Hello, Harry. What do you wish to tell me?
Harry had taken to asking the Diary about odd bits and pieces - what made a portrait's magic?, what was the pattern of the movement of Hogwart's stairs?, guess what day it is today.
In return, the Diary gave out a lot of information on... everything. Including the basics of how it was made, although not who made it.
That was alright. It was a long dance, certainly - each giving the other information, then slowly adding emotion into it, and perhaps, if he had eternity, Dubhshlain was certain he'd be able to convince the diary to be loyal to him and only him.
He didn't have eternity, and he was only twelve, while the Diary was made by a master manipulator.
It took a month for Harry to realize that he was being far too free with the Diary, giving off-hand comments about his feelings and such - only the fact that he had Fae blood saved him, because it meant that he wasn't human, his emotions and mind weren't quiet human, and the Diary, something wholly human, simply wasn't equipped enough to posses him.
Dubhshlain wrinkled his nose. Only fools depended on Luck - unless they had trapped lady Luck into some sort of contract. Contracts were very dependable. He didn't depend on luck. He depended on skill. While it took a month to see the manipulation, he had spent the last two months researching... and dodging Professor Lockhart's probing look.
At any rate, the Diary was actually a... ghost. Trapped in a diary. (The technical term was an Anima, but really, an Anima? Who uses words like those?) Which meant it wanted something (preferably not destruction, because then his plan would go to hell.)
Speaking of his plan...
The black-haired boy wrinkled his nose, dipped his quill into his ink-pot, and quickly scribbled down a sentence:
You are an anima in a diary. If you don't tell me what you want I will destroy you by using Fiendfyre.
This was a bluff. He had no idea how to use Fiendfyre. He could cast the spell, alright, but controlling it? No, thanks. (Although, Fleur probably knew how, what with her connection to fire...) He kept writing.
Or by dipping you in Basilisk Venom. He had no clue if that one would work... but Hogwarts had a Basilisk, so why not?
Either you tell me what you want, or I will destroy you. You have one minute to start writing.
For an entire second there was nothing. Then, in handwriting that got shakier and more sprawling as time went on, the Diary began to answer.
How dare you tell me what to do? Do you know who I am? I am Tom Marvolo Riddle, I am everything and everyone and NOTHING can defeat me. Do you know what happened to people who tried to destroy me? Let me tell you something:
When I was six, there were a bunch of children in the Orphanage where I grew up. They laughed at me; they threw rocks. They killed the snake I was talking to, they threw the rocks and one of them hit the snake, it just happened and they laughed, and their eyes were just laughing, at me, how dare, they and
The rest of the sentence was just... anger. It wasn't legible, just anger. Harry was almost impressed: that was a lot of rage to contain within a single person.
I had to show them that they couldn't walk on me, show them that I could hurt them, show them that they were far more defenseless that I was, show them that I was king. So I went to the leader of the group, and I found his pet rabbit, and I controlled it and I made it hang itself from the rafters, and I took the two sidekicks and I took them to a cave, and I showed them that I was King.
The leader of the group looked at me with fear in his eyes. It was pathetic; I don't need the fear of cretins; they owe it to me because the omegas fear the alphas of the pack.
So I took the two sidekicks - the betas - into the cave. I went into their minds, and I destroyed them for hurting me, for the look in their eyes, because they looked at me like I was nothing! I am Judge, Jury, and Executioner! I am Everything and Everyone!
Then Dumbledore came, told me I had magic - of COURSE I HAVE MAGIC, I am SPECIAL, ruler of all of those stupid children, and they looked at me with fear in their eyes, because I am better, of course I had magic! - and Dumbledore looked at me with Pity. As if I would be nothing without him; as if I depended on Dumbledore. And he set my wardrobe on fire, he showed me he was the best, the king, and I was nothing.
I decided I would kill him for that pity. I am better than anyone's pity.
I am better than Death itself, and I set out to prove it. I decided to make Horcruxes.
The first one was a Journal like this one, made from the death of a girl - Ravenclaw - named Myrtle. She tried to lead me around; tried to show me around as if I were her arm-candy. A pet. She was a means to an end, because she had the wrong look in her eyes - Lust and appreciation of the wrong sort.
People should appreciate my power, not my body.
So I killed her for treating me as if I were less. I am not a pet.
I went to my muggle... relatives. Tom Riddle Senior and his parents. This was in my sixth year. And my biological father looked at me with fear and disgust. I killed him for it. I am powerful, yes, a little fear is normal, but disgust? That was forbidden. I knew why he was disgusted - I was proof of his weakness, that he succumbed to a Love Potion and ran off with my mother.
That gave him no right to look at me like that, to judge me like that. I killed him and his parents. I framed Morfin. I made the Gaunt Family Ring a horcrux. It's still in the Little Hangleton shack.
There was an old woman. I killed her for treating Helga Hufflepuff's cup and Salazar Slytherin's locket with such disrespect. That was a part of history, a part of me, a part of my world, of her world. She was a fool to treat it as if it were nothing.
Her death made Hufflepuff's cup a horcrux. It was placed into Gringotts, the safest place on Earth... apart from Hogwarts.
Mr. Longbottom was an Auror. His son, Frank, wasn't nearly as good. A child, especially compared to his father, Neville's grandfather. Mr. Longbottom was a brilliant duelist - he fought with me once in Single Combat.
He looked at me with respect. Respect and Hate. No fear, which was good. No acceptance, which was bad.
I killed him and used him for the horcrux in Salazar's locket, to honor him. He was a warrior. A leader. A king. He respected me, not just hated or feared me. The Horcrux was placed in the same cave near the orphanage... the place where I destroyed the minds of two of the children which threw rocks at me.
Ravenclaw's Diadem was placed into Hogwarts, into the Room of Requirement. I had killed a little girl who stuck out her tongue at me. She looked at me with loathing and a bit of curiosity.
No respect, no acceptance. Fool.
And now, I think that I have told you enough not to be destroyed, yes?
Harry gaped. This was... information. By the loads. It was terrifying, what Tom was unafraid to do...
Oh, most definitely, Tom. You are a very good storyteller; and you must be very resourceful to start a war all by yourself.
Tom was an enemy - which meant that he deserved respect. If you didn't respect someone, they weren't enemies, they were obstacles. Harry blinked at the diary - his words weren't being sucked in. There was a long moment of silence. Then the Diary's pages started fluttering, rapidly turning back and forth until a wind was coming from the pages. Ghostly hands forced themselves out, then a head, torso, feat.
Harry stumbled back. He had forgotten to make a contract to stop the diary from hurting him! His breath caught in his throat, and he desperately grabbed at his wand. He really didn't want to die, and panic was the wrong response, but what was he supposed to do? A MURDERER WAS CRAWLING OUT OF THAT BOOK!
Tom Riddle stepped out of the Diary, looking, to all the world, not a day over sixteen - the moment before he first split his soul. Harry held his breath.
"Thank you." Tom whispered, quietly, as though it pained him to say the words. Then he faded away with a sigh, the ghost - Anima - leaving this world into the next. The enchantments on the Diary fell apart.
Harry blinked for a moment, deciding that his comment must have been both respectful and accepting, then picked up a parchment and began to compose a letter to Fleur.
Fleur Delacour smirked to herself. Joan's English was going very, very well. This was helpful, because it meant that Gabrielle was doing well in muggle self-defense. Fleur frowned at her younger sister. The girl was pushing herself, learning quickly and steadily, it was true. But she was also very close to the people that Fleur forced to protect her, and she was happy, and there was no competition... long and short, Gabrielle was doing what Fleur would have done if she hadn't met Harry - she would have been happy and better than everyone, but that's it. Not forcing herself.
Gabrielle would enter into her full heritage at twenty-one, and Fleur couldn't help but think that she could have done much better.
Those thoughts were knocked out her head when a letter arrived... a letter from Harry.
Fleur began to read. It was basically an explanation of the entire Diary experience. Apparently, he had checked the Room of Requirement, the Diary wasn't a horcrux... and he was inviting her over for Yule, asking her to come with him as he went searching for the horcruxes... or rather, to check if the Horcruxes were defeated by Dumbledore and Sirius and Remus.
The girl smiled to herself. Yes, she would love to spend winter vacation with her Harry. This was the perfect moment to show off her fire powers just in case a horcrux wasn't destroyed.
Tom Lockhart was smiling, stroking Nagini gently.
It was All Hallow's Eve, Samhain night, and Dumbledore was to die.
Diana Brendiv was already dead, that was of no concern... perhaps he could hire Gringotts to set up the wards to kill stupid people, although that would cost a lot. Then again, Dumbledore was going to be dead - if Tom took the damn phoenix and sold it to Gringotts, the goblins would probably agree to anything.
Also, teaching was a lot of fun.
The students were learning quite a lot, and they liked him, asking questions. This was what he craved - people looking at him like he was one of them, the respect, the trust, all of it.
Well, it was too late now. Now, he wanted more.
He wanted power and revenge and anything else would be met with laughter. Today, Dumbledore's death, would be just the beginning.
"You know, Luna, I am not a good person - or, at least, I have to do very bad things."
"I know. There are very few good people. Like Neville, or Hermione. Everyone else has good qualities."
"That's not what I meant. Luna... I'm... this is not... that's not... how do I explain this?"
"Blaise, there is no need to explain. Do you know Nero, the last Emperor of Rome? He had a girl he loved. He was a bad person, but he loved a girl and she loved him back."
"Nero ended up committing suicide, and the girl left him behind long before he did that. Luna, please try to listen: I have to do something tonight. Something... not nice."
"Blaise, I am not a good person either. I just have no need for retribution. I have no qualms with wrongdoing. The thing is, I have no need of it. I have a home in Hogwarts, and while I wouldn't be able to kill or do anything of the sort, I already know what you are."
"Luna, how -"
"I like learning, I like hanging out with you, and just because you do bad things in your spare time doesn't mean I shouldn't have to stop hanging out with you."
Blaise paused. They two of them were going down a corridor, one that split off right here - one path going to the Great Hall, where the feast would start in minutes, the other path going to the Headmaster's office.
The Headmaster was in there. He had been eating his lemon drops, soaked in potions, for the last two months. Blaise had his wand and a few knives and a job to do. Mio Dio, Quirrel's blood was so red... will Dumbledore's blood be red, too? Will his eyes haunt me too; will his falling and chocking on his blood haunt my nights as well?
The boy took a shuddering breath in. The blond wisp in front of him had her head tilted, her eyes wise.
"What you will do is wrong. I forgive you. Don't forget to clean your knives." The waif drifted into the Great Hall, and Blaise let out his breath. She was... How did she know? How could she accept him after knowing?
Didn't she know what killing someone meant; what a life meant?
Because he knew. And he would have to re-learn it all over again. Blaise turned and marched up the stairs to the Headmaster's office.
Albus Dumbledore hummed to himself as he straighted his hat. Tonight was the Halloween feast. Everything was going well - Lockhart even turned out to be a competent teacher, surprisingly enough. Of course, this would have to be looked into; the quick change from the lying man who couldn't hold a wand correctly to a competent - no, brilliant - and charismatic leader was troubling.
But it could wait.
Then, someone knocked on his door. Albus quickly sat behind his desk, made the lemon drops available, and waved his wand to open the door.
Blaise Zabini stepped inside.
"Yes, my boy?"
Albus Dumbledore should have opened his mouth to say "Avada Kedavra".
He didn't, and he wasted precious seconds, during which the Zabini Assassin completed his plan. Blaise had known that Dumbledore was powerful - trying to use magic on him was stupid, potions or not. However, wandless magic was now impossible - so, without a wand, Dumbledore was an old man who had a phoenix for protection.
The phoenix had to die - it would be reborn that instant, but a chick couldn't help the man.
So when Dumbledore was asking him the question, Zabini did two things: throw a knife at the phoenix (making it burst into flame - it was dead) and quietly saying "Accio all wands on Dumbledore."
Dumbledore paled. Zabini had two wands at his feet and one in his hand - his own, with the Elder Wand and Dumbledore's own at his feat.
"Are you here to kill me?"
"Yes. You don't need to forgive me. Luna already did, that's all I need." Zabini threw his other knife at Dumbledore, hitting his heart. Then he went to Fawkes' perch, scooped the knife out (careful not to touch the baby bird), and slit Dumbledore's throat. Just in case.
After that, he cleaned and pocketed both knives and the wands, shuddering at the odd feeling of one of them. It felt like... well, like Harry, sometimes. It certainly didn't like him. And Luna could keep Dumbledore's other wand.
Zabini hurried to the feast.
Luna wandered over to Theodore Nott at the Slytherin table, noticing the empty seat on either side of him. Of course, one of those empty seats just had an invisible girl on it.
Theo blinked at her through his glamour.
Luna didn't see through the glamour, she just knew it was there. Like she knew about the invisible girl. She knew important things.
So she leaned over and whispered into his ear the only thing he ever wanted to hear.
"The girl's name is Bice Zabini, your father gave both of you a Glasgow Smile, she loves you, and if you take Bice back to her mother, Lacole Zabini, they would adopt you and make both you and Bice as happy as possible."
Luna skipped away and Theodore immediately began to write a letter to Lacole Zabini. There was no way he was going back to his father's house.
Dubhshlain shuddered as Blaise handed him the wand. It smelled of fae; of power and hate and he wanted it. Moreover, Harry wanted it too. It felt like the cloak, like home and not-home and something odd. Something very... fae. Then Dubhshlain heard its hiss - You are not my master. Of course, they weren't actually words. But the sense of disapproval and rejection were hard to miss.
Don't worry, Dubhshlain answered, I will be. It was like his cloak, 1/3 of a group, and he wanted the wand to be his. And he wanted the other third.
The wand was pulling toward the teacher, Professor Lockhart.
It was his.
It also wanted to kill him, because that was how the wand worked. Or, if not kill, defeat somehow. And Dubhshlain's strength was contracts.
This would require his signature. The only thing requiring a teacher's signature was a book out of the Restricted section of the library. Ergo: he needed to look into a book that was restricted, but not dangerous enough for Lockhart to reduce to sign.
How about a book on muggle fighting? That would seem plausible - he was good at magic fighting and he wanted to learn the muggle method, which was only written about in the restricted section because it was about fighting.
Ignoring the feast in front of him, Dubhshlain pulled out some parchment and began to write, using his invisible ink pen.
Whoever signs this parchment anywhere at all agree to follow all the direct orders of Dubhshlain, also known as Harry James Potter.
The signer of this parchment agree never to try to gain power through any way, shape or form. They agree never to murder or execute anybody. They will do their utmost to avoid killing or permanently injuring anyone. If they are a teacher, they must still teach the students to defend themselves and answer any impersonal questions factually.
They may not manipulate anybody outside of socially acceptable norms. They must answer all of Dubhshlain's (also known as Harry James Potter) questions factually, telling the full truth and nothing but the truth, in a easily comprehensible manner.
The person signing this parchment may not let anyone know about this contract - he must not let anyone know he signed a contract, nor what was inside of it, nor must he give any indication that he signed a contract - with the exception of manipulation out of socially accepted norms, he cannot treat anybody differently after this.
On the other side of the parchment, in visible ink and hastily scrawled, where the words 'This teacher _ gives me, Harry Potter, permission to look into the Restricted Section of the Library for a book about Muggle Fighting'
That should do it.
Now he just had to make sure Professor Lockhart signed with his true name... which meant he needed to find out the true name. Sirius would definitely send him some Veritiseum if he thought it was for a prank... He could ask the House Elves to make sure Lockhart drank some of it... and presto! Enter the classroom, ask for his true name... Although, perhaps he should also ask the Elves to put Lockhart to sleep before he entered the classroom, so Harry could tie him up and such - no need to give the Professor any chance of getting away.
Lacole Zabini smiled at The Daily Prophet. This news was rather... well, wondrous. It seamed that her dear Blaise had managed to kill Dumbledore. Judging by the letter from him, it seamed that he also found a dear young girl who forgave him for it. Well, Xenophillius was always insane, so his daughter may be insane as well, but that was beside the point. Both parents had been smart and quick-witted, and Luna's mother hated stupidity more than bad morals. It seamed this trait passed on to her daughter.
If only Fabrizio would find someone as wonderful... although, he was always looking at some pretty Italian thing, maybe he had finally met someone he'd keep longer than a month.
It took a few days for people and their positions to settle down.
Professor McGonnagal was Headmistress.
Professor Flitwick was Deputy.
Sirius Black and Remus Lupin were going to split Transfiguration and Head of Gryffindor - both doing some of the work for both classes.
Horace Slughorn and Severus Snape were going to split Potions and Head of Slytherin - although Severus Snape only taught the Seventh Years Potions, as he also taught the Occlumency elective.
Those were all the names that Professor Lockhart recognized. The Headmistress had also hired another Charms teacher to teach the younger years, another Herbology teacher to do the same, and had added so many more electives - with a teacher for each - that Tom was left wondering why he didn't receive an assistant.
Although, maybe it had to do with the fact that he was the youngest teacher there... and that both he and the students protested having anyone else teach them DADA.
Tom sighed. It had been a long day - he spent it 'investigating' Dumbledore's death, teaching students, making the body look like it had been bitten by a Basilisk so that the snake can be blamed when he 'found' it, the House Elves were late delivering his tea, and he was trying to figure out where his Diary was and why there was no "Chamber of Secrets" fiasco going on...
And now there was someone knocking on his door?
Tom fell asleep just as Harry Potter entered the classroom.
He woke up tied to a chair, with anything that may be used to help escape thrown onto a desk. His wand, some quills and parchment from his pockets, his tie and outer robe - even his shoes and socks had been removed!
"What is your name?" Harry Potter's voice was polite and cool, as if they were meeting at a business party. And to his horror, Tom found himself answering.
"Tom Marvolo Riddle in Gilderoy Lockhart's body." Had the Elves spiked his tea with Veritaseum? They would pay for that! And so would this brat! He needed a plan - screaming would help; the castle had STONE WALLS and there were no nearby portraits to hear...
Harry took a step back. This was Voldemort? Um... "Silencio." There. Now Voldemort could scream and get the whole school. Although, would anyone hear?
Anyway. This was VOLDEMORT. The wand he wanted was VOLDEMORT's.
There went his plan. He couldn't very well Obliviate Lockhart of the experience and ask him to sign the contract - he wouldn't sign it "Tom Marvolo Riddle in Gilderoy Lockart's body". What was he supposed to do now? Tom would try to kill him!
Harry pulled out the contract and placed in on a desk. Then, using a sticking charm, he made sure Tom's left hand was stuck to the back of the chair - and then did the same to the soles of his feat, so that Tom was stuck to the floor. Lastly, the back of Tom's shirt was stuck to the back of the chair.
Then, Harry untied Tom's right hand and put the contract on Tom's knees.
"I can't do the killing curse, but I can give you a 'reducto' to the head." Dubhshlain gave Tom a quill and ordered him to sign with his full name.
Tom looked at the boy for a minute. For a moment there, Harry had almost panicked, and then... it was as if a switch went of in his head. His eyes grew cold and calculating, and his lips pressed into a firm line. Potter worked quickly and efficiently, the spells cast easily, and the threat was clear.
He didn't doubt that Potter could kill him. He leaned down and signed the document, gasping as his magic accepted the terms of the contract.
This wasn't some child's play - the contract was finely made and tailored, and Tom couldn't see a way around it, not with his magic automatically informing him of what the contract contained.
"I order you to teach the students as best as you can. Kill Nagini. You cannot let anyone know of what happened today. Also... stop investigating Dumbledore's death. And give me this wand." Tom took the wand Harry offered him and promptly gave it back.
Harry laughed, a slightly deranged sound, and it was accompanied by a shower of sparks from the wand. Then the silencio was taken off of Tom and so were the sticking charms, and the boy skipped out of the classroom.
Fleur was going to find this interesting.
Fleur decided that convincing parents that you were going to spent Winter Break traveling with a little boy was far to easy to be true.
Then again, the boy was twelve, only a little boy, and her mother had helped raise him. It probably also helped that Fleur and Harry were clearly going to get married once they were old enough.
Actually, the entire trip was disappointing - they went to the cave to find scorch marks (clearly everything had been cleared out), snuck into Hogwarts to find Ravenclaw's Diadem clean, offered the Diadem to the goblins in return for Hufflepuff's cup... which was ALSO clean, went to little Hangleton, found a few ashes and a stone, which Harry took...
And that's when things began to get interesting. A sharp wind blew, and Fleur knelt without a thought - this was her king.
She didn't know how she knew that, but she did. He had a cloak hanging off his shoulder, a wand in his left hand and the stone in his right and Fleur knew right then and their that they were both done with this world - or will be, soon enough.
Harry had defeated Voldemort. If he wanted to complete Hogwarts, that was fine by her, but as Harry ordered her to rise, the young Veela knew that they were going to the Land of the Fae as King and Queen, because this world only held so many entertainments.