Disclaimer: If you recognize a character, place, fantastic creature or anything else in this story, be assured that I not only do not own it, but am rather borrowing it for my own dark purposes. They are just props on which to exercise my deep, rich, fertile imagination. Muahahaha!!!
4 Privet Drive
Harry sat on his bed, assessing his life. He had been a virtual prisoner in his room since he had returned following Sirius' death in the Department of Mysteries. He had not received a single letter from any of his friends since his return, even though he had written numerous times. The few times he had attempted to even take a walk, one of the Order's guards had immediately herded him back into the house to face the tender mercies of his relatives. The Dursleys were not forcing him to do chores on the outside of the house, since they now knew that the Order was watching them , however they worked him like a slave on the inside, allowing Dudley to beat on him, then Petunia's husband Vernon (Harry refused to call him 'Uncle' anymore) would stand over him while he wrote the obligatory letter every third day assuring the Order that he was alright.
Harry was, however, far from alright. Mad-Eye Moody's threats at the train station had the opposite effect from what he had intended. When Harry had arrived at the Dursley home, Vernon had only waited until the door was closed before he had slammed his fist into Harry's head while Petunia had looked on with a satisfied expression on her face. As soon as Harry hit the floor from Vernon's assault, Dudley had waddled up and kicked Harry viciously between the legs. The Dursley males continued the assault for over 10 minutes, leaving Harry bloody and unconscious on the floor. When he awoke, Harry was forced to clean up the bloody mess. Harry was also beaten every time he had a nightmare or a vision from Voldemort that happened to wake up Vernon.
And speaking of Voldemort, he couldn't forget him, could he? Between Voldemort and his Death Eaters and their inbred offspring, everyone who Harry had ever cared for had either been killed, injured or placed in mortal danger. Now it seemed that the fear of danger had alienated all of his friends from him. Harry had to figure that it was either a fear of Voldemort or instructions from Dumbledore, in which case he had no friends. Just thinking of Dumbledore brought back every bit of rage that Harry had felt in the Hogwarts Headmaster's office after the battle at the Ministry.
'With friends like him, who the hell needs enemies?,' Harry thought. 'I am royally sick of all of it! I have been used, abused, wadded up and thrown away. Some wonderful life and heritage I received. I would have been better off if I had never heard of magic!'
Harry took a piece of parchment and quill, drew a line down the middle, making two columns. On the first column, he headed it "Reasons to stay and fight", and on the other column, "Reasons to tell them to go to Hell". He began listing the reasons in the second column first, since there were so many more of them and they were easier to think of. When he had finished, he tried to think of things for the first column. The only thing that he could think of was revenge against Voldemort and his Death Eaters for the deaths of people he loved or cared about. He had started to write down 'Protect the innocent', however he remembered the way he had been slandered in the press and by the Ministry, only to have everyone believe it. He quickly drew a line through that reason. He then sat back and looked at the parchment. On the right side, there was a long list of grievances stretching all the way to the bottom. On the left, one word, 'revenge'.
But revenge on whom? Voldemort? The Death Eaters? Harry had begun to consider Voldemort the personification of Evil, more of a force of nature than a real human. There could be no real revenge against a force of nature. And as far as the Death Eaters went, they were doing nothing more than following their stated beliefs in pureblood superiority, one that was shared by the very government they were attempting to overthrow. The sheeple of the magical world either feared them or supported them, but would never actively oppose them. They would do nothing more than bleat as the wolves tore their throats out.
When it came right down to it, there were only four people he wanted revenge on. He wanted revenge on them so badly, he was willing to make a deal with the devil himself to achieve it. It was at that moment that he began, for the first time, to understand what drove the orphan Tom Riddle to become the dreaded Lord Voldemort. Harry turned the parchment over and began to plan.
Two days later, Harry slipped out of the house under his invisibility cloak on the heels of Vernon Dursley. Vernon's regular morning routine was to open the car door and release the latch on the car's bonnet in order to check the oil and other fluids before starting the car and driving to work. It was easy to slip into the open car door and hide in the back seat while he was making his check. Harry lay on the floor under his cloak as Vernon drove into work. After he parked in the company lot and left, Harry slipped out of the car and caught a bus into London. Three busses and a short underground ride later, Harry was standing, still under his cloak, outside the Leaky Cauldron waiting for a customer to enter so he could follow them through. His luck held as he saw, of all people, Percy Weasley striding up to the door, holding a muggle briefcase in one hand and speaking on a cell phone. As Percy got closer, Harry heard his conversation.
"The Minister sent me to the Muggle Prime Minister's office to pick up some documents that had been promised. No, it was too sensitive to send me by floo, the Minister seems to think that the floo network is being monitored and didn't want to take the chance. Anyway, I need to go, I'm almost to Diagon Alley and I will lose the signal there. Bye."
As Percy broke the connection, he swept through the door, Harry following closely on his heels, still underneath the cloak. Percy looked neither right nor left as he went to the brick wall and began tapping the bricks which would gain him entrance to Diagon Alley. Percy never noticed the slight rustle of fabric as he stepped resolutely through the now-open wall and into the Alley. As Percy turned to close the entrance, Harry slipped to his blind side and quickly strode away.
Removing the cloak as he entered Gringotts, Harry went up to the security goblin's desk, presented his key, and asked politely to speak with his account manager. The goblin looked up the number on the key, sharply looked at Harry's scar, and growled, "Mr. Potter, you are 15 minutes late."
"What do you mean, late? I had no idea that I had an appointment to start with," Harry protested.
"Aren't you hear for the reading of Sirius Black's will?" the goblin asked.
"I received no notice." Harry was beginning to see where this was going. "Where did you send notice?"
"Where we have sent everything for the past 15 years, to Albus Dumbledore. He is already here."
"Interesting. Please have someone escort me. I believe that I need to be there." The security goblin waved at a coworker and asked him to escort Harry to Griphook's office. As Harry walked in the office, Dumbledore spotted him and his eyes lost the patented twinkle. It seemed to Harry that Dumbledore appeared nervous.
"Harry! What are you doing here? Are you being escorted?"
"I might ask you the same thing. Why was I not notified about this? Just what the hell are you trying to pull? Is it not enough that you try and control my every move? Are you now trying to defraud me of my inheritance?" At the word 'defraud', Dumbledore paled and the goblin behind the desk showed more pointed teeth than Harry would have imagined that any creature could have possessed. Sitting down, Harry nodded at the goblin to let him know he was ready to hear the will.
"Well, Mr. Potter. As you are aware, Sirius Black was your legal guardian, named by your parents. That was never rescinded, an oversight I am sure, when he was sent to Azkaban…."
"WHAT!?" Harry exploded. "I was never told about this! In fact, it seems there were a lot of things that I was not told." Harry fixed Dumbledore with a glare, and the old wizard seemed to visibly shrink.
"Hem.. To continue.. Since he was your guardian at the time of his death, this document takes effect." The goblin handed Harry a parchment. It was dated just weeks before Sirius' death, and was a magically binding document granting Harry emancipation. There was also a note clipped onto the document. Harry read.
"Dear Harry. If you are reading this, I am now with your parents. I believe that you are mature enough to make your own decisions. I wish to heck I could say that being of sound mind, I spent it all, but two things stop me from that. The first is finding someone who would agree that I was of sound mind, and the second being that there is just too damn much to spend by myself. Pup, I wish I could be there to spend it with you, but I must have screwed up somewhere.
Harry, the thing that I must warn you about is Dumbledore. I hate to believe it, but I have come to the conclusion that he does not have your best interests at heart. You have become a means to an end, that being a weapon against Voldemort. If you decide to fight Riddle, make it your decision, do not be manipulated by Albus. Good luck either way.
The goblin will be reading the will in a bit, but I want to give you a heads up. I left everything to you, down to the last knut. Every property, all the vault contents, the title of Head of the Most Ancient and Noble House of Black, all of it. You even get the damn house elf, although he will probably keel over when he finds out that you are his new owner.
Hope to see you in a hundred years or so,
Harry finished reading the note, then looked up at the goblin. "Knowing what this says, is there any purpose for Mr. Dumbledore to be here?"
The goblin grinned his toothy smile. "None whatsoever, sir."
"In that case, would you have someone escort Dumbledore from here? I believe that I would like to hear this alone."
With another insane grin, the goblin pushed a button on his desk, and two large security goblins came in the office. They took each arm of the protesting Dumbledore and quickly escorted him out of the room. The goblin behind the desk stood up and walked around to Harry, holding out his hand.
"It is a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Potter. My name is Flickaxe. I have been account manager for the Black and Potter families for the past 57 years. I hope to continue that position. I am grateful that you had Dumbledore removed. He has been a nightmare to deal with. Anyway, let's get on with the reading."
There were no real surprises other than the amounts that Harry had inherited. He had no idea that the Black family had been so wealthy. Flickaxe explained that the Black family had made solid investments and that very little had been spent in the last 13 years. His vault for the Potter family had seen much more activity, with Harry's school expenses and a regular monthly stipend coming out of the smaller trust account. He explained that the Dursley's had been given a bit over £3000 per month for Harry's upkeep. At this, Harry literally blew a gasket.
"And those bastards starved me, made me wear that pig's cast-off clothes, and made me their house elf? They could have fed the whole family, me included, steak for all of these years. Instead, they made me feel I was a drain on them!" Harry was definitely having evil thoughts toward his now ex guardians. "Make sure the payments are stopped immediately."
"Is there anything else we can assist you with today?"
Harry thought a moment. "As a matter of fact, there is. I would like to hire a team of wizards to redo the wards on my property at 12 Grimmauld Place. I want a new Fidelus charm placed on it with myself as the secret keeper. I would also like to rent a couple of your security goblins to clear out any.. unwelcome guests. I also need a full set of muggle identification, make the name on it "James Black". And last, at least for now, is there some way I can carry large amounts of both wizarding and muggle money so I am not always having to run to the bank?"
Flickaxe was writing furiously. "That can all be arranged. The curse-breakers should be getting notice anytime now.." Seeing Harry's confused look, he snickered. "Spelled Parchment. As I write, the orders are being read by my assistant."
"Whoa. In that case, make sure Bill Weasley is not on the team. He is one of Dumbledore's supporters. I don't want him to face a dilemma about his loyalties." Flickaxe quickly made a note of that. When he finished writing, there was a knock on the door and a familiar face popped in. It was Griphook, one of the few goblins Harry recognized by sight. Harry greeted him by name, making Griphook break out in a happy, but fierce grin. He gave a quick bow, deposited a parcel on Flickaxe's desk, then quickly exited. Flickaxe opened the parcel and took out a couple of items.
"This is a charmed wallet and a charmed moneybag. The wallet is for muggle money, the bag is for wizarding money. All you do is say the amount that you need and it will be deducted from your vault and put in the wallet or bag. In the wallet there is a muggle driver's license, a health card, a debit card, and two credit cards. Should you decide to change your appearance, the driver's license will reflect the change in the photo. All of the identification is made out to James Black, however if you wish to change that name, just place your thumb on the photo and say the name you wish to use. All of your identification will automatically change to that. Here is also a passport charmed the same way."
Harry grinned, almost matching the goblin in toothiness. "Are you also a mind reader? This is exactly what I need."
"I try my best, sir."
A parchment appeared on his desk and Flickaxe picked it up. "You will be happy to know that the wards have been reset to your personal magical signature. It turns out that there was no one in the house, but shortly after the wards were set, Dumbledore appeared at the front of the house. He was not able to find it. He called in some others, but they also were unable to access the house. Our security goblin reports that they have finally left. Would you like to be escorted to your vaults now?" He held out the key for the Black family vault.
"No, I can do that later. Right now I just want to go home and think things over. This has been a very stressful morning."
"Very good, sir. Would you like to use my fireplace to floo from? It will allow you to avoid any… unwanted attention."
"I would appreciate that very much," Harry told him. "Flickaxe, may you and your clan prosper and may gold flow like water into your vaults." With that, Harry took a pinch of floo powder, tossed it into the fireplace, stepped in and said, "12 Grimmauld Place!"
12 Grimmauld Place
Harry made his usual ungraceful exit from the fireplace, sneezing at the soot and rolling across the floor to slam against the wall.
"Filthy mudbloods! Traitors! Get out of my house!" The portrait of Mrs. Black began screaming as soon as Harry came to a stop. There was also a sharp pop and the demented house elf, Kreacher, appeared and began cursing him. Harry let it go on a moment, then hissed in Parseltongue.
Both Mrs. Black and Kreacher stopped in shock. Harry drew himself to his full height and, in his most theatrical voice, growled at them.
"I am the Head of the Most Ancient and Noble House of Black. You will either give me the required respect, or I will banish you from this house, dissolve your marriage ties post-mortem, and erase every trace of you from Black history. And you, ELF, I will send you to wait on muggleborn Hufflepuff students at Hogwarts! DO YOU UNDERSTAND?"
Kreacher threw himself down on the floor and begged forgiveness while pounding his head into the floor. Mrs. Black, still in shock, curtseyed and, smiling coquettishly, apologised to Harry. Apparently, they figured that since Parseltongue was virtually unknown to exist outside dark wizards, that Harry must be the real thing. Harry decided to keep up the charade, at least until he could figure out a way to get rid of these two major neck pains.
"Will you be joining the forces of the Dark Lord, Voldemort?" Mrs. Black was actually simpering, batting her eyes and smiling hideously.
"Do not speak to me of that mongrel! Do you not know that his mother was the daughter of a crazed tramp and his father a filthy muggle?" Harry was having fun with this, seeing the shock on Mrs. Black's face. He did, however feel bad about the racist pureblood crap that he was having to spout. It served his purpose of keeping the portrait off guard however. "Your son would have been better off to have opposed that filth and waited for a REAL Dark Lord, someone from his own house. He would have probably been alive today, rather than slain by one not fit to kiss my shoes."
Mrs. Black almost swooned with excitement, while Kreacher trembled uncontrollably. Harry ordered the elf to prepare a meal for him, nodded a 'good day' to the now smiling portrait, and quickly moved into his old room to avoid laughing out loud at them. He made a point of checking the portrait of Phineas Nigellus Black, former Hogwarts Headmaster. Seeing that the old Headmaster was apparently in his frame at Dumbledore's office, Harry took down the frame and locked it in a closet. He then ordered Kreacher to leave it there, explaining that Phineas was magically bound to assist Dumbledore. Harry explained that it was not Phineas' fault, but that Harry did not want Dumbledore to learn of his plans. Kreacher and Mrs. Black hated Dumbledore for his attitudes regarding muggles, muggleborn and mixed blood, so they reluctantly agreed.
That night, Mrs. Black slumbered with dreams of the new Dark Lord bringing power and respect back to her family, Kreacher slept with dreams of being the head elf of the new Dark Lord, and Harry slept because he was just plain exhausted.
Fortunately, he had no dreams at all.
A/N: And so it begins! How far will Harry go in his quest for respect and peace? Please R&R! The New Dark Lord commands it!