Harry woke with a start. There was a slight tinge in his scar, but not too painful. He inhaled and drank in the scent of his new wife. 'My wife,' he thought to himself. Ginny stirred slightly and pressed herself closer to Harry's body, causing Harry to chuckle lightly.
"Mmm…what's so funny, Mr. Potter?" she mumbled into her pillow.
"Your hair is so messed about, I doubt you'll ever be able to set it right," he responded. Ginny grabbed her pillow and whacked Harry on the shoulder. "I'm going to have a shower and then head downstairs, Love," he told her.
"Not without dispensing kisses first." Harry leaned forward, gently rubbed the back of his hand along Ginny's cheek and kissed her with a slow passion, as if he had all the time in the world and all he wanted to do was kiss her. He pulled away reluctantly, but Ginny made a small feral growl and quickly closed the new and unwanted distance between them and reclaimed his lips in a much more ferocious kiss. Harry fell backward with Ginny on top of him. She straddled him, and could instantly feel his arousal. Ginny broke the fiery connection of their lips and began kissing her way down Harry's naked torso. Before Harry knew it, he was hit with a wave of lust, desire, and love as Ginny was performing wonders on his body.
He placed his hands underneath each of Ginny's arms and pulled her back to his face as his arousal sought refuge inside of her. It didn't take long to find it, and they began to move together as a couple with years of practice, though they've only been married for roughly 14 hours. Ginny's breathing began to quicken as she moved gracefully over Harry, her hair forming a beautiful curtain around both of their faces. Harry began to kiss her in earnest as he got closer and closer to exploding. She moaned into his lips and then broke the kiss as she could no longer hold it in. Harry reached up and brushed his thumb over one of her petite nipples and Ginny instantly came with the new contact on top of everything else. Harry could feel her walls constrict with her orgasm and he began to spill out inside of her.
With a final sigh of ecstasy, Ginny collapsed on his chest. Harry wrapped his arms around his wife and closed his eyes as he inhaled the mixed scent of her hair and their sex. It was an intoxicating smell that Harry felt he could easily get used to. Ginny moved her head and rested her chin on his chest so she could look at him.
"I love you, Harry," she said simply, the truth of her words easily visible in her eyes.
"I love you too, Ginny."
"I don't want you to leave today. I just got you back. I don't know that I can bear to be without you again." As she spoke, a single tear ran down her face, leaving a sparkling trail behind it. Harry reached up and dried the trail with his thumb. He didn't respond immediately, taking the time to think through his words fully.
"It won't be like the last few years. I'll be on the island for one thing. And posing as a member of a magical government, I'll be asked to keep up appearances on that end, so I should be able to come back frequently."
"You'll be careful, won't you?" she asked.
"Of course I will, Ginny," Harry responded, still rubbing her cheek with his thumb. "I've got too much to live for now. And to think, only a few days ago I was ready to end my existence. Now I want it to last forever."
"How close did you get," Ginny asked, sincerely curious, but at the same time afraid of the answer.
"The night I came back, it was the pain shooting through my scar that saved my life. I was a breath away from jumping to my end when the pain hit." Ginny paled at this news she reached up and grabbed Harry's face between her hands.
"Don't you ever…ever think of doing anything like that again," she said through clenched teeth. Harry smiled and leaned up to kiss her.
"Never, Love. I thought I'd be setting you free. Now I know that it would tear you apart, and I could never do that to you. Now, about that shower…care to join me?" he asked as he wiggled his eyebrows. Ginny gave a seductive, knowing smile as she raised herself off of Harry and led him to the shower adjoined to their room.
Tonks was feeding Lily, preparing breakfast for the rest of the house, attempting to get Remus out of bed, and getting ready to go to work all at once. 'Nobody can multitask like a mother' she thought to herself. It was while she was in the kitchen, bargaining with Lily to get the child to eat her eggs when she heard the doorbell. She apparated to the front door (to save the five seconds it would have taken to walk) and opened it to a flustered Hermione.
"Hey, come in, Hermione. Everything okay?" she prompted at the sight of the younger witch. She moved to the side to allow Hermione entry into the house. Hermione, with a slight pink tinge to her cheek, moved into the entry way and out of the cold.
"Hi, Tonks. Everything is okay. I tried to talk to Ron this morning, but things didn't go as well as I hoped. Harry hasn't left yet, has he?"
"I don't think so. I haven't seen him or Ginny all morning. They were probably up pretty late last night." Hermione blushed even more at that comment.
"So they've been enjoying married life, eh?" Hermione asked?
"I assume so…we didn't hear a peep from their room last night. I don't know about them, but when Remus and I were first married, we were getting noise complaints from three houses down," Tonks replied with a toothy grin.
"Well, it's because I silenced the ever living crap out of our room," Harry said with a smile as he entered the kitchen. He gave both Tonks and Hermione a hug.
"Good morning, get some breakfast, Harry," Tonks said as she returned his hug. Harry grabbed a plate from the cupboard and loaded it down with eggs and sausage. He then sat down at the table between Hermione and Lily.
"Where's Ginny? Recuperating?" Tonks asked.
"Hardly. She's drying her hair. She'll be down in a minute." Harry said before turning to Lily. "Good morning, Lily," he said to the little girl.
"Good morning, Uncle Harry. How come you didn't give me a hug?" she whined back to him.
"Because you are an extra special girl, and extra special girls get kisses," he replied as he leaned in and gave the girl a quick kiss on the forehead. She giggled and kissed him back on the cheek. She stood on her chair and hugged him around his neck.
"I love you, Uncle Harry," she said. Harry could feel his eyes well up with tears as he hugged the little girl back.
"I love you too, Lily."
"Come on, Lily, let Uncle Harry eat. He has a busy day today," Tonks said, pulling the girl off of Harry and setting her back down in her chair.
"Leaving today, Harry?" Hermione asked, already knowing the answer.
"I'm going to start my search today, but I may be back tonight…depends on what I find out there. I'm not expecting to hit pay dirt automatically. Though trouble does seem to find me easily," he said, trailing off towards the end as he thought about the absolute truthfulness of the last statement.
Hermione chuckled lightly to herself. "That it does." She seemed to hesitate for a second before steeling her courage and asking "Do you mind if I ask you something, Harry?"
"Sure, what's on your mind?"
She looked sheepish, staring at the table while talking. "I know you don't owe me anything, Harry. Quite the contrary, I'm the one who owes you. But, I was wondering if you would be willing to tell me what happened that night. So much was a blur, and things just happened so fast. I had been under the Cruciatus for so long." Harry sighed, and Hermione began to hedge. "It's just that…I'm going to have to try again to talk to Ron about this eventually. Even if I never bring it up, he's going to pick up on my attitude change eventually. I need to know what happened so I can form an argument in my head."
Harry looked at his half eaten breakfast, again reliving the events of four years ago that lead him to his solitary confinement in France. His eyes visibly darkened as his mind transported him miles away from the dining room he was currently seated in.
"You don't have to, Harry. I'm sorry for asking," Hermione said.
"What's going on?" Ginny asked as she came downstairs, a freshly showered Remus not too far behind her.
"Nothing," Hermione said quickly. "It's nothing. I'm sorry for asking, Harry."
"Well, do you want to know, or don't you?" Harry asked in a distant voice. "I'll tell you what you want to know, but I only know my side of things.
"The fight with Voldemort was terrible. The man, if you could call him that, had a keen way of causing pain from the inside out. You know I was never good at occlumency; my shields were weak compared to his mental attacks. I was determined to win, however. I would not let him destroy the lives of the people I loved." All of the occupants of the room (except for Lily, who was preoccupied with her pet hippogriff) were leaning forward, bent on every word Harry spoke. None of them, not even Ginny, had heard Harry speak of this before.
"While you and Ron were playing diddle in the head girl suite at school, I was working with Moody on a plan to finish the war. Albus was gone at this point, and there was still work to do. Once I had decided to finish things myself, I went straight to Moody to devise a plan. He and I worked tirelessly.
"We trained, and I learned more defensive and offensive magic than I thought possible. He worked me into physical and magical shape, preparing for the marathon that would be my battle with Voldemort. We also spent hours researching ways to destroy the monster. We read through Dumbledore's personal library, and found a few spells that we thought would work. Moody brought them to Snape to get his opinion on these spells. Dumbledore trusted him, and Moody and I decided to continue that trust.
"Snape ruled out several, claiming that the nature of the spells would not be enough to overcome the steps taken by Voldemort to ensure his immortality. There was only one spell that Snape thought may work. It was very dark magic, but I wasn't going to let that stop me from ending his existence. Essentially what it did was it ripped his soul from his body, and forced it into my body. Once two souls occupy one body, they will fight until one has complete control, in effect destroying the other soul. Moody believed that my soul possessed enough light to extinguish Voldemort's darkness once and for all. Snape didn't think so, but he would be losing an enemy no matter which of us lived or died.
"And so the battle came, and you and Ron fought by my side like the friends that you were: brave and unselfish. When Voldemort and I met, the fight was hard…painful. God he knew how to make people hurt. I have never felt pain like that which he caused with just mere thought." Harry shuddered involuntarily at the memory. Ginny wrapped her arms around him from his side as he continued. "It was a long time before I got an opening that gave me the opportunity to cast the spell. I was afraid I would be driven insane before I would get the chance to fire it off. When I did, it worked almost immediately. Voldemort's physical body went limp and hit the ground with a sickening thud. At the exact instant, I felt him inside my head. It was like when he possessed me back in the Department of Mysteries. I could feel his presence bearing down on my brain and for a brief time, he took over. This started another battle, one of wills and not of might or magic.
"It was during these few minutes that Ron approached. Voldemort, using my body, attacked. Seeing this spurred me into action, and I forced the asshole back down and became myself again. It was too late, though. I rushed to Ron's side, but he was unconscious. I mutilated Voldemort's body both out of rage and as a warning to his followers. Voldemort's soul was still fighting to regain control during Ron's rage after he regained consciousness. It took all my will to keep him from controlling me again. It wasn't until later that night, when I saw Ginny that his soul screamed in agony and was then silenced forever. The Love I felt for her was too strong for him."
Harry looked up at the crowd, all of them fighting back tears at the story of the agony their hero went through for them, and the torture he endured afterwards at the hands of his friends.
"That is what happened that night, Hermione," he said simply.
"I need to talk to Ron…I need to tell him what happened," she said, more to herself to anyone else in the room.
"He won't believe you. I'm afraid that the friendship he and I once had is long dead. Even if the truth is revealed, the chasm is too large to overcome," Harry stated sadly.
"Mommy look," Lily called, breaking the overbearing tension among the adults in the room. She had spilled her breakfast all over herself and her toy. Tonks sighed as she picked up the little girl and left the room to clean her off.
"Well, I'm off to work," Remus stated. "Harry, be careful. And if you run across anything suspicious, let me know as soon as it is safe for you to do so. I'll keep the rest of the Order up to date from there."
"Will do, Moony!" Harry said while saluting the older gentleman. Remus bid the other occupants of the room a farewell and apparated away.
Harry turned towards Ginny and Hermione. "No offense, Hermione, but don't you have a job too?"
"I work as a researcher in experimental medicine at St. Mungo's. I do actually have to be heading to the office, so I will tell you both 'goodbye.' Harry, be careful. The whole of wizarding Britain will recognize you immediately if you aren't careful."
"I'm walking into the lion's den, and you're worried about me being recognized by regular wizards?" Harry responded.
"Of course…you can handle yourself against a dark lord and his followers, but you won't lift a finger against normal people. It is your greatest strength and your biggest weakness at the same time." She pulled Ginny and Harry into a group hug. "I love you both very much," she said before releasing them and apparating away before they could say anything.
That evening, just before dusk, a figure with blonde hair apparated behind the Shrieking Shack in Hogsmeade. It was Harry in disguise. He made his way to the Hog's Head, ordered a shot of firewhiskey, and then took a seat at a table in the corner. Assessing the area, he noted the bar was about half full. Most patrons were being loud and raucous, enjoying a night at the local pub. There was a party of two, however, huddled in a corner across the room from him. There were leaning over, obviously having a heated discussion. Harry strained to try to hear, but the noise from the other patrons made hearing their conversation impossible. He had an idea, though. He stealthily cast a spell over the group, and a similar one over himself. The sound waves from the quiet conversation hit the edge of the ward over the group, and transferred them to the ward over Harry. Hmm, he thought to himself, I didn't really expect that to work. He silenced his irrelevant thoughts and listened to the conversation.
"Are you sure he is?"
"He said it himself."
"Well yeah, but I could claim to be bleeding Harry Potter…doesn't make it true," said the skeptic member of the party.
"Why would you even claim to be Harry Potter?"
"That doesn't matter. The point is, just because this guy says he is the son of Voldemort doesn't mean it's true. You know the Dark Lord had no children."
"No, Dolohov, I don't know that."
"It's impossible. None of our ranks ever had any children whose father was unaccounted for. Besides, the only person who could possibly have mothered a child of Lord Voldemort's would have been Bellatrix, and we know her story. It is impossible."
"Will you at least meet with him? He wants to gather all the surviving followers. He's going to revive the movement."
"Why, Yaxley? Why start it back up? Potter will stand up to whoever this new Dark Lord is, destroy him, and then we'll be back in Azkaban…again."
"Harry Potter will be no threat. The whole of England despises him, and would turn on him the instant he showed his face. Besides, the Dark Lord plans on using Potter's unpopularity to his advantage. We can cause as much mayhem and trouble as possible, and the world will automatically assume Potter is behind all of it," Yaxley responded, excitement evident in his tone.
"Have you noticed, Yaxley, that these things just don't work out? Voldemort tried once, and Potter defeated him. Decades later he tries again, and again Potter defeats him…kills him dead and mutilates him. If you're keeping count, that's two for Harry Potter, and zero for opposing dark lords. Give it up, Yaxley. Life is as good as it is going to get. The sooner you and the rest of the remaining Death Eaters accept that, the better off we all will be."
Yaxley sighed and then spoke to Dolohov. "You know…we were given orders on how to deal with those who refused to join up with Lord Mortavenci. I'm sorry, old friend." Before Dolohov could respond, there was the briefest of flashes that anyone not paying attention would have chalked up to lightening. Dolohov slumped slightly in his seat, but remained sitting up for the most part. Yaxley stood and walked to the bartender. "My friend there will take care of the tab, thanks," he said to the bartender before disappearing out the door.
Harry stood and moved towards the exit, flicking a galleon towards the bartender on his way out. It was dark when he exited, and he could barely make out the figure walking away from the pub at a brisk pace. Harry closed his eyes and apparated right in front of the man.
"Yaxley?" he said in an American accent.
"Yeah, who's asking?" the older wizard barked, paranoia plastered all over his face.
"The name is Stayley. I'm a member of the American Magical Consulate here in Britain. Tell me everything you know about Lord Mortavenci," Harry said in his best diplomatic voice.
"Morta-what-si? I have no idea what you're talking about," he said indignantly.
"Tell me about the murder I just witnessed in the Hog's Head, then. Or was I just seeing things?" Harry crossed his arms over his chest as he stared into the Death Eater's eyes. No matter what the Death Eater told him, he was getting the truth through his eyes. While Harry may never have mastered occlumency, he had become quite an adept legillimens under Moody's tutelage. Harry grabbed the man's arm and apparated the both of them into the Shrieking Shack. "How can you trust a man whose face you've never even seen? You Death Eaters are all so weak minded."
Before Yaxley knew what was going on, Harry had his wand out and had petrified him into place. The last thing he knew was this man he only knew as Stayley was casting a memory charm on him.
Harry finished up wiping the pathetic man's mind and stunning him before he disapparated away from Hogsmeade and back to Grimmauld Place.
Remus was reading through the evening edition of the Daily Prophet (or the Daily Rubbish as Tonks called it) in the den when he heard Harry appear in the dining room. "Hello?" he called out. Tonks and Ginny were upstairs with Lily, and unless Tonks was too lazy to walk downstairs (which was actually quite common), someone new entered the home. Of course, the house was warded to keep unwanted visitors from just apparating in like they owned the place.
"It's me," Harry called back before walking through the doorway, into the den and sitting across the coffee table from Remus. He had resumed his normal appearance, and looked exasperated.
"Did you find anything, Harry?" Remus asked, the Daily Prophet discarded and completely forgotten.
"There is a new Dark Lord, he calls himself Lord Mortavenci. He's trying to gather all of the surviving Death Eaters to rally around him and his efforts. He is apparently claiming to be the heir of Voldemort, though I seriously doubt he is Riddle's biological child. That just doesn't seem likely. Mortavenci and a small group of Death Eaters are hiding out in a camp somewhere near Nairn in Scotland. The rest of his followers are actively recruiting other former Death Eaters. Oh, and get this: former Death Eaters that aren't interested in another dark uprising…they are to be killed. I watched as Yaxley murdered Dolohov discreetly in a crowded room.
"Mortavenci plans on keeping himself out of the limelight for a while. He plans on letting people assume I'm behind anything they do; effectively keeping the heat off of him and making it harder for me to confront him and his followers."
"Damn," Remus muttered. "And you weren't able to see who he is?"
"Nope. I think I'm going to have to get closer to the group to find out. Yaxley had never actually seen Mortavenci's face. I'm going to have to delve deeper into the story to figure things out."
"If Voldemort did not have a biological child," Remus mused, "then what could this Mortavenci mean by claiming to be his heir?"
"I don't know, Remus, but something tells me there's more to it than rhetoric," Harry said, his face hard as stone with the seriousness of his words.
A/N: Wow…this came out of nowhere. I was piddling around on one day, and decided to re-read this story and see what I could do with it. Updates will be slow, but they will not be years apart anymore.