Embracing His True Self

Chapter 13

Harry wandered around the manor, wondering about trying to leave the compound just to see what would happen, but he nixed the idea. He didn't want to disturb the status quo. He still couldn't believe Voldemort had actually given him a gift so to speak, he'd never mentioned it but had given him an approving nod when he saw him dressed in a 'proper wizarding attire' although Harry had to admit he did look good in them. He wasn't by any means vain, he didn't care about his looks, how could he when it had been burned out of him when he was a child? Forced to wear his cousins disgusting castoffs his entire life. However, it was nice being in clothes that fitted him properly and were new not faded and had numerous holes in them.

Opening the door to the dining hall, he froze when he saw Grant and Barty sitting there, by the look of things they were discussing something heavily, parchment littered the table. He was still annoyed at Grant for spelling that potion into his stomach without his consent, although it had probably saved himself from being cursed by an impatient curse happy Dark Lord.

"Harry," Grant said, nodding his head respectfully, "You look considerably better," especially for only three weeks of proper nutrition and the potions, they shouldn't have worked so quickly. Perhaps it was something to do with him being in actual fitting clothes? But no, it wasn't possible he could see Harry actually had meat on his bones now, he wasn't just skin and bone. Perhaps having Harry in on this conversation would benefit Bartemius. "A little too better, care you taking something not in the regime I set for you?"

"For a prisoner you mean?" Harry stated with an impassive look his face, finding amusement in the stricken look on his face, it was hard to tell what emotion it was though.

Grant cleared his throat awkwardly, while Barty just chuckled in amusement, the boy knew damn well he wasn't a prisoner, the real prisoners were under this very manor he did like his attitude. The Dark Lord had obviously decided to turn Harry Potter to their side, he had seen them duelling and actually sitting having conversations of all things it was surreal really.

"How have you recovered so quickly?" Grant enquired, "Please sit, I'm going to run a diagnosis over you."

"I don't think so," Harry said narrowing his eyes, still smarting from the first time they met.

"Our Lord demands it," Grant added seriously, he obviously wanted to make sure Harry was recovering fully.

"Your Lord," Harry amended, Voldemort wasn't his Lord, he had no master and he didn't want one, it had been bad enough dealing with Dumbledore for years he wouldn't allow anyone else to manipulate him or tell him what to do. Nonetheless he wandered over and sat down, he was bored and that was the only reason he thought resolutely to himself.

"Very well, My Lord, it truly is astonishing how far you've come," Grant commented, still waiting expectantly for permission. He was amazed by the progress, truly, he was recovering with a swiftness he'd never seen before. The potion regime he had Harry on should be helping, yes, but not to this extent as he'd explained earlier.

"What happens if you don't get a diagnosis?" Harry asked shrewdly, green eyes gleaming eerily, he already knew the answer to that but got enjoyment out of making Grant pale.

"Ease up," Barty said shaking his head, Grant was one of the most decent wizards around, wouldn't hurt a fly, well except if his family was threatened but they could all say they were the same in that regard. "He doesn't deserve your attitude, nor does he really do well with sarcasm." Defending the healer, Harry was going too far.

"Fine," Harry sighed, if Barty was getting on his case, he may have gone too far. However, he knew better than to give in too easily or quietly. "Only if you help me have some fun later,"

Barty startled at that pronouncement, giving him a curious look, "Then we're in agreement,"

"You can do the spell, if you answer a couple of questions," Harry decided, turning his attention back to Grant.

"Ask away," Grant said, tensing in his chair, wondering what the teenager could possibly want him to answer to grant his wish. Crossing his right leg over, he reckoned the boy was still furious at him and this was his way of getting him back.

"Why were you so surprised I didn't know what the potion did?" Harry questioned; his gaze intense as he stared into Grant's blue eyes as if gauging his truthfulness.

"Ah," Grant murmured, relaxing, that he could answer quite happily. "Each student at Hogwarts is given that potion their first night at Hogwarts with the exception of the students whose medical files are up to date, they would have had to visit St. Mungo's at least a year before the start of Hogwarts to be exempt from it. You see the healers have to know your medical history, its important if they ever needed to treat you. Any prior or ongoing illnesses, potions you are taking, and more importantly if you are allergic to anything. The purpose of the potion wasn't for that particular reason solely, but it also identified students who are being abused. It was something put into practice sixty years ago."

"Sixty years?" Harry said surprised, "I wasn't aware the laws on abuse existed then,"

"In the magical world they do and did, something we actually started first for a change." Grant nodded briefly, before continuing in a grim tone, "It all started when the magical world got wind of students failing to return to Hogwarts, when they did investigating, they realized that they weren't just missing but they were being killed, by their own families, with the abuse either going too far…or the fear causing them to kill their child outright especially in the case of religious parents. Armando Dippet was horrified and ensured such a practice was put into effect, to safeguard the next generation. In fact, it was one of the last things he did as a Headmaster before he retired and Dumbledore took over."

Harry felt the first stirrings of actually feeling sick to his stomach, his lip unconsciously curled at the words.

"You must understand with us being such a small community each magical child is a blessing, there is nothing more important than children to pass on our legacies. It might seem stupid to some…but to have a child to pass on the name, their fortune, their work, and a child to continue the family name and keep their speciality when it comes to magic alive…to make the magical world thrive is…is all that matters." Grant said seriously, "Specialties like the ability to spell cast, ward weave even parselmouth, they are extremely rare now our world is getting even more smaller soon they'll be gone if something isn't done."

"Please," Harry scoffed, "Don't tell me abuse doesn't happen to those who live in the magical world with magical parents."

"Ah, but nine time out of ten abuse cases are with Muggle-borns, that is a cold hard fact," Grant stated, "I'm not saying all magical parents are perfect, far from it, but children usually aren't abused."

Harry frowned, not sure what to make of the conversation, "Alright, but I'd never visited St. Mungo's before so why wasn't I given the potion?"

"I think you already know that answer," Grant said sympathetically, but without pity, he had a feeling the wizard would get extremely pissed off if he did pity him.

"No, I get that Dumbledore would try and circumvent me getting checked, although I'd like to know how, but I'm quite often in the hospital wing, why wasn't it done then?" Harry said, his hands clenched into fists, "You said healers take oaths."

"Healers do, I am one, your Madam Pomfrey is merely a Medi-witch, which is someone that can cure colds and hand out some potions but she's in no way capable of the things I am. You can become a Medi-witch is six months albeit if you complete the course and pass which even a simpleton can do. The course is mind-numbingly tedious but if you want to go on the healers course you have to take the first step which is the Medi course." Grant explained grimly.

Harry just grunted a slight pensive look on his face.

"May I?" Grant asked, his wand out.

Harry just shrugged, he didn't care anymore, "Go on then," as vindictive as he felt sometimes, Grant really hadn't done anything so there was no point to getting him into trouble with Voldemort. There was only one person he'd really like to see on the wrong end of Voldemort's wand and that's Pettigrew.

Grant didn't wait for further permission, as soon as Harry gave the go ahead, he was murmuring Latin so quietly that Harry couldn't hear him. Then a large glow of white shot from Grants wand and into Harry, encompassing him.

Harry gasped, the spell was causing tingling all over from head to foot before it stopped leaving a warm feeling behind as if the magic was reassuring him, he would be alright, Pomfrey's magic didn't feel like that. Was it something that came with experience or just a healers ability?

"Just as I suspected, you are recovering really well," Grant said reading over the results, his eyesight was perfect, his bones corrected, the nutrients he needed were definitely being absorbed. "Definitely a bit too well, what have you been doing and there's a potion here I don't recognize." Silently alarmed, it wasn't illegal whatever it was, but it was unlike any combination he'd ever seen, he couldn't name it.

"I created a potion," Harry told him smugly, "It helps you bulk up healthily, nothing too drastic, but enough to make someone like me healthy, although I wouldn't know I've not taken the potion long enough to accumulate any data." He'd gotten the idea from the muggle world, only the potion can do it far quicker (theoretically) without needing to consume such mass number of calories.

Barty perked up at that, he'd half zoned out listening to the conversation happening in front of him. He liked the sound of that potion, but he knew the boy wouldn't just hand it over - call it sixth sense or whatever he just knew. He had to have it though, this would help him, and in turn he would be useful to his lord so much sooner. He hated feeling useless, he'd felt it for too damn long, he just wanted to be back to his old self again. Not constantly exhausted, sick or having to sleep to regain strength. "What would you ask for if I wanted two weeks' worth?" Barty asked speculatively. Hell, even using magic could have him exhausted, Azkaban and the decade under the Imperius curse had stripped him bare of everything even his own sense of self.

"Hmm," Harry mused thoughtfully, he couldn't think of anything right now, it wasn't as if Barty could give him anything right now anyway. "A boon I suppose, there's nothing I want right now." and he wasn't just going to hand them over, not when he might think of something later and have to kick himself for being so foolish.

"Bloody Slytherins," Barty grumbled, he swore he would like nothing more than to kill whoever started the boon nonsense in Slytherin.

"You weren't in Slytherin?" Harry asked genuinely taken aback, noticing Grant laughing in the background, clearly, he was really wrong. Judging by Grant's reaction, clearly it was going to be something wildly wrong, he wasn't a Gryffindor, was he?

"No," Barty smirked, "I was a Ravenclaw, graduated with twelve O.W. L's."

"I know," Harry claimed, "Well the O.W.L part." he amended.

"How?" Barty's smirk disappeared and a confused look plastered over his face.

"Your father, when he got to Hogwarts, he was muttering to the tree about how you'd graduated with twelve O.W. L's, he might have been delirious but he sounded proud." Harry answered, he would have done anything for someone to be proud of him - genuinely.

"It was the only time he actually spent more than a few seconds of his time talking to me," Barty admitted bitterly, an ugly look on his face, how he loathed his father. For ignoring him all his life, for ignoring his mother, especially when she was dying, that he'd never been able to forgive. "He was more concerned about his career, of becoming the Minister of magic, he abandoned both me and my mother," it was guilt that had enabled his mother to convince her husband to let him out.

"If you take the additional potions, this will need changed before I go," Grant spoke after a few moments of silence. The dosage must be amended for one thing. "Are you considering putting it on the market? It would have considerable amount of interest." He wasn't surprised about his ability to invent potions, the Potters did produce some of the best potions, there were three Potion Masters that he knew of in the Potter family and a few Potioneers if you add the Fleamont family into it.

"Alright, a boon," Barty grudgingly agreed, "I want a month's worth of potions though," if he was going to have a boon over his head, he wanted to make it worthwhile.

"Done, I'll brew them for you tonight," Harry said wryly, stretching himself out feeling very pleased. Turning to Grant, "I haven't really thought about it, it was something I made for myself, so that I could use it, if I survived what the Dursley's were doing of course." A bitterness coating his voice, his hatred of the Dursley's truly had no bounds.

"And if I commissioned you to make them?" Grant questioned; he was making a really good progress. It was the sort of progress the others (the Death Eaters) should have made and then some. If he could get these sorts of results in such a short time? Well, he would inform the Dark Lord himself, who would likely be impressed enough to purchase the lot.

Harry blinked slowly, he'd be giving this side an advantage over the other, not that they really needed it. It had been pure luck that allowed Dumbledore's side to win, at the expense of his family. Then everything he'd had to ensure from everyone around him. The tests, the tasks, the reactions of his peers, the pressure, the condemnation, and Harry grinned, showing more teeth than necessarily, "You know what? I'd be happy to."

Grant glanced briefly at Bartemius, but found him staring at Harry in amusement. Apparently, this behaviour wasn't new. "Let me just change this up for you," he could recall all the potions he'd put Harry on, and wrote it all down with ease, he did change the dosages. "It's the dosages that's changed, so keep an eye on that." He added the date and put ongoing on the prescription date length.

"Gives me something to do," Harry agreed, taking the parchment, he was used to doing everything, that even being ill he couldn't cease the need to do something, to be on the move. The Dursley's had never left him alone except after he did magic. Like the reminder made them fearful so they shoved him in the darkest corner of the house until that fear left them and the process begun all over again.

"I'll help you," Bartemius suggested, it wasn't as if the Dark Lord had any other use for him right now. Just kept telling him to recover, speak to the mind healer, take the potions and get well. He could sit down whilst brewing, it might actually stave off the utter insanity of boredom that was threatening to consume him whole. "If you don't mind the company."

Harry sat down and nodded as he made himself a coffee, "I'd like that," it would be nice to know him better than just the two of them conspiring to make Pettigrew's a life a misery. Bartemius was always here, he never left the manor as of yet, it likely would change.

"Brilliant!" Bartemius said cheerfully, licking his lip, a nervous tick he'd had since childhood that not even his loving mother had been able to stop entirely.

The window being tapped caused them all to turn as one, Harry jumped to his feet, joy thrumming through him. She was alive, she'd survived, she was alright. Quickly jogging over, he unlatched the window and held his arm out for her to hop on. A wide grin splitting his face in two, now she was the only thing he truly cared about, she'd been there for him for years, even if it was just a mostly silent presence, she was his familiar and he shouldn't be surprised she'd found him but he was. He stroked at her head and neck as she hooted a few times.

"It's good to see you too, girl," Harry said just standing there petting her. Oh, he'd missed her more than he had even realized.

"That shouldn't have been possible, only the birds that live here (keyed in) should have been able to bypass the wards," Barty said cautiously.

"It's nice to see you have full confidence in my wards," the smooth voice of Voldemort causing them all to startle once more. Truth was, Hedwig had gotten all but passed the wards, she'd been flying into them as he returned from Azkaban, determined to get to her Master. To have gotten this far he realized the owl wasn't just any ordinary owl but a familiar, they were bonded, and he didn't want to risk the owl leaving and returning but with people trailing it. He did not want his home found; it was imperative that it remained unknown.

"My Lord," both Grant and Crouch said, bowing in respect, Harry didn't do anything, he just stood there petting at his owl. Grant and Barty tensed, waiting for something to happen, anything, surely the Dark Lord wouldn't like that? Yet he did nothing, merely moved over to the table and situated himself at the head of it and food appeared almost immediately.

Harry stared at Voldemort, why let his owl in at all? Why would he risk him writing to anyone? Remaining thoughtful he took his retook his seat, not even needing to wait for Voldemort to glare this time, he simply just took the potions with a 'there I've done it' look on his face. What if he had done something to her? That made Hedwig to go to Voldemort instead of wherever he sent the letter? Shrugging it off, not that it really mattered, who would he write to? Hermione had more than made her allegiance clear and Ron…well, Ron had surprised him, out of both he'd have thought it would be the other way around.

"My Lord are you aware of the potion that Potter has created…" Harry didn't listen to the rest of the conversation, instead he gave pieces of his breakfast to his owl using his fingers and a small butter plate. He pondered on whether to let Hedwig go off to the owlery, there were only two birds there, of if he should keep her safe in his bedroom? He wasn't sure he could trust anyone around here…plus Pettigrew might try and get his own back.

He'd kill him if he touched a single feather on Hedwig, but he'd rather her be safe than risk it. That settled it then, he would keep her in his room, but the window and cage would be open. He'd never keep her in captivity, although, technically she was bred in captivity and was considered one. If it kept her alive for over thirty years instead of the nine out in the wild, well, it was a good life she'd live, wasn't it? He'd make up for the times she'd been forced into a small cage during the summers. He swore he would make it up to her, but he'd always be so, so grateful for her being there with him in that hell hole.

A mental nudge by Voldemort jarred Harry out of his thoughts, with a "Hmm…" as he tuned in to the conversation, and actually begun eating his own breakfast, Hedwig was content to sit on the arm of his chair, with her head at her back, as she stared at Voldemort before closing them for a rest.

"You should name the potion; it can be rather vexing calling it 'the Potion' and hoping they know what it is." Voldemort stated, "If you do intend to publish it or at the very least let others commission it from you, you'll need to name it at the very least."

Harry grimaced, "I wouldn't know where to start," scratching his jaw absently, "But wizards are so boring with their titles, nothing inventive at all. It's not really an advanced nutrition boost but I guess it's as good a name as any?"

"It's good, straight to the point, it's better than attempting to use Latin names, trying to figure out what people mean when they can't say it right is rather irritating." Barty confessed, rolling his eyes. Naturally Pureblood's had long perfected Latin as a language and spell casting. Muggle-borns however, were really pathetic and bad at their attempts to say Latin words well, sometimes he was amazed they'd managed to get through Hogwarts. They didn't get it badly wrong, but it was enough to annoy the people who knew the language perfectly, and didn't like it being butchered. Correcting them got asinine very quickly. "They should have kept the languages department open at Hogwarts, and made Latin mandatory like the old days."

"They taught languages?" Harry perked up, ignoring the not-so-subtle jab at people like him. "What ones? Besides the obvious I mean." Besides Latin, which he had to admit would have been a very good idea. He'd struggled himself enormously, thankfully the professors tended to say the spells first, which allowed him to get an ear for Latin over the years. "Were they available when you were at Hogwarts?" well aware just how old Voldemort was.

"They were, and still were for a few years after I left Hogwarts. I doubt you'd believe the number of classes that have been culled during Dumbledore's tenure as headmaster." Voldemort stated, "Ancient Runes was the only one that survived the purge. There was ancient Greek, ancient Egyptian, Latin, pig Latin, German, Russian, Chinese, Japanese."

Harry blinked, "That's an eclectic collection." Surprised by the sheer number that used to be on offer.

"Each of those languages corresponded to a country that had its own magical society and school." Voldemort lectured, "So that if anyone held any interest of learning abroad for their NEWTS, they could accomplish that easily. It used to be a done thing, travel abroad for a year, learn a new culture, become an apprentice, and yes, they used to come to Hogwarts."

"That makes sense, muggle schools actually do that too," Harry answered, ignoring their grimaces at the mere mention of anything muggle. He wondered if Voldemort even kept up to date on what muggles were capable of. The carnage they could wage, and devastation they could leave in their wake? Devastation that could make wizards look like amateurs.

Wizards really didn't like being compared to muggles, did they?

"Alchemy, spell weaving, Magical history and theory, magical law, dark arts those are just a few of the thirty-five classes cut from Hogwarts." Voldemort added.

"No way, there's no way anyone would be able to handle the added thirty-five classes," Harry gaped in disbelief.

"Roughly half of them is optional, classes you'd want to take if you know what career you had in mind." Voldemort told him, frowning, "Things would have been far easier for your friends family if those classes were still available. William Weasley, I believe is a curse breaker, if he'd taken that, he wouldn't have had to scrounge and save and likely starve to complete the course at Gringotts. He could have went straight out into a group dig and begun making money right away. Not to mention Charlie Weasley, the Dragon handler, would have gotten an apprenticeship with ease, but nobody wants to take Hogwarts students on due to the danger it would bring."

"What danger?" Harry asked offended.

"Hogwarts has slid down the list for best international school slowly but enormously. We are ranked so lowly that only three schools are below it." Voldemort said gravely, it was shameful, "Hogwarts alternated between second and third while I was at Hogwarts switching incessantly with Durmstrang."

Harry sort of inclined his head in silent agreement, agreeing it wasn't exactly the best school around. Hell, he had almost died every bloody year, since he entered Hogwarts. None of the professors seemed to give two bloody hoots, not to mention those that shouldn't be teaching as it was. He did like the sound of some of those classes, but honestly? He'd have not taken them anyway, just went with Ron for easy classes, stupid he knew, to risk his future, but he hadn't seen a future in the magical world so it hadn't mattered. He'd planned on running.

"A full education would have made things far easier for people like myself or the Weasley's as it stands," Voldemort declared, loathing that he was putting himself in the same boat as the Weasley's. He never hid his lack of fortune, it was obvious, surrounded by the other pureblood's that he didn't have the fortune they did. He'd never been ashamed of it, he'd just worked hard, gained his own fortune.

"Too bad that the magical world is rampant with corruption with everyone doing what they wanted opposed to the betterment of the magical world." Harry said, "It's not just embarrassing, I don't understand why anyone wants to remain in the magical world given how wretched it is." They left an old man, a headmaster, decide where a child was going to live, didn't bother checking up on him, just accepted it when Dumbledore said it was a secret.

With that Harry stood up, and left, taking his owl with him.

Barty opened his mouth, but whatever he wanted to say, it was halted by his Lord.

"He is not wrong," Voldemort stated, staring at the door Harry had exited out of, the Ministers had just been getting worse as the years wore on. Cornelius Fudge had to be the worst one yet, he still couldn't figure how the public voted for him, and why they kept him in office. "He's entitled to his own thoughts and feelings as you are whether they're right or wrong." He reminded him, although if he could guide those thoughts and feelings? Well, nobody said that the Dark Lord Voldemort was a good person.

so will we see Ron grow up in this one and stick by Harry's side, from a distance like Sirius and Remus or will they be closer and actually in Harry's life? R&R