Cake By The Ocean by Pseudonymous Entity
"Every great story seems to begin with a snake." -Nicolas Cage
Summary: "I killed Sirius Black." Locked in his headmaster's office after the events at the ministry, Harry discovers a collection of memories revealing the childhood of his enemy...and his own. The Boy Who Lived is not pleased.
Characters: Harry Potter, Lord Voldemort, Tom Riddle, Albus Dumbledore
Warnings: Unknown at this point. When I figure out if I am continuing this or not I'll fill this in.
AN: As always I welcome thoughts, questions, guesses, theories and limericks. In whichever order of importance you feel inclined to give.
ANx2: Shall I post more?
ANx3: Take a look at Pseu's horrid illustration skills.
Ever Yours, Pseu [The clever, magnificent and ridiculously good looking]
"...Sweet words from a serpent's tongue, It's like playing with a loaded gun
I swear I see you watching me..."
Harry darted through the crowd of battling magic folk with a single-mindedness he'd never exhibited outside of flying.
His body moved almost of its own accord, tilting and turning as needed. Serving around other people, ducking under spells, leaping over both as necessary. Never once did he trip. Never once did he run into another or get hit by a wayward -or directed- spell. The rest of them were left behind a good minute before registered it with apathy in the corner of his mind. He didn't need them. they wouldn't let him do this. They'd try to keep him safe, but when had that ever worked out for him? No he needed to be on his own to do this. In his sights a dark clothed figure with equally dark hair ran gaily in front of him. He realized then that she was headed for the floo. Well, he couldn't allow that.
He'd like to say he did it without thinking. And if anyone asked he'd say as much...if he were caught. That it was impulsive. His Gryffindorishness driven into overdrive from his recent emotional trauma. He bet both Mrs Weasley and the school mediwitch would buy that. In truth, he'd considered from the moment his Godfather fell through the veil precisely how he would make Bellatrix Lestrange pay for it. For taking his last chance at family away from him. It was only fair. An eye for an eye and all that.
Harry didn't know what the witch most cared about so this would have to do.
The spell hit her in the back. The tall witch stumbled forward and fell to the ground with a yelp of surprise. A mass of ringlets flowed to the side while too skinny hands raised her up from the floor. She managed to turn over only just barely out of breath. With an uneven grin Bellatrix eyed him arrogantly. "You've got to mean it, Potter." She taunted. "It won't work if you don-"
"Crucio." Her head smacked back against the floor and she let out a small shriek. Still not good enough. He knew that because she was still grinning though she was in pain. Privately he didn't think he was doing half bad considering he'd never cast the spell before, nor anything else like it in his life.
Slow clapping drew his attention. Harry tilted his head to see to the side. There, watching them, was Voldemort. Tall and pale and altogether frightening, the man walked to them. His red eyes set on Harry. The closer he came the tenser Harry went. Perhaps he could barter with the man? Allow him to torture Bellatrix Lestrange -he was certain he could master the curse- and in exchange Voldemort could kill him. Harry didn't have all that much to live for at this point honestly. If anyone found out he'd already be off to Azkaban. Maybe he could ask for Sirius' cell...
"Try again." The tone of voice was one Harry hadn't heard since his second year. In had come in a very different form then, of a Sixteen year old boy with dark curls and blue eyes. His skin raised up in gooseflesh, hair standing on end. Voldemort stopped inches from his side. "She deserves it." The Dark lord insisted, in that same eerie, low crooning. "You know she deserves it. Try it again Potter. Concentrate."
Feeling exceptionally daring this evening Harry allowed himself to actually follow this line of conversation. "Does it have to be her I want to hurt or anyone, so long as I cast the spell?" Maye he needed a little more hate. His Uncle Vernon and Aunt Marge's faces floated through his mind.
He was rewarded with a lipless smile of approval. "As long as you mean it Potter."
Keeping his wand trained on Bellatrix, Harry locked eyes with Voldemort. Might as well add him, the man murdered his parents after-all.
"Crucio." He murmured.
The scream that tore out of the witch sent chills crawling up his spine in an ugly, delightful way. Bellatrix's body arched off the ground unnaturally, blood dripping from her lips where she'd tried to keep her screams to herself. Obviously it hadn't been successful. It was sort of fascinating. Did she do this when she tortured Neville's parents into insanity? How long would he need to hold her under it to do the same? Surely not as long. She was already...unstable.
Voldemort raised a hairless brow. "I suppose all you needed was the proper motivation." He said dryly.
The younger wizard gave The Dark Lord his very best pretend smile. It was wide and beaming and showed just enough teeth but not too many.
"Apparently." The two of them -The Dark lord and The Boy Who lived- stood there together, listening to the screaming until it became a growl and then faded into a torturous keening. The sounds reverberated off the walls around them. An unholy opera of vengeance. Eventually, the sound stopped though her mouth reminding wide open. Her screams silent. Neither of them made any sudden movements. Neither of them certain what to do now that they found themselves in a pseudo-ceasefire.
Harry snapped his attention to Voldemort. "I do actually."
They wouldn't get to finish the conversation. Dumbledore arrived and engaged Voldemort in a duel. It was a sight to behold. Harry watched from his position behind a statue and wondered if anyone else alive had ever seen anything like it? Perhaps back when Dumbledore battled Grindelwald maybe. Harry had two specific thoughts while watching the show the older wizards performed. The first was what the hell a wizard had to do to learn how to do what they were doing. Manipulating fire and water weren't things they taught at Hogwarts. The second; was whether or not he wanted his headmaster to win the duel. It would be over then, wouldn't it? If he defeated Voldemort then and there? The man who tormented Harry would be gone and he could live.
Harry frowned to himself. His Godfather would still be dead. He would still have to return to his horrible family. And he would still be the BWL. He could do without the offing of his classmates if Voldemort survived. At least the ones he liked. Maye he could convince him to show Harry the Imperious next time. On Bellatrix again of course. Or Wormtail. Definitely Wormtail.
It was a draw. Sort of.
The Minister for Magic arrived. Chaos ensued. His headmaster dragged him back to Hogwarts and locked him in his office. Which was bloody fantastic. Really. Harry lived for the moments when the adults around him shoved him around and told him nothing. Sometimes being a fifteen year old wizard wasn't much different from being a five year old freak. Locked in where they could be out of the way until you were ready to deal with them. And no questions of course. Merlin forbid someone somewhere actually answer some of Harry's questions. A voice in his head pointed out that Voldemort f all people had answered one of Harry's questions. He scoffed. While that was well and good he sincerely doubted the man would do it again and if he did he wouldn't be interested in Harry's teenage turmoil.
He grinned to himself. The image of Voldemort and himself chatting over afternoon tea playing in his mind.
Still no sign of his headmaster. What was he doing that was so damn important? His shoes squeaked on the floor. He paced like a caged tiger. Life wasn't fair. He knew it better than most but couldn't Fate -or whoever or whatever- give him a break? There had to be a deity out there somewhere that could throw him a friggin bone here.
The odd gadgets whirring in the headmaster office clattered and shook on their shelves and desktops. His magic long since loosing its self of his halfhearted attempt at containing it. In response to his anger, it swirled about the room. Trinkets burst and snapped and toppled to the floor. It suited his mood fine. Maybe the man would rethink locking him away when he saw the mess his magic was intent on creating.
Harry hated, more than anything, being locked up. Restrained. Trapped. Nails pressed into the soft flesh of his palms, flexing now and then. He hated this.
"I'm not a pet!" Harry growled. His magic flashing in the air around him. The sound of broken glass. Harry turned. There a cupboard in the corner of the room, holding what he knew now to be a pensive. The shelving below and above it filled with tiny glass tubes Harry imagined held memories. The slightest glimmer of guilt filtered in through his emotional storm. Those might have been important.
Annoyed with himself Harry stomped over and knelt down to clean it up. He would hide it of course. He wasn't feeling guilty enough to admit to it. Carefully Harry pulled down the edge of his sleeve to cover his hand and pushed the pieces into it. A neatly written label was affixed to the top half of the vial, the rest of it in pieces. The name scrawled on it caused the Boy Who Lived to pause in his actions, hand tightening on the glass with no heed to the pain resulting from the action.
Vial after vial Harry poured into the pensive. It was all there. Hiding in a tree while Aunt Marge's horrid dog snarled at him from the bottom. Sleeping in the tool shed. The pictures taped to the wall in his cupboard. What the Hell! How dare he have these. Harry froze. He knew. That bastard knew and he'd done nothing. He kept him there when he could have been at Grimauld with Sirius. When he could have been at the Weasleys. He kept him there, he knew and he did it anyway. Harry made to reach for another when he noticed the name adorning the tubes on the top shelving of vials.
No way. Harry stared. Two seconds of hesitation then Harry was grabbing them as well. Vials labeled The Orphanage and Gaunt were dumped into the mix. One after another he looked through, each venture into the silvery bowl upsetting him more than the last. Harry glanced for another good one to see. His hand stopped in midair. There was one labeled The Prophecy. Harry dumped the ones he had in the pockets of Dudley's oversized hoodie he had yet to change out of. It was torn and soaked with blood and sweat and now it would house memories of Harry's childhood and that of Lord Voldemort. The only useful thing the item had ever done.
"...the seventh month dies.."
Dumbledore chose that moment to return to his office. Whatever he expected to be waiting for him, a room full of broken objects and a furious BWL probably wasn't it. The man slowed his steps at the sight. "Harry?"
The wizard in question turned and grabbed a handful of vials from the shelf and advanced toward the old man, holding them up for him to see. "When were you going to tell me? Why do you even have this? You knew?"
"I intended to tell you."
"What, now that you weren't sure how much of it I heard? Now that you don't know how much Voldemort heard? Now that you know I know of it?" Harry clenched the vials in his hands. "Why would you do this? Why wouldn't you tell me? If I had known what was there I never would have gone. Sirius wouldn't..." His throat closed up.
A distant part of his mind pointed out that he'd need to apologize to Bellatrix at some point. He'd Crucio'd the wrong person. The Dark Lord actually might have him over for tea if he cast an unforgivable at the headmaster. They could discuss their shared loathing for the man. Unfortunately he only knew the one and if it were blocked -or the man recovered quick enough- Harry would be so screwed. This was still Dumbledore and he was still just fifteen year old Harry Potter, insane luck or no insane luck. Besides, he probably wouldn't be allowed back at the school if he cursed a member of staff. That wouldn't do.
"Harry. You must understand. I only did what I thought was best. I did not want you to suffer the burden of knowing. I thought I might give you a bit of childhood before you were forced to deal with-"
The enraged wizard slammed his fist on the desk. "Don't give me that crap!" He winced. He needed to stop stabbing himself with glass. Harry turned his hand over and began picking the glass out, avoiding even looking at his headmaster. He didn't know what he would do if he didn't calm down. Harry watched the memory liquid smeared across his cuts and wondered absently if there would be any negative side effects from it. He'd have to ask Hermione. After he showed her the memories. She would know what to do. This couldn't be legal.
Harry stumbled as he gained the feeling of falling through the floor. His hand shot out and grasped the edge of the desk. What was that? He glanced up at his headmaster who had apparently been saying something to him this entire time and was oblivious to the sudden distress of his student. The feeling returned. Harry shut his eyes, feeling for all the world like he was sliding through the entrance to The Chamber of Secrets only it never ended. He just kept falling. When it stopped Harry opened his eyes.
He blinked and turned around, startled.
Dumbledore was gone. And everything was fixed. Or actually, none of the gadgets were there anymore. Harry swallowed and closed his eyes again, taking in deep breaths. When he opened them nothing had changed. Something was...off. He couldn't put his finger on it. The door to the office opened and a man he'd never seen before walked in. He was thin with a triangular beard and graying hair. The man stopped when he saw Harry.
They stared at one another. Harry at the stranger in his headmaster's office. The man at the ragamuffin of a teenager.
"My, but I thought you were..." He trailed off, giving Harry a once over. "Forgive me, I suppose you wouldn't be. You are one of the applicants I assume? From the day school?" The man rattled on for a bit, rummaging through a pile of parchment with Harry nodding numbly. Who had he reminded him of? Harry wasn't certain anyone could mistake him for someone else. Not to be vain but he was probably the most well known person in the wizarding world outside of Dumbledore and Voldemort. Harry made to put his hands in his pockets and realized he still held the broken glass. Subtly Harry glanced down to see it. The label on this vial read 1942.
Harry glanced up. "Sorry sir, what was that?"
Unknown-Man-With-Really-Awesome-Beard rose a too perfect to not be plucked brow at Harry. "Your surname child. After you, we'll have used up our slots for the year and we must get your paperwork through as soon as possible, mustn't we?"
That is when everything hit him.
1942. The year repeated in his brain. 1942. 1942. 1942. After spending Merlin knew how long diving into stolen memories Harry thought he had a pretty good idea of what was going on. He was in a memory right? Of the year 1942. That was the year Riddle made that diary that Harry would find in his second year. The year he opened the chamber right? And this man must be the headmaster from that time and he thought Harry was Riddle when he first walked in. The teenage Dark Lord wannabe had mentioned it himself how alike they were, even similar in looks.
Feeling vindictive, Harry put on his best pretend smile for the second time in twenty-four hours. If he played this right he could get back at several people who thoroughly deserved it. Harry shifted his stance into a more lazy, confident one. Eased back his shoulders and ran his fingers through his hair, brushing it back into soft waves rather than flopped in messy ones over his forehead. No one here would recognize his scar for what it was. The mannerisms were surprisingly easy to settle into. Ones he hadn't seen since he was twelve but was fairly certain he wouldn't ever forget.
And then Harry grinned for real.
As always I welcome thoughts, questions, guesses, theories and limericks. In whichever order of importance you feel inclined to give.
AN: Just an idea I had. If you're interested in a full story let me know and I'll see what I can do.
"Oh no, see you walkin' around like it's a funeral - Not so serious, why those cold feet? We just getting started, don't you tiptoe-tiptoe
Waste time with a masterpiece, don't waste time with a masterpiece. You should be rolling with me, you should be rolling with me
But you're moving so carefully; let's start living Dangerously." -Cake By The Ocean