Chapter 22 –The Ritual
Lord Voldemort was comfortably situated in Malfoy Manor. He was contemplating the eradication of Harry Potter who had again escaped from what should have been a foolproof trap. Potter seemed to be just one step ahead of Voldemort's vengeance which should be impossible for someone like Lord Voldemort who was immortal. Had he, the greatest wizard alive, not escaped from death and hell itself. This was going to stop. Voldemort was unaware what was presently happening in the graveyard of Little Hangleton.
Three figures dressed in black with white masks were working around a cauldron which had a flame underneath it. In the evening air the words could be heard clearly but only the three were there to hear them in the eerie graveyard.
"Bone of the father, unknowingly given, you will renew your son! Flesh of the servant, willingly sacrificed, you will revive your master. Blood of the enemy, forcibly taken, you will resurrect your foe." (Taken from J.K Rowling's book Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire)
Tom Marvol Riddle was restored to physical form after being gone for nearly forty years. A possible twenty year old Riddle stepped from the cauldron and the three kneeled and said in unison, "Hail the return of Lord Voldemort who was cast into the abyss by his usurper.
"Who is this Lord Voldemort you refer to and what had happened to me?"
"Approximately forty years ago you were destroyed save your precious Horcruxes. The magic causing this destruction is beyond us but we have dedicated our lives for your return. I am Severus Snape your usurpers spy at Hogwarts until I found the truth and am now under his sentence of death. This is Harry Potter and Lora Jones both faithful and unmarked students at Hogwarts."
"The usurper marks his servants so they may be called by pressing your wand to the mark." Snape raised his sleeve and showed the Dark Mark.
"I could not believe Tommy was buying this garbage but you could see the wheels turning in his head."
"You have aged Severus but I do recognize you from school. What of Lucius, Nott and Avery?"
"They believe me not my lord and follow the Dark Lord faithfully as well as Bella Lestrange nee Black."
"Then we must face this usurper and end his false reign."
"My Lord if I may, he has undergone many rituals and is stronger that anyone that lives. All this has made him look more snake than human and he hates the name Tom Riddle that he stole from you. That's why he is calling himself Lord Voldemort which is an anagram of your proud name."
"What do you suggest Severus?"
"That you lie low and get stronger. If possible make an ally of Big Mac who is an enemy of the Dark Lord."
"Yes I see the logic in that advice. I will take to living here in the Riddle Manor while I prepare. You may visit if you have further help for our cause."
That was a dismissal and we did not hang around to see if we could get into further trouble. It was late when we returned to Grimmauld Place and the three of us sat around the kitchen table. Snape sat with firewhisky and Lora and I with a beir.
"I am totally surprised that the ritual actually worked. Two of the three items were definitely shoddy at best." Lora sighed and took a good swig of beir.
"Well Death was right so far, that took care of two pre-Godric Hollow Horcruxes. I still don't see what turning a weak Riddle into the mix will accomplish." I said with no enthusiasm. Pomfrey had come through with the Deatheaters voluntary surrender of his faulty kidney for a new replacement. My blood had also worked as last time.
"The Dark Lord will be more than upset when any of this gets out. It will be gratifying to see him kill himself." Lora appeared happy at our success.
Snape almost lost his sneer. "By the way Potter, Tom Riddle did not buy your story. Don't ask I just know. " Snape turned and headed for the basement.
"Well enough for this night, come Mr. Potter you have things you must take care of." Lora smirked.
"Have you forgotten that this is our Honeymoon?"
While Harry and Lora were traveling the hormone trail of delight Lea had headed to the garden for something to eat. Kitty had headed off to find someone to give her a scratch. Tom Riddle was wandering Riddle Manor. There was something wrong. He made the ring from the Riddle deaths but then it got blurred. Oh he remembered Myrtle in the bathroom but which Horcrux was that, it was like part of him was missing. Then he saw the mark he had made when at Hogwarts to identify his property on the fireplace in a ground floor room. It took awhile before he found why it was there as the fireplace slid to the side exposing a room. The room was like a library with a table covered in notes and a large comfortable chair. Sitting in the chair and browsing the notes, yes his usurper had been busy making himself stronger. Tom was now arranging for a further research of these rituals to see what was to be done in the very near future. That cock-an-bull story those three feed him was intriguing but was obviously made to fool him. Had he had his wand he would have ended their miserable lives but that could be completed later.
I cannot believe that I have agreed to all of this and yet here I am on platform 9 ¾ getting ready to board the train. "Come my dear lets get a compartment before the rest charge in to the platform."
"Harry do you think all the confusion at Grimmauld Place will delay anybody from making the train?"
"Lora my love the Weasley's are famous for their confusion, loud mouths and just making the train on time. We can only hope that the Order will force them all through the 'floe' and onto the train before it leaves."
"Yes I saw Tonk's hair flashing through colors faster that I could recognize what color the last one was."
"Did you see Kingsley almost curse Ron when he brought the gazillion thing he forgot to pack?"
While we were laughing Neville and Luna showed up a little worse for wear. "Harry you have to stun the whole lot next time, I have never seen such kayos in my life." Neville groaned.
"You never saw them getting ready with the Twins around, which is real pandemonium." I laughed.
"Well Hermione is just as bad as Molly. They were both screeching directions at everyone." Luna giggled.
As the last whistle for boarding sounded a herd of red-heads poured in and started throwing their trunks at the luggage car. Hermione stomped to the train while Molly looked dangerous with her hand on her hips. Our seventh year at Hogwarts had begun.
"So what courses have you all decided on?" Hermione asked.
When Hermione did her listing I had to give her a little ribbing. "What no Potions Class?"
Hermione huffed, "I have had enough of that man. I can't believe that he was allowed to return to teach potions. AND that reminds me, how did you get in his class?"
"Right on Harry, you didn't even take potions last year." Neville chipped in a couple of facts.
"That's a good question and what were his remarks about you showed real talent with Riddle's potion and the cauldron affair?"
"Oh I just did a potion for a project and Snape was around to watch me." I answered as vague as I could. I also didn't say that I tested for the subject at the Ministry on one of the days I had escaped from Grimmauld Place.
"See simple answer to a Riddle and Harry's potion skills. Where are Ron and Ginny by the way?" Lora was trying to change the subject but I almost choked on the Riddle part.
Hermione had the answers of course, "Ginny is devastated over your marriage as she was sure since five that she would be Mrs. Potter. She is crying on some of her room mates shoulders. Ron is with his new best friend Dean. He has a lot of growing up to do and he hasn't a clue of that fact."
The train steamed on.
By now we all were at the arrival feast in the Great Hall. We had been here for too many years to really pay much attention to the sorting hat's song. We did greet the new Gryffindor students with relish but most of the Headmistrisse's speech was ignored. Most just whispered or as in Ron's case had a knife and fork in his hands and was staring at the empty plates. The DADA empty chair was not unusual and who wanted to watch Snape?
McGonagall's introduction was droning on over the Forbidden Forest and Filch's list of banded items when two things happened to bring us to full alert.
"…and the new DADA instructor is Tom Riddle." Seven people at the Gryffindor table jumped to their feet and aimed their wands at the man walking into the Great Hall.
McGonagall ordered in a screaming voice that all those standing with wands drawn would put them away and report to her office immediately. It took more screaming to get us to go to her office, wand were still drawn. It was funny how many people recognized the name but it was Snape's intervention that stopped Tom from becoming a curse magnet.
Surprisingly there were now twenty students standing in McGonagall's office with wands drawn and pointed at the new DADA Professor, Tom Riddle.
"Well from your stance I assume that if I conjure chairs that none of you will be sitting in them so let's get on with it. Tom if you will?" McGonagall looked like she would kill if anyone did anything.
"Let me assure you that I am not Lord Voldemort isn't that right Harry."
"No not the current one you're the younger one."
"Well yes, semantics. I am Tom Riddle that turned into Lord Voldemort but I have not turned yet. When I was reviewing all the rituals that he had done to become what he is I wondered if I really wanted to end up there. While I am not the handsome young lad I was, I am no way the snake like abomination he has become and I asked myself to what ends."
"You still killed innocent people to make your horcruxes which you are made from." Hermione yelled.
"Am I young lady? Please prove that I have killed anyone, Lord Voldemort killed whoever you might name not me Tom Riddle. I was only born a few weeks ago."
McGonagall raised her hand to silence Hermione who we all knew would be arguing this point into eternity. "If you wish to dispute this logic do as I did and talk to the Department of Mysteries. He has a sworn oath that he will not harm any students in Hogwarts and will uphold Hogwarts rules and standards."
The crowd started to leave. "Harry Potter, might I have a word with you?" Riddle asked.
Lora and I hung back to see what else could happen. Lea hissed, "I am watching him Master Harry."
Tom jumped and asked, "Who said that?"
McGonagall asked, "Said what?" while I told Tom "You heard my familiar talking."
I notice that Tiger was out and in Lora's arms.
"I just wanted to thank you for gluing me partially back together and that after reading some of Voldermort's notes I have no interest in become what he is, a monster."
"We will wait and see if the leopard changes his spots." I said looking him in the eye.
"I can only say that what you did with the Horcruxes was not their purpose. Somehow I have lost something yet I feel I have now found something. I know it makes no sense but let me assure you I have no wish to turn dark or evil."
"As I said we will wait and see." I did not know what to make of this was after all part of the old crones weaving and Thanatos directed.
"I must say you did my return in a very Slytherin manor. You even pushed me in a direction that I did not know I was being pushed. Yes very Slytherin of you Harry Potter."