I recently reread the original of this and was astounded at the amount of literary and grammatical errors I found. It's a wonder how any could stomach it. After shaking my head for some time, I decided that I would have to remaster it, so that is what I am doing.
The plot will be the same as will the major events. The story is merely undergoing a good going over to polish up the grammar and add a little more substance where necessary. The original will remain as is. It was my first completed story and I am still very proud of it but now my writing has developed exponentially and I want to do the idea justice, so here we are.
Anyway, please do follow, favourite and review this as you all did the first and please do point out any errors that you see.
Thank you all and I hope you enjoy this just as much the second time around if you choose to read it.
Honour Thy Blood - Remastered
Chapter 1: Defiance
For most, it would be discernible but for those who knew him intimately, the veiled concern would be evident. The expected alert from the wards that a portkey had been used within the grounds had reached him moments ago and yet, there was no sign of a winning champion on the designated point of arrival. He had known for some time that a Hogwarts victory was assured as both champions from Beauxbatons and Durmstrang had been rescued from the maze some fifteen minutes prior.
The pride in his champions had since given way to the concern that had befallen him and was quickly evolving into fear for their safety with each passing second, neither being accounted for though the cup had been claimed. The eternal twinkle in his eyes had dimmed considerably as he pondered the fate of both his students, each possible scenario as ludicrous but more sinister than the last. Pushing such thoughts aside, the only thing he could be certain of, was that something had gone awry
He turned his gaze towards the other judges and his own was met with four equal looks of confusion, all seeking the clarity that alluded he himself. All he had to offer was a shrug and shake of his head that only increased the unease that had settled amongst those situated at the table. Upon witnessing the countenance of the Hogwarts Headmaster, they too were now aware that something was gravely amiss. None present had ever found the man short of explanation. That itself was enough to further unsettle them, and with their own minds now occupied with speculation, they returned to their vigils, now only able to wait for what would come to fruition.
Albus turned his attention towards the perimeter of the maze where he knew Alastor would be patrolling, hoping for any sign that would alleviate the weight that was settling within him, but he could see no sign of the man, something that only served to peak his concern. Alastor, if anything, was a man that put his duty before all else; It had always been his way, to his own detriment. The scars he carried and the paranoia that plagued him could attest to such and his absence only added credence to the dawning realisation that something truly foreboding had occurred.
He stiffened and shot to his feet, pressing his palms into the top of the table to brace himself as an even deeper sense of fear seeped in.
"Moody," he whispered.
Ignoring the other judges that had once again turned to him, he allowed his thoughts to permeate, ultimately shutting out those around him. It was almost unfathomable that his old friend would orchestrate such a thing but the more he considered the possibility, the more things fell into place, though it offered no comfort to the aged man.
It was Moody that had placed the cup at the centre of the maze and had he found anything untoward with the Goblet, Dumbledore would have been the first to be made aware of it. Unless he was not acting of his own accord, or worse yet, was not Alastor Moody at all.
The previous school year suddenly flashed in front of his eyes and his heart almost stopped in his chest. Alastor had been late to the feast and he was never late. It was something that the militaristic nature being an auror had taught him.
Moody had avoided his company as much as possible this year and the two had been friends for decades. Although they spent little time together, each held the other in such esteem and would still meet occasionally to sup or simply share a drink.
The musings that followed cemented his newfound belief and the Headmaster shook his head as a new concern made itself known.
It was Moody that had investigated the anomaly that was Harry's name being chosen by the cup in the first instant and his conclusions had been rather lacking. The Moody Dumbledore knew would not have ceased looking until he figured it out.
His final thought resigned him to only one possibility, as unlikely as it was, it explained everything and the man could only chastise himself for the oversight. Such inane and easily dismissible things singularly when thought upon culminated into the one outcome left, the several conversations with his Potions Master over the past months verifying what he hoped was merely a fruitless theory.
Severus had been adamant that suspicious ingredients had been going missing from his stores; Boomslang skin, lacewing flies… He was now fully aware of how foolish he had been and now his laxity may have cost the lives of two of his students. He had simply dismissed Moody's behaviour as eccentricity and his desire for privacy in his later years. For that, he truly was the fool.
Sighing, he signalled for his Deputy to join him and watched as she approached, confused and then equally worried when she saw his expression.
"Minerva, where is Alastor?" he asked, the calmness in his voice contrary to the torrent of emotions he was experiencing.
"He took Mr Krum to the medical tent when he was brought out of the maze" she replied immediately.
Before she could question him, Dumbledore was already moving quickly towards the tent, so she followed him wanting to know what had flustered the usually calm Headmaster. When he reached the tent there was no sign of Moody and Madame Pomfrey was treating Fleur Delacour for the variety of cuts and bruises she had sustained in the maze. Before he could utter a word to the strict nurse cut him off.
"Albus, it appears that Mr Krum has been placed under the Imperius Curse and is very confused. He has no memory of being in the maze" she explained, concerned for the Bulgarian.
Dumbledore's eyes shifted towards Krum and the tell-tale glazed look in the man's own was clear to see. He strode towards him purposefully, waving his wand in an intricate pattern muttering under his breath and found more than he expected when his brief machinations were complete. He had indeed been placed under the curse but was now free of it and his memory had been wiped. Little to nothing could be gleaned from the Durmstrang Champion.
"Poppy, where did Alastor go when he left the tent" he asked the Matron with a hint of urgency in his voice.
She frowned at Dumbledore in confusion but shook herself from her momentary lapse to reply. "He said he was going back to the maze to wait for the other champions. Albus, what is going on?" she questioned with her hands on her hips, back to her usual no-nonsense self.
"Please Poppy, remain here and tend to your patients" he responded sharply before exiting the tent.
The two women shared a look of exasperation as the latter shook her head and left to follow the man.
Dumbledore, upon leaving the tent, made his way towards the castle now irrevocably convinced of what had happened. Simply put, he had been duped and now two of his students and a friend's life hung in the balance.
He knew the real Alastor had to be close by, he would be needed for the vital ingredient to pull of such a plan.
He quickened his pace knowing that he needed to act in a timely manner, the fear within him giving way to a cold fury, a fury he hadn't felt in decades. His eyes darkened and narrowed behind his half-moon spectacles and he could feel his magic react to his emotional state, it was boiling under the surface and leaking around him; his anger was palpable.
Minerva could feel it radiating off him and rushed to catch up to her long-time friend now knowing that something was very wrong indeed for Albus to lose his composure in such a way. Before she could enquire, he spoke in a dangerously low voice.
"Fetch Severus, tell him to get some Veritaserum and bring him to Moody's office." he instructed the transfiguration Professor firmly.
She stopped dead in her tracks at the unfamiliar tone of his voice. This was no longer the docile, lemon drop eating, strange humoured headmaster everyone had become accustomed to. This was the man that had saved the wizarding world from Grindelwald all those years ago, the man that all would be Dark Lords had feared since. She shivered at the fury she could sense but hurried away nonetheless to carry out his request.
Dumbledore entered the castle and made his way to the fourth floor, his wand gripped tightly in anticipation for the coming confrontation. He reached the door he sought and steeled himself, taking a deep breath. He could hear muffled voices beyond and before he could comprehend his own actions, he had already given his wand a sharp flick, sending a blasting curse at the obstacle before him.
The door exploded inwards in a cloud of splintered wood and metal hinges. When the resulting smoke and haze cleared, he entered the room to find whom he had believed to be Alastor Moody unconscious on the floor next to his open trunk in the corner of the office. He quickly bound the unmoving form and fixed him to the wall with a simple sticking charm.
A raspy, faint cough coming from the open trunk caught his attention and he tentatively made his way over, his wand aloft and ready to defend himself if necessary. Looking down into the depths he could see a very thin and dishevelled man; the real Alastor Moody, devoid of his infamous magical eye and prosthetic leg.
"The bastards got the jump on me, Albus. Crouch, Pettigrew and some weird baby thing." he said, somewhat lucid but disorientated after his ordeal.
"Crouch?" Dumbledore asked, "Barty Crouch"?
"Junior, Albus. That's the shit up there with you now with my eye and damned leg," Moody growled furiously.
Dumbledore could only shake his head.
"Quite the elaborate ploy," he muttered. "Minerva and Severus are on their way here now, Alastor. We will have you out of there in a moment" he replied, relieved that his friend was at least alive although a little worse for wear.
Whilst he waited for the appearance of his colleagues, he turned to face the imposter only to be met with the sight of a man he thought dead for many years. The leg and eye belonging to Alastor had fallen to the floor as the man had taken his natural form, the form of Bartemius Crouch Junior. He looked to be considerably older than his years. His sandy brown hair was streaked generously with grey and the lines and wrinkles in the face and around the eyes told a story of an exceedingly difficult time in Azkaban.
He was roused from his observations by a sharp intake of breath coming from the doorway behind him. Turning, he saw the looks of surprise on the face of the usually stoic Severus Snape and Minerva McGonagall.
"Is that...?" McGonagall began only to be interrupted by Dumbledore.
"Yes, I'm afraid it is" he cut in. "Minerva, Alastor is in the trunk and in need of medical attention, please help him to Madame Pomfrey. Severus and I will handle this," he finished, waving his hand towards the trunk without taking his eyes of the incapacitated man bound to the wall.
Minerva pursed her lips and went about her task knowing that it was not the time to protest or question the headmaster further. She fetched the discarded eye and leg from the floor and levitated the real Moody from the trunk. She exited with the still grumbling ex auror leaving Dumbledore and Snape alone with the whom she could only assume was now their prisoner.
Severus moved to stand next to the Headmaster, rolling up his left sleeve as he did so, revealing a very prominent tattoo on his forearm that Dumbledore looked upon tiredly and sighed deeply. He rubbed his eyes beneath his spectacles as his former spy spoke.
"Does this mean what I think it means?" the potions professor asked with an air of apprehension in his voice.
It was clear that although he was trying his best to remain calm, he was more than a little nervous knowing what would be asked of him.
"I fear it is, my boy," Dumbledore replied, looking every year he had lived and equally saddened. "Young Harry and Cedric are yet to return from the maze and the portkey warning alerted me to the cup being claimed close to an hour ago now."
"And you think that the Dark Lord may have them," Severus stated no longer seeming nervous but slightly bitter at the mention of the Potter boy.
Dumbledore sighed again with slight exasperation knowing that his potions master had no lost love for Harry.
"Based on his past history at this school it would seem that it is a fair assumption to make" He replied, keeping his frustration towards Severus and his views on Harry to a minimum. Now was not the time to dwell on it.
Snape curled his lip in a sign of distaste.
"Ahh yes, the boy's history at school, which you insist in not sharing, Albus, not even with the staff here" he retorted in a mixture of annoyance and curiosity.
"They are not my stories to tell, Severus, as I have said time and time again" Albus returned irritably, having had this argument several times with several members of staff. "Suffice to say, Harry is a very remarkable and gifted young man and if you could see beyond your petty differences with his relatives, you may see it yourself. Despite what you think, Harry seeks neither fame nor glory for his feats but I daresay if he did, he would be much more revered and reviled in our world than he ever has been. All he wants is to be normal, Severus, and yet society will never allow that," he murmured sadly. "However, now is not the time to discuss Mr Potter and his many achievements, please administer the Veritaserum to our guest so that we may see what we can learn from him".
Severus knew a closed discussion when he heard one but it did not stop him feeling agitated towards the headmaster and his aloofness when it came to Potter.
He stepped forward and angled the vial of potion to allow the required three drops to fall into the already open mouth of Crouch Jr. He stepped back drawing his wand from his sleeve and with a muttered 'Enervate', the unconscious man began to stir, his eyelashes fluttering open to reveal his glazed blue eyes, showing that the potion had taken affect.
Without hesitation Dumbledore stepped forward and began his questioning.
"What is your name" He asked calmly, not displaying the worry he felt.
"Bartemius Crouch Jr," came the monotonous reply.
"Where are Harry Potter and Cedric Diggory?" Dumbledore pressed; his voice now laced with a small amount of urgency.
"If the portkey worked as intended, they would have been taken to Riddle Manor in Little Hangelton," Crouch replied with a cruel smile.
Dumbledore was truly shaken now.
"Severus, get any and all information you can from him then send for Amelia Bones directly and tell her to bring only Aurors she trusts implicitly. I will return as soon as I can," he assured the man, internally requesting for the assistance he required.
With a final look of disgust towards Crouch Jr, he disappeared in a flash of fire leaving behind a confused potions professor, annoyed that the headmaster had departed before he could open his mouth to speak. Severus scowled at the space where Dumbledore had only seconds ago been occupying but turned to further question the only remaining man in the room.
He knew that tonight was going to be a long night and the coming months, years even, longer so.
Harry Potter found himself on his knees clutching the smoking remains of his wand, aware that his short and less than stellar existence was coming to an end.
He had taken his parents instruction and tried to run for the cup that would return him back to the safety of the castle and away from this hellish nightmare. It was not to be, however. His leg bitten by the Acromantula had given out mere feet away from the Goblet and as he raised his wand to summon it to him, it had been struck by an errant spell. All that remained was a smouldering slither of wood with a bright red feather protruding from the end, still smoking from its destruction. Despite its demise and now useless state, he clung to it dearly.
He was exhausted, breathing heavily and quite severely injured. He looked at the colder growing corpse of Cedric with an inordinate amount of sorrow.
He replayed his parent's voices over once more in his mind. Hearing the love they had for him in their own words had given him his final burst of energy to make his escape but alas, it was not enough to overcome the physical trauma he had been subjected to. The bite, the several torture curses, the exhausting duel with Voldemort and the blood loss from the dagger wound given to him by Pettigrew had resulted in him being in this position.
Now he knew that all he had left to do was face his inevitable death and he refused to die on his knees, cowering at the feet of the man who had murdered his parents. Tom Riddle, the man who had mercilessly taken the life of both his mother and father was stood only a few dozen yards away. The reason he had been raised by the Dursleys, the reason he had had a miserable existence the reason he found himself how and where he was now.
He would not die on his knees; he would look the man in the eye the same way his father had and defy him to the last second just as his mother had.
There was nothing left to take from Harry Potter except his dignity and under no circumstances would he surrender that to those who had already taken everything he held in his heart away from him.
Such thoughts filled him with a rage he had never thought possible, it coursed through his very veins like molten lava. How dare Tom Riddle trick and trap him the way he had and only try to duel him when he was already wounded?
He shook as he chuckled in realisation in that moment.
Tom Riddle was nothing but an opportunist; he really was the epitome of Slytherin through and through. The Death Eaters in front of him mistook his shaking for fear but could not see the emerald fire that danced dangerously in the young man's eyes. For that was what he was and always had been. Childhood was something that had been denied to him after all. They were very much taken aback when they heard his laughter and saw him stand on shaky legs to face the Dark Lord, despite the fact he was unarmed.
His leg was quivering violently under his weight but he knew this was his defining moment. He would make sure that Tom Riddle would never forget that the last Potter stood before him in his final moment, as defiant as the last two that he had faced.
He laughed again when he saw both, the look of confusion and grudging respect on the face of Riddle. He spat out the blood that had formed in his mouth and returned to staring his adversary in the eye just waiting for the end that he knew was to come.
Voldemort looked upon the boy in front of him amazed that he had the ability and the fortitude to face him the way that he was. He could not help but admire the final stand that Potter was making. In this moment, he caught a glimpse of the man that he would become and he felt a shiver make its way up his spine at the thought of that coming to pass.
He knew one day that Potter could have been his downfall and he knew that he had been fortunate in his plan to bring him here and end it now before he could become a real threat.
Knowing now that there was no way for the boy to escape, he allowed his wand to hang loosely at his side before addressing his foe.
"I'm find myself impressed, Potter," he conceded. "You have finally shown me why you have been considered my biggest threat all these years, I see the anger in your eyes, the desire for vengeance, you would have been quite the rival had you lived that long," he finished with a slight bow.
The Death Eaters around him appeared confused, surprised that the Dark Lord just praised a half-blood and a child. Even more so that he just claimed that this boy was his biggest threat. They themselves believed that Potter had gotten lucky thirteen years ago and that he had been nothing more than a setback in the Dark Lord's plans. They could not see the potential that Potter had. As far as they knew he was not a remarkable wizard and was not overtly talented.
Lucius Malfoy in particular was very confused. He had had his son watch Potter from day one and by all accounts, Potter had proven to be mediocre at best. Had his son missed something? Or had he simply let his jealousy cloud his judgement of the young man stood in front of him?
He looked into Potter's eyes and saw the fire that burned within them, a bright emerald fire that he would not forget resided there and it made him feel uneasy. He swallowed back his unease with an audible gulp and looked back towards his master to see the grudging respect etched on his face. There was something about Potter that he was wary of and Lucius Malfoy detested being wary.
"I offered you the chance to stand by my side in your first year at Hogwarts Harry, do you remember? Of course you do. You foolishly turned down my offer, but I stand by what I said, you would have been great, together we could have been greater still," he stated, ignoring his followers around him. "But Lord Voldemort only offers his hand once Harry, you refused and now you die a pointless death for nothing," he spat.
Before he could raise his wand, the young man dared to laugh at him again and Voldemort thought for a second that he had simply gone insane from his exposure to the torture he had endured.
Harry found himself amused by the speech. He himself wasn't sure if he had lost his mind. All he knew was that he was no longer scared. On the contrary, he was now looking forward to it all being over. There would be no more pain and no more fear. He would finally be reunited with his parents, the one thing he had always desired above all else.
He had dreamed that he could bring them back and they could live happily together as they should have been able to but he had long since given up on that dream of folly and childish wishes and had resigned himself to the fact he would have to wait until his end before he could see them again.
Having faced the threats he had; he knew his luck would eventually run out but he did not expect his time would come to a close so soon. But now he accepted it had and the prospect of being with his family had made him quite impatient for it all to finally be over.
He gave a final laugh before looking at Riddle critically one final time. The anger he felt was pulsing through him but he composed himself, he would show no more weakness.
"You're right Tom, I did refuse you then and would now," he ground out, deeply satisfied with the the anger he could see in Voldemort's eyes at the casual use of his given name. "You're a coward Riddle, attacking people in the dead of night, torturing harmless innocent wizards, witches and muggles. I would rather die a thousand times than join you, I doubt you have had an honest fight in your life," he continued, his anger showing in his voice. "Yes, you'll kill me but there will always be people who will stand against you and one day you will be where I stand now and I hope that who is holding that wand shows you the same kind of mercy you have shown in your life," he spat seethed, favouring his injured leg. "Fuck you, Tom Riddle," he finished spitting a final mouthful of blood at Voldemort's feet, wearing a cruel smile.
The Dark Lord was shocked but the shock quickly turned to anger.
"All who stand against me will fall, just like your foolish parents and now you," he screamed. He levelled his wand at the boy, the tip already glowing an eerie green. "Avada Kedavra," he shouted with all the hatred he could muster.
Before he had even begun his incantation a thick, black fog had rolled through the graveyard and surrounded him and his Death Eaters. He knew his aim was true and that from this distance there was no way he could have missed with his spell but he was furious that he would not see Potter fall.
A gentle single popping sound permeated the silence followed quickly by another. He furiously waved his wand dispelling the fog to find the spot where Potter had stood was now empty. All that remained was the no longer smoking remains of his destroyed wand.
He knew his spell had hit and he knew that Potter could not apparate through the wards around the graveyard. He was confused and furious. Someone had taken the corpse he planned on parading through the streets of the wizarding world to show that he could not be stopped, not even by Harry Potter.
He took some comfort in knowing that Potter was finally dead but he wanted that corpse. He screamed again in rage. Sweeping his wand in an elaborate arc, he levelled the remaining tombstones in the graveyard.
He would find those responsible for this travesty and they would meet the same fate as the boy
He watched through his steel grey eyes from the edge of the graveyard, having expected this day to come, though not how it had transpired before him.
He knew that Voldemort had not truly been killed thirteen years ago and had used that time to learn as much as he could about the man. It had been difficult, according to the wizarding world he had died not long after the fall of the Dark Lord but in truth, he had spent these last years preparing for his inevitable return.
He had learnt many months ago from the muggle newspapers about the disappearance of Frank Bryce, the Riddles' gardener and vowed to keep vigil on the property from then on. He had the property watched continuously through his elves but had learnt very little. He was aware that wards had been placed around the property, simple wards only; muggle repelling, anti-apparition and basic notice-me-not charms but no people had been seen entering or leaving the property until tonight.
The elves had alerted him to what was happening and he quickly made his way here arriving in time to see the other boy bought along with Potter murdered needlessly in cold blood and knew if he didn't act, then Potter would follow shortly afterwards.
He watched in anger and sadness as the teen was bound to the tombstone and had his blood stolen to be used in that disgusting potion by the short, rotund man and bore witness in a mixture of awe and horror as Voldemort rose from the cauldron and equal fury as he tortured an unarmed and defenceless boy.
It was with equal pride and respect that he watched Potter stand against the Dark Lord despite knowing it was a helpless situation and the odds were against him. He balked as their wands connected and felt a greater sense of pride fill him as Potter bested the Dark Lord and when the subsequent shades emerged from the wand, although he could not hear what they were saying, he could see the determination appear in the boy's eyes at their words.
His own pride and deserved admiration however, all but vanished at what followed.
The Potter boy fell and his heart filled with dread in anticipation of what would come to pass, it was inevitable. Through his own turbulent thoughts, he heard Potter laugh and thought, as the Death Eaters did, that he had finally snapped his mind no longer functioning coherently.
His eyebrows rose as Potter stood and looked at the Dark Lord defiantly, an all too familiar glare in his eyes, a stare he hadn't seen in many, many years.
He nodded, silently encouraging the boy. He could not be prouder of him in that moment as he swelled with joy at the memories that the visage had awoken within him. He would have attempted to save the boy because of his own history, but now he was determined. He could see the potential in him the same potential he had himself witnessed in the one that the boy reminded him, down to the stubbornness on display.
Just from what he had seen, he knew the boy was the best hope of someone ending the Dark Lord once and for all, when it mattered and none had more right to do so than a Potter.
With sudden vigour, he tore at the anti-apparition wards furiously knowing he had to work quickly and precisely to pull his plan off and as he tore through them, he could see the green glow at the tip of the Dark Lords wand. Increasing the urgency in which he worked, he twirled his own in a figure eight motion followed by a sharp jab, the moment the final ward collapsed. Immediately, Riddle and his followers were engulfed in a thick, black fog. Little more than an inconvenience for them but enough for him to make his move.
When he was certain that he would not be seen, he apparated behind the boy only to see him hit full in the face by the killing curse that had been sent his way, the boy seemingly not even having tried to avoid it. He managed to catch him as he fell limp as an inky black substance poured from the infamous lightning bolt scar. An ear-splitting screech accompanied it and the darkness that escaped left him recoiling in nausea. He was familiar with dark magic having spent much of his life practicing it, but this was something else entirely, something that held no familiarity with him, something that was beyond his own expertise.
The black, inky mass dissipated quickly and he checked for a pulse not expecting to find one present. Shockingly, it was there, very faint, but there nonetheless and supported by a sudden influx of laboured breathing by the boy. Out of his depth and having no other solution to hand, he disapparated home with haste knowing that time was of the essence if he was to have any chance of saving him.
Albus Dumbledore arrived in the graveyard in a flash of fire, wand in hand ready, only to hear the tell-tale cracks of several people disapparating before he could catch his bearings.
He looked upon the scene of destruction with his keen eyes trying to discern what had happened. It was clear that quite the fight had taken place and he held on to the small glimmer of hope that his students had managed to hold off Voldemort long enough to escape.
The feeling was short lived however as he spotted the lifeless body of Cedric Diggory only a few feet to his left and the still-glowing Triwizard cup discarded next to him.
A sad silent tear escaped him as he mourned the needless loss of a fine young man. Though distraught, he fought to compose himself quickly knowing that Cedric could no longer be helped but there was still hope for Harry yet.
He carefully approached the enormous smoking cauldron and peered inside. He frowned at the unknown potion but could sense a few of the ingredients; flesh, blood and bone and felt queasy knowing that nothing good could be born from such a concoction.
Abandoning his musings, he began his search for any sign of Harry and was caught short when he came upon the broken remains of his wand amongst the debris and devastation that had been wrought.
Fearfully, he picked it up in a trembling hand and felt the familiar warmth of Fawkes radiating from it.
The phoenix perched on his shoulder trilled sadly at the destruction of a wand he had helped create and trilled again in an even more melancholy manner at the thought of the loss of the wand's owner.
Dumbledore sighed as he wiped away an errant tear that he was unaware had formed and fired off a patronus to Severus asking him to send Amelia Bones to the graveyard as soon as possible.
Whilst he waited, he continued with his investigation of the area, piecing together what had happened. He felt the expected presence of Tom Riddle being very familiar of the types of spells he used and the the all too familiar presence of his more prolific followers, having come across them many times during the last war. As he walked around the perimeter, he felt the ambient magic of the wards that had been here and cast some diagnostic spells, anticipating that he would find standard anti-apparation wards.
What he did find however only had him frowning at the results. He ran the check once more to be certain that he was seeing the outcome for what it he believed was, although it was beyond both expectation and comprehension.
There was however, no denying his findings. There were indeed signs of the ward but it had not been dropped by the creator, it had been broken from the outside and the Headmaster had no doubt it would have to have been done by one with more than passive skill in the subject.
He closed his eyes and reached out, focusing on any foreign magic. The presence he felt was somewhat familiar to him, though not intimately so. The witch or wizard had concealed themselves very well.
He checked the graveyard again for any further sign of them and was again surprised and confused to find a sudden sharper presence of the individual's signature where he had found the remains of Harry's wand. The sudden presence led him to believe that whomever it was had apparated directly where Harry had stood and away again.
He knew that he would learn little else from here and could only hope that this person was an ally whom had managed to help Harry escape.
It was imperative to find Harry, if he was alive. There were things he needed to know and he could only pray that he would be forgiven for withholding so much from the boy. If Harry had not managed to survive, then Dumbledore knew that the coming years would be very dark indeed. Without their beacon of hope and saviour, the wizarding world would crumble to dust without much resistance and Tom Riddle would exert his will upon them all.
"Do you think it's possible he escaped?" he asked his still trilling familiar.
Fawkes paused and cocked his head to the side, his black beady eyes focused on his long-time friend. He screeched a long hopeful note eliciting a deep feeling of hope within the headmaster who simply stroked the bird's plumage and smiled gently, his eyes regaining some of their usual twinkle.
"You're right, my friend. We have to have faith in Harry, he has certainly overcome the odds enough times now for me to not count him out," he finished feeling a little calmer.
If Harry had indeed been captured and taken away by Tom, he would soon be made aware of it as would the rest of the Wizarding world. Tom would be compelled to boast and would feel no need to hide in the shadows with the death of the boy.
He knew not many would truly stand against him if Harry fell to his wand. With Fawkes assurance, he believed that Harry had yet to meet such a fate. He would have to check the wards at Privet Drive for further clarification, a journey he would make as soon as he had spoken at length with Amelia. He would inform her of Harry's disappearance and hope that a combined effort would find him alive and unharmed.
His formulations were intruded upon by the arrival of the Head of the DMLE and two of her aurors, both of whom he knew quite well. They hadn't always seen eye to eye but Dumbledore knew Amelia was honourable and trustworthy if nothing else. She herself had lost much of her family during the last war and he knew he could have a powerful ally in Madame Bones.
"What the hell is going on Dumbledore?" She asked impatiently. "The school is in uproar wondering what is happening and the press is having a field day shouting about you and your incompetence."
She faltered at seeing the grim look in the eyes of the chief warlock and paled further still at the unseemly site of the body of Cedric Diggory.
Dumbledore sighed sadly and offered a weak smile. He explained everything that had happened to the director and her two aurors who simply gaped at what they were being told.
When he was finished Amelia looked simply dumbfounded, overwhelmed by all she had heard.
"Fudge will never believe it," She managed to stammer after composing herself for several moments. "He won't believe it until he sees it for himself and with Lucius Malfoy pulling his strings, he will simply ignore everything. What the hell can we do Albus? What do we tell the Diggorys and what about Potter?" She asked firing the questions quickly, not allowing the older man time to respond.
"We tell them the truth Amelia, that's all we can do and hope that people see it for what we know it to be," he answered when she had finished speaking. "Harry is very resourceful, believe me. It is not the first time he has found himself in a less- than desirable situation," he chuckled in fondness at the memories of Harry, his penchant for finding himself in situations and coming out on top over again.
Before she could scold him for his inappropriate laughter, he raised a placating hand.
"Mr Potter is a very capable wizard. I will not divulge the unknown specifics but suffice to say he has done things that most would deem impossible. He mastered the Patronus charm at 13 years old and drove off all of the Dementors that Cornelius deemed fit to guard Hogwarts after Sirius Black escaped," Dumbledore explained satisfied at the look of awe on the faces of the aurors and the head of the DMLE.
"That's impossible, no one can drive away any more than a few Dementors at a time," the young female auror denied.
"My dear Nymphadora, I can assure you that it is in fact possible as young Harry himself did it and, had he not, he and his godfather would have suffered a most unfortunate fate," the Headmaster replied, amused by the young metamorph's constant changing hair colour.
"Why would Potter save Black? He betrayed the boys' parents to the Dark Lord," Amelia asked, confused by such a revelation.
The young female auror was paying rapt attention, she was very interested in hearing Dumbledore's answer to such a question.
"As chief warlock of the wizengamot, I cannot influence your investigation but I daresay that you will find the most peculiar magical presence of a wizard thought murdered by Mr Black some thirteen years ago, in this very graveyard," he said conspiratorially, though he did not elaborate further, much to her consternation.
Amelia blinked taken aback by statement.
"Pettigrew? You're telling me Pettigrew is alive and in league with the Dark Lord?" she asked suspiciously, not at all convinced by what Dumbledore had more than implied.
"It is not my place to say and you know that I cannot officially take part in any investigation. However, I'm sure if you investigate the official documents you will find some very interesting reading or, more accurately, lack of reading," he returned, articulating his words carefully. "Anyway, you are here now to do your job and I must speak to the Diggorys and inform them of what has happened," he finished reverting to his mournful demeanour, reminding himself of the dire need to visit the residence of the Dursley's as soon as possible. "Oh, I believe that when you are finished here, I have a most interesting man you will want to take into custody, he is pivotal to what has occurred this evening," he added with a nod before flashing away in flames.
Amelia simply shook her head and attempted to digest what she learnt. There was much to do and tonight was just the beginning. She had no reason to doubt Dumbledore, he was not one for scaremongering, if anything he had played down the seriousness of the situation.
She knew that her life would become very hectic and very busy but she would not allow anyone else she cared about to die at the Dark Lord's hand.
She had work to do and lots of it.
Nymphadora Tonks on the other hand was occupied by thoughts of a different nature. She had always believed that her cousin had turned traitor against his best friend and now she had just heard that there was a chance that it wasn't true, from Dumbledore himself no less.
She would take his advice and investigate the matter, starting with this graveyard and then she would speak to her Mother. If anyone knew the kind of man Sirius Black was, it would be her. She set to work with a lot of information whirling through her mind, determined to find the truth.
Harry Potter opened his eyes, only to be met with the sight of a grey mist wherever he looked. At first, he had been convinced that it was his vision was being affected, but after waving his hand in front of his face and seeing it clearly, he determined that is was the place he was in that was causing it.
Although he could see nothing, his senses told him that he was not alone. He reached for his wand, forgetting that he no longer had it and cursing his bad luck when he found his pocket empty. With a deep sigh and shrug, he began walking forward in earnest trying to find anything that would explain where he had been brought to.
The fog itself was a constant and showed no signs of clearing or changing, but the further he ventured, sounds slowly became audible. It took a further moment or so of walking but the sounds became clearer and he frowned as he tried to discern the words of what he quickly identified.
There were voices, many voices that seemed to come from nowhere, whispering to him.
He continued forward lost in thought, some of the voices fading to nothingness as others became clearer, though only the odd word identifiable amongst the cacophony.
He sighed as he attempted to ignore them.
He thought back to his final moments and felt a sense of pride at how he had carried himself and had goaded Riddle into anger. He was surprised that his life did not flash before his eyes as the green light of the killing curse hurtled towards him. Instead, he became acutely aware of everything around him in the moment; the smell of his own blood and perspiration, the gentle breeze of the June evening that gently caressed his damp skin but above all else the serenity he felt knowing that all of his heartache and pain would soon be over.
Yes, there were people he would miss but now he would get to be with those who he had had for only the briefest time when he had been but a baby.
He increased his pace at the thought of seeing his parents again only to be stopped in his tracks by a gentle voice that easily drowned out the other surrounding murmurs.
"Please, stop Harry, listen to what we have to say and then you can make any choice you want to. I promise that we won't try to change your mind once you have heard us out," the familiar but seldom heard voice said in a pleading tone.
Harry was shocked. He knew that voice but had only heard it in his darkest moments begging for his life to be saved and hers to be taken instead, courtesy of his worst nightmares and his run-ins with the Dementors. He swallowed the lump that had formed in his throat before replying.
"Mum? Is that you?" he asked, not able to hide his excitement at hearing his Mothers,' voice for the first time not in a state of distress.
"Yes, it's me Harry," the voice of Lily Potter answered full of enough emotion for Harry to know she was chocking back her tears. "Please, stay where you are, if you come any closer then there is no going back," she explained, undoubtedly saddened at the situation her son had found himself in.
"No going back?" Harry asked in confusion. "But I'm dead, aren't I? There is no going back from death."
"You are both dead and alive Harry, you are currently both and neither, in the space between both worlds, and from here, you can go back the way you came or keep walking forward and move on to the other side," Lily continued.
At that explanation Harry moved to take another step forward but was once again stopped by the voice of his mother.
"Wait, Harry, please," her voice pleaded once more. "Let me explain."
He complied and she took a deep before speaking once more.
"Your soul was tainted by an essence of Voldemort from when he attempted to kill you as a baby and when the curse hit you, it removed the it. So, in effect, the killing curse took a life of some form as intended but you do not have to give up yours. I am not allowed to say any more than that as we are not allowed to interfere with anything from the other side. If I say any more, I would be cast out from this place and we would never be able to see each other again," she explained apologetically. "You have the chance to go back," she continued "you can try to stop Voldemort and save your friends and all those you care about or you can walk forward and pass on, it is your choice," she finished with a sigh.
Harry knew there was much more to it than what he was being told.
"What happens if I decide to walk forward and pass on?" he asked in a calm voice that did not reflect his inner turmoil.
The voice hesitated before sighing.
"All I can say it that there will be very dark times on the other side, there are very few who will stand against Voldemort and those few will likely fall," the voice replied. "Like it or not Harry, these people look to you as a beacon of hope and without you there will be reluctance to fight."
"But I'm just me, I'm just a boy," he replied in a huff.
"No Harry, you are not just a boy. What you did and how you faced death in the graveyard is what separates you from everyone else. You fought back and even when you knew the end was coming you did not beg nor plead for your life as almost all others would. You accepted your fate and showed Voldemort something he had never seen; unwavering bravery in the face of death. The only person who he fears is you, Harry. He could not kill you as a baby and now he believes he has succeeded. How do you think he will react knowing you had again survived his attempt at killing you? It will give everyone hope that he can be stopped and I'm sorry Harry but you are that hope as much as you don't want it to be," Lily explained sadly to her son.
Harry was confused and frustrated.
"Why does it have to be me? Why can't someone else do it just for once? I am ready to die, I want to die, I want it all to be over. How can you ask me to go back now after everything I've had to deal with? Every time things go wrong everyone turn their backs on me then its left to me to deal with it all and then it starts all over again," he finished breathless from his outburst, his eyes welling with tears.
He took a deep breath before continuing.
"I've had enough, I just want it to all be over, so why should I go back and help them only for them to hail me as a hero when it's convenient for them and then be shunned all over again when it's all over? he asked in anger.
Before the voice of his mother could reply another voice was heard above the whispers.
"Because that is who you are, Harry," a deep masculine voice answered. "You don't see yourself as a hero but you simply do what is right. You don't do it for the adoration and approval of others and you don't do it for the fame and glory, you do it because you can, because you know that it is the right thing to do. You are different to the others, you have the courage to fight the fight that they can't and you have the potential to succeed. If worst comes to worst then he will kill you again and you will find yourself back here but we both know that if you step forward now you will never find peace you seek knowing that you could have been that difference. You are a Potter. We stand against tyranny, we fight the battles that others can't because that's who we are and that's what we do and always have. You can't change who you are, Harry; you can't fight what is in your blood. Who do you know that can stand and face Voldemort the way you have and end him? I saw the look in your eyes as you faced him at the end, you wanted to kill him and had you had a wand, you would have done everything you could to do it. He killed your parents and condemned you the life that you have had to live. Are you really going to let that go and let him do that to countless others? I think not," the voice finished.
Harry stood stock still absorbing the words that had been spoken to him.
He was clinging to a final strand of hope that he wouldn't have to go back but he had unknowingly already resigned himself to it.
"What about Dumbledore?" he asked, partly out of desperation. "He is the only one who Voldemort is afraid of."
"Dumbledore is a very old man, Harry, and he has fought his fight, this is a fight for a younger man. Voldemort does not fear Dumbledore he has simply struggled to defeat him in the past but those times are behind him now. Dumbledore could still hold his own against him but he does not have it in him to finish him magically or morally, he has his reasons but they are his to tell you, but Dumbledore will not take a man's life, no matter how necessary it is," the masculine voice replied.
With those words, Harry knew he had to go back. As much as he wanted to walk forward and be done with it all he knew the voice was right. He would not find peace on the other side if he left the others to a horrible fate that he could prevent. He rubbed his eyes in frustration and released a long drawn out breath.
"Who are you?" he asked the empty vastness. "And how do I get out of the graveyard? As soon as I wake up there, surely he will just kill me again."
The voice chuckled at the questions.
"I'm sure you will know who I am soon enough, Harry, and you are no longer in the graveyard. You were saved and taken away as soon as the curse hit you, I'm sure right now there is a very worried man watching over you."
Harry couldn't help but feel slightly annoyed at the voice as it spoke in amusement. He chose instead to address his mother.
"Mum, what do you think I should do?"
"You already know what you have to do," she replied her voice full of emotion.
Harry simply nodded and swallowed back another lump. He turned to leave and walk back the way he came when the male spoke again.
"Remember Harry, fighting for others is all well and good and the right thing to do, but never lose sight of your own reasons. You do what you must to survive and protect those who can't protect themselves. War is war, when someone is trying to kill you or those you care about there can be no hesitation. You must do whatever is necessary to make sure you and those who stand by your side make it through even if that means taking a life. You will regret losing someone you care about more than you ever will taking the life of someone who will not hesitate to take yours. Know your enemy Harry, know what you are against and know your blood and what it is you fight for. Fight fire with fire, it's the only way yourself and those you hold dear will make it through this alive."
"I will," Harry assured the man, now aware of how different things would be. "I will," he whispered to himself before stepping again towards where he came from.
Harry awoke and took in the unfamiliar surroundings. He was in a dark room decorated mostly in ornate oak furniture. There were various paintings on the wall and a thick chocolate rug on the heavy wooden floor in front of a crackling fire that was surrounded with a simple stone placing. He tried to move but found himself quite stiff and his joints protested his attempts.
The stiffness of his joints aside he felt much better than he had expected. He felt that he was breathing easier than he ever had and that a huge burden had been lifted from him, he felt light and knew that it must be from the taint of Voldemort being removed from him.
He turned his head to take in the rest of the room only to be faced with a pair of sharp, penetrating steel grey eyes that betrayed no emotion.
The man sat beside him in a simple armchair was old, not as old as Dumbledore but advanced in his years, nonetheless. He had the look of a man who had seen and been a part of much in his life, though was not heavily scarred nor did he show any wounds but the eyes told the story of a truly hardened man, a man who had faced and overcome much adversity in his time.
Harry swallowed nervously and attempted to moisten his dry mouth to talk through the nervousness he was feeling.
"So, you finally decided to wake up, Mr Potter," the man stated in a neutral voice. "It is about time".
Harry swallowed again at the man's casual tone.
"Who are you?" he managed to ask. "How long was I out?"
The still unidentified looked at him with a penetrating stare that seemed to see straight into his soul.
"You have been unconscious for three days" he explained, "and as for who I am, my name is Arcturus Orion Black, your great uncle on you fathers' side and I believe we have much to discuss and much more to do" he said gravely.
As you can see, not many changes here compared to the first but they will happen somewhat the further I delve into this.
Also, my competition is still up and running on my Ko-Fi page for any who wish to enter, (Link can be found on my profile) and thank you to those that are taking part thus far, the support is much appreciated. I am currently working on 'The Green and the Grey' which will be continuing very soon. I am currently reformatting it and working on the next chapter.
Ciao for now,