Disclaimer Roses are red, violets are blue, I no own so you no sue…(except for original characters that is)
AN: So you decided to give this story a try, Je t'adore! But beware child abuse, clever Death Eaters shock horror and a review lover await you.
Yeah, you guessed right, I'm the review lover but on a more serious note reviews allow me to find areas that need improvement and help me to provide the best quality writing possible…if you're still reading the AN at this point, you need a life…get one by reading the story…
The birch rod land brusquely on the prostrated figure causing a sharp intake of breath from the boy but he bit his lip and made no other sounds.
"Harry, are ready to apologize to Headmaster Snape yet?" the firm tones of the tall, dark man with deep green eyes filtered into Harry's pain clogged brain. He could almost feel Snape's gaze on him and the smirk that must be adorning the professor's face. Gathering all his resolve Harry shook his head defiantly. The dark haired man was not deterred, it was only the fourth stroke and the boy would break soon enough.Thwack
More strokes, and hisses professed pain in a language only the dark haired man understood. There was a pause as always, the deliberate strokes ceased and Harry whimpered. The pause was there for the pain to take effect, concentrated pain that accumulated with each stroke of the birch rod.
"Harry," the firm, cool tones of the disciplinarian hung in the air, "you have a choice, apologize or we shall continue,"
Or I cry, thought Harry as he stared at his small flushed hands gripping the footstool at the side of the large leather armchair. His Lordship never continued after tears fell, unless he was using his belt for the more serious transgressions.
However once again Harry's defiant side won out against his rational sense. His pride was too much to swallow. His Lordship charmed the birch rod, I'm sure of it!
Two more sets later he was almost yelling in pain. Resting fully on the arm of the armchair he was leaning over, his face flushed from the humiliation of Snape's gaze. If being beaten wasn't enough punishment, he had to invite Snape to witness it!, thought Harry as he desperately screwed up his eyes to forget about the third person in the room. However his predicament was partially deserved, had I not mouthed off at Snape for the entire hall to hear, perhaps he wouldn't have beaten me in front of the damn greasy git!
"Harry, must we continue?" asked the Dark Lord as he caressed the polished birch rod barely the width of his finger. He could see how the boy was in two minds, rational sense dictated obedience, after all he had never required the boy to do more than say a few words, but Harry's pride was ever present. After nearly a year he was still stubborn, reckless, unthinking.
"My lord, I must say that your discipline has taught the boy well, he is not as stubborn as he used to be," Severus Snape's silky smooth voice was laced with humour.
"He has shown signs of improvement and acceptance," said the Dark Lord as if he was discussing a son's progress at studies. "Well, Harry, you have a choice,"
His Lordship always gave you a choice. He values choices like Dumble-… no mustn't think about them…but Voldemort's version is twisted. There was never any real choice, the idea was dangled in front of his victims and used as a training device to make them obey.
"No," Harry groaned through clenched teeth, the pain was building up after each deliberate stroke, calculated to bring the maximum amount of pain. The disciplinarian resumed but always pausing after two strokes to ask the question.
Beatings were common things in Harry's new life. At the beginning, nearly every night after school the belt would be slashing down on him welded by the disciplinarian. The man even set aside half an hour after Harry's arrival home, no at the residency, for these matters. Every evening Harry was flooed home with the headmaster instead of living at school as the other charges of the new regime did. Snape then took the opportunity to report a list of his transgressions to his master. Later on he learned to arrive before his traitorous professor and admit to his transgressions himself. That way his punishment was much reduced as the Dark Lord valued honesty. Harry couldn't help snorting at that concept, the Dark Lord expected him to be honest, such a hilarious double standard.
Trying not to visualize the deep red welts that would have formed underneath his green silk robes, Harry shook his head with a lot less defiance than before. He was cracking and both men could see it. Unfortunately for him, Nagini was not there to rationalize at this critical stage and his Gryffindor pride force him to endure more strokes.
Thwack…a cry as his body convulsed in pain.
Thwack…a wail and the dam broke.
Hot tears blurred his vision and dropped onto the black leather surface of the footstool his was facing. They marred the surface that Harry knew so well from the many hours spent staring at the patterns on the leather. He gave up trying to bite back his sobs and cried outright. The cane was withdrawn but still remained in the spidery hands of the Dark Lord.
"Stand up Harry and apologize to the Headmaster," Harry elevated himself from his position on the armrest, clambered down and resisted the urge to sniffle. Bowing his head like he had been taught he said,
"I apologize for my misconduct, Headmaster," both men continued to look expectant. Knowing that he would end up with another session in the armchair Harry added, "I will not defile the creed nor question your judgment ever again," With his part done he stood on the green rug in the middle of the office and wiped away the tears the continued to well up.
"Have you learnt your lesson?" inquired the Dark Lord as he stared at Harry through his dark green eyes. Harry nodded and clenched his jaw together to keep himself from saying something he might later regret.
"You will do well to remember your words," said Snape with a smug air of satisfaction. Harry could do no more than glare helplessly at him through tears that caused the image of Snape to split into thousand pieces. "I must be on my way back to Hogwarts, my lord, there is a staff meeting before dinner I must attend."
"Ah, yes, tell Rodolphus that I will be calling a meeting on Friday night,"
"I will, my lord," Snape swept out of the office with his classic billow of black robes and disapparated in the hallway leaving Harry alone with his master.
The handsome face of whom Harry had once known as Tom Riddle stared down at him from a height. Some grey hairs lined his temples and there was wisdom reflected in the deep green orbs but those were the only differences that age had bought. Harry shuddered involuntarily as his memories strayed back to the events in the Chamber. They seemed a lifetime away but he quickly pushed all thoughts of his previous life away in case the Dark Lord decided to read his mind again. Think or talking about his previous life was one of the worse transgressions and punishable by the belt.
"Harry," he hissed in parseltongue, "you know it is for your own good. You must learn obedience," Harry nodded mutely and waited to be dismissed, "Go to your room and I will send Woody to clean you up. I expect you are hungry too, dinner will be served in twenty minutes."
Harry slowly limped away down the corridor to his room near the master's private chambers. With ever step it felt as if the birch rod as back and small explosions of pain erupt. Breathing deeply he collapsed on his bedspread and felt the uneven embroided patterns on the silky smooth fabric. Lying face down on the bed, he felt as if he had just been on the receiving end of several doubts of Crucio but with all the pain concentrated on one area. In the privacy of his room he allowed himself to rub his sore body.
He had often wondered why Voldemort had given up the habit of using Crucio on him when he became a ward of the Dark Lord. He wants to show everyone that I'm just a little boy and I'm not worthy of the unforgiveables. He wants to physically beat me into submission. It's so much worse when you know he is welding the stick instead of a magical charm and the prostrating position; he likes that too. I suppose he picked up the idea from the orphanage.
However, compared to others Harry lived like a prince. In his gilded cage everything was provided for him, the best food, the best clothes and the best education on offer. He felt rather like Daniel in the bible, taken captive by his enemies and forced to learn the creed of another.
The last battle had ended in tragedy, knocked out by a powerful dark arts spell no doubt created by the Dark Lord for that purpose; Harry awoke three weeks later in the lair of the beast. Too weak to resist, he was simply told he had been made the Dark Lord's ward. Other bits of information seeped in later like how Dumbledore had died and how many people had been taken captive but there were good tidings like when Hermione had managed to sneak a message to him telling him of how Remus, Tonks and Hestia Jones were alluding the Death Eaters and how the Weasleys had escaped abroad with the rest of the rebellion.
Such secrets he had been forced to betray when the Dark Lord forced himself into his mind. It was the worst kind of violation more so than anything the perverse Macnair could come up with. Of course that was a figure of speech, Harry had only heard of the famed Macnair from secondary sources. It was strange how well he was protected from all the unpleasantness of the new regime. He suspected and heard many rumours but the Dark Lord had always deemed him too young and innocent to hear of such terrors. The Dark Lord protected him in a way only a parent could but a twisted parenthood it was. His greatest enemy providing all the comforts of home he had never been given by the people who should have provided it.
The Dark Lord had once punished one of his Death Eaters, Avery, for enlightening Harry to what a "ward of the court" meant. No one else dared to talk about such filth in front of Harry after that and in some ways he felt selfishly contented in his cocoon of ignorance. However at times he felt so guilty, his life was such a luxury and the punishments so light in comparison to what he had heard. I'm going to rescue everyone, he kept telling himself with resolve I'll make it better I won't fail not this time.
He met very little of his previous friends at school these days. He was required to attend school by the Dark Lord. His education was first and foremost in his master's mind. Susan Bones had been spared because of her pure blood even though Death Eaters had killed her family previously. Roger Davies, the Ravenclaw captain had been spared too, along with Michael Corner. Apparently both came from very pure bloodlines. There were some Gryffindors but only one that Harry knew well, Neville Longbottom. There were no more houses, as Slytherin numbers would by far out weight any other house. Instead dormitories were organised by age group and the four Quidditch teams were give new names, Scorpio, Orion, Ursa and Canus.
Harry nearly winced as the crack of apparition cause him to jump up abruptly but it was only Woody, the house elf had come to tend to his wounds.
"Master tells Woody to give Harry ointment, sir," squeaked the elf with something akin to sympathy in its voice. In one spindly hand it held a small jar of brown oil and a soft flannel. "Would sir wish for Woody to help?" asked the elf kindly as it stared at Harry with its huge black eyes. Woody was by far the most amiable house elf in the manor, most of the others were either crazy or petrified of humans. Woody was often there to provide as much sympathy as she was allowed by the master and it comforted Harry to know that there were beings in the house that actually cared.
"Thank you, Woody," said Harry gratefully and took the jar of oil, "I don't think the master will be too happy if you help me, though,"
"Woody will be gone then sir," said Woody and then lowered her voice in a conspiring way, "if sir needs anything at all Woody will do her best to help." With that the house elf disappeared with a crack.
Gingery pulling off his outer robes Harry applied the ointment as directed and immediately relief flooded through his body. The cooling sensation of the oil counteracted the magical pain. However before all the pain had been relieved the jar was empty and Harry groaned in discomfort.
Trust His Lordship to do this to me! But what did I expect, he wouldn't let me off that easily, I just hope that I can walk tomorrow or I'll have to face Malfoy's smirk and I'm not sure whether I'll be able to restrain myself from breaking his nose again.
Enough pain remained for walking to be an irritation and sitting to hurt. The clock on the mantelpiece in his room chimed six and Harry hastily pulled on a set of silver evening robes from the wardrobe. The Dark Lord did not like tardiness and Harry hurried as fast as he could towards the dinning room.
They often dined in the smaller dining room on the first floor. The main hall was used only for important social events and Death Eater meetings. The smaller dining room was still very large by Harry's standards. It had shocked him when he found he was required to dine with the Dark Lord every morning and evening. Voldemort had not struck Harry as a particularly sociable person and would certainly not desire the company of his worst enemy but since the historic victory Voldemort had regarded Harry in a different way.
The dining room was panelled with oak and chandeliers hung at regular intervals along the plastered ceiling. The table that occupied the room was long and plain without many decorations. In total the table could seat about twenty people but as usual only two would be dining tonight.
The Dark Lord looked up as Harry entered trying to disguise the awkward limp. The table had been set with a moderate number of dishes and one chair had evidently been prepared for him; the only chair in the room with a plush cushion on.
"Come Harry, you must be hungry," Voldemort motioned for the house elf to fill Harry's plate. Some families now employed Muggle-borns as servants but the Dark Lord deemed house elves to more useful. Harry gingery lowered himself into the chair facing the Dark Lord in the centre of the table. "Apart from being obtrusively rude to Professor Snape, what else did you do at school today?" the tone was nearly paternal.
"I…nothing really," said Harry, inwardly amused at how much they sounded like a normal family eating and chatting together but he was too experienced to be lulled into any false sense of security.
"Surely you did more than nothing…perhaps your education is not as effective as I believed it to be, perhaps you are getting distracted…" there was a small hint of an underlying threat to the statement. It was fully intended to goad Harry into relaying more about his day at school.
"We had apparition lessons today," said Harry hastily; he did not want to give the Dark Lord any excuse to pull him out of Hogwarts. The chances of that happening were very remote but his voice never ruled the possibility out.
"Apparition lessons, did you enjoy them?" asked the Dark Lord as he gazed at Harry from across the table, shadows flickered on his features from the chandeliers above. The tone sounded genuinely interested.
"Yes, I do enjoy my lessons," that at least was only a partial lie. He despised the Illusionary Magic class taught appropriately by Lestrange. The Death Eater singled out Harry more than any other student for stripes. However transfiguration and charms remained his favourite subjects, now taught by two foreign wizards from Drumstrang. Initially Harry had expected terrifying dark lessons but to his surprise both subjects continued the curriculum as McGonagall and Flitwick would have done. He had quite a flare for both transfiguration and charms and the Dark Lord, for reasons of his own, often praised Harry on his accomplishments in the classes.
"I am glad to hear that, however there is a question of what to do once you finish Hogwarts," hissed Voldemort suddenly changing to parseltounge. Harry stiffened, over the course of the year he had spent as the Dark Lord's ward his future had never been discussed. "It will be in two years time, you will only be twelve then." Harry's eyes flared to betray his annoyance,
"I will not be twelve, I will be seventeen!" he insisted glaring back at Voldemort, his food quite untouched. Voldemort chuckled darkly,
"Children now a days simply want to grow up too fast." He was very amused, "You remember the spell I cast on you in November, do you not?" hissed the Dark Lord and Harry was drawn into obedience by the cold voice.
"Yes," three months after his capture the Dark Lord had cast a dark spell on him, one that he did not fully understand.
"Do you not remember me telling you that the spell would remove your scar? Have you fully understood how it removed your scar, Harry? Or were you not paying attention during my lecture?" the last sentence as drawn out with an underlying tone of menace.
"I did listen, my lord," at times like this Harry found it was better to be a little submissive. Voldemort chuckled,
"All magical things loose…abilities if exposed to the muggle world or absence of magic for too long. By the time you were ten your scar was merely a normal mark on your skin. However after you entered Hogwarts you were exposed to perhaps the most concentrated amount of magic anywhere in the world. That alone was enough to cause the magic in your scar to revitalise making it once again the mark I used to "mark him as my equal" but without your scar you are no longer my equal or even the chosen one," Harry nodded, he had heard this before.
"The power that I know not was going to channelled away from harming me once I removed the scar. No doubt it will have other purposes later on. Do you remember the potion that Professor Snape produced, the one that reduced your age? It regressed you both physically and magically to the point when your scar had been but a mere mark and easily removed. Do you remember what I told you about your age?"
"You said that I would have to grow out of it because artificial progression in age would bring back the scar," muttered Harry.
"Yes, and with your scar gone you are no threat to anyone, least of all me. I have no need to kill you anymore." There was cold amusement in the voice and it left the most important part out. Why did Voldemort not want to kill me? That particular question, though not forbidden was never answered. "You do realise that you are physically, magically and mentally ten years old." The voice was cruel in its delight and Harry paused to look at his hands, soft white and plump but most of all very small and fragile.
Physically he had been very small as a ten year old which was probably why he was the prime target for bullies at his muggle primary school. His complexion was fair and soft, his face innocent and delicate, something that Malfoy had once said men like in their "partners".
Standing only four foot four, he was dwarfed by nearly everyone in the school and he often had the fleeting suspicion that even Dennis Creevy had been taller than him in first year. Not that he ever saw Dennis after the final battle; hopefully he had been able to get away abroad but Harry didn't want to think about it.
However he hated to feel vulnerable in front of anyone, least of all the Dark Lord and besides he did not believe that he had the mental age of a ten year old. He was much wiser than he was at ten, he was sure of it. Ah but, said the nasty voice inside his head, your pain tolerance level is greatly reduced, you're scared of the dark and you can't even sleep without Nagini next to you. Apparently, all Harry had left of his previous life was the memories and knowledge, which was why he had been allowed to continue his sixth year at Hogwarts.
Harry sat and said nothing as the Dark Lord leisurely surveyed his young charge. "You must be hungry, Harry, eat up" the tone had become more gentle now, "we shall discuss this after dinner". The rest of the meal was spent in thankful silence.
Unfortunately all good things came to an end and Voldemort beckoned for a pleasantly full Harry to follow him into his study. The room itself was enough to bring back many memories of pain and humiliation. He couldn't help remembering when he had been made to apologize to Malfoy after breaking his nose in a fistfight. The despicable blonde never let him forget the way he had cried for mercy under the birch rod.
That night had not been the first time Snape had witness Harry being beaten and the Headmaster often found it was necessary to discipline Harry himself on occasion. The Headmaster's desk was never as comfortable as his master's leather armchair and the Headmaster used a thick stiff rod of ebony that look far more painful than his master's birch rod but in reality his master had ways of making the ebony stick feel as if it was made of putty.
The study was moderate in size and very comfortable. The walls to the right of the door were lined with bookshelves, one of which was draped with a banner depicting the dark mark. To the left of the mini library was the magnificent fireplace made from white marble as pale as the Death Eater's masks. A merry fire was burning in the grate and warmed the entire room. Two straight back black leather arm chairs faced the hearth with a small coffee table in between that held a bottle of liquor. To the left again of the hearth stood his master's desk, armchair and footstool. The birch rod still lay across the table and the polished wood glinted in the firelight.
The Dark Lord seated himself in the armchair and Harry automatically sat on the footstool next to his master's feet.
"Harry you will be finishing school soon but you will be too young to start on a possible career. I have decided that you will be privately tutored until you are of age. You tutoring will be focus on the skills required to work in government more specifically law enforcement and fieldwork." Harry breathed sharply, so his future had already been decided, he was to become one of Voldemort's minions in the new regime, perhaps even a Death Eater. He felt disgusted at his relief, but at least you're still going to be alive for a while yet, said the sly and cunning part of Harry that was definitely Slytherin. "Do you like my proposals, Harry?"
"Yes," said Harry as he felt thin fingers gently ruffling his hair.
"It is nearly time to retire to bed, Harry," said Voldemort as he glanced at the clock on the mantelpiece, "we won't want you to be late for school tomorrow morning." The Dark Lord rose and Harry bowed before leaving.
In the soft light of the white candles that floated above his bed, Harry slipped on his white nightshirt and crawled beneath the soft warm covers. A hiss and the large head of Nagini poked in through the doorway,
"Already in bed, Harry?" she asked as she slithered onto the bed via a positioned chair.
"Yes, I'm tired today," whispered Harry as he snuggled under the quilt. His bed was perfect moulding into his body shape to give maximum comfort. Nagini lead her head on his chest as she did every night since his first stay at Voldemort's manor. "You know, guarding me has become a bit redundant," said Harry through a yawn.
"I'm not here to guard you, I'm here to guard against your nightmares," whispered Nagini in his ear as his thoughts blurred and he felt wrapped in a tender loving embrace, so content like a small child. I love my life was the last thought he had before peaceful sleep claimed him.
AN: Hope you enjoyed it...please review thx