Harry received some useful advice before the third task. The butterfly effect will be going full-speed. Not everyone is happy with the changes. Enjoy
Style – I enjoy storytelling using PoVs from various characters rather than just Harry's perspective. There are about 50 characters used in this story. I rarely allow them to be potted plants doing nothing when off-camera. I also illustrate brief scenes before cutting to the next scene. If filmed, most single scenes wouldn't last longer than 20 seconds.
Ships – Not the main focus of this tale. There are occasional brief references to age-typical teen activities. Either read on or look at a different story.
Book compliancy – The story begins on June 24, 1995 – the evening of the third task with a huge change from Canon. A handful of pages are pretty brutal. Nothing following that night will be the same.
Disclaimer - JKR's sandbox, not mine. I'm having a blast pushing some of the piles around a bit and rearranging them. I'm amazed and beyond grateful that anyone would spend their time reading my twisted thoughts.
Wizarding etiquette – This and most fanfiction stories are written strictly on a hobby basis. I make no claim that it is error free. Any and all mistakes, both grammatical and story continuity are mine. This tale has largely been written to a first draft. If you enjoy my little stories and are willing to accept the quality level, please read on and leave a review here and there. I left some of my thoughts as notes. I'd love to read your thoughts. Finally, there are handful of O-Cs in my story. I would prefer to have heard from you once before I find them in your stories. That said, I briefly borrowed a character created by my favorite storyteller Robst as well as a magical item that I believe he created. I tried to take very good care of Barchoke and occasionally gave him grog. Thank you.
Chapter one – The Unspoken Evening
Saturday - June 24, 1995
… - …
The man once known as Tom Riddle and Peter Pettigrew sat patiently waiting for a Portkey that may or may not arrive. Riddle's other servant; Barty Crouch Junior had no means of communicating his success or lack of it. The third task was scheduled to start at six PM and was expected to take between twenty minutes and an hour to complete.
They didn't know who, if anyone, would be coming, though Barty had assured them that Potter would be the most likely winner.
So they waited.
At 7:00, they saw the Portkey flash at the spot where Barty had been instructed to use as the destination point.
… - ...
Even though they had agreed to take the cup at the same time, Cedric was a split-second late. In a flash, Harry had vanished.
The fourteen year-old wizard rolled in a somersault as he landed near an old graveyard. Immediately, he took out his wand as he patted himself down to verify that the other equipment that his Godfather, Sirius Black had given him was still in place. He looked around but didn't immediately see anyone – rather he noticed the largest cauldron that he'd ever seen, with red embers burning underneath. Harry moved closer and saw a blueish liquid shimmering inside. The hundred-gallon copper cauldron was half-full.
As he looked at the enormous grave stone grave marked Tom Riddle near the cauldron, Harry saw the red jet of light from the corner of his eye and attempted to dodge what he recognized as a stunner. It was too late. Wormtail's aim had been true. It was 7:01 PM
… - …
Back at the tournament, Hogwarts Headmaster Albus Dumbledore noticed the blue portkey flash indicating that someone had reached the cup. Minerva, who was sitting by him asked, "Where's the winning Champion?" The winner's platform was empty.
Realizing that something was wrong, the old wizard removed a miniature goblet from one of his pockets and tapped it. In a flash, he disappeared and moments later, found himself standing next to Cedric Diggory who was looking confused. In an uncharacteristically harsh voice, Dumbledore demanded, "What happened?"
The seventeen year-old replied, "Harry grabbed the cup and disappeared. He's probably on the winner's stand."
Knowing that the stand was currently unoccupied, the 117 year-old wizard recognized that something was horribly wrong. Hoping against hope that Harry was somewhere nearby, Dumbledore waved his arm and began to bring down the massive garden maze that had been planted two months earlier in the Quidditch Stadium.
… - …
The thirty-two year-old wizard who resembled Master Auror Alastor Moody had also seen the portkey flash. Having seen Harry disappear, Barty Crouch Junior knew exactly what had just happened. With just ten minutes remaining on his current dose of polyjuice potion, Junior hobbled as fast as he could towards Hagrid's hut, near the ward-line where he could apparate back to his master. He didn't want to appear as the old Auror and accidentally be cursed by the other Death Eaters. He'd wait and appear as himself.
… - …
Dumbledore was frustrated beyond belief. It took over five minutes to remove the maze from the football-sized stadium only for him to find that the only remaining occupants were a handful of Hagrid's monsters and a rather bored looking sphinx. Harry Potter wasn't there.
Ignoring the rest of the crowd that had begun milling around, the old wizard walked purposefully to find Severus Snape. Dumbledore needed his help.
… - …
Harry awoke some five minutes after being stunned to find himself tied to a gravestone with heavy cords. He saw Pettigrew over by the cauldron adding fuel to the fire beneath it. Another bonfire had been started nearby. In the gathering darkness, Harry could see his wand on the ground some fifty feet away from him.
Pettigrew walked over to the headstone next to Harry. He could read the name on the marker. It read Thomas Riddle. Harry noticed that the traitor had wrapped his belt around the stump of his left forearm and that the hand was missing.
Pettigrew called, "Accio Thomas Riddle Jr. bone fragments."
Harry watched as a cloud of fine grey dust emerged from the ground and settled into a large cup that Pettigrew had set on the grass by his feet. Harry squirmed in a futile attempt to loosen the ropes that were binding him; holding him to the damp, moss-covered headstone.
"Bone of the Father – unknowingly given." Pettigrew dumped the cup of fragments into the cauldron as white sparks flew from the shimmering liquid flew into the air.
From an unseen spot on the other side of the cauldron, Harry could hear a high-pitched voice shout, "Hurry. Hurry."
Pettigrew picked up and dropped his severed hand into the pot and chanted, "Flesh of a servant – willingly given." Yellow sparks flew higher into the air. The bleeding man returned to the frightened teen and awkwardly withdrew a silver ritual knife from his pocket. Suddenly, clarity came to Harry Potter. He was going to be sacrificed for this Hellish ritual to somehow resurrect Voldemort.
"Hold out your arm, Potter."
"Hold it out, or I'll cut it off. It really doesn't matter to me anymore."
"I can't move it. The cords are too tight."
Pettigrew loosened the ropes then roughly grabbed Harry's arm. He knicked the inside skin by Harry's elbow. Moments later, a small flow of blood dribbled down Harry's arm and filled the groove in the knife. Pettigrew carefully walked over to the pot and poured the collected blood into the cauldron. Then he chanted, "Blood of the enemy – forcibly taken. Bone, flesh and blood shall be used to restore a true body to my Master. Combined with his spirit, he shall rise before me, and I shall serve him faithfully." A huge shower of red sparks filled the air.
Pettigrew awkwardly picked up the ugly little creature, which clung to his good arm. He used the stump of his other arm to support the creature, but ended up getting blood all over him. When it was suspended over the pot, it let go and with a splash, plopped into the sparkling liquid. Sparks of all colors flew into the air.
Minutes passed in silence. As blood continued to ooze down his arm, Harry kept muttering to himself, "Let it drown. Let it drown."
After five minutes, the sparks flew into the air at an ever-increasing rate until the remaining liquid in the cauldron suddenly flew high into the air and ignited with a Whoosh!
Harry had a fleeting thought of Neville and his exploding cauldrons and prayed that Pettigrew had somehow screwed up. Unfortunately, it wasn't to be.
A hand emerged from the cauldron and gripped the edge. A moment later, another hand gripped the opposite side and a skeletally thin figure slowly emerged from the cauldron and stood. In the firelight, Harry could see that the creature was hairless and had snakelike facial features. The creature sniffed the air, turned his head to Pettigrew, took a breath and commanded, "Robe me."
Wormtail awkwardly lifted a robe over the creature and called, "Master."
Lord Voldemort had returned.
He carefully stepped out of the cauldron and called, "My wand, Wormtail."
The whimpering man handed Voldemort his wand, handle first, then knelt and kissed the hem of his master's robes.
"Hold out your arm, Wormtail. Your other arm." He jabbed his wand tip at the now fully defined Mark on Pettigrew's arm. As he touched the tip of his wand to Pettigrew's skin, the Mark immediately went completely black, like wet coal.
Pettigrew whimpered, and waited.
A few yards away, an exhausted and terrified teen muttered, "Oh shite."
It was 7:10.
… - ...
Hundreds of miles away, Igor Karkaroff felt the Mark on his arm burn. Like Lucius Malfoy, the Durmstrang Headmaster had anticipated that this moment would come, and had made his plans. Wordlessly, he walked up the gangway on the old, sail-less, three-mast ship. Two minutes later, he'd sealed the last hatch and the ancient ship disappeared beneath the waters – destination Perth.
… - …
Harry looked around for his wand. Pettigrew had dropped it on the ground near the cauldron, some fifty feet away. He was certain that if he made a dash for it, Wormtail or Riddle would cut him down mid-stride. He steeled himself and knew what he had to do. As quickly as he could, he quietly freed himself from the loosened ropes. It was time for plan-B.
… - …
Peter Crabbe and Grant Goyle hadn't received invitations from the Minister of Magic to attend the final task of the Triwizard Tournament. Neither wealthy and well connected, nor highly skilled – the best days of their lives had been while they were in service to the Dark Lord. Goyle was eating chicken dinner with Crabbe when they felt the Mark burn.
As stupid smiles crept onto the men's faces, they walked outside and happily answered their master's call.
Like Draco, Marcus Flint had been watching the tournament and was quickly escorted out of Hogwarts by his father Donald.
Others in similar situations like the Carrows, Yaxley, the Notts, Conrad McLaggen, Bulstrode, Parkinson and others felt the miraculous calling from the one who they had feared to be long gone. They dropped whatever they were doing, grabbed or conjured their garb and took a moment to mentally prepare to answer their master's call.
… - …
Three weeks earlier, Harry had met with Sirius. They had discussed the third task at length. After listening to his Godson describe the visions that he'd been having Sirius reached into his knapsack and pulled out a Glock 17 pistol, a shoulder holster, a loaded spare magazine and an extra box of 9MM cartridges.
"Harry, if things turn to shite in this bloody tournament, I want you to use this." He spent an hour describing how the pistol operated. After that they took it out and practiced a bit. Having fired most of the box of ammunition, Harry was by no means an expert shot but he believed that he understood the basics. Sirius described a shooting technique developed many years back by two English police chiefs, Fairbain and Sykes, called the double-tap, whereby the shooter routinely fired twice to vastly improve the likelihood that the target went down and would stay down.
The Glock 17 was an easy pistol to shoot. Possessing a seventeen round magazine, it had the capacity to put down multiple targets before reloading. Having a spare magazine ensured that Harry would have a better opportunity to meet and beat any serious threat that he encountered and live another day.
Black's parting words were, "Harry, don't tell anyone about having this – no one. If you ever have to use it, finish the job and get rid of the pistol – bury it, toss the rig in a pond or whatever. Do the same thing with the empty brass cases. Don't leave any evidence or survivors behind. You'll be OK. The holster has a notice-me-not charm on it so no one will suspect that you have it."
… - …
Still holding Pettigrew's left wrist, Riddle declared, "While they unquestionably failed to search for me, my most loyal followers will soon be here. Additionally, many who I hadn't yet marked should be well positioned after twelve years working at the Ministry. They should begin arriving in another minute."
Looking on, Harry began taking deep, steading breaths.
… - ...
A hundred miles to the north out in the North Atlantic, a thin woman, dressed in a tattered black leather bustier, who may have been quite beautiful in years past, was awoken from her slumber. She saw the Mark on her arm go jet black, then burn in its calling.
She gave a wicked cackle of delight that sent a chill to her human guards who left the area as soon as they could and returned to the safety of the guardroom.
… - …
Lucius Malfoy, who, with his family, had been sitting near the Minister of Magic felt his arm burn as it had in years past. Grabbing his son's arm, they excused themselves and made their way to the end of the row where half dragging Draco along, they rapidly walked down the long stairway.
He noticed a handful of his old associates also making their way to the front gate. In his usual whining drawl, Draco asked, "Father, where are we going? The winner hadn't been announced yet."
Lucius snapped, "Silence! Our master has returned and I'm doing you the honor of bringing you to see him." In his hurry to get to the gates, Lucius failed to notice his son give an involuntary shudder. Draco began pulling out his wand before Lucius slapped him hard and hissed, "Never ever have your wand out in our Master's presence. It would be the very last thing that you'd ever do."
Narcissa looked on as her husband and son went to answer the call. She had hoped that this day would never come. As she sat in the stands, she had a sad smile on her face.
… - ...
Harry took one last deep breath and acted. Silently he dropped the ropes that were binding his arms. He reached under his robes, felt the spare magazine, unsnapped the strap that held the Glock in place, got a firm two-handed grip and in the span of five seconds fired twice each at Riddle then at Pettigrew from a distance of 25 feet. As he fell on top of the smaller man, Riddle was still clutching Pettigrew's Dark Mark. He'd been hit once in the upper chest and once in the neck. Riddle's lungs were filling with fluid.
Realizing that he only had seconds to spare before Riddle's followers would arrive, Harry quickly freed himself from the ropes that had been binding his legs. He picked up the Glock again and waited to make a last stand.
… - …
Back at Hogwarts, Dumbledore found Snape, who confirmed that the Mark had just gone black. "The Dark Lord is calling right now," declared the unpleasant potions master."
"You must answer his call. If he has Harry, you must find some way to keep him alive and free him, if possible. Go now."
… - …
Crabbe and Goyle were the first to appear. Lacking any situational awareness, they'd both been shot before they realized what had happened, or spotted their fallen master.
The Flints arrived moments later. As he took his last breath, Marcus realized that it was Harry Potter who had killed him.
Before it could strike, Harry saw the giant snake. With a considerable amount of luck, Harry hit the twelve-foot reptile. Writhing in pain, it immediately curled up on itself.
A moment later, Alecto and Amycus Carrow arrived along with Crouch Junior. Harry didn't know their names and in all honesty didn't want to. He fired four times. The brother and sister were dead, as was the long-presumed-dead imposter. Harry checked his magazine, realized that it was almost empty. He put it in his jeans pocket and replaced it with his spare.
As he finished, Stephen and Theodore Nott arrived. As they were facing the other way, they never saw their killer.
… - …
At Azkaban, Bella shrieked in pure agony. She let loose an enormous burst of accidental magic that cracked opened the all of the cell doors in the high security wing. Two nearby dementors swooped into her open cell and in seconds had ended the life of Riddle's most capable follower.
… - …
Yaxley arrived a moment before the two Malfoys. All three were down in seconds. Next, Mulciber, McLaggen, Selwyn and the Ministry Executioner Walden Macnair appeared within seconds of each other. They stumbled over Crabbe and Goyle as they arrived. They never got up. The pistol was empty.
Harry took out the spare magazine, which had one bullet remaining, added the six loose bullets that were in his pocket and put the magazine back in the pistol.
Bulstrode and Parkinson were next to arrive. Like the others, they'd stumbled on their now-deceased comrades and never got up.
… - …
At Azkaban, the dementors had just finished feasting on the Lestrange brothers and Rookwood before sliding into other cells. By the time that the human guards had reached the high security wing, there were no Death Eaters left on the Island. It was a feeding frenzy.
… - …
As Rookwood's soul was being consumed, Severus Snape appeared at the graveyard. Possessing a high degree of situational awareness, he immediately recognized that the scene that met his eyes was not what he expected. He spun around as Harry fired twice.
"Potter, no." Harry hadn't heard him over the shots fired from the pistol.
They were the last words that he ever said.
Nonplussed, Harry waited another minute. No one arrived. He walked back to Riddle and fired the last round into the nearly dead wizard. As the teen bent over to collect Riddle's wand he saw a black mist leech out of Riddle's shattered head. It reminded him of Quirrell in his first year but this one was smaller and didn't try to attack him.
… - …
At Hogwarts, Fudge demanded to know where the Potter boy had run off to. Dumbledore calmly replied, "I don't know, Cornelius but doubtless we will find out soon."
Fudge replied, "Find him, Dumbledore. Just find him."
… - …
Back at the graveyard, Harry retrieved his own wand then called "Accio wands." They flew to his feet. He snapped each one and tossed the pieces into the still-burning bonfire. They were quickly consumed by the flames.
Next Harry called, "Accio coins." He was pelted with loose galleons, sickles and knuts and picked up a few fairly hefty moneybags. He emptied them into his pockets and tossed the bags into the fire. He picked up the masks and tossed them into the bonfire as well.
As the adrenalin started leaving his body, Harry knew that it was time to leave this place, He picked up the brass cases, tossed them and the pistol rig as far as he could into the pond that was at the bottom of the hill. Taking a last look around, he touched the portkey and disappeared.
… - ...
In a blue/green flash, Harry appeared in the winner stand with a small pop. Still on his knees, the teen vomited everything that he'd ever eaten. Dumbledore and a handful of others ran over. He demanded, "Harry, what happened? Were you abducted?"
The only words out of Harry's mouth were, "I hate this effing tournament. Believe what you want. The portkey must have been wonky."
With ears ringing and his vision turning white, he muttered," I don't feel very good." He attempted to vomit again but there was nothing left. With Madam Pomfrey's assistance, he walked away to the hospital wing, leaving a thoroughly confused group behind him. A large black dog followed behind them. It was 7:25.
As Fudge quickly left, Dumbledore decided to wait outside a few minutes, in hope that Severus would return and have more information. He pondered the question. If Tom's agent hadn't tampered with the portkey, who had?
The inspiration for the beginning of his tale came to me almost fully-formed. I've had those flashes in the past but have never liked the idea of posting naked plot-bunnies. The poor things freeze in the winter. This one felt strong enough to run with.
My first challenge with this tale is developing enough connecting scenes that act as the ligaments, holding a story together. The point A's and D's are very clear in my mind. It's inventing all of the step Bs and Cs that smooth the way that make storytelling fun for me. They also tend to be the storykillers that bog most writers down causing most stories to become road-kill.
My second challenge is my ability to type. As I've mentioned to a few people who have asked, I am slowly but most assuredly losing anything resembling dexterity in my hands. Typing more than a long paragraph at a time becomes painful for me if I attempt to do anything other than two finger typing. Fortunately, by style, I seldom write long paragraphs. As such, I have decided to hold off posting any chapters until I finish at least the first draft of this tale.
It will be easier for me to tell this tale if I utilize a bit more narrative than dialogue. It could be argued that such decisions weaken storytelling. My only response is that I'm doing the best that I can.
My question is, was there any documentation or excellent fanon regarding spouses being Marked?
Crow – May 2019