but she allowed the redhead to speak. "Bill and the twins are on Harry's side, so am I. Ron and the rest of the family is hell-bent on getting Harry back under their control. Don't trust anyone, not even Ron. Now that I think of it, make sure you stay away from him altogether. He's turned out to be quite the Harry-hater around here. He keeps saying stuff like how had to put up with him for years and that he never even wanted to be his friend. I find it revolting that he's such a rat and would do something like this to Harry."
"Do you know where he his? I have to see Harry, make sure he's alright."
"The twins know." the redhead said. "The less people know the better. I wouldn't put it past the Order to dose us with Veritaserum. They're even watching me, I swear there was someone tailing me when I went to Neville's house yesterday. And before you ask, Neville is still Harry's friend."
Hermione was speechless. "Why would the Order do something so extreme? I never thought this organisation would be capable of something so heartless. All those speeches on how the Death Eaters are the worst of the worst, and now the Order is doing exactly the same. This is tyrannical."
"I might not know much, but Bill said that they had Aurors arrest students who have had contact with Harry. They...tortured them."
"Right." Hermione gritted. "The Light side isn't as virtuous as we had been led to believe. No wonder Harry wanted to get away."
"Harry's changed a lot since you last saw him. He's very independent and doesn't take orders from anyone, I like this new, strong Harry. I'm glad that he finally realised that some things are not his to carry, the burden should be shared with everyone who is willing enough to fight this war."
Hermione managed a smile. "Does Remus agree with the rest? Harry really does look up to him as a father figure."
"No one has seen nor heard from Remus, it's been months since we saw him. Bill has been trying to find him, but there's no sign of him yet."
With a shudder, the older girl questioned. "Do you think he has been hurt?"
"We just don't know, Mione." said Ginny. "All Bill has been able to find out from the Order is that Moody doesn't know much either. It looks as if Moody isn't very popular in the Order these days. He isn't very keen on finding Harry either, we don't know what his plan is."
"Could it be that Moody is on Harry's side?"
"Your guess is as good as mine." the girl shrugged. She added, "I do know, however, that Professor Snape was the one to tell Harry the truth about everything the Order has tried to keep from him. And it turns out that Dumbledore himself had asked Snape to kill him. Harry didn't tell me much but he trusts Snape, so I trust him too."
"I go on a holiday and this happens." Hermione chuckled. "Harry needs me. What if he thinks I'm on the Order's side? I should go to him right now."
Taking a hold of the girl's shoulders, Ginny calmed the frantic witch. "It's not safe to go right now. Mum and Dad will get suspicious. When we go down, just act like everything is alright. Also, try to look upset as if you're disappointed in Harry. Everyone thinks I'm angry at Harry and that I want him captured. And don't eat or drink anything that Mum gives you. She might try to give you something. Mental, the lot of them."
Hermione was horrified but she nodded and said, "Just get us out of here as fast as you can."
Downstairs, Bill was seated by the table and he gave Hermione a look of reassurance when he saw the two girls enter the kitchen.
"Come on, dears, I made extra for today." Molly said pleasantly.
"Any news on that traitor?" Ginny asked with a sneer.
Bill shrugged and said, "They're still looking for him. He was last seen in Manchester."
"That boy better get his head sorted out, leaving like that," Molly tutted, "Everything we've done for him and this is how he repays us, by turning tail and running like an ungrateful whelp. He needs to do what is expected of him and kill You-Know-Who. Honestly, that boy better show up or we'll lose this war."
Hermione swallowed bitterly, but put on a disgusted face when she said, "I'm disappointed in him, this is no way to solve anything. He shouldn't have run like that, I never took him for a coward."
"That's right, Hermione dear." the Weasley Matriarch said, "Albus did tell us to keep an eye on him. He said that the boy would do anything to get attention."
Hermione and Ginny both nodded with an approving smile, but on the inside and behind the mask of support, both witches were appalled and in rage. Bill looked completely detached, but he too was seething inside. He couldn't understand how his family had turned their back on Harry and believed him to be someone he wasn't. The eldest of the Weasley children had always respected the green-eyed wizard, the boy had always been friendly with him and too humble for his own good.
"I'm taking Hermione to the twins' shop." Ginny said, "I've missed hanging out with my friend."
"Of course, dear." Molly smiled.
Bill stood as well and said, "I have to get back to Gringotts."
"You work far too much." the redhead's mother said with worry. "You hardly visit."
"You know what goblins are like, but I will try to come around more often." said Bill and gave his mum a kiss.
Hermione and Ginny went to leave as well, both hurrying out of the house like there was something chasing them. Outside, Bill grabbed both girls and Apparated away.
Severus Snape wasn't in a good mood, especially after a meeting with his Lord. Ever since Potter decided to stop being the enemy, Voldemort had been even more obsessed with the boy. It was borderline disturbing how much the boy interested his Lord. Since he no longer needed to kill him, Voldemort wanted to have him on his side, a co-conspirator in the war that was definitely happening. It had already started but Potter's sudden change in attitude had forced Voldemort to rethink his plans.
Severus was highly irritated because the Cruciatus hurt like a bitch and he had to find a way to lure Potter over to the dark side. That was something akin to impossible, the brat wasn't interested. On top of everything else, his Lord had instructed him to find Potter's werewolf, which was almost as impossible because the onyx-eyed wizard had no idea where to look. He was not about to knock on the Burrow door and ask. Sometimes Severus felt as if he was the only Death Eater. Why couldn't Lucius find the wolf?
"What has you scowling?" an annoying voice inquired.
Bellatrix was hardly sane, but she really was a child in a woman's body. A very bloodthirsty, mentally deranged child who loved killing and making others suffer. Such a lovely image.
"Don't you have someone to torture?" Snape drawled.
"It's Sunday." Bella said. "No torturing allowed, and I ran out of mudbloods. The last one squealed like a pig, it was like music to my ears."
Severus ignored the witch and stalked away, Bella's cackle sending him on his way. Sometimes Severus thought about a quiet beach somewhere warm and sunny. A picture perfect retreat from all the madness around him.
Pulling his hood down, Harry stuck his hands into his pockets and strode straight into the mass of people. Everything was being watched, eyes and ears everywhere, just waiting to catch a sign of Harry Potter. The Muggle world was fairly safe and since Harry still had the Ministry's trace on him, even though he was seventeen already, he couldn't very well use his wand. The trace was meant to break on his birthday but since he had decided to turn his back on the war and the Light, the Ministry had kept him on a short leash.
There were moments when he thought about joining Voldemort, just to rub it in and see his so-called supporters fall. Voldemort had called off all the attacks on his person and watched in the sidelines as Harry tried to evade his former friends. While the threat of dying was considerably lower, Harry still had to look over his shoulder every once in a while. It was crazy, but a part of him actually missed it. He was so used to Voldemort trying to kill him that now that he had some peace, he in fact missed the power obsessed lunatic who wanted his head on a spike. At least, he used to want Harry's body parts scattered around the battle field. Life was really dull without Voldemort.
Ducking into a dark street, Harry walked until he reached a door. He knocked and waited. The heavy metal door creaked open and a bald, burly man with tattoos eyed Harry. He threw off his hood and the other immediately toned down the macho attitude. Stepping aside, the man said with a gruff voice, "Dud's working in the bar."
It was a muggle club, nosy and dark. It wasn't just a dance club, more like a place where leather met motor oil and the dance floor was nothing but a meat market. Harry ignored it and pushed his way into the back area where the bar was. Plopping himself down on the barstool, Harry hollered over the music. "Oi, wanker!"
A dark-haired man turned and grinned, already filling a glass for the teen. Dudley had had a major growth spurt and was no taller than most boys his age. He had lost some weight as well, his waistline now trimmed than ever. The only reason Dudley even had a job in the club was because of his fake identification and his height. What most didn't know was the fact that Harry and his cousin had made up in the wizard's fifth year, almost two years prior. Dudley had realised what an absolute git he had been and apologised. Of course, Dudley didn't advertise his sudden change of heart and they pretended to still dislike one another. Only Petunia knew and she too had made peace with Harry. The woman had never intended to be cruel to her nephew but Vernon was a strict and harsh bastard, making Petunia's life hard as well.
"Killed old Python-face already?" asked Dudley, handing Harry his drink.
"I quit the war. They can all sod off."
Dudley laughed and said, "Good for you, it didn't really seem a job for a skinny little twink like you."
"You've been hanging out with that bloke Pierre again, haven't you?"
"What can I say, the French are feisty in the sack." the slightly older teen said, "Dad will drop dead when he finds out what I've been doing this past few months. He still thinks I'm working some kind of mysterious job in York. Mum's been asking about you though. She got some letters from the friends of that bearded guy, saying that you've ran away. She's worried."
"I'm in hiding because the general consensus is that I'm the one who should win the whole bloody war for them. Like I said, I left the good guys team."
"Interested in joining the bad guys?" Dudley asked. Polishing another glass, he added with a smirk. "They do seem to have more fun."
Harry chuckled and said. "I can't say that I haven't been tempted. I have at least two friends on the dark side. Well, I wouldn't exactly call either one of them my friend, but I have allies."
"What about that blonde bloke, the cute one?"
"Draco?" Harry raised his brow. "What about him?"
"You consider him a friend."
Harry threw back the rest of his drink and said, "We amuse each other."
"It's a start." shrugged Dudley. "We didn't exactly start out as best friends either, but we overcame the animosity."
"With Draco it's more than that. I like him and he seems to tolerate me as well, but he's firmly on one side. I went neutral, doesn't mean we get to hang out as much as we want."
It was still weird to think of Draco Malfoy as a friend, well sort of like a friend. Ever since Harry had started making friends with some of the Slytherins, the blonde had seemed more subdued. Harry knew that ever since their first year, Draco had wanted to be his friend. Of course, it had also been a political move, which was impressive for an eleven year old. Draco was still resentful over the fact that Ron Weasley had bested him in something. Harry was also friendly with Pansy Parkinson of all the Slytherin students. The witch had simply asked if there was a way to not get killed by the Light side since he wasn't a Death Eater and wasn't planning to become one. Harry liked her honesty because she had been straightforward about her allegiance, which was neutral like him.
His bizarre and yet comfortable friendship with Draco had started some time after that. Since then, Harry had realised that Draco Malfoy wasn't an evil person, just an overly dramatic and flamboyant wizard who was devoted to the Dark Lord. According to the blonde, Voldemort wasn't that bad, he was simply misunderstood because of all the crap Dumbledore and the Order had spewed. Voldemort's main cause wasn't killing all the muggle-borns and being wizarding world's supreme overlord. Maybe the last part was true but he still wanted equal rights for everyone and to uphold the secrecy of their world.
Dudley's voice stopped Harry's musings. "I'll tell Mum you're fine. But think about what I said, Harry. Maybe being neutral in this war of yours isn't very beneficial. I reckon you should hear out what Python-face has to say about his plans. You didn't trust that Dumbles bloke, you never know what else he might have lied about."
"Poor Harry, living in a dump like this." Hermione looked round the flat. Harry was not the tidiest person, so the witch ignored all the dirty clothes on the floor and the way Harry had just thrown his stuff on the floor. Hermione was horrified when he saw that Harry used books to uphold his table. That was like showing an animal lover how fur coats were made. "Is that my Charms textbook I lent him?
Bill was trying to make tea while Hermione walked around and picked up the wizard's clothes. She dropped everything when the door opened and in walked Harry. Before Harry could open his mouth, Hermione launched herself at the teen, hugging him close.
"You bloody prat, I was worried about you."
Harry smirked and tried to detangle the girl's arms from his neck. "You're squeezing out my stuffing."
"What's this rubbish I hear about the Order trying to lock you up. Are they really that horrible?"
"They sent a hex at me when I was spotted last week." Harry said dryly. "A very painful hex that could be considered dark."
"Those idiots." Hermione growled. "And Ron...Is he really against you now. I mean, he tried to convince me that you've gone dark. I didn't believe a word he said, but then Ginny tells me that the Weasleys are all suddenly against you and trying to make you fight. I had to sit there and pretend that I agree with them. It was terrible."
Guiding the girl towards the sofa, Harry had Hermione sit down. He took the seat next to her and told the witch, "I'm nothing but a tool for them, a way to win the war. Dumbledore had been raising me for only one purpose and that is to kill Voldemort. He was obsessed with the prophecy, even more so than Voldemort, and thought that by keeping me secluded and depressed, I would want to die more easily. It's always been about one thing and that's me sacrificing myself in the end. You know I would, but I won't do it because they already expect me to die."
Hermione was upset and she felt terribly guilty. "Just after fifth year, Dumbledore told not to write to you. He said that it was for your own good, so your relatives would be nicer to you. And I believed him, Harry, I was such a fool. All he was trying to accomplish was you feeling alone and cut off from everyone. I'm sorry, so sorry."
"It's okay, really. "Harry assured the girl. "At least you wanted to write, Ron was glad that he was rid of me. Apparently, he never really wanted to befriend me."
Hermione was up in a flash. "I'm going to wring his little neck."
Harry caught her hand before she could storm out. "Ron doesn't matter right now. What matters is what you think. I have no plans to return and fight this war for them. Can you accept that?"
"You're such an idiot, Harry Potter." Hermione bristled. "You were my first friend in Hogwarts, I've gone through thick and thin with you and you actually have the nerve to ask me something like this? You absolute jack-arse."
"Is that a yes?" Harry asked tentatively.
"Sometimes I just want to bang your head against something hard. Of course that's a yes. I would stay with you no matter what. If you're neutral, then so am I."
Harry was fidgety now. He had been thinking about it the entire way home and it really had stuck with him. It wasn't as if they would even consider it but he was curious and Dudley had been right. What if Voldemort really had much nicer plans with the world and Dumbledore had simply fabricated something in order to have Harry firmly under his thumb.
"What if I said that I want to learn more about the Dark? As in, I would like to know what Voldemort really wants to do with the wizarding world. Hypothetically, would you still stand by me if I decided to join him?"
Hermione's brow was set in a frown but she wasn't saying anything. A million thoughts raced through her mind. She knew that she would stand on Harry's side, her trust and loyalty were unwavering and Harry was important to her. "Let's say, theoretically, that you do join Voldemort. I won't leave you and I would follow you, but I have no idea what he truly plans to do with muggle-borns. If that were the case, I would stay neutral until I know for sure."
"But you wouldn't hate me for it?"
"No." the girl stated. "I wouldn't hate you for being your own person and deciding on your own."
"I know it might sound completely barmy because he killed my parents...but there's something in me that wants to talk to him and make sure that he really is a coldblooded killer. Right now, I only know what the Order has been telling everyone, but maybe they're wrong. I never knew my parents and I can understand that war is like. He killed them because it was necessary for him, I can understand that."
Bill, who had been listening from the kitchen, came to stand by the doorway and said, "Aurors are instructed to kill Death Eaters on sight. They hardly think about their families and loved ones when they do it. The First Wizarding War was nothing like it is now, times were considerable darker then and the number of casualties was much higher. It truly was a kill or be killed situation. If you want to get your facts straight, I suggest you talk to Professor Snape."
"How come Snape is helping you?" Hermione raised an important question.
"I really have no idea but I trust him. At least for now." said Harry.
Hermione gave a nod and pushed it out of her mind for the moment. Instead she asked, addressing both Bill and Harry. "Do you think Fred and George would join Voldemort if you asked them to?"
Bill only snorted, making Hermione's confused expression land on him. Harry looked downright wicked when he said, "The twins are quite smitten with Draco."
"Both of them?"
Harry nodded and smirked. "Since Draco is very comfortable where he is, I think Fred and George would sell their mother if that meant getting closer to him. It also helps that they're already leaning more towards the dark. Those two should have been Slytherins."
"I can't really picture Malfoy giving those two a chance." Hermione said with mild scepticism.
"They'll wear him down. Draco is a handful, it's only fair there is two of them."
"Since when are you friends with Draco?" Hermione asked curiously, still surprised to hear her friend talk about the blonde Slytherin.
Harry snorted, "We're still getting to the friend part, but we do get along. Once you get to know him, it's rather hard not to like him. He's just a demanding diva underneath all that hair gel."
"I'll take your word for it." the witch smiled, not sure if she could imagine Draco Malfoy and Harry Potter getting along.
"I can get a word to Professor Snape if you like." Bill said.
Harry shook his head and explained, "There's no need, he comes by daily."
"He brings me potions. Dreamless Sleep and a Nutrition Potion. When I was being somewhat forcibly held in Grimmauld Place right after they carted me away from the Dursleys, they fed me something to dull my rebellious mind. I was already too hard to control by then and they dosed my drinks with something to keep me mellow enough. Kreacher told me about it since I am his master. They made sure I drank that stuff, so I had no other option than to throw it all up. All that vomiting was bad for my stomach, so Snape made me something to ease the damage. It's almost fine now."
"Those animals. How could they do such a thing? It's barbaric."
"No, just a desperate attempt to win this war."
Hermione fumed which amused Harry greatly, the witch always tried to mother him and Harry liked it immensely.
"You can't stay in this fleapit." the witch said. "At least let me clean it a bit and wash your clothes. You can't expect me to just let you put on stuff that you use as a floor rag."
Bill chuckled. "I offered already, but Harry seems to like this pigsty."
"Where am I supposed to live then? Snape's place?"
"Did he offer?"
"Don't be ridiculous." Harry snorted and made a move to get up. "He would rather wear pink that deal with me more than he has to. I'll see him tomorrow and I'll ask about a meeting with Python-face."
Hermione raised a brow.
"You know, since he looks like a snake. No nose, slits for eyes...bald like a newborn...You guys are no fun." grumbled Harry as he stalked to the bedroom.
Severus bowed before his Lord and said, "My Lord, forgive me for the interruption but I bring news about Potter."
The Dark Lord was instantly interested.
"You may proceed, Severus."
"It would seem that the Potter boy is interested in meeting you in person, preferably in a much more relaxed atmosphere than before. He is weighing his options and it looks as if he could be swayed to join you."
Lord Voldemort smirked, feeling very pleased with himself. Severus would escape without getting Crucio'd this time. "That is excellent news. Are you certain that it is not a trick?"
"Completely certain, my Lord. The boy is neutral, though he is leaning towards the dark, his hate is fuelled by the Order's attempts to control him. They are getting more and more desperate, they are willing to lock him up tightly and force his hand. Potter is not interested in fighting against you."
"This is very interesting. Without Potter, Dumbledore's little band of heroes won't have much to use. They have placed all their hope in the boy, it would be rather amusing to see them destroy themselves. I might win this war before it even begins. I do like that thought. You've done well, Severus, you may leave now. Inform Potter than I accept his proposal to meet. Bring him to me tomorrow."
Severus bowed again and made a move to leave. He had reached the door, when Voldemort's voice stopped him. "Find Lucius and send him to me, I have some plans for the Ministry. This is all going better than I expected."
With a nod, Snape strode out, leaving Voldemort to his own devices. The Dark Lord was already looking forward to the moment he was once again face to face with the troublesome teen. He had really enjoyed making Potter suffer but getting him to join him would just be the icing on the cake.
"Out of all the things we have done over the years, this has to be the dumbest, most irresponsible idea ever."
Harry threw Hermione a impish grin, making the girl roll her eyes even more. The small group of two stood in plain sight, alert and hands on their wands. Harry had made up his mind, he was going to see Voldemort. He wasn't expecting tea and biscuits, but a honest answer would be a good way to start.
Harry and Hermione stood close, the witch's eyes scanning the street. You could tell that something was wrong, a certain gloominess lingered in the Alley. There were no battles yet but the war was definitely around them, making people hide and fear their own shadow. The two were about to make a run for it when Hermione saw Tonks, the witch was oddly surprised and happy to have spotted them. Harry's wand was tightly clutched in his hand as he grabbed Hermione by the hand and pulled her along.
"Do you think Tonks is on the Order's side?" Hermione asked.
Harry didn't look back, just kept moving. "I don't know, but I'm not going to find out either."
A hex landed just right from them, scorching the wall. Hermione ducked and cast a Protego as another spell hit them. Harry was quick to shot back a hex or two. The two teens had to hide behind a corner when the spells kept coming.
"Harry, the Portkey is back at your flat." Hermione said with a ragged pant after simultaneously rummaging her bag and casting protective spells.
They were both pulled into a passage, the dark and dingy one that led to Knockturn Alley. Harry was about to fire another hex at whoever had them trapped, but stopped when he came face to face with Tonks.
"What the bloody hell is going on, Harry?" the witch questioned as she looked around, "I just Stunned two Aurors back there. Mind telling me why they were throwing hexes at you and Hermione?"
"It's the Order, they're after him." Hermione explained.
"I just came back from an assignment, the whole bloody Order is a mess. So Moody was right? You really left the war?"
Harry didn't trust Tonks, not yet anyway.
"I think it's the wisest thing you could have done." Tonks sighed. "I promised Sirius that I would look after to you, he would come back and haunt me if I'd let anything happen to you."
Hermione asked, "You're not going to take us back then?"
"Why would I do that?" the older witch smirked. "It's about time they do something for themselves for a change. Can you two get out of here unnoticed? I have a few Aurors to Obliviate."
Tonks turned to leave, but stopped when Harry grabbed her by the sleeve and pulled her in for a hug. "Thank you for helping us. There aren't many who still care to do it."
"You can count on me, Harry."
Hermione asked before the witch could disappeared, "Have you heard from Remus?"
"Moody said he's gone missing, but he's not sure what's really behind it. The Order puts the blame on Death Eaters but he thinks it might be the Order itself who is behind it. Look, I'll try to see what I can find out. You two just stay safe."
"You can contact us through Bill."
"Will do. Stay out of trouble until I find you again."
Gathering Hermione closer, Harry could feel her shaking. The girl took a deep breath and looked around, trying to make sense of their surroundings.
"This leads to Borgin and Burkes."
As soon as they stepped out of the narrow passageway, they were both grabbed by someone and Apparated away.
Harry landed on his own sofa with Hermione on top of him. Snape stood by the door with a very forbidding look. "You imbeciles. What possessed you to go out in broad daylight when there are Order members everywhere. Did it not occur to you that it would be unsafe?"
"I don't always have the brightest ideas." Harry said with a snort.
"I would have thought that Granger here has enough brains to compensate the lack of yours." sneered Snape, though Hermione was oddly flattered. Snape had just called her a smart person. She wanted to smirk, but the man's harsh, narrowed eyes made her smirk froze.
Harry got up and winced. One of the hexes had managed to hit his shoulder. He pushed back the shirt and looked away quickly when he saw blood and burnt skin.
Severus hissed. "Can't you stay out of trouble, Potter?"
"It wasn't my fault." Harry whined childishly. "Trouble just finds me wherever I go. I can't help it if I'm so popular."
"Oh, Harry. It doesn't look good at all. Do you have something for burns?" Hermione said, trying to get the shirt out of the way. She ripped the material, making Harry look horrified. I had been his favourite shirt. "It smells like scalded bacon, it's ghastly."
Harry laughed, but snapped his mouth shut when he met Snape's glare. The imposing wizard cast on look at the boy's arm and stated, "I have all the necessary potions, but regrettably they are not with me at the moment."
"Let's just put some bandages over it and it will be as good as new." Harry said, though looking at the severe burn, he too understood just how stupid that idea was. "On second thought, let's pop over to your place and you can torture me with your potions."
"We will have to pop over to the Dark Lord's manor. I do all my potion brewing there."
Harry groaned. "Great, just fucking fantastic."
"Harry, this needs to be treated." Hermione intoned.
"Fine," Harry sighed petulantly. He made sure his wand was with him and walked to the door. "Let's pay old Python-face a visit then."
Hermione took Harry's hand and the teen took Snape's, giving the sour-looking man a smile that made Snape want to skin him alive. With a crack, they were gone.
The Potion Master's quarters in the Dark Lord's manor were modest and mostly used for potion making and other research. Harry was sitting silently, wincing every now and then when Hermione brushed her finger over an sensitive spot. The salve for burns was already healing the scorched skin and Snape's nasty potion had numbed the pain.
Suddenly, the door flung open and Draco waltzed in. "Sev, Father is looking for you
He stopped talking when his eyes landed on Harry, who gave him a little wave and Hermione, who was already acting defensive.
"Potty, you do know this is the Dark Lord's manor, as in he lives here and you willingly walked in."
Harry looked affronted, gasping with mock despair. Hermione hit his shoulder, making the green-eyed teen laugh. "Well, darling Draco, as you can see I'm lethally injured. Seriously, my arm is about to fall off."
"Cease talking, Potter." Severus glowered when he stepped out of the other room. He gave Draco a questioning look. The blonde spoke, "Father is looking for you, something about the dinner party Mother is organizing. Apparently, they can't decide on the dessert dish."
"Raspberry swirl cheesecake." Harry said. "Or lemon tart with cream."
Draco made a mental note and said, "If it's a hit, I'm taking the credit. Anyway, as I was saying before...did you actually lose your remaining marbles? Not that you had any sense to begin with."
"Haven't you heard? I requested a meeting with Python-face and I'm here to find out if this side offers better benefits."
"We do have cool masks." Draco joked. He looked over where the witch was standing stiffly and said, "What's Granger doing here? I thought mudbloods hated evil Dark Lords."
Hermione didn't take the bait and said coolly. "We also detest ferrets."
"She's here with me." Harry told the blonde. Flinching when Snape started wrapping up his arm, the green-eyed teen said, "I bet you're enjoying this."
"There are many things I enjoy, Potter, dealing with your idiocy is not one of them."
Draco snorted, a remark on his tongue but he kept his mouth shut. Severus was his godfather and very fond of him but making a comment in front of Harry would surely earn him a glare or two.
"So can I see Tommy-boy now?" the teen asked boldly.
The Burrow was packed with Order members. Most of the Weasleys, Kingsley Shacklebolt, Aurors Diggle and Jones, Vance and Moody. There were also new members, requited by Shacklebolt. Altogether, it was more than twenty wizards and witches gathered around the room. Tonks stood near Bill, the redhead having talked with the witch earlier.
Alastor Moody sat in the corner, eying the occupants with a clear intention to weed out those who were loyal to Potter. The old Auror had been there during the First War, he had seen the destruction Voldemort had caused, but he firmly believed that in order to win against the man once more, they needed capable and skilled wizards and witches, not a teenage boy who was better off doing something kids did when they were almost adults. Potter had fought valiantly and now it was time for the Order to finish it. Instead, they still put all their cards on one boy and were more than ready to throw said boy into the war without second-guessing it.
Alastor had been very close to Sirius as well, the man had been like a son to him. The First Wizarding War had taken many lives and broke up many friendships, planting doubt into everyone's mind. He had been crushed when Sirius had been sentenced to Azkaban and from that day on, Alastor had resented Dumbledore. The man had done nothing to help Sirius, instead they had all forgotten about him and believed him to be a murderer. Moody never had fallen for that. The Potter boy was Sirius' godson, his family, and Moody had promised his friend that he would look after Harry Potter. He was not about to go back on his word. The Order would just have to let go of the boy and focus on the war, not waste their time and resources on finding one young wizard who had made his opinions clear.
Molly was the most vocal about Harry's heinous betrayal. "Where could the boy be? He has no one left, aside from those muggle relatives of his. And another thing, Dumbledore said that Grimmauld Place belongs to the Order, how could he just throw us out like that?"
"Sirius left everything to Harry." Tonks said. "Grimmauld Place belongs to Harry, the Order has no claim over it. Sirius just allowed us to meet there, Dumbledore accepted on those terms."
"Like he didn't have enough money before, now he has the Black fortune too." Ron spat. "He should share some of it with us, help the Order."
Kingsley stated, "Dumbledore left us instructions on how to gain more funds."
Bill shared a look with Tonks. They were definitely going to check things with Gringotts. Bill wouldn't put it past Dumbledore to use Harry's money.
"Have we checked Granger?" one of the Aurors asked. "She left her parents house yesterday morning and hasn't returned."
"I took her to Diagon yesterday and she said that she wanted to visit Luna Lovegood. She was going to spend the night there since it's not safe to be outside alone. I offered to pick her up after supper." Bill said, the lie slipping past his lips with ease.
Molly nodded with approval as she looked at her son.
"The attacks have slowed down as of late, but the Ministry is full of disguised supporters of You-Know-Who. Malfoy has been making sure of that. It is my belief that they will make their move very soon." Kingsley said.
"Has there been word from Remus?" Tonks asked. The two Aurors, Jones and Diggle, looked uncomfortable and averted the witch's gaze. Tonks pretended not to notice. "I think Remus would be able to sway Harry to come back on his own. Harry would listen to him."
Kingsley cleared his throat and said. "We haven't heard from him."
Tonks allowed the subject to drop and instead asked, "Do we have people out there looking for Harry?"
"We're keeping a close eye on Diagon Alley, as well as Hogsmeade and other places he has visited or is likely to go."
The Auror looked pleased, inwardly she gagged at the hypocrisy she was witnessing. All those people had been Harry's friends and supporters. She looked into the faces of the Aurors she had Obliviated earlier. They had no recollection of ever seeing Harry or her in the Alley.
"When we get the boy back, he will defeat You-Know-Who and then marry my Ginny like Dumbledore promised."
Bill snorted but immediately hid it with a cough. Harry was never going to marry Ginny. The girl was like a little sister to Harry and was missing a few important parts of the body to catch Harry's eye. Dumbledore had promised a lot of things to a lot people. However, he had failed to mention the part where Harry was meant die in the end.
Tonks smiled at everything that as being said. When the meeting ended, she politely refused to eat Molly's cooking and motioned Bill to come outside with her.
The sun had set and the air was cool outside. Tonks walked to past the wards and turned to Bill. "I have to find Remus, there's something going on here and I'm willing to put my money on the Order. If they did something to him, Harry will be out for blood. You look after him, alright?"
"Stay safe and send word if you find out anything about Remus." Bill said to the witch.
"I think you should talk to Moody." Tonks said before Apparating away into the dark of the evening sky.
Bill sighed and turned back on the path that led to the house. His mother was acting as if everything was fine, as if they weren't afraid to go out most of the time. As if the war was simply happening somewhere else to other people. Most of the members had left, only Moody had remained behind. Bill stepped into the living room and met the hardened gaze of Alastor Moody. Bill wasn't entirely sure if the man was an ally or not, he wasn't sure if he wanted to find out.
"Who does the decorating in this place? Death Eater central doesn't look half as bad as I imagined." Harry said as Snape led him towards Voldemort's personal study where he conducted most of his business. Now that the man was sane, well saner, he had a lot of new ideas and plans that involved less blood and more diplomacy. The Manor was indeed beautiful, light and spacious. From the outside, one would see a hazardous, ready to collapse hovel, but that was to avoid curious eyes. The Dark Lord appreciated the finer things in life and now that he was back to his old self, he planned to enjoy them. After taking control of the wizarding world and getting everything sorted out, Voldemort wanted to be a proper ruler. When they stopped in front of the dark-coloured double doors, Harry looked at Severus. "Maybe you should go in first, in case he throws an Avada my way."
"How noble of you, Potter." Snape drawled. "Letting me die first."
"He might be in a very pissed off mood." Harry countered. Snape ignored the brat and knocked on the door. When a surprisingly hiss-less voice told them to enter, Harry could feel his mind shut down. Voldemort definitely didn't sound so sexy last time they met, the deep purr like sound couldn't belong to the noseless bastard.
Snape strode in and bowed, blocking Harry's view of the Dark Lord.
"What is it, Severus. I'm quite busy."
Harry stepped out of Snape's shade and said. "Did you miss me, Tommy-boy?"
The Dark Lord lifted his deep chocolate coloured eyes and a sinful smirk curved on his soft lips. He was thoroughly amused to see the teen looking absolutely floored. If it had been anyone else, he would have killed them where they stood, but this was Potter. His worst nightmare and sweetest torture dream all wrapped up in an attractive package. No one had told him that the scrawny, glass-wearing boy had grown up to be as fit as he appeared. That was an interesting development.
"You have a face." Harry gawked, his green eyes wide. "What happened to the python look?"
Snape was mentally counting down to the moment when Potter's head would be separated from his body. But since his Lord hadn't cursed to boy yet, perhaps he had to deal with the troublesome brat a while more.
"Harry Potter." the Dark Lord chuckled. "Welcome to the dark side."