The Leader

Chapter 9

Conversations


Harry groaned silently, closing his eyes in irritation; he'd read seven books and none came close to the descriptions he desired to see in the book. It wasn't just because he was attracted to Snape. He was, after all, powerful, dark, had a morbid sense of humour― not that he'd heard any of it since he was eleven years old; what wasn't to like? Age wasn't an issue, he'd seen couples with hundreds of years between them... in true age of course, since they were vampires. Even Werewolves had mates that were apart in age by sometimes twenty years. He'd had his share of partners, but nobody he could trust, or wanted to for that matter. Now here he was, someone who couldn't betray him even if they wanted to― no he'd vowed only to protect him, but wasn't that the same thing? If he betrayed him then that wasn't protecting him, now was it? The Vow would interpret it that way, and he would die. Then again, the fact Snape wanted to die right now didn't help Harry's thoughts at all. What was bothering him the most was the fact he didn't know what was happening. For the past many years, he had been in complete control, over his people, his life, and his choices. He'd read so many books to educate himself, he wasn't ashamed to admit he knew a lot of information. He was proud of his achievements; without fear, especially of the Dursleys, he'd allowed himself to learn his crafts.

"Come in," said Harry, straightening up and replacing his masks; he had to be strong, unperturbed by anything. Those were the biggest qualities needed in a leader.

"Entire work up of the Ministry, top to bottom; I've also put in the best place to Apparate to; there are holes in the wards that nobody knows about," said Carl placing the large wad of rolled up parchment on the table beside the books Harry was currently reading.

"Thank you," said Harry, opening the parchment up and gazing at it, calculating and mentally preparing what he wanted to do. He wanted that Prophecy, but he wasn't about to rush head first into it, and end up regretting it. He would plan something and have a back-up if necessary. Normally his plans never needed a back-up; they all went smoothly, but there were unknown variables in this scenario. Too many people―even at night the place was crawling with wizards and witches, but at least at night it would be quieter, less commotion. Hopefully he would be able to slip in and out without anyone the wiser. He just had the prophecy to create, and since there was so much fear about picking them up, nobody would know it wasn't the genuine article.

"Troubled?" enquired Carl, having seen the titles of all the books Harry had strewn across the table. "You know you can't do everything alone, everyone needs help at some point…I understand the need for privacy, but if I can…I would like to help." sitting down, he observed the young vampire, wondering if he would accept his offer. He had a feeling he already knew the answer, but at least he'd offered.

Harry leaned back in his seat, regarding Carl thoughtfully, his face impassive as it always was around people. Showing emotion, he felt, was a sign of weakness, although Kai had disagreed with that. But Harry had spent his entire life unable to show how he really felt, so that was one conviction Kai had never been able to shake from Harry. The only time he'd shown how he really felt was when Kai had been murdered. Kai... he could have gone to his Sire about anything, helped by the fact Kai had been the only one he saw. He hadn't met the rest of the coven, but from the way Kai had spoken of them he would have liked all of them.

"Puzzled, not troubled." stated Harry, "It's personal, extremely so, but I'll figure it out, one way or another."

"Very well," said Carl accepting the answer. "If you need someone, you know where I am."

"I do, thank you, Carl," said Harry honestly.

"No problem, sir," said Carl before he moved off, his part done. He was going to hunt.

Hissing in irritation, Harry put all the books back in their original places, giving up on finding anything. It wasn't like him, he knew, but what could he do? There was no information in the books that helped him even the slightest. He had other things to do as well, and if he was honest, he wanted that Prophecy more than finding out what was up with this connection he and Severus Snape had. He browsed around the Unspeakable section of his library, flipping through indexes faster than the eye could see. Until he found the one he was looking for.

Sitting down, he concentrated on the part about Prophecies; they weren't just created out of thin air, although most of the public did think that, idiots that they were. No, whoever heard them came forward and created the sphere. It was the only choice since those who gave the predictions didn't remember it. It didn't take a genius to figure out who had heard it, even if Severus hadn't confessed all.

Upon reading, he realized he would have to say the spell while he was there, actually create it. They didn't move, which meant practicing, even if he was sure he could do it. He read the instructions carefully on how to create one, practicing the wand movements twice before nodding grimly in satisfaction.

Flicking his wand he non-verbally cast the spell and watched the white sphere appear out of thin air and become more and more unyielding. Touching it delicately, he grinned in triumph; picking it up he gave it one last test before flinging it onto the floor and watched it shatter. His own voice reverberated around the room: 'The One with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches...Born to those who've thrice defied him...born as the seventh month dies...You're too late, old man...What's wrong? Getting slow in your old age? The prophecy is mine. Be warned; I don't take well to anyone encroaching on my territory. If we meet, you will die― after all, it's been foretold.'

"What the…" Severus said trailing off, inwardly shuddering at the voice ― not many would purposely goad the Dark Lord. It was highly…refreshing to see, but very daunting at the same time. This…vampire was the last hope of the world; it was said he had the power to defeat the Dark Lord…right now he could see it being possible. More so than the thought of the child he'd seen wandering into the Great Hall, agog at everything he was seeing as if he didn't know about magic. Which brought him back to his original train of thought.

"What is it?" asked Harry, his green eyes watching Severus closely.

Unfortunately something else caught Severus' eye, a book, stalking forward his mind went blank. The book was exceptionally rare; only seven were made at the time, and the Ministry had successfully taken four off the streets and out of circulation. Only three remained safe from the purge; it was older than Hogwarts itself. Merlin, he had so much he wanted to ask, but he kept getting sidetracked.

"May I read this?" asked Severus, feeling very out of sorts having to ask; he wasn't sure when the last time had been, perhaps while he was a student at school. He would have walked over hot coals to read this; this tome was absolutely revered by the elder generation of Death Eaters. Not something to be proud of, but Severus wanted to see what the fascination was about. Lucius would have sold both his arms for this, and Dumbledore would have sold his legs and arms to get it off the market completely.

Harry raised his left eyebrow. "By all means," he replied steadily, observing the wizard. He knew how rare it was, but he was refusing to show his appreciation for it. At least outwardly anyway; did Severus think he would say no if he did show positive emotion? Then again, it was exactly what the Dursleys would have done.

"Why did you leave?" asked Severus, his voice cautious as if approaching a wild animal. Although, Harry could be considered just that, since Severus didn't know how he would react. One minute he was fine, the next bolting from the dungeons, then threatening... not that it bothered him, much as he was used to death threats on a daily basis. His caution told him a few things; it seemed he wasn't quite willing to lay down the gauntlet so to speak. Black eyes watched Harry just as intently as he was being observed. Nobody else knew this information, that much he had garnered earlier; what were the chances of him being let in on it? The look on Harry's face spoke volumes, and he felt inadequate, unworthy, and since it was a boy half his age it made him extremely irritated at himself.

"Did you seriously just ask me that question?" stated Harry. While he was impressed with his guile, he was less than impressed with his idiotic question. It didn't matter how attracted he was to Severus, he was being stupid and he knew the wizard was anything but. "Tell me, has Hogwarts always been like that, so much so that you cannot even tell the difference anymore, or are you just deliberately goading me?"

"It wasn't that bad surely?" stated Severus; normal children would be proud of themselves. He'd faced the Dark Lord and lived to tell the tale, not many could say that, especially not eleven-year-old children. Although he may understood Harry's incredulity; it was a school, supposedly the safest place to be, and he'd been forced once again to fight for his life... not even a year back into the magical world. If that's what had happened.. He wasn't sure; he hadn't been let in on the details. Albus wasn't one for giving them; he'd told him the bare minimum, the rest he had to find out himself ― if he succeeded in being able to, of course.

"It's not that easy to pull information from me, Severus," said Harry, smirking in amusement, aware of what the Slytherin was attempting.

"It is not what I was attempting," said Severus lying through his teeth. He'd known it wouldn't work but it had been worth a try.

"Yes, and I was born yesterday," said Harry sardonically.

"Why?" asked Severus once again, his black eyes sincere as he sat down across from him, where he would be able to best study him. Once again he couldn't help wondering if he would ever understand this young man; he was an enigma, one he wanted to figure out. Even if it took forever.

"Have you ever tried to look for information on the Dark Mark?" asked Harry, changing the subject; this wasn't something he wanted to discuss, ever. Just thinking about the mark made him extremely on edge. He still didn't understand why either, but he did know he was possessive of Severus, as though he was his mate.

Sighing in irritation, "I have, but regretfully it's been a long, drawn-out, waste of time, eighteen years in fact."

"You might have more luck reading these books," said Harry bluntly.

"How did you acquire them all?" asked Severus inwardly still stunned. Honestly he had double the amount that the Hogwarts library held, and these were all decent, unlike the ones in the school. Dumbledore had removed his share of the books, which he squirreled away in his office, as if he couldn't bring himself to destroy part of history. Or he was reading them, but not wanting another person to be educated. He should know, Lucius had complained about it often enough. According to him, the decent books were being destroyed, but the ones that were abhorrent to him were being cherished.

"What? Do you think I buried myself in here and never ventured out?" Harry asked bemused. "I love the auctions Gringotts hold, also going to the odds and ends store. I buy and sell things; I am very good at convincing others to pay top galleon."

"Of that I have no doubt," said Severus dryly, leaning back slightly, disappointed that Harry wasn't willing to share his past. What had happened? When had it happened? Had he been attacked by a vampire and too terrified to come forward? He immediately nixed that idea; Harry knew the others were looking for him and he was refusing to come forward for a reason. Thinking back to the last time he'd seen Harry, it would have been the leaving feast. Unfortunately, he had been so furious with Dumbledore that he could scarcely remember the boy, just that night and the looks on his snake's faces. What the Headmaster had done that night, was beyond contemptible.

Harry deciding he was done talking and began looking at the map again, trying to decide where the best place to enter was. Should he have a few others enter various levels just in case there was some sort of alert he didn't know about in that department? That wouldn't surprise him, Unspeakables were smart. He never underestimated his opponents, and so far that had worked for him so he continued on in that same mode. The spell only took him a few seconds; however he wasn't sure how long it could take him to find the prophecy. There was no telling how big the room was, even from the drawings, since it could and probably had been expanded magically.

"Perhaps I could be of assistance?" stated Severus calmly, regarding Harry shrewdly.

"You want to help?" Harry asked his voice full of scorn, "You, who believes it's impossible to break into the Ministry?"

"I did not say that, I meant getting in and out unaided and without being caught," replied Severus darkly― he did not like being mocked.

"With my vampire speed they would see nothing, regardless of anything else I do to prevent being seen," Harry said shaking his head.

"Have you got the hang of the vampire speed?" asked Severus, his black eyes glittering.

Harry chuckled, he was bloody determined― he could see why he was a spy. He gave him a deadpanned look that clearly said he wasn't born yesterday; he wasn't going to fall for it. To make matters worse Harry was enjoying himself, he liked it, talking to someone and being treated like an equal. It had been such a long time since that happened; he honestly wasn't sure what to make of it.

What had made Harry so cautious? So closed off that he refused to reveal anything personal? The thoughts that came to his mind…were daunting to say the least. Had Dumbledore done something to cause his boy hero to remove his rose-tinted glasses? The Headmaster was very good at acting, so Snape gave no stock to his shocked and concerned ways when Harry failed to appear for his second year.

Harry stood up, giving the map one last look over before Apparating from his manor. Apparating to the 'blind spot,' as he liked to call them. Blind spots were usually where the witch or wizard had stood to work the wards. In the end the magic doesn't get to mingle, imbue itself and thus it doesn't get done. He'd had one when he first warded the area, and to his embarrassment the others he'd asked to test it had found it. Lost ten galleons in that bet, but never again. He'd since then ensured the wards were fool-proof; the Ministry however, probably kept quiet about them, hoping nobody would find out. To get a warder in to take down every ward they had up and replace them would cost more than the employees of the Ministry's wages combined for five months.

Taking a deep breath, he closed his eyes and listened and sensed for anything surrounding him. The closest heartbeats were a floor above him; there was only one floor, since he was on the second floor. He had Apparated into the Misuse of Muggle Artifacts office. It was so crammed, that he wasn't really seen, he did need to be careful. Especially with the Auror headquarters just next door. There were definitely Aurors milling around in their offices; remembering the map, he used his speed and a spell and blasted past, praying he wasn't caught. He did not want the entire Auror corps on his back; he wouldn't win against them all, not by himself. On his way to the staircase, he passed a sign saying Wizengamot Administration Services.

It took only a few seconds to get down to level nine; he knew he would have to go through the department to get to level ten. The door that led to level ten was at the other end, right beside the lift, which he ignored as he descended down into the Department of Mysteries.

Unfortunately for him, the rooms seemed to move, so he couldn't put much stock in it. Suddenly Harry took a turn and found himself in a room full of brains, but as he emerged from it he saw a room of planets? Down here was weird, but extremely fascinating, too bad he didn't have time to properly investigate it. Hmm, he couldn't get into that room; it was locked. Now he was doubly curious. He made a point of remembering where it was, just in case the locked room was the Prophecy Hall, as it was dubbed.

He took off at a run when he felt a heartbeat too close to him for his liking; he managed to slide into the corner and peek around when a door opened. So those doors were obviously offices, and it must be break times since a few wizards left. Shuddering Harry jerked around cautiously, he could have sworn he heard something. Then he heard it again; the large dais held what could only be the Veil of Death. He understood why they called it that, he didn't understand his own revulsion to it, but it must be the vampire in him warning him. Giving it another pensive look, he moved off again, and came face to face with where he wanted to be.

"What the…" muttered Harry gazing at the rows upon rows of Prophecies. Thank Merlin he was a vampire, otherwise this would take him hours, he couldn't help but think to himself. Ducking down he cast a spell to detect any magic, something he'd created and edited from its original intent, which was to detect the presence of people in a home or area. Now it escaped in tendrils to seek out pieces of magic and perceive what it is. He found a tripping ward, down at the very end, targeting a very specific row― ninety-seven. Grinning vindictively, he walked over to row ninety six. The tripping ward was ironically named, since it did not in fact trip you up. It was an alarming spell; it alerted whoever had cast it that someone or something was there. He had a feeling he knew exactly whose it was, and as much as he'd like to trip it just to get his jollies, he didn't know how many people Dumbledore could send in a few minutes.

Harry leapt at the shelves, swinging from one of the affixed candle holders and steadied himself on top of row ninety seven. His sharp green eyes looked from sphere to sphere quicker than a human could breathe. Then he saw it, his eyes zoned in on it, gleaming with satisfaction; it was his now.

S.P.T to A.P.W.B.D

The Dark Lord

And (?) Harry Potter

Harry grabbed the prophecy with one hand and the other he extended and non-verbally cast the spell. Immediately afterwards, he watched as another created prophecy took its place. When Voldemort finally got the courage to come and get it he was in for one hell of a surprise. Laughing in grim amusement, he slid the prophecy into an unbreakable box and put the box into his pocket. Leaping from the shelves, he landed on his feet gracefully, far away from the tripping spell. Stiffening he hid at the left side of the door, hearing someone behind it.

Harry stood still, praying he wasn't going to be caught; he didn't want anyone to know he'd been there. He wanted his hold on the Underground complete before Dumbledore even thought to try and get him. He never would, of that he was one hundred percent certain, and he would kill him if the old man tried anything again. Then the heartbeat began to fade as the wizard or witch disappeared down the corridor. Once he was sure he'd given him enough time, he opened the door and looked out. Breathing more out of a nervous habit than anything else, he bolted down the corridor. He didn't stop until he got to the stairs; cursing violently he turned back and into the rotating room to avoid being seen.

Only once two doors closed did Harry emerge, before once again running to the stairs; instead of running up the stairs, he leapt onto the rail, and jumped up all the levels before jumping over the rail onto the second floor once again. Unfortunately for him, there was too much activity, something must have happened since all the Aurors there were shouting and yelling. Inwardly cursing, he ran back down the steps to level eight, before bolting through the atrium and using the Floo network to get him back to Potter Manor . Nobody thought to stop him, quite thankfully.

He was spat out at his bedroom fire, to find Severus Snape in his room, snooping through his drawers, if him reading his files on Dumbledore was any indication.


Big thanks to Jordre for editing :)