Last time on A Shadowed Soul:
Kai looked at Severus, "Have you thought of pairing the students across house? I mean, they couldn't blow up one house's cauldron without sabotaging a housemate as well. Oh, and here's another suggestion: don't be such a git.
Boot and Zabini vs. Malfoy and Granger
Draco snorted in disbelief at being paired with the mudblood. They would lose for sure.
'Except,' his treacherous mind told him, 'that she is a powerful witch who casts with great precision. She will be a valuable asset in this exercise.'
A larger invisible hand grabbed Ron by the collar and dragged him unceremoniously to the door. At the doorway his was bodily picked up and tossed out. The heavy wood door slammed shut behind him.
"Alright," Kai was suddenly chipper again. "Let's move on."
"Get the fuck out of my way Morris."
Tonks had to concentrate forcefully to school her face to hardness. The character she had to play was a hard man. A rude, self serving and vicious man, full of anger and hatred. Kai had given her pages of briefs on this man – provided by his Riker spies in the Death Eater ranks - full pensieve memories too, which had proven to be infinitely useful in her recreation of his character.
A tall, long-limbed man of middle years, he had a severe face that mirrored the gauntness of the rest of his body. A hard man indeed. The man was being taken care of by Kai as she strode confidently towards a "secret" Death Eater bar outside of Greenwich. She had asked Kai for the responsibility of this mission. Since it required a metamorphmagus it was down to him or her. Being personally invested in this mission – she listed to him her qualifications for the job and laid down that it was hers by right. Kai had stiffened inexplicably at her statements and something dark – mournful perhaps? - flitted across his eyes. In the end, however, he agreed. She felt a great deal of pride that he trusted her with this important mission.
The Riker assassin trusted no one with anything important in his life. No one except perhaps a few high ranking Riker members – like those of the council. As much as Tonks knew he liked her, and even trusted her enough to let her into his bed, she knew she only saw 20% of who he really was. She knew none of his pain, his sadness, or troubles - he held all of this inside him. She hoped he would someday share this hidden part of him with her.
Focusing on the mission ahead she strode up to the door and knocking rapidly six times.
A face appeared in a small door porthole, "What's the password?"
The Auror froze on the inside – she had seen no password in any of the memories. She had only one chance or else it was over before it began. Tonks forced this new face into a deep scowl, "There is no password you bloody moron."
The large fool on the other side smiled, "Of course not, Nott, that's the test."
"Idiot, open the damn door," Abban Nott sneered at the doorman.
The door opened quickly for a Death Eater that was as close as one could get to the Inner Circle without being an actual member. Tonks strode into the pub with the same cocky stride and sneering glare that she had witnessed from others' eyes in the memories supplied to her.
After ordering a large draft from the bar Abban dropped into a chair at his usual spot – one of the card game tables set up in a corner. As always it was a somewhat random group but also as usual there was one player that was here at this time on a Tuesday night.
He was a short fat man, balding with reddish grey hair and watery blue eyes. A snivelling creature, he begged and crawled around the Dark Lord but puffed up as if for a show on nights like these. He liked to play against the young new recruits and tell them tales of his 'glorious deeds for the Great Lord.'
'What a fool,' a thought that could have come from either her or Nott – both held great disgust for the man - another reason he in particular had been selected. He was old enough, respected enough, and held enough disgust for their target to have this particular plot work.
Peter Pettigrew was hers.
Sitting heavily next to three younger recruits she barked, "What's the buy in tonight gentlemen?"
This startled the younger men. Nott never sat with the younger recruits when he played – this was an honor really.
"Twenty galleons tonight, Sir," one answer proudly. Proud that they had gathered his interest.
Tonks leaned over to toss her money in the pot and gather her chips, while discretely whispering to the kid next to her, "I've heard Pettigrew is cheating the new recruits out of their money at the card table and bragging about it to the mid-ranks. I'd love to bust his sorry bollocks."
It was very discreet; her lips never moved and the kid's eyes flashed only for a second before settling in a blank mask. Good kid, too bad he signed up for the wrong side. He would watch Pettigrew like a hawk all night long. She just needed to get the others in on it. She planned on getting Pettigrew good and caught. Tonks had no idea whether or not he actually cheated on these games but she planned on using her newly learned skills to make it seem like he was.
Kai had explored her wandless ability with her ever since she wandlessly ripped his clothes off that one time. She almost laughed at the thought and struggled to keep the scowl planted on her face. Turns out most people are capable of having a few talents in wandless magic, specific tricks they could do. She had a small talent in moving or switching items but her biggest talent was illusion. She could cast the glamour spell wandlessly. Her lover implied that it was the metamorphmagus in her that lent her skills to that talent. That was extent of what she could do, however, for now at least.
"Deal me in boys. Keep an eye on Wormtail here – I've heard he's a rat in more than one sense," Abban's face twisted in a sneer at the bastard as the rest of the younglings sent considering glances in his direction. The one to his left shared a knowing look with him. That one would pass on his direct message when he had the chance. Any Death Eater revelled in the chance to bring one higher above them down.
Six slowly vanished beers later and all the men at the table were starting to get intoxicated. Time to put her plan into action. Discretely she set up a subtle illusion around Pettigrew. He started by glancing slyly towards the cards of other players, then paying too much attention to the cards that had already been revealed. After a few more hands, she told the illusion to show Pettigrew carefully withdrawing a card from his sleeve while she wandlessly levitated one of her cards (a three of clubs) onto his lap. She then made sure that Pettigrew's cards now appeared like a Royal Flush. A Flush that used cards that appeared in other players' hands around the table. Tonks caught one of the young ones' eyes and saw that they had seen the cheat.
"Pettigrew, I think you'd better show me your hand," Flint – the younger one – said scathingly. "I didn't want to believe what others had said about you. However, what I've seen so far this game has shown it true."
The short fat man sputtered indignantly, "What do you mean? I've played this game fair. See," he revealed his hand – which to him looked like a meagre pair of threes with a nine high, a bad hand.
The table erupted in indignation as the others saw their own cards in Pettigrew's hand.
"You bastard!" one shouted. "You've been cheating us!"
That drew the attention of the room. Tonks heard mutters around the room like, "Damn Pettigrew, what a rat."
Tonks tsked at Pettigrew, shaking his long thin head, "Peter, Peter, Peter. I always knew you were a fool."
The young men were starting to stand, dangerous looks on their faces.
"Gentlemen, why don't you leave him to me." Tonks let a vicious look cross her face. "I have certain...resources...that I can use to make his night...unpleasant," she barked a short laugh, striking Pettigrew with fear.
"I...I...I've done nothing!" he squeaked, everyone intoxicated enough not to really understand what was happening.
A flash of her wand and Pettigrew was frozen in his spot. Standing, Tonks flourished her cloak to the new recruits, "A good evening to you gentlemen. Feel free to split the pot."
Their faces brightened at thought of taking not only Pettigrew's, but his money as well. With a frozen Death Eater floating behind her, Tonks stalked to the door with an occasional cheer or "Nice job Nott!" following behind him.
'Almost too easy.' she thought. Pettigrew always flooed into an inner room guarded by security and left that same way. The only way to capture him was to manage to get him out the front door. That was what the whole charade had been about. Having the large gathering of Death Eaters allow her to take one of their number out into the unguarded and unwarded street beyond.
She sneered at the door guard on the way by, maintaining her character to the last and as soon as boots hit paving stones she swept them away in the whirl of a portkey.
The next day Kai sat at the head table at Hogwarts trying to suppress his mirth. What a successful night the last had been. Pettigrew finally rested in one of his person prison cells in a safe house in Scotland. A house elf fed him and vanished the contents of his bucket twice a day; besides that, the man would live in abject misery and this pleased Kai to no end. His classes were light for the day and tonight he got to tell Sirius about their recent adventures. Nothing could ruin this day for him.
The assassin watched absently as the owls flew in with their morning newspaper deliveries and letters. A small squirrely looking birds flew wildly around the room – wide eyed – holding an angry looking red envelope.
'Uh-oh,' Kai laughed to himself, 'someone's in for a good yelling.'
The bird flew over towards the Gryffindor table and dropped the smoking letter in front of one seventh year – Ronald Weasley.
The long haired man nearly cackled. This day couldn't get any better. A loud and shrill voiced echoed through the hall, bringing the room to near silence around it.
Ronald Bilius Weasley!
I could not be more unhappy with you right now young man! That letter you sent to me was despicable! I could not believe you would say such terrible things. I did not raise a stupid or bigoted child and I refuse to allow such childish behaviour to continue in my house.
And now I hear that you have been expelled from his class! Your father and I are so ashamed. You've been given an opportunity to learn that no others have ever been given and you have wasted it. I swear, young man, that if I have not received confirmation that you have not only apologized but have been allowed back in that classroom before Christmas you will deeply regret it!
This is your last chance young man!
Kai was now actively suppressing his mirth, not meeting Severus' eyes for fear of losing it. The Potions Master beside him was nearly shaking trying to keep from laughing. Settling on a vicious smirk, Severus looked down at the Gryffindor table with a look of superiority. Kai was startled then when the letter, on its own, flew up to in front of him. Having never been on the other end of a howler, he had no idea what to expect.
Professor Boudreau, the enveloped cooed out more quietly.
I'm so very sorry for Ronald's behaviour. It was truly unacceptable. I hope he will grow up and apologize to you properly.
Don't be a stranger, I hope to see you and Tonks for dinner on Sunday!
The laughing didn't start until a muffled curse erupted from the Gryffindor table. Kai had to hide his face behind his newspaper as he couldn't stand it anymore. The foolish child had actually wrote home complaining about him? The thought of the look on Molly's face as her son complained about her favourite Order member was priceless.
"Maybe she'll make you some of that fudge you love as an apology," Snape cracked, cackling to himself.
"That might very well be the case!" Kai cackled back. This day really was going peachy.
"You forgot he was a personal friend of your family?" shrieked a voice from the Gryffindor table. Ahhh, Hermione. "Of all the stupid things. You really are an idiot Ronald Weasley."
"I didn't know he knew my parents!" an angry voice shouted back.
Kai sat cross-legged on the floor of his replica meditation room once again, thoughts flowing through his head more wildly than they should. He jumped to his feet, pacing the room with Dagger of Power in hand. Remembering the feeling of helplessness when his power was critical and his dagger missing, the assassin was determined to overcome the need for the dagger to complete the mage rejuvenation.
The histories said it was possible; that Godric Gryffindor had achieved such a thing. Gryffindor. He was at Hogwarts, there had to be a portrait or something, right?
'Come and go room, I need to speak with Godric Gryffindor.'
The room shifted, placing a soft armchair behind him and shifting a picture of a tall man with messy blonde hair and a rough goatee in front of Kai.
"Hello ancestor," Kai intoned respectfully, hopefully.
Cool green eyes regarded him carefully, "Hello my son. It is good to see one of my kin again, especially one holding the family power. It has been many centuries since one had exhibited our power."
"That is good in its own way, Grandfather," he frowned sadly, "because you know what it takes to trigger our power."
It would take a singly horrifying and disturbing event to trigger an awakening. Consider this: Kai had been beaten and taunted terribly as a child but it had taken being beaten within reach of death and buried alive by his uncle to awaken his sleeping power. To wish the power on more of the family is to wish tremendous pain and destruction.
"You are right my son."
Kai tried not to feel pride at hearing someone of his blood call him son, but it filled him with warmth nonetheless.
"Godric, you freed yourself from your Power Dagger – I need to free myself from mine. I have almost died because of its loss and I do not want to feel so helpless again."
"This is a difficult thing, young one," Godric grimaced. "It is the last stage in the mage awakening. I was 46 when I accomplished this. It is different for every mage. All I can tell you what my father told me."
"To break free you must break it free."
Kai stared, 'The hell?'
"That seems entirely unhelpfully," the assassin drawled, disappointed. He really thought that this route would bear fruit. He sighed with frustration. He had a powerful and urgent sensation that he would need this ability soon.
They talked for a while longer before Godric advised his descendant to meditate on it to Apollo. Apollo had been the god that had helped Godric in his highest times of need. Kai smiled at the similarity between the two of them. Nodding a goodbye to the founder with a promise of speaking again, Kai altered the room to replicate his meditation room once more. He wove an intricate series of wards to protect him in what would be a very vulnerable state.
The dark-haired teen stripped off his shirts, stretching his muscles in preparation for what could be hours of meditation. All his glamours had to go too, one did not go before Apollo in with any deceit on your body or in your mind. To do otherwise would be to risk punishment or abandonment. He tried to ignore the vast multitude of scars that littered that of him he could see. Council Member Rain had been able to reduce much of the scar tissue on his back, but the lines still covered so much of him and large ragged stripes criss-crossed his back. At least they were lightening in color with each day.
Concentrating, his activated the rune sets that also criss-crossed his body, representing the various rituals he had completed throughout his schooling. Finding the long set on his chest he had completed to forge an eternal bond to Apollo – he deftly broke the skin at each ruin. Power seemed to swell in him as each ruin tasted blood; as the last was cut his dagger fell from his hand as he was sucked under. From the outside he looked nearly frozen in time; eyes closed, chest barely rising and falling.
On the other side of the school one of the assassin's least favourite students was plotting his demise. Sitting across from his friend Dean Thomas, Ronald Weasley was fuming.
"I can't believe that bastard actually wrote to my mother! It's his fault! I would still be in the class except for him!"
"Well Ron, you've actually not been very nice to him either. You just back talk to him and imply he's a Death Eater. The guy seriously knows what he's talking about – you should give him a bit more respect," Dean responded. He liked Professor Boudreau.
"You just say that because you're one of his favourites!" Ron accused, fire lighting in his eyes.
It was true that Dean had one of the highest levels of black markings in the class. Only Malfoy, Zabini, Susan, and Hermione had higher. Dean's eyes went starry thinking about Susan Bones – what a firecracker.
"I'm not his favourite; I just work hard and respect his position as a professor of the class, which you should do to!"
"Traitor!" Ron hissed. "I'll show you; he's a Dark Wizard and a Death Eater. I'll prove it. Follow me."
The redhead made for the door. "Where are you going Ron? It's almost curfew!"
"To the Defense Classroom. I bet there's proof there."
"You've got to be nuts! Trying to go snooping around Professor Boudreau's classroom? It's the Come-And-Go Room, he wouldn't keep anything private or important in there when he's not!"
"I don't know why – but something very strong is telling me I need to go to that room Right Now," Ron looked a little bit confused about it himself, but very sure in his next step. "You can come with me or you can get left behind."
Thinking he could at least keep Ron from getting into serious trouble and losing the mega house points, Dean tagged along. It took a while getting to the 7th floor classroom while attempting to be sneaky about it. Luckily there was no one in between Gryffindor Tower and the 7th floor. Standing across from the tapestry of Barnabus the Barmy stood the classroom door. It was there, meaning that someone was inside. This was a detail that Mr. Weasley had forgotten about – the only way into the classroom now was with Professor Boudreau present.
No light seemed to be coming from under that door so Ron decided to give it a go. 'I need a room where I can find out the truth about Professor Boudreau.' Testing the doorknob, it was unlocked!
"Let's go," the Weasley whispered.
Ron slowing opened the door – thankful at its absolute lack of sound. Nearly half open the boys froze in shock. Professor Boudreau was in here! He sat cross-legged, back to them on a solid wood floor, hands folded on his knees. He was so perfectly still you'd think he was frozen. A few candles barely lit the room but it got brighter as their eyes adjusted to the light. Once inside the room they stopped again at their second shock. Boudreau's back! Scars they had never seen ripped across every inch of their professor's body; wide and narrow, long and short. What had done that to him?
And they looked so...new. That was the only way to describe it. Probably 75% of the scars he could see seemed to have be made somewhat recently. Who had done that to Professor Boudreau?
On the verge of speaking, a bright flash over light over their teacher's head silenced the boys. A green light appeared over the dark-haired man and floated down before splashing on his chest. With a start the man's smaller frame jerked to life and he inhaled deeply, then froze again – this time like an animal freezing when they feel a hunter is near.
"Mr. Weasley," the dead of winter would have sounded less cold to him. "May I ask what has brought you to grace me with your presence?"
Ron shivered, realizing that he had just been spying on his Professor in a moment of privacy. Damn.
"You're what?" Boudreau flashed to his feet, green eyes flashing in anger. "You decided that you'd just spy on me. That you'd intrude on my personal time – Apollo knows how! - what? To yell at me because your mother is displeased with your actions. To call me a Death Eater?"
"Sir... those scars..."
Boudreau's eyes flashed again, glancing down as if remembering what was there for all to see. His shirt suddenly flew into his hand and he made to put it on before stopping, "You call me a Death Eater boy, but you know nothing. You think by spouting that bullshit that comes out of your mouth you're fighting the Dark Lord? You want to know what happens to those that are actually fighting Voldemort; you're looking at it! I spent weeks as a prisoner to Voldemort and you see the results. I would have died a hundred times over but they kept me just barely alive. You say I favour Malfoy, but I witnessed him sit there and watch as his father tortured me for hours trying to break me. I cherish my relationship with Professor Snape because he is the one that risked his life to pull me out of that hell. And you, you stupid little boy think you can sit here and judge us for who you think we are and what you think we've done. You disgust me."
Ron's knees gave out from under him and he collapsed onto the floor. He tried to speak but nothing came out. Everything he thought; everything he believed in; what a fool he was. He felt in that moment like a mask in front of his eyes fell.
His professor must have seen this change in his eyes because he deflated, collapsing into a chair that suddenly appeared beneath him.
Sighing, he put his head into his hands. Apollo why do you test me this way. This was not the truth I was seeking tonight.
He needed this truth, and so did you, whispered across his mind.
So Apollo had drawn the boy here. Damnit.
Ron could only just stare at him; stare at his suddenly tired looking shoulders and those scars...all those scars.
"I have spent nearly my whole life fighting the rule of darkness and I have paid a high price – not just to my body," his fingers traced the razor fine scars that patterned their way up his arms.
The red-head felt a powerful urge to be sick. He felt horrified at the comments he had been making towards Professor Boudreau. Comments about how he favoured Malfoy and the other Slytherins while he was really staring at the children of the men that tortured him. He felt respect grow in his heart for how neutral he had been.
Could I resisted taking revenge on them? he thought. No. I don't think I could have resisted. The Defence instructor had always had an almost hidden haunted look in his eyes when he looked at their class. Now he understood.
"You were surprised I know your parents. It's because I am partnered with the Order of the Phoenix."
The took the last of the wind out of Ron with a swift punch to the gut. Merlin, this man had been fighting the Dark Lord with his parents and he had been trying to taunt him. He knew the sacrifices his parents and family had made to the Second War. Stupid! Why was he so stupid?
"Professor Boudreau I'm so sorry," Dean's voice sounded so strained it could barely be heard. "I just followed Ron to try to keep him out of trouble. I never intended to breach your privacy like this, sir; I'm ... I'm so sorry."
That was when Ron noticed that Dean had made it to the ground beside him. Ron tried to speak, tried to say that he too was sorry, but there didn't seem to be enough words to right the wrong he had put upon his teacher. The 7th year slowly raised his head and met the most powerful – but the most tired – looking eyes he had seen in his life. He pushed all his emotions, all his sorrow and regret into his voice.
"I have done you great wrong," he used the formal pureblood words. "I owe you a great debt before I deserve your forgiveness."
Ron didn't know who looked more shocked; Dean or his teacher. Boudreau looked at him consideringly.
"You're a good kid Mr. Weasley. You just need to act upon it. You cannot fight bigotry with more bigotry. Open your mind and become a better person – a person worth fighting for or even fighting with. With this you can earn my forgiveness," those cool considering eyes burned through him as if looking for every weakness within him.
Standing shakily, Ronald Weasley gave his first bow, "I will do as you wish."
He was a fool. How many years had he wasted wrapped in his tiny little world where everything was black and white?
"You may return to my class than, Mr. Weasley. With a different attitude you may find it more enlightening that you did on your first perusal."
Dean seemed to have regained his footing as he jumped up and clapped him on the back, "Awesome!"
"I'm not done with you yet," long black hair didn't hide the slight mischievous look developing in those green eyes. "When are your next free blocks?"
The boys listed them.
"You will spend those free blocks in this classroom with me – as moving targets for my second, fourth, and sixth years to practice rapid casting on. I believe the best spell for that is the stinging hex. I'd wear a little extra padding to the sixth year class – they're quick, especially your sister."
Ron tried not to grimace but couldn't quite make it. His sister was powerful.
"Professor Boudreau, could I ask you some questions. It's okay if you don't want to answer them," Dean added quickly.
"How about you ask the questions and I'll decide on an individual basis whether I'll answer them," Kai Boudreau seemed to have relaxed some; his shoulders weren't so tense.
Dean grimaced, "Why do we not see your scars in class?"
'Couldn't have picked a bit of a warm-up question, eh Dean?' Ron thought.
"Glamours," a deep voice drawled.
"Did you meet the Vol...Vol...Voldemort!" Dean struggled out.
"Yes," the black haired man answered quietly.
"What was he like?"
Boudreau sighed again, "Powerful. Elegant. Like standing on a beach fighting a tidal wave with a sword. I have met few people in my life more powerful than myself in pure available magic, but he is one of them."
Fire flamed in his eyes saying he would welcome the challenge. 'Always thought he was a little crazy,' thought Ron.
"Elegant?" Ron blurted.
"Indeed. You have to remember this man has convinced hundreds to die for his cause. The man exudes power and charisma. Is he a monster? Yes, of course. But that changes little in his draw on people."
"I hear you do Dark Magic, did he draw you Professor Boudreau?" Dean clamped a hand over his mouth as he realized what he had said. "Sorry!" he squeaked.
Green eyes flashed in his direction, "No Dean, he didn't. Him and I clash like feral cats competing over the same territory. We will be drawn to fight each other and eventually one of us will die. This is the only draw he has on me or I on him."
Ron didn't know why, but he felt almost like prophecy had been spoken to him. Professor Boudreau fight He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named? Was he really that powerful? Ron watched bright eyes burn with fire.
Yes. Yes he was.