Title: Wind That Shakes the Seas and Stars
Summary: AU of OoTP, Slytherin!Harry, HPDM slash. Snape begins the year with a mistake that sets his ward against him. Now Harry is using all his own considerable cunning to ride out the multiple storms, even as the Second War goes into motion.
Notes: This is the fifth story in what I call the Sacrifices Arc, following Freedom and Not Peace. It's therefore not going to make much sense if you haven't read the first four. By this time, the differences from canon are pronounced, and while there are nods to OoTP here and there in this story, its plot is not much like OoTP's.
This story, as planned, is a long bastard, at 95 numbered chapters, plus some Interludes and Intermissions. (If you want to see the outline, you can visit my LiveJournal; the link is in my profile).
Disclaimer: The recognizable characters, events, concepts, and settings in the following story belong to J. K. Rowling, not to me. I am making no money from this fanfic.
Updates: I archive on Fanfiction, Skyehawke, and my LJ, and send notice of updates through my Yahoo!Group. The addresses of all of them, and information about the Arc itself, can be found in my Fanfiction profile. Complete Word and .PDF files for download are on a site created by Therio, the link to which is also in my profile.
Warnings:Violence, language, torture (both physical and mental), child abuse (in memories), heavy angst, twisted psychology, slash and het and saffic (femmeslash) in varying degrees of explicitness, multiple character deaths (both canon and OC's, both good and bad guys, both minor and major characters).
Let's start this off with a bang, shall we?
Wind That Shakes The Seas and StarsChapter One: Breeding Basilisks
He was once again in the cavernous house he had seen in his visions earlier that year. He could feel his whiskers twitching, and knew he was once more in the lynx form he'd adopted in the other visions.
So cling to any familiarity you can find, he thought, as he lifted his head and felt his scar burst into pain. Fight your way through the agony, fight your way through the knowledge that Voldemort is back. You have to survive, so you might as well fight.
He took a step forward, and nearly tipped over. He had forgotten that his left forepaw was missing, victim of Bellatrix's cut just as his left hand had been. Harry forced himself to work through the feelings that wanted him to lash his tail and squall. He could not afford to be enraged right now—or ever, in truth. He thought of unicorns, and light, and crept forward until he could see around the divan that stood in front of him.
The first thing he saw was the fire burning in the center of the floor, pulsing like a heartbeat and sending flares and ripples of light and shadow through the room. It was more red than orange, and more gold than either, and it spread out in a strange pool beneath a squat yellow shape that it took Harry some moments to identify. When he did, he felt his mouth pull up in a snarl.
He heard Voldemort's laughter, and backed hastily behind the divan again just as the Dark Lord strode into sight, his robes fluttering around him and his lipless mouth stretched in a smile. He was not sure if Voldemort could see him in visions like this, but he simply couldn't take the chance. Once again, he calmed his breathing, and called up the training that Lily had given him when she told him he might become a spy in the wars. See everything. Remember everything. You never know what might be useful.
Harry had to know if that egg was really what he suspected it was, and so he stayed still as Voldemort turned to speak to something or someone he couldn't see. "Come here. Come here and fulfill your duty." The Dark Lord broke into laughter again halfway through the words, as if he found them funny. Harry didn't see why until the person he was talking about moved into sight.
It wasn't actually a person, or even people, but a group of snakes, gleaming black and green and red. They wrapped themselves around the egg and began to massage it. Harry saw the fire gleam in their scales dully for a few moments.
Then they burned.
Harry shuddered as he heard hissing cries of pain, odd words that were probably as close as snakes could come to obscenities, and the sharp crackle of scales and flesh crisping in the flames. Nevertheless, even as some of the serpents fell dying to the floor, others took their place, and the ones who were lucky enough to be high up on the egg, away from the fire, went on massaging, hissing, writhing, as if they could rub their own bodies into the shell.
Voldemort went on watching, his mouth twisted in a half-smile. When he spoke again, it was in a language Harry didn't know, but the words seemed to sear themselves into his brain. They were ugly sounds, with a hook on the end of them. Harry thought of speaking them himself, and felt the fur stand up on his spine.
Four words—and Harry hated being able to tell that, hated the fact that he thought he could recall this language if he had to—and the snakes abruptly lay still. The fire flared and leaped, wrapping the egg in molten gold and obscuring the sight of the serpents. Voldemort laughed again, a fevered sound of high-pitched excitement, and Harry's scar deepened into agony that made his vision blacken.
He could feel the magic dancing madly through the room. It coiled back on itself like a serpent, and then sank cold, poisoned fangs of power into the egg. That killed Harry's hope, if he'd had any, that the Dark Lord was anything less than fully recovered from the memory loss and mental damage that Harry had managed to inflict on him.
The flame and the magic combined with each other, whirled around in an embrace, and dissipated. What remained was the egg, a gleaming red-gold shape that Harry could not find beautiful, despite its resemblance in color to Fawkes. It looked more like swirls of blood floating in urine.
Voldemort spoke one more hook-like word, and yanked his hand backward. The eggshell splintered at once, as if pulled from outside rather than smashed from within, and a lithe, wriggling black shape poured through the rent and into the world.
Harry half-closed his eyes as he watched the young basilisk dance, its deep green scales still wet from the egg fluid. He wasn't sure how deadly the snakes could be when newborn, or even if its gaze would work on him in a vision, but he wasn't about to take the chance. There would be less taking of chances, less sacrifices, from now on, he promised himself. He had to live to fight this war.
Voldemort walked around the basilisk and spoke to it in what Harry knew must be Parseltongue; the snake stilled at once upon hearing his voice. "So beautiful, my young one. You will listen to me. You will keep your false eyelids upon your eyes when you are near anyone belonging to me, whom you may know by this Mark." He spun one hand, and the Dark Mark, flaring green, took form in the air above him. "You will not bite anyone bearing this Mark, either. All others are your rightful prey when you are grown and unleashed upon my enemies."
The basilisk raised its head—or her head, Harry saw, since she was missing the scarlet plumes that would have identified her as a king basilisk. "I am hungry. Obedient, but hungry. Bring me one whom I may eat, my master."
Voldemort let out a lazy laugh, and looked over his shoulder. Two masked Death Eaters came from the shadows, and they held a struggling creature between them that turned Harry's heart to a stone.
It should have been impossible for them to capture a unicorn foal. How in the world did they do it?
The foal was purely golden, marking it as less than two years old. Its eyes were large and a shifting deep color, somewhere between purple and deep blue. It thrashed and kept on thrashing, the movements of a purely wild and free being made to endure no captivity.
Harry moved a step forward. It didn't matter if he would be seen, if he was in danger from the vision itself or the basilisk or Voldemort. He had hidden once while he watched the Dark Lord slaughter a unicorn. He would not hide so again.
He sprang from behind the divan, his claws on his right front paw unsheathed, letting the pressure from his hind legs drive him—
And passed through the basilisk as if through a ghost. Harry landed on the floor beyond, and it felt solid. Perhaps he had missed his strike. He turned, planting his hind feet and spinning to hook his front paw into one of the advancing Death Eaters' robes.
They passed across his fur like smoke.
Frantic now, Harry tried to reach out to the unicorns, the free ones who must be singing in horror at what was happening to one of their own. Do you see this happening? Why aren't you here? Free him! Come on! Where the fuck are you?
No response came, and the basilisk was edging forward, her long fangs bared and her head slowly turning so that Harry, standing in front of the unicorn, would be within her deadly yellow gaze in a moment.
Harry reached out with all his willpower, pouring magic and strength through himself, trying to open a conduit through his body to the vision and provide a shining wall of defense and protection for the foal. He was good at defensive magic. He'd certainly trained long enough for it. He had to be able to save the foal now. He'd seen one child lost to Voldemort's people already, and that was enough.
Nothing happened. The Death Eaters dropped the unicorn hastily to the ground, and the basilisk struck, coiling her body around the foal and sinking her fangs home. The foal trembled and let out a thin scream. His legs thrashed once, and then he was still, blue-silver blood leaking from the holes in his neck as the basilisk turned him around and began to swallow him headfirst.
Voldemort was laughing.
Harry crouched where he was, able to see everything but unable to be seen or interact with it, disbelieving, shaky, horrified.
What changed? Why should I have been able to hurt and kill Nagini before, but I can't stop Voldemort's other snakes now?
The only possible answer Harry could come up with was that Vodemort's resurrection had somehow altered the link between them. It would protect him, but at the same time, it would damn anyone in the position of innocent sacrifice.
Harry hated—well. He was not sure what he hated most at the moment, Voldemort or the situation or himself. He crouched where he was, and hissed hisses that no one paid attention to, and hated. He watched the basilisk eat the unicorn, drinking the blood that would taint her, if she were not already so, and bind her even more firmly to Voldemort.
He imagined the unicorns who had carried him into the sea yesterday morning, searching in vain for the golden foal the Death Eaters had taken, and wished he could vomit.
Voldemort caressed the basilisk's head and murmured to her, in words that Harry could have understood but did not care to. He flattened his ears and his whiskers and stared at the floor. Is this going to happen in every vision from now on?
Then he shook his head. He should not be concentrating on this now. He had had to deal with grief and hatred and self-loathing enough in the past few days that he should be used to them. The important thing was what he could get out of the visions, since he could not stop having them, and he might as well use his invulnerability to his advantage. He glanced at the Death Eaters, but they retained their masks, and they gave no betraying gestures that might mark them as those whom Harry knew well.
Voldemort turned to them and spoke in high, cold English. "Call upon our contacts in the Ministry. And call upon Fenrir Greyback. He smelled his way to Tullianum prison once before. He can do so again."
One of the Death Eaters bowed low before he spoke. Harry twitched a tufted ear, but could hear nothing familiar in his voice, still. "My lord, are we to free all of the Death Eater prisoners we can find? If we are pressed for time, who should be our priority?"
"All of them, of course," said Voldemort peevishly. Harry glanced up at his white face, and found it twisted into a why do I surround myself with these idiots? expression.
Because only idiots will agree to have a skull and snake branded into their flesh and conduct senseless raids on the Muggle and wizarding worlds? Harry thought. Well, idiots and people who are acting as sacrifices for their friends and people who've repented and decided that, yes, they were in fact idiots. He found it comforting to think about Peter and his allies at a time like this, and Snape—
No, not Snape. He wasn't allowed to think of him, or he would weaken. Carefully, Harry willed thoughts like that out of his head, and tried to listen for something he thought might make the unicorn's death worth it.
"But if you must choose," Voldemort continued, "free Walden Macnair first."
The Death Eaters bowed to him and Apparated away. Harry felt his dream dissolving, and doubted he would see anything more interesting anyway, as Voldemort was simply stroking the queen basilisk and murmuring soothing words to his pet.
I have seen quite enough, he thought, as he turned and vanished among the dissolving shreds of dream, back into reality.
Harry opened his eyes slowly. His body felt, oddly, as though he really had been taking springs and leaps with it, but he supposed the intense physical nature of the dream, or his own exhaustion, might have something to do with that. He blinked away the blood he had expected to be pouring from his scar, and found Draco leaning over him, eyes so intense they hurt.
"Are you all right?" Draco asked, very softly.
Harry nodded once, and then winced as that set his scar off like a brand again. He sat up carefully. "Do you have a parchment and quill?" he asked, flexing his right hand. Then he flexed the glamour of the left, trying to mimic the natural bends and motions of his actual appendage. It was harder than he thought it would be, especially since he had to do it in a mirrored way and not simply replicate the movements.
Draco lifted a quill and a scroll silently from beside his chair. Harry, holding his head so that blood didn't drip on the parchment and pinning the side of the paper with his left wrist, wrote as simple and short a note to Scrimgeour as he could, warning him to guard Walden Macnair with extra precautions and watch for Death Eaters trying to find their way into the new, hidden Ministry prison.
By the time he looked up from the paper, Fawkes was already sitting on the back of Draco's chair, crooning softly. Harry blinked at him. "But wouldn't you burn the paper to ashes?" he asked.
The phoenix gave a sharp chirp, and in Harry's heard formed the vision of an owl swooping awkwardly and crashing into a wall. That made Harry smile, briefly. Fawkes was saying that accidents could happen with owl post, too, but that most wizards still trusted their messages to the birds.
Fawkes picked up the parchment in his beak and vanished into a ball of flames. Harry leaned back and closed his eyes. Wherever Scrimgeour is, that note will probably reach him in time. I don't think that the new wards the Ministry put on Tullianum will let Greyback sniff his way right in as he could last time.
Harry opened his eyes. "Yes, Draco? I'm definitely not asleep. I'm not sure I'll sleep the rest of the night."
"The Dark Lord's recovered from whatever it was that you did to him?" Draco sat plucking at the sheet, staring at the floor.
"Yes," said Harry simply.
Draco's hands clenched around the sheet, hard enough to make it shift on Harry's legs. "I wish he hadn't," he said. "I wish he'd died."
Harry opened his mouth, then shut it. It wasn't really the wish that surprised him, and he could hardly scold Draco for wishing Voldemort dead if he were going to wish anyone like that. It was the intensity in Draco's voice, the same kind that had been there when he essentially swore vengeance on Bellatrix Lestrange for cutting off Harry's hand.
Harry reached out and gently touched Draco's wrist. "Are you all right?" he asked.
Draco snorted, a desperate sound of laughter and hatred both at once, and then lifted his head. "Shouldn't I be asking you that?" he demanded, leaning forward until his nose was inches from Harry's face.
Harry shrugged and rubbed absently at the blood on his cheeks, using the glamour of his left hand before he thought about it. Not dry yet, he noticed, as the liquid smeared on his sleeve. No point in cleaning his face yet, then. The scar would go on bleeding for a while.
"I think we can both ask each other that," he said. "I know that it hurts you to see me suffering like this."
"But you're the one who looks like you've been through the wars." Draco took a deep breath. "And it's only going to get worse, isn't it?"
"Yes." Harry didn't see the need to add anything else. He knew what Draco was struggling with, in silence. Being in love with him would take a toll. Being at his side even as a friend would take a toll. Harry didn't think he had the right to make Draco's decision for him. If he chose to withdraw—
Harry's feelings twisted in panic, and he sat on them.
--then he chose to withdraw. He had to do what his will and his heart inclined him to do, what would keep him safe if safety was more important than anything else.
Draco looked up just then, into his eyes, and let out a harsh, exasperated breath. Then he grabbed Harry around the middle, hard enough to make Harry jump a bit in surprise and set up a throb of pain through his sore muscles. "Stop that," he murmured fiercely into Harry's ear. "I'm not going to abandon you. I'm never going to. I love you, I told you that, and you are part of my life, and if you try to force me away from you—body-binds and sleeping spells, remember?"
"You said that was only if I went into danger without you," Harry muttered, but he allowed himself to relax and return the embrace as best he could. Draco was pinning his arms, and he couldn't move them very far.
"Trying to fight this war by yourself would count." Draco leaned as close to Harry as he could. "I love you, and Merlin you're stubborn, and you are going to come to Malfoy Manor with me for the summer."
Harry narrowed his eyes. He's too Slytherin for his own good, sometimes. I might have agreed to that if I weren't listening so closely. He gently pushed at Draco, forcing him to loosen his hold a bit. "We've already talked about that. I told you why I couldn't. I would ask that—"
"Where would you go, then?" Draco demanded, his eyes narrowing. "You can't stay with Snape, and if you suggest actually going to your parents, I'll—"
"Use a Body-Bind or a sleeping spell, I know." Harry frowned at him. "I have another solution." He paused, reaching out instinctively for Fawkes to warn him if Dumbledore was listening, and then remembered that Fawkes was gone, delivering the message to Scrimgeour. Harry shook his head and lowered his voice, leaning close to Draco. "I was thinking McGonagall. She already knows more than I wanted her to, but she wouldn't be dangerous to me the way that your father would, and she's capable of protecting me."
"If you stay in the same school as Snape and Dumbledore, what will happen?" Draco held his eyes, and did not look away.
"Snape I can ignore," said Harry. He was certain of it now. The wild anger that had driven him on Midsummer night, and which he thought now his compulsion from Dumbledore might have influenced, had fled him. "And it's necessary that I stay near the Headmaster. If anything can bring him to redemption and to consider his mistakes, then I think that being near me might do it."
"What are you talking about, Harry?"
Harry jerked; he couldn't help it, though he thought part of the movement came from Draco's startlement as well as his own. He lifted his head, slowly, and looked over Draco's shoulder towards the doors of the hospital wing.
His mother was standing there, her eyes wide, her head slowly shaking back and forth. Harry couldn't decide if she looked mad or not, but he knew that he didn't like the expression on her face when she gazed at him.
"You're coming back to Godric's Hollow for the summer, Harry," she said softly. "That's what we agreed on. That's what Albus told me you'd agreed on when he summoned me. Why are you making plans now to do something other than what we asked of you?" She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. "Will you ever stop thinking that you know best, or that you can just change your word when you give it without any consequences?"
Harry started to respond, but a shadow stirred behind his mother, and Dumbledore entered. He took a moment fussing with his robes, as if he were going to appear in public at any moment and needed to look good, though as far as Harry could see, they were his normal star-decorated attire.
Then he lifted his head. Harry looked straight into blue eyes.
Dumbledore knew, now, that Harry had been fooling him, only pretending to be under the compulsion.
Draco made a wordless noise, a small snarl, and drew his wand from his pocket, but Dumbledore got there first. He lifted a hand, and Draco's wand soared across the hospital wing to land in his palm. He lowered it gently to rest on a hospital bed next to him. He hadn't really looked at Draco all this while, Harry saw. The greatest part of his attention was on Harry himself.
And there was a storm gathering in his eyes.
"I thought we had agreed, Harry," he said, his voice full of ancient disappointments. "I thought we could trust you, that you were not going to become a Dark Lord like the one you had struggled so hard to avoid becoming. But it seems that I was wrong."
He struck in the next moment.
Harry had already called a Protego, one of the Charms he could do without thought, wandless, in his sleep if he needed to. The shield sprang up around him and Draco, and the mingled light of Dumbledore's spells—two cast at once, hexes to render him sleepless and motionless—bounced off the shield. Dumbledore only lightly sighed, as if he had anticipated this result and did not like it, but could put up with it for the necessary length of time. He moved a few steps forward, putting out a hand to Lily when she would have followed him.
"Rest, my dear," he said gently. "I know this would be hard for you to endure. You have struggled and sacrificed to keep your son from becoming what he has, and he has anyway. That is a hard blow for any mother to endure. Rest."
Lily stood where she was and bowed her head tamely. Harry felt his lip curling, wondering why someone who had been in Gryffindor would be so spiritless, and then he shook his head sharply. No, he wouldn't think that way. He couldn't think that way if he intended to heal her. She was only contemptible as she was right now. That didn't mean that she'd been contemptible when she was a child. It didn't mean that she'd never had any Gryffindor qualities.
Dumbledore moved forward until he stood at the end of the bed, just outside the limit of the Protego. His expression was the most benevolent and open that Harry could remember seeing it, perhaps because it was the weariest, as if he were letting Harry see all the toll the war had taken on him.
"Come, Harry," he said. "I know that you are dedicated to this war, committed to it, no matter that you do not agree with us on the best methods for fighting it. It would cost much and avail you little to destroy me, or hurt me, and it would earn you distrust from many of the Light wizards. And it would harm the wards of Hogwarts, and I think we all agree they must be made more secure than ever, now that Voldemort has returned. Surely, Harry, surely you can relax, and enter your mother's house, and have peace there as you learn about war."
Harry couldn't sense any edge of compulsion in the words, but that didn't mean it wasn't there. He bared his teeth, but said nothing. Dumbledore remained still, looking at him with patient, twinkling eyes, and waited.
Harry wondered for a moment why he didn't just attack. Then he remembered that Dumbledore probably feared his ability to eat magic, and, also, he wasn't supposed to be thinking about besting Dumbledore in battle. He was supposed to be his vates, to think about a way to snap his constricting thoughts—which Harry thought resembled a web, even though he knew they weren't a literal web—and invite him out into the light of wisdom and compassion.
Being a vates for everyone is hard.
"I don't want to fight you," he said carefully. "Nor do I want to destroy Hogwarts. But I found out that you used compulsion on me, sir, and for that reason, I don't want to go home for the summer. I don't want to follow any course of action that I agreed to when I wasn't myself."
"I was only looking out for your best interests, Harry," said Dumbledore gently. "If you would only—"
The doors of the hospital wing, which had only half-opened when Dumbledore and Lily entered, abruptly flew back with a slam. Harry caught his breath as he realized that wandless magic had done that—the wandless magic of a powerful, angry wizard or witch who didn't feel familiar. It definitely hadn't been either him or Dumbledore, and it lacked the fanged edge of Snape's power, and Harry was sure that he would have known at once if Voldemort was on school grounds.
He understood in a moment when a familiar woman entered the room, though not the source of her rage. Auror Mallory, the Head of the Auror Office since Scrimgeour's election to Minister, was nearly as strong as Snape, and if her anger was riding her now, then so would her magic be. That power was strong and pure and cold to Harry, with a slight smell of tin, like snow being blown into his face.
Dumbledore turned and stared at Mallory with a faint frown on his face. "Auror," he said. "What is it?"
Mallory snarled at him. Her wand was in her hand, but she didn't point it at Dumbledore. Her magic was going to do just fine for her, Harry thought. He wondered if he should be more concerned about protecting her or Dumbledore. Even a Light Lord could be hurt by wandless magic of this power, if it got through his defenses.
"You knew," she said. "You knew, and you were part of it, and it sickens me to think that I trusted you."
Dumbledore frowned more deeply. "Auror, if you have had any strange dreams lately, I suggest that you consider what you are saying carefully. Voldemort could have reached out and—"
"Did you know," said Mallory, while her magic whirled a small object out of the pocket of her robes, "that the only reason my father was never tried was that I killed him when he started eyeing my younger sister?" The small thing spun twice around her head, then snapped towards Dumbledore. The Headmaster watched it come, probably, thought Harry, believing that it wasn't very dangerous.
Harry recognized it right before it hit. It was a Still-Beetle shell, which caused a stillness of the body so complete that even a powerful wizard wouldn't be able to free himself, his magic caged under his skin. This one must also have had a Portkey attached to it, or have been made into a Portkey itself, because ordinarily a Still-Beetle would root a prisoner's feet to the floor. Instead, Dumbledore froze and then disappeared into a whirl of colors a moment later.
"There," said Mallory, and her gaze went to Harry. She gave him a short, choppy nod. "Sorry to have to do it like this, Potter, but we didn't know where the bitch who calls herself your mother was. Your father came out of the house when we called for him. That was a neat, simple arrest. Not like this one." She snarled again, and then whirled.
Harry, dazed, saw that two other Aurors had come in through the doors while he was entirely occupied watching Mallory and Dumbledore. One was Tonks, her hair a gleaming, metallic black. The other was Auror Feverfew, whom he'd met a few times before, especially when he patrolled the school this year. They'd just finished binding Lily's hands behind her back. His mother's eyes were wide, and fearful, and glimmering with tears.
Finally, finally, too late to do any good by Dumbledore, Harry snapped out of his trance. He dropped the Shield Charm and pushed slightly away from Draco, who'd come close to him and wrapped an arm around his waist. "What are you doing?" he demanded. "Why are you arresting my mother and the Headmaster?"
Mallory, who had been watching Lily with her magic dancing and jumping around her, glanced at him. Her face softened. "I haven't gone through exactly the same things that you have," she said, and Harry faltered before the way she seemed to see him. "But I know some of what it's like. My father…touched me. Constantly. When I got too old for him and he started doing it to my sister, my magic killed him. I was never tried, of course. When the Wizengamot saw the Pensieves, they all agreed that I had a right to defend my sister."
Shit. Oh, shit. Oh, no. Harry coughed through the sticky mess in his throat, and managed to say, "What crime are my parents and the Headmaster charged with?"
"Child abuse," said Mallory. "Almost any kind that you can describe. Emotional, mental, neglect, willingly putting you in physical danger…leaving you to You-Know-Who, for Merlin's sake." Her mouth twisted, and she looked at Lily. "I don't consider you human," she said casually. "I thought you should know that right now."
Harry persisted through numb lips. "And who filed these charges?"
The answer was not unexpected, but the sound of it still bit into him.