Disclaimer: Let's see. . . If I really owned rights to one of the most popular books in the world would I really busy myself with writing non-profit fanfiction? I don't think so. The conclusion is simple. I don't own any of it and I don't think there is any chance for that to change in the future.
A/N: Dear readers, I'm usually far from desperately demanding reviews but I hadn't managed to have this chapter read by beta yet (my friend who usually did that left the country which left me with a problem of finding new beta). I decided to post this chapter as is but since you are the first readers I would really appreciate it if you told me what you think. Thank you.
Time Turner of Souls
BUT THE FACE REMAINS CALM
He couldn't tell how long he sat on the ground numb, not even able to sink into grief properly. Reality seemed something that happened around him but somehow didn't affect him in any way. His mind stubbornly refused to receive any signals coming from outside or to process any of those it already received.
He wanted to cry. He knew he did. But to do that he would have to convince his eyes that what just happened was real and that was something he seemed unable to do. He didn't move, his face was calm and he still held a wand in his hand. He didn't feel how cold the evening was or the stones on the ground. And the image before his eyes was, according to his eyes just that – an image. Not something real. It couldn't be.
Magical energies in his body shifted again, just like they did the first time he cast an Unforgivable. But he paid no mind to that either. He didn't feel like if he was dreaming. Or if he did, it was unlike any dream he ever had before. If he was dreaming it, he was also trapped in his dream as he didn't feel it was possible to wake up ever again. Despite his heart pounding rapidly in his chest.
His heart. That was the only sound he could hear. Sometimes it felt as if it was a deafening sound that swallowed all the other sounds. Then sometimes it was the silence that was deafening with only the sound of his heart available to break it. But for him no other sound existed at the moment. Not even the steps coming closer only to stop just behind him.
"From your reaction I gather he was a friend of yours. I'm sorry it had come to this"
"I don't believe there is any consolation I could offer but I'm afraid it won't help any if you sit here. You should go back inside or at least wear something warmer if you wish to remain here."
Traian turned and looked at Voldemort with no comprehension in his eyes.
"I see." The man slowly bent down and helped the boy on his feet "Illy!"
"Master called? How can Illy help master?" the house elf appeared immediately showing a disposition much too cheerful to fit the situation.
"It seems Traian has gone into shock. Guide him to the drawing room, light the fire and give him something warm to drink. I'll join him soon."
"Yes, master." The house elf nodded and begun guiding the boy back inside.
Voldemort remained where he stood for a moment, calmly taking in the situation. Then he rose his sight and scanned the horizon as if considering something unfathomable. Then he turned his inhuman eyes back to the scene at hand and with a swish of his wand cast a freezing and hovering charms on the body. Then he slowly turned and went back inside the house.
As soon as he started coming back to reality Traian wished he hadn't. The events of less then an hour ago hit him again very hard. His helplessness about what happened stung him but not nearly as much as the feeling that he was, in fact, more than ever before, responsible for what happened.
"Is young master needing anything else? Illy can bring young master more tea. Does young master need a blanket?"
It took him a moment to realise that the elf was actually addressing him.
"No, thank you, Illy. That would be all" he finally managed only then realising that those were the first words he spoke since uttering the incantation. When that sunk in he almost choked on the knowledge.
The elf disappeared with a nod and Traian focused on the flames in the fireplace. It would probably help if he could break down. He felt that somehow crying until he had no tear left would offer some purification he needed so much at the moment. But he couldn't. Something deep inside him insisted that he couldn't cry. It was a startling feeling. Like awaking after an accident and discovering that you've lost partial control of your body. It was something he never wrote down as so vital before. Yet...
"That's the cost of the conviction. Once the spell is cast and the deed done you can't cry for the one you aimed it at. Your magic prevents it." The voice of Voldemort brought him out of his thoughts
"Why? That doesn't make sense." He didn't question how the dark lord knew what he was thinking about. There was no point, considering.
"You can say it's an imperfection of the spell. Or rather misconception of its maker. From what I read when I first found about it, the wizard who created it intended to make the caster feel no regrets over what he did. He apparently couldn't see the difference between not being able to shed a tear and not being willing to shed one."
"You can still grieve quietly. Your mind can accept it even if it may be hard at first. But eventually you get used to it." Voldemort stated as he sat in the second armchair by the fire
"I'm not sure if I want to ever get used to it."
"You may find that you won't have a choice about casting the spell. Then the best thing for you will be being ready for what it entails. You were unfortunate enough that the first time you used the spell you had to use it on a friend. I hope the next time you will be lucky enough to direct it on your enemies. It makes it easier then."
For a moment they sat in silence broken only by the quiet cracking of the fire.
"What happens next?" Traian finally whispered not able to voice the question aloud
"With... with Remus... what...?"
"What do you wish to happen?"
"I... I don't want him to be... Well, I want him to at least have a proper funeral. One where those who cared about him can offer they final farewell..."
"And who would you consider fitting into this group? Despite yourself obviously."
"I don't know. The first two choices I'd give are already dead. But I know my friends would want to be there as well. All the Weasleys... And perhaps Tonks..."
"In other words mostly the members or associates of the Order of the Phoenix?"
"I'm afraid so. The only person he ever knew on your side was Wormtail. And it was before he joined your side anyway."
"I must say it doesn't make the situation any easier."
"I didn't really expect it to be possible. It's just that... I believe he deserved at least that much." Traian's voice dropped to whisper again "He probably did this to bring me home. Either that or to avenge me. But he risked everything for me and I can't even..."
"I see you feel you need to do that. I said it wouldn't be easy but it's not impossible."
"It is my understanding that Wormtail owes you a life debt. Is that true?"
"As according to his knowledge he won't be able to ever pay it to you in person he might consider doing something he would expect you to want in order to pay it then."
"I don't believe he would take the risk."
"Perhaps not out of free will. But under a spell he may consider it his own will. The idea is not so far from what might have been his own one that he is likely not to notice being under the spell in the first place."
"Under a spell? But a spell to... oh."
"If it offers you a peace of mind I'm willing to call him and order him to dispose of the body. Giving him a direct order to the effect you intend would look suspicious which could have disastrous effects. But if you use the opportunity to put him under the spell then as long as your spell is powerful enough he will deliver the body wherever you want him to."
"I've never cast any compulsion charm before let alone..."
"Contrary to popular knowledge Imperius is easier than you'd expect. It's quite hard to get it wrong. It's the willpower of the caster and power of the spell itself that determine how strong the actual spell is."
Still feeling numb but with a new found aim Traian stood up
"If it's the last thing I can do for Remus, I'll do it. I'm ready to try."
"Very well, Traian. Ask Illy to give you a hooded cloak. There would be no purpose in you being recognisable and you need to consider the possibility of Wormtail catching a glimpse of you."
"I'm sure she'll find something."
"When you are ready come to the chamber that used to be a ballroom. That's where I call my Death Eaters. I'll send Ys to show you the way."
It's a strange feeling to find yourself in a place you only knew from dreams even if somewhere in the back of your mind you knew from the start that it really existed. Traian welcomed the strange feeling that came with coming to the place though. It offered detachment and detachment was at the moment the best he could wish for.
That and being in such a place made it easier to act in a way you never thought you could and do things you could never imagine yourself doing. Still taking the first step into the room he grew to know through his dreams, he hesitated.
Somehow it felt that stepping in there he agreed to something he wasn't quite aware of or formed some sort of commitment the nature of which he could not understand. With a deep breath he finally managed to overcome his doubts. After all, this should be easy. He didn't hold any even remotely warm feelings to Wormtail. How hard could it be to cast the Imperius on person you care nothing about and in good cause?
He looked at Voldemort who quietly gestured a dark corner of the room. Only when he was already there he noticed that Remus's body was lying on the floor. He gripped the wand tighter.
The Burrow was not a happy place it once was. There were few lights inside and it was much too quiet for a place that was usually a house of a large family.
At least that's what Molly Weasley thought as she looked around the kitchen of her house. They were supposed to soon move here again. Now she wasn't sure that time will ever come. The place wasn't safe. At least not as safe as the House of Blacks. And with the turn the war have taken...
"Artur, have you found it yet?" she asked to fend away sobs threatening to come
"We are doing what we can, Molly. It's been some time since we last needed the sphere. I believe it was back in the times when Grindelwald attacked Britain with those enchanted Muggle devices..."
"Oh, I just wish we could be back already. Standing in my own house like that..." she never got to finish the thought as a sudden knock on the door sounded
"Mum, you'd better stay back." Bill came to the kitchen with his wand already in hand "I'll see who it is. But be ready just in case"
She nodded and with slightly trembling hands readied her own wand.
"Who is it?" the elder Weasley boy demanded only to be answered with silence.
Then the knock sounded again.
"Who are you?" he tried once more only to receive no answer. Finally sending his mother a look he opened the door
Outside stood a short, very pale man. With a silver hand. Almost without a conscious thought Bill's wand was pointed at the visitors head.
"How dare you show yourself here?" he demanded through gritted teeth
The man seemed to pale even more. He shivered. Then slowly, as if he was afraid of what he was about to say he uttered "This was the only place I could think of going."
"You have nothing to look for here."
"Not me. I don't come for myself." The man's words became even more forced "I just owe him to... do that... if I can't do anything more."
"Owe who? What are you talking about?" Young Weasley's wand never moved away from its target
Slowly, very slowly Peter pointed at something that was away from Molly's range of sight. Seeing her son go pale however she moved closer to take a look.
On the ground, not far from the man, she could see an outline of the body of Remus Lupin.
"What did you do?" she suddenly demanded
"Wasn't me... the Dark Lord..." without any answers ready Peter couldn't find the right words for the situation. Finally the spell supplied his next line "He deserves a proper funeral. In the name of our former friendship."
"Get away from here! And don't you dare to say one more word about friendship! Coming from you it would only..." The man was more than happy to oblige. Before she could finish the sentence he was already gone
"Mum?" she saw her son standing next to her. Only then she realised that in her rage she stepped in the way of his spell "Why let him escape?"
"I... I..."Suddenly the matron of the Weasley family could not find words. Taking the scene before her door once more she hugged her son and dissolved into tears.
Traian entered his room on automaton. He managed to cast the spell and he could say his duty was done. But now that nothing remained for him to be done the fact that he could only grieve in his mind stung even more.
He picked up the unfinished "Unicorn Glade" and tried to read. He gave up after ten minutes when he realised that while he did turn pages he had absolutely no idea what he actually read.
It seemed that sleep was also something impossible but after he lied down he drifted into uneasy sleep. He dreamt of figures without faces moving in green-lit world. All of the faceless shapes were crying silent tears. Then he noticed one figure that seemed to be crying in blood. The longer he looked the more face of the figure took shape until he was staring at the face of Remus Lupin with dead eyes set on him.
He awoke sweating with the first rays of dawn. Fearing going back to sleep he got up and shook his head to fend away horrors of the dream. This proved to be a mistake as his memory quickly replaced them with horrors of the reality.
He went to the library, selected a new book and opened it with determination as if it was a shield against nightmares.
Shadow waving and morphing wasn't something he would normally be interested in. He would probably skip over the topic unless he specifically needed it. But right then he was nearly afraid to put the book away. As it was he feared the moment when rather slim book would end and leave him to his own thoughts.
By the time Illy appeared in the room to bring him the newspaper he was already nearing the end of the book.
"Young master doesn't sleep?"
"I woke early today. That's all."
"But Illy didn't know and couldn't help. And Illy should prepare young master's clothes before he woke."
"If it makes you feel better it's not a habit of mine. And as you can see no damage was done. If you want to prepare my clothes you can do it now."
"Illy will. Does young master need anything?"
"Then Illy will prepare clothes." With that the elf disappeared only to appear a moment later with a stack of clothing.
While his attire was being selected by the elf Traian took a look at the titles in the newspaper. On second page he found yet another article about Harry Potter – "Injuries of The-Boy-Who-Lived more serious than expected?". This time however he no longer found it amusing. He scanned the article and sighed. In a very twisted way the article was true. Whatever was left in him of Harry Potter was gravely injured right now but unlike the author of the article he doubted in the chances of recovery.
Soon enough Traian was walking to the dining chamber. He didn't really feel hungry but forcing himself to eat seemed a more bearable perspective than battling with his thoughts alone.
Once he arrived he found his host already sitting. With only a silent nod he slid into the chair.
"Wormtail reported back yesterday evening. Judging by my Legilimency probe he fulfilled the task you ordered him to." Voldemort's calm and quiet voice cut sharply into the boy's thoughts.
Traian examined his sleeve for a moment. He didn't know if he felt glad to know that at least one the final dignity for the last people who cared for Harry Potter was assured or disappointed that the man given the task of assuring it came back safely. Slowly he lifted his sight.
"He reported back?"
"Of course. He was expected to."
"I did intend to show you his report but your mind was closely shut and I couldn't get through your barriers."
"My barriers?" Surprise in the boy's voice was evident "I wasn't aware I had any."
"Weren't you? I'd say their development was rather evident, if gradual."
"I don't believe I understand."
"Try to recall our interaction in the beginning. You were broadcasting your thoughts so openly that I had some trouble selecting those that actually were connected with the topic."
"You didn't even wait for me to respond."
"I didn't have to as I could see the response as it was forming. Then however, perhaps thanks to our conversations, you slowly organised your thoughts. At first the only difference was that you opened your thoughts but only to the extent relevant to our topic. Then every once in a while you managed to withhold the thought until it was fully formed sentence. Then, shortly before you came here our conversations reached an equal ground as you sent me only thoughts you intended as a response."
"I hardly even realised."
"The change was gradual, as I said. As well as quite unexpected. At first I simply wrote it off as chance."
"It was, after a fashion."
"Perhaps. But pushing chance to such an extent is truly something unheard of. I spent some time on studying the mind arts in my youth when I was still working as a teacher and I never came across something quite like that."
Breakfast appeared before them breaking the conversation for a moment. After focusing on the appearing dish for the moment Traian's thoughts wandered back to what he heard.
"You were a teacher?" he blurted out before realising how awkward it sounded
"Indeed. Didn't you know? I was under impression that you were quite well versed in my biography."
"Apparently not this part. My knowledge doesn't go far beyond what Dumbledore knew."
"Or rather what he wished to share."
"That I have the same knowledge he has, doesn't mean I got it all from him."
"I see. The fact that I was teaching escaped, however, both of you."
"So it would seem. I guess the key question here is when."
"Not long after I finished my schooling in Hogwarts. Soon after the war, in fact. The faculty of Durmstrang was hit hard and they were eager to employ anyone qualified to teach."
"But for everything I heard you disappeared after Hogwarts. If you were acting as a teacher surely somebody would..."
"Would they? As far as the world was concerned I did disappear. But first things first. What do you know about Durmstrang?"
"Not much. It's a school, somewhere north, reputed for teaching dark magic..."
"For all appearances Slavic but with oddly German sounding name."
"And I don't suppose you can think of any other name that bears similar dissonance?"
"How about Sankt Petersburg?"
Traian's look didn't hide his surprise.
"At the time you learnt about it at school, yes. But back when the school was created Lenin wasn't even born. As the matter of fact it was built together with the rest of the city. It was then called Tzarskaya Magicheskaya Akademia, I believe."
"So why Durmstrang?"
"It was a nickname it gained under the surge of Goethe popularity over half a century later, a play on Sturm und Drang. Many students believed that the sound of the name fit German-sounding Petersburg. It wasn't until shortly after the city itself was renamed Petrograd that the school officially became Durmstrang. In a manner of speaking it was to show an opposition to communist trends. As you can imagine rationalistic trends in their ideology didn't bode well for magic and its users."
"Taking a stand in such a way seems just the thing that would make their situation worse."
"If the school was still in the open I don't doubt it would. Luckily enough though, it was entirely located on a small island so all it took were very strong wards and hiding spells, vanishing a few bridges and a couple memory charms for Durmstrang to seemingly disappear."
"But it still kept working despite the changes in the country."
"Exactly. Even though it was more reluctant than ever to take in Muggleborn wizards. One indiscretion could have dire consequences. Position of wizards was fragile to say the least, especially after our compatriots, concerned with the influence Rasputin was getting in Russia, worked subtly to discredit him, inadvertently discrediting also the Romanovs with the effects we both know. But the school functioned even after revolution and with the best teachers of imperial Russia it was still counted among the best in the world."
"'Best teachers of imperial Russia' is not the description of a school I'd expect when talking about a facility in bad need for teaching staff."
"True. But that was after the revolution and the Great War. When I went there it was already nearly thirty years later. And a lot happened in this time. Including the Siege of Leningrad."
"Indeed. Even with the help of magic only a small number of former faculty members survived. For a short time afterwards the school was closed but after the war it started slowly working again. And as I said they were in dire need for teachers. I spent some time there until they had their staff rebuilt. And speaking to them about the past, at least to those who felt they needed to talk about it, I learnt about Muggles and their ways what blitzes and the newspaper headings from my youth failed to teach me."
"That doesn't mean that all Muggles want to kill though."
"First of all, there is a difference between killing and what they were doing. In many cases killing would be an act of mercy in the face of their deeds. And it certainly shows what they are capable of doing even if that ability is normally kept dormant. I hope that there always will be at least a small group of wizards able to respond in kind. This way there is a chance for our survival."
"So that's what Death Eaters are? Final defence in case Muggles go totalitarian again?"
"Some don't need to go anywhere as they are already there. But my concerns don't go as far as the whole world. There is a difference between ambitious and unrealistic."
"Yes. After I finished my travels and came back here I started planning formation of such para-militant group."
"Called Death Eaters."
"The name largely proves how young and inexperienced I was at the time. I gathered inspiration from various sources and in youthful eagerness decided to combine it. And of course the final result was that nobody but myself understood the intended symbolism. But by then it was too late for a change."
"What symbolism?" Only at Voldemort's smirk did Traian understand how well his question illustrated the point.
"Starting from the most obvious. I wanted a name for a group concerned that would imply tradition and British culture. Unfortunately in making the decision my Muggle upbringing came to play."
"I still don't see the significance."
Voldemort laughed bitterly "Beefeaters. I admit that I could have made a better choice but then I still had a lot to learn. Then came the inspiration from my visit in Berlin."
"Schutzstaffel uniforms to be exact. And meaning behind them."
"Then I'm lost. Aside from glimpses of films in TV and photos at school I never saw German wartime uniforms. And even then I couldn't tell them apart."
"Pity. For everything you can say about German soldiers their uniform were masterfully designed. The element I speak of, however, was the skull on the hats. The symbol itself was born, if I'm not mistaken, in Prussia about two centuries ago. Maybe earlier. It stood for serving the cause to death. At the time it seemed fitting. So much in fact, that it extended also to the masks and symbol of my group."
"Loyal to death. That's not the first thought that comes to mind after seeing a skull hovering in the sky."
"I gathered that around the first article describing my group. But damage was already done."
"Not that people often look kindly at armed groups independent of any official authority."
"That often depends on the situation in the country. And we wouldn't work with the government. It worked closely with Muggle government, to the point of being subservient, and against many things we believed in. And it offered no dignity to wizards who believed in their own tradition. And that's aside from what it could lead to."
"I don't understand."
"British magical government protects Muggles but at the same time disregards them. And they would freely offer Muggle leaders any information concerning magical world with no reciprocal action. It's unsettling how easily such a situation could evolve into something I've already seen once during my years as Durmstrang teacher."
"The existence of school was kept secret from Muggles. But many wizarding circles, believing in an approach towards Muggles I described you, didn't think it necessary to hide their existence from the first secretary of the Party."
"I gather they made a mistake."
"You could say so. You probably remember the curious fascination you felt when you heard that Hogsmade which you were allowed to visit on weekends, is a completely magical village. From my observation most feel that way. For me, however, that particular detail lost its charm forever."
"Something happened in magical villages in USSR?"
"Actually magical villages in USSR happened. Stalin started by relocating all magical citizens to Siberia – to places where only with use of magic those people had a chance to stay alive. I remember people saying that the places were too severe even for gulags. To this day I try in vain to convince myself it was exaggeration. Then those who lived there were given tasks that engineers were at the time unable to do. All in name of working for their country."
"But nobody could force them to do anything."
"It's sometimes hard to imagine that there is a generation that is already so oblivious." The older wizard said with a sight before turning back to Traian "You didn't refuse Joseph Vissarionovich. That was the rule and it was created by practice, not by law. For a reason. He was also a master in placing spies, starting distrust, offering small privileges for you and your family for certain favours and creating unequal rules. Finally, those who tried to defy him disappeared. Not to be ever found again. As simple as that. People quickly learn under such circumstances."
"So working independently was non-optional."
Voldemort nodded and Traian wanted at first to say something more. He changed his mind in the last moment. He looked down at his plate to discover that somehow during their conversation he managed to eat his breakfast. Stricken suddenly by a pang of strange guilt he quickly excused himself and went back to his room.
He tried reading again but by the time he finished the shadow book he realised that it didn't help. He couldn't cry but he felt he'd go crazy if he couldn't find a way to vent his feelings. In desperation he wend to his desk, took some parchment, selected a quill and started writing.
I wish I didn't have to write this letter. Because then it would mean that I have managed to tell you everything I wanted to in person...
Chaos. That was one of the few words that could describe what was happening at 12 Grimuald Place after Molly Weasley apparated from the Burrow.
Even before she said a word it was obvious something must have happened. First enquiries were those concerning the safety of the remaining two Weasleys. It took her a moment to whisper what really happened. Which was when the Pandemonium erupted.
For nearly an hour everybody talked at once. Some were trying to determine when they last saw Remus Lupin. Others speculated on what had actually happened. The situation remained that way until the apparition of Minerva McGonagall, whom someone firecalled in the commotion.
The first thing she did was to order all children present upstairs. Then she called for silence and, as calmly as she could, she questioned the Weasley matron on the facts she had. Then she nodded slowly and decided to call an emergency meeting of the Order. The situation was becoming too much for her to handle.
Elsewhere a young man sat at the desk, writing.
... Sometimes I feel as if life consisted mostly of 'too lates'. I know I will never completely forgive myself for being the cause of your death. I tried to find a way to work best with what I was given from life. I made decisions that I considered best but when I did I never realised just how much I meant to you and what you were willing to do for me. Why if that, that you know someone would be ready to give his life for you only when he does it? I hope that wherever you are now you will be able to forgive me one day even if I won't forgive myself. I will always remember you.
His hand hesitated but finally with a swish of a quill he signed
When he was done he carefully folded the parchment and slowly went to the fireplace. He threw the letter in and stood looking as the flames slowly started licking it.
A/N: First – to all the 'my boy' haters out there: you may be glad to note that Voldemort doesn't use the words now. I wanted it that way to show that with the decision Traian made he is no longer a boy in his eyes. It would probably be an obvious change in chapter or two but I wanted to give you some peace of mind as it will probably be some time before the next chapter.
Now, on the names: While it's true that changing of a name may seem cliché, it's an old news that cliché going long enough becomes tradition. And in cases like that I'm all for going with tradition as long as it's reasonable. After all names for longest time symbolised something more than just something you respond to when called out in a crowd. In many cultures names were symbolic and held an innate power. It's not without a reason that you can find fairy tales and legends where knowing a true name of someone/something was the key. Same goes for changing names – it traditionally marks an important turn of life. Sometimes giving up an old life completely. That also has examples in myths, legends or, if you are more religious, even in Bible. That device was used from then on it it's not uncommon in the world literature. So this if a tradition I decided to go with. That said, let me underline (a few times) that I would never choose a name because it "sounds cool" or because "I always liked it soo much". I try to find a reason in either historical parallel or in the story itself. But if that still makes it a cliché still – oh well. I hope the character's name wasn't the only reason you read the story.
I hope you all liked the chapter. Reviews will be, of course, appreciated. Oh, and if you leave interesting comments that are worth responding please – leave some way for me to respond.