Lucius sat primly in his office in the Ministry, musing over the messenger-boy who had just come to see him.

'They have found him, then,' he thought, holding his chin between two fingers. He glared darkly at his mahogany desk. 'I still do not have the power it would take to keep him in my possession…'


"Quiet, boy."

"But, sir—"

He violently glared at the pimply teen, who promptly shut up.

'I cannot simply hide him in the manor any longer. They will get permission of some type… Override the Minister's orders…'

Lucius slowly stood, noting that the youth was squirming on the other side of his desk. 'I need a drink.'

"Get out. I have no message for Auror Kingsley."

"But… Sir—"

"Get OUT."

The pimply boy left as quickly as he could get his toothpick legs to move. 'Thank Merlin.'

He took his emergency brandy from the cabinet, and swirled the viscous liquid within its bottle. Glasses clattered as he found one and poured himself a glass. 'However could they have found him? There was no violent reaction from his relatives when he was taken, even silence on their part; there was no paper trail from any adoption, he was merely snatched from his keepers. And I would have logically had nothing to gain from thi-'


Lucius grinned evilly, slowly sipping from his glass. The brandy burned his throat.

'They could not take a son from his father. Or even claim any right to him, in the case of a blood rite.'


After his birthday, the weeks passed by uneventfully. Harry had thought about confronting his mother, but not put any effort into it. And his father seemed to be back to his normal self, mostly ignoring Harry unless there was some specific way to torment him. So, he did as he usually did, spending the day idly: walking the grounds with Draco, spending time in the kitchens with Dobby, and every once in a while looking through the texts in the library.

It was a rather strange existence, but the one that he had always been accustomed to. He spent his days perhaps more in the lap of luxury than his brother did, as he did not have to endure the same painful tutoring sessions in various basic studies like Maths, English, French and Latin. Harry had been taught the very rudimentary skills that he needed to complete his later studies at Hogwarts- how to read and write, but beyond that he was completely uneducated

Often Harry had thought of asking his brother to teach him as much as he could about his studies, but knew that Draco would not understand his thirst for information. So, he contented himself to borrowing Draco's texts at night. This was something he'd been doing since father had stopped his reading and writing primer at about the age of seven, deeming the child to be sufficiently prepared. The only thing that Harry was ever required to do was complete one book of his father's choosing every other month. Father had his ways of knowing when he had not completed his assignment, and would subsequently lecture in his terrifyingly soft voice about what a very bad child he had been, then proceeding to beat the living hell out of him. It did not happen often, but it did happen.

Dobby would then tsk over his back, and with a single touch heal all of the bruises.

However, these past two months had been relatively calm—excluding the birthday incident, so completing his book was an easy task. The one father had chosen for him this time was an interesting novel about muggles. Harry had begun to wonder recently about the creatures that Draco would tell him horror stories about after mother and father had gone to their respective beds, so he was somewhat surprised when his father had been forthcoming about them—even going so far as to tell Harry of his relations to the muggle species.

Harry was not sure whether to be horrified over his blood or over the fact that he had family that had been hidden from him for his whole childhood.

And then the nightmares had started.

Night after night, countless dreams of being beaten by manic, humanoid creatures with strange clothing and horrible red eyes. He dreamt of being used as a badly-treated servant, of being slapped around daily, of being called 'that thing.'

It had gotten so bad that Dobby had started to notice the dark circles under his eyes, and inquired about his health. Harry had given him a brief, "I'm fine," and dropped the subject. Then one day, he stumbled upon a book in the library.

Familia Cruor Ritus

"Family Blood Rites?" he muttered under his breath. It had to be misplaced, since all the dark magic books were out of his reach. Harry hesitantly fingered the book, noting that the cover was worn and there was a dark spot on the corner that had a very similar color to that of dried blood.

He rolled his eyes, thinking how typical it would be of his family to have a book like this just sitting on their shelves, bloodstained and all. It was a tactic of intimidation and to incite curiosity. And it was working, he realized. These kinds of books, he remembered from one of Draco's workbooks, usually contained arcane adoption rituals and the like. He gently opened the cover and began to read.