By Killing Curse Eyes
(in memory of a dear friend)
Chapter 29: Preparations
They landed with a thud in the kitchen of an old house. Well, Harry and Hermione landed with a thud. Tom of course, was the picture of composure. He helped Harry stand up, who in turn helped her friend stand.
They finished dusting themselves off just as the door burst open.
"Fawn!" Sirius grinned. "So good to see you! You too, Hermione."
"Sirius? What are you doing here?" Harry asked. She had not been aware he would be here. Not that it was a bad thing exactly, just that her boyfriend and her godfather being in the same place for prolonged periods of time didn't seem like a great idea.
"It's my house, isn't it?" Sirius said. Harry glanced at Tom, wondering if he had forgotten to tell her this, but judging by his expression, Dumbledore hadn't told him either.
"Oh. I didn't know. It... doesn't seem very you." Harry looked around the kitchen. It gave off a gloomy aura.
"Well, that's because it's a Black family property." The dog animagus grimaced. "But it was secure even before we added protections, and it's big enough for everyone who needs a place to stay."
"Who all needs a place to stay?" Tom inquired.
"It's good to have you here though, Harry." Sirius said, completely ignoring Tom. "It's how things should have been from the start."
Harry graciously chose not to comment that she didn't want to have been with him from the start and repeated Tom's question.
"Oh, well, the Weasleys will be here, so will Neville, though his grandmother opted not to come, and Mooney of course. Other order members might crash here every now and then, too." Sirius answered.
Harry and Hermione both made faces at the mention of the Weasleys and Neville. "Why are the Weasleys and Longbottom staying here?"
"Oh, well, Dumbledore said Neville will be a target, if not now then at some point, so it's best if he stays somewhere well protected. As for the Weasleys, with their connection to him they would eventually become a target too." Sirius answered.
"Well then, why don't I show you to your room?" Sirius smiled. "It's just this way..."
Sirius led them out of the kitchen but stopped when he realized Tom was following him as well. "Oh. Right. Kreacher!"
An old house elf appeared with a soft popping noise. "The blood traitorous master brings more mudbloods into The Noble House of Black. Kreacher's mistress would be horrified..."
"Quiet, you. Bring this guy to the far room." Sirius ordered, jabbing his thumb in Tom's direction.
"Kreacher will do as his unworthy master bids him and bring the mudblood to his room..." The elf muttered and started to walk off.
"I am not a mu—ggleborn. I am a halfblood descended from Salazar Slytherin himself." Tom corrected the elf in a firm but polite tone. He wouldn't have bothered being polite, but his partner was there and she wouldn't be pleased if he spoke to the elf they way he wished to. It was only a small sacrifice for the girl, he figured. He followed after the elf but stopped after just a few steps.
"Ah, yes. Harriet," he called. She stopped following her godfather and faced him. "I'll be taking you to get a new wand tomorrow, and then help you with your... project."
Seeing his gaze shift to Kreacher as he spoke, she understood his meaning and beamed at him. "Really? Sounds great!"
Sirius looked at the younger wizard suspiciously, but Tom just smirked and walked after the elf. After prodding from Harry, he resumed leading the girls to their room.
The next morning Tom took Harry out to buy her new wand. Sirius tried to stop them from going by speaking of how dangerous it was for her to be out and about, but his goddaughter pointed out it was even more dangerous to be without a wand for a prolonged period of time when Voldemort was after her.
Sirius reluctantly agreed to the excursion, even as Tom muttered in parseltongue that they were going with or without his approval. Harry shot him a look at that, but he didn't even bat an eye.
The bell overhead chimed as they entered the dusty old wand shop. The teenage witch looked around as she waited for the wand maker to greet them. Her eyes snapped to the back of the store when she heard the sound of footsteps.
"Ah, yes, Mr. Riddle. Dragon heartstring and yew from the same tree as your grandfather's wand. I trust it is serving you well?" Ollivander peered at Tom curiously.
"It indeed has been." Tom smiled charmingly.
"And you, Miss Potter? Holly and phoenix feather, I believe?" he asked.
Harry winced. "I—well, it served me well."
"But not any longer?" Ollivander asked curiously. Few knew what happened to Harry's wand, and she realized he was probably assuming she was still in possession of her wand and it had stopped working for her. Such an occurrence was rare, but did happen.
"Well, it's kind of hard for it to serve me when Voldemort snapped it and didn't even give the pieces back." Harry deadpanned.
"I see... I assume that is why you two are here today?"
"That would be correct." Tom nodded.
"Well, then, let's get started..." The wand maker browsed the boxes piled on the shelves before selection one. "How about ten and three quarter inches, chestnut and dragon heartstring?"
It took nearly forty minutes for Ollivander to find a wand suitable to the young witch. In the end she was chosen by an aspen and phoenix feather wand, reasonably supple and twelve and a quarter inches.
They paid Ollivander for the wand and left. Harry held her new wand tightly. It felt even more right for her than her previous wand had. It was smoother than her old wand, and greatly resembled ivory. A wand for revolutionaries, she was told.
Well, she supposed helping Tom reshape the magical world counted as being a revolutionary.
"You certainly seem fond of your new wand." Tom said in amusement. The slight smile on his face was much more genuine than the fake one he'd given Ollivander. Harry hated his fake smiles.
"Where are we going now?" She asked instead of replying to her boyfriend's comment. "You said something about house elves?"
"Yes. You have confirmed that house elves have strong compulsion charms placed on them, but you still need to learn how to remove them. As such, I shall be teaching you to place compulsion charms on... test subjects. Once you can place reasonably strong compulsions, I will teach you to remove them." Tom explained. He could cast the compulsions for her to dispel himself, but he thought it was best that Harry learn to cast them in case she needed it in the future.
"Who are my test subjects?" She asked warily.
"Well, the final subjects are a surprise." A malicious smirk spread across the faux-blond's face. "But for now you shall be practising on random muggles in London."
"Alright." Harry nodded.
"Before we start on teaching you to cast compulsions, I think we have one more errand."
"Huh? What?" Harry stopped walking and scrunched her nose in confusion. Tom, who was a few steps in front of her, turned around and faced her, a smirk on his handsome face.
"I believe you mentioned something to me not to long ago." He said as he tapped the side of her glasses. "You wish to switch to contacts, did you not?"
"Yeah!" A smile spread over the young witch's face "You remembered."
"Of course I did. Come, I have already located a suitable establishment. It's not to far from the Alleys."
They walked through The Leaky Cauldron to muggle London. Tom lead Harry to a small optometrist's office a fifteen minute's walk away. With a brief application of the imperius curse, one of the waiting patients made an excuse to leave before her appointment and the receptionist was happy to give the duo the spot instead.
It didn't take long for the optometrist to check the witch's prescription and order the contacts for her. After they paid, they were told to come back in a week to pick them up.
Their second task complete, they left the eye doctor's and headed to an outdoor cafe. After the server delivered their order Tom cast several spells to prevent muggles from paying them any mind.
"Before we begin though, you will need to know some theory." Tom said. Harry smiled into her soda. He was going into what she privately thought of as professor mode again. "There are two aspects of the spell. The first is how strong the compulsion is. A weak compulsion charm can easily be fought off. You may feel the need, for example, to go to sleep, but can still decide not to follow it. A stronger one can be fought off, but it will be more difficult. It's all about willpower. Unfortunately for the victim, even if in general they have an equal or stronger will, the spell can amplify the caster's will if they know what they are doing.
"The second is how subtle the charm is. It is unlike the imperius curse, which not only increases the production of dopamine in the brain to make one feel carefree and happy, one is aware that they are being influenced, commanded, to do something. It's just difficult to fight back not only because of the way it affects your state of mind, but also because it always amplifies the caster's will and by a greater amount.
"A compulsion charm, however, is not an overt command if done properly. It is not only possible to make the victim believe that what you're compelling them to do is their own idea, but not even difficult for someone who has a lot of practice with the spell.
"The most effective compulsion will be strong but completely unnoticeable to the victim. They are also the most difficult to cast. Weak, overt compulsions are the easiest to use.
"Generally, unless the compulsion is to do something continuously, which I believe is the case for house elves, it wears off once the victim has completed their task. They are often left wondering why they thought their actions were a good idea. Traces of the compulsion are detectable for a brief time even after one is no longer being compelled to do something. Any questions?"
"Er..." That was a lot of information. "How difficult is casting a compulsion in comparison to removing it?"
"The difference in difficulty is as wide as the distance between ourselves and muggles." Tom answered. "You should be able to pick this up quickly."
"How will you judge how well I cast the charm?"
"I will select your target and enter their mind. I will then be able to sense the compulsion's power."
"Right. Incantation and wand movement?"
"The incantation is 'anagkazo' and the movement is the greek letter alpha rotated ninety degrees counter clockwise followed by a downward slash and a jab." Tom demonstrated the movement as he spoke.
Gripping her new wand in her hand, Harry mimicked her boyfriend's motions. He shook his head and demonstrated again, more slowly. She tried once more and he nodded.
"Now repeat after me, 'an-ang-kad-zo'." Tom ordered.
"An-an-ka-zo." Harry repeated awkwardly.
Tom repeated the incantation slowly, walking the teen witch through the pronunciation one syllable at a time. After a few tries, she succeeded. Tom had her then put the motions and incantation together without using magic to perfect her timing.
Deeming her ready, Tom finally gave her a target. It was a rotund boy of about eight years old who reminded her of her cousin sitting a few tables over with a woman who was probably his mother. At Tom's suggestion, she decided to try and compel him to dump his soda into his mother's tea.
"Anagkazo." she whispered. The tip of her wand glowed red for a moment before it faded. As she cast, she focused on what she wanted the boy to do. She watched as the boy's eyes shifted from his mother to her tea and back. When his mother looked away, he grabbed his glass and poured its contents over a half-empty cup of tea.
Harry heard the woman shriek, but didn't pay any more attention to her victim and his mother. Instead she looked at Tom for a report on her progress.
"Your compulsion was subtle for a first attempt, but not very strong. If the boy's mother hadn't looked away for a moment, he would not have done it. Try increasing your magic output next time." Tom coached.
And so she cast the spell again and again, each time getting better with Tom's suggestions. It was rather fun. She made the muggles do silly things like pick their noses, say rude things, and sing silly songs. Eventually, she moved on to more complex things, like forcing a woman to follow a man and seduce him in an alley while she and Tom watched from a safe distance. She also convinced one man to give her all the money in his wallet, and another man she convinced to steal a pair of lacy knickers.
"This is fun." The young witch chirped while watching a woman put a skirt around her neck and continue as if she hadn't done anything out of the ordinary. They had been at it for several hours, changing locations periodically to avoid rousing any suspicion. Currently they were in a department store.
"I too quite enjoy making muggles make fools out of themselves." Tom agreed. "Unfortunately it's quite illegal. Too many idiots were obvious in their torment of muggles and the ministry stepped in to maintain secrecy."
"...You say it's unfortunate that it's illegal, but it's not like it's going to stop you, or you care about breaking the law." Harry pointed out. Tom waved his hand in dismissal and changed the topic.
"Your compulsion charms are satisfactory for the moment. You seem to grasp the subtlety quite easily, and the strength of them isn't poor, but I believe you can do better. You are done with practising them on muggles—you won't improve any further with just them. We'll return to the mutt's place and you can practice on Longbottom and the Weasley children. They shouldn't realize what you are doing." he said.
The jade eyed witch groaned. She almost forgot that Weasleys and Longbottom would be joining them at her godfather's house. At least they would prove useful.
"We should return soon. It's almost time for dinner." Tom said. "And I believe your friend has been left alone with your godfather long enough. I quite pity the girl."
"Do we have to? I'm sure Hermione would forgive me." Harry pleaded.
Tom merely held out his arm. His younger partner reluctantly took it and with a cracking sound, they were gone.
"What are you doing here?" Ronald Weasley sneered when Harry and Tom walked into the Black family home. The ginger was standing in the entryway, just outside the closed kitchen door with Neville, his sister and the twins, one of which had started shoving something in his pocket when the front door started to open.
"I should be asking you that, Weasley, considering this house belongs to my godfather." Harry sneered while Tom looked on in amusement.
"I can't believe Dumbledore thought living with them constituted as a safe house..." Neville muttered to the glowering redhead, who nodded. "They'd probably hand us over to you-know-who at the drop of a hat."
"Neville!" Ginny hissed. She puffed up and glared at the boy. "Harry wouldn't do that—that monster murdered her parents!"
"And yet she hangs off his grandson like he's the only person in the world." Ron retorted while Neville shrank back under the fiery witch's rage.
"You do realize people don't always agree with their family, right?" Harry rolled her eyes, a hand on her hip. "Which is pretty well evidenced by the fact that you're arguing with your sister."
Before the Gryffindors could retort, the door behind them burst open, revealing the Weasley matriarch. When she saw her children lingering outside the door her eyes narrowed.
"You lot have better not been trying to listen in on the meeting again!" she warned.
"Of course not, mum." One of the twins said, while her other offspring and Neville nodded.
"Oh? Then what were you doing out here?" She pressed.
"We heard someone come in and decided to see who it was." Ginny piped up innocently. The boy's nodded in agreement. However the youngest Weasley wasn't finished. "But Neville and Ron started to mouth off to Harry and Mr. Riddle, saying they'd hand us all over to you-know-who."
"Ronald Billius Weasley! Neville Franklin Longbottom!" Mrs. Weasley screeched. Ginny wisely manoeuvred herself behind her mother as she lectured the glaring Gryffindors. She stuck her tongue out at them and stifled giggles. The redhead wasn't usually much of a tattle tale (she learned early on it only served to make things more difficult for her), but she figured it served them right for being gits.
"Thanks, Weasley." Harry said to the younger girl as she followed Tom into the kitchen.
"Ah, Harry, Tom." Dumbledore greeted as the couple entered the kitchen. Order members seemed to be bustling about, preparing to leave, but the headmaster was seated at the head of the table. "I trust your excursion was fruitful?"
"Yes, sir." Harry nodded and casually raised her wand a bit to show it to him. "I'm quite pleased with my new wand."
"Excellent. I was wondering if I could speak to you in private, if you don't mind?" he requested. Harry hesitantly glanced at Tom, and Dumbledore smoothly added, "Tom can join you, of course."
"Alright." the young witch agreed with a shrug.
"Sirius, my boy! Could you possibly direct young Harry, Tom and myself to a place we can speak in private?" It was phrased as a request, but the dog animagus knew it was an order.
"Of course, Albus. The library should work. Do you mind if I join you?" Sirius grinned as he stood up and sauntered over to the trio. "As her godfather, I think I should be there for this kind of stuff."
"That is quite alright, Sirius." Dumbledore declined. "I believe I know where to find the library, so the three of us shall take our leave."
Once the three of the them made it to the Black library, Dumbledore cast a privacy ward and directed the couple to sit at the table in the centre of the room. As the Slytherin couple took seats at the wooden chairs next to each other, the professor transfigured his own seat into a plush armchair—after sitting on hard, wooden chairs he tended to feel like a centaur trampled his back, you see.
"What did you need to speak to me about, Professor?" Harry asked.
"I have a request for you, Harry." Dumbledore hedged. "However, I am aware it is quite intrusive."
"I won't guarantee an agreement, but I'm willing to listen to it." the teen witch said bluntly. Tom's eyes narrowed at the headmaster, but he remained silent.
"First of all, I assume you told Tom about the discussion we had at the end of your first year?" Harry nodded, trying to appear guilty.
"That's is quite alright, Harry. I would have been more surprised if you had not." The headmaster said gently. "I ask, because the conversation we had is relevant to my request."
"How so?" Harry furrowed her brow. The prophecy had little to do with her, so what could the old man want?
"As it is up to Neville to ultimately defeat Voldemort, I was hoping you would let him and the Order view your memory of his resurrection."
"No." Harry said immediately. It was incredibly incriminating. A lot of the spells she used in the duel were highly illegal, but more importantly, they would see her discussing Tom's true nature with the Dark Lord.
"I know it was quite traumatizing for you, Harry, but I must impart on you the seriousness of the situation." the headmaster argued gently but firmly. "This would be a great help in preparing Neville to face Voldemort. There might have also been things that happened or were said that you didn't realize were relevant."
"No." Harry repeated. She glanced at Tom, but he was staring intently at the headmaster and not paying her any mind. She followed his gaze to the frowning headmaster.
"May I inquire as to your reasoning?" he asked gently.
"I—" Harry licked her lips and peeked at her partner once more. The elder Slytherin gave a barely perceivable nod. "I may have done some things that many in the order would likely... disapprove of. Things that they don't need to know about." The young girl took a deep breath. "I also may have... discussed some things with Voldemort that the order really doesn't need to hear about."
"I see" Dumbledore titled his head back slightly and sighed. "Very well then, I completely understand—"
"If I may, Albus," Tom interrupted. "I believe there is a suitable compromise to be had. For a small favour in return, of course."
Harry's head whipped in Tom's direction. What the hell was he thinking? He knew what she had done and said in graveyard! How could he think sharing it with the narrow minded witches and wizards that made up the vigilante group was a good idea?
The elder wizard peered at Tom over his half moon spectacles, intrigued, but wary of what the faux-blond would ask for. "Is that so?"
"Indeed." Tom pasted the fake, charming smile Harry hated on his face. "I'm well aware of Harriet's actions and the events that occurred in the graveyard. And as far as I am aware, nothing was said that you haven't already figured out on your own. Of course you won't judge Harriet for the magic she used to defend herself, since we have already established that contrary to popular belief, you have nothing against the so called "dark arts". And I'm sure you can forgive the use of the more nasty spells in the context they were used, or am I wrong?"
"You are correct. I presume you intend to let myself alone view the memory?" Dumbledore extrapolated.
"That is correct." Tom inclined his head, his false smile morphing into a smirk.
"And what is it you would like in return?" Dumbledore knew it wasn't going to be something he would normally do or permit. The former horcrux was offering something valuable. Neville may not be able to see the dark lord in action himself, but if Albus knew how strong Voldemort was after his return—if he was stronger, weaker, or about the same as he was before Harry destroyed his body—and the way the shell of a man acted in the memory, it would help him determine Voldemort's thought processes and give him an idea of how to go about preparing Neville for the inevitable confrontation. It was a shame that though the two shared a soul and a past, Tom and Voldemort were in many regards very different.
"Don't sound so worried, Albus." Tom glanced at Harry. "I'm not asking for much in return. Really, it's nothing that makes much difference in the great scheme of things. All I want is for you to let Harriet here sit in on the order meetings."
The headmaster's eyebrows rose in surprise. It indeed was a minor thing. He was well aware that Tom would be telling her everything that was discussed in meetings regardless, and though she was underage and they generally did not allow anyone who had yet to finish school, with her history it wouldn't be too hard to convince the order it was necessary to make an exception. After all, she had defeated Voldemort as a baby and faced him again mere weeks ago. She was a target, and one of the few to escape from the dark lord himself alive after he decided on their death.
"Very well." The old wizard acquiesced. "Consider it done. I shall induct Harry along with yourself at the next meeting."
"Excellent." Tom twirled his wand in his hand as he faced the subject of their bargain. "Harriet, dear, I trust you have no objections?"
"No." Harry murmured with wide eyes. She wasn't very happy with the idea of the headmaster seeing her memory, but being included in the order was appealing and if sharing it with the headmaster was what Tom dersired...
"Excellent. Then we have a deal." Tom stopped twirling his wand and stood. He conjured a small glass vial and gently pressed the tip of his yew wand to Harry's temple. "Now dearest, just focus on the memory and I shall do the rest."
... if you're sorry and you know clap your hands!
Well, first of all, I'd like to thank you all for 1000 reviews. I never dreamed that I would ever get so far. Thank you all so much.
Secondly, yeah, it's been like, what? Five, six months? Sorry about that. But I had finals in early December and then my health took a turn for the worse. And then a friend of mine died and I fell behind in class and even had to drop a couple classes. And then I had to get ready for finals... But I'm all done as of yesterday. My first year of university is complete! I don't know how I did this term yet, but as of last term I have a 4.0 GPA. By the way, you can find the occasional progress report on my profile.
This chapter IS kind of short, and I'm sorry about that, but that seemed like a good place to end it. I have to admit, I did have most of this written (about 80 percent of it) for about four months, but I didn't want to post anything less than 4K words and was in the middle of a scene.
I have been doing some thinking and I'm really not too happy with my writing in this fanfic. I feel like the characterization is shallow, for one. Especially for Pansy, who isn't really developed much in canon besides being mean. So I'm going to try to develop the characters more. If there seems to be sudden changes in the coming chapters that is probably why. I think I want to make Pansy a bit meaner, especially in her gossip.
I also feel like I focus too much on dialogue. Do you guys think it's a bad thing? Or just a style thing? Personally I prefer stories with a lot of dialogue, so that's probably why... I am trying to be more descriptive though.
I'm not going to go back and rewrite anything. I don't have time, and honestly—this fanfic is a hobby. It's not something super serious. It's for fun. But I will try to do better in the future.
Thank you all so much for your support.
P.S. I'll try to update sooner next time
P.P.S. I think next chapter a certain marauder will have some screen time.