Forged In Fire.
Harry Potter's encounter with Voldemort in the graveyard in fourth year went differently and a split-second decision changes everything. An old bloodline awakens, memories clash and a new Harry Potter is reborn. Crossover with KHR. Mild D.N. Angel Crossover. Not by much.
Harry was concentrating so hard on the connection forged between his and Voldemort's wands that he almost didn't notice it at first. It took almost everything he had to keep it from rebounding on him. He'd never been so focused in his life. Nothing was more important than keeping that bead of light that signified the cross-point of the spells from reaching him.
Things changed when Voldemort's focus shifted off of him and onto the shades of his former victims as they emerged from his wand. If he hadn't been so stubbornly focused he'd have lost the battle there and then. The foreign thoughts flashing into his mind would have decided the battle for him.
He knew what Voldemort was thinking, what he was planning. Memories of the months of planning that had gone into getting him exactly where he currently was. The longer they stayed connected the more he saw. The things he'd done. The secrets the man held. He didn't know how he was doing it but he was in Voldemort's mind and his thoughts burned like lava.
Harry's attentions split.
Half of him was pushing the connection forward and the other half was drowning in memories, thoughts and feelings that didn't belong to him.
"When the connection is broken, we will linger for only moments… but we will give you time… you must get to the Portkey, it will return you to Hogwarts… do you understand, Harry?" His father's shade asked and Harry felt tears prick up in the corner of his eyes.
"I… can't." He gasped.
"Harry? What-?" His mother's shade began to ask.
Voldemort had prepared himself for death, done things no sane wizard would consider thinking and Harry was currently drowning in it. He saw it all. Research into forbidden branches of magic. Delving into magic so dark the only records written were in books so ridiculously old, damaged or sealed away in the most secret of collections in the seediest parts of the wizarding world.
Tom Riddle's obsession with Lords, Knights and their relationships. The connections between them, his Ruling Aspect. The thing that made him a Lord in the wizarding world.
Tom Riddle had broken himself trying to bring his Aspect to life, something no wizard before him had been able to accomplish for over a thousand years outside of a few select bloodlines. Voldemort emerged from the broken remains of Tom Riddle and broke himself again and again and again afterwards.
The diary he'd destroyed in his second year at Hogwarts, all without knowing exactly what it was. A ring he stole off his maternal grandfather's corpse. A goblet stolen from a witch. A locket from Borgin and Burkes. A diadem. Nagini.
All of them created for two reasons.
One was as a means of immortality but they had also been created to cut away the itching and crawling need to pull people close. Voldemort had been born with the Ruling Aspect, (as the man had discovered some time in his second year at Hogwarts). A Lord was born with the instinctive need to draw Knights to serve and protect him and Voldemort had been no exception. The clawing and grasping arms refused to stop reaching out to try bonding with the people around him regardless of his own wishes. The aching need had driven Tom Riddle insane and as such Voldemort had intended to cut all six reaching arms off to control them. In his mind a Lord shouldn't have to NEED anyone else, he was above such petty needs.
The night Harry had earned the name "The Boy Who Lived", Voldemort had been intending on making another Horcurx to cut away the last of the reaching arms, and to nip a prophesy in the bud before it could come to fruition. Two birds with the one spell. But something had gone wrong. The ritual had rebounded and the 'arm' Voldemort had cut off hadn't gone into the 'vessel' he'd prepared.
Voldemort hadn't connected the dots yet, but this… this was an answer to a question Harry had been asking himself ever since he'd heard the story of how his parents had died. It was all right there and Voldemort couldn't see it. The only reason Harry was alive, the reason he'd lived when he'd been hit with the Killing Curse was because that bit of soul had latched onto him.
Years later, (and he didn't know exactly WHEN or HOW it had happened), Voldemort, unknowingly drawn to the stray bit of soul, had unintentionally bonded Harry to him as his Knight, and that bond he was keeping the man alive the same way Voldemort was keeping him alive.
"I'm sorry!" Harry choked, tears welling up in his eyes as he addressed the shades of his parents and the rest of Voldemort's former victims as he yanked his wand sideways, breaking the connection.
Choosing between living with the fact he was keeping Voldemort alive or dying and taking one of Voldemort's lifelines with him at the same time?
That wasn't even a choice!
The world flashed green.
Awareness came to him in brief, muted flashes.
The scent of blood filled his nose along with a sharp stomach churning smell. Potions residue? He couldn't tell. The scent dulled down to nothing again the moment he tried pinpointing it. He felt grass under his palms and the chill of the slight dampness clinging to his clothes before that faded too. He would hear something one moment and the next thing he knew the world would go silent again.
He caught snatches of voices and then silence.
He couldn't move, not even to open his own eyes, he didn't have the strength for it. He barely had enough to be as aware as he currently was. He was so far into soul-deep exhaustion it almost felt like he could have been having an out-of-body experience save for how heavy he felt.
He couldn't even react when his body was yanked sharply up by the back of his shirt.
The darkness that had eclipsed his vision lifted briefly and eyes that he'd thought were closed cleared. He hadn't closed his eyes. His vision had joined in with the rest of the scrambled senses fading in and out.
There were men stood standing around him, staring up at him from the height he'd been yanked up to. All of them wearing black cloaks and odd masks. Death Eaters? His vision faded back to black as the grip on the back of his shirt shifted and he was shaken, his head rolled forward limply and his limps flopped uselessly.
What was going on?
Screaming. A shout and then deathly silence. High-pitched laughter. Harry's vision cleared for a second time. Dumbledore's face gone white with shock. A thick rippling barrier separating the Death Eater's and Voldemort in the champion's area from everyone else.
Being flung bodily at the barrier and helpless to do anything but smack right into it and slide lifelessly off it. Eyes that were still frozen open watched Voldemort and his Death Eaters leave.
More screaming. Footsteps rushing forward. The thick barrier collapsing and making him roll onto his back. The star speckled sky. Madam Pomfrey's face as she desperately lunged forward. Hands picking his shoulders up and levering his upper body off the ground. The feeling of an arm slipping around his back. The pressure of fingertips pressing against the pulse-point at his neck. The light of a spell cast on him.
The sound of a strangled sob and the soft touch of gentle fingertips closing his frozen eyelids for him.
It felt like an eternity before he was capable of even the tiniest of movement and the first thing he felt was his heart beginning to beat again. He hadn't even been aware that it had stopped. His lips parted and he breathed in a shallow breath of air, his lungs filled and emptied. His eyes fell open and he was staring at the black cloth that had been draped over his face. He felt like he was swimming to the surface of consciousness and guiding him back to the waking world was Phoenix song.
Fawkes was singing his heart out.
The golden-toned notes felt like they were energizing him, giving him the energy it took for him to try moving. In the time it took for him to figure out how to twitch his fingers against the cloth covering him Harry managed gather his scrambled thoughts together to figure out what had happened to him. He was still alive. He'd been hit nearly point-blank with the Killing Curse, there was no way it had missed him. Not at that distance. Yet he was breathing. His heart was still beating, regardless of how weak that heartbeat was.
Sensation was starting to return to his body, chasing away the numbness and pain took its place. Compared to the Cruciatus curse though this was something he could shove back and ignore, it wasn't like he'd broken a bone. The cut on his arm stung, as did the Acromantula bite on his leg. He was stiff, bruised and scraped all over, his nerves felt like they were sparking all over from the exposure to the killing curse but he could still move. Or rather he SHOULD still be able to move.
It took a few tries to push himself upright but he managed it after a few false starts and dragged the black cloth off of his face. It turned out to be a cloak, an adult-sized cloak made of thick black fabric that didn't feel anything like the Hogwarts uniforms did. Had one of the spectators left it on him?
Pushing back the bed-curtains of the bed he'd found himself in, Harry discovered he'd been moved to the hospital wing. Fawkes was sitting on the headboard of the bed, standing vigil and crooning wave upon wave of soothing music that warmed, soothed his aches and comforted him at the same time. It was the only reason he was able to sit back enough to look back at what had happened, to piece together what must have happened between getting hit by the Killing Curse and now, but from the fragmented pieces he could put together…
Voldemort had taken him back to Hogwarts using the Portkey Harry's parents had wanted him to use to get away. He'd appeared in the Champion's area, where the winner of the Triwizard tournament was meant to appear after making their way into the center of the maze. Dumbledore had put up a barrier. Voldemort had tossed his body against it and left, taking his Death Eaters with him.
From the knowledge that had unintentionally passed between them in the graveyard Harry knew Voldemort would have been in no position to fight, newly resurrected as he was… but instill fear? He'd been more than strong enough for that. Tossing the seemingly-defeated body of his 'enemy' at everyone's feet was more than enough to accomplish that without doing anything else other than Portkey back out.
Now everyone would know that he was back, that his Death Eaters were back and they were somewhere OUT there.
Dragging the cloak around his shoulders as protection from the chill, Harry slipped off the bed. He needed to find Dumbledore. Tell him the things he'd gleaned from Voldemort's mind when they'd connected and- Harry crumpled to the floor, his bitten leg unable to bear his weight. The bite burning with heat. Right, the Acromantula's poison was probably still in his system.
He needed to MOVE. Voldemort had bits of his soul hiding all over the country and no one knew about it. Knew about the one thing in the world that would finally END the nightmare. Knew about the disgusting and twisted Knight-replacements Voldemort had made to stick away the reaching arms. The ones keeping him anchored to the living world. Harry was still alive, he shouldn't be but was. The only reason he could think of was that the thing inside him was keeping him alive in the same way it kept Voldemort alive.
The other objects Voldemort had created had protections woven into their make-up. Perhaps some of the ones the self-styled 'Dark Lord' had intended for his latest Horcrux had ended up pinned to him. It would make a twisted kind of sense.
As of right now he didn't know what else could kill him, he'd tried taking a Killing Curse and that clearly hadn't worked, but the other objects had very real weaknesses. Basilisk's venom. Fiendfyre or a flame hot enough to burn through said protections. He didn't think he was capable of the spell required to cast a flame spell strong enough to destroy the other objects; regardless, he didn't have his wand. He'd dropped that somewhere in the graveyard. Voldemort or one of his Death Eaters probably had it by now. It didn't matter, he had access to something better. He knew where to GET basilisk's venom and he didn't need a wand to get it.
He just… had to MOVE. He'd never been so exhausted and his whole body was shaking, his leg was refusing to bear his weight and felt hot to the tentative touch. He needed an antidote at the very least to the venom. Some of that antiseptic potion Madam Pomfrey used on every open wound and then finally something to close the wounds-
Fawkes flashed off the bed and was at his side within an instant, magnificent head pressing up against the bloodied gash on his leg, coating the injury in a thick, pearlescent coat of tears and then hopping over to do the same to his arm.
Tears of relief pricked up at the corners of his eyes, even as he closed them against the heavy and gut-wrenching guilt twisting his insides. He was alive and he was keeping Voldemort alive… he had no right to have a phoenix cry over him, no matter how much he desperately needed it at the moment.
Pressing his uninjured hand over his eyes Harry tried to regain control over himself; now was not the time to be crying over something he had no idea how to fix right now.
"I heard you." He heard himself tell Fawkes in a rough rasp, voice scratchy and raw from screaming. "You saved me, even though you weren't even there I heard your voice. Through my wand I think… I've lost it now though. I think it got left behind."
The phoenix sang another string of golden notes that seemed to hang in the air and Fawkes flashed away, returning before the notes disappeared to drop his stray wand into his open palm, pressing bodily up against him afterwards.
Harry curled his shaking body around the warmth and dug his fingers into Fawkes's thick plumage, carding his fingers through the soothing warmth like he did with Hedwig. He was healed now. His arm and leg would probably be able to hold his weight. He had his wand. The only thing stopping him from moving was the bone-deep exhaustion. He didn't even have the strength to get up off the floor. Not even with a Phoenix cuddled up to him and willingly sharing his magic with him.
Fawkes's singing was probably the only reason he'd been able to move as much as he had. Even now the bird was still singing, though now it was a soft crooning that seemed to reverberate through him in soft waves.
"I… need to get up." He rasped to no one in particular; Voldemort's horcruxes were burnt into his mind. One of them was in the castle, just waiting for a victim to stumble across it. They were designed to draw magic from their surroundings and while it was in a remote location, there was always going to be the possibility that it would find a victim. Also given the history of that particular object… that person might even be tempted to put the bloody thing ON. It would be Second Year all over again but worse. The bit of Tom Riddle that had gone into the diadem Voldemort had stolen was heads and away more dangerous than the teenager who'd released a basilisk into the school. A fully grown adult Dark Wizard in his prime.
The castle was currently FULL of potential victims and he couldn't move. He had a wand in his hand and he couldn't even feel his magic in response, his wand didn't even spark when he gave it a half-hearted flick. He was tapped out; it would be hours, possibly DAYS before he was strong enough to cast sparks. He didn't even know how he was conscious. He usually slept through this kind of exhaustion, that he was awake was so far out of the norm…
But this was just his kind of luck wasn't it? To be awake and aware when he was helpless to move. When there were people in danger and he was possibly the only soul that could actively DO something about it.
He closed his eyes desperately with the afterimages of Voldemort's horcruxes haunting him and tried to find the energy he needed. Searching himself for even a scrap of magic he could grab at. ANYTHING to get him to his feet.
He would destroy the things anchoring Voldemort to life… and he'd do it even if he had to do it with his Bare. Hands. He'd do it or he'd DIE trying.
Heat pulsed through him and Fawkes sat up in his arms, song reaching a crescendo and the heat that pulsed out from somewhere deep inside him grew stronger.
Harry didn't waste any time trying to figure out what was going on. He felt it. That was an energy he could use. He didn't care where it was coming from, he was going to use it. Beggars couldn't be choosers and Fawkes was actively HELPING him. There was no way this could hurt him, not with a Phoenix actually encouraging him to reach for it.
"Thank… you." Harry rasped and reached for the heat.
Violet filled his vision.
His heartbeat grew stronger almost instantly. His lungs filled and when he next tried pushing himself to his knees he actually managed it. He planted a foot on the ground and used the bed as leverage to get his other foot underneath him and pushed himself upright. He pulled harder on the source of energy inside him and the violet tinting his vision exploded outwards, traveling across his body. Great arcing flames crackled around him as he straightened to his feet, steadying his swaying and anchoring him.
His body was brimming with bright violet flames, flames that were now sinking back into him, washing over his body in what felt like a numbing wave. The cuts and bruises Fawkes's tears hadn't touched healed as he watched.
Eyes that were nearly blind without his glasses were now viewing the world in crisp clarity. His sore and aching body that had been nearly completely immobile mere seconds ago was now capable of full mobility. Pocketing his wand he lifted a hand palm-up, clenched his hand and the violet flames inside him enveloped his fist in a powerful corona of pure heat. He took a single wary step and his body felt so incredibly light. His thoughts were easier to organize too and his emotions were heavily muted.
It was no wonder Voldemort had been so obsessed with it, if this was even a fraction of the power he'd been trying to gain. This wasn't the Amber Aspect Voldemort had been born with, the Ruling Aspect that made him a Lord. Violet flames. The same jewel toned colour of the Amethyst Aspect. Searching for an energy source he could draw on and he'd called on his Soul Shade, something Voldemort had broken himself trying to accomplish.
He knew he could dig into the memories Voldemort had unintentionally shared with him trying to understand it all but he didn't have that kind of patience. That was something he could bother with later.
He had a Horcurx to destroy.
The hallway outside of the hospital wing was deserted.
Harry felt like he might as well be flying, he was moving that fast. He took corners at breakneck speed, the shoes he was wearing skidded on the smooth stone but he adjusted for it before he properly noticed he was doing it. When he finally encountered people, it was a crowd that he easily managed to duck and dodge around.
He ignored the startled sounds and curses that chased after him as he sprinted away, only sliding to a stop when he reached his destination. He didn't bother with checking if anyone was watching before he slammed into Moaning Myrtle's bathroom.
"This is the girl's bathroom! Use your own! Get out, get out, get out!" Myrtle shrieked.
"I'm not here to use the bathroom." Harry replied shortly, brushing through the ghost that had floated to a stop in front of him, uncaring of the touch of frost that washed over him. Myrtle shrieked in outrage, almost acting like he'd caught her in her underwear. Funny, she hadn't been this unwelcoming the last time she'd seen him.
Sweeping the touch of dampness away out of his eyes and off of his face with the edge of his donated cloak, caused from a combination of the heat he was channeling and the cold of walking though Myrtle, Harry stopped in front of the sink that was the entrance-way to the Chamber of Secrets.
"Open." He commanded, but startled. He hadn't… spoken in parseltongue. Tilting his head he stared intently at the little snake scratched into the metal of the tap and tried again, this time making sure he had the image firmly fixed in his mind. "Open!"
Damn, parseltongue was a magical language, did that mean you actually had to have magic just to be able to speak it? He didn't have the time to wait for his magic to replenish!
"You're not here to- YOU'RE JUST LIKE RIDDLE!"
Myrtle had just compared him to…
Violet flames flooded the bathroom and Myrtle screamed, diving for one of the toilets and the sound of something breaking sounded over the pounding in his ears.
"I AM NOTHING LIKE HIM!" Harry roared, slamming his fist through the wall, a fissure cracked through the tiles underneath his feet, his footing shifted and dropped out from beneath him.
Well… that was one way to get into the chamber.
Harry skidded down the slick shaft he fell into on his feet and kicked off at the landing. He stepped to the side as bits of rubble followed him down the pipe and grimaced at the sight. Some of them were burning around the edges with very obvious Amethyst-toned flame.
As strong as it was, the ability Fawkes had helped awaken… was not very subtle.
Looking up at the pipe he'd fallen through he could see the hot purple flames sticking to the inside where the bits of rubble must have bounced off of. Hopefully they'd die down soon; he didn't want to be responsible for accidentally burning Hogwarts to the ground whilst trying to save it.
Stamping out the flames he could get at within reaching distance with his foot, Harry then scuffed the lingering edge of flames off of the melting sole of his shoe. He kicked the burning bits of rubble over so the flame on them extinguished and continued on. He squirmed his way through the opening in the rubble Lockhart had brought down trying to cast Obliviate using Ron's broken wand and absently noted the tight fit. He'd been SMALL at twelve. It had only been two years ago, and the hole Ron had opened up in the rubble that had seemed so easy to slip through then was quite the awkward fit now.
Shrugging off the cloak he was still wearing to make the task easier, Harry abandoned it and clawed his way through. He ended up having to brace his hands on the ground so he could leverage the rest of his body out without bringing the ceiling down on top of him. He almost wished he dared to try blasting through it like he had the sink in Myrtle's bathroom.
Though he supposed he might as well save that for the vault-like door barring the way through to the chamber the basilisk was. Lockhart had already done enough damage to Hogwarts, he didn't want to add to the stress and collapse whatever was above that particular bit of the ceiling. The pile of rubble he'd just wriggled his way through was probably the only thing holding it up!
The gate to the actual chamber was open when he got to it, which was something of a relief, he didn't want to damage Hogwarts more than he already had. He'd already done irreplaceable damage to the sink that had hidden the chamber for so many years. If he destroyed this one too there would be no way to secure the chamber after he left it again, something he fully intended to do after he got his hands on a few fangs.
The light coming from the still-burning traces of violet flame still burning in the pipe he'd dropped in from didn't reach much further, Harry could barely make out anything past the open vault-like door. Not even the sharpened eyesight was enough to pierce through the darkness. Bringing his left hand up to his nose he coughed; the smell was incredible. Years of rotting away in dark, stagnant water, it was a wonder no one had complained of it coming out of the pipes.
He remembered where he'd left the corpse of the basilisk, but exactly how much of the actual chamber itself did he remember? He couldn't take the chance of accidentally tripping, who knew where he'd end up if he fell into one of the downward pipes branching out of the chamber? No, he needed to be able to see.
He only had one solution to that, given that he couldn't use his magic at the moment. Directing the heat thrumming through him up into his hand was as easy as breathing. The same eerily silent purple flames that had broken a hole into the entrance to the chamber licked to life around his fist and bathed the whole room in flickering violet light and shadows.
The basilisk's dead body was just where he'd left it, untouched by anything save the passage of time. Rotting flesh clung to bared bones, with its massive skull still standing taller than he did even after nearly two full years and the loss of most of the flesh around its head and neck. Seeing it again now after so much time he realized just how lucky he'd been to walk away alive from that encounter. If it hadn't been for Fawkes…
A burst of bright orange-gold flame erupted, startling Harry into involuntarily closing his fist on the handful of flame he was using to light up the room. It didn't matter though, he still had plenty of light to see by. Fawkes was providing more than enough light, flying around the room and lighting up the unlit torches as he passed by.
"You're always saving me, aren't you?" he murmured, lifting an arm up for the phoenix to land on. "Thank you." Fawkes warbled out a drawn out string of light, querying notes as he landed. "Don't worry, I'm not going to be in here for long." He mumbled, reaching up to card his fingers through Fawkes's irresistibly soft feathers. "You might not want to get too close though, I'm about to make a bit of a mess."
Giving the phoenix a boost back up into the air Harry felt the faintest shadow of a smile ghost across his face as Fawkes took his advice, choosing to perch on one of the torch-brackets. Pulling off his sweater Harry bundled it up so it made a make-shift bag, one end secured by his tie, and stalked forward. He eyed the dead basilisk's gaping mouth and the collection of fangs lining its' mouth and grimaced, this wasn't going to be neat.
As easy as were to detach from the skull the job WAS a messy one; by the time he was satisfied with the fangs he'd gathered he was up to his elbows in filth, it coated the hems of his pants and clung to his half-melted shoes. He was going to have to have to throw everything he was wearing out and boil himself after this. If he hadn't been so absolutely focused on his task he'd have lost his breakfast, lunch and whatever meals he'd had for the last three days from the smell alone… and he was going to stop thinking about it or he'd lose it all anyway.
Deliberately stepping into the patches of water to wash off as much as he could of it off of him as he left, Harry paused at the Chamber doors and waited for Fawkes to fly through. He didn't have to do much to get it to close behind him, it swung to a close at the light tug he gave it. It closed as if its hinges had been maintained and oiled in the years since it had been abandoned and the enchanted snakes decorating its edges secured the door in, slithering into place and turning gleaming red eyes on him as if expecting him to try entering again.
No thank you, he'd had enough of the Chamber of Secrets to last him a lifetime.
The phoenix was waiting for him on a bit of rubble; Harry waved him through first and eyed the hole that would lead him back into the area he'd landed in from the bathroom with narrowed eyes. It hadn't been easy wriggling through in the first place and he hardly fancied trying to do so with a bundle of basilisk fangs… aiming the bundle so it would land near the now-smoking pipe, he tossed it in first.
He'd had quite enough of basilisk venom too, no way he was going to risk another dose. Not even with Fawkes so close-by.
Pushing the cloak he'd left behind through the hole Harry sighed and ducked in, squirming through the opening that felt like it had gotten smaller. Awkwardly planting his hands on the ground outside as he managed to push his shoulders through he kicked and tried to leverage his way out. Feathers brushed his fingers, bringing his attention back in front of him, Fawkes had the bundle of fangs in his beak and was patiently waiting for him to grab onto his tail.
"… sorry. You might need quite the bath after this." He grimaced as he gingerly took a careful handful of the phoenix's tail-feathers. His hands were about as filthy as his shoes and the hems of his pants were.
The tingling of a feather-light charm spread through him at the contact and a reassuring thrill were his only answer.
Myrtle was gone when they returned to her bathroom. Letting go of Fawkes, Harry staggered as the weightlessness dropped from him and he landed like an anvil; he caught himself on the edge of a broken sink and steadied himself.
Now that he'd taken care of collecting the fangs he needed to destroy the Horcruxes… he'd start with the one hidden in Hogwarts.
As detached from himself as he felt, Harry knew he'd be able to make it up there; his leg and arm were healed, as were the scrapes and bruises he'd earned during the Third Task. He didn't know how long that would last though, the flames Fawkes had fanned to life could extinguish at any minute, leaving him with his task still incomplete. Brushing the worst of the mess off of his hands and onto a clean area of his shirt, Harry caught the bundle of fangs Fawkes had dropped into one of the nearby sinks and left. The sooner he got to the seventh floor, the better.
He ignored everyone he came across.
Fellow students gaped and stared at him as he darted past, visitors gagged and covered their noses. Suits of armour saluted him and the Hogwarts ghosts dived out of his way and vanished through walls to get away from him. He took stairs two or three at a time and then bounded up them six or seven steps at a time when he pushed too hard jumping over a trick step and flew right over it. Soon he was leaping straight up whole flights of stairs and balancing on banisters as he discovered the flames that had turned the world crystal-clear around him… were also now strengthening and boosting his natural abilities to an unusual degree.
He wasn't complaining.
Even with one hand busy securing the bundle of fangs and making sure he wasn't about to give himself another dose of venom by squeezing too hard on it, he was making amazing progress. This was a sensation almost like the one he got flying. His balance was perfect, he landed exactly where he wanted, where he wanted and how he wanted. His awareness of his surroundings had expanded and he was capable of dodging a potential collision with barely a minute of forewarning. The only thing he had to be wary of was the slickness of his tread on the stone flooring and his grip, which he was already compensating for.
Seventh floor, left wing. Opposite the tapestry of the wizard attempting to teach trolls how to dance. A room that would open if you needed to hide something. From the knowledge Voldemort had shared… all Harry had to do was walk past the wall three times with the mental image of what he wanted to hide firmly fixed in his mind.
Easy enough, he had a handful of basilisk fangs he could sacrifice to that kind of cause.
He stalked past the blank stretch of wall three times, mental image firmly fixed in place and wondered if it would appear if he wanted to TAKE something from the room. Harry absently brushed a clump of filth off of his sleeve and focused again on his task. Somewhere to hide basilisk fangs. Somewhere to hide basilisk fangs. Somewhere to hide basilisk fangs- A door melted out of the stonework Harry was staring at and he lunged for it, barely waiting for the door handle to finish forming before he yanked it open.
Broken and damaged furniture (mostly chairs, tables, and various cabinets haphazardly stacked), perhaps hidden to hide mishandled magic. Thousands and thousands of books scattered all over the place in either in tottering piles or in bookcases. Various toys, Harry recognized a Frisbee with fangs and a winged catapult among the mess. Chipped bottles of congealed potions and corked bottles whose contents still shimmered malevolently.
Harry stepped past a pile of what looked like dragon eggshells, several rusting swords and a heavy, bloodstained axe. There was an enormous stuffed troll standing guard over a collection of hats, and a trunk that was overflowing with jewels. He even found a surprisingly large collection of clothes. Cloaks, robes, shoes, pants and skirts. Cages in various sizes, including one with a five legged skeleton in it. A chipped old bust of an ugly warlock. A few, heavy broomsticks. A set of dominoes. Various metalware, including cauldrons, trophies made from tarnished silver. Some suits of armour, some of which were disassembled and bolts of unused cloth.
There was a pile of picture frames and portraits that he would have otherwise completely ignored on his left, one of which seemed to be active. The occupant of the portrait caught his attention by jumping up and down in his frame, bright purple catching the corner of his eye. He'd only given it his full attention because of the flame he'd leaked earlier in the chamber of secrets. Starting a fire with the amount of crap in the room could start a fire that could potentially burn Hogwarts to the ground.
Picking his way through a pile of rolled up carpets Harry crouched down in front of the odd portrait and set it right-way-up. The occupant leaned back on his heels and grinned up at him, oddly purple eyes meeting his with absolute delight. "Well, I'll be a Sky's Uncle. Look at you! A little dirty, and gross, but wow! That flame! You're definitely one of mine!" Purple hair and eyes, both in vivid, jewel-toned colours. Interesting but ultimately not dangerous. He'd thought he'd accidentally leaked some flame again for a minute there.
Well as long as he hadn't started a fire he might as well go back to hunting down that goddamned Horcurx. Setting the portrait back against the trunk it had been hanging upside down and half off of, Harry straightened up to his feet. How suspicious was that anyway? An active portrait in a room that had to have been untouched since Tom Riddle? Every other portrait that had frames here had clearly abandoned them for other portraits but this one stayed behind?
Purple eyes widened and the grin on his face tilted into a proud smirk. "I come here to treasure watch sometimes, it helps pass the time."
Harry's eyes narrowed, that wasn't exactly alieving his suspicions, had the portrait somehow read his mind?
"Oh please, I don't need to be able to read your mind, you have one of the most expressive faces I've ever seen!" The portrait declared, smirking again and seating himself backwards into a large wing-backed chair, crossing one leg over the other. "Also I'm not one to invade one's privacy quite so much—Hey! Don't ignore me! I'm your ancestor!" Harry turned his back on his so-called ancestor and rolled his eyes. This portrait was beginning to remind him of a certain other portrait he knew, only Sir Cadogan wasn't nearly as unbearably smug.
"OH COME ON YOU LITTLE SHIT! DO YOU EVEN KNOW WHAT YOU'RE DOING? I CAN HELP YOU! YOU KEEP BURNING YOUR FLAME LIKE THAT AND YOU'RE GOING TO LITERALLY BURN OUT AND DIE!"
Harry paused in the act of searching a dusty cupboard and snorted lightly. Like he was worried about that. If he was that close to death then he just had to destroy at least this one Horcurx before he died.
"Goddamn it, what are they teaching you kids today?! You're one good hit from the grave and the last moron I saw in here tore a perfectly good Sky flame into pieces and crammed it into Ravenclaw's Diadem!" The portrait whined, no doubt hearing his faint amusement. "Even if I'd been able to steal it I wouldn't be able to fence it with a goddamned Soul Fragment inside it! Fucking asshole RUINED a priceless artefact for no good reason!"
Harry did an about-face.
"All that money~" the portrait sighed. "It wouldn't even be good for decoration with all that malice floating around it, it would just contaminate and ruin all the other pieces."
"Where is it?" Harry rasped, grabbing the top edges of the portrait in desperation and forcing his raw throat to spit out the words. "Ravenclaw's Diadem."
"What are you doing out of school anyway? That looks like a Gryffindor uniform, shouldn't you be tucked away in Hogwarts somewhere? And just what are you going to do with it if I tell you? You won't be able to fence it." The purple eyed portrait cautioned. "Approach it carelessly and it'll eat you alive."
"This IS Hogwarts and I don't want to steal it…" Harry corrected. "I want to destroy it."
Skeptical violet eyes widened and then narrowed. "Do you even know how? It's not so simple to 'destroy'! I'd suggest you burn it with your flames but as pure as they are you don't have nearly enough at the moment to accomplish it! You're going to need something to break through the enchantments for you!"
"Basilisk venom good enough for you?" Harry countered dryly, setting down his burden and carefully picking a fang out of the bundle as an example.
"… if it's genuine." The portrait mused, leaning forward and eyeing the fang he was holding up with critical eyes.
"It's genuine." Harry muttered shortly, carefully putting the fang back with the others and pulled up his sleeve to show the purple haired man the fifty pence-sized scar just above the crook of his arm. "From a thousand-year-old basilisk."
The purple haired man's eyes nearly bugged out of skull. "… that works."
The diadem was sitting innocuously on top of marble-topped dresser with half its drawers missing. It looked old and discoloured, hardly anything like the treasure his purple-haired 'ancestor' insisted it was, or would have been had it not been 'tainted'.
"Such a waste." The portrait complained, leaning against the edge of a landscape full of sunflowers. "An artifact powerful enough to still be active over a thousand years later and a Sky driven insane by his own instincts. If he hadn't already been so broken by the time he discovered this room maybe…" he trailed off, eyes staring off into the distance of fading sun painted into the landscape of the portrait he'd used to lead him to where the diadem was.
"Shut up." Harry snapped shortly, irritation breaking through the near-emotionless state he was in and fanning the heat inside him to a hotter blaze. He did not want to be hearing someone pity his parents' MURDERER. He slammed the fang down onto the diadem and held his ground as the thing screamed. It jerked and spasmed, wreathed like he'd stabbed a living creature and black blood, similar to what had come out of the diary, oozed out. Orange-tinged black smoke rose up out of it and lingered for a brief moment, howled miserably in a high-pitched and hollow tone and dissipated.
"Okay, it's dead! Come on you little idiot, you can dial it down now before you kill yourself!" The portrait snapped, pulling Harry's single-minded focus off the dead diadem. "Yes, just like that. Well done. Good work, nice job. Time to calm down now!"
Harry swayed and made to sit down where he stood.
"No! That's not the best place! Over here, come on! Here is better, there's a… nice and… comfy armchair here! Doesn't that sound better than the nasty, curse-juiced floor?" The portrait called from a portrait further away. "There are some clothes you can change into here too! Wouldn't you like to get out of what you're wearing and into something clean? You can have some of my old things, they're right here in this old trunk! One of my idiot descendants decided they were going to edit the family history and dumped all of my old stuff here, how lucky is that?"
That... did sound better. Now that he'd taken care of the diadem… he was finding it harder to ignore how bad he smelled.
The change of clothes the portrait offered turned out to be a ribbed turtleneck, a pair of canvas pants, metal plated boots, a pair of metal backed gloves that reached up past his wrist and a thick, calf-length leather jacket. All of it black and automatically resizing to fit him when he pulled them on. Harry transferred his wand into the pocket of his right glove the portrait insisted was made for it and kicked the stinking pile of clothes he'd been wearing as far away from himself as he could.
He didn't have the energy to make it much further and the 'comfy' armchair turned out to be lumpy in all the wrong places but Harry didn't care at the moment. With the immediate threat of the Horcrux taken care of he felt like he wanted to sleep away the next few years.
".. there we go, we can get you properly cleaned up later. We can deal with everything else when you're not a sneeze away from killing yourself. Who would have thought my treasure-watching would unearth you?"
Harry didn't have an answer for that; didn't even have the energy for the sarcastic retort he had on the tip of his tongue. All he had left in him was the energy he used to tuck himself underneath an old Ravenclaw robe and…
It had been a long time since the last Flame Active of the bloodline had come into their flames and it had been generations since one had boasted such a strong flame. The teenager had been burning said flames at such a high and intense rate that it was hard to believe he hadn't burnt himself out already. Even with the Black disposition going in his favour the boy should have burnt himself out within five minutes of lighting that flame and yet… it was obvious he'd been burning it for far longer than that, at least twice as long.
He was covered in blood and filth, the blood from the cut on his forehead had already dried. The crusted black sludge coating the boy's clothes had also partially dried. Wherever he'd been and whatever he'd been doing before the single-minded determination to destroy the Diadem had lit… it had to have been at least ten minutes ago to already be anywhere near that dry.
What was he doing trying to destroy it on his own? Where were his parents? Where on EARTH had he gotten those basilisk fangs? Just ONE was worth a king's ransom in gold and the boy easily had more than a fair dozen all wrapped up in a sweater of all things! Clearly still a student, the ruined uniform gave that away. Gryffindor from the tie holding the bundle of fangs closed. Interesting, there hadn't been a Gryffindor in the family since Phineas had seen fit to 'Seal' away the family history.
Felis Black smirked as he stared down at the child who'd unintentionally stumbled across his own birthright. Eyes tracing the vibrant purple hair that hadn't dulled in the least, even with the boy deeply asleep. With a flame like that… it would be downright impossible that the boy hadn't inherited the lion's share of the rest of the family's gifts as well. How long had it been since his last heir? Far too long.
It was about damned time he'd found another one.
So, he was in Hogwarts was he? No wonder the treasure room Phineas had dumped him in was full of such a random collection. He'd always assumed this particular portrait-frame been placed in Gringotts. The little bastard had taken everything that had made the Black family what they were and sealed it away. He struck off all mention of Flames out from the family, including the family's origins and during his tenure as Hogwarts headmaster he'd removed all traces of knowledge about Flames from the curriculum, keeping only the barest basics. The last he heard the only mention of which was used in divinations to discover your 'Soul Shade' and to balance calculations in Ancient Runes and Arithmancy.
All of the portrait frames Felis had access to where thrown into this room, inaccessible by him until the seal was lifted from the main portrait in the England estate. The sub-basements had been locked and forgotten.
To add insult to injury, Phineas had placed his portrait in such a way as to give him a good view of the loot the man could have otherwise have fenced. Priceless artifacts left in plain view, feeling almost like they were all within REACHING distance. Worse than that? He hadn't seen his wife in centuries! The ass hadn't even had the decency to keep his wife's portrait within visiting distance!
He'd tried reaching another portrait before but he'd been locked by a blood-binding spell into his original frames, one in the Lightning estate in London, the one in the Sky Manor in Italy and finally the one that used to hang in the corridor of Hogwarts third floor so many years ago. Which, in hindsight, was probably why Phineas had hidden everything in what seemed to be Hogwarts 'Lost and Found' room instead of the house.
Now though, his young descendant had touched his portrait and had released the seal keeping him trapped within his own portrait frames and the minor landscapes they connected with. He'd unwittingly pressing a blood-stained hand directly over the seal and the bindings had unraveled, he was free to travel to whatever portrait he could reach. He was free to explore Hogwarts at his leisure.
He didn't bother with trying to reach his wife's portrait, much as he might wish to; it would still be sealed, and would stay that way until he could convince one of his descendants into releasing it. Hopefully his newest charge would oblige him, unlike his last heir who'd taken his teachings and hadn't visited the Sky Estate since! With that in mind there WAS a portrait in Hogwarts he had every intention of meeting; it had been decades since he'd been sealed away. Phineas would have a portrait in the Headmaster's office. That meant he could go and show him EXACTLY how stupid an idea it was to seal him away and then put his own portrait in the same building.
He appeared behind the little shit and locked an arm around the bastard's throat. "Hello my cute little descendant..." He purred, voice low and threatening.
He allowed Phineas to get a good look at exactly who had a hold of him and his lip curled in an expression that was decidedly NOT a smile, one that bared his teeth. "… I think it's time we had a talk."
Hurr hurr hurr~ I had fun writing this!
So I've been wanting to write this fic for AGES, a year or so at least and I've been trading ideas back and forth with Araceil about it for FOREVER. As fun as it's been I thought it was about time I actually put proverbial pen to paper and got this one started.
Hope you like it~!