The Contract


Chapter 115

July 31st – Harry Potter's birthday

Rabastan roused earlier than everyone else, it was his betrothed's fifteenth birthday today. He wanted it to be perfect, surprisingly, Harry hadn't had a birthday party. His father hadn't decided to throw one for Harry's 12th 13th or 14th birthday. Or even today, his 15th birthday, although, to be fair Harry had told them he didn't want one. Not because he was angry, or upset, but because the Wizengamot had chosen today of all days to have the first meeting since Harry finished school for the summer holidays.

Harry wasn't going to miss the very first opportunity to face the wizengamot for anything. Not even a birthday party, which didn't hold much significance to him. He'd grown up deprived of even a single birthday present, or Yule for that matter. He was so used to being ignored that he didn't care for parties or celebrations. It caused his heart to ache just knowing what his betrothed had gone through.

"Tadray, has my orders been followed?" Rabastan asked, as he begun to dress, he wasn't wearing his formal gear. Instead, he chose something much more comfortable.

"Yes, Master Rabastan, we have made a cake, and Master Harry's favourite foods!" Tadray declared puffing up proudly.

Rabastan nodded curtly, pleased, "And the decorations?" unbothered that he was dressing in front of a House-elf, hell, Tadray had probably changed his nappy a few times when he was a kid without a single doubt. The House-elves had seldomly been used to take care of them, their mother had all but forbidden it, wanting to keep them close. She had been very loving and nurturing, from what Rabastan could remember. The only time they had been asked to do it, was if they were in a hurry or if both his parents had been sick. At least that was the impression he got, it wasn't as if he actually knew, his memory wasn't that good even without Azkaban.

"All set out, Master Rabastan," Tadray declared, he was very happy serving the Lestrange family. Although, he couldn't deny he rather hoped that he would be given to Master Rabastan and Master Harry upon their marriage and become their personal House-elf.

"Good, I'm pleased," Rabastan declared, which was as close to a thanks the House-elf ever got from the brothers.

Tadray beamed, before disappearing with a quiet pop, returning to the servant quarters, his bedroom. Righting its sandals – which he only wore outside – he was much more comfortable in his bare feet. He grabbed his dirty uniform and began to collect everyone else's. Nodding absently when he noticed all the beds were made, at least that wasn't his duty today. The beds might be small but it was a chore none of them liked. Probably because they had enough of beds cleaning and changing their Masters' beds. Not everything could be done with magic, although, they did what they could with the aid of magic admittedly.

Rabastan finished getting dressed, absently righting himself in the mirror. A mirror which by the way, held a picture of his entire family. Harry included but that went without saying. He was thirteen if he recalled correctly, at the time. Touching the moving picture absently, a grimace appearing on his face.

He had screwed up, he freely admitted to that, like an idiot he was, it didn't dawn on him until Harry stopped returning his letters. It was completely radio silence, and it was just with him since Harry had been replying to his father's letters and of course, Rodolphus and Sirius' letters.

His betrothed was turning into quite a stunning creature, losing that childish look and growing into his own. It also seemed as though Harry had reached an age where he was…sexually curious. Rabastan couldn't help but bite his tongue recalling that night, the first time he'd really seen Harry as a maturing adult. It was difficult, a difficult time for him, Harry was only just turning fifteen, there was a reason most betrothed couples only met when they were older and only for a brief time. And were also chaperoned too, he thought wryly, shaking his head, he turned and exited his rooms.

In his best intentions, he'd ended up hurting Harry a great deal. He hadn't forgotten how…vulnerable he could be. Which made the return of killing the Dursley's all the more prevalent. Oh, it was always on the edge of his mind, the urge to get revenge on Harry's behalf. He'd just been doing what he thought was best, and clearly it wasn't. So, after a bit of grovelling he'd managed to right his wrongs. He had a feeling that Harry wouldn't have burnt those letters despite him asking.

He had best keep them safe if he was saving them as keepsakes. Otherwise, he'd never survive the humiliation of someone reading those letters. They were meant for Harry's eyes only.

"Master Rabastan, Lord Slytherin is here," Nushala popped in to state, since her Master Corvus wasn't there, she reported to the only Lestrange awake.

"I'll see to him," Rabastan nodded curtly, had he slept longer than expected? He hadn't thought the Dark Lord would be so early. Unless, of course, there was something going on. His walk became a tad more urgent as he made his way to the only room where one could Floo in and out of the manor. His father took their safety very seriously, most people didn't even keep an eye on the people coming in and out of their homes. Like seriously, what the hell was that all about?

He glanced behind him, to ensure that Sirius and Rodolphus were nowhere in sight and was met with the Dark Lord in the hallway. "My Lord," he murmured quietly, still giving his Lord the respect he felt the Dark Lord was owed. He respected him a far greater than he had in the past. His goals and the way he was going about things now? Were a vast improvement, even if he did miss getting to curse people who were idiots.

"I have asked that you refrain from such utterances while here, the only place I would prefer it to be uttered is in my home." Lord Slytherin stated, keenly eyeing Rabastan, "You are up early." Which didn't happen often, he had yet to see anyone manage to get up before Corvus, even Harry didn't quite manage it and he himself was an early riser.

"My apologies," Rabastan replied, "And, yes, I'm just making sure everything is as I expect it for Harry's birthday." He might not want a party, but he was determined to give him a celebration of some sort.

A knowing look came over Lord Slytherin's features, followed closely by amusement. "And it hasn't anything to do with gaining your betrothal's favour?" it was a Slytherin move to make, anything to keep in Harry's good books in case he screwed up again.

"I am going to kill my father," Rabastan groaned, his hand covering his face, exasperated.

Lord Slytherin arched a brow, "I did not find out through your father." He pointed out seriously.

Rabastan blinked, his heart sinking a little, "Harry?" he shouldn't be surprised, despite the fact he knew the Dark Lord had killed his parents, he didn't seem to hold it against him. They had the oddest relationship, ever and Harry got away with a lot more than anyone else had, except perhaps his father.

Lord Slytherin inclined his head, yes, it was indeed Harry who he had spoken to. Why he elected to ask him, of all people, he didn't know. perhaps he felt he needed to seek council outside of the family, an outsider's perspective or that he was the closest one he trusted to talk about what was bothering him.

"I was not expecting that," Rabastan confessed, as he turned and both of them began to make their way to the dining room.

"Neither was I," he commented dryly, he was the last person anyone should come to in order to seek understanding. Emotions were still foreign to him despite having them back for three going on four years. He had suppressed his emotions as a young boy, after his life it was no surprise. When he'd made Horcruxes it wasn't just emotionally he was affected, but mentally too. Forty nearly fifty years without emotions, it was little wonder he didn't understand them much. Although, Bill's comment had floored him, the realization that Bill had been conceived under a love potion as well. That Molly used to joke about it, but it became all too apparent that it wasn't a joke once they realized just what kind of mother they'd had.

It was a stark contrast; the difference Dumbledore had treated Bill and Tom. Liked and hated, Gryffindor and Slytherin, both of them conceived under a love potion. Yet somehow just because Bill was a Gryffindor, he was what? Exempt from Dumbledore's beliefs? Honestly, he believed Dumbledore had fixated on those houses. As if it was some mystical omnipotent thing that would tell him how someone was going to turn out. That every single Slytherin was somehow born evil, raised to be evil.

He had turned three of the houses against Slytherin, ostracised them. It was almost as if he had led them to him ready for the slaughter in this grand game of chess he was playing. With Dumbledore cast as always in the role of the most reluctant hero and every hero needed its villain and without Gellert well, who was he to pick but from a Slytherin bunch?

Shaking off his thoughts regarding Bill, there was a time and place to indulge in ruminations and it was not now. There were only two places he actually felt safe doing so, here and of course his own home. The wards on his place made Orion's look mildly safe by comparison. Nothing too overtly dark, but he did cross over the lines but with all the other wards up they wouldn't be too noticeable.

He wasn't a genius for nothing, he knew how to deal with all sorts of magic.

"Oh, what was the outcome of the meeting yesterday?" Rabastan queried, opening the door, looking around at the banner, streamers, and food all set out for Harry's impromptu birthday celebration. Although, was it unplanned if he'd only requested the House-elves to do it yesterday evening? No, matter, it certainly hadn't been a long-term thing. Breakfast was just with family, but his friends would be visiting in the afternoon.

Judging by the gifts on the table though, his friends had already sent their gifts at some point yesterday for today. Not just friends, but members of the public, now their items were put in a box at the side of the room. An afterthought, most were sweets and such and had already been thoroughly tested to ensure nothing was wrong with them.

Although, like previous time, its likely Harry would donate them, last year he had given everything to St. Mungo's for Magical Maladies.

"That I shall only repeat once," Lord Slytherin said smugly, practically strutting over to his usual spot when he stayed for a meal. "And I have little doubt the moment it's polite to do so, he will ask the same question."

Rabastan snorted in amusement, "I don't think he will care if it's polite or not. However, if father is here, he will." he was always extra polite when his father was around – just like them really – and when he wasn't he pushed his boundaries. It was a healthy thing to do really. He already had an answer, it had obviously gone very well, which pleased him and would please Harry too.

"Indeed," Voldemort replied, a smirk working its way onto his features.

"I won't ask you to divulge information from the meeting between you and Harry…but I will say thank you, for listening to him, for helping him." Rabastan said, not quite meeting the Dark Lord's gaze. There was no way Harry would have gone to his brother and his father about him. At least he didn't think so, but who really knew? Which left him with only a few other options, Sirius, Severus – who he had become a little closer to since taking up 'remedial potions' or the Dark Lord.

Lord Slytherin inclined his head, in acceptance to the thanks given. It was odd, the relationship he had with the young lad. He was in awe of him, to be entirely honest. Given his actions, the forgiveness was a surprise. Yet he had forgiven him, long before he had made an example of Peter Pettigrew as his own personal private apology. Nobody else understood it, the only reason he'd done it was because he knew Harry would understand. After all, he had seen the lad reading the book on poetry and it had been one he'd read long ago in the past.

To be fair, he wouldn't be surprised if Harry had informed the Lestrange's the truth behind the gesture. Thankfully nobody else had been informed, he did not want it getting back to his followers that he had killed one of his own. Even a pathetic coward like Pettigrew, who had admittedly been very useful. If everyone realized he could do that to someone who had proved as useful, they might begin to imagine they're next. Which would lead to a whole slew of problems.

"I trust there won't be a reason in future that he needs to come to me?" Voldemort gave Rabastan a pointed look, not when it came to his betrothed anyway. It was uncomfortable enough as it was, but he would grudgingly do it. He just didn't want to have to grudgingly do anything. Also, in a round about way making sure the problem had been fixed, although Harry had been rather cheerful the later week of his schooling. Then again, most students were, the exams were over, the holidays were approaching.

"No, no there won't," Rabastan replied, handing over the cup with the hot brew in it. "All is well." As a fellow Slytherin, he was able to see through the question to find the deeper meaning or deeper question.

"Good," Lord Slytherin declared, leaning back, placing the cup and saucer on the table in front of him before withdrawing his present. It joined the others, he was very pleased he was able to acquire that particular book, and it wouldn't surprise anyone that he had the original and had given Harry a copy. Even a mere copy of this book was worth it's weight in gold. "Have you found a suitable venue for the conference?" which had naturally been cancelled last time and everyone given their funds back. He had seen to it since Rabastan was a little busy. Rabastan hadn't wanted to do it without Harry and he hadn't been in any condition to tolerate strangers around him. The symptoms of his hyper awareness had abated luckily. Fortunately, the leaflets they'd bought last year, can just be magically amended and used still so there was no need to buy new ones.

"Oh, yes, they were very accommodating when they realized that Heir Potter would be in attendance." Rabastan said smirking victoriously. What? He was a Slytherin, if someone thought he wouldn't use every single resource he had to bring to bear…to get what he wanted…then people were stupid.

"Who was accommodating?" Harry asked suddenly from the doorway, it was a near thing, Rabastan and Voldemort nearly, nearly startled. Damn, he'd need to try harder, oh well, never mind.

"Happy Birthday, Harry," Rabastan said smiling in welcome, "Would you like a cup?" gesturing to where he was still standing. He didn't make too much a big deal about his birthday, for some reason Harry just detested massive displays of emotion and over the top cheerfulness.

"Yes, I suppose one must be congratulated when they grow yet another year older," Voldemort said sighing resignedly. "Happy Birthday,"

Harry muffled his amusement, "What's wrong old man, don't you like being reminded you're getting older too?" teasing him.

Rabastan's eyes widened, hand frozen over where he'd been pouring moments prior. Staring between Harry and the Dark Lord, bloody hell, what was Harry thinking? Just when he thought Harry couldn't do something else to surprise him!

"I am hardly that old," Lord Slytherin said, "I've just celebrated my 24th birthday." Teasing him right back. Truth be told, he hadn't really calculated just how old he really was, in his sixties for sure, and he'd already died once. Well, so to speak, if not for the Horcruxes he most definitely would have. All these precautions he'd taken to safeguard himself, and he died at fifty…even Dumbledore had outlived him, triple that actually, which was just depressing when one thought about it. Which he refused to do.

"What actually comes up when you to blood tests or spells?" Harry asked deeply curious head cocked to the side as he got himself comfortable.

It was after that that Rabastan passed over the cup, and claimed a seat for himself. Glancing at the Dark Lord his curiosity peaked, and he would like to know more.

"All spells will bear scrutiny to the persona I have," Lord Voldemort informed them both, "As would most blood spells, but I have found one that would reveal the real information." what could he say, he needed to test to make sure his new alias would bear scrutiny and come out intact. "Fortunately, the spell that reveals it was a lineage test created by one of our ancestors. And there are only two books in existence."

"We can hide and rename ourselves, but the Slytherin gift gives you away," Harry realized, green eyes gleaming with sheer delight at working it out. Or at least what he thought was giving it away.

"Indeed," Lord Voldemort declared, yes, it was one smart wizard they had on their hands. Thank Merlin for the goblins and Corvus, he hated to think how wasted it would have been on the light side with Dumbledore pulling the reins. It made him inwardly shudder at what he would have been up against.

Well, the boy was his equal after all.

"Last time I saw so many gifts together…it was my cousins eleventh birthday…" Harry confessed, a faraway look on his face, his eyes distant as they looked through the pile of gifts that had been laid out so lovingly for him. His brow furrowing, remembering just how desolate he'd felt. On one hand he'd finally be away from Dudley, but on the other hand…Dudley's friends would have been attending the high school he was supposed to attend. Stonewall high, Dudley had been going to go to Smelting's, attending a posh private school with the money they got off him. Harry's jaw clenched just thinking about it, about his life in the past all thanks to Dumbledore.

Voldemort arched his brow watching the boy pensively, perhaps he wasn't the only one strolling down memory lane this morning.

"The entire table was covered from head to foot in presents. Thirty-six presents, was all he counted, and he was furious. Only because it was two less than he'd gotten the year before. Petunia had to correct him, but he still went on to throw another temper tantrum over the one less. Then she promised to buy him another two so he had one more than last years." Harry's eyes were like ice chips as he recalled that day, a whole month and a bit before he found out about Hogwarts.

"And what would you do to him if he were in front of you?" Lord Slytherin asked, eyes gleaming, that anger…oh, it was a hell of an anger to hold on to. It could be rather destructive, look what had happened to him. He glanced at Rabastan and noticed the look on his face, and realized Harry's betrothed knew it too.

Harry shook his head, "Nothing," surprising both of them immensely.

"What?" Voldemort asked, genuinely reeling by the boy's words.

"Dudley was…raised wrong," Harry said quietly, "He can't be blamed for anything that happened he was a child. He was taught that everything he did was okay, and pandered to." something his therapist had actually said to him, or made him realize. Dudley wasn't to blame for what happened to him any more than he was. It hadn't been easy to come to terms with that on top of everything else. Especially the lack of use when it came to his legs.

"I am going to assume you wish for him to be kept out of your revenge then?" Rabastan asked slightly disgruntled. Although, truthfully, he was very proud of Harry, it would be easy to just be angry at the family…to get his revenge on all of them. Truth was, Harry was right, as bad as the kid had been to Harry, he was just that, a kid.

"Your revenge?" Lord Slytherin turning to face Rabastan his own curiosity roused. "What's this regarding? The Dursley's?" had he spoken of revenge before now? How disappointing that he hadn't been aware.

"He's asked that vengeance be his," Rabastan informed the Dark Lord.

Sheer delight passed through Voldemort, oh, had they all seen Harry's true nature from the very beginning? Right from the very first meeting? Then again, Harry wouldn't have seen need to remind them that the Dursley's were his to begin with. Yet, he had seen how swift the Lestrange's had grown attached to the boy, so months perhaps from the first meeting. "Interesting," he murmured thoughtfully, glancing at Rabastan, were they even still alive? It wasn't as if they got the Muggle papers. Admittedly the wizarding world were aware of the abuse Harry suffered and would gratefully torture and kill those foul muggles. They could theoretically get away with it, but Harry was very good at getting the truth out of people.

"Wait, the thirtieth, Lucius had the meeting, right? How did it go?" perking up.

Both Lord Slytherin and Rabastan chuckled, they were wrong, not only was he polite it wasn't the first thing he asked about. Then again, he was clearly distracted this morning, perhaps a nightmare or two?

"How did what go?" Sirius asked curiously as he entered the dining room, coming around and clutching Harry dramatically, squeezing him and singing Happy Birthday in a loud obnoxious voice. Harry couldn't help but laugh and try to get away, but he failed in that endeavour.

"The meeting," Lord Slytherin explained, "Of the school board to decide Miss Granger's fate."

Sirius frowned; he wasn't sure he wanted to know the answer if he was honest. On one hand it had been his godson she attacked, and tried to use one of the Potter's spells on of all things in an order to reduce him to a squib. On the other…he had made a grave mistake at the same age; it was one act of impulsiveness. "Those on the board are purebloods, they believe in the Old Way's, there's no way they'll let Granger away with what she did. That's not even bringing the fact that it was last Heir to the a ancient and most noble house of Black and Potter."

"There was a slim chance they may have forgiven her arrogance and ignorance." Lord Slytherin corrected him, "Children are often…forgiven for their misdeed's because they're young, and Dumbledore has at least four generations thinking such things. I must confess to being fifty-fifty on what would happen." Half the Governors were not exactly in his pocket, they were neutral really. Lucius had offered to use his Blackmail material to get them to adhere to his wishes.

He had declined, he'd very much rather Lucius saved his aces for other more urgent matters. Lucius had understandably ceded to his commands and left well enough alone. He had been in the room, answering any questions the Governors had asked of him. Giving a fair description of the girl. Making it clear she was a very smart girl, who had a vast understanding of the magical world and its heritage. That she would have done far better in Ravenclaw than in Gryffindor.

"Something more happened then," Rodolphus deduced, messing up Harry's hair, he greeted him with a smirk, "Happy Birthday,"

"Thank you," Harry said throwing Rodolphus a distracted grin, before turning back to Voldemort, an expectant look upon his face. "Did something else happen?" Harry cocked his head to the side, but they were all distracted by Corvus entering the dining room, everyone automatically stood and waited until Corvus had seated himself again before sitting. Corvus' hand landed on Harry's giving it a squeeze "Happy Birthday, Harry," he said fondness written across.

"A piece of information came forth," Lord Slytherin agreed, Corvus poured himself a cup, listening tentatively, wondering what was going on. "She wasn't acting under her own orders; it is as I feared."

"And are the Governors aware of this?" Rodolphus questioned cautiously.

"Whose orders, is it?" Sirius asked bluntly, his protective tendances reared, his hand automatically touching the pendant that lay under his clothes. The pendant that Harry had given him on the day of his wedding.

"Alastor Moody," Lord Slytherin revealed, "It appears that Moody and Dumbledore were most definitely in touch. For there was no other way that he could have known about her, I should have kept an even closer eye on her."

"What is that supposed to mean?" Sirius asked impatiently, calming somewhat when Rodolphus gripped him tightly, not enough to hurt but warn.

"Dumbledore has his favourites, this you know, you were one of them." Lord Slytherin patiently explained, he could see Harry was patiently listening and calm. "It was only when Dumbledore was sentenced to Azkaban that he began to correspond with the girl. Naturally, when I realized this, I was cautious, but I did not think to keep a closer eye."

"He's responsible for this?" Sirius asked, breathing heavily, but remaining remarkably calm all things considered.

"You must recall that Moody was Dumbledore's closest confidant, I shall say I'm not surprised that he went underground when Dumbledore was kissed." Inevitably half kissed, with a heart attack finishing him off. The Dementor had not been best pleased his meal had been interrupted.

"He what?" Sirius asked, looking pissed off.

"Oh, yes, he was already difficult to find but after that? He went entirely off the grid, doesn't even use magic." Which for someone like Moody must be difficult indeed.

"The Governors don't know," Lord Slytherin confessed, "I gleaned this information from her mind, I know it's illegal but my concern for Harry was paramount…" he began, purely for Sirius' benefit of course, he didn't give a shit about using Legillimency whenever he wants.

"That doesn't matter, what did you find?" He would have cared if it was anyone else but Harry at risk here.

"That she was receiving mail from someone claiming to be Alastor Moody, I've checked Auror records and there are striking similarities that make me believe it's really him. She was given the spell, aware of what it would do, and told its what Albus would have wanted and that Harry was and is a danger to magical society." Lord Slytherin explained.

"Why? I mean seriously, what could he have gotten out of my being a squib?" Harry asked utterly bewildered.

"Never mind that, I'm going to kill the bloody decrepit old bastard," Sirius swore vehemently.

Harry frowned, to the entire world Voldemort was gone. Only a select few were ever told Dumbledore's suspicions and they were all gone except presumably Moody and McGonagall. They reckoned McGonagall was loyal to Dumbledore but ultimately in the dark, her sense of right and wrong would never allow her to blindly follow the path Dumbledore laid out. Although, she had left him on a doorstep so what did he know?

Harry stared at Voldemort, both of them realizing that Moody didn't want to risk them ever working together. Which must have been something Dumbledore feared. Or Dumbledore had feared how powerful he was…and that had always been a back up plan if he survived whatever plan Dumbledore concocted.

"You didn't actually reveal what happened to her," Corvus pointed out placidly.

A/N – There we go his chapter again :) and you all got to see the snippets you all wanted to see :D at least I hope I remembered them all! and that they lived up to expectations ;) next chapter will we see the continuation of this and the wizengamot meeting or will we start off from the wizengamot meeting? R&R (Read and Review) please and thank you all so much xxx