Disclaimer – I do not own Harry Potter and am not making any kind of a profit from writing this story.

Summary – Following his 5th year at Hogwarts School, Harry Potter disappears from both the wizarding and muggle worlds without warning. What happens when he suddenly returns a changed man six years later? Eventually, this will be a Lucius Malfoy x Harry Potter pairing though it will be slow building.

Warnings – A major alternative universe storyline, slash, original characters, etc. Basically anything my very odd mind can come up with to make the story twist and turn the way I want it to.

And I'm officially back on track with this story! Woot! Many thanks to my beta, silvers-edge, for helping with the rewrite of it and catching all I've missed. To my reviewers – I LOVE YOU ALL!

/ Blah, blah, blah. / - Parseltongue.

'Blah, blah, blah.' – Thoughts.

Without further ado, read, enjoy & review! ^_^

Shadows to Shadows

by, Zaleone

Part VI

| Four Years Later |

Blood seeped through his fingers as he held his side, his breathing ragged from the wound as he met his opponent's eyes. Behind him, Hyperion squawked and growled, pacing as he waited for the next round where the beast was no doubt determined to gouge the man's eyes out.

Across from him, maybe ten or twelve feet, was a man that dwarfed him in size but was far faster than he looked. His face was no pleasant sight and Harry had to wonder if he was part rhinoceros with that nose.

'Focus,' he told himself, Aikaya's gleaming blade grasped in his left hand. The blade, unfortunately, had yet to be stained in this fight even as his blood was splattered across the ring. 'He has a weakness. Find it.'

When the man suddenly smirked, he bared his own fangs and with a growl charged the hulk of a creature.

Hyperion let out his own battle cry and shot into the sky, twisting around gracefully before folding his wings in and shooting towards the earth like a rocket. Before he could attack, however, a large feline jumped and latched onto the hippogriff, successfully diverting the attack from its master.

Dodging the animals, Harry turned on his heel and collided with the brute again.

As before, the axe was swung at him with all the skill of a Neanderthal, though the speed made up for his apparent lack of skill, and Harry found himself parrying and dodging as he had before. This time he did not even attempt to return the attacks, his eyes on the man's aggressive form as he was assaulted.

His eyes widened marginally when he spotted it. 'There.'

Immediately falling to his knee, he braced himself and held Aikaya high just as the axe was swung at his head and blocked the blow. The brute strength behind the attack would outlast his stamina easily; however, Harry had no intention of waiting that long. With a simple thought, years of practice lent him the ability to force his magic into his own body and, with this sudden surge of adrenaline; he knocked the axe away and swiftly ducked as he spun around. The axe missed his head by centimeters and, not a second later, he had spun again and the blade sliced through his opponent's calves like warm butter.

The man fell to the ground immediately, the axe clattering uselessly beside him.

Breathing harshly, Harry was back on his feet quickly and touched Aikaya's blade to the man's throat. "Do you yield," he asked, ready to knock him unconscious should he prove to be stubborn.

Without hesitation, he nodded. "Y…Yes."

"And that, ladies and gentlemen, concludes this match with Harrison Black as the victor. This brings Neforia's overall score to three-hundred and seventy-nine while Jetton remains at their consistent, non-moving score of three-hundred and twenty."

Harry glanced up at the ever cheerful Daija who was absolutely glowing in his new job as an announcer in the games, though how he managed to talk the Headmistress into it he would never know. Shaking his head with a tired grin and a fond thought to Lee Jordon, he made his way to Neforia's medic tent as Jetton's own healers saw to his opponent's injuries.

"Have a seat, Black," she ordered, a knowing look on her face as she hobbled in. "Let me have a look at you."

Doing as she said, Harry shed his ruined shirt and voiced no complaints as the panther poked and prodded at him.

The now nineteen-year-old had changed much in the last four years, most changes being subtle, though easily apparent simply in how he carried himself. He finally had a healthy glow about him, regular meals and exercise having aided in this, and he even managed to grow into a respectable 5'8 in height. His hair was wild, as always, but cut short thought it still stuck up at all angels and generally made a nuisance of itself.

After slathering a thick paste onto the wound, Leena bandaged it and offered him a smile. "Take it easy for a day or so; don't strain it and you should be back to par in a day or two. But before you go," she handed him a goblet, "drink up."

His nose twitched at the scent and he gave the healer a grateful smile as he took it, swallowing the crimson liquid in two gulps. Already, he could feel the pain ebbing away and he closed his eyes a moment as the blood worked its magic on his system. Though not nearly enough to sustain the high, Harry enjoyed the rare feeling while it lasted.

Neforia regulated human blood to students with vampiric traits, never starving them so they would become a danger, but never allowing them to be overfilled else the bloodlust would become insatiable.

Passing the goblet back, he offered her a grateful smile. "Thanks."

Grabbing his ruined shirt, he left the tent and headed back towards the academy to dress for the festival tonight.

This tournament, the likes of which was held every five years according to Puther's time, was called the Blood Thorn Tournament. Neforia and Jetton clashed, facing off as all students participated in the competition in one form or another. The categories were many and varied, showcasing multiple talents and giving each and every student the chance to represent their academy and be proud of what they had learned.

Even during these competitions, Harry had only been looking forward to a single thing…the festival.

Puther held a festival midway through the tournament that called for all hostilities and competitions to be neutralized for a night of fun and enjoyment. Not only did the academies come together during this festival, but it had been announced that Krystoff would be attending as well as his sister oracle, Sparare, of the south.

Harry hoped to meet her tonight.

Adorning the customary dress uniform that was black in place of the usual burgundy with gold trimming, he cleaned himself up to the best of his abilities in order to look presentable. As he stared at his reflection, his eyes drifted to the crest around his neck and, not for the first time, his mind attempted to recall the memory of acquiring it.

But, like always, there was only a hazy fog where he could feel the memories lied.

Something blocked these memories but despite all efforts, they remained out of his reach.

The crest itself was made of the deepest black metal he had seen and had yet to be fully identified. Only one of the three runes that adorned it was recognizable, and it was the Sumerian rune for 'fire' that had been carved into the metal with silver.

The irony of it was Harry's true abilities had yet to fully manifest, according to Silverblood and the Headmistress. His skill with Aikaya and other various subjects like enchanting and potions were perfected by long hours of training and dedication. So far, he could only manipulate his magic in the most basic of forms and even this was chaotic at the best of times and required a lot of concentration. Even then, it was about as powerful as a well aimed stupefy. Often, it was only cleverness on his part that it came in handy.

Shaking his head to rid himself of this all too familiar train of thought, Harry laced up his boots before strapping his wand to his right wrist, more out of habit than anything, and began heading towards the festival.

… … …

… … …

"Avada Kedarva!"

Tonks ducked instinctively at the call, her momentum aiding her as she slid behind one of the larger stone's that made up the archway of the veil. The irony that she was back here fighting again was not lost on her; however, her mind was focused on the fight and the determination to not lose anyone in this scuffle.

Voldemort had targeted the veil, though for what reason, no one knew. All she, Kingsley, and Hermione knew was that they couldn't allow the Death Eaters near it. So here they were while Snape was trying to track down what little remained of the Order for backup.

Black smoke caught her eye and she barely had time to dodge as Bellatrix appeared not four feet from her and flung another jet green spell at her.

The metamorphmagus spun on her heel as she ran back into the open, immediately firing spell after spell at her aunt who skillfully deflected and countered each. Across from her, Hermione and Kingsley dealt with the lower ranking minions they discovered were little more than cannon fodder as Bellatrix barely spared them a glance.

"Filthy half-blood, get out of my way!" the woman yelled, her speed picking up as her rage fueled her adrenaline.

Tonks was forced on the defensive, barely able to deflect let alone retaliate as the woman fired endless spells at her. It was several minutes of this, her breath becoming labored as she held the insane woman off, before an idea struck her. With a determined look, she deflected yet another spell before using a stinging hex to force the woman black before aiming a blasting spell at the ceiling. She immediately ran for cover, calling out a warning to her companions as a good chunk of the stone ceiling fell.

It was horrifying when painful screams echoed through the large room. Tonks closed her eyes with guilt but not regret as she turned and tried to see through the thick cloud of dust.

As it cleared, she could see Bellatrix breathing heavily and noticed her leg was pinned beneath a particularly large piece of debris. Somehow, this didn't faze her for long as she turned to a shadowed corner and glared. "What are you waiting for! Go!" she practically screamed.

Tonks' blinked when she caught movement in the corner, instinct overriding common sense as she immediately ran to intercept the robed figure who had made a mad dash for the veil.

Her breath was taken away when what felt like a brick wall hit her, her ribs giving in to the blow as her body was flung into the air like a rag doll. She felt herself hit a wall but her mind wasn't focused on that as the last coherent though she would remember having was who could be crazy enough to run into the veil.

… … …

… … …

Harry sighed, rubbing his hands together impatiently as he waited for the elementals to eventually wander towards him, though he could swear he caught Krystoff looking at him every so often with that all too familiar smirk. 'The bastard knows,' he thought, not amused. 'He's just making it more difficult.'

A hand was suddenly placed on his forearm, the scent of rain accompanying it with the peaceful image of a large fire burning in the hearth in his room.

He gave his friend a small, sincere smile and placed his hand over hers to convey his gratitude. "Thanks, Dax."

She echoed the smile, taking her hand away.

Daxeony, or 'Dax' as he dubbed her, was a calming presence, her abilities lying in the power to make others feel at peace with emotions, images or even a familiar scent. She was an empath, the daughter of Rexan and Daija Silverblood, and while she could not speak, she communicated well with her gift.

"Harrison Black, I presume?"

The strong, confident voice wasn't familiar and he glanced up only to blink at the sight of the southern oracle, Sparare, standing before him. Her skin was tanned; her hair a fiery red with wings similar to Krystoff's coal black, a spear held in her left hand with a blade he knew had to be a splinter from Hyperion. Scarlet eyes stared right back at him knowingly, but not unkindly, and Harry was snapped back into reality at her chuckle.

Emerald eyes snapped to his friend but Dax simply smiled at him before silently standing up and taking her leave.

'How long did she…?' he blinked, confused.

"I am Sparare," she introduced herself, successfully gaining his attention again. "I believe you wanted to see me."

Remembering himself, Harry stuttered a bit but stood and bowed his head slightly to the oracle before nodding once. "I was hoping you could tell me what this means," he said, holding up his crest for her inspection. "I only know one of the runes," he continued, pointing at it.

"Fire," she said before he was able to, the sudden seriousness unexpected as she took the crest between her claws.

Apparently this sudden change was not expected as Krystoff stepped closer, looking concerned. "Sister?"

Sparare's eyes were focused solely on the crest as she asked, "What memory do you have of this? What did you see in retrieving it?" Though her voice remained gentle, there was a certain tone to it that made it all too clear she would not accept anything less than an honest answer.

Harry blinked but shook his head. "I don't remember-"

"Think," she told him, cutting him off as her eyes snapped up to meet his. "You must remember something."

He thought back again, trying to recall anything about the final task but his face showed it when he could remember nothing but the fog that hid his memories.

Sparare shook her head. "I must see. I am sorry."

This was her warning, Harry barely catching the sudden movement of her hand and Krystoff's sudden alarmed expression before it felt as if his head was on fire and he felt himself scream at the sudden pain.

Images…flashes of memory assaulted his eyes and he couldn't help the instinctive struggle against the foreign mind invading his own.

"Do not fight," she told him. "Let me see."

Memories of a flying motorcycle, of the Dursley family, his first time stepping into the Great Hall, the basilisk, Cedric dying, Sirius falling, the first time he looked at Neforia…all of it flew by in mere seconds. Suddenly, all that was left was darkness and Harry was dreading what the oracle might find.

Slowly, a white mist became apparent in his mind's eye that moved and swished in all directions. Though innocent enough, Harry felt nothing but fear as he looked upon it and, somehow, he knew it was alive.

"By what right do you come here, wizard?"

"You will not leave this room alive."

"Weakling, how dare you think to stand against us!"

The voices, each of them different, were like nails on a chalkboard. They hurt his ears just by speaking and he felt himself scream again but what followed was a language uttered in a deep, guttural voice that he didn't recognize. When it seemed to finish speaking, the pain suddenly stopped and he breathed in raggedly, immediately going to his knees from the aftershock of the sudden invasion.

Sparare stared at the child before her, her hand shaking.

Hyperion who had until then been asleep at his charge's side, now stood over the young man and snapped at the elemental's outstretched hand. Sparare barely managed to pull it back in time but her attention was on what she had heard, not the overprotective hippogriff trying to flay her alive with his eyes.

"What is it," Krystoff demanded, eyeing the youth but making no move towards him yet.

She glanced back at her brother, her eyes suddenly clearing but instead of answering him she waved her spear and sent the hippogriff flying before kneeling by the boy. "I'm so sorry, young one," she whispered, placing a hand on his head as she tried to repair some of the damage she had inflicted in her haste.

The aftershocks of pain and the pounding in his head receded enough that Harry was able to focus on her, frowning when he saw the look in her eyes. "W…what did-"

"Shh," she whispered. "Listen. I understand now. You have to listen, do you understand?"

He shook his head.

"When the time comes, just listen," she said, her voice serious. "Don't be afraid of it."

Before he could ask what she meant, she had taken Aikaya from its sheath on his back and put it against her spear. Both weapons glowed brightly before the spear began to shift and slowly melded with his katana.

"What are you doing," he yelled at her, panicked that he would lose Aikaya.

"Your mother's blessing remains," Sparare said, returning the now pulsating sword to him. "Heed my words. You must listen, Harry. You can't be afraid of it."

Harry could do little else but nod at her pleading look, confused and a little afraid at the oracle who seemed so confident only minutes before. "I…I'll listen," he promised.

She nodded and carded a gentle hand through his hair. "You have a wonderful future ahead of you, Harry."

This terrified him but he didn't have time to think on what she said before he felt something wet suddenly hit his face and he stared at the steel gray blade that had missed his own face by mere centimeters. Horrified, he looked up only to see blood drip from Sparare's mouth before her body slumped over him. Before he could truly comprehend this, he saw a dark, robed figure standing twenty feet from them with a bow drawn. Looking down, he saw the arrow sticking from her back and like an explosion within him, he reacted.

Before he could consciously keep up with his own movements, he was on the creature and trading blows. 'He's a vampire,' his mind supplied, the sickly sweet scent of the creature's venom invading his senses.

Instinctively knowing where to strike the vampire, he held out his hand and Aikaya flew into his waiting grasp and he barely registered the flames on the blade before he sunk it into the vampire's heart. From his studies, he knew this would not kill him but it would paralyze him. With a sickening squelching sound, he removed the blade and watched the vampire's body crumble to the ground though fierce crimson eyes glared at him defiantly.

Harry blinked as he felt his body start to shake. 'What…what's wrong with me?' The katana clattered to the ground as he started feeling lightheaded, a cold sweat breaking out on his skin. 'I don't feel right.'

The sudden, weightless feeling of falling registered but something stopped him before he hit the ground though he was unconscious before he could register Krystoff's concern.

End of Part VI

And there is the long awaited update. ^_^ Hope you all enjoyed and I promise, this won't happen again. I am bound and determined to finish this thing. Many thanks to my beta, silvers-edge, for helping me and catching what I missed.

Tell me what ya'll thought. ^_^ Next update coming soon.