A/N: HEY! It's me! As you can see, I've adopted a story I liked back when– OH, look, a plot bunny involving Ron as the Keybearer and a Xehanort-possessed Harry– !
(is forcibly restrained by his muses and all the readers)
Ahem. Okay, enough plot bunnies for a while. Anyway, Jumiku let me have her kid– although I'm perfectly willing to give it back when she asks– and I'm continuing it. Just to let you all know, this is not really OOTP and definitely not HBP compliant. DEAL WITH IT!
And now, here are JuMiKu's original author notes:
From JuMiKu: This story is dedicated to my grandfather, who killed himself on the 28th of March, shortly after I finished writing the fourth chapter of this story.
Note to all those Flamers out there. I count flaming as a sign of stupidity and think that someone, who has the time to read a story to tell the author, how bad the story is, should get himself a life (Who else reads many pages somebody worked hard on, just to tell the author something like that?!). So if you are such a miserable creature that has nothing better to do than harass hobby authors, who don't get a cent for what they are writing, feel free to flame if it eases a little of the pain you must be in.
This story starts in the summer before Harry's fifth year and doesn't take ootp into account, because some facts in the story contradict the prophecy... and I don't want padfoot to be dead... but there will be an Order of the Phoenix, the HQ, Tonks and of course our new favourite professor Umbridge! But the story will have an entirely different plot line, than ootp.
Ebony Riddle and the Truth About the Boy-Who-Died
Created by JuMiKu
Adopted by Shadow Crystal Mage
Prologue: Oh Dear…
Disclaimer: I don't own anything until possibly the eight chapter, where I start putting in my own material. Harry Potter is owned by J.K. Rowling– if you didn't know that, how did you learn to use the internet so fast after leaving your cave?– Ebony was created by JuMiKu. Me? I'm a foster parent. ; )
Severus Snape, Potions Master of Hogwarts and most hated teacher of the institution, prided himself for always keeping his cool exterior. He liked to frighten his students and humiliate them – with the exception of his Slytherins, that is. He had to keep up appearances after all.
Now that Voldemort was back and he had to start spying for the Order again, this had become even more important (not to mention he had a soft spot for them as he used to be in Slytherin himself and was now Head of Slytherin House).
But right now he didn't really care about his image; he was almost running down the corridor of the old run-down house. Once the home of the proud Black family, it was now the Headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix– a not-quite-so-secret organization determined to once again bring down the Dark Lord– since the bloody mutt (also known as Sirius Black but usually not thought of by Snape that way), the heir of the Black fortune and a wanted criminal, offered it to the Order to use.
It didn't matter anyway. Only a few of the Order members who weren't on one mission or another, the Weasley children and Granger (who were living at the headquarters, because they might be Voldemort's targets, because they are friends with the oh so wonderful saviourof the wizarding world)and Dumbledore himself were currently at HQ and nobody but the headmaster– whom he had been conversing with before his arm decided to relive the Spanish Inquisition–was awake at this unholy hour anyway.
Of course, normally a simple call from his oh so powerful Lord and master– who would kill Snape on the spot if he was aware of the depths of Snape's sarcasm regarding him– wouldn't make him this nervous, but this was not a normal call. He felt like he was under at least five different pain-curses; all aimed at the exactly same spot on his arm where the Dark Mark was. He was glad that since he started to spy, he had been trained to have a very high resistance to pain, otherwise he'd be lying on the ground now, screaming in agony, instead of hurrying to answer his great and might master's call.
Torture, than death: Voldemort never really saw any sarcasm but his own funny.
What in blazes does he want now? Snape thought with a rather unusual blend of annoyance and fear that seemed completely unrelated to the way he was running through the halls like his robes were on fire. We'd already met yesterday! What could be so bloody important…
The thought went unfinished and his steps slowed slightly as another intruded in, one that kicked out a large portion of the annoyance and added more pure fear that was more in character to his running from a moment ago. They can't have found out about my spying activities already, could they? It's been thirteen years, but I can't be that out of practice! And why call for me? Why not just call me in front during a meeting and kill me? Unless he's afraid I'll find out before hand…
Snape shook his head, throwing out such thoughts. They'd go in circles for hours if he let them. Doesn't matter. I have to go anyway, my position is too valuable to give up simply because I have a bad feeling about a summons– and my arm is going to kill me!
Finally, he passed the covered picture of the late Black matriarch, who was currently snoring loudly in her picture frame. He schooled his features before he left the house and Apparated to the location the Dark Mark was pulling him to.
He appeared amongst a few other Death Eaters, who were all wearing chalk-white masks like himself– hastily, he made sure his was still straight after all that running– which hid their entire face from view except their eyes. Their dear, sweet master had yet to arrive.
He was grateful to realize that finally the pain coming from the Dark Mark was becoming a dull ache. When he saw that everyone seemed to be shaking from the after-effects of the pain their Marks had inflicted on them, he tried to take advantage of their temporary mental weakness, looking all of them briefly in the eye, but didn't manage to catch anything valuable save that Malfoy was as usual thinking of who to marry Draco to– again! The boy was barely fifteen for crying out loud!
He identified them as the top Death Eaters of Voldemort's inner circle– he could tell that much from their robes alone; Malfoy always wore silk, no matter what, and Nott's creepy slinking was obvious anywhere– but there was something that didn't bode well, a feeling in the air. He'd caught a small dose of it before he'd had to back out off their minds; a glimmer of anticipated joy.
He wondered what this was about. There'd been nothing in the meeting yesterday that could cause this kind of reaction. Perhaps he should reconsider his policy of reporting to Dumbledore as soon as possible and hang around after meetings to talk. After all, his theory about their inanities rubbing off on him didn't really have any basis besides empirical evidence…
No, better safe than sorry.
When Severus looked around, he saw that they were standing in the shade of trees, in what he assumed was a park. He doubted anyone was able to see them in the darkness. Voldemort had more than fashion reasons for choosing their uniform.
It didn't take long for him to realize what the others were so excited about. They were in a muggle community. There is only one thing Voldemort might be up to here…
They must be here for fun.
Coldly, Snape debated his options. He didn't really care about muggles, being apathetic of them now that he was a wizarding adult, but he knew that Dumbledore did.The Order had obviously underestimated the Dark Lord and assumed he would take the time to concentrate his forces. Contacting the Order would be a useless gesture.Even if he could contact Dumbledore, he doubted if there were more than two Order members at Headquarters. It seemed only four other Death Eaters and himself were called, but with Voldemort present the spy knew they didn't stand a chance.
The sallow-faced man began to write off the muggles that would be involved in this night's debacle.
Still, he wondered where Voldemort was.
As if in answer, the front door of one of the identical looking houses opened and Severus, along with his fellow Death Eaters, immediately took out his wand.
But what he didn't expect was for the most powerful dark wizard of this century, to step out of the house. If it weren't for the seemingly glowing red eyes, Severus wouldn't have recognised him in the darkness…
Then Snape blinked.
The red-eyed figure, which he was sure was the Dark Lord… seemed to be carrying a person!
The man approached them with purposeful strides, holding the person- which could now in the dim light of a lantern a few yards away be recognised as a teen of about fourteen years- possessively in his arms in a parody of paternal love.
The alarm bells that had begun ringing in Snape's head increased in volume. There was something very wrong with this situation…
Severus tried to get a more detailed look of the child's face, trying to get a clue as to what was happening. The shadows made it impossible to do so, however. Yet it seemed strangely… familiar.
When Voldemort entered their semicircle, every Death Eater including himself knelt down and kissed the hem of the Dark Lord's robe. Snape was very grateful said Dark Lord was a fastidious dresser.
After this ritual was over and everybody was standing again, the Dark Lord spoke, and Snape, in a moment of fancy bought on by stress– goodness knows he's had a lot of those over the years– wondered if he was deliberately trilling his s's or if they were a result of one of the countless experiment's he'd done to himself: "I invited you here tonight because I consider you privileged to be with me.
"Tonight is the night of my triumph! I've returned for only a few short months and already I seal the fate of the muggles, mudbloods and muggle-lovers. I now have the one who defeated me within my grasp!" The unconscious form in his arms moaned in pain as the person holding him enjoyed his victory
There were gasps at this revelation, and Snape finally put the silhouette into place.
"I believe I have also found a way to get rid of Harry Potter once and for all and at the same time bring back my daughter," Voldemort said, his red eyes gleaming brightly.
Severus' colleagueshad obviously overcome their surprise, because they were grovelling at their Lords feet again muttering about how great he was. It was with great distaste that he followed suit– that is, as great distaste as he could manage in a state of satisfaction and confusion.
After all, it was no secret he didn't like Potter.
Then the second part of the statement penetrated.
When everybody was properly standing again, Voldemort continued: "But before we begin we should wake up our guest of honour, shouldn't we?" His followers laughed– Snape was glad he didn't have to force this one tonight– as he laid the body he was holding down on the ground. "Enervate!"
Another pained moan escaped the Boy-Who-Probably-Wouldn't-Be-Living-Much-Longer as he groggily sat up. A moment later emerald-green eyes opened only to widen in horror as he realized in which company he was and then be shut in pain once more as he groped at his scar.
The Death Eaters around him laughed louder. Their master continued with a conversational tone: "So before we come to this night's zenith, why don't we give young Mr. Potter a short history lesson?" He gave an oily grin that would have sent small children running to their mothers in pure terror.
Snape noted that Potter had the sense to stop caring about his little headache and was now looking (or trying to look) discretely around, obviously searching for an escape. He deliberately sealed an opening next to him and watched as hope seemed to die a little in the boy. Though he might try to save him if at all possible without blowing his cover– Snape grudgingly started thinking in ways that he hadn't touched in three-and-a-half years– it seemed highly unlikely that it would be possible, so he resigned himself to enjoying Potter's eventual– most likely protracted and painful– death.
Severus tuned back to what the Dark Lord was saying– after all, if the boy died he wanted to savor every detail… oh, and get valuable information, too: "As I remember that Harry is sorely lacking in manners...", the Dark Lord said, slightly amused. With a flick of his wand, he bound the boy to prevent him from escaping and charmed the boy's attention on himself, then added a silencing charm as an afterthought. "Not many children are told and I'm very sure nobody would tell you, but three months after Harry James Potter's birth, I had a few– let's say– intimate…hours… with Lily."
Snape watched as the boy went red and wondered what would kill him first, a stroke or a heart attack. Snape himself remembered that night. It had led to the third time the Potters had defied the Dark Lord. He was very ashamed of his own role in those events. If he hadn't been so detailed in his report to Dumbledore the days before, James Potter might have died trying to get his wife back…
Suppressing a sigh a the memories of what-had-and-might-have-been, Snape kept on listening.
"Inevitably, nine months later there were consequences," Voldemort continued. "Throughout the pregnancy, the Potters thought the child was James', but when Lily gave birth to a baby girl on the first of august and the usual tests were made, the paternal-spell announced that the child was mine! It was named Ebony Layla Potter. I found the name quaint and decided to let my daughter keep it. Of course, the wizarding world was in an uproar and wanted the child dead. I tried to get the child of course, but the Ministry was faster and my daughter was executed in public two weeks after her birth."
Voldemort made a show of sighing sadly, before turning towards Harry with a gleam in his eye. Snape wondered if the Dark Lord was thinking of re-enacting what had gone on the last time he'd had someone with the surname Potter in his hands during a war.
"Or so it seemed! I recently realized something. It has to do with that interesting scar on your forehead, the pain you feel when you are near me or I feel strong emotions and the fact you are a Parseltongue like myself." He was by now circling the boy in a very predatory fashion. Said boy still seemed to be coping with the information that his little sister was killed by the Ministry for no reason, but existing.
"Wormtail told me Lily had been acting strangely when Ebony was born. Neglecting her first-born and husband; she only had eyes for her baby-girl, her favoured child. But curiously, she didn't fight back, when the Aurors came and took her beloved daughter. After her daughter was taken, she cared for her son with the same love she used to bestow on her younger child.
Voldemort paused to let that sink in.
"So I have a theory I will put to the test tonight. Severus, my dearest potion master!" Snaped twitched at being called Voldemort's dearest anything as he stepped forward, looking coolly down at the boy and trying to communicate his joy at the boy's impending demise. After all, that's what usually happened to those sacrificed during Dark Rituals, and that was the only thing that might bring a dead girl back. Of course, since it had been so long since the child's death, it might not work, but that was okay, since Potter would still be dead… He kept his face perfectly smooth as he addressed the Voldemort. "My Lord?"
"Do you by chance happen to know the Polyjuice Potion?"
A firm quashing of his sarcasm instinct, keeping the near-magically generated "No, I'm called a Potions Master because it sounds fancy" out of his mouth. He settled for a simple, "Yes, my Lord, I do."
"Did you know that it usually only lasts for an hour?"
The sarcasm instinct was slightly harder to quash. "Of course my Lord, but combined with intention, emotion and charms the effects last… longer…"
A light went on in his head.
The Dark Lord looked pleased with him, probably correctly inferring by Snape's wide-eyed look that he'd put it together. "So... there is the possibility to make it last significantly longer... Lily Potter, while a mere mudblood, had a certain… aptitude… for charms… as well as charm-work and potions." There was some laughter at the crude joke. Snape didn't know Voldemort had it in him. "She would have been capable of performing the necessary alchemy, she had the strong intention to save her… beloved child and love is supposed to be stronger than anything, isn't it?" Voldemort grinned as he gave Dumbledore's words a sarcastic twist. "So what if her will to protect the thing she loved most in her life was strong enough to make the potion's effect last to this very day. What if she used the Polyjuice Potion to swap her children. What if Harry James Potter was killed and his half-sister Ebony Layla Riddle lived."
Denial. Severus was going through it and he was pretty sure Potter was too. The Death Eaters seemed unsure how to react to the news, that the Boy-Who-Lived was the bastard child of their lord and master and lived because his mother rather saved her rather than her brother Harry.
And that meant… oh dear.
But Lord Voldemort wasn't quite finished yet: "If my theory is correct, then your scar is a split in the complicated net of potions, charms, intention and love–" yet another twist "–your mother used to make sure you looked like your brother. It was created when the killing curse and this net hit each other. You feel pain coming from your scar, because your magic fights the foreign magic surrounding it, which is part of your body until the spell completely wears off. I am the one connection to your real appearance; when this connection is triggered, your blood and magic realizes that your mother's magic is imprisoning it in spells. It makes sense. And I believe it is time to take my theory to the test!"
Voldemort smiled coldly at the child before him. Possibly his or not, he was not about to deny himself the chance to cause Harry Potter pain. This would hurt… a lot.
TheGryffindor started to tremble slightly when Voldemort knelt down in front of him. Then the Dark Lord did something unexpected; he kissed the child's forehead. The scar to be exact.
That had to have been unnecessary, Snape thought as Potter looked like he would puke, scream, have an aneurysm, heart attack, and stroke right at that moment. He was sure he heard a gurgling in the brat's throat.
For a second, nothing seemed to happen… then Potter opened his mouth wide as if to scream. Only a small high-pitched cry came forth, quickly stifled as Voldemort stood up. The scar was bleeding.
The boy began to roll on the ground in agony, and Snape, despite all previous revelations, felt a warm, fuzzy feeling inside. Harry Potter or not, it was simply beautiful to see something with James Potter's face in pain.
Snape, in his enjoyment, almost missed out on the fine details of what was happening, such as the lightening-shaped scar was growing in length; zigzagging across the boy's skin. It soon looked like the boy's skin was braking into thousands of pieces. The pieces of the net of charms, potion, intent and emotion, which had been hiding the child's real body for almost fifteen years started to float and finally disappeared, leaving behind the unconscious body of a person who didn't seem to have anything in common with the one who had been in it's place only moments before. Impossibly long and slightly matted hair that had never seen a brush or a pair of scissors was preventing the shell-shocked spy to see any details of the girl.
Girl. Very, very girl. Oh. Dear…
The Dark Lord picked the unmoving (but breathing) form up again and held it in the same possessive almost protective way like before. Soon the Death Eaters recovered from their shock and began to rejoice. It was obvious what they thought, that even though the child had been their master's downfall fourteen years ago, it would be easy to make her join their side now that she knew she was Slytherin's heiress. Snape, slowly descending into catatonia now that the fun of seeing a James-alike in pain was over, really couldn't make himself care.
Voldemort shot him then the house he had left half an hour ago a meaningful glance. He was still rationall enough to understand and woodenly shot the Dark Markinto the sky. It hovered ominously over the house the Dark Lord had visited.
At an unspoken signal, they all Apparated away… except for Snape. No, he was definitely not in a state to be Apparating, or doing much else for that matter. Potter… was a girl. THE girl… oh dear.
It took him a while to finally return to his senses, to remember the Order, and the war and everything, and that he had to report and tell Dumbledore and Moody and… and… and…
Unseen by anyone but the night, Snape let his eyes go wide as he remembered one little detail.
I do not want to be around when the mutt finds out...
- To be continued...
A/N: And done!
YAY! My first adoption! I'm sure Ebony will get along with my other Harry's just fine…
(insert evil laughter here)
Please review, C&C welcome. Also, please check out JuMiKu'sfics. She's got one where Harry's armed with an honest-to-Akane MALLET!
JuMiKu's notes: That makes our little vampy sound much funnier than he really is. Anyway thanks for the recommendation!
I already love your version of my story. (hug)
Until next time, this is Shadow, signing off.